The House of Commons and Senate were on a break week from May 21 to May 25, with both resuming sitting on Monday, May 28.
Tuesday, May 22:
- International Trade Minister Ed Fast attended the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ministerial council meeting in Paris from May 22 to 24.
- Transport Minister Denis Lebel announced a total of $899,000 in repayable funding to help five Quebec City firms growth through Canada Economic Development’s business and regional growth program. The firms to receive funding are: CorActive High-Tech Inc., Gentec Inc., Solutions Caristix Inc., Teksho Inc. and MWE Lab (6997732 Canada Inc.)
- Treasury Board President Tony Clement addressed the Vancouver Board of Trade, highlighting red-tape reduction efforts and the Open Government initiative.
Wednesday, May 23:
- Statistics Canada released preliminary data for job vacancies in February 2012. On average, Canadian businesses had 237,000 job vacancies in February, with a job vacancy rate of 1.7 per cent.
- Statistics Canada also released retails sales figures for March 2012, which rose 0.4 per cent to $39.1 billion in March. The gain was attributed to unusually warm weather, especially in Ontario.
- Finally, Statistics Canada released its leading indicators for April, 2012. The composite leading indicator rose 0.3 per cent in April, the same as it did in March, and its 10th consecutive monthly increase. Advances were recorded in 7 of the 10 components of the leading indicator.
- Treasury Board President Tony Clement hosted a roundtable discussion with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy in Calgary, focusing on job creation, economic growth, and red tape reduction.
Thursday, May 24:
- Minister of State (Finance) Ted Menzies addressed the Astana Economic Forum in Kazakhstan, highlighting Canada’s global economic leadership.
- Human Resources Minister Diane Finley announced changes to the Employment Insurance program to help claimants find jobs faster, and also require EI recipients to more actively search for jobs while receiving benefits. The government has also pledged to more clearly define “suitable employment.”
- Statistics Canada released preliminary quarterly financial statistics for enterprises in the first quarter of 2012. Operating profits for Canadian corporations totalled $75.2 billion, almost unchanged from fourth-quarter 2011 figures.
- Statistics Canada also released March 2012 Employment Insurance figures, with the number of people receiving benefits remaining largely unchanged at 549,000. The number of people receiving benefits in Ontario increased in March.
- MP Jacques Gourde announced financial assistance to help Miralis Inc. create a commercialization strategy and increase its share of the U.S. market. Miralis Inc. specializes in custom kitchen cabinet and door manufacturing. The $303,537 repayable contribution comes courtesy of Canada Economic Development’s business and regional growth program.
- Minister of State (Sport) Bal Gosal announced a $200,000 investment through Agricultural Flexibility Fund (AgriFlexibility) via the AgriProcessing Initiative to help Eat-In Foods Inc. purchase and install new equipment in its Mississauga manufacturing facility.
Friday, May 25:
- The Department of Finance released the March 2012 edition of the Fiscal Monitor. March saw a budgetary deficit of $9 billion, compared to a deficit of $6.2 billion for March of 2011. Revenues increased by $1.6 billion (6.8 per cent) as a result of increased personal income tax revenues. Program expenses increased $4.3 billion (16.3 per cent). The budgetary deficit from April 2011 to March 2012 was $23.5 billion, compared to $34.4 billion for the previous fiscal year.
- Industry Minister Christian Paradis announced changes to regulations in the Investment Canada Act. Currently, any foreign investment into a Canadian company over $330 million is subject to review by the minister to decide whether it is of “net benefit” to Canada. Under the changes, the threshold would be immediately raised to $600 million, followed by an increase to $800 million after two years, and a final increase to $1 billion after a further two years.
- Chief government whip Gordon O’Connor announced more than $1 million in funding to improve the Quyon/Mohr’s Landing ferry crossing in eastern Ontario and western Quebec. Up to $600,000 in funding is being provided by Canada Economic Development with FedDev Ontario contributing $488,827 for the construction of new ferry docking terminals at Quyon, Que. and Mohr’s Landing, Ont.
- MP Guy Lauzon announced spending of $1.7 million to help Sevita International Corp. increase production and processing of new soybean varieties.The money comes through the agricultural innovation program.
- Statistics Canada released figures for the computer and peripherals price index for April 2012. Commercial computer prices held steady from March to April. Consumer computer prices decreased 0.2 per cent Year over year, commercial computer prices dropped 7.9 per cent, while consumer computer prices came down 6.1 per cent.
- Finance Minister Jim Flaherty spoke to an economic development forum at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa.
Eye on the Hill is prepared by Ottawa-based government relations and communications firm Flagship Solutions.