CPWA Ottawa Report

March 13, 2023

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The next edition of the Ottawa Report will be sent on March 27.


Spring 2023 Budget Date Set

On Friday, March 10, the date for the 2023 Federal Budget, to be delivered by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Chrystia Freeland, was announced. It will be delivered at 4 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.

New Tool for Climatic Variables in Building Design

Codes Canada has shared a new tool for engineers, architects, planners, and other professionals who use climatic variables when designing buildings and infrastructure. Increasingly, these professionals are asked to consider climate change in their designs. The Design Value Explorer is a new web-based, technical tool for accessing 19 climatic design values based on observed data and projections of how they may change. This advisory tool allows professionals to examine how climate change will influence designs under different potential future scenarios. This tool is a result of collaborative efforts by Infrastructure Canada, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC).

Second Public Review of Changes to the National Building Code Now Open

The second round of public consultations for changes to the National Building Code opened
on February 27, 2023, and will end on April 27, 2023. The proposed changes focus on:
  • structural design (Part 9)—lateral loads
  • large farm buildings
  • building fire safety
  • fire protection
  • combustible construction—fire protection and safety
  • fire alarm and detection systems
  • encapsulated mass timber construction
  • spatial separation between buildings
  • accessibility—inclusive plumbing accommodation
  • environmental separation
  • spray-applied polyurethane insulation
  • drainage systems


Upcoming Debates

The House will not sit from March 13 to 17. When the House returns on March 20, it will hold the following debates:

Committee Activities

Finance Committee Releases 2023 Pre-Budget Report

On Friday, March 10, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance released its substantial 2023 pre-budget report entitled “Responding to the Challenges of Or Time.” CPWA had made a submission to this process. Of the 230 recommendations in the report, the following are a selection of interest:
  • Recommendation 185: Increase payments from the Canada Community-Building Fund as a measure to address the crumbling essential infrastructure in communities. (Note that this is a direct response to one of CPWA’s recommendations).
  • Recommendation 58: Work with the provinces to renew the emergency public transit support in 2023.
  • Recommendation 182: Treat the provision of safe, clean water as a public emergency and provide the funding and infrastructure necessary for every community in this country to have access to safe, clean water by 2025.
  • Recommendation 199: Implement changes to the government machinery to support emergency readiness, coordination, and whole-of-society approaches.
  • Recommendation 200: Reinstate a modernized version of the former Joint Emergency Preparedness Program for fire/emergency training and equipment with net new monies.
  • Recommendation 190: Increase investments in broadband and energy infrastructure in Canada’s remote and northern communities.
  • Recommendation 41: Offer incentives to purchase zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), including programs to educate and support consumers in making the transition to ZEV in partnership with trusted organizations.
  • Recommendation 177: Provide sufficient funding so Canada reaches the following charging infrastructure targets:
    • 53,000 public ports by 2025 (5,000 Direct Current Fast Charging and 48,000 Level 2 chargers) and
    • 200,000 public ports by 2030 (15,000 Direct Current Fast Charging and 185,000 Level 2 chargers)

Committee Study to Focus on Resilient Infrastructure

On March 7, 2023, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities agreed to undertake a study in the future “focusing how to create communities that are more resilient and sustainable in the face of climate change (infrastructure and housing), including the implementation of more resilient infrastructure and building products, and that the committee allocate a minimum of six meetings for this study.” CPWA will be following this study and will report back on developments.

Inter-City Bus Transportation Under Scrutiny by House Committee

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities is continuing its study on “Inter-City Transport by Bus in Canada,” first agreed to in February 2022. The study is meant to look at the impact of the cancellation of Greyhound bus service and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Departmental Updates

High Frequency Rail Service Takes Another Step Forward

On February 17, the Minister of Transport, the Hon. Omar Alghabra, and the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Quebec Lieutenant, the Hon. Pablo Rodriguez, announced a major step in the procurement process for the High Frequency Rail project: the launch of the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to qualify up to three top candidates. The Request for Qualifications is the next step following the Request for Expressions of Interest that opened in March 2022. The Request for Qualifications launches the formal procurement process and outlines:
  • The context and features of the High Frequency Rail project (e.g., current challenges in the Corridor, purpose of the project, and objectives);
  • The procurement process, including the evaluation criteria regarding how proposals will be evaluated, security requirements for candidates, funding support for proposal development during the RFP process, and key principles of the commercial agreement for the execution phase;
  • The key players in the project (e.g., VIA HFR, private developer partner, VIA Rail, Government of Canada) and how they will work together; and
  • Project outcomes that the private developer partner will be expected to meet or exceed (e.g., shorter journey times, more frequent departures, more reliable service, etc.).

Major Upgrades to Moncton Infrastructure with $36.3 Million in Funding

On February 22, the Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the Hon. Daniel Allain, Minister of Local Government and Local Governance Reform, and Her Worship Dawn Arnold, Mayor of the City of Moncton, announced a joint investment of more than $36.3 million to upgrade Moncton’s municipal infrastructure and improve its climate resiliency. The project includes the installation of a storm sewer and dedicated sanitary sewer on Downing Street and Assomption Boulevard, as well as extending the municipal services to serve Moncton’s growing downtown core. Streets will be elevated to offset the expected rise in sea levels, and existing aerial lines will be relocated underground to increase resilience to extreme weather conditions.

Over $556 million for Recovery Costs in British Columbia Floods

On February 23, the Hon. Bill Blair, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, announced a second advanced payment of $556,955,880 to the Province of British Columbia through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) program to assist with recovery costs associated with the 2021 storm. This payment brings the total amount of federal payments to the Province of British Columbia under the DFAA to over $1 billion for the November 2021 floods.

Water and Wastewater Upgrades in Springhill, Nova Scotia

On February 25, Kody Blois, Member of Parliament for Kings‒Hants; the Honourable Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables and Member of the Legislative Assembly for Cumberland South, and His Worship Murray Scott, Mayor of the Municipality of the County of Cumberland, announced more than $6.4 million in joint funding to improve the County’s water and wastewater infrastructure. Work will be carried out in two locations. On Junction Road, from Lisgar Street to Main Street, a stormwater system will be installed. The existing ditches will be replaced with curbs and gutters, and a new stormwater outlet will be built. In addition, the project will replace the existing sanitary sewer, which will eliminate stormwater from the sanitary system. The existing water distribution infrastructure will also be replaced.

Funding for St. John’s Corporate Climate Plan

On February 28, Joanne Thompson, Member of Parliament, on behalf of the Hon. Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced an investment of up to $1.7 million to support the Corporate Climate Plan of the city of St. John’s. The provincial government will contribute over $1.4 million for this initiative, and the city of St. John’s will contribute over $1.1 million as part of a broader investment of almost $6.7 million to improve energy performance in 17 city-owned facilities.

Projects to Reduce Climate Impacts on Rail Sector Announced

On March 2, Minister of Transport, the Hon. Omar Alghabra, announced up to $5.4 million for 20 projects across Canada under the Rail Climate Change Adaptation Program, an initiative of the Rail Safety Improvement Program. The Rail Climate Change Adaptation Program supports research, development, and implementation of innovative technologies, tools, and approaches to better identify and reduce the increasing risks and impacts of climate change on Canada’s rail sector. The various recipients selected to receive funding will evaluate new designs and technologies, implement innovative technologies, and develop a better understanding of the risks and impacts of climate change on railways to address adaptation challenges such as flooding, fires, permafrost degradation, and more extreme operational temperatures. 

$9 million for Disaster Mitigation in London

On March 3, Peter Fragiskatos, Member of Parliament for London North Centre, and His Worship Josh Morgan, Mayor of the City of London, announced a joint investment of more than $9 million to raise and solidify the Broughdale Dyke. This investment will help protect residential and institutional areas in London against severe flooding due to overflowing from the Thames River.

Water and Wastewater Upgrades in Stewiacke, Nova Scotia

On March 3,the Hon. Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and Member of Parliament for Central Nova, Larry Harrison, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, and His Worship George Lloy, Mayor of the Town of Stewiacke, announced more than $6.2 million in joint funding to improve the Town’s water and wastewater infrastructure. This funding will enable the replacement of 3.7 kilometres of water, stormwater, and wastewater infrastructure on three streets in Stewia>$23,666,519 to Saskatchewan through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) programto assist with recovery costs associated with the 2015 spring floods.

HVAC Upgrades Funded for Wawanesa Rec Centre

On March 9, the Hon. Dan Vandal, Minister responsible for PrairiesCan; Andrew Smith, Manitoba Minister of Municipal Relations; and Brett McGregor, Director of the Souris River Recreation Commission, announced a federal investment of more than $832,000 to modernize the Wawanesa and District Recreation Centre and announced the completion of the project. Through this funding, the Rural Municipality of Oakland-Wawanesa was able to upgrade the facility’s HVAC system and replace the two ice plants, which had exceeded their life cycles.

On the Horizon

President Biden to Visit Ottawa

The expected visit of United States President Joe Biden was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for March 23 and 24. The two leaders will focus on continued collaboration on defence and security, climate action, and immigration. Building on the CUSMA trade deal, they will discuss the two countries’ “economic relationship to bolster competitiveness and build resilient supply chains, including on critical minerals—the building blocks for the clean economy. They will also discuss the progress made under the February 2021 Roadmap for a Renewed US–Canada Partnership to advance bilateral cooperation on shared priorities, including taking ambitious climate action and advancing countries where no one is left behind.”