Provincial and Territorial Update – July 28, 2023

Provincial Legislative Update: An overview of the Provincial and Territories Legislative Updates for the week of July 24 - 28, 2023.​

New Brunswick

  • New Brunswick wildlife officers and other inspection and enforcement officers with the Department of Justice and Public Safety will soon be armed with carbines and Tasers, and wearing body cameras. Public Safety Minister Kris Austin announced the new “tools” on Thursday. “The RCMP is the New Brunswick provincial police force, but this initiative will not only keep officers safe, it also supports increased law enforcement capacity within the province,” he said in a statement.
  • Pharmacists at six New Brunswick locations will soon be able to help manage and prescribe for certain chronic conditions, such as diabetes and asthma, as part of a one-year pilot aimed at improving access to primary care. Health Minister Bruce Fitch announced the Pharmacist Care Clinics in Fredericton Wednesday, saying he’s excited about the potential of the further expanded role of pharmacists.
  • ‘Behaviour mentors’ promised in N.B.’s plan to address classroom challenges. System will also add contract supply teachers to relieve pressure on teachers. The Higgs government is adopting a more gradual, incremental approach to addressing problems in New Brunswick’s anglophone school system. Education Minister Bill Hogan unveiled eight recommendations from a steering committee set up in the wake of his February decision to cancel the planned replacement of French immersion.
  • With Coastal Shell Products’ approval to operate up for renewal next week, many residents of Richibucto wonder what it will take to shut down the plant that’s been stinking up the New Brunswick community for years. Since 2017, residents have filed hundreds of complaints, held protests, signed petitions, talked to politicians, and launched seven separate lawsuits against the company and its four owners.

Nova Scotia

  • People can still fish in parts of a Cape Breton river famous for its Atlantic salmon, but other sections are temporarily closed due to warm waters and a local non-profit group says climate change is to blame. Until recently, the Margaree River’s cool waters were ideal for trout and salmon, but within the last five years, parts of the river have been closed to angling during the summer, said Paul MacNeil, president of the Margaree Salmon Association.
  • Opposition MLAs say it makes no sense for the Nova Scotia government to continue delaying proclamation of the Coastal Protection Act, especially in light of the floods that devastated parts of the province last weekend. “The only conclusion you can reasonably come to is that there is something or someone or some people who don’t want this act to pass,” NDP Leader Claudia Chender told reporters on Thursday.
  • Three victims of N.S. floods identified as families mourn. Natalie Harnish and Colton Sisco, both 6, and Nicholas Holland died during a torrential rainstorm last weekend.
  • The president of the Construction Association of Nova Scotia says natural disasters bring opportunities to update building codes and regulations, so we can be better prepared for the future. “There’s no question about it,” Duncan Williams said. “The climate change that’s happening around us is going to require a different set of solutions.” One step the province promised last December, as part of a climate change plan, is to adopt the federal government’s 2020 National Building Code. It includes guidance for energy efficiency and higher performance requirements for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. 

Prince Edward Island

  • With the announcement Tuesday of a retrofit at Cardigan Consolidated School in eastern P.E.I., the province is on course to have the region’s first two net-zero schools in 2025. Cardigan Consolidated will be the first retrofitted net-zero school. The new Sherwood School is also planned to be net zero. Environment Minister Steven Myers said the choice of Cardigan as the first retrofitted school was important.
  • A survey of radon gas radioactivity has found slightly elevated levels in four P.E.I. schools. The survey included 20 schools. It’s the first round of a three-year program to test all 55 Island schools. “These four schools had slightly elevated levels. Still deemed safe, but require some mitigation for radon,” said PSB director Norbert Carpenter. The affected schools are Bluefield High, Kensington Intermediate Senior High, Westwood Primary, and West Royalty Elementary. 
  • It may be a while before P.E.I. sees any physician assistants (PAs) actively working in the province. PAs work under the supervision of a doctor and can assess and treat common ailments in areas like orthopedics and emergency medicine. Last month, the provincial government announced changes allowing PAs and associate physicians to be licensed and practice on the Island. But the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants warns that with only around 80 graduates a year from the necessary two-year program, PAs are in short supply.
  • A PhD student at Dalhousie University is growing a trendy new wheat she says could be an option for Maritime farmers looking to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Kernza is a wheatgrass that has attracted the attention of celebrities and chefs around the world, inspiring new products including beer, whiskey, pasta and pancakes. There was even a “Kernza-Con” conference in Minnesota last month. Brittany Cole first became interested in Kernza while working for the P.E.I. Department of Agriculture on a climate adaptation project.

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • A Labrador mental health and addictions advocate says a police warning this week about fentanyl being mixed with other illicit drugs in the province isn’t a surprise, as it’s been clearly happening in Labrador City and Wabush. In Labrador West, recovering drug user Keith Fitzpatrick says people have been acting differently than expected on specific drugs for the past year. It was only a matter of time before the Canada-wide problem of drugs being laced with fentanyl began affecting Labrador, he said.
  • A rash of reported drug overdoses have led police and harm reduction advocates to warn Newfoundland and Labrador residents that the powerful opioid fentanyl may be hiding more frequently in the drugs they consume, particularly in cocaine. The province’s chief medical examiner has confirmed nine “presumed cocaine-related deaths” in the last 30 days, pointing to a steep uptick in cases in recent weeks. In comparison, 13 people died after using cocaine in all of 2022.
  • The president of the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union says he’s looking forward to working with Canada’s new federal fisheries minister. Diane Lebouthillier, Liberal MP for the Quebec riding of Gaspésie-Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, was one of several ministers to assume new roles in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet on Wednesday.


  • Montreal’s electric light-rail train network has been officially inaugurated. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier François Legault and Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante were among the dignitaries who attended a ceremony today to launch the first five stations of the 26-station, 67-kilometre electric rail network. The first segment – a section running from Montreal’s South Shore to downtown’s central station – will open officially for service on Monday.
  • Canada’s now-former justice minister David Lametti expressed shock Thursday at being dropped from cabinet in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s massive shuffle of his governing team. “It’s a surprise,” Lametti told CBC News in a short text message. Sources tell CBC News he delivered the same message to other Liberal MPs — that he was surprised by his ouster on Wednesday because he felt he had delivered on his files and there were no problems within his ministry.
  • A study by the Angus Reid Institutehas examined the issues that Quebecers say are most important to them right now. The cost of living/inflation (66%), healthcare (63%) and housing affordability (27%) round out the top three issues that Quebecers are most concerned about, followed by the environment/climate change (25%) and education (25%). Just 1 in 5 Quebecers (19%) say protecting the French language is among the most important issues to them.
  • The government of Quebec announced that a draft regulation will gradually prohibit, except for exceptions, the use of private agencies and self-employed workers in the health and social services network. The pre-publication of the draft regulation stems from the adoption of the bill aimed at limiting the use of private agencies in the network.


  • Communications at Metrolinx appear to be under the direct control of the Ford government leading to deep internal frustration and “lost credibility” at the provincial transit agency, according to an internal email obtained by Global News. The email, sent by Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster to Premier Doug Ford‘s chief of staff in December, suggests that the provincial Crown agency was forbidden from publicly discussing the issues surrounding the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, without first receiving direct approval from the Ford government.
  • The Ontario Liberals won a pair of provincial byelections Thursday, including snagging a previously Progressive Conservative The party has no leader at the moment, though five people are vying for the title, and has severely diminished resources following two successive electoral routs, but it finished the evening with its highest seat count since 2018. Wins by Andrea Hazell in Scarborough-Guildwood and Karen McCrimmon in Kanata-Carleton bring the Liberals to nine seats in the legislature.
  • For Tara Wood, the decision to abandon fertility treatments in the hopes of getting pregnant came down to money. After two unsuccessful rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF), and three of intrauterine insemination (IUI), Wood knew she couldn’t afford to go on. Advocacy group Conceivable Dreams, of which Wood is a board member, wants Ontario to offer more financial support to those relying on fertility treatment to have a child as a new survey released by the group on Wednesday shows the severity of the issue.


  • Manitoba says it needs to double or triple its electricity-generating capacity over the next two decades — and it won’t build new hydroelectric dams to meet that goal. The province plans to rely on wind farms in order to boost generating capacity from 6,600 megawatts right now to somewhere between 10,000 and 16,000 megawatts by the 2040s, according to a new energy policy announced on Friday.
  • Unionized workers with Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries stayed off the job provincewide on Friday, accusing the Crown corporation of hiring replacement workers. “Our members want respect, but now, by hiring replacement workers, the corporation is resorting to divisive, bullying tactics that do nothing to help resolve this situation,” Kyle Ross, president of the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU), said in a news release.
  • The province is reviving a program that gives advanced training to paramedics in rural and northern Manitoba as part of an additional $200-million announced to recruit, train and retain health care workers. Part of the money announced Thursday will allow up to 32 licensed advanced care paramedics to take a refresher course and resume working at that level. It will also add 16 advanced care paramedics seats at Red River College Polytechnic in Winnipeg each academic year, says a backgrounder from the province. 
  • Manitoba’s largest Indigenous advocacy organization is lamenting the loss of Marc Miller as minister of Crown-Indigenous relations — but hopes his replacement will keep the process of a landfill search for two First Nations women’s remains moving forward. “It’s disappointing, but I’m very happy for him as well,” Cathy Merrick, grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, told CBC on Wednesday, following a ceremony to welcome a delegation of supporters from Saskatchewan to a protest camp at Brady Road landfill.


  • Government billboards claiming the average teacher’s salary in Saskatchewan is $92,000 are providing “misinformation” and distracting from the bargaining process, says the head of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF). “From a taxpayer perspective in this province, we’re seeing wasted dollars going toward these frivolous ads that really aren’t serving any purpose other than to undervalue the teachers in this province,” STF president Samantha Becotte said.
  • The Opposition NDP says the closure of an intensive care unit in North Battleford is another example of the Saskatchewan government mismanaging health care and public communication. According to a Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) memo sent on July 6, the ICU at the Battlefords Union Hospital would close from July 13 to Aug. 3.
  • A union leader says members feel disrespected after the City of Prince Albert offered a final deal and refused to engage in further negotiations. City workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 882 are set to strike in Prince Albert starting as early as Aug. 10. CUPE 882 represents the city’s inside workers including administrators, building inspectors, bylaw enforcement officers and employees in recreation and information technology.
  • Documents show more housing units are sitting vacant in Saskatchewan, a problem the Opposition NDP says is a result of government mismanagement. The Saskatchewan Housing Corporation documents, obtained by the NDP, reveal the vacancy rate of government housing has more than doubled during the past 10 years.


  • CUPE Alberta President Rory Gill made the following statement today in response to Danielle Smith’s education mandate letter. CUPE represents over 10,000 school support staff across Alberta. “Danielle Smith’s mandate letter to the Minister of Education does almost nothing to address the biggest concerns of Albertans. The UCP has already stepped away from their promise to hire almost 1,400 Educational Assistants. Now, their refusal to address stagnant wages will only make the situation worse.
  • Alberta’s opposition leader is accusing the UCP government of not caring about health care or making sure patients have beds in the future, following the release of a mandate letter to the new infrastructure minister. Danielle Smith’s marching orders to Pete Guthrie were released on Wednesday – and while she instructed him to “accelerate construction timelines and reduce cost” on new hospitals and schools – the only project specifically mentioned is a new Calgary arena district.
  • The provincial government is partnering with three Alberta organizations to create an office in Calgary that will work with victims and survivors of human trafficking. The Alberta Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons will be led by #NotInMyCity, Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA) and REACH Edmonton Council for Safer Communities.
  • Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley called out Premier Danielle Smith for not including mention of the Red Deer Regional Hospital expansion project in any mandate letters to ministers. At a press conference on Thursday at the Golden Circle (4620 47a Ave.), Notley called on Smith and Health Minister Adriana LaGrange, also MLA for Red Deer North, to commit to starting the construction on the Hospital redevelopment this year.

British Columbia

  • Canada’s intelligence service told B.C. Premier David Eby during a briefing on Chinese foreign interference in March that it could not share secret information, according to notes of the meeting obtained by Global News. The hour-long March 28 meeting between the premier and the regional director general of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service followed a news report alleging China had meddled in Vancouver’s 2022 mayoral election.
  • C. Ferries is a crucial part of the province’s infrastructure, connecting the Lower Mainland with Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and the Gulf Islands. Independently managed but provincially owned, the ferries transport tourists to popular vacation destinations and provide essential services to people who live and work on the islands that dot B.C.’s coast and in communities on the central and north coasts. But this summer, getting on a ferry has felt like scoring tickets to the hottest concert in town, as B.C. Ferries has been plagued by technical difficulties with its vessels, last-minute cancellations, staffing shortages and confusion about the availability of reservations online.
  • The B.C. port workers’ strike deprived Canadian Pacific Kansas City Ltd. of scores of millions of dollars, its chief marketing officer said, tacking on a costly coda to a tough quarter. The 13-day strike — plus a brief wildcat job action — earlier this month halted operations at most ports along the West Coast. In the first week alone, it depressed the number of containers hauled by Canadian railways to barely half the level reached during the same period in 2022, according to the American Railroad Association.
  • Teck Resources Ltd. is making progress in evaluating the various offers put forward by prospective buyers of its steelmaking coal business, the Vancouver-based mining company said Thursday. On a conference call, CEO Jonathan Price declined to say whether a deal is imminent but said Teck’s board and an independent special committee are engaged with “multiple counterparties” and are progressing talks as quickly as possible.

Northwest Territories

  • W.T. Premier Caroline Cochrane, several territorial ministers and department experts provided an update on the ongoing response to the 1,000-square-kilometre wildfire that burned three homes in Behchokǫ̀ and has repeatedly closed Highway 3 to Yellowknife. “The Northwest Territories has been shaken by one emergency after another this year and this week’s evacuation has been distressing for many of us,” said Cochrane. She added it was “inspiring” to see the response from residents helping one another. 


  • New court orders have put Minto Metals Corp., which abandoned its central-Yukon mine in May, into full receivership and will also see the territorial government receive more than $1.7 million to settle a lawsuit over unpaid mining royalties. The British Columbia Supreme Court approved the two separate but connected orders Monday. The orders came from the province’s court because B.C.-incorporated Sumitomo Canada Limited had a purchase agreement with Minto, which was also registered in the province. The company filed a petition in B.C. court after Minto abandoned its mine, and the file was ultimately the one that triggered the receivership process.


  • Public roundtable meetings begin Thursday in Iqaluit on Baffinland’s latest proposal to ship more ore from its Mary River mine in Nunavut. The Iqaluit roundtable will happen over three days and hear from representatives of seven potentially affected communities in the North Baffin region along with other interested parties. Then, a public roundtable will be held in Pond Inlet on Tuesday and Wednesday to hear from people there. 

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