An update on legislation, developments and political discussions affecting local businesses.
Monday, April 29:
- Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tabled the 2013 Budget Implementation Bill C-60 in the House of Commons.
- Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Human Resources Minister Diane Finley announced changes to Temporary Foreign Worker Program to make sure Canadians have access to available jobs before foreign workers. Effective immediately, the program will require employers to pay temporary foreign workers at the prevailing wage by removing the existing wage flexibility and temporarily suspend the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion process.
- Minister Finley also announced new low- and middle-income thresholds for Canada Student Grants and part-time Canada Student Loans and Grants to allow more students to qualify for financial assistance for the 2013-14 school year.
Tuesday, April 30:
- The Spring 2013 Report of the Auditor General of Canada was tabled in the House of Commons. Highlights included: the Government needs to crack down on EI fraud, which is costing the government more than $100 million a year; Canada’s search and rescue services are underfunded, dealing with aging equipment and will face sustainability issues in the future; The CRA must do more to pursue delinquent tax accounts and tax arrears estimated to be worth $29 billion; and the federal government currently cannot account for $3.1 billion in anti-terrorism funding during 2001-2009.
Wednesday, May 1:
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the conclusion of negotiations toward a Canada-Nigeria Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, which will come into force once both countries complete their respective domestic ratification processes.
- Labour Minister Lisa Raitt announced two appointments to the Canada Industrial Relations Board. Judith MacPherson was reappointed as full-time vice-chairperson for a three-year term, effective April 25 and Richard Brabander was appointed as a full-time member representing employers for a three-year term, effective May 6.
- The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance tabled its report on Tax Evasion and the use of Tax Havens in the House of Commons.
Thursday, May 2:
- The directors of the Bank of Canada announced that they have appointed Stephen S. Poloz, the president and CEO of Export Development Canada, as governor of the Bank of Canada for a seven-year term, effective June 3.
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper tabled the 20th Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada in the House of Commons.
- The House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics tabled its report on Privacy and Social Media in the Age of Big Data in the House of Commons.
- The House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage tabled its report on the Canadian Entertainment Software Industry in the House of Commons.
Friday, April 3:
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced more than $82 million in federal funding for clean energy technologies through Natural Resources Canada’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative (ecoEII) for 55 projects across Canada. Local investments include: $1.4 million to Carleton University for the development of a pilot-scale supercritical-CO2 Brayton Cycle Demonstration Loop; $865,000 for SUMARAN Inc. to carry out R&D on an air to water heat pump system for domestic hot water and space heating for low energy and net-zero energy housing; and $5 million to the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation for the creation of a Canada-Israel Energy Science and Technology Fund.
- Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced that Citizenship and Immigration Canada will be accepting applications for the Federal Skilled Worker Program as of May 4.
- Industry Minister Christian Paradis announced the appointment of Kathy Milsom as chairperson and member of the Standards Council of Canada’s Governing Council.
- Human Resources Minister Diane Finley announced the appointment of David Wake, Dominique Bellemare and Margot Ballagh as vice‑chairpersons of the new Social Security Tribunal, which began operating on April 1.
Eye on the Hill is prepared by Ottawa-based government relations and communications firm Flagship Solutions.