The next edition of the Ottawa Report is scheduled to be sent Monday, March 25.

Latest News

CPWA Makes Submission on PFAS

On February 20, the CPWA made a submission on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) consultation on the implementation of the interim per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) standard for municipal biosolids imported or sold in Canada as fertilizers. To mitigate the risks of contamination, the CFIA is proposing to implement an interim standard for PFAS in domestic and imported biosolids (a by-product of waste water treatment). 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.

FPT Emergency Preparedness Meeting

In February, the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers of Emergency Management met and issued a press release. Their discussions included:

  • “Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements modernization and the themes that will be addressed, including climate resilience; putting people first; housing protection; and addressing inequalities. Building on the results of an independent Expert Advisory Panel, the federal government gathered input throughout 2023 from provincial and territorial governments as part of the federal process to modernize disaster financial assistance. The new program would launch in April 2025. Ministers reiterated the need for a transparent and collaborative process.”
  • “A Public Safety Broadband Network is a secure, high-speed, wireless data communications network for use by first responders and public safety personnel to communicate with each other in emergency situations, planned events, and day-to-day operations. Today, ministers discussed next steps to advance this file, including upcoming federally-led engagement that could inform a national governance framework for a Public Safety Broadband Network.”

Legislative Updates

Upcoming Debates

  • Monday, March 18: Opposition Day.
  • Tuesday, March 19: Opposition Day.
  • Wednesday, March 20: Resuming Debate on motion relating Senate amendment to Bill C-29, An Act to provide for the establishment of a national council for reconciliation.
  • Thursday, March 21: Opposition Day.

Private Members’ Business

  • Monday, March 18: Report Stage Debate on Bill C-293, An Act respecting pandemic prevention and preparedness.
  • Tuesday, March 19: Resuming Second Reading Debate on Bill C-347, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (oath of office).
  • Wednesday, March 20: Resuming Second Reading Debate on Bill S-209, An Act respecting Pandemic Observance Day.
  • Thursday, March 21: Commencing Second Reading Debate on Bill C-270, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (pornographic material).
  • Friday, March 22: Resuming Second Reading Debate on Bill C-351, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (maximum security offenders).

Committee Updates

CPWA’s Recommendations Reflected in Finance Committee Report

The House Standing Committee on Finance released their pre-budget report titled Shaping Our Economic Future: Canadian Priorities on February 28. CPWA is pleased to report that several recommendations reflect elements from the CPWA submission made in August 2023, including:

  • Recommendation 239: Together with the other levels of government, improve funding for public transit, including by:
    • advancing ongoing support for public transit by two fiscal years;
    • renewing the emergency operating funding of 2022; and
    • providing additional funding for asset quality maintenance in order to preserve current service levels, and enable more people to benefit from modern, efficient public transit.
  • Recommendation 251: Permanently increase the funding allocated to the Canada Community-Building Fund for municipal infrastructure, and quickly reach agreements with provinces and territories to ensure that funding is transferred without any new conditions regarding how that funding will be used.
  • Recommendation 289: Significantly increase investments in the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund to accelerate the deployment of climate‐resilient infrastructure.
  • Recommendation 291: Develop strategies and programs to support rural municipalities in making informed decisions related to mitigating disaster risk such as flooding, and provide funding for both the FireSmart Canada program to map wildfire risks and for community wildlife mitigation projects.
  • Recommendation 295: Build on the initial funding provided in Budget 2023 to fully launch a national flood insurance program.

Government Responds to Key Infrastructure Committee Report

On Friday, March 1, the Government of Canada issued a response to the House of Commons Transport, Infrastructure and Communities report on “Building A More Climate Resilient Canada.” The response noted that the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) Program “plays a critical role in the response to, and recovery from, large-scale natural disasters in Canada. Public Safety recently undertook a robust review of the program to ensure that it would continue to remain relevant and sustainable to meet the needs of provinces and territories post-disaster and a modernized program with greater focus on rebuilding with resilience will be launched in 2025.”

On the issue of infrastructure assessment, the response stated that “to further support informed investment decisions, the Government of Canada continues to work on projects to develop open national datasets, related to environmental equity, housing and transportation affordability, and open databases of critical infrastructure locations. Through the mapping of major infrastructure assets, the Government aims to identify at-risk infrastructure due to a variety of factors, such as land usage, environmental and climate risks, accessibility, and economic factors.”

On climate risk, the response noted that “the Government of Canada wants to ensure that infrastructure built today can withstand current and future climate change impacts, delivering on the NAS 2050 goal that “all infrastructure systems in Canada are climate-resilient and undergo continuous adaptation to adjust for future impacts to deliver reliable, equitable, and sustainable services to all of society.” Flexible and scalable resilience requirements are being established for all new programs beginning in 2024, building on the lessons learned from the Climate Lens. These requirements will include identifying risks, adopting risk reduction measures based on the latest codes, standards, and guidelines, and incentivizing natural infrastructure. The Climate Toolkit for Infrastructure will offer guidance for the implementation of resilience requirements.”

CPWA was disappointed to see little comment from the government on the Public Safety Broadband Network in the response, given that CPWA’s recommendation was included in the committee’s report. CPWA leadership will be meeting with Public Safety Canada in the coming weeks to continue discussions.

Departmental Updates

Infrastructure Canada 2024-25 Departmental Plan

The Department of Infrastructure Canada released their departmental spending plan for the fiscal year 2024-2025. The report contains forecasted and planned spending of all 21 funding programs. The Clean Water and Wastewater Fund, launched in 2017, which seeks to deliver funding support projects that accelerate municipal investments in capital water, wastewater, and storm water systems, still has about $11 million more on planned spending. This particular program is set to end in the fiscal year 2024–2025 but may be extended based on ongoing projects completion.

Water and Wastewater Infrastructure investment in Saskatchewan

The Hon. Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor, and the Hon. Don McMorris, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Government Relations, announced a joint funding of more than $51 million from the federal and provincial governments to upgrade 34 drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects across Saskatchewan.

The federal government is investing $27,903,582 through the Green Infrastructure Stream and the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The provincial government is investing $23,169,942, while local recipients are contributing $18,604,713.