Monday, May 7:
- Statistics Canada released building permits data for March 2012. Building permits taken out in March were worth $6.8 billion, up 4.7 per cent from February following a 7.6-per-cent increase the previous month. The gains came mostly in Ontario.
- The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities met as part of its concurrent studies dealing with labour shortages. Witnesses included: Danielle Fréchette, director of health policy and external relations at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada; Noura Hassan, president of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students; Chloé Ward, vice-president of advocacy of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students; Christine Nielsen, executive director of the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science; Robert Sutherland, president of the Canadian Dental Association; Euan Swan, manager of dental programs at the Canadian Dental Association; Pat Vanderkooy, manager of public affairs at Dietitians of Canada; and Marlene Wyatt, director of professional affairs at Dietitians of Canada.
- The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology released its report on the e-commerce market in Canada.
Tuesday, May 8:
- Treasury Board President Tony Clement tabled the 2012-13 Reports on Plans and Priorities in the House, covering 97 government departments and explaining the funding requirements outlined in the Main Estimates 2012-13, tabled in February 2012.
- Public Safety Minister Vic Toews addressed the Canadian/American Border Trade Alliance Conference in Ottawa, highlighting the Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan.
- Industry Minister Christian Paradis addressed the Bloomberg Canada Economic Summit in Toronto, speaking about the government’s commitment to strengthening the economy.
- Labour Minister Lisa Raitt announced a number of appointments, including Graham Clarke as full-time vice-chairperson to the Canada Industrial Relations Board for a four-year term, effective on May 3; William K. Reid to the Council of Governors for the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, representing Prince Edward Island for a four-year term, effective May 3, 2012; and Kin Choi as part-time chairman of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety for a four-year term, effective May 3, 2012.
- The Standing Committee on Finance met as part of its study of tax incentives for charitable donations. Witnesses included Michael Cloutier, president and CEO of the Canadian Diabetes Association; Kate Bahen, managing director of Charity Intelligence Canada; Shawn Pegg, director of policy and research at Food Banks Canada; Mary Dodd, vice-president of finance and operations at the Women’s College Hospital Foundation; and Allyson Hewitt, director of social entrepreneurship at Social Innovation Generation.
- The Standing Committee on International Trade met as part of its study of a comprehensive and high-level economic partnership agreement with Japan. Witnesses included Jean-Michel Laurin, vice-president of global business policy at the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters; Richard Phillips, executive director of the Grain Growers of Canada; Janice Hilchie, vice-president of government and international relations at the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc.; and Peter F. Wilkinson, senior vice-president of government relations at Manulife Financial, Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc.
Wednesday, May 9:
- The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities continued its concurrent studies dealing with labour shortages. Witnesses included Nick Busing, president and CEO of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada; Steve Slade, vice-president of research and analysis at the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada; John Haggie, president of the Canadian Medical Association; Claudia von Zweck, executive director of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists; and Michael Brennan, CEO of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.
- Minister of State (Transport) Steven Fletcher announced the appointment of Allan Rowe of Bedford, N.S., to the board of directors of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority for a three-year term, effective May 3, 2012.
- Minister of National Revenue Gail Shea addressed the Tax Executives Institute at its 46th annual conference in Gatineau, highlighting improvements that the Canada Revenue Agency has made to its online services for businesses.
- The parliamentary budget officer released an update report on the status of his information request sent to all government departments affected by spending cuts in Budget 2012. The report shows that as of May 4, only eight departments responded to the request, accounting for 0.6 per cent of total spending cuts and 0.61 per cent of personnel reductions.
Thursday, May 10:
- The Prime Minister announced former foreign affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon as the new Canadian Ambassador to France.
- Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced the appointments of Marcel Gaumond as high commissioner to Brunei and Riccardo Savone to consul general in Shanghai.
- Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced a partnership between Citizenship and Immigration Canada and CGI Group Inc., along with CIBC, to hire new immigrants through the Federal Internship for Newcomers Program. These are the first private sector companies to participate in the program, which up until now placed immigrants in federal government organizations.
- The Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics met to review the expenses of the members of the Board of Directors and of senior management of the Old Port of Montréal Corp. Witnesses included the corporation’s president and CEO, Claude Benoit, and chairman Gerry Weiner.
- The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology began its study of the Intellectual Property Regime in Canada with various officials from Industry Canada appearing before the Committee.
- The Standing Committee on International Trade met as part of its study of a comprehensive and high-level economic partnership agreement with Japan. Witnesses included: Andrew Casey, vice-president of public affairs and international trade with the Forest Products Association of Canada; Bob Kirke, executive director of the Canadian Apparel Federation; David Worts, executive director of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association of Canada; and Kathleen Sullivan, executive director of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance.
- Transport Minister Denis Lebel announced financial assistance for the Digital Imagery Research and Development Center to help it acquire equipment to maximize opportunities for technology transfer to businesses. The $319,600 in non-repayable funding comes from the Canada Economic Development’s Business and Regional Growth program.
- Minister Lebel also announced the appointment of Joe Allison and Norman Mackie to the board of directors of the Oshawa Port Authority for three-year terms. Mr. Allison has served on the boards of the Canadian Fertilizer Institute and the Fertilizer Institute of Ontario, and Mr. Mackie is a board member of the Ontario Trucking Association.
- Statistics Canada released several economic figures: Canada's merchandise exports edged down 0.4 per cent and imports decreased 0.6 per cent. As a result, Canada's trade surplus increased from $273 million in February to $351 million in March. The New Housing Price Index rose 0.3 per cent in March, following a similar increase in February. The Retail Services Price Index rose 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter 2011 compared with the previous quarter.
Friday, May 11:
- Statistics Canada released Labour Force figures for April 2012. Employment increased by 58,000, mostly in full-time work, and the second consecutive month of substantial gains. The unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 7.3 per cent. Compared to last year, employment was up 1.2 per cent or 214,000 jobs, with all the growth coming in full-time work with part-time employment levels remaining unchanged.
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a federal government commitment of $500 million to support sport infrastructure projects, legacy initiatives, and essential federal services for the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games in Toronto.
Eye on the Hill is prepared by Ottawa-based government relations and communications firm Flagship Solutions.