Dear Minister Alghabra:
Thank you for continuing to serve Canadians as Minister of Transport.
From the beginning of this pandemic, Canadians have faced a once-in-a-century challenge. And through it all, from coast to coast to coast, people have met the moment. When it mattered most, Canadians adapted, helped one another, and stayed true to our values of compassion, courage and determination. That is what has defined our path through this pandemic so far. And that is what will pave our way forward.
During a difficult time, Canadians made a democratic choice. They entrusted us to finish the fight against COVID-19 and support the recovery of a strong middle class. At the same time, they also gave us clear direction: to take bold, concrete action to build a healthier, more resilient future. That is what Canadians have asked us to do and it is exactly what our Government is ready to deliver. We will work to build that brighter future through continued collaboration, engagement, and the use of science and evidence-based decision-making. With an unwavering focus on delivering results, we will work constructively with Parliamentarians and maintain our strong partnerships with provincial, territorial and municipal governments and Indigenous partners. This decade has had an incredibly difficult start, but this is the moment to rebuild a more resilient, inclusive and stronger country for everyone.
The science is clear. Canadians have been clear. We must not only continue taking real climate action, we must also move faster and go further. As Canadians are increasingly experiencing across the country, climate change is an existential threat. Building a cleaner, greener future will require a sustained and collaborative effort from all of us. As Minister, I expect you to seek opportunities within your portfolio to support our whole-of-government effort to reduce emissions, create clean jobs and address the climate-related challenges communities are already facing.
This year, Canadians were horrified by the discovery of unmarked graves and burial sites near former residential schools. These discoveries underscore that we must move faster on the path of reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. We know that reconciliation cannot come without truth and our Government will continue to invest in that truth. As Ministers, each of us has a duty to further this work, both collectively and as individuals. Consequently, I am directing every Minister to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to advance their rights.
We must continue to address the profound systemic inequities and disparities that remain present in the core fabric of our society, including our core institutions. To this effect, it is essential that Canadians in every region of the country see themselves reflected in our Government’s priorities and our work. As Minister, I expect you to include and collaborate with various communities, and actively seek out and incorporate in your work, the diverse views of Canadians. This includes women, Indigenous Peoples, Black and racialized Canadians, newcomers, faith-based communities, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2 Canadians, and, in both official languages.
Across our work, we remain committed to ensuring that public policies are informed and developed through an intersectional lens, including applying frameworks such as Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus) and the quality of life indicators in decision-making.
Canadians continue to rely on journalists and journalism for accurate and timely news. I expect you to maintain professional and respectful relationships with journalists to ensure that Canadians are well informed and have the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, Canadians and their governments have adapted to new realities. Governments must draw on lessons learned from the pandemic to further adapt and develop more agile and effective ways to serve Canadians. To this end, I expect all Ministers to evaluate ways we can update our practices to ensure our Government continues to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.
The success of this Parliament will require Parliamentarians, both in the House of Commons and the Senate, to work together across all parties to get big things done for Canadians. I expect you to maintain constructive relationships with your Opposition Critics and coordinate any legislation with the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. As Minister, you are accountable to Parliament both individually, for your style of leadership and the performance of your responsibilities, and collectively, in support of our Ministry and decisions taken by Cabinet. Open and Accountable Government sets out these core principles and the standards of conduct expected of you and your office. I expect you to familiarize yourself with this document, which outlines my expectations for each member of the Ministry.
Our platform lays out an ambitious agenda. While finishing the fight against the pandemic must remain our central focus, we must continue building a strong middle class and work toward a better future where everyone has a real and fair chance at success and no one is left behind.
As Minister of Transport, your immediate priority is to enforce vaccination requirements across the federally-regulated transport sector that are in place and to continue to advance the restart and rebuilding of the commercial air sector. You will also prioritize work to make High Frequency Rail a reality, and to advance measures that support Canada’s transition to net-zero, including accelerating the transition to zero emission vehicles.
To realize these objectives, I ask that you achieve results for Canadians by delivering the following commitments.
- Require that travellers on interprovincial trains, commercial flights, cruise ships and other federally-regulated vessels be vaccinated, and continue to work with the federally regulated transportation sector to ensure that COVID-19 vaccination is prioritized for those workers.
- Continue working with the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Health to protect the health and safety of Canadians through safe, responsible and compassionate management of the border with the United States and other ports of entry into Canada.
- Launch a procurement process and move forward with the High Frequency Rail project in the Toronto to Quebec City corridor using electrified technology, working towards the ultimate goal of extending the high frequency rail project to Southwestern Ontario.
- Continue to advance the restart of a competitive and viable air sector, strengthen air passenger rights and take steps to accelerate the adoption of advanced technologies, including right touch travel, in order to rebuild public confidence and future prospects of the air sector, including efficient and affordable travel options that connect regions and communities to each other and international markets.
- Continue to support Canada’s transition to net zero by advancing measures to:
- Improve the affordability and accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles, including used vehicles, by Canadian households and businesses;
- Develop a strategy to decarbonize emission-intensive on-road freight; and
- Support global efforts to reduce emissions in the air and marine sectors.
- Work with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to continue to advance Canada’s ongoing response to the tragic downing of flight PS752, notably to advance the Safer Skies Initiative and pursue reforms to the International Civil Aviation Organization’s accident investigation regime to improve the credibility and transparency of future safety investigations.
- In partnership with Indigenous Peoples, continue to implement commitments made under the Oceans Protection Plan, and with the support of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, work to launch the next phase of the Oceans Protection Plan to continue efforts to deliver world-leading marine safety systems, increase protection for marine species and ecosystems and create stronger partnerships with Indigenous and other coastal communities, while strengthening marine research and science.
- Advance measures that further improve the safety and security of Canada’s rail system, particularly in light of the impacts of climate change and severe weather on railway operations.
- Work with provinces, territories and willing municipalities on solutions to allow them a greater role in managing and regulating boating on their lakes and rivers so that they promote free access, while ensuring the safety of boaters and the protection of the environment.
- Complete the Ports Modernization Review with an aim to update governance structures that promote investment in Canadian ports.
- Continue to work with all stakeholders involved, including the Government of Quebec, the municipalities, and the Canadian Pacific Railway, toward the rapid completion of the Lac-Mégantic bypass.
- Complete negotiations to repatriate and rehabilitate the Quebec Bridge.
- With the support of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, work to reduce and prevent supply chain bottlenecks in Canada’s transportation networks through the National Trade Corridors Fund and legislative and regulatory authorities. Your efforts will complement the work led by the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry to strengthen and secure supply chains.
- Work with the Minister of Public Safety, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and Minister of Health, among other colleagues, to ensure the Government of Canada continues to be prepared to proactively mitigate and respond to emerging incidents and hazards.
As Minister, you are also responsible for actively engaging with your Cabinet and Caucus colleagues. As we deliver on our platform commitments, it will be important that members of the Ministry continue to collaborate and work constructively to support rigorous and productive Cabinet decision-making. I expect you to support your colleagues in delivering their commitments, leveraging the expertise of your department and your own lived experiences.
To best achieve results for Canadians, Ministers must be rigorous and coordinated in our approach to implementation. I would therefore ask that you return to me with a proposed approach for the delivery of your mandate commitments, including priorities for early implementation. Furthermore, to ensure we are accountable for our work, I will be asking you to publicly report to me, and all Canadians, on your progress toward these commitments on a regular basis.
As we have been reminded throughout the pandemic, adapting to change is not only something government should do, it is something government must do. As you work to fulfil our commitments, I expect you to actively consider new ideas and issues as they emerge, whether through public engagement, your work with Parliamentarians or advice from the public service. I also expect you to work with your Deputy Minister to assess priorities on a continual basis as we build a better future for all Canadians. In addition to achieving results, you are responsible for overseeing the work of your department and ensuring the effective operation of your portfolio.
As you staff your office and implement outreach and recruitment strategies for federally appointed leadership positions and boards, I ask that you uphold the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion. This helps ensure that federal workplaces are dynamic and reflective of the Canadians we serve. You will also ensure your Minister’s office and portfolio are reflective of our commitment to healthy and safe workplaces.
Canadians expect us to work hard, speak truthfully and be committed to advancing their interests and aspirations. When we make mistakes – as we all will – Canadians expect us to acknowledge them, and most importantly, to learn from them.
I know I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted in you, and to turn to me, and the Deputy Prime Minister, early and often to support you in your role as Minister.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada