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Provincial Government Developments

British Columbia

  • New Premier and cabinet sworn in – On July 18, 2017, John Horgan was sworn in as the 36th Premier of BC. Premier Horgan's new cabinet is the first in BC's history to achieve gender parity with 10 women named to cabinet and one to minister of state. Ministerial portfolios highlight the government's intention to improve the quality of life and job opportunities within the province, including a Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, a Minister of State for Child Care, and a Minister for Social Development and Poverty Reduction. There were also a number of changes to appointments at the Deputy Minister level.

  • New BC government's first moves – Mandate letters to each of the cabinet ministers in BC's new government were publicly released on July 24. Ministers have been instructed to deliver on three key priorities – "relief for families from rising costs and fees; better services for people, including healthcare and education; and good jobs and economic opportunities." The new government began addressing its key priorities with an announcement to increase income and disability assistance by $100 a month, moving BC from having the lowest provincial assistance rate to the third highest. In addition, Premier Horgan announced changes in leadership within BC's crown corporations, including BC Hydro, BC Housing and the Insurance Corporation of BC.

  • Immigration to support BC's growing tech sector – BC is prioritizing the applications of potential immigrants with skills and experience in the Information Technology (IT) sector. The province has been conducting tech-only immigration draws under the Provincial Nominee Program since May, reinforcing the government's commitment to support and grow BC's technology sector. The provincial nominee program allows provinces to nominate prospective immigrants with the qualifications they are targeting.

Alberta

  • Alberta announces new climate programs for Indigenous communities – On June 29, the Government of Alberta announced the creation of seven new programs designed to help Indigenous communities invest in local renewal projects, conduct energy-efficiency audits and deliver skills training for jobs in a low-carbon environment. These programs were announced in Alberta's Climate Leadership Plan and will be funded by $35 million of Carbon Tax revenue.

  • Alberta provides funding for Calgary LRT – The province announced $1.53 billion in funding over eight years for the construction of the Calgary Green Line LRT, matching equal contributions from The City of Calgary and the federal government. The Green Line will traverse a 46km, north-south route through central Calgary to improve public transit access and connectivity by linking 28 stations, two existing LRT lines and three bus rapid transit lines. The new LRT line will be built in stages as funding becomes available, with construction of the first of three stages set to begin in 2019. The provincial government estimates that the Green Line will create 12,000 direct and 8,000 indirect jobs.

  • Province announces funding through Emissions Reduction Alberta – Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is funding 12 innovative methane-reducing projects as part of its Methane Challenge to detect, quantify and reduce methane emissions. Selected projects in the oil and gas, power generation, agriculture and forestry sectors will receive up to $29.5 million funding. It is estimated that the combined projects, worth more than $83 million, will reduce over 1.1 megatonnes (Mt) of methane by 2020 and 6.9 Mt by 2030, and create 60 jobs. ERA's Oil Sands Innovation Challenge is leveraging another $50 million to provide $100 million in funding for winning technologies that will allow oil sands operations to meet the greenhouse gas emissions limit by 2030.

  • Alberta funds projects through the Entrepreneurship Incubator Program – The Government of Alberta has announced $10 million in funding for entrepreneurial development through its two-year Alberta Entrepreneurship Incubator Program (AEIP). The Red Deer Downtown Business Association will receive $600,000 to expand its Catapult Entrepreneurs Incubator. In addition, Startup Edmonton, TEC Edmonton, Northern Alberta Business Incubator (NABI) and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) will receive $1.5 million to provide a new suite of services for innovation based startups. The Apex Incubator in Medicine Hat and the Spark! Incubator in Grande Prairie have previously received funding from the AEIP.

  • Changes made to the Canada-Alberta Job Grant – The Canada-Alberta Job Grant (CAJG) was recently improved to expand access to training and offer more ways for Alberta employers to train workers, as well as a $5.5 million budget increase over 2016-17. Launched in 2014, the CAJG is an employer-driven training program delivered by the Government of Alberta with funding from the federal government. Changes include covering 100 percent of training costs, up to $15,000, for unemployed trainees, reimbursing a portion of travel costs for trainees coming from outside of Calgary or Edmonton and allowing sole proprietors to apply for training for their workers.

SASKATCHEWAN

  • Saskatchewan launches Innovation Incentive – On June 30, 2017, the government of Saskatchewan proclaimed the Saskatchewan Commercial Innovation Incentive (SCII) Act. The SCII is the first "patent box" style incentive in North America, and will reduce the provincial, corporate income tax rate for eligible corporations on taxable income earned from the commercialization of qualifying intellectual property (IP). Eligible IP includes patents, plant breeders' rights, trade secrets and copyright material. The SCII will enable corporations to reduce their income tax for a period of ten years, with an additional 5-year extension available if the majority of the related research and development takes place in Saskatchewan.

  • SaskPower issues a request for proposals on a wind power project – On July 6, 2017, SaskPower moved forward on the competitive process to acquire an additional 200 megawatts of wind generation capacity by inviting eight independent power producers to submit proposals by May 25, 2018. SaskPower, a Crown-owned utility, has committed to increasing the province's share of renewable energy generation from 25 per cent to 50 per cent by 2030. Increasing the share of renewable energy in the province's electricity system has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to roughly 40 per cent below 2005 levels.

MANITOBA

  • Province of Manitoba requesting proposals for Social Impact Bonds – The government of Manitoba has posted a request for proposals for the development of their first Social Impact Bond (SIB) which will fund provincial social programs. SIBs encourage the private sector and community groups to partner with government to deliver programs designed by experts and front-line service organizations. The government sets a specific outcome to achieve in collaboration with service providers, secures private investment and then repays the investors if the service provider meets the project's outcome. The participation of Indigenous businesses has been encouraged.

  • Manitoba facilitates propane shipments to Churchill – The Manitoba government has committed $6 million to ensure that the community of Churchill will have sufficient propane to heat their homes and businesses throughout the winter. The funding will allow provider Stittco Energy to proceed with finalizing logistics for shipment and storage in order to supply Churchill with propane. This allotment of propane should support the town and area residents until at least June 2018. The shipment includes 110 shipment containers of propane, totaling 2.2 million litres, shipped by sealift from a port in Quebec in early fall.