Canada: Speech From The Throne

Last Updated: October 24 2013
Article by Gar Knutson and David Turner

Most Read Contributor in Canada, September 2016

On October 16, 2013, His Excellency, The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, opened the Second Session of the 41st Parliament with Prime Minister Harper's Conservatives' Speech from the Throne. The speech lays out the Government's agenda and key priorities through to the next election, scheduled for October 2015. The Government has laid out three broad themes under which it has organized its upcoming legislative agenda.

1. Creating Jobs and Opportunities for Canadians

As expected, the Government stated that its top priority will remain creating jobs and securing economic growth. The Government has identified fiscal restraint, job training and education, trade, resource development and a collection of other policy areas as the levers that it will use to promote its economic priorities.

Fiscal Restraint

The Government has reiterated its commitment to balancing the budget by 2015. Moreover, the Government made a new announcement that it will pass balanced-budget legislation. The law, when passed, will require the Government to have a balanced budget during "normal" economic times, and concrete timelines for returning to a balanced budget in the event of an economic crisis. Additionally, the Government has set a debt-GDP target of 25% by 2021, and a return to the pre-recession ratio by 2017.

To achieve these goals, the Government will reduce spending through a series of commitments aimed at reducing the size and cost of the civil service. This will include: freezing the Government's operating budget, targeted reductions, and reforms to disability and sick-day entitlements. The Government intends to realize efficiencies by introducing performance accountability in the public service and implementing more efficient internal services, such as email.


The Government reiterated its commitment to fostering job creation by continuing with the implementation of previously announced initiatives such as the Canada Job Grant and reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The Government stated it will work with the provinces to reduce labour mobility barriers.


On the trade front, the Government announced that it will launch a comprehensive new plan to help Canadian businesses as they expand abroad.

The Government continues to focus on major trade negotiations with the European Union, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Japan, South Korea, and India. The Government signaled that the trade agreement with the EU is near completion.

To aid interprovincial commerce, the Government will work with Ontario and British Columbia, and any other willing provinces, to enact a cooperative regulatory system for securities and capital markets.

Natural Resources

The Government reiterated its commitment to promoting the development of Canadian natural resources and getting them to market. While not mentioning support for pipelines, the intent was clear. As for foreign investment, the speech stated "our Government has taken action to ensure that Canada's resources do not fall under foreign government control" and the sector will "remain open to foreign investment when it is market-oriented and in the long-term interests of Canadians."

Relatedly, it announced that it will take steps to implement certain regulatory protections, including: enshrining the polluter-pay system into law, setting higher safety standards for offshore oil and pipeline operators, introducing a law to protect oceans and coasts, and implementing advice from an Expert Panel on Tanker Safety. The Government will increase the level of insurance railways must carry.

2. Supporting and Protecting Canadian Families

Although the speech contained no new announcements, the Government emphasized its commitment to maintaining low taxes for Canadian families. As was widely expected, the Government announced several consumer protection initiatives. More specifically, the Government will require that television providers unbundle channels and allow consumers to pay for only the channels they want. The Government will also take steps to reduce the roaming fees charged on cellular networks within Canada.

Consistent with this Government's earlier agendas, there are new measures related to a variety of issues ranging from crime prevention, community safety, food and drug labelling, mandatory reporting of adverse drug reactions and a mechanism to facilitate drug recalls.

3. Putting Canada First

Under this theme, the Government has reaffirmed its commitment to the Canadian Armed Forces and the goal of Northern Sovereignty. As part of this commitment, the Government will complete the Dempster Highway to the Arctic Ocean.

The Government also announced that it will continue to reform the immigration system. In particular, it will reform the Immigrant Investor Program and it will introduce a new model to select immigrants based on the skills needed by Canadian employers.

The Government also outlined its plans for commemorating the 150th anniversary of confederation in 2017. It announced that it will use this anniversary as an opportunity to work with Aboriginal peoples to continue the dialogue regarding treaty relationships and comprehensive land claims. The Government also reiterated a commitment to reforming the Senate, pending the outcome of the review currently underway by the Supreme Court of Canada.


The media noted that the hour long speech was the longest speech in recent memory. The speech touched on the usual themes from Prime Minister Harper, ranging from tough on crime, lower taxes, jobs and economic growth. Senate reform now includes the possibility of abolishing the Senate depending on what the Supreme Court rules.

Some of the measures were clearly populist in nature such as unbundling cable packages and lower cell phone costs. Substantive items such as support for pipelines and changes to foreign investment laws, were often expressed in vague language. The Prime Minister hopes that the speech will provide enough of a basis for a successful two year program leading to re-election in 2015.

About BLG

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.