CPWA Ottawa Report

June 14, 2021

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The next edition of the Ottawa Report is scheduled to be sent June 28, 2021.

Latest News


CPWA to Participate in National Infrastructure Assessment Consultations
On June 10, CPWA was approached by Infrastructure Canada officials to provide input on Canada’s first National Infrastructure Assessment. On March 16, Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna launched an engagement paper, Building the Canada We Want in 2050, that sets out the purpose and benefits of undertaking a National Infrastructure Assessment and seeks input from the public, Indigenous Peoples, provinces, territories, municipalities, and stakeholders on three main priorities of the assessment:
  • Assessing Canada’s infrastructure needs and establishing a long-term vision;
  • Improving coordination among infrastructure owners and funders; and
  • Determining the best ways to fund and finance infrastructure.
CPWA is developing a draft submission and welcomes the input of members. Some key questions for public works:
  • What infrastructure is needed to support the transition a net-zero economy?
  • What infrastructure investments can improve access to affordable, clean, safe and efficient transportation?
  • How can public buildings, local service facilities and other public spaces better bring communities together, reduce barriers, promote well-being and offer important services?
  • How can natural infrastructure mitigate natural disasters and prevent the impacts of future climate risks?
  • How would a coordinated and more streamlined approach to government regulations, standards, codes, and program parameters enable investment and speed execution of infrastructure projects?
  • What education, skills training and career development would support a more inclusive and diverse workforce that can keep pace with changing technologies, materials and entire infrastructure systems?
  • How can new and innovative building practices meet Canada's economic and climate objectives when planning and building infrastructure?
  • How can infrastructure owners and funders take advantage of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, autonomous systems and machine learning, to ‘future-proof' infrastructure?
  • What gaps exist between infrastructure's current state and future needs?
  • Are there opportunities to improve public and private sector funding, financing and innovative ways to pay for needed infrastructure?
You can view and comment on CPWA’s draft submission using this link. Submissions are due by June 30, 2021.

Some Border Restrictions to Ease in July
On June 9, Health Minister Patty Hajdu unveiled plans to ease border restrictions in early July for fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents. Minister Hajdu did not provide an exact date for the revised rules, but beginning next month fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents and other essential travellers will be subject to a far shorter quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19 and qualifying travellers arriving by air will not be required to quarantine in government-mandated hotels. The current prohibition on non-essential land travel between Canada and the United States expires on June 21. On June 13, Prime Minister Trudeau said he spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden at the G7 Summit about how to lift pandemic-related border restrictions between the two countries but made clear there is not yet an agreement. As Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination program continues to roll out, the federal government and provincial Premiers have agreed to the concept of a Canadian vaccine passport for Canadians who have been fully vaccinated. Details of such a passport remain to be worked out.


Legislation
 

The House of Commons is sitting through Wednesday, June 23, 2021. The Senate of Canada is sitting through Friday, June 25, 2021.

Bill C-12 Awaiting Third Reading Debate
On June 11, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development reported Bill C-12, Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, with amendments. The bill, introduced by Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson on November 19, would require that national targets for the reduction of GHG emissions in Canada be set, with the objective of attaining net-zero emissions by 2050. On June 2, the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources launched a pre-study of the bill.

Third Reading Debate of Bill C-30 Continues in House
On June 7, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance reported Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures, with amendments. The Senate Standing Committee on National Finance has held seven meetings on the bill since it launched a pre-study on May 4. Third-reading debate of Bill C-30 continues today.

Bill C-204 Passed by House of Commons
On June 2, Bill C-204, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (final disposal of plastic waste), was passed by the House of Commons at Third Reading. The bill would prohibit the export of certain types of plastic waste to foreign countries for final disposal. The bill is at Second Reading in the Senate.

Committee Activities
 

House Environment Committee Reports Bill C-12 with Amendments
On June 11, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development presented to the House of Commons its Report 6: Bill C-12, An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050. The report includes amendments to sixteen clauses and the preamble.

House Finance Committee Reports Bill C-30 with Amendments
On June 7, theHouse of Commons Standing Committee on Financepresented to the House of Commons its Report 5: Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures. The report includes amendments to two clauses.

Departmental Updates
 

Natural Resources and Environment Ministers Provide Update on Planting Two Billion Trees
On June 4, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan Jr. and Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson provided an update on how Canada will meet the commitment to plant two billion additional trees over the next 10 years. Following a call for Expressions of Interest through its Early Start Projects stream this past February, which received 120 applications for early tree planting in 2021, NRCan is now finalizing agreements that will support the planting of over 30 million trees across the country, in both urban and rural areas. NRCan has also launched a Request for Information through its Future Participants stream, which is identifying organizations that can contribute to large and multi-year tree-planting projects across Canada, providing the foundation to ramp up tree-planting capacity across the country. Planting two billion trees is an integral part of Canada’s strengthened climate plan, A Healthy Environment and A Healthy EconomyIt will help Canada meet its climate goals and will lower emissions by up to 12 megatonnes annually by 2050 by removing carbon from the atmosphere. It also builds on Canada’s commitment to invest $3.9 billion over 10 years to support the implementation of nature-based climate solutions, including protecting and restoring Canada’s grasslands, wetlands, peatlands, and farmlands. The government will continue to work collaboratively with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous organizations, and other partners to reach the two billion target.

Employment Minister Launches Public Engagement on Disability Inclusion Action Plan
On June 4, Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough officially launched a public engagement process to help guide the development of the Government of Canada’s first ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP).  An accessible survey is now available online to allow Canadians to provide valuable insights and feedback on priority areas of the plan. Canadians can access and complete the survey online, or print and mail in the accessible PDF version, by August 31, 2021.

On the Horizon
 

Summer Recess and Fall Election Speculation
The House of Commons will rise for the summer recess on or before June 23, potentially to not return until after a general election. It is becoming increasingly likely that Prime Minister Trudeau will ask the Governor General (the new appointee should be in place in the coming weeks) to dissolve Parliament sometime this summer, leading to a general election in September or October. The Prime Minister has been keeping close watch on the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out as he considers whether, and when, to pull the plug on this Parliament. Canada’s vaccination program has gained significant momentum in recent weeks as close to 65% of Canadians have received their first dose and 11% have been fully vaccinated. These numbers will continue to escalate in the weeks ahead as Canada receives millions more doses of vaccines from various suppliers with whom it has contracted. Another sign that an election is likely looming is that time has been allotted in the House of Commons in the evening of June 15 for Members of Parliament who will not be seeking re-election to deliver their respective farewell speeches in the House.