Government Releases Details on ICIP Processing Time
The Government of Canada has outlined the province-by-province processing time for Infrastructure Canada Program funding in response to an order paper question from Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis. As a national average, the original program stream for the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) had a standard timeline of 60 business days to process, while the COVID-19 Resilience Stream processing application is 20 business days.
CPWA to Participate in PFAS Consultation
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has launched a consultation on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) (a “forever chemical”), in particular, to propose the implementation of a PFAS standard for municipal biosolids imported or sold in Canada as commercial fertilizers. The limit (less than 50 parts per billion of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS, a type of PFAS)) will prohibit the importation and sale of biosolids with high PFAS content. To verify that importers and domestic waste processors comply with the standard, the CFIA will require laboratory results (Certificate of Analysis); products that exceed the limit will be subject to regulatory action. CPWA will be participating in the consultation.
EcoAction Funding Available to Municipalities
Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Special Advisor for Water, announced that Canadian groups, organizations, and governments with freshwater projects can now apply for funding under five Freshwater Ecosystem Initiatives, including Lake Simcoe, the Wolastoq/Saint John River, the Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg, and Lake of the Woods.
Indigenous communities, non-governmental organizations, academic and research institutions, municipalities, and businesses may be eligible to apply. For more information on the call for applications, including eligibility criteria and how to apply for funding, please visit the Funding Programs webpage.
The submission deadline for applications to EcoAction and the Lake Simcoe and Wolastoq/Saint John River Freshwater Ecosystem Initiatives is March 22, 2024.
As announced earlier, the submission deadline for Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg, and Lake of the Woods Freshwater Ecosystem Initiatives is February 15, 2024, except for Letters of Intent related to the Lake Erie Precision Conservation.
Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements Funding for British Columbia
The Government of Canada has released its response to an order paper question from NDP MP Bonita Zarrillo on the breakdown of Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements funding for British Columbia. The total amount of funding committed between 2015 and 2023 was $5.1 billion, and the total amount spent was $2.1 billion. The projects included wildfires, floods, and storms.
- Monday, February 5: Second Reading of Bill C-59, the Fall Economic Statement Implement Act, 2023
- Tuesday, February 6: Opposition Day
- Wednesday, February 7: Second Reading of Bill C-62, An Act to amend An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying), No. 2
- Thursday, February 8: Opposition Day
Private Members’ Business
- Monday, February 5: Resuming Debate on Motion M-86, Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform
- Tuesday, February 6: Resuming Debate on Bill C-234, An Act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act
- Wednesday, February 7: Motion M-75, Polish Heritage Month, and resuming second reading debate on Bill C-332, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (controlling or coercive conduct)
- Thursday, February 8: Report Stage and First Debate of Bill C-293, An Act respecting pandemic prevention and preparedness
- Friday, February 9: Resuming Second Reading Debate on Bill S-216, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (use of resources of a registered charity)
House Environment Committee
The House Environment Committee is going to continue the study on the role of the federal government in protecting and managing Canada’s freshwater resources in Canada. The 13th meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 6.
House Finance Committee
The House Finance Committee is continuing to meet on Tuesday, February 6, for the consideration of a draft report for the study of “Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2024 Budget.” The Committee had been travelling throughout Western and Eastern Canada during October and November to hear from individuals and groups about their budgetary priorities. CPWA has made a submission to their study.
Senate Transport Committee
The Senate Transport and Communications Committee is continuing its study of “Impacts of Climate Change on Critical Infrastructure in the Transportation and Communications Sectors and the Consequential Impacts on Their Interdependencies.”
Changes at Canada Infrastructure Board
The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, announced the departure of Tamara Vrooman from her role as Chairperson of the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), effective January 27, 2024. In the interim, Jane Bird, a member of the CIB’s Board of Directors, has been appointed to assume responsibilities until a permanent Chairperson is appointed by the Governor in Council.
The CIB’s current Board composition includes Jane Bird (interim chair), Patricia Youzwa, Kimberley Baird, Michael Bernstein, Dave Bronconnier, Michèle Colpron, Bruno Guilmette, Andrée-Lise Méthot, and Poonam Puri.
Zero Emission Vehicles Planning Project
Minister Randy Boissonnault, Curtis Eck, Vice President of Engineering at FortisAlberta, and Josipa Petrunic, President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC), announced a combined investment of $550,092 for the Alberta Municipality Constellation project on January 31, 2024. The Government of Canada is contributing $440,074 to this project through the Zero Emission Transit Fund (ZETF), FortisAlberta is contributing $110,018.
The Alberta Municipality Constellation project is a comprehensive study to inform the procurement and deployment of zero-emission buses for nine transit agencies—Airdrie, Banff/Bow Valley, Fort Saskatchewan, Hinton, Leduc, Rocky View, Spruce Grove, Strathcona County, and Whitecourt—in Alberta through the assessment of economic, technical, and environmental elements associated with this transition. The study, led by CUTRIC and FortisAlberta, is conducted in collaboration with local municipalities and the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE).
Infrastructure and Housing Investment Announcement
The Hon. Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, announced a federal investment of nearly $6 million for 12 projects under the Research and Knowledge Initiative’s first call for proposals.
In 2019, Infrastructure Canada launched the Research and Knowledge Initiative (RKI) contributions funding program, which aims to provide decision-makers and all communities with better information—through research and data—on public infrastructure and community issues in Canada.
A second phase of funding was launched on December 15, 2023, to provide an additional $10 million for new projects that will further advance innovation. It remains open until February 9, 2024.
On the Horizon
By-Election Called for Durham
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a by-election in the riding of Durham, Ontario, to occur on March 4, 2024. This is necessary due to former Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole retiring from politics. The Conservatives should easily win re-election in what is seen as a safe riding for them. Looking ahead, there will also be by-elections later this year due to two former Liberal cabinet ministers stepping down: Carolyn Bennett in St Paul’s, Ontario, and David Lametti in LaSalle–Émard–Verdun, Quebec. Both ridings are traditionally seen as safe Liberal seats. The failure of the Liberals to maintain them would be seen as a major upset.