Fall Economic Statement on November 21
The Deputy Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Chrystia Freeland announced that the federal Fall Economic Statement for 2023 will be presented on November 21, 2023, at approximately 4:00 p.m. ET. This “mini-budget” will offer an update on federal finances and measures, including the “government’s economic plan to help create good jobs, to build more homes, and to make life more affordable.” CPWA will also be looking to see if the anticipated updates to federal infrastructure programming are reflected.
Audit of the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program
The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development has released a report on Natural Resources Canada’s Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program. The Commissioner noted that Natural Resources Canada has increased the number of charging ports for electric vehicles overall and is on track to meet its target of installing 33,500 charging ports by 2026.
However, they found flaws in the program’s design, including not collecting and using data to identify gaps and to determine charging locations based on the needs of communities. It also did not establish targets for underserved areas or prioritize locations unlikely to be addressed by other organizations, such as other levels of government or the private sector.
The report noted that many areas of the country still lacked access to public charging stations, and there were limited plans for how or when underserved areas, including rural, remote, and Indigenous communities and lower-income areas, would have access to charging stations.
The Commissioner has recommended that Natural Resources Canada clearly define “underserved areas,” establish specific targets, and use a more strategic approach with criteria that prioritizes electric vehicle charging projects across Canada in areas where others may not invest in charging infrastructure or where there are significant gaps in coverage. This approach could help to ensure that all areas across Canada would benefit from the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program’s funding.
Upcoming House Debates
- The House of Commons and Senate will not sit during the week of Monday, November 13.
- When the House resumes on Monday, November 20, the focus will be on:
House Finance Committee Continuing 2024 Pre-Budget Consultations
The House Finance Committee’s study on Pre-Budget Consultations in advance of the 2024 Budget, to which CPWA submitted a brief, announced that the members will be travelling to five cities, including Québec, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vancouver, during the week of November 13 in order to hear from individuals and groups about budgetary priorities. The Committee announced that there will be open-mic opportunities during those hearings whereby the public can participate for 15 minutes.
Wastewater Treatment Facility Replacement in New Brunswick
The Municipality of Grand Lake, New Brunswick, is building a new wastewater treatment facility with a combined investment of $13.2M from the governments of Canada and New Brunswick and the Municipality of Grand Lake. This announcement is a part of the Rural and Northern Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The funding announced also builds on the Government of Canada’s work through the Atlantic Growth Strategy to create well-paying middle-class jobs, strengthen local economies, and build inclusive communities.
Government Launches Selection Process for Canada Infrastructure Bank Board
Canada Infrastructure is seeking applications for the positions on the Board of Directors at the Canada Infrastructure Bank. Applications will be accepted through the Government of Canada’s Governor in Council appointments website. Review of applications will begin on November 29, 2023, so applicants are encouraged to submit before that date.