An overview of the Provincial and Territories Legislative Updates for the week of July 7, 2023.
Nova Scotia’s Utilities and Review Board has ruled that 3.74 cents per litre will be added to gasoline prices and 4.17 cents to diesel prices to account for the cost of new federal clean fuel regulations, which will begin to hit consumers on Friday. Newfoundland and Labrador imposed the exact same charges in that province early Thursday morning. The amounts are half of what is expected to be an eight-cent charge in New Brunswick.
The new chair of Vitalité Health Network says he expects the new, smaller, all-appointed boards of the two regional health authorities will be able to make faster reforms than the old, larger, partially-elected ones could. Tom Soucy says his comments are not based on anything personal about former or new members of Vitalité or Horizon, but rather from his experience with several private and public boards of directors.
The New Brunswick government has amassed nearly $41 million in security deposits collected from residential tenants in a practice that is unique in Canada and that critics say needs to change. The latest annual report from Service New Brunswick showed security deposits sitting at $40.9 million for the 2021-22 fiscal year, up from $36.4 million a year earlier. It is unclear from the numbers how much of the total came from people who had moved out and were entitled to get their deposits back.
Paul Prosper is one of two Mi’kmaw lawyers appointed to the Senate this week. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement in a statement on Thursday. The appointments were formally made by Gov. Gen. Mary Simon. Prosper, who has more than 25 years of experience in Indigenous legal issues, will fill the Senate vacancy for Nova Scotia. He has been a “life-long advocate for the rights of Indigenous people,” the statement reads.
The mayor of Pictou, N.S., says the town is getting frustrated with repeated ferry breakdowns putting the service between Nova Scotia and P.E.I. out of service. Northumberland Ferries has announced that the MV Confederation will remain out of action on Saturday and Sunday as it awaits repairs. “We depend a lot in spring, summer and fall seasons on traffic that travels on the ferries,” said Jim Ryan. It’s especially bad timing, he noted, because the annual Pictou Lobster Carnival is happening this weekend.
A former sex worker in Nova Scotia has successfully sued a client in small claims court for non-payment of services. She and her advocates hope the decision will change the legal landscape for sex work in Canada. The case relates to an incident in January 2022 when Brogan, whom CBC News is only identifying by her first name because she is a survivor of human trafficking, spent an evening with a client. Afterward, the client refused to pay the agreed-upon fee.
The 140 members of a union that represents Maritime Electric workers are now in a legal position to strike. Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1928 voted 89 percent in favour of a strike mandate after rejecting the P.E.I. utility company’s latest contract offer. Both parties had been negotiating a new collective agreement for the past six months.
The only ferry able and available to take vehicles and people between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia will not be back in action until at least Monday, July 10, operator Northumberland Ferries Ltd. said in a statement Thursday. “MV Confederation’s mechanical issue is expected to be resolved over the weekend. The required parts are due to arrive on Saturday, and an expedited repair, followed by extensive testing, will see the vessel back in service early next week,” the statement quoted senior vice-president Mark Wilson as saying.
Prince Edward Island’s housing shortage means some post-secondary students starting classes in September are having a very tough time finding somewhere to live. As the province’s population grows at a record pace, there isn’t enough housing to accommodate everyone — and that includes students moving here from other countries or elsewhere in Canada.
Only eight months after the last municipal election on Prince Edward Island, the community of Murray River is without a municipal council. Four of the eastern P.E.I. rural municipality’s six councillors have resigned since the election in November 2022, so the province has dissolved the council and appointed a trustee to run things. “It’s a little disappointing and frustrating,” said Paige Hart, the now-former mayor of Murray River. “We were getting things going with making our committees, economic development, our parks and rec committee.”
Newfoundland and Labrador
There are now nine companies with a chance to build green hydrogen projects on Crown land in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Department of Industry, Energy and Technology announced Thursday it has whittled down the list from 24 proposals by 19 different companies. The government is expecting to finish the second and final round of decisions by the end of August.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Judy White has been appointed to the Senate, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Thursday. White, a Mi’kmaw woman born and raised in Flat Bay in western Newfoundland, is a King’s counsel lawyer with a background in human rights issues, Indigenous governance and more. She previously served as an assistant deputy minister of Indigenous Affairs in Newfoundland and Labrador, became the first Indigenous woman to chair the province’s Human Rights Commission in 2019, and served as director general of Indigenous Services Canada.
When Kelsey Puddister-Collins opened an email from Newfoundland and Labrador Fertility Services on Tuesday, she said she was mortified to see the names and email addresses of over 100 people on the email list. Puddister-Collins’ information was among those shared in a data breach. The email was a survey about her experience in receiving the province’s fertility subsidy, which people can avail of when travelling out of the province for procedures like in vitro fertilization.
Oil production in Newfoundland and Labrador is slated to drop sharply within the next decade, peaking at the latest by the early 2030s, according to the Canada Energy Regulator (CER). In fact, offshore oil drilling could have nearly disappeared by 2050, according to a report released last month by the federal agency. The CER’s report charts how oil production in the provinces offshore would evolve in three scenarios:
If the planet reaches net zero by 2050.
If Canada reaches net zero, but the rest of the world lags.
Hundreds of townspeople in Lac-Mégantic, Que., fell silent on the lawn of the Sainte-Agnès church on Thursday as 47 bells echoed through town. They bowed their heads, honouring each life lost in the train derailment and explosion that levelled its downtown 10 years ago. Dignitaries stood, hands clasped, some laying bouquets of flowers on the nearby monument that lists the names of those who were killed.
The province of Quebec and several of its largest cities will no longer advertise on Facebook following Meta’s decision to block Canadians’ access to news on its platforms over a law requiring payments to local news publishers. “Meta’s refusal to share journalistic content is very concerning,” Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said on Twitter Wednesday. “Access to verified and quality news is essential.” Quebec City, Gatineau, Laval and Longueuil are doing the same.
As a heat wave causing temperatures to reach humidex values of 40 continued in Montreal Thursday afternoon, a sudden power outage hit about 200,000 Hydro-Québec customers on the island — including Trudeau Airport. The outage happened at around 3:30 p.m., affecting mostly the West Island and western Montreal. By 8 p.m., power had been restored to most customers. Hydro-Québec said the outages were due to a safety mechanism being triggered on one of its high-voltage lines.
The Quebec government has announced $50 million in emergency loans for businesses that have been affected by the wildfires raging in the province this summer. Businesses that lost more than half of their income over four consecutive weeks because of forest access bans or issues in the supply of goods and services will be eligible, according to Economy Minister Christopher Skeete.
Quebec City bus drivers approved an agreement between their union and the Réseau de transport de la Capitale (RTC) Wednesday, putting an end to the strike they started Saturday. The settlement comes just in time for the opening of the Festival d’été de Québec (FEQ), one of the city’s biggest summer events, which kicks off on Thursday. The strike could have continued until July 16, paralyzing bus services for the 11 days of the FEQ.
The federal government may have the ammunition it needs to derail Premier Doug Ford’s controversial plan to develop portions of Ontario’s Greenbelt, Global News can reveal. A briefing note prepared in March for Canada’s minister of the environment and climate change lists 29 at-risk species that live — or are likely to live — on the previously protected lands.
Toronto must get its “fiscal house in order” and Ottawa will have to step up to help the cash-starved city because Queen’s Park has done enough, says Premier Doug Ford. A day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heralded the election of mayor-elect Olivia Chow — but warned there would be no new federal money for the city — the premier stressed the province has already contributed much more to Toronto.
Caroline Mulroney was called to Ontario bar three days before getting the ‘King’s Counsel’ title. The title of “King’s Counsel” is intended for “lawyers who have demonstrated a commitment to the pursuit of legal excellence in service to the Crown, the public and their communities,” the Ford government said Friday.
Ontario is planning three more small modular reactors at the site of the Darlington nuclear power plant, an announcement that comes the same week the energy minister said the province is moving forward with a new, large-scale nuclear facility. The power generated by the small modular reactors — four in total, with one already being built at Darlington, located in Clarington, Ont., which is about 70 kilometres east of Toronto — and the large plant planned at Bruce Power on the shore of Lake Huron would be 6,000 megawatts, or enough to power the equivalent of six million homes around the mid-2030s.
The families of two First Nations women whose remains are believed to be in a Winnipeg-area landfill say they’re disheartened by the Manitoba government’s decision not to help pay for a search that could bring their loved ones home. “I am absolutely baffled at how things went down and how little to no respect was shown,” Cambria Harris said Thursday.
A review into Manitoba’s largest organization for youth and families in crisis has yielded 29 recommendations after allegations of mistreatment, racism and financial mismanagement were levelled at it in December. Of the 29 recommendations, 23 have already been implemented, said Kerri Irvin-Ross, CEO of the Link (formerly Macdonald Youth Services), located in Winnipeg. “Honestly, right now I’m grateful that we had this review. The Link is strong. It’s going to be stronger,” she said. “So we’re looking to move forward.”
Specialized MRI technology rare to Canada will soon be available for Manitobans battling cancer to add to their treatment arsenal, the province announced on Thursday. The $8.4-million machine will be housed at CancerCare Manitoba, providing enhanced imaging and advanced techniques to improve outcomes of cancer treatment. It is expected to begin operations in eight months, a news release from the province says. The president of CancerCare Manitoba says the MRI technology is rare in Canada, as it is only currently in use at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital, and Alberta has just purchased their own equipment.
Manitoba’s commissioner of elections has ruled the government violated a ban on advertising during election periods when it invited reporters to an event with Premier Heather Stefanson. Commissioner Bill Bowles said, however, that he does not believe the breach was intentional and it was extremely unlikely to have had any substantive effect on the outcome of the vote. The controversy stems from an announcement by WestJet in March 2022 that it was increasing service to Winnipeg. Stefanson was part of the announcement, and her press secretary reached out to some media outlets in advance to advise them of the event.
Premier Scott Moe is concerned about federal regulations and transportation issues making it harder to ship Saskatchewan’s resources across the world. Moe joined John Gormley Tuesday morning to raise the issues after getting back from the Western Premiers Conference. Moe said the government has seen these issues escalate in the last 15 years. Buyers in Germany and Japan have asked to purchase Saskatchewan’s liquefied natural gas (LNG), but the premier said there are persistent problems with both regulations and transportation that stand in the way.
Saskatchewan NDP Leader Carla Beck is urging Premier Scott Moe to take steps to resolve the surgical wait times in Saskatchewan, as knee and hip replacement waitlists are the longest in the country. New data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information and the Saskatchewan Health Authority shows that the median wait time in 2022 for hip replacements was 309 days, longer than every other province and nearly double the national average of 164 days.
The province’s information and privacy commissioner said the Saskatchewan government should not have shared an email from an Opposition MLA, but the government disagrees. Last month, privacy commissioner Ronald Kruzeniski released the findings of his investigation into Nathaniel Teed’s complaint that the government breached his privacy. About 10 months before Teed was elected as NDP MLA for Saskatoon Meewasin, he sent an email to the minister’s office that is responsible for Saskatchewan’s Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA.) Teed suggested the government should phase out public liquor stores.
Hundreds of faculty, staff and students at the University of Regina have signed a petition to the university’s president that calls for urgent action to address financial woes. The letter details concerns within the university community about the school’s budget shortfalls, as well as a 13.7 percent funding decrease for post-secondary institutions in Saskatchewan over the last four years. “We cannot understand why the university has not made a request to the provincial government for an increase in our operating grant. This should be a top priority,” the petition states.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to meet with Alberta Premier Danielle Smith today in Calgary, among other stops in the city as Stampede season gets underway. Trudeau and Smith are expected to discuss a number of issues including emission reductions and the federal government’s goal of having a net-zero electricity grid by 2035. Smith said in June prior to a meeting with the federal ministers of natural resources and intergovernmental affairs that Ottawa’s 2035 target wasn’t realistic for Alberta without a massive cost to the economy and jobs.
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says she feels “vindicated” after CBC News added an editor’s note to stories that were previously reported, citing sources, her office directly emailed Crown prosecutors about criminal cases against participants in the 2022 Coutts, Alta., protests that blockaded the Canada-U.S. border. The editor’s note says that following a review of its journalism, the sources could not confirm the existence of the alleged emails between her office and prosecutors. CBC News said sources still insisted prosecutors felt political pressure regarding the cases.
Alberta’s premier is calling on parliament to reconvene and bring in back-to-work legislation to end the B.C. port workers’ strike. Danielle Smith is meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday and says she’ll be bringing up the subject if the strike isn’t over by then. “Parliament isn’t scheduled to return until September, and from what I’ve seen, the two parties seem to be moving further away rather than closer together,” she said at an announcement on Tsuut’ina Nation Wednesday. “This would be devastating for Alberta.
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said Thursday her government is weighing its options when it comes to its response to animal tranquilizers being added to opioids and an elevated number of overdose deaths. “I have, obviously, a team that is working on this, led by [Minister of Mental Health and Addiction] Dan Williams, to see if there is anything more that we can do from a therapeutic point of view, to look at this new particular combination,” Smith said. “This is the answer that we have. We do not believe that there is such a thing as a safe supply of opioids.”
The B.C. government is considering pulling its advertising from Facebook, Instagram and other platforms run by tech giant Meta, after what Premier David Eby calls the company’s outrageous disregard for Canadian law. “I think the conduct of these companies is absolutely disgraceful,” Eby said in an interview Thursday, referencing not only Meta’s behaviour but also Google’s threat to cut off access to Canadian news sources as retribution for a new federal law that supports local media.
Yesterday in Vancouver, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, met with the Premier of British Columbia, David Eby. This meeting reaffirmed the close partnership between the governments of Canada and British Columbia. In the face of increasingly frequent and severe natural disasters, including wildfires, droughts, and floods, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Premier reiterated the need for continued action to fight climate change.
British Columbia is expanding a registry program province-wide in an effort to connect more patients with available family doctors, Health Minister Adrian Dix said Wednesday. The New Democrat government’s expanded Health Connect Registry, which launched July 1, aims to make it easier for B.C. patients to get a family doctor or nurse practitioner in their community by signing up for a primary care provider, he told a news conference.
The incumbent chief of Deninu Kųę́ First Nation (DKFN) was re-elected last Thursday, and now his sole competitor in that race is appealing the election. On Monday, Gordon Beaulieu, who lost the election for chief to Louis Balsillie, sent a letter of appeal to DKFN’s electoral officer outlining seven reasons why the election should be overturned. CBC News obtained a copy of that letter. “This was a rigged election!” Beaulieu writes. He says the June 29 election broke with the First Nation’s customary election regulations, and that band members who live outside Fort Resolution, N.W.T., weren’t given a fair chance to vote.
Some northerners may have noticed a payment that popped up in their bank account yesterday. The federal government started issuing one-time grocery rebate payments. The payments are meant to help alleviate the growing cost of food due to inflation; they range from $234 for an individual with no children, to $628 for a family with four kids.
The question of what makes a school a school took centre-stage in a Whitehorse courtroom Wednesday as the proponent behind a proposed downtown cannabis store sought to have the rejection of its retail licence application overturned. Community Cannabis Inc. went to the territorial Cannabis Licensing Board last year with the aim of opening a location at 2193 Second Ave. The board unanimously rejected Community Cannabis’s application in February, citing community members’ objections about the would-be store’s proximity to two Yukon Montessori School locations on Front and Keish streets.
Arctic security is under renewed focus as Russia and China eye the region, but leaders in the North say Canada won’t be able to exert sovereignty if their communities aren’t built up properly. The premiers from all three Northern territories say the federal government, while mindful of the need to strengthen Arctic security, has lacked a cohesive infrastructure plan to construct the foundation required to reach that goal.