- On Sunday, the federal government gave notice of legislation titled “An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of Montreal.” Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi, stated that the government “must act when all other efforts have been exhausted and a work stoppage is causing significant economic harm to Canadians.”
- On Friday, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that Canada has secured COVID-19 booster shots from Pfizer for 2022 and 2023, with options to extend into 2024. The agreement guarantees access to 65 million doses, with access to up to 120 million more if all options are exercised.
- Also last Friday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization updated its guidance regarding the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. It is now recommended that the vaccine be used for people 30 years of age and over.
- Prime Minister Trudeau, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh all received their first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week. The total number of vaccines administered daily in Canada increased significantly over the past week, with over 28% of the population now having received at least one dose.
- In light of the troubling COVID-19 situation in India, the federal government suspended all commercial and private passenger flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days effective April 22, 2021.
- During a technical briefing last week, Major-General Dany Fortin confirmed that Canada will receive its first shipment of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine this week (300,000 doses). While Canada purchased a total of 10 million doses, the next shipment is not expected until June.
- Last Thursday, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that Canada will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030. This is an increase from Canada’s previous commitment of 30% (and the 36% referenced in the budget last week).
- Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Trudeau had a call with President Biden where they discussed climate change, China, and “the urgency of getting people everywhere vaccinated as quickly as possible.” Following the call, President Joe Biden suggested that the United States will be able to provide additional COVID-19 vaccines to Canada in the future.
- Last Monday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland presented the government’s 2021 budget, with childcare and the green economy at the centre of the plan for economic recovery. Read our highlights and insights here.
In the House
- Today will be the fourth and final day of debate on the federal budget. Following debate, MPs will vote on the main motion, which represents the third and final confidence vote. The government survived both confidence votes last week- one on a Conservative amendment and the other on a Bloc Québécois sub-amendment.
- On Tuesday, MPs are expected to debate Bill C-12, Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, at second reading.
- Wednesday will feature debate on Bill C-19, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (COVID-19 response), at second reading.
- Thursday will be an opposition day.
- On Friday, the government hopes to resume second reading debate of Bill C-22, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Offshore Health and Safety Act, will also be on the agenda.
- The Standing Committee on Health will meet today to continue hearing from witnesses regarding the emergency facing Canadians in light of COVID-19.
- The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage will meet today for more clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts.
- The Standing Committee on Natural Resources will meet today to study the low-carbon and renewable fuels industry in Canada.
- The Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates will meet today to hear from the Auditor General of Canada about the government’s response to COVID-19.
- The Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development will meet today to continue studying single-use plastics.
- The Standing Committee on International Trade will meet today regarding main estimates as well as investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms. Minister Mary Ng will be appearing.
- The Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food will meet tomorrow to hear from witnesses concerning Bill C-206, An Act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (qualifying farming fuel).
- The Standing Committee on Finance will meet tomorrow. The committee will hear from the Governor of the Bank of Canada regarding monetary policy and from the Parliamentary Budget Officer regarding Canada’s economic and fiscal outlook.
- The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology will meet tomorrow to begin a study concerning the economic recovery from COVID-19.
- The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development will meet tomorrow to continue studying the granting of arms export permits, with a particular focus on Turkey.
- The Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities will meet tomorrow to continue studying targeted infrastructure investment and to discuss committee business.
- Last Friday, Prime Minister Trudeau stated that the federal government has identified 100 doctors and nurses who can be deployed to Ontario to assist during the third wave. He noted that the federal government is standing by with emergency funding and that he will support the efforts of other provinces to send help to Ontario.
- Last Thursday, Premier Doug Ford apologized for previously announced public health measures that were subsequently reversed following public backlash. These measures include the closure of playgrounds and the granting of arbitrary powers to police officers. The premier remains in isolation following a potential COVID-19 exposure.
- Following significant political pressure and public outcry, last week the Ford government confirmed that the province is working on a paid sick-leave program for Ontario workers.
- As COVID-19 cases remain high and ICUs continue to fill up, Premier Ford’s popularity has taken a big hit and the Ontario Liberals now lead on provincial vote intention.
- Last Wednesday, a first case of the COVID-19 variant first detected in India was identified in Quebec’s Mauricie–Centre-du-Québec region.
- On a more positive note, Quebec’s vaccine rollout continues to ramp up. The province set a new record with more than 88,000 doses administered last Thursday. Quebec is leading among the major provinces, with almost 30% of the population having received a first vaccine dose.
- On Friday, the government of British Columbia announced that it would begin restricting all non-essential travel into or out of all health authority regions, effective immediately, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The move came following record hospitalizations, the postponement of non-urgent surgeries, and modelling predicting that the constantly mutating virus could outrun currently available vaccines.
- Minister of Finance Selina Robinson presented the provincial budget last Tuesday. The budget provided no new major spending announcements, as large financial commitments for transit, affordable housing, and income & disability assistance were previously known. The budget includes an updated deficit forecast of $8.1 billion for 2020-21.
- According to data released by Elections Alberta last Friday, the Alberta NDP raised twice as much as the UCP during the first quarter of 2021. The NDP has been gaining momentum recently as the Kenney government struggles to deal with the third wave of COVID-19.
- Nova Scotia reported 38 new cases of COVID-19 last Thursday, the highest daily number since April 2020. Premier Iain Rankin announced new “circuit breaker” restrictions for Halifax and surrounding areas, which have been described as “near full-lockdown measures.” The measures notably restrict non-essential travel, limit gatherings to five people, and prohibit seated service at restaurants.
- The future of the Atlantic bubble remains unclear, as COVID-19 cases rise in parts of the region. Atlantic premiers are likely to announce a revised plan soon, as the scheduled reopening of the bubble on May 3 appears increasingly unlikely.
- Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey is preparing to send medical personnel to Ontario to help during the third wave of COVID-19. The premier’s wife, Dr. Allison Furey, plans to be among the Newfoundlanders making the trip.