The House of Commons rose for its winter break on Wednesday, Dec. 12 and will resume sitting on Jan. 28.
Monday, Dec. 10
- Finance Minister Jim Flaherty welcomed Standard & Poor’s reaffirmation of Canada’s triple-A credit rating.
- Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced the launch of a new federal skilled trades program that takes effect Jan. 2. Citizenship and Immigration Canada will accept up to a maximum of 3,000 applications in the first year of the of the program. Applicants must have an offer of employment in Canada or a certificate of qualification from a province or territory to ensure that applicants are “job ready” upon arrival; meet a basic language requirement; have a minimum of two years of work experience as a skilled tradesperson, to ensure that the applicant has recent and relevant practice as a qualified journeyman; and have the skills and experience that match those set out in the national occupational classification system, showing that they have performed the essential duties of the occupation.
Tuesday, Dec. 11:
- Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced changes that will allow foreign workers to obtain permanent residence faster. Beginning Jan. 2, skilled worker applicants may apply to the Canadian experience class program with 12 months of Canadian work experience instead of 24 months.
- Transport Minister Denis Lebel announced federal funding to help PG Corporate and Forestry Solutions Ltd. adapt and market a line of higher performance software. The $435,507 repayable contribution comes through the Canada Economic Development’s Quebec Economic Development Program.
Wednesday, Dec. 12:
- Defense Minister Peter MacKay and Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose delivered a briefing on the CF-18 replacement procurement process, as well as KPMG’s independent review of the projected costs for the program, which came in at $45.8 billion over 30 years.
- Conservative MP Russ Hiebert’s private members’ bill, C-377, passed the House of Commons and proceeds to the Senate. The legislation would require labour organizations to compile detailed financial and spending reports and file them with the Canada Revenue Agency, which in turn will publicize the information for increased transparency.
Thursday, Dec. 13:
- Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and U.S. ambassador to Canada David Jacobson signed the Immigration Information Sharing Treaty as part of the Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan. The agreement allows both Canada and the U.S. to share immigration information on third-country nationals applying for a visa or a permit to travel to either country.
- Governor General David Johnson received the credentials of three ambassadors and one high commissioner: Tuncay Babali, ambassador-designate of the Republic of Turkey; Nirmal Kumar Verma, high commissioner-designate for the Republic of India; Vadym Prystaiko, ambassador-designate of Ukraine; and Akan Ismaili, ambassador-designate of the Republic of Kosovo.
- Human Resources Minister Diane Finley announced that new employment insurance regulations will be coming into effect Jan. 6.
Friday, Dec. 14:
- The government’s second budget omnibus bill, C-45, passed the Senate and received royal assent to become law.
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomed the release of the first annual Beyond the Border Action Plan Implementation Report and the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council Joint Action Plan Progress Report.
- The prime minister also announced a number of changes to senior ranks of the public service. Associate Deputy Minister of National Defence Matthew King becomes deputy minister of fisheries and oceans, effective Jan. 14. Associate Deputy Minister of Public Works and Government Services Andrew Treusch becomes commissioner of revenue, effective Jan. 14. Assistant Deputy Minister, Accounting, Banking and Compensation Branch, Public Works and Government Services Canada Renée Jolicoeur becomes associate deputy minister of public works and government services, effective Jan. 14. Assistant Deputy Minister of the Strategic Policy Branch at Environment Canada Michael Keenan becomes associate deputy minister of natural resources, effective Jan. 14.
- The Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity Act received Royal Assent, coming into law. With both countries having completed their domestic ratification processes, they will now meet to decide on a date for when the agreement will come into force.
- Minister of State (Finance) Ted Menzies announced the coming into force of the second and final tranche of regulatory proposals as part of the development of pooled registered pension plans.
Eye on the Hill is prepared by Ottawa-based government relations and communications firm Flagship Solutions.