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Provincial Government Developments - December

British Columbia

  • BC responds to federal Cannabis Legalization Task Force report – BC Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Morris, issued a statement in response to the recent report from the federal Cannabis Legalization Task Force. Minister Morris said, “[i]t’s clear, and encouraging, that the task force considered BC’s concerns as it developed a foundation for a new system of regulatory safeguards.” The task force’s report focused on: minimizing harms of use; establishing a safe and responsible supply chain; enforcing public safety and protection; medical access; and implementation considerations such as capacity, oversight, coordination, and communications. Minister Morris went on to say, “[t]he illegal market for cannabis that exists today has abetted criminal organizations while also saddling many young Canadians with the stigma and ramifications of a criminal record for possession. This report suggests that an opportunity is at hand to address these historical downsides while advancing public health and safety.”
  • BC reinvigorates Premier’s Technology Council with new mandate and new membership – The BC Premier’s Technology Council (PTC) has been given a revitalized mandate aiming to make the province one of the world’s top technology centres. The PTC provides advice to the Premier and her ministers on technology-related opportunities for the province. Council objectives include: wider use of medical data analysis in support of personalized medicine; increased availability and retention of skilled workers; an environment that helps companies grow to become large employers; improved highspeed Internet reaching 100 per cent of BC’s citizens; and initiatives that lead to a low-carbon future and that leverage BC’s clean tech ecosystem. The PTC consists of 15 members, nine of whom are newly appointed in conjunction with the reinvigorated mandate. Premier Clark said, “[t]his is the most diverse council yet—with eight women and seven men—and diversity across age, ethnicity, and background. The new PTC represents a spectrum of talent from across the tech sector to drive tech growth throughout BC.”
  • BC outlines plan to electrify oil and gas fields – In an effort to curb carbon emissions, BC Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett has outlined provincial plans to encourage oil and gas producers to switch to electricity to power their operations, rather than the current practice of burning natural gas. Under the new policy, BC Hydro will offer incentives for oil and gas producers to connect to the electricity grid. Producers in the South Peace region already have access to the grid by the Dawson Creek and Chetwynd Area Transmission Line. BC Hydro is looking at building two or more additional lines into more remote production areas, and the province is seeking federal funding to assist with that. The oil and gas industry produces around 18 per cent of BC’s greenhouse gas emissions.


  • Alberta signs Memorandum of Understanding to reinstate research ranches – Alberta Environment and Parks along with the University of Alberta have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will enable the Onefour and Stavely research ranches to provide opportunities for agricultural research. The two ranches were established in 1927 and 1947, respectively, and were dedicated to ranch and livestock fieldwork before they were closed in 2013. Through the MOU, they will become centres focused on improving rangeland management, promoting long-term economic and environmental sustainability, and conserving biodiversity.
  • Government of Alberta provides funding for a new training partnership in Fort McMurray –The Government of Alberta will partner with four Alberta colleges to provide extended apprenticeship training in the Wood Buffalo region. The partnership will bring in a mobile training lab from Northern Lakes College, allowing Keyano College to co-ordinate a temporary plumbing technical training program. The provincial government is providing up to $1 million for the partnership, while Grande Prairie Regional College will contribute instructional expertise, and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology will provide access to its curriculum. The program is expected to start in the spring of 2017.
  • Awarding of credits under Alberta’s Petrochemical Diversification Program –The Government of Alberta has chosen two projects to receive royalty credits under the Petrochemical Diversification Program, which was established to encourage construction of new petrochemical facilities in the province. The first project, a joint venture between the Pembina Pipeline Corporation and Petrochemical Industries Company, will receive up to $300 million in royalty credits and is expected to begin construction in 2019. The second project, led by Inter Pipeline, will receive up to $200 million in royalty credits and is expected to begin construction in 2017. These projects are expected to generate over 4,000 jobs during construction and nearly 250 full -time jobs during operations.
  • Alberta completes trade mission to China and Japan – Minister of Economic Development and Trade Deron Bilous travelled to China and Japan from November 15 to 27 with a delegation of 86 Alberta businesses and organizations. Key highlights include a partnership between InnoTech Alberta, Alberta Innovates, and Hokuetsu Kishu Paper to research cellulose nanocrystals as well as a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the provincial government and the Guangdong Province Department of Science and Technology. The MOU will help the governments of Alberta and Guangdong share economic and trade expertise and technologies and promote commercial development.


  • Joint provincial-federal funding for affordable housing project in Regina – The governments of Canada and Saskatchewan, along with the City of Regina and Halifax Holdings West, have begun construction on a jointly-funded 45-unit affordable rental housing project for individuals with complex needs. The federal and provincial governments are jointly contributing approximately $2 million toward 20 of the 45 units under the Canada-Saskatchewan Investment in Affordable Housing 2014- 2019 Agreement. Approximately $3.5 million in funding will be provided by Halifax Holdings West, and the City of Regina is also contributing $705,000.
  • Canada and Saskatchewan provide joint funding for water and wastewater upgrades –The Government of Saskatchewan is accepting applications for infrastructure projects under the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund and the Provincial Territorial Infrastructure Component (PTIC). Saskatchewan will receive funding of $89.3 million from the Government of Canada during Phase One, while the province committed to provide $44.2 million. PTIC, announced in 2014, will receive $240.2 million in federal funding for eligible projects. These projects are funded one-third each by the federal government, provincial government, and recipients. Investments in infrastructure projects are essential to long-term growth as well improving the quality of life of Saskatchewan’s citizens and helping to keep the province strong.


  • Premier's Enterprise Team announced – Premier Brian Pallister announced his appointments to the Premier’s Enterprise Team (PET) during his annual State of the Province Address to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. The PET will be an independent advisory panel of entrepreneurs that will provide advice and recommendations for job creation and economic development across Manitoba.
  • New funding for Centre for Environmental and Economic Resilience –Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart announced more than $1.1 million in federal and provincial funding to create a Centre for Environmental and Economic Resilience at the Canadian Mennonite University. The Centre will be an academic hub allowing partnering organizations to collaborate on research, host conferences, and provide co-op employment opportunities for students.
  • Land transferred to First Nation – The Manitoba government transferred ownership of land and buildings in the Big Eddy settlement to the Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN). The transfer, which was identified by OCN as part of a treaty entitlement agreement, includes 11 houses, three duplexes, and 14 vacant lots. Current residents will be allowed to remain with OCN as their landlord.