Premiers emphasized their commitment to supporting displaced Ukrainians. They noted that through the current Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program, the federal government is not providing sufficient funding and support. They urgently called on the federal government to establish an improved program with a new funding partnership, particularly given the July 15 deadline for international applications to the CUAET.
Premiers discussed the federal government’s plans to modernize the employment insurance system and shared views on potential changes. Labour Market Transfer Agreements (LMTAs) are the best way for the federal government to invest in workers and employers’ training and retraining opportunities that meet local market needs and contribute to Canada’s continued economic prosperity. Premiers expressed concerns about the absence of a plan for funding certainty for LMTAs. Premiers urged the federal government to:
- Urgently engage with provinces and territories on the future of these agreements; and
- Respect provincial and territorial jurisdiction over labour market development and skills training so that programs can be effectively aligned with the unique regional and local job market needs.
Enhancing Public Safety
Premiers are focused on the safety and wellbeing of Canadians and working with key partners in their respective jurisdictions to improve public safety. This includes multifaceted work to respond to the complex factors involved, such as investments in mental health and addictions supports, and combatting gang activities through both prevention and intervention. Provinces and territories will continue to deploy measures individually and collectively to address racialized and gender-based violence, including violence against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people.
As part of this ongoing work, Premiers have advocated for changes to the Criminal Code and Canada’s bail system to ensure community safety by addressing concerns related to repeat violent offenders and those charged with offences involving firearms. Premiers are deeply disappointed that the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code have not been passed. It is critically important that the federal government prioritize the amendments to improve the bail system, and target repeat violent offenders and serious offences committed with firearms and other dangerous weapons. Premiers call on the federal government to pass these amendments on the resumption of Parliament at the earliest possible opportunity.
Additional federal funding is required to support provincial and territorial efforts to expand and enhance bail programs. Collaboration is required to ensure these changes are effective, while considering the impact they may have on the disproportionate representation of Indigenous and racialized persons in custody.
Premiers also call on the federal government to amend the Criminal Code to ensure that individuals convicted of sexual assault are ineligible to receive conditional sentences which could allow them to serve their sentence at home or in the community.
Further work is needed to address escalation of illegal gun and gang violence and violent crime, including community safety in rural and remote regions. Premiers call for federal action and partnership on a range of priorities, including:
- Strengthening borders and ports and providing permanent federal funding for gun and gang violence prevention;
- Addressing the growing problem of privately made firearms, including “ghost guns” made with 3D printers; engaging directly with Indigenous communities to address distinct public safety challenges, and increasing federal resources towards the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program and other Indigenous-led community safety initiatives;
Public safety is dependent on effective policing. The federal government has committed to engaging provinces and territories on the future of the RCMP. This is needed now to address chronic RCMP recruitment challenges and staffing shortages, and effectively plan for community policing.
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