CPWA Ottawa Report

February 7, 2022

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The next edition of the Ottawa Report is scheduled to be sent Feburary 21.

Latest News


Conservative Party of Canada Leader Ousted by Caucus, Interim Leader Selected


On February 2, the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) caucus made Canadian parliamentary history by ousting Erin O’Toole as their party leader. Mr. O’Toole lost his leadership by a vote of 73 to 45 of his caucus colleagues. The vote was prompted by a letter requesting a leadership review which was signed by 35 CPC MPs. The CPC caucus selected MP Candice Bergen (Portaage-Lisgar, Manitoba) as interim leader. First elected to the House of Commons in 2008, she served as Deputy Leader to Mr. O’Toole. Ms. Bergen will appoint a new Shadow Cabinet, which may include CPC caucus members who had been left out by Mr. O’Toole. The appointment of new Shadow Cabinet Ministers (critics) means that House committee membership will be subject to change in order for the new critics to take on their roles in their respective committees. Under the CPC’s Constitution, Ms. Bergen will not be allowed to run for the permanent leader position. To date, one candidate, MP Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, Ontario), has announced his intention to run for CPC leader. The timing of a leadership race will be decided by a leadership-organizing committee that has yet to be appointed.

Legislation


The House of Commons is sitting until Friday, March 4, 2022. The Senate of Canada is adjourned until Tuesday, February 8, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. EST.

Bill C-8, Economic and Fiscal Update Implementation Act, 2021, Debated at Second Reading


On February 2, the House of Commons began debate on Bill C-8, An Act to implement certain provisions of the economic and fiscal update tabled in Parliament on December 14, 2021 and other measures at Second Reading. The Bill would implement certain provisions of the Economic and Fiscal Update 2021, including:
  • introduces a new refundable tax credit for eligible businesses on qualifying ventilation expenses made to improve air quality.
  • provides for a six-year limitation or prescription period for the recovery of amounts owing with respect to a loan provided under the Canada Emergency Business Account program established by Export Development Canada.
  • authorizes payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the purpose of supporting ventilation improvement projects in schools.
  • authorizes payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the purpose of supporting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) proof-of-vaccination initiatives.
  • authorizes the Minister of Health to make payments of up to $1.‍72 billion out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund in relation to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) tests.
  • amends the Employment Insurance Act to specify the maximum number of weeks for which benefits may be paid in a benefit period to certain seasonal workers.

Bill C-10, An Act respecting certain measures related to COVID-19, Introduced


On January 31, Health MinisterJean-Yves Duclos introduced Bill C-10, An Act respecting certain measures related to COVID-19. The Bill would authorize the Minister of Health to make payments of up to $2.5 billion out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund in relation to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) tests and to transfer those tests to the provinces and territories. A similar provision was included in Bill C-8, An Act to implement certain provisions of the economic and fiscal update tabled in Parliament on December 14, 2021 and other measures, which may be amended.

Committee Activities


House Finance Committee Studying Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2022 Budget


On January 31, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance began its study of Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2022 Budget. CPWA submitted its budget priorities to the Committee on August 6, 2021. CPWA’s brief can be found here.


Departmental Updates


Transport Minister Announces Enhanced Train Control Notice of Intent


On February 4, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced that Transport Canada is publishing a Notice of Intent in the Canada Gazette, Part I, describing a path forward to implement Enhanced Train Control (ETC) technologies in Canada. These technologies will provide an additional layer of safety in transporting people and goods across the country’s vast railway network.The Notice of Intent describes an approach to implementing ETC focused on having railway companies tailor investments according to the level of safety risk posed by individual railway corridors. The information provided in this notice of intent is only a representation of Transport Canada’s policy direction and should not be interpreted as proposed regulations. Questions and comments regarding this notice of intent can be submitted until April 30, 2022.


Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Launches Budget Consultations


On January 31, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland and Associate Finance Minister Randy Boissonnault launched pre-budget consultations. All Canadians are invited to make submissions and share their ideas at LetsTalkBudget2022.ca, which will be available until February 25, 2022. CPWA will be submitting its priorities this week.


Environment Minister Launches Consultations on New Measures to Reduce Pollution from Landfills


On January 28, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault announced the launch of consultations on two measures to reduce methane emissions from landfills.
  • The Government is seeking public and stakeholder input on the draft Landfill Methane Recovery and Destruction protocol developed for use under the Greenhouse Gas Offset Credit System Regulations (Canada). The latest element of the proposed federal greenhouse gas (GHG) offset system will provide financial incentives in the form of credits to landfill operators to use technologies that reduce methane emissions. Landfill operators will be able to generate offset credits for capturing methane from their operations and destroying it or repurposing it into energy with technologies such as flares, boilers, turbines, and engines. The deadline for comments is February 18, 2022.
  • The Government is also inviting Canadians to provide feedback on a discussion paper entitled Reducing methane emissions from Canada’s municipal solid waste landfills. New regulations are being proposed to increase the number of landfills that take action to reduce methane emissions and ensure that landfills maximize methane recovery. In addition, the Government is seeking input on whether the regulations could achieve long-term emission reductions through increased diversion of biodegradable waste and increased use of landfill methane as a source of low-carbon energy. The regulations could reduce emissions by as much as twelve megatonnes by 2030. The deadline for comments is April 13, 2022.

Infrastructure Minister Launches Call for Applications for Funding to Expand Public Transit


On January 27, Infrastructure Minister Dominic LeBlanc launched a call for applications for new projects that will support public transit systems across Canada.
  • The $2.75 billion Zero Emission Transit Fund is now accepting applications under the Planning and Capital streams. Eligible applicants can seek funding to help cover planning and capital costs related to shifting public transit systems to cleaner electrical power, including the purchase of zero emission buses and related infrastructure. This Fund is closely coordinated with the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s commitment to invest $1.5 billion in zero emission buses as part of its three-year Growth Plan.
  • The $400 million Active Transportation Fund is now accepting applications from eligible applicants who wish to help build new and expanded networks of pathways, bike lanes, trails and pedestrian bridges. Funding is available for planning projects as well as capital projects.
  • The $250 million Rural Transit Solutions Fund is now accepting applications under the Capital Projects stream. Eligible applicants can seek funding contributions to help cover capital costs like the purchase of vehicles or digital platforms, as well as to support zero emission transit solutions such as the purchase of zero emission vehicles. The Rural Transit Solutions Fund is the first federal fund to target the development of transit solutions in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
These funding opportunities are part of the nearly $15 billion investment for public transit projects announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last year. Federal funding for public transit helps communities of all sizes ensure their residents can get around.

Environment Minister Launches Applications for Low Carbon Economy Fund


On January 27, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault announced that the second round of applications is open for $200 million through the Low Carbon Economy Fund’s Champions stream, which supports a wide range of local pollution‑cutting initiatives in communities across Canada. Champions stream investments support municipalities, businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and Indigenous communities to develop and implement transformational projects that significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, create good jobs, and contribute to Canada’s 2030 emissions reduction target. The department is accepting expressions of interest for the new Champions stream until March 25, 2022. Applicants can visit the Low Carbon Economy Challenge website to find more information on whether their projects might be eligible, and how to apply.

On the Horizon


Conservative Party Leader to be Elected at Leadership Convention


With the removal of Mr. O’Toole as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, a permanent leader will be selected some time in 2022. In the weeks ahead, the CPC National Council will determine when and where a convention of party members will be held to select their permanent leader.


Federal Budget Expected in March or April


Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Finance Chrystia Freeland will be tabling her second budget in the coming months. Given that Finance Canada’s online pre-budget consultation ends on February 25, it is safe to conclude the budget can be expected in March or April. For reference, the 2021 budget was tabled on April 19. In recent media comments, Minister Freeland said the 2022 budget needs to focus on Canada’s post-COVID economic recovery, moving from the short-term focus dictated by the global pandemic of the past two years toward longer-term economic plans. Specifically, she noted this includes measures to deal with affordable housing, continuing the ‘green transition’ of Canada’s economy and creating jobs.