CPWA President and CEO Meet to Discuss Emergency Preparedness
President Scott Lamont and CEO Scott Grayson, CAE, met with Matthew Stenson, Director of Policy to the Minister of Emergency Preparedness, the Hon. Harjit Sajjan. The meeting followed outreach to the Minister’s office after the cabinet shuffle in the summer and a report from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities that included key recommendations from CPWA related to emergency preparedness.
Stenson updated CPWA on steps being taken to set up the Public Safety Broadband Network by his department and the Department of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development. CPWA also shared lessons learned from a similar project undertaken in the United States and underscored the importance of public works being at the table. Stenson committed to connecting CPWA with key officials in the department as the work proceeds and highlighted the work to modernize the Disaster Financial Assistance program. CPWA will continue to follow up on developments.
PBO Weighs in on Fall Economic Statement
The Parliamentary Budget Office released its assessment of the Fall Economic Statement. In short, the report says that “there is currently little information available” about billions in savings the government has promised through a spending review and reallocation. It also noted that the government has exhausted all of the fiscal room available to it, with more than $200 billion of that room used to pay for new planned spending and just half a billion used to reduce the deficit.
- Revisions to the private sector economic outlook and fiscal developments in the Fall Economic Statement lower the outlook for the budgetary balance by $18.7 billion (or $3.7 billion per year, on average) over 2023–24 to 2027–28 relative to Budget 2023.
- On the Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the real GDP growth from 2023 to 2028 presented in the Fall Economic Statement is slightly weaker compared to PBO’s October outlook, with annual growth averaging, respectively, 1.7% and 1.8%. This slight difference largely reflects more subdued growth over 2024 and 2025, as projected by private sector economists.
- The Government announced $23.6 billion in new spending that was partially offset by $2.9 billion in “refocusing and reallocation” spending measures. On a net basis, new measures further reduce the budgetary balance by $20.7 billion (or $3.4 billion per year, on average) from 2023–24 to 2028–29.
- The Fall Economic Statement expands on the Budget 2023 commitment to refocus government spending, with the goal to identify an additional $2.4 billion in savings from 2025–26 to 2028–29. In addition, the Government intends to reallocate $0.5 billion in originally planned spending.
- There is currently little information available on the status of $15.4 billion in Budget 2023 spending reviews and the additional $2.4 billion in savings announced in the Fall Economic Statement. Further, there is currently no publicly available information related to the $3.6 billion in spending to be reallocated in 2023–24.
- Since Budget 2021, the Government has projected a total of $212.8 billion in new fiscal room. Essentially, all of this fiscal room has now been exhausted through increased spending (on a net basis), with only $0.5 billion used to reduce the deficit (on a cumulative basis). Of the $212.8 billion in new fiscal room, $188.8 billion (89%) has been used to finance new non-COVID-19 measures from 2021–22 to 2028–29.
Upcoming House Debates
While the Conservatives on Thursday and Friday, December 7–8, filibustered by launching an overnight marathon voting session in the House of Commons over their opposition to the carbon tax, the House is normally scheduled to rise no later than Friday, December 15, for the winter break.
Government indicated that in the next week, priority will be given to:
- Bill C-29, An Act to provide for the establishment of a national council for reconciliation.
- Bill C-50, An Act respecting accountability, transparency and engagement to support the creation of sustainable jobs for workers and economic growth in a net-zero economy.
- Bill C-56, An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act and the Competition Act.
- Bill C-57, Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, 2023.
- Bill C-58, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Industrial Relations Board Regulations, 2012.
- Bill C-59, An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 21, 2023, and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 28, 2023.
- Bill S-9, An Act to amend the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act.
New Intake of the Rural Transit Solutions Fund for Planning and Design Projects
The Hon. Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, officially launched the second intake of the Rural Transit Solutions Fund’s (RTSF) Planning and Design Projects stream. First launched in January 2023, the RTSF’s Capital Projects stream helps cover capital costs related to transportation projects, such as fixed-route buses, ride-share and on-demand services requiring the purchase of vehicles, non-motorized and zero-emission fleets, shared fleets, as well as the construction of intermodal hubs, the installation of charging stations or the purchase of software related to transportation operations.
Federal Investment in Active Infrastructure Upgrades in British Columbia
The Government of Canada and the District of Sooke are investing more than $2.1 million to upgrade and expand the Little River pedestrian crossing and existing multi-use trail system. The federal government is investing $1,307,610 in this project through the Active Transportation Fund (ATF), and the District of Sooke is contributing $871,740.
Wastewater Infrastructure Project Investment Announced in British Columbia
Member of Parliament John Aldag, Minister Anne Kang, and Mayor Don McCormick announced more than a $9.6 million investment from the federal, provincial, and municipal governments to construct a new wastewater treatment plant in Kimberley and replace the aging Pollution Control Centre. The federal government is investing $36,255,486 in this project through the Green Infrastructure Steam of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The Government of British Columbia is investing $30,209,884, and the City of Kimberley is contributing $24,173,346.
Two communities in southern British Columbia will also receive significant upgrades to their drinking water and wastewater infrastructure thanks to an investment of more than $4.5 million from the federal and provincial governments, along with the City of Greenwood and the Village of Keremeos. Announced by Member of Parliament John Aldag, Minister Anne Kang, Mayor John Bolt, and Mayor Jason Wiebe, these projects will improve municipal services and support a healthier environment in and around these communities. The federal government is investing $1,833,956 in these projects through the Green Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, while the provincial government is investing $1,528,143. The two municipalities are contributing a total of $1,222,790.
Federal Government Partners with FCM to Strengthen Asset Management in Newfoundland and Labrador
The Hon. Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Labour, on behalf of the Hon. Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities of Canada, and Scott Pearce, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), announced a federal investment of more than $1.9 million to help 46 communities in Newfoundland and Labrador Implement innovative strategies to manage their municipal infrastructure.
This investment will help the communities ensure that their infrastructure, such as arenas, bridges, drinking water and wastewater systems, and roads, are working as efficiently as possible. It will also allow them to make better investment decisions. Asset management also helps reduce risks so municipalities can provide reliable and affordable services and a high quality of life to their residents.
Energy-Efficient Education Investment
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages of Canada, Randy Boissonnault and Chief Gary D. Lameman of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, announced an investment of more than $16.1 million to help remove barriers to education within the local area and improve accessibility to career training programs, positioning it as a valuable resource for the community. The federal government is investing $16,169,821 in this project through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) program from the Department of Infrastructure.
Nine Infrastructure Projects Announced in Saskatchewan
Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, the Hon. Sean Fraser, and Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, the Hon. Dan Vandal, and Saskatchewan Government Relations Minister Don McMorris, announced investment of more than $13.5 million in nine infrastructure projects in Saskatchewan. These projects will enhance access to recreational activities, promote reconciliation with Indigenous communities, ensure accessible and reliable water supply, and foster inclusive and sustainable communities for years to come.