Monday, May 28:
- Transport Minister Denis Lebel announced federal financial assistance to help the Dynamic Concept Group increase its productivity and competitiveness. The Dynamic Concept Group specializes in the creation of equipment for handling, preparation and casting of liquid aluminium. The $270,000 in repayable funding comes courtesy of Canada Economic Development’s business and regional growth program.
- The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities met as part of its concurrent studies on labour shortages. Witnesses included: Hon. Perrin Beatty, president and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce; Daniel Kelly, senior vice-president, legislative affairs, Canadian Federation of Independent Business; Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, executive director, Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council; John Sutcliffe, executive director, Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters; Mathew Wilson, vice-president, national policy, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters; Mervin Wiseman, chair, Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council.
Tuesday, May 29:
- The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade released its fifth report, Intensifying Strategic Partnerships with the New Brazil.
- Statistics Canada released 2011 Census figures on age and sex. Seniors made up 14.8 per cent of the population in 2011, an increase from 13.7 per cent in 2006, but still among the lowest for G8 countries. Working-age individuals made up 68.5 per cent of the population.
- International Trade Minister Ed Fast announced the creation of a new advisory panel to guide Canada’s pro-trade agenda. The panel membership includes: Murad Al-Katib, Alliance Grain Traders Inc., president and CEO, chair of the Minister of International Trade’s small and medium-sized enterprises advisory board; Paul Reynolds, Canaccord Financial Inc., president and CEO; Kathleen Sullivan, Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, executive director; The Honourable Perrin Beatty, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, president and CEO; The Honourable John Manley, Canadian Council of Chief Executives, president and CEO; Catherine Swift, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, president, CEO and chairwoman; Jayson Myers, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, president and CEO; Brian Ferguson, Cenovus Energy Inc., president and CEO; Serge Godin, CGI Group Inc., founder and executive chairman of the board; and Indira Samarasekera, University of Alberta, president.
- Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced the transfer of the metropolis secretariat from Citizenship and Immigration Canada to Carleton University, where it will operate as an independent think tank.
Wednesday, May 30:
- Statistics Canada released figures on public sector employment for first quarter 2012. Public sector employment came to 3.6 million jobs, an increase of 0.2 per cent from fourth quarter 2011. Public sector employees accounted for 20.2 per cent of total employment in Canada during the quarter. Total public sector wages and salaries increased 0.9 per cent from the previous year.
- Statistics Canada also released international travel figures for first quarter 2012. The Canadian travel deficit with the world decreased by $85 million to $4 billion during first quarter 2012. Canadian travellers spent $8.3 billion outside the country, a decrease of 0.2 per cent from the previous quarter. Receipts from foreign travellers in Canada increased 1.6 per cent to $4.3 billion for the quarter, its highest level since fourth quarter 2004.
Thursday, May 31:
- The Senate passed Bill C-39, the Restoring Rail Services Act, effectively ending the CP Rail strike.
- The Government of Canada announced a vacancy for the position of chairperson of PPP Canada Inc., a Crown corporation with a mandate to improve public infrastructure delivery.
- A special report of the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada entitled MEASURING UP - Improvements and ongoing concerns in access to information, 2008–2009 to 2010–2011 was tabled in the House of Commons. The report focuses on delays in responding to Access to Information requests by government departments. Overall, the report finds that most departments implemented the recommendations of the commissioner’s previous report. However, the commissioner does express concerns that cuts to government spending will have a negative impact on access to information and government transparency.
- Statistics Canada released the April 2012 edition of the Couriers and Messengers Services Price Index. The Index increased 0.6 per cent from March to April. The courier portion of the Index rose 0.7 per cent, with the local messenger portion increasing 0.6 per cent.
- Statistics Canada also released some preliminary data for March 2012. Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees came to $888.34, an increase of 0.8 per cent from the previous month. Over the previous year, average earnings rose 2.1 per cent. Sales for the food and beverage industry rose 0.7 per cent from February to March, reaching $4.4 billion.
- The Standing Committee on International Trade continued its review of a comprehensive and high-level economic partnership agreement (EPA) with Japan. Witnesses appearing before the Committee included: Phil De Kemp, President, Malting Industry Association of Canada; Paul Newman, Executive Director, Market Access and Trade, Council of Forest Industries (COFI), Canada Wood Group; Lee Townsend, Vice-Chair, Canadian Honey Council; Mark A. Nantais, President, Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association.
Friday, June 1:
- Treasury Board President Tony Clement addressed the Economic Club in Toronto, highlighting economic growth and red tape reduction.
- Minister of State (Finance) Ted Menzies announced the coming into effect of new increased personal exemption limits for Canadians travelling outside of Canada. Canadians out of the country for at least 24 hours are now exempt from paying duties or taxes on up to $200 in goods. Trips longer than 48 hours are eligible for up to $800 worth of goods exempt.
- Statistics Canada released various fiscal figures for first quarter 2012 and March 2012. Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.5 per cent during first quarter 2012, holding steady from the previous quarter. GDP growth for March equalled 0.1 per cent. Consumer spending on goods and services grew 0.2% for the first quarter, a reduction from 0.7 per cent growth during the previous quarter.
Eye on the Hill is prepared by Ottawa-based government relations and communications firm Flagship Solutions.