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Provincial Government Developments

British Columbia

  • BC election results decided – A week after the BC Liberal government Throne Speech, which included many newly proposed NDP and Green Party policy ideas, NDP leader John Horgan introduced a motion of non-confidence against the BC Liberal government. The motion passed 44-42, with all NDP and Green members voting in favour, and all Liberal members voting against. Following the vote, Premier Christy Clark met with Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon (Lt.-Gov) to announce she no longer had the confidence of the house and asked for the dissolution of government and a new election. The Lt.-Gov. denied the request and asked John Horgan to form the next BC provincial government and become the 36th premier, which he accepted.


  • Alberta’s Oil Sands Advisory Group provides advice on oil sands cap – The Oil Sands Advisory Group (OSAG) has completed phase one of its three-phase mandate. Phase one includes advice to the Government of Alberta on growing oil sands production in compliance with the province’s legislated 100 megatonne annual cap on oil sands emissions. OSAG recommends the province adopt early actions such as requiring new or expanding facilities to use the Best Available Technology Economically Achievable (BATEA) as well as triggers if emissions approach the limit. Phase two, which will be carried out by existing OSAG board members, is to provide advice on targeted investments that will yield the greatest emissions reductions. The Government of Alberta is currently recruiting new board members for phase three, which will focus on regional land based management and improving environmental performance.
  • Alberta’s Energy Minister meets with US legislators – Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd traveled to Bismarck, North Dakota from June 22 to 25 to engage with representatives of the Energy Council. Alberta and Saskatchewan are international affiliates of the Council, which comprises state-level legislators from energy-producing and refining states. On the trip, Minister McCuaig-Boyd promoted Alberta’s energy policies as well as North American energy trade and security. In 2016, Alberta’s exports to Energy Council states totaled $14.7 billion, 68 percent of which was oil and gas.
  • Alberta Minister attends biotech mission to California – From June 16-21, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Deron Bilous, participated in the 2017 Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) International Convention in San Diego. The convention features innovative biotechnologies and pharmaceuticals and attracts approximately 16,000 participants from 76 countries. According to the Government of Alberta, Alberta delegations at BIO have attracted more than $40 million in health research investments over the past 10 years. Following the convention, Minister Bilous also met with local companies to expand contacts made in a previous investment attraction mission in the region in April.
  • Government of Alberta expands export grant program – The Government of Alberta has raised the maximum limit for its Export Readiness Micro-Voucher Program from $5,000 to $10,000, following feedback from Alberta companies and international business consultants. Micro-vouchers are used by Alberta companies to offset the costs of developing international market assessments or business plans focused on one country. The program was initially announced in August 2016 and is being delivered by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade in partnership with Alberta Innovates.
  • Wood Buffalo Wildfire review report released – The Alberta government has released a KPMG report on the review of the government response to the Wood Buffalo wildfire in May 2016. Although improvements have been made in responding to disasters since the Slave Lake fire in 2011, the authors note that further work needs to be done to improve outcomes of future disasters, regardless of their scale. There were 31 recommendations in the report, all of which the government has committed to implement, for a cost of $10 million over three years with the majority of the funding provided from existing budgets. 
  • Alberta Green Certificate Program receives new funding – The Government of Alberta has announced $400,000 in course fee funding for high school students pursuing training in various agri-food related careers under the apprenticeship-style Green Certificate Agricultural Training Program (GCP). GCP was set up in conjunction with the agriculture industry and provides material and hands-on training for technician roles ranging from beekeeping to field crop to animals. Around 750 students participate in the GCP each year. Course fees (approximately $1,000 per year) had been cited as the biggest obstacle to participating in the program.
  • Rural infrastructure projects in Alberta receive $100 million in funding – The Government of Alberta announced $100 million in funding for 87 rural projects under its Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program (STIP). $37 million of the funding will be spent on projects in 2017-18, with the remaining balance distributed over the following two years. The funding is assigned to a variety of road, bridge, park, trail, and community airport projects, including a significant asphalt overlay at Slave Lake Airport to support the region’s forestry air tanker base and medevac service.
  • Alberta Announces New Indigenous Wisdom Advisory Panel – The Government of Alberta announced the Indigenous Wisdom Advisory Panel, which will provide strategic advice and recommendations to Alberta’s Chief Scientist on how to meaningfully incorporate Indigenous perspectives and traditional ecological knowledge into environmental monitoring. This panel is the first legislated Indigenous advisory body of its kind in Canada; it is made up of seven members including academics, industry experts, and Elders.
  • Alberta caps regulated electricity rates – The Government of Alberta introduced legislation proposing a rate cap on regulated electricity of 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour from June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2021. Since the Regulated Rate Option is the default electricity contract for 60 percent of Albertans, a rate cap would make power bills more affordable and predictable. The Government will take steps to ensure the rate remains below the regulated amount, but if it should exceed, funding from the carbon tax revenue will be used to subsidize the cost for consumers.


  • Government of Saskatchewan implements provincial tax changes – As part of the provincial budget’s tax-reduction commitments, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that starting on July 1, 2017 Saskatchewan Personal Income Tax rates will drop by half a percentage point and will drop by another half point on July 1, 2019.  Combined, these two reductions will lower personal income tax rates from the current 11 percent/13 percent/15 percent to 10 percent/12 percent/14 percent when fully implemented. These rate reductions will save a single Saskatchewan taxpayer, with no dependents and an annual income of $50,000, about $77 per year in each of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. Also starting July 1, to mitigate the effect of the recent Provincial Sales Tax increase, the Low Income Tax Credit is going up. With the implementation of all these changes, Saskatchewan will have the second-highest combined personal tax credit amounts in Canada.
  • Premier of Saskatchewan meets with US governors – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall travelled to Whitefish, Montana June 25-26 to attend the Western Governors’ Association’s (WGAs) annual meeting of the governors of western states. The Premier also participated in a roundtable panel on “connecting Canada and the West” with his US counterparts and Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton. The Premier stated that any renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will build on decades of success and recognize the integration of supply chains between Canada, Saskatchewan, and the US. In 2016, Saskatchewan exported $4.7 billion worth of products to the WGA region. Top exports included crude oil, oil cake, potash, and canola oil.
  • Saskatchewan will not receive a provincial allocation from the Low Carbon Economy Fund – The Government of Saskatchewan is not eligible to receive funding from the $1.4 billion Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund which is being administered under the recently announced $2 billion federal Low Carbon Economy Fund. The Leadership Fund will provide support for provinces and territories that have adopted the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to help them deliver on their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Saskatchewan and Manitoba have not adopted the Framework and, as a result, will not receive a provincial allocation, which includes base funding of $30 million plus a per capita-based amount. The two provinces have until the end of 2017 to sign on to the Pan-Canadian Framework and receive their share of the Fund; otherwise the potential allocations will be transferred to the $600 million Low Carbon Economy Challenge Fund, which will support projects by governments, Indigenous organizations, and the private sector across Canada. The Government of Saskatchewan has indicated that it intends to apply for project funding despite not having adopted the Pan-Canadian Framework.
  • Saskatchewan joins the federal Early Learning and Child Care Framework Agreement – The Deputy Premier and Education Minister of Saskatchewan, Don Morgan, joined his federal, provincial, and territorial counterparts to announce the province’s participation in the Early Learning and Child Care Framework Agreement. The Framework will provide a federal investment of $7.5 billion over 11 years to continue improving access and affordability to early learning programs and child care for families in Saskatchewan. The Government of Saskatchewan and the federal government will partner to develop a three-year investment plan that aligns with the provincial Early Years Plan.
  • Canada and Saskatchewan jointly fund water and wastewater projects – The governments of Saskatchewan and Canada announced funding for 75 new water and wastewater projects throughout the province. This investment represents joint federal, provincial, and local partner funding of more than $94 million to support the building of new sewage treatment lagoons, upgrades to sewage pumps, and improving drinking water supply systems. The federal government will contribute more than $45 million toward these projects with the Government of Saskatchewan providing approximately $25 million and local partners covering the remainder of the cost.


  • Manitoba designates two new provincial parks – The Manitoba government has designated Goose Island and Grand Island as provincial parks. Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox noted that the islands, located in the northern basin of Lake Winnipegosis, will be protected and remain undeveloped. The lands have historical significance as traditional lands of the Anishinaabe people from Pine Creek First Nation and other surrounding Indigenous communities.
  • Province launches a review of college education – A comprehensive review of college education has been launched in Manitoba to help identify opportunities to strengthen the system, improve outcomes for students, and focus programming on skills needed in the provincial labour market. The review will be completed in partnership with public post-secondary institutions delivering college level programming. A report to government is expected in late 2017.