CPWA Ottawa Report

March 28, 2022

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The next edition of the Ottawa Report is scheduled to be sent April 11.

Latest News


Prime Minister Announces Delivering for Canadians Now, A Supply and Confidence Agreement


On March 22, Prime Minister Trudeau announced an agreement reached by the Liberal Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party in Parliament, Delivering for Canadians Now, A Supply and Confidence Agreement. The arrangement lasts until Parliament rises in June 2025, allowing four budgets to be presented by the government during this time. The agreement will mean that the NDP agrees to support the government on confidence and budgetary matters – notably on budgetary policy, budget implementation bills, estimates and supply – and that the Liberal Party commits to govern for the duration of the agreement. The NDP would not move a vote of non-confidence, nor vote for a non-confidence motion during the term of the arrangement. Other votes which impede the government from functioning may be declared confidence by the government, in which case the government will commit to informing the NDP as soon as possible if a vote will be declared confidence, and the NDP will inform the government of their vote intentions before declaring publicly to permit discussions around confidence to take place. Regarding committees, both parties agree to the importance of parliamentary scrutiny and the work done by Members of Parliament at committees. To ensure committees are able to continue their essential work, both parties agree to communicate regarding any issues which could impede the government’s ability to function or cause unnecessary obstructions to legislation review, studies and work plans at committees. Both parties agree to the minimum standing meetings:
  • Leaders meeting at least once per quarter
  • Regular House Leader meetings
  • Regular Whip meetings
  • Monthly stock-take meetings by an oversight group
The Parties agree to prioritize the following actions, while continuing to work on other possible shared priorities through an oversight group.
  • A better healthcare system
  • Making life more affordable for people
  • Tackling the climate crisis and creating good paying jobs
  • A better deal for workers
  • Reconciliation
  • A fairer tax system
  • Making democracy work for people


Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments Launches Call for New Applicants


On March 23, the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments launched a call for new applicants to fill current and upcoming Senate vacancies through 2022. Canadians residing in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan are invited to apply for a seat in the Senate of Canada before April 20, 2022. Senate appointment recommendations are made based on established assessment criteria. Canadians are encouraged to apply, if they are eligible, or nominate qualified individuals year-round for membership in the Senate. Applications are retained for two years, after which time qualified candidates are encouraged to re-apply.

Legislation


The House of Commons is sitting through Friday, April 8, 2022. The Senate of Canada is sitting through Thursday, April 7, 2022.

Committee Activities


House Transport Committee Launches Study of Canada Infrastructure Bank


On March 28, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities launched a study of the Canada Infrastructure Bank and will hold its first meeting on the study.


House Finance Committee Presents Pre-Budget Consultations Report


On March 21, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance presented to the House of Commons its Report 3: Considering the Path Forward based on the Committee’s Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2022 Budget. The report outlines 222 recommendations, including:
  • Recommendation 138: Renew and expand eligibility for the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles Program for individuals, businesses and vehicle fleets by restoring funding to the program and increasing the base manufacturer’s suggested retail price threshold for eligible light-duty vehicles to $60,000, with a cap of $69,999.
  • Recommendation 149: Adopt a national circular economy strategy by working with the provinces, territories and municipalities.
  • Recommendation 151: Invest in a Pan-Canadian Approach to Fresh Water with shared responsibility between federal departments and other levels of government.
  • Recommendation 157: Appoint an advisor on national disaster resilience to scan for future tail-risk events, such as earthquakes, pandemics, cyber attacks and catastrophic floods, and to advise on the measures needed to prepare Canadians and their governments and businesses properly.
  • Recommendation 158: Extend and enhance its recent work to reduce the risk and impact of flooding across Canada.
  • Recommendation 159: Expand the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund to $4 billion, and from this amount dedicate $500 million to natural infrastructure solutions.
  • Recommendation 160: Establish the Canadian Centre for Climate Information and Analytics as a first priority under the Sustainable Finance Action Council to help public and private sector organizations assess, disclose and manage escalating physical risks.
  • Recommendation 161: Fund and prioritize the completion of the National Climate Adaptation Strategy, ensuring it protects people and infrastructure from the threat of increased flooding, wildfire, heat, drought and other extreme weather events.
  • Recommendation 178: Work with municipalities to drive economic growth by empowering local expertise and prioritizing smart investments in infrastructure and public transit.
  • Recommendation 179: Provide more funding for the Permanent Transit Fund to cover the maintenance costs of public transit assets and help close the gap in necessary investments in order to ensure that public transit infrastructure is up to service and safety standards.
  • Recommendation 180: Increase funding for the Rail Safety Improvement Program from $21 million to $50 million to support additional rail safety projects.
  • Recommendation 193: Incorporate zero-emission vehicle requirements into the National Building Code and National Energy Code for buildings and/or support municipal zoning regulations related to zero‑emission vehicles.
  • Recommendation 194: Raise greater awareness of the needs for increased investment in charging infrastructure.
  • Recommendation 195: Provide additional investments for infrastructure that helps to fight climate change, including public transportation.
  • Recommendation 197: Maintain investments in infrastructure and remove barriers that exist between the different levels of government to ensure funding for infrastructure projects flows more smoothly and quickly.
  • Recommendation 212: Work with municipalities to promote inclusivity and community well-being by addressing housing affordability, prioritizing access to digital infrastructure, and ensuring a rural lens on federal policies and programs.


House Procedure and House Affairs Committee Presents Report on Changes to Committee Membership


On March 21, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented its Report 5: Changes to membership of Standing and Standing Joint Committees, outlining changes to the list of members and associate members of House Standing Committees. This followed a February 28 Report 4: Changes to membership of Standing and Standing Joint Committees. The current membership of all House Committees can be found on the House of Commons website here.


House Industry Committee Presents Affordability of Telecommunications Services Report


On March 4, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry and Technology presented to the House of Commons its Report 2: Affordability and Accessibility of Telecommunications Services in Canada: Encouraging Competition to (Finally) Bridge the Digital Divide. The report outlines 16 recommendations, including:
  • Recommendation 11: That the Government of Canada collaborate with provincial and municipal governments to address existing barriers so that telecommunications service providers can access support structures more easily.

Departmental Updates


Emergency Preparedness Minister Appoints Advisory Panel to Review Post-Disaster Financial Assistance Program


On March 22, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair announced an advisory panel that will review and make recommendations to update the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) program. The eight-member advisory panel chaired by Becky Denlinger, former Deputy Minister for Emergency Management in British Columbia, will meet between now and September 2022 to review Canada’s approach to post-disaster financing and reflect on how best to align these efforts with broader disaster mitigation and climate adaptation work. The panel is tasked with providing recommendations to the Government of Canada on how to improve the sustainability and long-term viability of disaster financing in Canada, improve DFAA program administration, and reduce disaster risks. The work of the panel will also include meaningful engagement with provinces and territories, Indigenous representatives, and other key stakeholders in the emergency management field. The panel will submit a report to the Minister of Emergency Preparedness in Fall 2022.


Environment Minister Announces Applications for Environmental Damages Fund


On March 17, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault announced that the department is now accepting applications for Environmental Damages Fund (EDF) funding. Funding distribution is based on the geographic region in which environmental convictions have resulted in fines and penalties being directed to the EDF. To be eligible for funding, projects must have measurable outcomes that clearly align with one of four project categories: restoration, environmental quality improvement, research and development, or education and awareness. Non-governmental organizations; universities and academic institutions; Indigenous organizations; and provincial, territorial, and municipal governments can apply for funding. Applications will be accepted through the Grants and Contributions Enterprise Management System until April 20, 2022.


Environment Minister Launches Consultations on Draft Federal Sustainable Development Strategy


On March 11,Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault launched consultations on the draft 2022-2026 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) to get feedback from Canadians on the goals, targets, and actions that will shape the Government’s sustainable development plans over the next four years. An extensive consultation process was enshrined in legislation in December 2020—the Federal Sustainable Development Act—to keep the federal government accountable for years to come. Each new strategy is released for a public consultation period of at least 120 days before it is tabled in Parliament. It provides an opportunity for Canadians to help define Canada’s goals, targets, and milestones. Comments on the draft 2022-2026 FSDS will be accepted from March 11 to July 9, 2022. Canadians can share their views by submitting comments through the online version of the draft strategy using the comment boxes or providing feedback through the interactive consultation website, PlaceSpeak. After the consultation period, a report summarizing public comments will be published with the final strategy.

On the Horizon


Eight Candidates Announced to Date for Conservative Party Leadership Race


The Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership race now includes the following contenders:
  • Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, Ontario)
  • Conservative MP Scott Aitchison (Parry Sound—Muskoka, Ontario)
  • Conservative MP Marc Dalton (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, British Columbia)
  • Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk, Ontario)
  • Former Quebec Premier Jean Charest
  • Independent Ontario MPP Roman Baber
  • Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown
  • Saskatchewan businessman Joseph Bourgault
Prospective candidates have until April 19 to declare their candidacy and June 3 to submit their application. The party will elect a new leader at its convention on September 10, 2022.