CPWA Ottawa Report

February 21, 2022

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The next edition of the Ottawa Report is scheduled to be sent March 7.

Latest News


CPWA Releases 2022 Public Policy Priorities


On February 17, CPWA released its new public policy priorities to help public works agencies continue delivering the essential services and infrastructure that form the backbone of Canadian communities. CPWA’s 2022 Public Policy Priorities are Emergency Management and Disaster Mitigation, Climate Resilient Infrastructure, and Water Resilience.
Emergency Management and Disaster Mitigation
CPWA is calling for public works agencies to have better support for and access to:
  • pre-disaster mitigation plans and long-term hazard mitigation measures
  • all-hazards education, training, and best practices
  • timely emergency management information and tools
  • up-to-date flood hazard maps
  • communications interoperability
  • comprehensive cybersecurity standards and best practices
  • technical support to protect computer networks and other related critical infrastructure
Climate Resilient Infrastructure
CPWA is calling for the federal government to support public works agencies in delivering climate resilient infrastructure by:
  • continuing to encourage the use of sustainability rating systems such as Envision
  • continuing to recognize the strategic value of natural assets
  • continuing direct funding to local communities
  • expanding federal funding programs to include operations and maintenance activities
  • investing in the integration of new and innovative technologies with existing infrastructure
Water Resilience
CPWA is calling for the federal government to support water providers by:
  • expanding the technology transfer of drought and water conservation strategies
  • encouraging the development of regional drought preparedness and response plans
  • encouraging planning and management efforts that reduce future water interruptions, such as floods or drought
  • dedicating federal funding to assist public works agencies in addressing the persistence of lead in service lines and plumbing fixtures
  • funding workforce development and career opportunities in the water sector


Government Declares Public Order Emergency Under Emergencies Act


On February 14, Justice Minister David Lametti, with the support of Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair, announced the declaration of a public order emergency under the Emergencies Act, to end disruptions, border blockades and the occupation of Ottawa’s downtown core. This is the first time the Emergencies Act has been invoked since its passage into law in 1988. The provisions of the Act went into effect as of the date of its invocation. It is important to note, however, that the Act requires that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms continue to protect individual rights set out in the Charter. A number of procedural steps are required in order to ensure appropriate oversight by Parliament of its invocation:
  • The federal government must consult with the provinces and territories before a Declaration of a national emergency can be issued. Approval by provinces and territories is not required.
  • The government must issue orders and regulations under the Act, which must be tabled in both the House of Commons and Senate within two days after they are issued. The requisite order and regulations were published in a special edition of the Canada Gazette, Part 2 on February 15: https://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2022/2022-02-15-x1/pdf/g2-156x1.pdf
  • The government is required to table a motion in the House of Commons and the Senate within 7 sitting days following the Declaration.
  • Both Houses of Parliament must vote on the motion. If it passes in both the House and Senate, the Declaration continue in force. If the vote does not pass in one or both, the Declaration is revoked immediately.
  • The Declaration continues for 30 days, following which it automatically expires. It can, however, be extended if confirmed by the House and Senate.
  • A special joint Committee of the House and Senate must be established to review the actions taken by the government on an ongoing basis.


Council of Canadian Academies Issues Expert Panel Report on Disaster Resilience


On January 13, the Council of Canadian Academies Issued an Expert Panel Report on Disaster Resilience in a Changing Climate: Building a Resilient Canada. The report, sponsored by Public Safety Canada, examines current practices and emerging actions to reduce vulnerability and exposure to natural hazards through the integration of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR).Some key interventions identified in the report:
  • Urban greening can reduce extreme heat in cities
  • Effective planning, zoning, and land use are key tools for keeping people and assets away from hazards
  • Built and natural protective infrastructure can reduce exposure at the community level
  • Codes and standards that integrate future climate change can significantly enhance the resilience of new structures
  • Many construction and maintenance strategies can reduce vulnerability at the property level
  • Community-level infrastructure improvements are key to reducing vulnerability
  • Public access to cooled areas can save lives during extreme heat events
  • Building redundancies into supply chains and infrastructure systems can minimize service outages and reduce the vulnerability of isolated communities

Legislation


The House of Commons continues debate on the motion introduced Thursday, February 17 for confirmation of the declaration of emergency. The Senate was recalled from its holiday break on Friday, February 18 to commence debate.


Bill C-8, Economic and Fiscal Update Implementation Act, 2021, Referred to House Finance Committee


On February 10, 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, completed Second Reading and was referred to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. 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, Passed by House of Commons


On February 15, Bill C-10, An Act respecting certain measures related to COVID-19, was passed by the House of Commons. 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. The Bill has not yet advanced to First Reading in the Senate.

Committee Activities


Transport Minister Appears Before House Transport Committee


On February 17, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities related to the Committee’s study of the Mandate of the Minister of Transport.


House Finance Committee Studying Bill C-8


On February 14, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance began its study of 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.

Departmental Updates


Deputy Prime Minister Announces Investment in Public Transit


On February 17, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland announced that the Government of Canada intends to introduce legislation to invest up to $750 million to support municipalities facing transit operating shortfalls, in collaboration with provinces and territories. This one-time payment would help cities maintain service levels despite decreased ridership as a result of the pandemic. To increase the impact of this investment, funding would be conditional on provincial and territorial governments matching this federal contribution and accelerating their efforts to improve housing supply, in collaboration with municipalities.


Innovation Minister Announces Next Phase to Strengthen Cyber Security Innovation Network


On February 17,Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne announced that the National Cybersecurity Consortium (NCC) will receive up to $80 million to lead the Cyber Security Innovation Network (CSIN). In order to expand Canada’s national cyber security ecosystem and increase collaboration between academia, the private sector, not-for-profit sectors and other levels of government from across Canada, CSIN will enhance research and development, increase commercialization, and develop skilled cyber security talent. By encouraging partnerships between academia and industry, the network will help address the shortage of cyber security specialists. And by leveraging Canada’s highly skilled workforce, world-class universities and growing cyber security industry, CSIN will support Canada’s leadership in cyber security. Organizations interested in engaging with CSIN can contact the NCC directly.


Environment Minister Launches Consultations on Recycled Content Regulations


On February 11, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault launched a consultation process on the development of new regulations that will set minimum percentage recycled content requirements for certain items made of plastic. The proposed regulations would reduce the amount of plastic entering landfills and the environment by strengthening demand for recycled plastics. Canadians and stakeholders are invited to comment, before March 14, 2022, on proposed measures that would set minimum recycled content requirements for certain plastic manufactured items. The Government is targeting publication of proposed regulations by the end of 2022.