WHITEHORSE, July 21, 2016 /CNW/ -
Premiers welcome the federal government's commitment to new infrastructure funding. This reinforces the economic growth, productivity and job creating capacity of infrastructure as a key pillar of Premiers' economic vision for Canada.
This funding builds on provincial and territorial investments, which have set the foundation for Canada's economic growth and strong, prosperous communities.
Provinces and territories have identified priority projects and are committed to working with our funding partners in getting projects up and running. Premiers are also looking for flexibility from new federal infrastructure programs to support sound infrastructure planning, and to ensure that funding rolls out within a reasonable timeframe, including this year's funding.
Premiers call on the federal government to work with provinces and territories to provide fair and flexible funding arrangements that reflect the priorities and fiscal plans of provinces and territories. Premiers agreed that federal infrastructure programs should follow a 'base-plus per capita' formula. These arrangements must also leverage the expertise of provinces and territories, and deliver the greatest impact for Canadians.
Innovation, productivity and competitiveness are fundamental building blocks of a strong, diversified economy that promotes growth and creates good jobs for Canadians. Canada's Premiers understand the importance of innovation and the role provincial and territorial governments play in fostering a culture of innovation and commercialization that supports thriving businesses and breakthrough research and development, inspires young people to create new ideas and encourages broad collaboration.
Through the Economic Productivity and Innovation Working Group, Canada's Premiers will continue to explore opportunities to enhance productivity and innovation, identify best practices and strive to close the gap between innovation and commercialization in an effort to bolster long-term sustainability and economic prosperity.
Provinces and territories also welcome the federal government's commitment to develop an innovation agenda and look forward to working with them on this important shared priority.
Canada's Premiers discussed the importance of international trade to Canada's prosperity. They highlighted the importance of Canada's continued relationship with our largest trading partner the United States (US). Premiers urged both federal governments to move quickly to negotiate a new agreement on softwood lumber that is fair and equitable and will allow stability for our lumber industries and communities that depend upon them. Today, Premiers wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau asking the Government of Canada to refute the unfair and inaccurate allegations of lumber subsidies by American interests and remain firm in its resolve to maximize Canadian access to the United States market as Canada continues to negotiate a new agreement.
Premiers called for the federal government to work with the world's second largest economy, the European Union (EU), to bring the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) into force as soon as possible.
Premiers continue to support our close business and trade relationships in both the United Kingdom and EU. Premiers agreed to undertake a trade mission to Europe in 2017 to demonstrate support for CETA and highlight the importance of Canadian business relationships within Europe.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an important opportunity to improve Canadian access to 40% of the global economy, contributing to job growth and other economic benefits. The federal government must affirm its support for TPP and work with its key TPP partners to ratify the agreement in a timely manner. When the TPP enters into force, it would become the world's largest free trade zone, spanning four continents and 800 million people. TPP countries have a combined GDP of $28 trillion.
Premiers emphasized that government and the private sector can both play a role in ensuring that Canadian industries adapt successfully to changing trade environments. Premiers expect the federal government to deliver on its promises of compensation associated with recent trade agreements.
Asia continues to grow in importance to Canada. Premiers called for more free trade agreements in the Asia Pacific region. They reiterated the need for provincial and territorial participation in international trade negotiations affecting areas under their jurisdiction.
Premiers discussed the need for efficient and effective transportation systems that support market access. They called for more federal infrastructure investment on Canada's trade gateways and corridors. The federal government must work with provinces and territories, and stakeholders, including through the Canada Transportation Act Review, to develop a long-term vision for Canada's transportation systems.
Immigration is a key economic driver and an integral part of the fabric of Canadian society.
This is a shared responsibility and provinces and territories are well placed to define and shape Canada's immigration system in partnership with the federal government. Provinces and territories understand best how the needs of their economies and labour markets can be addressed through immigration. Premiers call on the federal government for an increase in overall economic immigration levels including raising the caps on the provincial and territorial nominee programs in order to enable jurisdictions to respond to local labour market needs.
Over the last year, provinces and territories across Canada have welcomed refugees from around the world. In particular, over 25,000 refugees from Syria have arrived into hundreds of communities across the country since November 4, 2015. In order to support a successful transition to life in Canada, Premiers call on the federal government for sufficient funding for key services such as education, language training and workplace training.
Under the Canada-Québec Accord relating to immigration and temporary admission of immigrants, Québec fully assumes sole responsibility for establishing immigration levels, and for the selection, francization and integration of immigrants. In areas under its responsibility, Québec develops its policies and programs, legislates, regulates and sets its own standards. Canada's Premiers call on the federal government to establish an equivalent agreement to the Canada-Québec Accord with all provinces and territories.
The Francophonie is a fundamental element of the Canadian federation, currently representing 4% of our population outside Québec. Premiers call upon the federal government to increase the percentage of francophone immigration to Canada outside Québec to correspond to this level.
Effective employment and skills training programs are critical to help individuals succeed and enhance Canada's prosperity in the context of a changing economy.
However, there are segments of Canada's unemployed whose needs could be better met. With responsibility for the design and delivery of labour market programming, provinces and territories are committed to finding better ways to meet those needs. Following the consultations that are underway led by the Forum of Labour Market Ministers, provinces and territories expect that the federal government will work with them collaboratively to ensure the necessary funding and flexibility are provided to design and deliver services that address the specific needs of employers and individuals within their jurisdictions, that the permanent nature of existing agreements is preserved, that sufficient administrative funding is provided, and that no province or territory is adversely affected.
Premiers direct their labour market ministers to work with the federal government to consider how the existing labour market agreements could be more flexible, including broadening eligibility under Labour Market Development Agreements. Premiers ask their ministers to develop a new generation of labour market transfers. These should include federal investments that better meet the needs of under-represented groups including Indigenous peoples, youth, recent immigrants, persons with disabilities, and those who are not eligible for Employment Insurance benefits. This reaffirms responsibility and leadership of provinces and territories and avoids duplication with their programming.
SOURCE Canada's Premiers
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