Humanitarian Aid for Libya
March 2, 2011 -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that Canada is delivering up to $5 million in humanitarian aid to support the Libyan people.
“Canada is acting swiftly to help meet the humanitarian needs of the people of Libya which are a result of recent violence in that country,” said Prime Minister Harper. “We are taking action to provide immediate humanitarian support to areas that need it most.”
Since February 16, the Libyan regime's response to the popular uprising has resulted in the death of hundreds of people. In addition, tens of thousands of people are now fleeing the violence, crossing into Tunisia and Egypt; many more are unable to leave their homes and villages.
Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), will help to address urgent medical requirements, basic humanitarian needs, and the repatriation of people displaced into Tunisia and Egypt.
Canada's help will include improving access to food, water, sanitation, shelter and emergency medical care.
The initial contribution being announced today will support humanitarian efforts through the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of the Red Cross and the International Organization for Migration.
The development assistance being announced today is one of several measures that our Government is taking, in concert with the international community, to help address the current crisis in Libya.
Cutting Red Tape on Steel Imports
April 1, 2012 - Government of Canada new trade initiative will save steel companies $10 million per year and contribute to economic growth and long-term prosperity.
The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today announced the implementation of a new import system for steel and steel products. This measure, taking effect today, will reduce congestion at the Canada-U.S. border and remove the financial and administrative burden facing Canadian businesses.
“This is good news for the Canadian steel industry,” said Minister Fast. “This new system will reduce business costs, facilitate cross-border trade and improve the monitoring of steel imports, thereby saving Canadian steel companies $10 million a year. Lower costs for businesses mean more jobs and higher wages for workers, both of which contribute to economic growth and long-term prosperity for hardworking Canadians.”
Canadian manufacturers, producers, distributors and purchasers of imported steel and steel products will no longer be required to obtain individual permits. Instead, they will use general import permits for all steel imports covered by the Federal Import Control List. Once implemented, the new border measure will eliminate the need for some 270,000 permits annually.
“Modernizing this administrative process will save millions of dollars,” said David Sweet, Member of Parliament for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale. “But more importantly, reducing red tape allows steel producers in Hamilton and elsewhere in Canada to focus on what they do best: producing quality steel.”
“These new measures to streamline regulations and reduce the cost of import permits help improve the efficiency of North American supply chains and enhance manufacturing competitiveness in Canada,” said Ron Watkins, President of the Canadian Steel Producers Association (CSPA). “We have advocated for such measures through the North American Steel Trade Committee and we welcome this change.”
According to the CSPA, Canada’s $14-billion steel industry generates 25,000 jobs in Canada directly and supports a further 100,000 jobs indirectly. Exports account for over one half of shipments, with imports of steel and steel products totalling $8.5 billion in 2010. An estimated three quarters of all manufactured goods contain steel, the most widely used metal and the most recycled material on earth. In 2011, Canada’s steel industry recycled seven million tonnes of steel.
By introducing more streamlined border processes for trade, this initiative is consistent with the Harper government’s commitment to reducing red tape. Reducing red tape for steel imports allows businesses to sustain the economic recovery and increases the flow of trade, in keeping with the government’s priorities under the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council and Beyond the Border Action Plan - Single Window Initiative.
Backgrounder - New Border Measure on Steel Imports
The Government of Canada is committed to removing financial and administrative burdens facing Canadian businesses. Consistent with the government’s priorities under the Red Tape Reduction Commission, the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council and the Beyond the Border Action Plan – Single Window Initiative, this new measure, which has been the subject of ongoing discussions with industry stakeholders for several years, will:
- Reduce red tape and duplication;
- Eliminate the need to apply for shipment-specific permits; and
- Facilitate cross-border trade.
It is anticipated that the new border measure will save Canadian importers, manufacturers, producers, distributors and purchasers of steel and steel products covered by the Federal Import Control List approximately $10 million per year, mostly from customs broker service charges and other related costs.
Importers of steel represent the largest group using Canada’s import and export permit system. In 2009, steel importers received over 65 percent or nearly 270,000 of the 420,000 import permits issued that year. After April 1, 2012, under the new general import permits, this percentage will fall to zero.
About Beyond the Border Action Plan - Single Window Initiative
The Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will provide traders with a single window through which they can electronically submit all information required to comply with customs and other government regulations. This information would then be assessed by the relevant government departments and agencies, and border-related decisions would be transmitted electronically. This will:
- Fully implement and align single-window programs for imports into the two countries.
- Convert the data requirements of all participating government departments and agencies to electronic form by 2013.
- In carrying out this conversion, departments and agencies will review their existing regulatory requirements and identify for conversion only all information essential to regulatory processes.
- As an interim milestone, convert border-related decision processes for at least the top four priority departments and agencies to electronic form no later than December 2013.
Hamilton Harbour Clean Up -- Additional Funding
March 22, 2012 -- Canada’s Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent, today highlighted 46 projects that have received funding under Canada’s Great Lakes Action Plan, including funding for the Hamilton Harbour area.
“The Great Lakes are fundamental to the well-being of millions of Canadians who live and work along their shores,” said Minister Kent. “With this investment, the Government of Canada is working to realize a vision of healthy, prosperous lakes. Celebrating the good work being done to improve water quality in the Great Lakes is an ideal way to commemorate World Water Day.”
In total, the Government of Canada is contributing $3,322,321 from its Great Lakes Sustainability Fund for projects to advance remediation and clean up of the severely degraded geographic regions officially designated as Canadian Great Lakes Areas of Concern.
Funding has been provided for work in 12 of the remaining 14 Areas of Concern, including $375,000 to the Hamilton Harbour area.
In addition to these funds, in November 2007, Environment Canada pledged $30 million specifically designated toward the cleanup of Randle Reef.
Administered by Environment Canada, the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund supports projects to remediate each of Canada’s remaining Areas of Concern within the Great Lakes Basin. Funding is provided to initiatives that serve to restore the environment. Such projects include fish and wildlife habitat restoration, contaminated sediment remediation, land stewardship, and initiatives to control of pollution from municipal wastewaters and rural runoff.
More information about Canada’s Great Lakes Action Plan and the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund is available at http://www.ec.gc.ca/raps-pas/.
New maternal, newborn and child health initiatives
May 27, 2011 -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced support for new health initiatives to help save the lives of mothers and children in Africa and Asia as part of the Canadian-led Muskoka Initiative launched at the G-8 Summit in June 2010.
Targeting the leading causes of mortality in mothers and children in countries such as Sudan, Tanzania, Nigeria, Mali and Afghanistan, the new initiatives will support comprehensive and integrated approaches to provide the necessary health services for mothers and children.
“Canada is proud to be leading international efforts to improve the health and save the lives of mothers and children in some of the world’s poorest countries,” said Prime Minister Harper. “The support announced today will assist some of the most vulnerable people around the world and demonstrates our country’s commitment to the G-8 Muskoka Initiative.”
The Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) was launched by G-8 partners at the Muskoka G-8 Summit in June 2010 and responds to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals 4, 5 and 6 – to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
New health initiatives include:
- Establishing 24-hour emergency obstetrical and neonatal care hospitals in Southern Sudan.
- Helping to immunize 24 million children and pregnant women against preventable diseases, helping to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and providing antenatal and delivery care to four million women in Tanzania.
- Supporting additional antenatal care visits, increasing the availability of skilled birth attendants, and increasing access to contraceptives, post-delivery checkups, bed nets, as well as the number of infants fed with breast milk in Nigeria.
- Strengthening the referral and evacuation system for pregnant women, reducing the rate of malnutrition in children, and pregnant and nursing women, as well as providing women with better access to the health services they need in Mali.
- Training community health practitioners and increasing the access and use of health services for women and children in underserved areas of Afghanistan.
- Helping to reduce child hunger and undernutrition in children and pregnant women in select developing countries, including Africa and Asia, by targeting the 1,000-day window from pregnancy to age two.
In addition to its leadership role in launching the Muskoka Initiative, Canada was a key contributor to the UN Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was also selected to co-chair the UN Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health, where Canada has worked to accelerate global progress in saving the lives of women and children by improving accountability for commitments made by all partners. He presented the final report of the Commission to other G-8 leaders at the Deauville Summit. The report makes 10 recommendations that call for an unprecedented level of accountability to track commitments for resources aimed at saving the lives of women and children in developing countries. These recommendations build on existing mechanisms so that simple and clear results can be put in place quickly and work for the benefit of all stakeholders.