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Mar 06, 2015 at 10:59 AM


Welcome to my online office. I have set up this website to give you a chance
to interact with me directly and to learn a little bit more about my work to
Stand Up for St. Catharines in Ottawa. I hope you will take the time to read
my blog, check out the community calendar and look at the services available
through my Community Office. Most of all, I hope you will take the time to
communicate your ideas and concerns by commenting on my blog, voting for the
online polls or sending me an e-mail. This website is here for you, so
please share your thoughts and ideas.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Rick Dykstra

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

 
 

PM Harper and Bill Gates renew call to advance global Maternal, Newborn and Child health priority
Feb 25, 2015 at 12:00 AM

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today met with Bill Gates in Ottawa to discuss how to further leverage the strong leadership that Canada has demonstrated in promoting  maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) in order to ensure that it remains a global development priority and a prominent feature of the global post-2015 development agenda. They were joined by Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie, as well as global health leaders representing Canadian and international organizations that are committed to advancing significant progress and achieving results on MNCH.

While tremendous progress has been made to save the lives of the world’s most vulnerable citizens – women and children – much work remains to be done. To this end, the Prime Minister and Mr. Gates together renewed the call for focused global political leadership and sustained financial commitments to ensure that MNCH remains a central development priority as the world moves beyond 2015.

The Prime Minister also reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to support immunization as a key pillar of Canada’s MNCH strategy by announcing new investments toward improving access to vaccines for mothers and children. These investments are aimed at eradicating polio and eliminating tetanus, as well as providing support to 20 implementation research teams, made up of African and Canadian researchers, who will contribute to improving maternal and child health in Africa.

During a moderated discussion, the Prime Minister and Mr. Gates discussed the unprecedented global progress that has taken place since the establishment of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals in 2000. Fifteen years later, the world stands on the verge of ending the preventable deaths of mothers and children under five within a generation, in large part due to the leadership and commitment of international partners such as the Government of Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Quick Facts

  • Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have a long history of successful collaboration in support of international development. In June 2010, under Prime Minister Harper’s leadership, world leaders launched the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, which focused on saving the lives of mothers, newborns and children under the age of five in developing countries.
  • During the Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit in May 2014, Canada committed to support MNCH between 2015 and 2020, creating renewed global momentum to advance MNCH as a global priority and prioritized Canada’s commitment to three areas: strengthening of health systems, improving nutrition, and reducing the burden of leading diseases.
  • Canada’s commitment aims to tackle emerging challenges, by providing greater emphasis on nutrition and better reaching children in the fragile first month of life, stepping up immunization efforts and building civil registration and vital statistics systems.
  • Canada is a proud supporter of immunization programming to ensure that every child has access to important life-saving vaccines. This includes commitments made at the 2013 Global Vaccine Summit towards the eradication of polio, which the polio “endgame strategy” expects to achieve by 2018.
  • In May 2014, the Government of Canada also launched the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa program, a partnership between Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, the International Development Research Centre and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
  • The lives of more than five million mothers and children have been saved in developing countries since 2010 due in large part to the global effort to improve maternal, newborn and child health.

“Canada’s top development priority remains eliminating the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children in developing countries. While significant progress has been made, more can and must be done to sustain the momentum and end these preventable deaths within our lifetime. Our Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have been steadfast partners in championing this cause, and remain committed to ensuring that all women and children can live healthy and productive lives. Together, we will continue to call on the international community to renew their commitment and support to ensure our global efforts remain focused on eliminating preventable maternal and child deaths.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

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Government of Canada introduces legislation to strengthen rail safety and accountability
Feb 25, 2015 at 01:25 PM

Changes include minimum insurance requirements, levies for crude oil shippers, and enhanced oversight and information-sharing.

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, today introduced legislation in the House of Commons that will enhance railway safety and make the rail industry and crude oil shippers more accountable to Canadians..

The new Safe and Accountable Rail Act proposes amendments to the Canada Transportation Act and Railway Safety Act. Changes include a new liability and compensation regime for federally regulated railways, including minimum insurance requirements; a compensation fund financed by levies on crude oil shippers; increased information-sharing provisions; and stronger oversight powers for the Minister and Transport Canada inspectors.

The new liability and compensation regime will be consistent with those the Government has introduced for other modes of transport, such as marine tankers and oil pipelines. It is based on the “polluter pays” principle and makes railways and shippers responsible for the cost of accidents, protecting taxpayers and communities by ensuring that adequate resources are available for compensation if an accident were to occur.

Proposed amendments to the Railway Safety Act will broaden the powers of the Minister and inspectors to order railway companies and others to take specified measures or stop any activity deemed necessary for safe railway operations. The proposed amendments will also create new regulation-making powers requiring railway companies to share information with municipalities. These changes are part of the Government’s commitment to strengthen oversight and increase collaboration between communities and the rail industry, addressing issues raised in the Transportation Safety Board’s final report on the Lac-Mégantic derailment as well as concerns of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

The Minister also announced the new Railway Safety Management System (SMS) Regulations, 2015. SMS Regulations require companies to develop and implement a formal framework that integrates safety into their day-to-day operations. The new regulations will help address recommendations made in the November 2013 Auditor General’s report, and will reflect over 10 years of lessons learned in providing oversight of railway safety management systems. The new SMS Regulations will be published in Canada Gazette, Part II on February 25, 2015, and will come into effect on April 1, 2015. 

Quick Facts

  • Proposed amendments to the Railway Safety Act provide the Minister with the authority to issue a Ministerial Order requiring a company to take corrective measures if it is believed to be implementing its SMS in a way that could compromise railway safety.
  • Federal railway companies must obtain and maintain legislated minimum levels of insurance based on the type and volume of dangerous goods they carry. Minimum insurance levels will vary from $25 million for no or low quantities of dangerous goods up to a maximum of $1 billion for substantial quantities.
  • Shippers of crude oil will be required to pay a levy per tonne of crude oil shipped to build up a supplementary fund to pay for damages exceeding a railway’s minimum insurance level if an accident involving crude oil occurs.

Associated Links

  • News release: Minister Raitt announces steps to further strengthen railway safety
  • Backgrounder : Government of Canada introduces legislation to strengthen rail safety and accountability
  • Backgrounder : Minister Raitt introduces legislation to strengthen railway safety and accountability
  • Backgrounder : Government of Canada enhances railway safety; makes execs accountable, empowers employees to report concerns
  • News release: Government of Canada acts to better protect communities and taxpayers in the event of rail accidents
  • Railway Safety Management System Regulations (pdf)

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Sunday February 15 is National Flag of Canada Day!
Feb 13, 2015 at 02:50 PM

On the Road to 2017, our government has proudly supported hundreds of projects from coast-to-coast-to-coast that have helped Canadians connect to their past.

To celebrate there will be Flag Raising Ceremonies in schools and municipalities across the country.

The Canadian Mint is introducing a collectable coin and Canada Post will be introducing special Stamps.

We’ve also partnered with great organizations like Girl Guides, the Scouts, and Royal Canadian Legions to promote this milestone to thousands of Canadians.

We're supporting Lieutenant Governor’s across Canada to help promote Flag Day.

As we approach our historic 150th anniversary, we will continue to join Canadians in honouring these important milestones.

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