This Week in Ottawa: November 10, 2023

Top news

  • Treasury Board President Anand released the first results of the government’s recent expenditure review process detailing where the government plans to save $500M. The department getting the largest reduction is National Defence, which will see a $211M reduction under the plan.
  • Minister Freeland announced that she will present the Fall Economic Statement on November 21. She noted she will provide an update on the “plan to help create good jobs, to build more homes and to make life more affordable.”
  • The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development tabled his Fall 2023 reports. He found that Canada is not on track to meet the 2030 GHG reduction targets. He also found that the federal government is not meeting its goals to transition its vehicle fleet to zero‑emission vehicles.

Government announcements

  • Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities Khera announced the government has opened a call for proposals for the Social Development Partnerships Program – Disability component, which offers funding to groups who serve Canadians with disabilities.
  • The CRTC issued a ruling ordering major internet service providers to provide access to their fibre networks to competitors to boost the number of competitors offering internet service to Canadians.
  • Treasury Board President Anand has opened a consultation on the supply chain issues related to critical minerals, transportation, and border operations. The consultation, open until January 15, is part of the Targeted Regulatory Reviews, which seeks to update Canada’s regulations impacting supply chains.
  • Prime Minister Trudeau announced the federal government will provide Quebec with $900M under an agreement in the Housing Accelerator Fund. The province will invest an additional $900M to construct new housing under the agreement.
  • Public Safety Minister Leblanc announced the government is expanding the funding available under the Security Infrastructure Program to concern about the rise in hate-motivated crimes in recent weeks.
  • Canadian Heritage Minister St-Onge has opened a survey on the issue related to resale rights for artists.
  • Housing Minister Fraser announced $65 million in funding for Round Five of the Housing Supply Challenge, which will support projects to make system-level changes that will make building more housing easier and more cost-effective with a new stream explicitly devoted to the non-profit community housing sector.
  • The federal government announced that the Canada Lands Corporation is unlocking six surplus properties to allow the building of 2,800 new homes. This initiative is part of Canada Lands Corporation’s plan to see more than 29,000 new homes built by 2030.

In Parliament

  • Bill C-34: This bill to amend the Canada Investment Act was approved at Report Stage in the House.
  • Bill C-58:  Introduced in the House this week, this bill would implement a ban on using replacement workers in federally regulated industries. The legislation would allow for limited exceptions for serious health, safety, or environmental concerns. The introduction of this bill was a key demand of the NDP in their agreement with the Trudeau government.
  • Bill C-234: Senators rejected an amendment to this bill, which would have significantly narrowed the scope of the carbon tax exemption for farmers that it would create. However, some Senators have delayed this bill’s passing, leaving the question of whether the bill will pass before the year’s end. 
  • A Conservative motion calling on the government to extend the carbon tax exemption to all fuels used for home heating was defeated, with the Bloc caucus joining with the Liberals and Green MPs to oppose.
  • The House of Commons Ethics Committee continued investigating into whistleblower allegations at Sustainable Development Technologies Canada. 
  • The House of Commons Government Operations Committee continued to hear testimony about the contractors behind the ArriveCan app, with a government official alleging previous witnesses had provided misleading testimony.
  • The House of Commons Health Committee has begun a study into the $300M the federal government spent on a pharmaceutical company whose COVID-19 vaccine never reached market.

Economic numbers of the week

  • $2 Billion: Statistics Canada reported that Canada’s trade surplus rose to a net $2 billion in September, with exports growing by 2.7% and imports rising by 1.0%.

Coming Up

  • Prime Minister Trudeau will travel to San Francisco from November 15-17 to attend the summit of APEC leaders hosted by President Biden. 
  • The House of Commons will not sit next week. MPs will return on November 20.
  • Minster Freeland will deliver the Fall Economic Statement on November 21.

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