CPWA Ottawa Report

February 13, 2023

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The next edition of the Ottawa Report will be send February 20.


CPWA Makes Formal Submission to Department of Finance 2023 Pre-Budget Consultation

Following the House of Commons Finance Committee consultations, the Department of Finance undertook one final pre-budget consultation in advance of this Spring’s 2023 federal budget. CPWA took the opportunity to put forward the following recommendations:
  • Recommendation 1: Expand funding opportunities for natural infrastructure projects.
  • Recommendation 2: Encourage infrastructure investment strategies that recognize the value, and include the management and sustainability, of natural assets.
  • Recommendation 3: Expand direct funding to local communities through an increase to the Canada Community-Building Fund (CCBF).
  • Recommendation 4: Expand the Canada Community-Building Fund (CCBF) to include operations and maintenance activities.
  • Recommendation 5: Include ZEVs in the Canadian Collaborative Procurement Initiative.
  • Recommendation 6: Fund professional development, skills training, and capacity building initiatives to support the adoption of ZEVs.
  • Recommendation 7: Consider innovative financing programs to support municipalities with the upfront costs of ZEVs and fueling/charging infrastructure.

Canada and Ontario Teaming to Build Largest Electricity Battery Storage Project

On February 10, 2023, the Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that Canada and Ontario are working together to build the largest battery storage project in in the country. The 250-megawatt (MW) Oneida Energy storage project is being developed in partnership with the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation, Northland Power, NRStor and Aecon Group. The federal government is today providing a further $50 million in funding; the Canada Infrastructure Bank has played a key role supporting project development and is collaborating with the Oneida Energy storage project on an investment agreement.

Applications Open for Green Building Retrofits

On February 9, 2023, Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on behalf of the Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, launched the call for applications for two new initiatives to accelerate building retrofits: the Deep Retrofit Accelerator Initiative (DRAI), which is open to April 28, 2023, and the Greener Neighbourhoods Pilot Program (GNPP), which is open to April 5, 2023.

The DRAI in particular is open to municipalities. The program will invest in projects that support the development of deep retrofits in commercial, institutional or mid- or high-rise multi-unit residential buildings across Canada. Selected projects will establish and collect deep retrofit projects, guide building owners in the process of developing and implementing specific retrofit projects, identify available funding and financing for specific deep retrofit projects, and conduct capacity building activities, such as developing or implementing new, standardized or replicable methods for deep retrofits.

New Round of National Building Code Consultations Open

New consultations have opened for changes to the National Building Code (NBC) to include greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions. Submissions for this round are due March 30, 2023. This round focuses on:
  • Policy element 1: principles and factors that Canadian Board for Harmonized Construction Codes (CBHCC) members agree on
  • Policy element 4: the boundary of operational emissions and embodied emissions
  • Policy element 7: implementation approach
In particular, the consultation is looking at “operational GHG emissions” that comes from two types of sources in the operation of buildings:
  • Scope 1/direct (natural gas, propane, etc), and
  • Scope 2/indirect (electric equipment, etc).
There are a few key recommendations of note:
  • That a tiered framework be developed in the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB) and NBC, with tiers progressing to zero or near zero operational GHG emissions, enabling P/Ts to follow a flexible pathway towards an ultimate end-goal of net zero emissions buildings or houses.
  • That GHG emissions requirements be separate from the NBC and NECB energy performance tiers but developed with the view to not preclude pairing the requirements in various ways.
  • That both scope 1 and scope 2 emissions (i.e. all fuel types) be addressed to give a more realistic assessment/more complete picture of the GHG emissions emitted by a building. Furthermore, addressing only scope 1 emissions could lead to design choices that do not reduce GHG emissions overall
  • That a standardized and fixed emission factor for grid-level scope 2 emissions be set for each province/territory. This grid-level emissions factor would be based on Environment Canada and Climate Change data and, if available, data from the provinces/territories that is specific to each province or territory, with the potential to evolve the approach to consider the impact of other policies and programs on GHG-emission trends over time. Given the complexity and policy implications of gridlevel emissions data, provinces/territories may need to engage several provincial/territorial ministries in determining a standardized, grid-level emission factor that is specific to each province/territory.
  • That both performance and prescriptive options be developed in the NBC and in the NECB.
  • That metrics be carefully considered to ensure alignment with P/T goals.


Upcoming Debates

During the week of February 13, 2023, the House of Commons will focus debate on:

Committee Activities

Report Released on Labour Shortages

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities related a report on Monday, February 6, 2023 on “Labour Shortages, Working Conditions and the Care Economy.” The report notes that “the committee heard that the impacts of the current labour crisis are being felt throughout Canada, and across economic sectors. Urgent action is required, both to address today’s labour challenges and to prepare for the future.”
Among 16 recommendations, the committee urged “that the Government of Canada coordinate with the provinces and territories with a pan-Canadian approach to enhance the collection, quality and comparability of labour market information for key sectors of the care economy, including health care; and that it conduct and disseminate analysis of this information for use in workforce planning.”

Departmental Updates

$2.3 Million for Skills Centre in Trail, BC

On February 9, 2023, The Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, and Morag Carter, Executive Director of the Skills Centre, announced a federal investment of more than $2.3 million towards the Skills Centre Eco-Renovation Project in the City of Trail, British Columbia. Funding will go towards replacing natural gas systems, installing new insulation, windows and doors, an HVAC system, and solar panels on the roof. The project will also include the installation of an elevator and additional upgrades to the building’s accessibility.

Over $1.1. Million for Community Projects in the Yukon

On February 9, 2023, the Hon. Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), announced an investment of over $1.1 million for five community-focused projects that improve key gathering spaces, boost local economies and provide residents more space to meet with friends and family. The funding supports upgrades to the Yukon Theatre, the Guild Hall and the Heart of Riverdale Community Centre in Whitehorse as well as the creation and improvement of important outdoor spaces in Beaver Creek and Haines Junction.

On the Horizon

House to Recess for Two Weeks

This week is the last sitting week for the House of Commons before it rises for two weeks. Based on the history of the Trudeau government, next month is likely to see the federal budget tabled, although no date has yet been set. The following are the budget dates during Trudeau’s time in power:
  • April 7, 2022
  • April 19, 2021
  • None in 2020 due to the pandemic
  • March 19, 2019
  • February 27, 2018
  • March 22, 2017
  • March 22, 2016