Inflation Nation | Your Look Ahead from Summa Strategies

5 minute read

What We’re Watching

  • As we creep closer to budget season, many Canadians are wondering what items will be included in the federal government’s 2022 Budget. It has been reported that the 2022 budget will be ‘back to basics,’ with many wondering what impacts the Russian invasion of Ukraine will have on Canada’s military spending in 2022. 
  • Canada’s inflation rate continues to be a topic of concern, as the Consumer Price Index rose 5.7 per cent in February from a year earlier, up from January’s 5.1 per cent, according to Statistics Canada. This means Canadians are paying even more for the essentials. 
  • Canada has toughened sanctions against Russia following the country’s attack on Ukraine. So far, Canada has sanctioned more than 900 Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian entities and individuals it says are enabling and supporting President Vladimir Putin.
  • Canadian Pacific Railway operations came to a halt on Sunday due to a labour dispute between the company Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. and union Teamsters Canada Rail Conference. The two sides remain at the bargaining table, and are disputing over 26 issues, including wages, benefits, and pensions. Experts have stated that a shutdown may impact an already strained supply chain.

In the House

  • Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday this week will be Business of Supply days in the House of Commons, meaning the opposition will be allowed to propose and debate the legislation of their choosing. 
  • On Monday, the NDP will be putting forth a motion to address the rising cost of living for Canadians, focusing on the rising cost of gas, groceries and housing. 
  • Committees are wasting no time getting to work this week, with 12 committee meetings on Monday and 12 meetings again on Tuesday. Notable committee studies include HUMA Committee study on labour shortages and working conditions and the INDU Committee study on the sourcing and processing of critical minerals. 
  • The Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency will also hold its first meeting to review the declaration of the Emergencies Act on Thursday evening.

In the Senate

ICYMI

  • Last week, the federal government announced that it will be lifting the pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirement at the border for fully vaccinated travelers returning to Canada as of April 1st. Passengers may still be subjected to random PCR testing at the airport, and travelers will still have to use the ArriveCan app. 
  • Last week, Ukraine President Zelensky addressed Canada’s Parliament virtually on Tuesday. During a 20-minute address, Zelensky called on Canada to continue its military and humanitarian response efforts, and to keep up its sanctioning of Russian oligarchs.
  • The Conservative leadership race has gotten even more crowded over the last few weeks. There are now six candidates who have put their names forward to be the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, with frontrunners Pierre Poilievre, Patrick Brown, Jean Charest, and Leslyn Lewis. The deadline for leadership hopefuls to declare their candidacy is April 16th, 2022. 
  • The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission ruled on March 16th that the state-owned Russian television network RT can no longer be distributed by Canadian television service providers.

Provincial Updates

#ONpoli

  • Ontario’s mask mandate has officially ended as of today, meaning masking is no longer required in most indoor settings across the province. Masking is still required in several high-risk settings, including on public transit, in long-term care homes, in health-care settings, and among other facilities. All masking requirements are set to be lifted in Ontario on April 27th. 
  • As Ontario prepares for an election on June 2nd, many MPPs are reconsidering running for a second term. Of the 76 Progressive Conservative MPPs elected in Premier Doug Ford’s landslide victory four years ago, 19 of them will not seek reelection as Tories. Notable figures not seeking re-election include Deputy Premier Christine Elliott and former Minister of Long-Term Care Rod Phillips, who stepped down in January. 
  • Though the federal Conservative leadership race is heating up, Premier Doug Ford has publicly directed his caucus to stay out of the campaign, in order to focus on the PC’s re-election bid in June. 
  • During a press conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford stated that a deal to reduce childcare costs will be announced “very, very soon”. Ontario is currently the only remaining province to not sign the agreement, and the pressure to finalize an agreement is on due to the impending end of the fiscal year.

#BCpoli

  • The provincial government is currently assessing the situation surrounding soaring gas prices in the province, and is expected to announce a plan to provide a benefit for drivers.
  • It was announced last week that on June 1st, the minimum wage in BC is set to rise 45 cents, going from $15.20 to $15.65, the highest of any province. The June 1st increase is based on the average rate of inflation in the province in 2021. 
  • On March 10th, BC ended its mask mandate for the second time during the COVID-19 pandemic. B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry noted that the province aims to remove the requirement to show a vaccine card on April 8th.

#ABpoli

  • Last Tuesday, United Conservative Party candidate Brian Jean won an Alberta by-election in a landslide with two-thirds of the vote. Jean is the co-founder of the governing United Conservative Party and has openly challenged the leadership of his UCP co-founder and current Alberta Premier Jason Kenny. 
  • Edmonton dropped its masking bylaw last week in response to the introduction of legislation in the Alberta legislature that would effectively make the city’s mask bylaw null and void. 

#ATLpoli

  • Most public health restrictions in Nova Scotia have been lifted as of today. However, masking continues to be mandatory in public schools for a few more weeks, and some measures will remain in place for high-risk settings. 
  • Effective March 28th, most public servants in New Brunswick will no longer be required to be vaccinated. The exceptions to this amendment are those who work in vulnerable sectors such as facilities of regional health authorities, corrections, and Extra-Mural/Ambulance NB.
  • On March 16th, Nova Scotia’s government was added as a defendant in a proposed class-action lawsuit against Northwood long-term care facility, where 53 people died from COVID-19 in the spring of 2020. The province was added due to allegations that it was negligent in regulation and oversight, and made multiple budget cuts that left residents vulnerable.
  • On March 16th, the Canadian Union of Public Employees filed a complaint with the New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board after 4100 workers did not receive retroactive pay, despite the union and government striking an agreement in November 2021.
  • On March 15th, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced a five-point plan and $22.2 million investment to help residents with the high cost of living. 

On March 14th, New Brunswick entered its next phase of living with COVID-19 and lifted all remaining public health measures.

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