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In the news today: It's Budget day in Ottawa and March inflation numbers are due out

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland tries on a pair of shoes from direct-to-consumer footwear company Maguire during a pre-budget photo op in her office in Ottawa, Monday, April 15, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...

Freeland to present federal budget today

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is finally set to present the federal budget in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon, showcasing how the government plans to win back support from disgruntled Canadians worried about the cost of living. 

The Liberal government has already unveiled significant planks of the budget over the last few weeks during a campaign-style pre-budget tour aimed at drumming up attention for their agenda. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged the upcoming spending plan will earmark billions of dollars to build more homes, expand child care, beef up the military and grow the country's artificial intelligence capacity. 

The government's new housing measures are summarized in a 28-page document published Friday, which Trudeau called "the most comprehensive and ambitious housing plan ever seen in Canada." 

The prime minister promised it will build nearly 3.9 million homes by 2031.

Much of the budget is aimed at giving hope to younger Canadians who have come of age during a tumultuous economic era, Trudeau said on Monday, and "now feel like middle-class stability is out of reach."

StatCan to release March inflation report today

Statistics Canada will release its latest reading on inflation this morning.

The agency will publish its consumer price index for March.

Statistics Canada reported last month that the annual pace of inflation cooled to 2.8 per cent in February compared with 2.9 per cent in January.

The inflation report will be scrutinized by the Bank of Canada which kept its key interest rate target on hold last week at five per cent, but said it is "within the realm of possibilities" that it could cut interest rates in June.

The central bank has said it is seeing what it needs to see, but needs to see it for longer to be confident that progress toward price stability will be sustained. 

Closing arguments in Coutts blockade trial

Closing arguments are scheduled today for three men accused of orchestrating the border shutdown at Coutts, Alta., in early 2022. 

Alex Van Herk, Marco Van Huigenbos, and Gerhard Janzen have pleaded not guilty to a charge of mischief over $5,000. 

The Crown has presented evidence it says proves the trio spearheaded the protest that tied up cross-border traffic between Alberta and Montana for two weeks in early 2022 in a protest of COVID-era rules and restrictions. 

The Crown adds that the case is not about COVID-19 or free speech but simply that people cannot decide on their own to shut down a major transportation portal. 

The defence has argued that the protest group was made up of competing interests and it wasn't clear who was calling the shots.

Ontario may not meet LTC direct care target

Difficulties hiring and retaining enough nurses and personal support workers for long-term care homes could mean the Ontario government may not meet its target for the amount of hands-on care residents receive, the minister responsible for the sector was warned.

There is a "systemic shortage of nurses" across all sectors, according to a briefing document prepared for Long-Term Care Minister Stan Cho when he took over the file in September. 

As of this year, there is a need for 13,200 additional nurses and 37,700 PSWs in Ontario, said the document, obtained by The Canadian Press through a freedom-of-information request.

Shortages in long-term care will become more acute amid the government's push to vastly increase the number of homes and as it tries to boost the amount of direct care residents receive, the document said.

B.C. orca rescue planning to take a 'few days'

The Department of Fisheries says planning for a new attempt to rescue an orca calf trapped in a Vancouver Island lagoon will be finalized in the next few days but no date has been set.

It says in a news release that any new attempt to capture and release the young whale will depend on the weather and the availability of equipment and personnel.

An initial attempt to corral the whale in the shallows of the tidal lagoon failed on Friday, after she evaded capture by staying in deep parts of the tidal lagoon.

The whale has been trapped alone in the lagoon 450 kilometres northwest of Victoria since its mother became stranded and died more than three weeks ago.

Tim Hortons launches pizza to court P.M. customers

Tim Hortons is launching flatbread pizzas nationally in a bid to pick up more afternoon and evening customers.

The chain says cheese, pepperoni, "bacon everything" and chicken Parmesan flatbread pizzas will appear on its menu Wednesday.

The launch follows a two-year flatbread pizza pilot that spanned select Calgary, Greater Toronto and Winnipeg restaurants.

Tims executives say the broader launch is meant to help get diners in the door beyond breakfast.

Chief marketing officer Hope Bagozzi says the company believes opportunity lies in the later part of the day because its market share in the afternoon and evening is still small for a company of Tims' size.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2024

The Canadian Press

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