CPWA Ottawa Report

February 8, 2021
The next edition of the Ottawa Report is scheduled to be sent March 1, 2021.

Latest News


Infrastructure Minister Announces New Chairperson of Canada Infrastructure Bank
On January 28, Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna announced the appointment of Tamara Vrooman as Chairperson of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, effective January 27, 2021. The Board of Directors is responsible for governance and oversight of the Canada Infrastructure Bank. Ms. Vrooman will work with Ehren Corey, the Bank’s dynamic CEO, who was appointed in October 2020, as the CIB continues to deliver on the three-year, $10-billion Growth Plan. The Growth Plan is focused on investing in projects in five key sectors, including transit, green infrastructure, clean power, broadband and trade and transportation. Ms. Vrooman replaces former CIB Chairperson Michael Sabia, who was appointed Deputy Minister of Finance by the Prime Minister in December 2020.

Government Launches Budget Consultations
On January 25, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Associate Finance Minister Mona Fortier launched pre-budget consultations.The Government is holding virtual roundtables with diverse groups of people from a range of regions, sectors and industries, including those hardest hit by the pandemic to discuss the challenges Canadians are facing and listen to ways that the government can ensure a robust recovery.The online consultation is scheduled to conclude February 19. The CPWA Board of Directors shared its pre-budget submission from the summer with Minister Freeland.

Legislation


The House of Commons is adjourned until Tuesday, February 16, at 10:00 am ET. The Senate of Canada is sitting through Friday, February 28, 2021.There are currently 14 vacant Senate seats in the 105-seat chamber waiting to be filled by the Prime Minister.

Bill C-14 Advances to Second Reading in House of Commons
On January 25, Bill C-14, Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2020 advanced to second reading. The bill, introduced by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland on December 2, would implement COVID-19 support measures included in Finance Minister Freeland’s Fall Economic Statement. At the conclusion of Second Reading debate, the Bill will be sent to Committee for study.

Departmental Updates


Infrastructure Minister Sets New Priorities for Canada Infrastructure Bank
On February 3, Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna provided to Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) Chairperson Tamara Vrooman an updated Statement of Priorities and Accountabilities. The Statement of Priorities and Accountabilities sets out the Government’s expectations for the Bank’s activities across five priority areas:
  1. Public Transit, including major transit projects, and zero-emission buses with a long-term target of $5 billion in investments.
  2. Green Infrastructure, including energy efficient building retrofits, water and wastewater with a long-term target of $5 billion in investments.
  3. Trade and Transport, including trade corridors, bridges, passenger rail, and agricultural infrastructure, with a long-term target of $5 billion in investments.
  4. Broadband, including for unserved and underserved community broadband connectivity with a long-term target of $3 billion in investments.
  5. Clean Power, including renewables, district energy, storage, interties and transmission with a long-term target of $5 billion in investments.
Further, to support the Government's commitments to advance Indigenous reconciliation and urgently address the Indigenous infrastructure deficit, the CIB should establish a new investment target of $1 billion for Indigenous Infrastructure projects across the five priority areas set out above.

On the Horizon


Budget 2021 to Follow Budget Consultations
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has not yet announced a date for Budget 2021. Given the public consultation process underway until February 19, the Budget should not be expected until sometime in March, at the earliest.

Vaccine Rollout May Impact Decision Making on Election
Speculation about a spring federal election continues. The status of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is likely to play a role in the political decision-making process regarding timing of an election. At the moment, the roll-out is not proceeding as originally planned by the government, due to delays in delivery of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines from their respective European production facilities. Unless and until vaccines are seen to be more readily available for distribution, the government is unlikely to seek an early election date.