Canada-wide Update | Highlights

February 26, 2024


Highlights from Crestview Strategy’s weekly Canada-wide newsletter:


Premier Danielle Smith signals fiscal restraint in upcoming budget during televised address

In a televised prelude to Alberta’s upcoming budget on February 29, Premier Danielle Smith announced plans to trim spending and significantly grow the Heritage Savings Trust Fund to reduce the province’s dependence on resource revenue by 2050.Smith instructed Finance Minister Nate Horner to keep government spending below the legislated rate cap of inflation plus population growth. The government plans to release a financial plan by the end of the year to grow the Heritage Fund to between $250 billion and $400 billion by 2050. Smith’s approach to finances will apply to future budgets regardless of resource revenue fluctuations, with a focus on prioritizing health, education, and social services.

Atlantic Canada

N.S. Liberal MLA Brendan Maguire joins PCs, named Minister of Community Services

Nova Scotia MLA Brendan Maguire has crossed the floor to join the Progressive Conservatives and will serve as the new Minister of Community Services. He replaces PC MLA Trevor Boudreau who stepped down from cabinet for personal and health reasons. While Maguire has been critical of the PC government in the past, he has also found areas of alignment and noted in a statement, “Premier Houston and his government have shown a focus on getting things done by building up housing, healthcare, and jobs across Nova Scotia. I want to be part of the team under Premier Houston’s leadership that is delivering for Nova Scotia.” Minister of Advanced Education Brian Wong will also assume responsibility for L’Nu Affairs. Liberal Leader Zach Churchill wished Maguire well, sayinghe hoped his values would have a positive impact and lead to policies that benefit struggling Nova Scotians.  The current seat count in the legislature, which resumes sittings on February 27th, is now 33 PCs, 15 Liberals, 6 NDP and 1 Independent.

British Columbia

B.C. election budget boosts family benefits as deficit soars to $7.9B

The B.C. election-year budget aims to support families and small businesses with increased spending, despite forecasting a $7.9 billion deficit and less than 1% economic growth. Key measures include a home-flipping tax to deter real estate speculation and funding for one cycle of free in-vitro fertilization. The budget also provides a boost to the B.C. Family Benefit and a one-time electricity credit to help with rising costs. Critics, including BC United Opposition Leader Kevin Falcon, argue that the budget is reckless and inflationary, while Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau believes it misses an opportunity for bold investments.


Ontario to repeal wage-cap law after Appeal Court rules Ford government’s Bill 124 unconstitutional.

The Ford government announced it will not pursue another court appeal and will now shift to repeal Bill 124 in the coming weeks.Introduced in 2019, the law limits annual salary increases for many parts of the public sector in Ontario. According to the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario, Bill 124 will cost a total of about $13.7 billion.


The Ontario legislature returns with the introduction of the Get It DoneAct

On Tuesday, the Ford government tabled the new Get It Done Act. The Act will streamline housing development, ban tolls on certain highways, and put carbon pricing policies to referenda. The legislation will also reverse Ontario’s recent urban boundary changes and will streamline environmental assessment process on lower-risk projects like Highway 413 and the Hazel McCallion Light Rail Transit line extension.


Ontario awards Toronto with $114-million in bonus funding for exceeding its housing target

Ontario Premier Doug Ford praised Toronto for exceeding its housing targets. The city had more than 31,000 housing starts last year —approximately 50 percent higher than the province’s set target. In return, Ontario has allocated $114 million to assist with infrastructure and other housing-related expenses. This funding, unveiled by Premier Ford and Mayor Chow at Toronto City Hall, is part of the Building Faster Fund, designed to incentivize municipalities that exceed provincial housing targets. Provincial dataindicates that in 2023, 19 out of the 50 largest cities in Ontario surpassed their goals, with seven others approaching them closely, while 24 fell short by significant margins. Thursday’s announcement at City Hall marked one in a series of events featuring Mayor Chow and Premier Ford who prior to the 2023 Toronto mayoral election had cautioned against Chow’s potential election, branding her as an “unmitigated disaster.” However, since her election, he has lauded the new mayor and collaborated with her on a fresh financial arrangement for the city.


To stay informed on the latest in Canadian current affairs and access top stories subscribe to our weekly newsletter

book a call

Get in touch with our team so we can craft a solution tailored to achieve your strategic objectives.

Book a call