CPWA Ottawa Report

June 28, 2021

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The next edition of the Ottawa Report is scheduled to be sent in September.

Latest News


Closure of Canada-U.S. Border Extended and First Phase of Border Measures Easing Announced
On June 21, the Government announced the details of the first phase of its approach to easing border measures for travellers entering Canada. Beginning July 5, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EDT, fully vaccinated travellers who are permitted to enter Canada will not be subject to the federal requirement to quarantine or take a COVID-19 test on day-8. In addition, fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air will not be required to stay at a government-authorized hotel. On June 18, The Government extended, until July 21, 2021,11:59 p.m. EDT, the temporary travel restrictions on discretionary (non-essential) international travel and with the US. Travellers who are currently eligible to enter Canada include Canadian citizens, permanent residents and persons registered under the Indian Act, as well as some foreign nationals who are allowed to enter Canada under current entry prohibitions.


Legislation


The House of Commons is adjourned until Monday, September 20, 2021, at 11 am ET. The Senate of Canada is sitting through Tuesday, June 29, 2021, then will adjourn for the summer.

Bill C-30 Passed by House of Commons
On June 23, Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures, was passed by the House of Commons at Third Reading and had its First Reading in the Senate of Canada. The Senate Standing Committee on National Finance has been conducting a pre-study of the bill since May 4. Given the extension of the Senate’s sitting schedule, it is reasonable to expect the bill to be passed by the Senate and receive Royal Assent the week of June 28.

Bill C-12 Passed by House of Commons
On June 22, Bill C-12, Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, was passed by the House of Commons at Third Reading. 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 23, the bill had its First Reading in the Senate of Canada.The Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources tabled its report on the bill in the Senate on June 22. Given the extension of the Senate’s sitting schedule, it is reasonable to expect the bill to be passed by the Senate and receive Royal Assent the week of June 28.

Bill C-204 Referred to Senate Environment Committee
On June 22, Bill C-204, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (final disposal of plastic waste), was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. The bill would prohibit the export of certain types of plastic waste to foreign countries for final disposal.


Committee Activities


Senate Environment Committee Tables Report on Bill C-12
On June 22, the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resourcestabled its report on Bill C-12, Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act,in the Senate.

Senate Finance Committee Continues Study of Bill C-30
The Senate Standing Committee on National Finance has been conducting a pre-study of Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures, since May 4.


Departmental Updates


Infrastructure Minister Announces Project Funding Application Status Transparency
On June 25, Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna announced another step in the Government’s commitment to Open, Transparent and Accountable Government, fulfilling a mandate commitment to Ensure that Canadians have access to accurate and timely information about infrastructure investments in their communities. Starting June 25, Infrastructure Canada will publish on its website the project funding applications it receives from provinces and territories (PT) under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. Information is updated on a weekly basis when project lists are received from PTs. This is in addition to information on investments made under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program published on a regular basis through a range of online tools—such as an online project map, a web-based funding table, and regular progress reporting. More than 9,700 infrastructure projects have been approved since 2015, representing more than $38 billion in federal contributions.

Infrastructure Minister Announces New Natural Infrastructure Fund
On June 25, Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna announced a new, $200 million Natural Infrastructure Fund. Under this new program, the first of its kind at the federal level, up to $120 million will be invested in large natural infrastructure projects. The new program will support projects that use natural or hybrid approaches to protect the natural environment, support healthy and resilient communities, contribute to economic growth, and improve access to nature for Canadians. As a part of the Fund’s Large Project Stream, select major cities with innovative natural infrastructure strategies will be invited to apply for funding to up to $20 million. An additional stream will be created under which recipients may submit smaller projects for review through an open and merit-based process. A minimum of ten per cent of the overall program envelope will be allocated to Indigenous recipients.

Economic Development Minister Launches Canada Community Revitalization Fund
On June 23, Economic Development Minister Mélanie Joly announced that eligible applicants may now submit an application to the new Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF).The CCRF, announced in Budget 2021, will provide $500 million over two years to Canada’s regional development agencies (RDAs) to invest in shared and inclusive public spaces to make them safer, greener and more accessible. Applicants that have projects ready to proceed are strongly encouraged to submit their applications by July 23, 2021. CCRF funding will support two major streams of activity:
  1. adapt community spaces and assets so that they may be used safely in accordance with local public-health guidelines,
  2. build or improve community spaces to encourage Canadians to re-engage in and explore their communities and regions.
Eligible recipients will include not-for-profit organizations; rural, municipal or regional governments; Indigenous groups and communities; and public sector bodies that provide municipal-type infrastructure.

Natural Resources Minister Launches Call for Proposals Under Clean Fuels Fund
On June 21, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan Jr. officially launched the $1.5-billion Clean Fuels Fund. The Clean Fuels Fund supports building new or expanding existing clean fuel production facilities, including hydrogen, renewable diesel, synthetic fuels, renewable natural gas and sustainable aviation fuel. It also supports feasibility and front-end engineering and design studies that will create jobs and enable the sector to grow at the size and pace required to contribute to Canada’s climate goals. It will also establish biomass supply chains to improve logistics for the collection, supply and distribution of biomass materials, such as forest residues and municipal solid waste, as well as the development of essential codes and standards. These investments benefit forest harvest operators, saw mills and municipal waste services by opening up new opportunities for both traditional feedstock products, like forest feedstock, as well as new value streams from forest and municipal. The call for proposals for projects to increase domestic clean fuel production capacity is open until September 29, 2021. Eligible recipients will include not-for-profit organizations; rural, municipal or regional governments; Indigenous groups and communities; and public sector bodies that provide municipal-type infrastructure.

Accessibility Standards Canada Releases Second Annual Report
On June 18, Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtroughtabled Accessibility Standards Canada’s second annual report in Parliament. Highlights of the report include:
  1. The creation of four technical committees in the areas of plain language, outdoor spaces, emergency egress, and employment.
  2. Providing funding for 18 accessibility standards research projects.
  3. Successfully completing their first public consultation with over 500 participants.
  4. The identification of standards development and research funding priorities for 2021-22.
Accessibility Standards Canada’s mandate is to develop and revise accessibility standards that apply to the federal government and federally regulated organizations.

Transport Minister Announces Proposed Amendments to Grade Crossings Regulations
On June 18, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced the publication of proposed amendments to Grade Crossings Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 30-day public comment period. The Grade Crossings Regulations initially gave railway companies, public road authorities and owners of private crossings a deadline of November 28, 2021, to comply with the requirements for existing public and private crossings. The proposed amendments establish new compliance deadlines to meet the requirements of the Regulations based on the various levels of risks posed by grade crossings. This includes:
  1. a one-year extension for existing public grade crossings which present a higher risk;
  2. a three-year extension for all remaining public and all private grade crossings; and
  3. an exclusion from the construction and maintenance requirements for very low-risk grade crossings (such as field-to-field crossings with minimal train traffic).

On the Horizon


Fall Election Anticipated
It is quite likely that once the Senate rises for the summer this week, the 43rd Parliament will not return. Historically, Canadian minority governments last 18-24 months and this one hits the 24 month stage this coming October. While Liberal polling is not ‘majority good’, Conservative numbers are not so good, especially in Ontario. This points to the likely scenario of Prime Minister Trudeau triggering a general election late summer/early fall. This calculation is aided by the currently strong roll-out of vaccines across the country. As for the timing of an election, one factor the Prime Minister will take into account is the vesting of the pensions of MPs first elected in 2015. MPs must serve a minimum of 6 years before their pensions vest. 136 rookie Liberal MPs were elected in 2015. Although some lost in 2019, there remains a sizeable number in the government caucus whose pensions are at risk should the PM set an election date before October 19. He would be risking a caucus mutiny if he set an early election date. If the Prime Minister does factor MP pensions into his electoral calculations, Monday, October 25 looms as a potential election day. If he does not, mid-to-late September would be most likely, assuming a vast majority of Canadians have had their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Federal election campaigns must be a minimum of 36 days and can be a maximum of 50 days. Prime Minister Trudeau will not want the House of Commons to return as scheduled on Monday, September 20 so it is reasonable to anticipate the writs of election would be issued by no later than mid-September.