This Week in Ottawa: March 8, 2024

Top news

  • Finance Minister Freeland announced that she will table the 2024 federal budget on April 16th. She said the budget will “unlock pathways” to the middle class for the next generation.
  • With controversy around the ArriveCan app continuing, the federal government announced this week it has suspended the security status of one of the app’s contractors making it ineligible to work for the federal government on future projects and suspended another firm’s federal government contracts.   
  • Opposition MPs on the Public Safety Commission have called an emergency meeting to discuss the conditions in which notorious serial killer Paul Bernardo is living in the medium security facility he was transferred to last year.
  • This afternoon International Development Minister Hussen announced Canada will resume funding UNRWA ending the suspension of funding put in place after allegations that UNRWA employees were involved in the attacks in Israel of October 7th. 

Government announcements

  • Prime Minister Trudeau and Italian Prime Minister Meloni announced the Canada-Italy Roadmap for Enhanced Cooperation during PM Meloni’s visit to Canada. The roadmap commits to collaboration on priority areas over the next five years including “energy security and the shift to a sustainable energy future, climate change and biodiversity, migration, sustainable economic growth, and research and innovation, including on artificial intelligence.”
  • During his visit to the PDAC conference Natural Resources Minister Wilkinson announced the opening call for proposals for Indigenous grants under the Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund (CMIF). He announced $15 million of funding for projects to support the Canadian mining sector.
  • Canada and Australia released a joint statement on cooperation on critical minerals outlining shared priorities for the development of the critical mining sector in both countries.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency’s Disability Advisory Committee released its 2023 annual report with 26 recommendations on how CRA can better serve Canadians with disabilities.
  • Public Safety Minister Leblanc tabled the government’s response to the Public Order Emergency Commission. The government intends to consult with stakeholders about potential changes to the Emergencies Act.
  • Defence Minister Blair announced $4.4 million in funding for two weapons manufacturers to help them develop proposals to significantly increase their production of ammunition.
  • International Development Minister Hussen announced Canada intends to offer Ecuador a sovereign loan of up to $210 million to assist with Ecuador’s clean energy transition.
  • The government has opened a call for proposals for the Sustainable Jobs Training Fund for projects to train workers for low carbon economy. 

Economic numbers of the week

  • 41,000: There was a net increase of 41,000 jobs reported in March’s Labour Force Survey. The unemployment rate rose by 0.1% to 5.8% as Canada’s population continued to grow faster than employment gains.
  • 5.0%: The Bank of Canada announced it keep its policy rate at 5%. The Bank noted that is still concerned about the risk of inflation.  

Coming Up

  • The House of Common will return for a one week sitting on March 18th.
  • The State Funeral for Canada’s 18th Prime Minister the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney will be held on March 23rd in Montreal.

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