Federal Budget 2018
Canada’s Finance Minister, Hon. Bill Morneau, released his government’s third federal budget on February 27th. Titled "EQUALITY GROWTH: A Strong Middle Class", it continues the government’s focus on the middle class and the economy, but clearly reconfirms their commitment to innovation, to the environment and to First Nations. New this year is the very strong focus on gender equity.
Here’s a quick review of some highlights that might be of interest to our water sector:
Continued Commitment to Innovation
- $2.6 billion to innovation programs
- Strategic Innovation Fund shifting away from smaller projects to larger projects over $10 million
- Business-Academia Collaboration - $140 million over 5 years for collaborative projects at colleges and polytechnics
- great opportunities for our private sector members, academics and participating municipalities as well as national partners like Canadian Water Network
Investing in Canadian Science and Research
- $4 billion to Canada’s research system
- notes clean air and water
- $1.7 billion over 5 years to grant councils and research institutes
- $1.3 billion over 5 years to invest in laboratories, equipment and research infrastructure
- more opportunities for those of us in research
Economic Strategy Tables
- Clean tech
- Clean resources
- Digital industries
- Health & bio-sciences
- water and wastewater fit into all these strategies
- Clear target for addressing drinking water on reserves
- $1.8 billion announced in 2016 augmented by an additional $ 172.6 million
- "The government is firm on its commitment: all long-term drinking water advisories on public water systems on reserve will be lifted by March 2021."
- "Ensure access to clean drinking water on reserve to prevent future long-term drinking water advisories, and invest in First Nations’ capacity to operate and maintain their water systems."
- "It is unacceptable that any person living in Canada should be unable to safely drink the water that comes out of their taps."
- "investments to assist efforts to recruit, train and retain water operators, and establish innovative First Nations-led service delivery models."
- Very strong statements that are applicable to all communities
Rules to Protect the Environment
- $1 billion over 5 years to support the proposed new impact assessment system
Stronger Federal Cyber Governance System
- $155.2 million over 5 years then $44.5 million/year going forward
- To create a new Canadian Centre for Cyber Security
- "a single, unified Government of Canada source of unique expert advice, guidance, services and support on cyber security operational matters"
- This is in line with recent CWWA/Dalhousie U/Public Safety Canada research into water utility resilience and work toward new programs for municipal water systems.
Equality and Gender Wage Gap
- Legislating "proactive pay equity regime in federally regulated sectors
- Greater flexibility around parental leave – encouraging fathers to take more parental leave
- $7.5 billion over 11 years for accessible and affordable child care and early learning
- Women Entrepreneurship Strategy
- $105 million over 5 years through regional development agencies, Business Development Bank and international trade efforts
- $20 million over 5 years for Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women
- National Symposium on Women and the Workforce to identify and address issues
- inspiring for all our female members... and for my own daughter. Opportunities for municipalities to be the leaders in these efforts
Youth Employment Strategy
- $448.5 million over 5 years for this employment strategy and the Canada Summer Jobs program
- lots of opportunities for utilities to hire students
Read the budget yourself! https://www.budget.gc.ca/2018/docs/plan/toc-tdm-en.html