Key Messages for the Minister of Transport’s appearance before the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (TRAN)
INVEST IN CANADA'S TRADE CORRIDORS TO INCREASE GLOBAL MARKET ACCESS FOR CANADIAN GOODS
- Through the National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF), the Government will invest $2.3 billion between 2017 and 2028 to ensure that the transportation system continues to provide the global market access that Canadian businesses need to compete and grow. To date, more than 80 projects have been announced across the country, with federal funding leveraging total investments of over $3.6 billion from all public and private sector partners. More than 50 of these projects are already under construction or complete.
- Transport Canada continues to implement the NTCF continuous call for proposals for trade diversification projects. The call remains open and additional project announcements are forthcoming. At the same time, we are working with the federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous partners of the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework to identify priorities for the additional $400M in NTCF funding provided in Budget 2019 for Arctic and northern regions.
- Complementing these brick-and-mortar investments is ongoing work to ensure that the Government understands future pressures on the transportation system, and to enhance supply chain performance at Canada’s major ports. Together, these efforts ensure Canada is well positioned to capitalize on new trade opportunities.
CREATE HIGH FREQUENCY RAIL FOR THE TORONTO-QUEBEC CITY CORRIDOR
- The Prime Minister has signaled in my mandate letter the importance of creating High Frequency Rail for the Toronto-Quebec City Corridor, working with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.
- I am pleased to highlight that project design and due diligence work is being undertaken by a Joint Project Office, led by the Canada Infrastructure Bank and VIA Rail. As the High Frequency Rail initiative continues to advance, the Government will carefully consider this work as it determines next steps on the overall project.
- In June 2019, the Government committed $71.1 million, including funds from the Canada Infrastructure Bank, in order to establish a Joint Project Office. This office will undertake a range of important pre-procurement and de-risking activities (e.g., legal and regulatory work related to safety; an Impact Assessment; consulting with stakeholders and Indigenous communities; and completing technical engineering, financial, and commercial analyses).
MAKE THE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM MORE ACCESSIBLE FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
- Transport Canada will continue to collaborate with Employment and Social Development Canada to ensure that the transportation system is more accessible for persons with disabilities, and will work with the Canadian Transportation Agency in the development of new planning and reporting regulations to support the Accessible Canada Act in establishing duties for transportation providers.
- Transport Canada officials will continue to work with the Canadian Transportation Agency in the implementation of its Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations, and to support the launch of a second phase on regulatory reform to ensure barrier-free travel for all Canadians.
COMPLETE THE TRANSFER OF THE CATSA TO AN INDEPENDENT NOT-FOR-PROFIT ENTITY THAT WILL IMPROVE THE PASSENGER EXPERIENCE, INCLUDING A CLEAR SERVICE STANDARD TO LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF TIME TRAVELLERS WAIT IN AIRPORT CHECKPOINTS
- Transport Canada is engaging in negotiations with the independent not-for-profit entity (incorporated as Designated Screening Authority or DSA) with a view to transferring aviation security screening operations to the DSA as early as possible.
- The DSA is a private entity led by members of the air industry, which is expected to focus on improving performance to lower traveller wait times and improve the passenger experience, while maintaining the current high levels of security, once the transfer is complete.
IMPLEMENT MEASURES TO STRENGTHEN THE TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY AND EFFICIENCY OF CANADIAN AIRPORTS
- Based on analysis, including best practices in a variety of industries and stakeholder feedback, Transport Canada is working to identify options to could improve the transparency, accountability and efficiency of Canada’s airports, including with regard to such issues as the establishment of fees, proposed capital expenditures and aircraft noise.
CONTINUE TO IMPROVE THE SAFETY OF CANADA'S TRANSPORTATION SECTOR THROUGH A REVIEW AND MODERNIZATION OF RELEVANT LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS
- Transport Canada is modernizing its legislative and regulatory framework to ensure the safety of the travelling public, and meet the demands of the rapidly evolving transportation system. This work includes, for example, regulatory measures to strengthen rail safety through requirements for voice and video recorders on locomotives, safeguard pilots through regulations to address laser strikes, and update navigation safety regulations to improve maritime safety.
- In parallel, the department is modernizing its regulatory regime to be more agile and support innovation, including in areas involving automated vehicles and remotely-piloted aircraft systems. The department is also strengthening its regulatory process, with a focus on transparency and digital service delivery. This includes, for example, delivering licensing and certification programs through online platforms, and reducing red-tape by aligning with international standards.
ADVANCE TOWARD OUR ZERO-EMISSION VEHICLES TARGETS OF 10 PER CENT OF LIGHT-DUTY VEHICLES PER YEAR BY 2025, 30 PER CENT BY 2030 AND 100 PER CENT BY 2040
- I am happy to say that through the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles program, we are doing just that. As of January 31, 2020, over 36,000 Canadians and Canadian businesses have benefitted from the point-of-sale incentive. In 2019, sales of all new zero-emission vehicles reached 3% of new light-duty vehicles sales.
- However, we know that we will need to do more to reach our objectives for 2025 and beyond. That is why I will be working with my Ministerial colleagues to explore how we can best build upon the federal initiatives underway. Accelerating the adoption of zero-emission vehicles and meeting our sales targets is critical for both meeting and exceeding Canada’s 2030 climate change target and our pledge to attain net-zero emissions by 2050.
IMPLEMENT THE OCEANS PROTECTION PLAN TO DELIVER 24/7 EMERGENCY RESPONSE FOR INCIDENT MANAGEMENT, TO INCREASE ON-SCENE ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE CAPACITY, AND TO DEVELOP NEAR REAL-TIME INFORMATION ON MARINE TRAFFIC WITH INDIGENOUS AND COASTAL COMMUNITIES
- As we reach the 3rd year of the Oceans Protection Plan, Transport Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard continue work on concrete measures to improve: response capability in emergency situations; seamless coordination with other response partners; response to on-water emergencies; the amount of useful and trustworthy information on maritime activity available to coastal partners and stakeholders; the number of to Indigenous peoples engaged in the marine safety system; actions to restore coastal habitats; and, our mitigation of the impact of day-to-day vessel operations on marine mammals.
- The Government of Canada will also continue to work with Indigenous groups, coastal communities, provinces, territories and stakeholders to implement the Oceans Protection Plan and improve Canada’s marine transportation system and enforce responsible shipping practices.
SUPPORT EFFORTS THAT DEVELOP MARINE INFRASTRUCTURE AND CONVERT SHIPS FROM BURNING HEAVY OIL AND DIESEL TOWARD MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY FUELS, LIKE LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS
- Currently, marine shipping is almost completely dependent on use of high-carbon fossil fuels, with substantial technical, economic, and infrastructure barriers to the use of more environmentally friendly alternatives. The future of shipping lies in the transition to low and zero-emission ships that also employ the latest technologies to protect oceans, the world’s largest ecosystem.
- In 2020, my department will bring together federal partners and stakeholders to identify and assess potential pathways to reduce emissions in the marine sector both in the short term and in the future. This process will help us develop options for federal actions that complement existing efforts, with a view to bringing forward measures in the near future that support a transition to low-carbon fuels, contribute to our climate commitments and position Canada as a leader in new marine technologies.
COMPLETE THE PORTS MODERNIZATION REVIEW WITH AN AIM TO UPDATE GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE THAT PROMOTE INVESTMENT IN CANADIAN PORTS
- Our government believes that our major ports function well, but can be more even efficient facilitators of trade while optimizing their environmental sustainability.
- Following comprehensive consultations with stakeholders and partners under the Ports Modernization Review, work is underway to identify potential reforms that can serve to improve the efficiency of these important gateways. we look forward to announcing next steps this mandate.
WORK WITH VIA RAIL TO MAKE OPPORTUNITIES TO TRAVEL TO CANADA'S NATIONAL PARKS MORE ACCESSIBLE AND AFFORDABLE
- As you know, within my mandate is a commitment to work with VIA Rail to make opportunities to travel to Canada’s National Parks more accessible and affordable. While VIA’s routes include direct access to only a few national parks, VIA’s leadership is continually looking for new and novel ways to grow the business.
- Officials in my department have convened meetings with both Parks Canada and VIA Rail to assess a range of options. A timeline for implementation has not yet been developed. As with any new policy initiative, options and their implications need to be developed and consulted upon and brought forward for my decision.
CONTINUE PROGRESS ON PRIORITY BRIDGES: COMPLETING THE TOLL-FREE REPLACEMENT OF THE CHAMPLAIN BRIDGE; WORKING WITH THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT, THE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY COMPANY AND THE GOVERNMENT OF QUÉBEC TO BEGIN THE REHABILITATION OF THE PONT DE QUÉBEC; AND SUPPORTING THE WINDSOR-DETROIT BRIDGE AUTHORITY AS IT ADVANCES THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE GORDIE HOWE INTERNATIONAL BRIDGE
- The Quebec Bridge is a source of pride and historical marvel for the region of Québec City.
- Although responsibility for the Quebec Bridge was transferred to Infrastructure Canada in 2016, Transport Canada still has a mandate under the Railway Safety Act to certify the safety of railways, through inspections and compliance verification. There has been no area of concerns identified for the safety of users on the Québec Bridge.
- Transport Canada continues to work closely with Infrastructure Canada to achieve this governmental objective.
IN CONSULTATION WITH PROVINCES AND TERRITORIES, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND BUSINESS STAKEHOLDERS, (DEVELOP) A COMPREHENSIVE BLUE ECONOMY STRATEGY TO HELP GUIDE FUTURE GOVERNMENT ACTIONS AND INVESTMENTS THAT ENABLE CANADA TO GROW ITS OCEAN ECONOMY TO CREATE GOOD MIDDLE CLASS JOBS AND OPPORTUNITY FOR COASTAL COMMUNITIES WHILE ADVANCING OUR CONSERVATION OBJECTIVES
- The blue economy is of significant importance to Canadians in Atlantic, Pacific and Northern coastal communities, including rural and remote regions.
- Our Government recognizes the significant potential of the oceans sector and the possibilities for economic activity that is both responsible and sustainable.
- My colleague, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, has been given the mandate to work with other levels of government, Indigenous peoples and industry in developing a strategy to help guide future government actions and investment.
- I will be supporting the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in developing a path forward on this initiative, along with my colleagues the Ministers of Innovation Science and Industry, the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and the Minister of Natural Resources.
- As such, it would be more appropriate for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to respond to questions relating to this work.
If pressed on role played by the Minister of Transport:
- Transportation plays a key role in the blue economy – both as a sector and an enabler.
- The marine transportation sector alone generated $7.2 billion in economic activity in 2016.
Furthermore, my department plays a key regulatory function that enables and ensures maritime services and activities are conducted in a safe and environmentally sustainable way.