This Week in Ottawa: October 13, 2023

Top news

  • This morning, the Supreme Court released its ruling on the challenge to the constitutional challenge to Impact Assessment. The majority of the court ruled that the Act was largely unconstitutional due to its intrusion on provincial jurisdiction. Two justices dissented. The challenge to the law was brought by the Alberta government, with several other provinces including, Ontario and Quebec, supporting the challenge as intervenors. Environment Minister Guilbeault issued a statement saying the federal government accepted the decision and will seek to introduce amendments to the Act to bring it in line with the decision.
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Joly has travelled to Israel to reaffirm Canada’s support of Israel’s right to defend itself in the wake of the attacks by Hamas on Israel last weekend. She arrived as Canada had started offering evacuation flights to Canadians who had been stranded since the attacks.  
  • In other responses to the fallout from the attack by Hamas, Public Safety Minister Leblanc responded to concerns about the safety of the Canadian Jewish community with a  statement of solidarity that noted he is working with the RCMP to address safety concerns. The government also committed $10 million in humanitarian funding for Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.  
  • The NDP is meeting in Hamilton, Ontario, for its first in person national convention since 2018. Delegates will consider a number of resolutions, including a call for the NDP to end its agreement with the Trudeau government if the government fails to introduce a truly universal pharmacare program.
  • The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee met to hear from the Auditor General on her investigation into the ArriveCan app in light of a recent media report that the RCMP is investigating the contractor hired to build the app. The Auditor General told MPs she was expanding her audit of the ArriveCan program to consider the concerns raised about CBSA’s relationship with the firm.
  • The federal government has extended the amnesty on ownership of assault-style firearms banned in a 2020 OIC for two more years, giving the government until October 2025 to establish a promised buyback program for the banned weapons.

Government announcements

  • The government has opened a consultation on generative artificial intelligence and copyright law. The consultation is requesting stakeholder feedback on how Canada’s copyright law should be updated to reflect the emergence of content producing generative artificial intelligence. The deadline for submissions is December 4.
  • The government has opened a Request for Proposals from the three consortia who were approved to submit bids to design and develop the proposed High Frequency Rail project.
  • Transport Minister Rodriguez announced new regulations on motor safety vehicles have come into force, introducing new penalties for importers or manufacturers whose vehicles do not meet Canadian safety standards.
  • The federal government and the province of BC have signed a $1.2 billion bilateral agreement in which the province has committed to improving its healthcare allowing it to access additional federal health transfers.
  • Canada’s health ministers held a Federal, Provincial and Territorial meeting in Charlottetown. They issued a communique highlighting priorities, including the need to retain and recruit health workers, how governments can work together on digital health and data systems, and the need for more action on mental health and addictions.
  • The federal government announced a new streamlined process for all levels of government who want to request restrictions on the use of boats on lakes and rivers. The Minister of Transport now has the authority to issue an interim order restricting activity following recent legislative changes.
  • Youth Minister Ien opened the 2023 call for proposals for the Canada Service Corps. The call is open to organizations that offer meaningful volunteer opportunities for Canadian youth.
  • Housing Minister Fraser announced the federal government has approved Halifax’s application for Federal Housing Accelerator which it says will enable the fast tracking of 2,600 additional homes in over the next three years. 

Economic numbers of the week

  • 1.3%: The Canadian Housing Statistics Program found that residential properties grew by 1.3% in Ontario from 2021-2022, a decline from 1.6% for the previous year.

Coming Up

  • The House of Commons resumes sitting on October 16.
  • Canada will host leaders from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on October 17-19 in Ottawa for a Canada-CARICOM Summit.

Key Resources


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