Provincial and Territorial Update – August 11, 2023

An overview of the Provincial and Territories Legislative Updates for the week of August 7 - 11, 2023.

New Brunswick

  • The College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick has 64 open complaints against doctors in the province, according to its website. Twenty-four of those are outstanding from last year, while 40 were received in the first quarter of 2023, the April bulletin It’s the first public update from the regulatory body since February 2022, and less detailed than previous versions.
  • The minister of education has not yet read gender-identity policies passed by education councils that undo changes he made, and it’s still not clear which version of the policy will be in effect when the school year starts next month. In the spring, New Brunswick’s Minister of Education Bill Hogan introduced changes to Policy 713 on sexual orientation and gender identity. Hogan said the policy now bans teachers and staff from using a child under 16’s chosen name and pronoun unless a parent consents. 
  • The fall lobster fishery in the Northumberland Strait will begin on Sunday, Aug. 13, following days of delay due to poor weather. Traps were originally due to be set on Wednesday, but high winds have kept boats from P.E.I., New Brunswick and Nova Scotia off the water. For safety reasons, relatively good weather is required for setting day, when boats are piled high with lobster traps.

Nova Scotia

  • To Liberal MLA Ali Duale, progress addressing racism and advancing equity within the Nova Scotia government is not happening as fast as it should. Daule made headlines during the fall sitting of the legislature in 2021, when he left his seat to protest the government’s refusal to pass an anti-racism bill advanced by his caucus. He eventually returned when the Tory government said it had a similar bill in the works and would convene an all-party committee to consult on the legislation and a corresponding anti-racism strategy.
  • Nova Scotia Fisheries Minister Steve Craig says his government is still looking at ways to help Shelburne County fishermen with uninsured losses they sustained during this summer’s record-setting wildfires, although he cannot say when that help might arrive or how it will look. On Thursday, the province announced a one-time payment of $2,500 to licensed aquaculture operators, fishermen, fish buyers and processors directly impacted by the wildfires.
  • In late January, the province quietly changed the eligibility rules for the Canada-Nova Scotia Targeted Housing Benefit, a supplement designed to help low-income people pay for housing. In order to qualify, a person must now be spending at least 50 percent of their pre-tax income on housing, up from 30 percent. Numbers provided recently to CBC News by the Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing show that since the change, 324 applicants have been denied for not meeting the new 50 percent threshold.
  • Nova Scotia’s Department of Labour says it is not ready to allow the underground coal mine in Donkin to reopen until all safety concerns are addressed. In July, the province issued a stop-work order after a large section of the roof fell in twice in one week in the coal mine’s main access tunnel. That followed a smaller incident in the same tunnel a week earlier. No one was injured in either case. On Thursday, Labour Minister Jill Balser said all Nova Scotians are aware of previous incidents in which miners did not come home from work, and that can never happen again.

Prince Edward Island

  • P.E.I.’s provincial government is proposing low- and high-density development in a 34-hectare parcel of land it owns in the Hillsborough Park area of Charlottetown through the P.E.I. Housing Corporation. The plan includes single-family homes, townhouses, duplexes and apartment buildings. It would bring just over 1,200 units to the area. “Looking forward to getting some of this development off the ground because we really need the housing,” said Housing Minister Rob Lantz at a public meeting on the project Thursday night.
  • Two women who signed non-disclosure agreements with the University of Prince Edward Island a decade ago have been permanently released from the threat of being sued by UPEI for speaking out about their experiences, with the university’s board of governors issuing an unequivocal apology.
  • Young adults on Prince Edward Island are having a harder time finding living arrangements of their own than peers in any other Canadian province, data from Statistics Canada suggests. Census data shows the number of Islanders aged 20-34 who are living with parents or roommates increased from 45 percent of the Island population in 2016 (10,685 people) to 50 percent in 2021 (14,025 people). That represented more than half the people in that demographic in 2021.
  • New mandate letters made public this week outline the tasks that P.E.I. Premier Dennis King has laid out for his cabinet ministers over the course of their terms. Those ministers were sworn in at a ceremony back in April. For the most part, the letters reflect commitments the Progressive Conservatives made during the province’s spring election, but in some cases the letters create a little more breathing space, giving the King government more time to achieve its goals.

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • There’s no mistaking the message: Fogo Islanders do not want changes to their police force. About 300 people gathered at the arena in the centre of the island Thursday night for a peaceful demonstration organized by the town council. Speakers, including politicians, emergency service personnel and those with personal stories, stressed the need to keep police patrol on the island — and within its nine communities — as is.
  • The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and provincial government have announced plans to expand the force’s policing area on the west coast of the island in the coming months. John Hogan, minister of justice and public safety, delivered the news on Thursday morning in Pasadena, alongside RNC Chief Pat Roche and Pasadena Mayor Darren Gardner. Hogan cited a nationwide shortage of Mounties as a reason for the change.
  • Staffing shortages have forced several health centres in central Newfoundland to temporarily shutter their emergency rooms for the next week. Newfoundland and Labrador Health Services issued six press releases Thursday evening announcing the closures, saying the staffing issue is temporary. Lewisporte Health Centre’s emergency room will close on Tuesday at 8 a.m. and will reopen the next day at 8 a.m. But it will close again on Thursday at 8 a.m. and open the following day at 8 a.m.
  • Health Minister Tom Osborne says Newfoundland and Labrador has recruited “over 40” physicians and over 170 nurses — comprising registered nurses, licenced practical nurses and nurse practitioners — since April 1. “Some are going into family practice, some are going into the family-care teams,” Osborne said of the recruited physicians on Tuesday. “With the physicians that we’ve had come in, we’ve been able to fill areas such as Bonavista, Baie Verte, Carbonear, Clarenville, Fogo [and] Twillingate, for example, with permanent physicians.”


  • In its quest to increase electricity production in Quebec, Hydro-Québec is contemplating a move back to nuclear power. The government-run utility confirmed Thursday that it is considering the revival of Gentilly-2, the province’s only nuclear power plant, which was shut down in 2012. “An assessment of the plant’s current condition is underway,” a Hydro-Québec spokesperson said in a statement. The company says it’s hoping to “inform our thinking on Quebec’s future energy supply,” considering it’s globally analyzing the various options for increasing electricity production to decarbonize Quebec.
  • Despite an appeal from their party’s executive to choose a woman to be Québec solidaire’s candidate in the byelection in the Quebec City riding of Jean-Talon, local party members on Sunday chose Olivier Bolduc, the male court stenographer who came in second in the riding in last October’s general election.
  • There is more pressure — this time from the Quebec Liberals — for the Legault government to forget about appealing a Superior Court decision declaring sections of Bill 40 on school boards unconstitutional. “While respecting the ruling rendered and in the interest of not compromising the constitutional rights that English-speaking Quebecers and francophones outside Quebec benefit from equally, we ask you to not appeal the judgment,” the letter states.
  • The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal is questioning the utility and appropriateness of some “counterproductive” and “excessive” measures in the CAQ government’s francophone-first immigration plan. In its brief as part of the consultation for the draft regulation amending the immigration law, the Chamber says “Our most important message regarding the reception of qualified workers is that we must adopt an agile, efficient approach that is well aligned with the needs of businesses.”


  • Under fire over a controversial Greenbelt land swap the auditor general revealed “favoured certain developers,” embattled Premier Doug Ford is going on the offensive. Ford and Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark will be in Mississauga on Friday to promote the Progressive Conservatives’ plans to boost the number of homes in Ontario.
  • Ontario Premier Doug Ford has asked the province’s Integrity Commissioner to review the conduct of the political staffer at the centre of the Greenbelt controversy, as recommended by the Auditor-General in a report this week concluding that the removal of lands from the protected area last year “favoured certain developers.” Ryan Amato, chief of staff to Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark, was singled out by Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk for meeting with a small number of developers and controlling a “biased,” secret, three-week process to choose the properties taken out of the Greenbelt last December.
  • Speaking in response to a critical Auditor General’s report that focussed on development and the greenbelt, Ford called out Burlington for its slow rate of housing starts. “Now I’m going to point out one city…and that city is Burlington,” said Ford. “They have been allocated 29,000 new homes…they have built 208.” Ford said Burlington is so far failing to live up to its pledge to build 29,000 homes by 2031 while other cities are picking up the slack.
  • The union representing elementary school teachers in Ontario has filed a complaint with the province’s labour relations board, accusing the government of failing to act in good faith by issuing new requirements on reading screening during bargaining. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, which is in negotiations with the province over a new collective agreement, says the government violated its bargaining obligations over a memo it released on July 28.


  • Striking liquor workers decried raises given to Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries’ top brass amid a two-year wage freeze for union employees as neither the Crown corporation nor the union budged from their bargaining positions Thursday. Liquor Mart and MLL distribution centre employees took the picket line to Premier Heather Stefanson’s Tuxedo constituency office Thursday morning to call attention to the corporation’s executive payroll and compensation increases for two of its officers.
  • Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew says he would move forward on a search of the Prairie Green landfill for the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran if the party forms government on Oct. 3. Kinew said if elected, he’ll do what current Premier Heather Stefanson won’t, which is “try.” “We are going to come looking and we are going to deliver justice,” he said at an unrelated press conference Wednesday morning.
  • An Indigenous organization will put on a display of red dresses at the Manitoba legislative building later this month, as they continue to call on Premier Heather Stefanson and the province to assist in searching an area landfill for the remains of two murdered women. In a news release Manitoba Moon Voices Inc. (MMVI) a Winnipeg-based organization that represents and advocates for the interests of Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people in Manitoba, said they are now collecting red dresses, and have put out a call to community members for red dress donations.
  • As Manitoba’s provincial election campaign draws near, the governing Progressive Conservatives lead the other parties in nominating candidates. As of Tuesday, the PCs had nominated 47 candidates. The Tories only have 10 more nominations to complete before they have a candidate running in each of Manitoba’s 57 ridings. PC campaign manager Marni Larkin said the party expects to have a full slate ready within the next two weeks in order to compete in the election campaign, which is expected to start on either Aug. 29 or Sept. 5.


  • Saskatchewan politicians are calling federal emissions targets unrealistic, but one environmental expert says they’re wrong. He says those attitudes could cause Saskatchewan to be left behind in the new economy. “It’s just being used as a political weapon or talking point to continue this divide between the federal government and the provincial government. But that’s not at all what we need to do. What we really need to do is co-operate,” said Glenn Wright, a lawyer and board member for the Saskatchewan Environmental Society.
  • NDP’s Noor Burki and Jared Clarke won the byelections in Regina Coronation Park and Regina Walsh Acres respectively, while the Saskatchewan Party’s Blaine McLeod took Lumsden-Morse. NDP’s Burki won Regina Coronation Park with 2,039 ballots, or 56.6 percent of the vote and the NDP’s Jared Clarke was elected in Regina Walsh Acres with 2,395, or 54 percent of the vote. The Saskatchewan Party’s McLeod took the seat in Lumsden-Morse with 2648 votes, or 53.7 percent. Tonight’s numbers do not include mail-in ballots, but that will not change the outcome in the capital.
  • Indian day school survivors will not be given more time to apply for compensation, according to a Federal Court decision released on Thursday. The decision marks the end of a legal battle filed by Audrey Hill and Six Nations of the Grand River elected band council. They sought a deadline extension for day school survivors to file, claims given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and alleged deficiencies in the process. But the court has dismissed the motion and has refused to extend the deadline. 
  • A Saskatchewan First Nation has found what it believes to be dozens of graves in its initial findings from a radar search in and around the cemetery at a former residential school. English River First Nation says its ground-penetrating radar search that began two years ago has found 83 potential graves or areas of interest, some of which were unmarked, at the former Beauval Indian Residential School’s cemetery.


  • The Alberta Government has responded to the Federal Government’s new clean electricity regulations, with Minister of Environment and Protected Areas Rebecca Shultz saying “it won’t be something Alberta implements.” Premier Danielle Smith calls the proposed regulations “unconstitutional and irresponsible,” in a release sent out by the province.
  • Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says Ottawa is one of the reasons why her government has placed a moratorium on approving new wind and solar power projects, arguing the feds are preventing the development of backup generation for renewable energy such as natural gas. Ms. Smith, whose government surprised the province’s renewable energy industry last week by announcing a six-month freeze on new projects greater than one megawatt, told her province-wide radio call-in program Saturday that backup plants powered by natural gas are needed for when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining.
  • A significant data breach has compromised the personal information of about 1.47 million Albertans, the Alberta Dental Service Corporation said Thursday.  In a statement, ADSC said certain data from public dental benefits programs it administers for the provincial government was implicated in a recent cybersecurity breach. ADSC learned it was the victim of a ransomware attack and called in cybersecurity experts to assist with containment, and remediation, and to conduct a comprehensive forensic investigation into the nature and extent of the incident.

British Columbia

  • A B.C. Supreme Court judge has rejected a bid by two plaintiffs, both residents of Lytton, B.C., to certify a class action lawsuit against two Canadian rail companies that the plaintiffs allege were responsible for a wildfire that tore through Lytton in 2021, destroying the village. Plaintiffs Jordan Spinks and Chris O’Connor claimed the fire could have been prevented and sought financial compensation from CP Rail, CN Rail and the attorney general of Canada, among others. In his ruling, Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson said the plaintiffs’ pleadings didn’t meet the criteria to be certified as a class action suit.
  • Canada’s highest court will not hear an appeal that challenged limits on religious gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, marking a significant endorsement for British Columbia’s provincial health officer and the end of the legal road for the faith leaders involved. The Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the case from churches in B.C.’s Fraser Valley that argued public health rules violated their Charter rights by banning indoor religious services during the height of the pandemic.
  • British Columbia’s labour minister plans to soon pass new laws guaranteeing basic pay, rights and protections for tens of thousands of gig workers. The job is part-time, based anywhere in Canada. The deadline to apply is Aug. 14. Harry Bains’s office has launched a call for proposals that could see new requirements placed on companies like Uber, DoorDash and Lyft, whose drivers and delivery workers work without minimum pay, sick leave or other basic benefits. Bains says new legislation may come as soon as this fall, following years of government promises and months of consultations.

Northwest Territories

  • The N.W.T.’s Department of Infrastructure said it is investigating the cause of a broken cable on the Deh Cho bridge. This includes conducting a site review, which is expected to take three to four days. “How long the repairs will take will be determined through the site review and what repairs are needed,” said Darren Campbell, a spokesperson for the department. “We can’t give anybody an estimate on when, how long the repairs will take. ” The department became aware of the broken cable on Tuesday. 


  • With Eagle Mine evacuated because of a growing wildfire, other Yukon mines in the Mayo region are taking precautions — including Hecla Mine, which has been under evacuation alert since Sunday. Although 49 wildfires are burning in the area, two are of major concern. There’s the East McQuesten fire, which forced Eagle Mine workers to evacuate for a second time last week when the fire reached the access road to the site. Then there’s the Talbot Creek fire, burning just south of Mayo, which led that community to evacuate on Sunday. That fire’s also threatening Hecla Gold and nearby Keno City. Both are under evacuation alert, though neither is in immediate danger, according to Yukon Protective Services.
  • The Vuntut Gwitchin government has issued an evacuation order for Old Crow, Yukon, due to the potential for the weather conditions in the coming days to worsen nearby wildfires. The government issued the order early Wednesday afternoon with the support of the Yukon’s Emergency Measures Organization and on the recommendation of Yukon Wildland Fire Management. On Facebook, the Vuntut Gwitchin government noted that Old Crow is not currently under immediate threat from the fires. 


  • Nunavut’s main newspaper says Meta’s decision to remove Canadian content from its platforms will have a significant impact on the territory. Last week, the social media giant announced it was ending news availability on its platforms in Canada. The company said the move means links posted by Canadian news outlets would no longer be seen by people in Canada. There is no change to international users, according to Meta.
  • A new deal has been signed — billed as the first of its kind in Canada — that’s meant to give Northerners more of a say in any offshore oil and gas development in the western Arctic. Dan Vandal, Canada’s minister of Northern Affairs, was in Inuvik, N.W.T., on Thursday to sign the deal, alongside Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) chair Duane Ningaqsiq Smith, and the premiers of Yukon and the Northwest Territories. According to a news release on Thursday, the Western Arctic–Tariuq (offshore) Accord is a “historic” agreement and the first of its kind with an Indigenous government as a full party.

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