New Position as Parliamentary Secretary for the President of the Treasury Board

I was really pleased that the Prime Minister called me last Friday and asked me to serve as Parliamentary Secretary to Anita Anand, the President of the Treasury Board. This was announced on Tuesday, and I have already had my first meetings at the department, gotten my first binders to read and briefings start next week. I would like to thank everyone for the kind messages they sent me after this news first came out. Anita is one of the smartest and most thoughtful people I know, and I look forward to our work together.

As per its website, the Treasury Board is responsible for accountability and ethics, financial, personnel and administrative management, comptrollership, approving regulations, and most Orders-in-Council.

The formal role of the President is to chair the Treasury Board. The President carries out the responsibility for the management of the government by translating the policies and programs approved by Cabinet into operational reality and by providing departments with the resources and the administrative environment they need to do their work.

Of particular interest to many of you, along with the Minister of Official Languages, the Treasury Board is responsible for the implementation of the Official Languages Act along with the Minister of Official Languages. I look forward to being very involved in this area.

You can hear my interview with Aaron Rand and Natasha Hall on CJAD where I discuss my new role at the following link:  Facebook

I also want to assure everyone that my being back as a Parliamentary Secretary in no way changes the way I will work as your local MP, including the way I speak out on issues of importance to me and my constituents.

Dental Care Update

Canadians deserve access to quality, affordable dental care. That’s why we announced the Canadian Dental Care Plan The plan will cover a wide range of health services including cleaning, x-rays, and preventative care. Thus far, more than 400,000 Canadian seniors have been approved for dental care under the Canadian Dental Care Plan.

Applications first opened for seniors aged 87 and above in December 2023, to those aged 77 to 86 in January 2024, to those aged 72 to 76 in February 2024, then those aged 70 to 71 in March 2024.

In May 2024, applications will open for eligible seniors 65 to 69. At this time CDCP applications will shift to an online platform.

Persons with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and children under the age of 18 will be able to apply online as of June 2024. All remaining eligible Canadian residents will be able to apply in 2025.

Please remember that all those eligible will receive a letter from the government and people would use their individual code found in the letter and their social insurance number to register. I will keep everyone updated.

Black History Month

Today marks the beginning of Black History Month.  Canada’s Black community has been an important part of Canadian history and have contributed a great deal to this country. Mount Royal is home to a rich and diverse Black community and corresponding network of organizations and community leaders that do amazing work in support of Black Canadians living in my riding and beyond. These individuals and organizations are at the heart of Mount Royal’s rich cultural fabric and community groups network, and my office is available to provide support whenever possible! This February, I encourage you all to reflect on the tremendous contributions of Black Canadians across this country and to support local Black-owned businesses, Black artists and institutions and organizations representing and serving local Black Canadian communities.

In light of the many celebrations and community events that will be taking place for both Black History Month and of the United Nations Decade for Persons of African Descent (UNDPAD), our government has made funding available through the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Program, to provide funding for events which celebrate and highlight the history, culture and accomplishments of Black communities. Our government has also launched a comprehensive webpage where you can find all details about existing initiatives that support Black communities and Black-led organizations across Canada. More information can be found here.

What is the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Program?

Applications are currently open for the Events and Organizational Capacity Building components of the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Program (MARP). The MARP supports the mandate of our government’s Department of Canadian Heritage by building on Canada’s strength as a diverse and inclusive society.

The Program’s objectives are to support communities to:

  • advance anti-racism; foster ethnocultural diversity and inclusion; promote intercultural and interfaith understanding
  • provide equitable opportunities for equity-deserving populations and community organizations to participate fully in all aspects of Canadian society,
  • promote dialogue on multiculturalism, anti-racism, racial equity, diversity, and inclusion to advance institutional and systemic change so that Canada becomes a more inclusive society, free from racism and hate-motivated actions
  • support research and evidence to build understanding of the disparities and challenges faced by equity-deserving populations

The Department of Canadian Heritage is implementing enhanced protocols and processes for funding programs that support Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy to help ensure that organizations and individuals that espouse racist, antisemitic, and other forms of hateful content will not be eligible to receive government funding.

The Events component provides funding to community-based events that:

  • promote intercultural or interfaith understanding
  • promote discussions on multiculturalism, diversity, racism and religious discrimination
  • celebrate a community’s history and culture such as heritage months recognized by Parliament.

Expected results are that participants and communities will gain knowledge, develop strategies and take action to:

  • increase awareness of Canada’s cultural diversity
  • increase awareness of issues affecting full participation in society and the economy, related to culture, ethnicity and/or religion
  • increase capacity within communities to address racism and discrimination

The following groups and institutions are eligible for funding:

  • Canadian not-for-profit organizations, associations, and unincorporated groups of individuals
  • Canadian incorporated and unincorporated municipalities and townships with a population of up to 10,000
  • Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, or Métis) not-for-profit organizations
  • Indigenous government, band council or tribal council

To be eligible for funding your event must meet all the following requirements:

  • establish concrete opportunities for positive interaction among cultural, religious or ethnocultural communities
  • demonstrate involvement of more than one single cultural, religious or ethnocultural community or target a single cultural community and provide opportunities to engage with and foster pride in the community’s history, culture and/or identity, such as heritage months recognized by Parliament
  • help foster intercultural or interfaith understanding
  • be open to and intended for the general public

There is no fixed deadline to submit a funding application under the Events component of the MARP, as applications are accepted on a continuous basis. However, to ensure timely assessment, it is advised that your application be submitted 18 weeks prior to the proposed event start date. For more information on how to apply for this component of the program, please consult the following link: Events — Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Program –

The objective of the Organizational Capacity Building (OCB) component is to provide funding to eligible applicants to build and strengthen their internal capacity to meet the objectives of the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Program (MARP). The OCB component is intended to fund projects that will contribute to the recipient’s ability to:

  • advance anti-racism and promote intercultural and interfaith understanding
  • provide equitable opportunities
  • promote dialogue on multiculturalism and anti-racism
  • build understanding of disparities

This component specifically targets projects that build or strengthen an organization’s capacity to operate, and will help achieve 1 or more of the following expected results:

  • improved financial management
  • stronger human resource capacity (both staff and volunteers)
  • enhanced governing practices
  • increased partnership and networking abilities
  • creation or improvement of strategic plans

The following groups and institutions are eligible for funding:

  • Canadian not-for-profit organizations and associations or unincorporated groups
  • Indigenous not-for-profit organizations (First Nations, Inuit and Métis)
  • Indigenous governments, band councils or tribal councils

The application deadline for this component is February 22, 2024. For more information, please consult the following link: Organizational Capacity Building — Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Program –

Why has our government paused additional funding to UNRWA?

Last week, our government declared that it would temporarily pause additional funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East [UNRWA] in light of disturbing allegations of the agency’s staff’s involvement in Hamas’s brutal terrorist attacks against Israel on October 7, 2023.

UNRWA has promised to swiftly investigate these extremely serious allegations and I appreciate the quick action by the Minister to join our American allies in this pause as UNRWA investigates these troubling allegations. Canada will continue to work with the agency and other donors to support the investigation into the serious and deeply concerning allegations, while maintaining our commitment to helping the most vulnerable Palestinian civilians in the region. Justice for the heinous acts committed by Hamas terrorists should never come at the expense of innocent lives.

Delivering humanitarian aid through other sources is the right decision. On Tuesday, Minister Hussen announced that Canada is providing an additional $40 million in funding for humanitarian assistance to address urgent needs stemming from the ongoing crisis in the Gaza Strip. This funding will help Canada’s partners to provide food, water, emergency medical assistance, protection services and other life-saving assistance.

The funds are being allocated as follows:

  • World Food Programme: $16 million
  • UNICEF: $6 million
  • United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA): $5 million
  • World Health Organization: $3 million
  • International Committee of the Red Cross: $3 million
  • United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA): $2 million

An additional $5 million will be allocated toward experienced Canadian non-governmental organization partners.

How is our government supporting the construction of student housing and offering more choices at the grocery aisles?

Canada needs more student housing, and we are going to help build it. Because of the lack of affordable options near college and university campuses, students often have to find places farther out. That doesn’t just bring up the cost of living, it also puts pressure on the rental market. On Monday, Minister Fraser announced that the government will expand the Apartment Construction Loan Program (ACLP) and offer low-cost loans to build more student housing in the country.

These loans will have minimal impact on taxpayers and will allow more students find homes they can afford close to where they go to school. This also helps ensure that there are more homes available for families who live in those same communities throughout the year. The application process is expected to open this fall, and colleges and universities – along with private and non-profit developers – will be eligible to apply. For more information about the ACLP, please consult the following link:
Apartment Construction Loan Program | CMHC (

Along with affordable homes, Canadians also need better prices at their checkout counters. Minister Champagne released a letter on Monday to the Competition Commissioner emphasizing the additional powers the Government of Canada has put in place through the Affordable Housing and Groceries Act to protect and promote competition in Canada’s retail grocery market. Last year, our government amended the Competition Act through Bill C-56, the Affordable Housing and Groceries Act, to include formal market study powers, repeal the efficiencies defence that allowed harmful mergers to proceed, and expand the scope of reviewable agreements and tools to challenge abusive practices of market-dominant firms. These powers are by and large now in effect.

With a lower burden of proof on proving anti-competitive behaviour and new expanded penalties, the Bureau is in position to better hold big retailers accountable. The Minister has encouraged the Commissioner to consider how best to deploy these new powers to ensure a fair, competitive grocery market and further address the concerns of Canadian consumers when it comes to the price of food. Please read Minister Champagne’s full letter here:
Letter from the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry to the Competition Commissioner about protecting and promoting competition in Canada’s retail grocery market

How is our government supporting provinces and municipalities experiencing a surge in demand for shelter space and help prevent asylum claimants from experiencing homelessness?

With increasing global migration, Canada is experiencing a rise in the number of people claiming asylum. While housing and supports for asylum claimants are the responsibility of provinces and municipalities, the federal government recognizes the need for all orders of government to work together to address the rise in the number of people claiming asylum in Canada.

On Wednesday, Minister Miller announced an additional $362.4M in funding for the Interim Housing Assistance Program (IHAP), as part of the 2023-2024 fiscal year. Through the IHAP, the Government of Canada provides funding to provincial and municipal governments, on a cost-sharing basis, to address extraordinary interim housing pressures resulting from increased volumes of asylum claimants.

This new funding will support provinces and municipalities experiencing a surge in demand for shelter space and help prevent asylum claimants from experiencing homelessness. Today’s funding is in addition to the $212 million in national funding made available last summer through IHAP.


When is the deadline for Canadians to participate in pre-budgetary consultations?

In December, we launched pre-budget consultations to hear from Canadians about what matters most to them in advance of this year’s Budget.

Our government is committed to building more homes, faster, making life more affordable, and creating good jobs for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Suggestions received from Canadians will ensure that we can address the challenges that matter most to Canadians and build an economy that works for everyone. As a reminder, Canadians can participate in pre-budget consultations by sharing their ideas and priorities at until February 9, 2024. Submissions are also accepted by email to or by mail at the Department of Finance Canada 90 Elgin Street, Ottawa ON, K1A 0G5.



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