Canada Wide Update – Highlights

December 18, 2023


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


Alberta holding in-person town halls on health care system revamp in January

The Alberta government is launching in-person engagement sessions across the province in January to gather feedback on its restructuring of the healthcare system. The United Conservative government committed to consult with health care workers and the public after it unveiled the reorganization in November. Health Minister Adriana LaGrange emphasized the importance of engaging with healthcare professionals, patients, and all Albertans to create a more effective and accessible healthcare system. The government’s restructuring plan involves transitioning to a single provincial health system model split into four high-level units: primary care, acute care, continuing care, and mental health agencies.

Atlantic Canada

Indigenous economy generates billions in goods and services across Atlantic region

New research from the Atlantic Economic Council reveals the significant economic impact of Indigenous businesses in Atlantic Canada. The interim report, released on behalf of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chief Secretariat, indicates that the Indigenous economy contributed 5% to the region’s GDP and over 8% to the region’s jobs. In 2020, the Indigenous economy added $3.6 billion to Atlantic Canada’s GDP, with $1.3 billion contributed by Nova Scotia. The research, based on preliminary results from Statistics Canada’s Indigenous Peoples Economic Account, shows the growth of Indigenous entrepreneurship, with 660 Indigenous-owned businesses and 2,400 self-employed individuals in Nova Scotia as of 2021. The number of self-employed individuals in the Indigenous community grew by 37% between 2016 and 2021, surpassing the non-Indigenous population, reflecting a strong entrepreneurial spirit.

British Columbia

Vancouver council passes motion asking province to dissolve elected park board

Vancouver City Council has voted 8–3 to formally request the province to dissolve the independently elected park board, transferring its responsibilities to the council. The motion, led by Mayor Ken Sim, proposes a six-month transition committee to initiate the dissolution process, arguing that the current governance structure is outdated and inefficient. While critics, including Green Coun. Adriane Carr, oppose the move, Sim contends that abolishing the park board would save money and improve efficiency, although no cost estimate has been provided yet.


Ontario abandoning plans to dissolve Peel Region
Premier Doug Ford’s government in Ontario has reversed its decision to dissolve Peel Region, opting to recalibrate the Peel Region Transition Board’s mandate to enhance regional services. The move addresses concerns with tax hikes and service disruptions. The decision, announced by Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Paul Calandra, comes less than a year after the initial dissolution plan was introduced. The change follows public backlash and feedback from municipal leaders.


Bill C-56 Affordable Housing and Groceries Act receives Royal Assent

Bill C-56, the Affordable Housing and Groceries Act, received Royal Assent on Friday, marking a significant stride in the federal government’s economic strategyThis legislation entails several key provisions, notably removing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from new rental housing to encourage the construction of more long-term rental accommodations. This move is expected to reduce construction costs, particularly for apartment buildings, student housing, and seniors’ residences. Additionally, the Act amends the Competition Act to reinforce competition, particularly in the grocery sector, by granting greater authority to the Competition Bureau. These enhancements aim to curb unfair practices by dominant companies, prevent anti-competitive mergers, and deter collaborations that restrict competition and consumer choice, particularly among larger grocers. This bill, the inaugural piece of legislation introduced in the fall parliamentary session, aligns with the government’s broader efforts to expedite home construction, and enhance affordability for Canadians.


Council officially approves ‘historic’ new deal with province

On Wednesday, the Toronto City Council unanimously approved the “historic” deal with the province aimed at addressing Toronto’s precarious financial situation. This endorsement follows the joint announcement by Mayor Olivia Chow and Premier Doug Ford on November 27, outlining plans to transfer municipal highways to Ontario and secure up to $9 billion in provincial funding relief for the city. Through a motion moved by Mayor Olivia Chow, City Council has also requested the Government of Canada to become a full partner in the New Deal. Seeking a financial boost from Ottawa, the city and province are jointly requesting $2.72 billion under the deal. This includes allocations such as $853 million for refugee support, $675 million for homeless shelters, and $758 million earmarked for acquiring 55 new trains for the Line 2 subway.

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