An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations)

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

This bill was previously introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session.


Russ Hiebert  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill.


This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Income Tax Act to require that labour organizations provide financial information to the Minister for public disclosure.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


Dec. 12, 2012 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
Dec. 12, 2012 Passed That Bill C-377, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations), be concurred in at report stage with further amendments.
Dec. 12, 2012 Passed That Bill C-377, in Clause 1, be amended by : (a) replacing lines 1 to 7 on page 2 with the following: “(2) Every labour organization and every labour trust shall, by way of electronic filing (as defined in subsection 150.1(1)) and within six months from the end of each fiscal period, file with the Minister an information return for the year, in prescribed form and containing prescribed information. (3) The information return referred to” (b) replacing lines 26 to 31 on page 2 with the following: “assets — with all transactions and all disbursements, the cumulative value of which in respect of a particular payer or payee for the period is greater than $5,000, shown as separate entries along with the name of the payer and payee and setting out for each of those transactions and disbursements its purpose and description and the specific amount that has been paid or received, or that is to be paid or received, and including” (c) replacing lines 33 to 35 on page 2 with the following: “(ii) a statement of loans exceeding $250 receivable from officers, employees, members or businesses,” (d) replacing line 4 on page 3 with the following: “to officers, directors and trustees, to employees with compensation over $100,000 and to persons in positions of authority who would reasonably be expected to have, in the ordinary course, access to material information about the business, operations, assets or revenue of the labour organization or labour trust, including” (e) replacing lines 11 to 14 on page 3 with the following: “consideration provided, (vii.1) a statement with a reasonable estimate of the percentage of time dedicated by persons referred to in subparagraph (vii) to each of political activities, lobbying activities and other non-labour relations activities, (viii) a statement with the aggregate amount of disbursements to” (f) replacing lines 22 to 25 on page 3 with the following: “provided, “(viii.1) a statement with a reasonable estimate of the percentage of time dedicated by persons referred to in subparagraph (viii) to each of political activities, lobbying activities and other non-labour relations activities, (ix) a statement with the aggregate amount of disbursements on” (g) replacing lines 33 to 40 on page 3 with the following: “(xiii) a statement with the aggregate amount of disbursements on administration, (xiv) a statement with the aggregate amount of disbursements on general overhead, (xv) a statement with the aggregate amount of disbursements on organizing activities, (xvi) statement with the aggregate amount of disbursements on collective bargaining activities,” (h) replacing lines 1 and 2 on page 4 with the following: “(xix) a statement with the aggregate amount of disbursements on legal activities, excluding information protected by solicitor-client privilege, (xix.1) a statement of disbursements (other than disbursements included in a statement referred to in any of subparagraphs (iv), (vii), (viii) and (ix) to (xix)) on all activities other than those that are primarily carried on for members of the labour organization or labour trust, excluding information protected by solicitor-client privilege, and” (i) replacing lines 4 to 13 on page 4 with the following: “( c) a statement for the fiscal period listing the sales of investments and fixed assets to, and the purchases of investments and fixed assets from, non-arm’s length parties, including for each property a description of the property and its cost, book value and sale price; ( d) a statement for the fiscal period listing all other transactions with non-arm’s length parties; and ( e) in the case of a labour organization or” (j) replacing line 29 on page 4 with the following: “contained in the information return” (k) replacing lines 33 to 35 on page 4 with the following: “Internet site in a searchable format. (5) For greater certainty, a disbursement referred to in any of subparagraphs (3)( b)(viii) to (xx) includes a disbursement made through a third party or contractor. (6) Subsection (2) does not apply to ( a) a labour-sponsored venture capital corporation; and ( b) a labour trust the activities and operations of which are limited exclusively to the administration, management or investments of a deferred profit sharing plan, an employee life and health trust, a group sickness or accident insurance plan, a group term life insurance policy, a private health services plan, a registered pension plan or a supplementary unemployment benefit plan. (7) Subsection (3) does not require the reporting of ( a) information, regarding disbursements and transactions of, or the value of investments held by, a labour trust (other than a trust described in paragraph (6)(b)), that is limited exclusively to the direct expenditures or transactions by the labour trust in respect of a plan, trust or policy described in paragraph (6)(b); ( b) the address of a person in respect of whom paragraph (3)(b) applies; or ( c) the name of a payer or payee in respect of a statement referred to in any of subparagraphs (3)(b)(i), (v), (ix), (xiii) to (xvi) and (xix).”
Dec. 12, 2012 Failed That Bill C-377, in Clause 1, be amended by replacing line 20 on page 1 with the following: “labour organization is a signatory and also includes activities associated with advice, commentary or advocacy provided by an employer organization in respect of labour relations activities, collective bargaining, employment standards, occupational health and safety, the regulation of trades, apprenticeship, the organization of work or any other workplace matter.”
March 14, 2012 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.

LabourOral Questions

April 26th, 2023 / 2:25 p.m.
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Papineau Québec


Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we will take no lessons from the Conservative Party of Canada. Its approach on services to Canadians was to close Veterans Affairs offices; cut services to women; fight with the unions, including with legislation that was anti-union, like Bill C-525 and Bill C-377, which the member voted in favour of; or, furthermore, continue to make cuts across the board.

We have stepped up to support Canadians. Our public servants stepped up to help Canadians through the pandemic, and now we are in negotiations to make sure we get the right deal for them and the right deal for Canadians.

LabourOral Questions

April 19th, 2023 / 2:50 p.m.
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Papineau Québec


Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I question the member opposite's mention of our Conservative colours. She knows full well that the very first thing we did when we were elected was to eliminate the Conservative anti-union legislation Bill C-525 and Bill C-377. The attacks the Conservatives laid on labour were legendary, and that is why we worked in partnership with organized labour across this country to deliver real services to Canadians.

That is why we continue to sit at the bargaining table in good faith to work with them to continue to deliver the quality of services that Canadians have always received from the public service and deserve to continue to receive.

Pension Protection ActPrivate Members' Business

November 22nd, 2022 / 6:25 p.m.
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Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to this important bill today.

As a left-leaning progressive politician and union man, it is really important for me to be here in the House to support the initiative of the member who introduced this private member's bill. This initiative is completely in line with the values of the NDP, which has been the political party of workers since its foundation.

We have always been there to fight to give workers decent working conditions, decent work schedules, decent insurance, and adequate and decent wages so that they and their families and children can have a good quality of life.

With that perspective, the fight to protect people's retirement plans and pensions when a business goes bankrupt has always been a major concern for the NDP, as the working class party and the labour party. This is not the first time we have debated this issue. I must point out the work of NDP colleagues in the previous caucus who fought for this, who were pioneers and who worked very hard.

I am thinking of Chris Charlton, Wayne Marston and Scott Duvall, who, before retiring from political life, took up this cause. All the work done by my current colleagues in the NDP caucus and past colleagues has ensured that today we are about to arrive at solution that, although not perfect, is positive.

However, I cannot help but point out that when Chris Charlton, Wayne Marston and Scott Duvall introduced similar bills to protect the rights of pensioners, the Conservative Party systematically voted against them.

Today, we find ourselves in a new situation. I am pleased to note that the Conservative Party seems to have gone on the road to Damascus and seen the light. They have had a change of heart, and I hope that it is not being opportunistic in order to portray itself to voters as the friend of workers for the next election, but that it is something more deeply rooted and serious.

I always welcome spontaneous conversions, but I also remember that, when he was a minister in Stephen Harper's government, the Leader of the Opposition was one of the harshest critics of workers' rights. He levied sustained, systematic attacks against worker and union movements with bills such as C‑377 and C‑525, which would have weakened or even wiped out unions in Canada and Quebec. That is always on my mind, so I am always a little apprehensive, a little suspicious because, as a minister, he repeatedly attacked the union movement that stands up for workers' rights. I think people need to be aware and keep that in mind right now. Nevertheless, I applaud the work of the Conservative Party member who introduced this bill, which the NDP obviously supports because it is about time.

We have seen extremely tragic situations where people who dedicated their lives to a business, to a company, who set money aside, wound up in extremely difficult, trying situations when their company went bankrupt.

For example, when Sears went bankrupt, people in Quebec, Ontario and western Canada saw their pensions drop by 20%, 25% or 30% per month. These people lost hundreds of dollars because they were not priority creditors under the law. Bankers and investors took precedence over the workers who had, in some cases, devoted their entire lives to these companies and counted on them. This is not a question of charity, a gift to these workers. It is their money. They set aside wages for years, decades, to cover their golden years. It is their money.

It is good that today, as parliamentarians in the House of Commons, we can act soon to help these people, to protect them and to avoid dramatic situations like those we have seen with Sears and many other companies.

I will tell a quick personal story. I was a teenager when my grandfather died. I am from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and my grandfather Urgel worked at Singer for 44 years. Singer was the big factory that drew people to the town for work. It employed thousands of people. My grandfather worked there for 44 years and then he retired. A few years later, Singer went bankrupt. Not only did it go bankrupt, but its executives took off with the pension fund. Those folks just took the money and ran.

The Singer pensioners had to fight in court for years. They had to hire lawyers to get some of their money back. Unfortunately, by the end of the long legal proceedings, my grandfather, like many of his co-workers, had died. My grandmother did finally receive a small portion of the pension that Singer had stolen from them. This is just a family example, not a personal one, because it did not affect me. However, I was told this story, and it really did affect my family. The fact that no one had any protection at the time, the fact that the workers were not considered priority creditors ahead of the investors and bankers, really affected my family.

The NDP chooses to put people first and stand up for them ahead of the banks, and we are not afraid that people are going to stop investing in Canada and that the sky is going to fall because of it. In fact, I think we can go even further. When the rules of the game are known and they are the same for everyone, then investors can make informed investments, knowing what the rules are, what the consequences of bankruptcy will be and who will be paid first because it is their money first and foremost.

The bill could have been improved. My NDP colleague, the member for Elmwood—Transcona, tried to do so by proposing an amendment in committee to protect not only pensions and retirement plans, but also severance pay. Oddly enough, the committee chair ruled that the amendment was out of order, that it fell outside the scope of the bill. However, this friendly amendment had been welcomed by the member of Parliament who is is responsible for this bill. It is therefore rather odd that the Liberal chair of the committee would reject a friendly amendment, which seemed to me to be perfectly in order since it concerned the rights of workers in the event of a company's bankruptcy. It was done in exactly the same spirit, and the majority of the committee members agreed with the amendment.

That decision was upheld by a Speaker's ruling. The NDP tried to pass a unanimous consent motion to undo the Speaker's ruling, which is something that can be done and is well within the rules. Unfortunately, some Liberal members refused to overturn the Speaker's ruling, refused to respect the will of the committee, and refused to protect the rights of workers when it comes to severance pay. Usually, in the House, we do not know who said no. However, oddly enough, the member for Winnipeg North said he was not the only person who said “no”. In saying that, he himself admitted, as the member for Winnipeg North, that he had said no to this request from the NDP for unanimous consent to respect the will of the majority of committee members. However, he never explained why he, as the member for Winnipeg North, or why the Liberal Party members were against protecting severance pay in the event of bankruptcy.

For a party that claims to be a friend of unions and a friend of workers, that is rather odd and contradictory. I look forward to hearing the member for Winnipeg North explain to us why he opposed this measure when he is a democrat and respects the will of the committee. While the three opposition parties agreed on this amendment, he said no in the House and opposed workers' rights. I look forward to hearing the member for Winnipeg North explain why.

Pension Protection ActPrivate Members' Business

November 18th, 2022 / 2:10 p.m.
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Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, I am quite pleased to be rising in debate on third reading of Bill C-228. There have been many attempts in the past to try to secure pension protection for workers when their companies go bankrupt. I believe this is the furthest we have come so far, and that has been the result of some good cross-party collaboration, which is often what it takes to be able to accomplish things for workers in this place.

I want to thank the member for Sarnia—Lambton for her collaborative and conciliatory attitude in trying to move her bill forward.

I would also like to thank the member for Manicouagan for her work on this matter and for her co-operation during the negotiations.

I also want to recognize the work of one of my former colleagues, Scott Duvall, who did a lot of work on this subject over two Parliaments and essentially developed the private member's bill that I was honoured to present in this Parliament on the very same issue.

This bill is an interesting case study, if we look at the process it has been through, of how difficult it can be to achieve things for the working people of Canada.

There always seem to be roadblocks and hiccups, and we do not see those same kinds of roadblocks usually put up when the government is trying to do something for corporate Canada. Those things tend to run pretty smoothly. Sometimes New Democrats try to slow it down, but we have only so many seats in this place. That is up to Canadians. That is why we are always working hard to elect more New Democrats so that we have more of an ability to ensure that corporate Canada does not have the run of this place.

In order to get something done for workers, it usually takes some kind of coming together of many disparate things in the right order, at the right time and in the right place. That is pretty hard to do.

We saw that, just the other day, with the member for Winnipeg North. There was some agreement not only to protect the pensions of workers when their companies go bankrupt, but also to go above and beyond and to really do the right thing.

We saw this in the case of Sears workers as well. It was not just their pensions that they lost, but there was a lot of controversy over their severance and termination pay at that time, millions of dollars.

We now have a Parliament that was prepared to do that for working people. Instead, with some procedural fig leaves, we saw the member for Winnipeg North get up and exclude what I take to be a really important part of the bill as it came out, amended, from committee, without actually speaking to the substantive issue.

We just heard from another Liberal MP on this, who did not address the issue of termination and severance pay and why the government was so keen to remove that from the bill.

I think that they owe workers an explanation on the substance of the matter, not on the parliamentary procedure but on why it was that, when there was just about a parliamentary consensus, and if it were not for the Liberals there would have been a parliamentary consensus on the fact that it makes sense to protect the termination and severance pay of workers, why they blew that up, instead of seeing it for the opportunity that it was to do right by workers and to have a gold standard when it comes to protecting them in the case of bankruptcy.

As I said, it is hard to accomplish things for workers in this place. I know because I am part of a caucus that works relentlessly to try to do that.

The Liberals ran on a promise to do better when it came to bargaining collectively with our public servants. In fact, the Prime Minister wrote them all a very nice note when he first got elected, and said that things were going to change, that it was not going to be like it was under the Harper years, when those guys would go for years without a collective agreement.

I met just last week with representatives of a public sector union who represent the thousands of people in Elmwood—Transcona who work at the tax centre. What are they telling us? They have been a year without a contract. The government will not make a wage offer. They are having to go to some kind of mediation because they cannot get the government bargaining in good faith. We see that far too often.

Frankly, when Conservatives have been in government, we have seen that lack of good faith and difficulty in getting contracts for public servants too. That is part of why it is very difficult to get things done for workers in this place.

In the previous government, we saw Bill C-525 and Bill C-377. Folks in the labour movement will remember those bills because they made it easy to decertify a union. They made it harder to certify a union, and they would have required unions to inappropriately disclose their financial position, which matters if one is thinking about a strike, for instance, in order to make the case for better wages and working conditions.

If the employer knows how much is in a strike fund, it is very easy for them to develop a strategy to exhaust the strike, so that was something that was not good, and the Liberals promised to get rid of it. They did, finally. It took a long time after they came to power for Bill C-4 in the 42nd Parliament to pass. I remember encouraging them to do it a lot more quickly. It did not take a lot of time for them to try to pass a deferred prosecution agreement arrangement when SNC-Lavalin came knocking and said that was something it wanted. That appeared quickly in a budget bill, and all of a sudden it was getting done, when it took a year for the legislation to repeal Bill C-525 and Bill C-377.

We have also seen Liberals and Conservatives stand up in this place over the course of many Parliaments now to legislate workers back to work, because God forbid workers get too uppity. They had to shut that down and make sure they were back at work, doing what they were told and working for the wages the government put in legislation.

The Liberals talked for a long time about anti-scab legislation, but until it was put in a confidence and supply agreement it was very hard to have any confidence they would do it, and they still were not going to do it the right way until the NDP said very clearly that anti-scab legislation should not apply just when there is a lockout, but also when there is a strike. We know the Conservatives are not supportive of anti-scab legislation, and that is why it is hard to get things done around here for workers.

Even for 10 paid sick days during the pandemic, we had to argue again and again that it ought to be done. We are told that next month it should finally be in place. We have had to wait a good long time. Do members know who did not have to wait? It was big companies at the beginning of the pandemic, when big banks and others got access to liquidity very quickly, because the government was concerned about them. We have seen that when the government is concerned, it is able to act quickly, and we often see long delays when it comes to doing the right thing by workers.

I am sick of it, and that is why this has been a very hopeful process, working with the member for Sarnia—Lambton and the member for Manicouagan, because something has been coming together here that is a good thing for workers and that we have been working to institute for a long time.

Not only was it going to be just the next little step, but it was going to be the gold standard. We see again that in this institution there are so many ways to pick off victories for workers, sometimes when we least expect it and sometimes for reasons that appear to have nothing to do with the substance but actually have everything to do with the substance in the bill, because we saw the parliamentary secretary for industry come to the finance committee and sing some kind of big tale and sad song from the financial industry about how hard it was going to be on them and how nobody was ever going to have any access to credit or anything like this. That was right out of the mouth of industry through the mouth of the parliamentary secretary.

These are all arguments that have been considered in the past. Parliament has studied this issue many times before. There was no new information in that. The fact remains that when we have a bankruptcy in this country, it is workers who are left holding the bag. It is wrong, and it should change. When we look at the percentage of businesses that go bankrupt and then the percentage of those that actually have defined benefit pension plans, the fact of the matter is that we are talking about a very small percentage of any one financial institution's portfolio. They can surely bear that risk and carry that load.

Most businesses they invest in succeed. We know that, and that is why we can say with confidence that this is something we can do to protect the pensions of Canadian workers. I wish I were saying we could protect the severance and termination pay also, because we know the big banks and financial institutions are going to get along just fine. The people we should be concerned about in this place are the people who work for 20 or 30 years and do not get a second chance to have a retirement nest egg.

They depend on that, and they went to work on that understanding, and when something goes wrong that is far beyond their decision-making or control, they need to know that the future they worked for is in place for them, so I am very glad we will be doing that with their pension. I am angry we are not doing that for termination and severance pay because the Liberals decided to go for sneaky tricks instead of a straight-up vote on the issue in this Parliament, and I look forward to working with other members of this place to see if folks in the other place, the Senate, will have the good sense to do what we should have done here.

TaxationOral Questions

November 18th, 2022 / noon
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University—Rosedale Ontario


Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to talk about hard-working Canadians, unionized working Canadians. Our government believes in supporting them, and that is why one of the first things we did was repeal anti-worker Harper legislation: Bill C-377 and Bill C-525. If the Conservatives really want to support Canadian working people, they should promise never again to put forward anti-worker legislation.

Fall Economic StatementRoutine Proceedings

November 3rd, 2022 / 5:50 p.m.
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Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, I want to take the opportunity to talk a little about respect and what it means, because I think we are living in a time when people are finding it hard to be respected.

People are working hard at full-time jobs while interest rates are going up. If the conversation they are having around their table is whether they are going to continue to be able to afford their home, whether that is because of mortgage payments or rent that continues to climb much faster than any possible justification for it, I think they would feel like they cannot get respect.

Young people who are working four or five different jobs in the gig economy, trying to make a go, are giving up on the dream of home ownership. They are wondering if they are going to be able to afford to buy their food as they try to figure out a time to eat between the different jobs and the places they have to get to in order to work them, and they do not feel the effort they are putting in is respected right now.

People facing layoffs know there is not a decent employment insurance system to count on, because some of the improvements that were there for the last couple of years during the pandemic were taken away by the government in September, even as it begins to talk about the possibility of recession. They are feeling like they are not getting any respect, that the government is not there to put in place the kinds of things they need in order to weather the storm.

There are people living with disabilities, who cannot work at all or who can work only part-time, and I think there are many people who, due to COVID, either have had the experience of not being able to work for reasons beyond their control or have not been able to get enough work. A lot of Canadians now know that pain, and it is one that people living with disabilities in Canada have known for far too long. They cannot get respect. When they see that the meagre disability pensions various levels of government offer, which have been legislating people living with disabilities into poverty for years, even before the pandemic, are not going up in the context of inflation, it is hard for them to feel respected.

Seniors have worked their whole lives and are now trying to make it on a fixed income that does not really grow and certainly does not grow at the pace of the extraordinary level of inflation we have seen in essentials. They do not feel like the career they had, to fight for and earn that pension over time, is being respected when it gets burned up so companies like Loblaws can make another million dollars a day of profit.

Indigenous people in Canada are part of generations of people who have not been able to access good economic opportunities and services at home. When they move to the city and find that systemic racism and jurisdictional disputes get in the way of their ability to access those opportunities and services, that is not respect, and that is a long and ongoing disrespect that Canada has paid far too often to indigenous people.

For sick Canadians right now, who just need to go to the hospital or need to get their kid or parent to the hospital, it is hard to feel respected when they walk in and see the incredible need that is there and the fact that governments have not risen to the occasion to invest in the training, employees and infrastructure we need in order to be able to deliver good health services.

Therefore, on top of all the real financial distress that people are experiencing, I think there is also this tremendous feeling of disrespect, of working really hard doing the things people can in order to make it, and of more and more not being enough. There is a feeling that the people who should be there to have their back, to try to create structures and systems that allow people who are working hard in their own way to succeed, are not doing that job.

Respect requires a few things. I do not pretend to have a comprehensive list today, but I want to offer up some of the things I think are particularly pertinent to debate in this place and some of the policies that we could adopt here in order to make life a little easier for Canadians.

Certainly one thing that respect requires is civility. We have to treat each other well. Respect also requires that we be honest with each other, and there is certainly a lack of that in this place, far too often. The third thing it requires, which speaks to some of the problems I opened this speech with, is results. We can talk at people all we like, but if at the end of the day things do not actually get better, if there is not actual material improvement that they can feel in their household budget, then it does not matter what we say in this place.

At the end of the day, we are not respecting people if we are not coming to the table and working together to implement real solutions that are going to make a difference in their lives.

I want to talk about civility, which is something we have talked a lot about this year, unfortunately, because there is such a pronounced lack of it. Even though we have some strong disagreements in this place, that is okay, because that is what this place is for. However, we need to do that in a way that respects other people with a different opinion and we need to understand that it does not make them demons, monsters, traitors, treasonous or whatever other word people want to substitute in. Just because somebody disagrees with us does not mean we should adopt a conspiracy theory that they are part of some kind of world movement to undermine everybody. Just because somebody disagrees with us does not mean it is okay to promote the use of violence or attack them physically.

That is not okay. We have seen too much of that in Canada. We have seen too much of it encouraged, frankly, in the kind of irresponsible rhetoric that too often finds its way to the floor of the House of Commons.

I am going to disagree with some people today, and I am going to be harsh in my criticism. That is okay. It is when it gets taken to the next level that it is a real problem, and it is a problem that is too present and is undermining Canadian democracy.

Unfortunately, we are living in a time when that is not an alarmist thing to say. It is a truth that needs to be spoken. It is in that spirit that I am going to engage in what I hope is some meaningful and constructive criticism here today.

We have to be honest with each other if we want to show respect to ourselves and to each other in this place, but also to Canadians. I want to highlight some issues on which I think there is a pronounced lack of honesty about what is really going on. That is important, not just from the point of view of respect, but in the sense of being honest for its own sake. It is important because, if we want to get to that other part, the results, we have to be honest about what the problems are. If we cannot be honest about what the problems are and where they come from, or if certain political agendas are allowed to obscure what the real causes of the problems are, then we will not get to the solutions and we will not get the results we need.

We talk a lot about inflation in this place, and inflation is a real problem. That much is true. That is honest, and we will hear that from all sides. If we want to tackle the problem of inflation, then I think some of the narratives around here are quite unhelpful.

As much as I think it is true that the liquidity that was offered to banks right at the beginning of the pandemic, just as it was under the previous Conservative government when the great recession of 2008 hit, poured more gasoline on the fire in our housing market, I do not think it is plausible to try to pretend that moment in 2020 caused the housing crisis in Canada.

How do we know that is true? Anyone with a memory that extends back past 2020, which I hope is anyone serving in this place, will know that housing was getting more and more unaffordable then. It was breaking household budgets then. We have been on a trajectory for the last 20 years that has seen housing prices skyrocket.

In the case of inflation in the housing market alone, it is simply not true to say this is a new problem since 2020 and it has all been fuelled by government dollars. In fact, the people buying up these properties are private actors in the housing market, and they were sitting on tons of cash before the pandemic.

They are finding ways to buy properties in the housing market and make housing more unaffordable for people who do not have a lot of means, so they can rent those same places out to renters. One of the places this started was when the Harper government refused to renew the operating grants of affordable housing that was built in the sixties and seventies.

That was not even the starting place; it was just another place. We can go back to 2015 and a bit earlier to see when real estate investment trusts started slobbering all over formerly affordable buildings that they could pay for with the money they already had in hand, mostly due to corporate tax cuts that were initiated in 2000 by the Chrétien Liberals and continued by the Harper Conservatives. Jim Flaherty himself complained that businesses were not spending and reinvesting in real capital that enhanced Canadian productivity. Those piles of cash were being used to get into real estate.

Let us not pretend somehow that public spending alone manufactured a housing crisis in Canada. It is not true. We will not fix the problem until everybody in this place, including the leader of the Conservatives, acknowledges that. Let us have a little honesty about the root causes of that.

Let us also have some honesty and recognize that we are in a time of serious global supply chain shortage. That is driving a lot of inflation when it comes to the price of many things. People who have been fortunate in this time to purchase automobiles have complained about the long wait. It is because they cannot get the chips from China, because China has a zero tolerance COVID policy so they often do not have workers in the factories that make the chips.

It is partly because of the free trade agenda of Liberals and Conservatives alike that outsourced that work at the end of the 1980s and the early 1990s instead of building that stuff here. It is a little rich to hear Conservatives these days talking about restoring and free trade out of both sides of their mouths at the same time.

Let us talk a little about the role that corporate greed is playing in inflation. We have seen reports that say as much as 25% of the current inflation that we are experiencing comes from price increases that go above and beyond the cost increases that companies are experiencing. That is a real thing.

When we look at the report about Loblaws today, and we see that mad money is being made by a number of companies, when we see that profit happening in the oil and gas sector, and we saw it with big box stores in the pandemic, we know that these price increases are being charged on the very market principles that Conservatives and Liberals alike love to defend, which is charge what the market can bear. It is why the government does not want to implement a windfall profit tax, because it thinks if someone is in the right place at the right time and they own something that they can charge a lot for, that that is good and that is what they should be doing. It does not matter if it is food. It does not matter if it is socks. It does not matter if it is rent. It does not matter if it is a Nintendo. To them, it is all the same.

What New Democrats have been trying to say in this place for a long time is that not all goods in the market are the same. There are goods that people cannot do without. They are not just goods. They are not wants. They are not desires. They are needs. We should have a government that structures our economy to make sure that people can access the things they need and leave to the market the things they simply want. That is a meaningful difference.

We need a little honesty in this place when it comes to what it means to defend the rights of workers. We have a Leader of the Opposition who gets up all the time and pretends that he is defending workers. I remember that he was part of the government with Bill C-377 and Bill C-525 that were a direct attack on workers' ability to organize. I have noticed his pathetic silence when it comes to the Conservative government in Ontario right now pre-emptively using the notwithstanding clause in order to deny the collective bargaining rights of workers.

I find it difficult to see the Prime Minister pretend to be a champion for those same rights when I watched in this place as his government introduced and railroaded through, with the help of the Conservatives, back-to-work legislation for Canada Post workers and workers at the port of Montreal.

If he is upset at the Ford government pre-emptively using the notwithstanding clause, we can be sure he does not have an objection to taking away collective bargaining rights by legislating people back to work. Let us have some honesty about that in this place as well.

One of the ways we could help people is by removing the GST on home heating. That is a long-standing NDP position. I thought maybe we would find some help from the Conservatives, but they are obsessed with the carbon tax. Let us have a little honesty about the facts.

First of all, the carbon tax does not apply everywhere in the country. B.C., Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Northwest Territories all have their own carbon pricing system. Removing the federal carbon tax from home heating would not do a whit for people who are concerned about the cost of home heating in those provinces. Maybe the provincial or territorial government would do that, but it sure as heck is not going to happen here.

What would help everyone across the country is if we removed the GST on home heating, because that does apply all across the country. That is why it is a better solution. That is why we proposed it in an amendment to a Conservative opposition day motion that presumably was about affordability and helping people, and they said no. Why? I am not going to take that as their permanent answer, because I believe, and we have to believe here, that people can come to their senses and make better decisions.

It is why I asked the leader of the Conservative Party earlier today after his remarks on the fall economic statement if he would join with us to work to get rid of the GST on home heating. He dodged the question. He never once mentioned the GST in his answer. I found that passing strange. The Liberals are inadequate on this. They should have done something about this in the fall economic statement. It was a clear opportunity to get something done.

Yes, they have done some things to help. I am going to give them that. What have they done to help? Well, they talk about dental care, so that children can get access to dental services. For some of them, it will be the first time in their life. They talk about the Canada housing benefit, another $500 a month for low-income renters. They talk about the doubling of the GST rebate that is going to be rolling out tomorrow for the next six months. They talk about investments in child care.

Those are all good things. I remember those things. I remember when we first raised those things and got laughed at by the Liberals, whether it was on the GST rebate, because, “Oh, we did not need that. The economy is roaring. Everything is fine. This inflation is just transitory.”

I remember running in 2015 on a national child care strategy. I remember the Liberals running against it. We kept up the pressure. We kept talking about it. We went out and talked to Canadians who need child care in order to be able to go to work. We knew we were not going to drop the file. We kept pushing it until the Liberals came to their senses.

I remember just about 18 months ago when the Liberals stood up with the Conservatives in this place in a previous Parliament to vote against dental care. It was through the power of our 25 votes in this Parliament that we held them over the barrel and are getting them to actually get it done.

Yes, I am quite aware of some of the things that the Liberal government is doing in order to bring help to Canadians. I am also quite aware of the extent to which those things would not be happening if Canadians, in their wisdom, had not elected a minority Parliament and given New Democrats the opportunity to fight for the things that we have always said we would fight for. That is exactly why we are fighting for those things.

One of the things that is in the fall economic statement, which again is something that is in the supply and confidence agreement, is a pandemic dividend. What is that? This time it is actually a dividend that comes back to Canadians, instead of Canadians paying for the dividends that go to shareholders. It is on banks and insurance companies that made record profits during the pandemic. It is a one-time payment of some of those enormous profits going back into the coffers of the Canadian government, not so that it is in the pocket of the government, but so that it goes out in the form of the GST rebate and the dental benefit and the Canada housing benefit. That is something that we fought for, including a permanent 1.5% hike on the corporate tax rate for those very same financial institutions.

I was glad to see the elimination of student loan interest permanently in this economic statement. That is something that I have watched New Democrat MPs get up for the last seven years that I have been here and talk about and, again, get laughed at by folks on the government benches. It is because we are here and it is because we are pushing that we see things like that in the fall economic statement.

I want to talk a little about housing again. There are a few initiatives here. There is an anti-flipping tax. There is a doubling of the first-time homebuyers' tax credit, which is something that New Democrats have advocated for. I will say that these measures are still part of that market-based approach to housing that I believe we really need to move past if we are going to find a solution to the crisis in housing.

We have to invest a lot more in non-market housing. That has to be the priority if the government is not going to challenge the culture of housing as a commodity, which it could do by moving on real estate investment trusts and which it could do by buttressing the position of non-profits that want to build non-market housing.

Unfortunately, one of the needs there now is just to cover the difference that interest rates have made for projects that are on the books that now cannot go ahead because interest rates have changed the math. If the government would come to the table to help them acquire buildings and lands quickly when they are having to compete with these rates, that would be helpful. If it would come to the table to say that it is going to cover the difference in their business plan for their non-profit housing, that they are suffering because of higher interest rates, that would be something that would help.

They also need to get serious on urban indigenous housing as a part of that. I want to give a shout-out to my colleague from Vancouver East. In question period earlier today, she was talking about the need for a meaningful and well-funded urban indigenous housing strategy. The government talks a big game. It wants to say that a $300-million investment is a record investment. I think that if that is true, what a shameful testament to Canadian history that indigenous peoples living in urban centres have not been able to access more funding for affordable housing far sooner.

That is the kind of thing that we need, but that again is outside the market framework that largely dominates Liberal thinking about the housing space. If we cannot break out of that, we are never going to make the difference that we need to make for Canadians in these challenging times.

I have talked a little bit about some of what is in the fall economic statement, but I want to spend some time talking about what is not in it.

As I said earlier, we are in a very challenging moment as a country. There are all of the things that New Democrats have fought for, some of which the government is doing and some extra things the government is doing. There is the 2% tax on share buybacks, which I think is a positive measure. I am glad to see it, but I do not think it is going to make all the difference. It has to be a part of a bigger package. In addition to those things, there are many other things that really ought to have been here and that an NDP government would have been keen to put in our own fall economic statement.

Consider the question of employment insurance. The government just today is starting to talk about a recession in the offing. Just a couple of months ago, we had an employment insurance system that had been made better, not perfect but better, during the pandemic as it was easier to qualify for benefits. There was actually a benefit floor. For a part-time worker or somebody working a couple of part-time jobs who is having a hard time getting all their hours and 55% of their income from those jobs that have been cobbled together is not enough to live on, we actually had an income floor so that when they were laid off, they could hope to be able to pay the rent. All of that went by the wayside on September 24. It is just gone.

We have been saying for years during the pandemic that when those rules expired, when the government was ready to let them expire, they had to be replaced with meaningful structural reform to the employment insurance system and that in no way should the government let the new rules lapse because those rules were a lot more on the way to a functional employment insurance system than anything that we had before. At the very least, the Liberals could have kept that in place until they came up with a new fix.

We still have not seen what that new fix will be. There are rumours about maybe them acting on it this fall. I sure as heck hope so, because if the rumours about a recession in early 2023 are true, people are going to need that employment insurance to be there for them.

Only about four in 10 working Canadians before the pandemic qualified for employment insurance. That is why it was such a broken system. We have to find fixes to that. I had hoped at least there might have been a reference or a hint as to what the government has in mind on how to fix that system.

I was also disappointed to see that the only reference to health care in the fall economic statement was dental care. I am glad that dental care is there but, man, is there ever a lot more that we need to do.

The provinces need more funding for health care and I believe, as New Democrats do, that the federal government can play a positive role in convening provinces to talk about best practices to develop a human resources strategy that is not based on some provinces poaching people that other provinces train, but to have a truly national training strategy where the provinces participate on their own terms. However, somebody has to bring them together in order to have those conversations and make that happen. There is a role for the federal government to play there.

We need to acknowledge that a big problem in our health care system right now is that just not enough trained people are available to do the job. That is a national problem right now and it requires a response with every part of the country working together, arm in arm, to figure out how we meet that challenge. It is going to require federal funding, to be sure.

There was not a word about that. However, that is the reality that so many Canadians are living when they go to the hospital. This includes the 350 people who are dying from COVID every week in Canada, who are going to the hospital before their death to seek help and find they have to wait for hours if they are lucky, and days if they are not, to get service.

How do we pay for many of these things? I talked earlier about a windfall profit tax. We know there are companies that can afford to pay more and ought to be paying more. This is not a time when we should be tolerating exceptional profits, which are well above prepandemic levels, without asking those same companies to pay a bit more on that extra profit. It does not make sense because that is some of the money that Canadians are giving up due to higher prices, and we need that money in order to bring the cost of those essential things down.

I would like to think, and I hope others will agree, that mine was a pretty honest talk about some of the problems we are facing. I do not expect that everyone is going to agree on some of the solutions the New Democrats are putting on the table, which is fair enough, but that is what we are here to do, to put ideas out there and debate them. I hope we are here to find common ground as best we can in the course of debates like this to be able to move ahead on important measures, such as removing the GST from home heating, for instance, as we prepare to go into another cold Canadian winter.

Therefore, I offer what I hope is an honest analysis of the problems we face. I have tried to offer some solutions that I think would behoove the government to take up. We stand ready to work with anyone in the House who wants to talk about these solutions, or propose other good ones that we have not thought of yet, to make life better for Canadians as they stare down a very difficult fall and beyond.

November 2nd, 2022 / 4:40 p.m.
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Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Thank you so much, Mr. Chair. I want to say a huge thanks to MP Chris Lewis for bringing this private member's bill before us. It is with great happiness that I hear opposition members talk about standing up for workers. This is the party that previously brought in Bill C‑377 and Bill C‑525, which we had to repeal and which were definitely anti-labour legislation. I would also hope there will maybe be some influence from our federal colleagues on their provincial Ontario colleagues in terms of standing up for education workers whose rights are now being taken away pre-emptively using the notwithstanding clause.

In any case, I'm going to focus on this piece of legislation before us.

Mr. Lewis, I've had the true pleasure of being on this committee for a few years, and we've had a number of trades workers come before us and say that it is super important for them to be able to have a certain amount of money to cover their costs in terms of going through the different jurisdictions. They've asked for this for a number of years.

Just over the last year, in our Budget Implementation Act, we implemented the labour mobility deduction, which provides $4,000 per year in tax recognition for eligible tax and temporary relocation expenses, because that has been requested by tradespeople. I'll tell you, we had Sean Strickland from Canada's Building Trades Unions. He applauds the Government of Canada for its support of skilled trades workers in budget 2022, which implemented this labour mobility deduction. He said the labour mobility tax deduction for tradespeople is something for which we have advocated for over two decades, and it will support working Canadians and families to travel to where the work is, helping to address labour availability across the country.

We also heard from the president of the Canada Labour Congress, Bea Bruske, who stated that Bill C‑19's labour mobility deduction was a welcomed step that would benefit workers.

You mentioned in your opening remarks that there is a labour shortage, which all of us are painfully aware of. I want to ask you a specific question and I want to give you a little bit of a scenario, because right now the way the bill is written, as you've proposed, it doesn't require those claiming it to be working in Canada.

For example, even with a 120-kilometre distance requirement, you could have an individual who lives in Oakville take up daily work across the border in Buffalo. In your very own riding of Essex, a skilled tradesperson living in Kingsville could travel to a work site in the west end of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Canadian taxpayer would be footing the bill if your legislation passed. Under your bill, it would be a better deal for someone to work in Ann Arbor or Flint, Michigan, than in Windsor.

I'm concerned, and I know many others are concerned that this may further incentivize workers living close to the border to take work in the U.S. at a time when we're facing serious labour shortages here in Canada. Can you maybe address this? I know that you've also talked about a worker deficit in the House. Have you received any assurance that this won't further exacerbate the issue by incentivizing those skilled workers who live close to the border to work outside the country?

LabourOral Questions

October 19th, 2022 / 3:10 p.m.
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Papineau Québec


Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Hamilton Mountain for her hard work and her constant advocacy for workers.

As a cabinet minister in the Harper years, the Conservative leader actively supported anti-union legislation, such as Bill C-525 and Bill C-377, and he is still attacking supports for workers today.

Today, our government launched consultations on eliminating the use of replacement workers during strikes and lockouts. This government will always be on the side of workers, while the Conservative leader gatekeeps Canadians out of safer, good paying jobs.

Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No. 1Government Orders

June 8th, 2022 / 7:30 p.m.
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Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to be here with you and all of my colleagues this evening to debate Bill C-19.

I will be splitting my time with my colleague, the member for Kitchener Centre this evening.

It is a pleasure to be here this evening to reflect and offer a few thoughts on a piece of legislation that is important not only for those in the chamber but also for all Canadians, coast to coast to coast. It is important in the fact that I, like many of my colleagues here, have children at home, or grandchildren for that matter, and everything we do, as legislators and as members of Parliament, should be through the lens of ensuring that we leave a strong economy and a clean and healthy environment for our children and grandchildren.

I do have some thoughts on where we are in Canada and in the world, and where we are with the economy today. Bill C-19 would continue to put us on a path for strong economic growth, good jobs and employment prospects for Canadians. We would also ensure we are leaving behind a very healthy and clean environment, including reaching our net-zero goals by 2050 and the interim targets which were defined and which we became accountable for through Bill C-12.

As we look at the Canadian economy, with an unemployment rate of 5.2%, we, as a country, through the hard work of Canadians from coast to coast to coast, have recovered 116% of the jobs to where to were pre-COVID. We are on the right path. Our AAA, the big A's and the small a's, for our credit ratings have both been affirmed by all three major agencies: DBRS Morningstar, S&P and Moody's. Our fiscal framework and the finances of this country are strong and continue to be guided by the Minister of Finance, who is doing an incredible job.

We know that in the world today, Canadian families are facing an affordability issue. We have inflation, and we know what has caused the inflation. We do know that COVID-19 has disrupted and continues to disrupt supply chains. Some of them have been fixed, and some of them will take longer. We know the barbaric, unprovoked invasion by the Russian Federation and President Putin into Ukraine has disrupted commodity markets, food markets and, obviously, energy security and affordability. We acknowledge that.

I see it when I go to the grocery store. My wife sees it when she goes to the grocery store to shop for our three children. It is a conversation at home. We all know it. We must be steadfast and resolute as a government to maintain the backs of Canadians as we move forward through this environment, and as we move forward ensuring that Canadians have the resources they need for them and their families.

We can look at our measures for affordability over the years. We have Bill C-19 and the BIA, as well as bills on past budget measures that we have implemented. We can think about the Canada child benefit being indexed, which benefits more than 9 out of 10 Canadian families. It is literally thousands of dollars, tax free, arriving monthly to Canadian families. We can think about the Canada workers benefit, something I have championed day after day, literally helping millions of Canadians and lower-income workers. We can think about early learning and child care plan we have put in place with all provinces and territories. It is something we said we would do. It is a promise made and a promise kept.

My family is going to be putting our almost eight-month-old daughter into day care in the fall. It is something we will see a benefit from. I know that in the province of Ontario, by the end of this year,December 31, we will see a 50% reduction in child care fees. For the area I represent, the York region, just on top of Toronto, this would represent a 50% reduction in child care fees. It would represent literally thousands of after-tax dollars to families in York region and in the city of Vaughan. That is something I applaud.

I am proud to be part of a government that signed on and collaborated with provinces and governments of all political stripes in the provinces. Unlike the Conservative Party of Canada, which wishes to tear up the early learning and child care agreements, we will maintain those agreements. We will continue to work with those provinces and territories across Canada to maintain these agreements because it is the right thing to do. We will not buy into the gimmicks offered by the Conservative Party of Canada when it comes to affordability.

Our seniors will receive a 10% increase in their old age security in July. That is roughly $800 a year, which will continue to be indexed, for roughly 3.5 million seniors. Again, that is a promise made and a promise kept by this government. I look forward to seeing our senior groups over the summer at the bocce courts, picnics and gatherings.

In the city of Vaughan, we have such a vibrant senior population. I love my seniors. They built this country, and they built the community. Many of them immigrated here with very little education and very little money. They came through Pier 21. They never complained. They worked hard. They saved, and they created a better future for themselves and their families. I just love and applaud them. They have my utmost respect as an individual and as a parliamentarian.

We have committed to dental care, and that is something that I have a very granular story on. A senior came into my office and said she needed help with her dental care. She had an infection. We sent her to York Region where there is a program to assist low-income seniors. Something like that for a senior who is on a very minimal income can really bankrupt them. It could really set a person back.

We cannot have that in our country. We cannot have that in modern-day Canada. That is why we have committed to ensuring that Canadians from coast to coast to coast, such as young children, seniors and all Canadians, will have some sort of coverage or insurance through a $5.3-billion dental care plan that will ensure vulnerable Canadians do not have an issue with getting dental care. The BIA and Bill C-19 really invest in growth, in people and in the green transition.

Of course, I would be remiss if I did not talk about the tradespeople who build this country from coast to coast to coast. My father was a tradesman. He was a carpenter, a labourer, a sheet-metal worker and a roofer. I remember working on weekends with him, when we would do odd jobs for our neighbours and friends, and that was something that taught me the values of hard work, sacrifice and putting aside that dollar, and I see that in our budget.

We came through on a promise made and kept on a labour and mobility tax deduction for tradespeople. Obviously, they have to fit the criteria. This would be $4,000, and it would be a deduction and not a credit. A deduction is very powerful. It would allow tradespeople to move from one jurisdiction to another jurisdiction and cover those expenses, which is something I know the Canadian Building Trades Union, LiUNA and the carpenters have advocated for.

I mention those two organizations because both of their training facilities are located in the city of Vaughan in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge. I meet with those members, and those are the folks who every day, rain, shine or sleet, warm or cold, get up to build our communities and build our critical infrastructure. They are great people.

We need more of those apprenticeships, and when we talk about apprenticeships, our government rolled out a program called the UTIP, the union training and innovation program.

We have committed another $80 million, which is within Bill C-19, to ensure we train literally thousands and thousands more apprentices. I went on a visit to a carpenters union, and I was looking at CCAT. They had their apprentices there, and they were high school students. They were being funded through this UTIP program. It was so great to see these young folks so excited about their futures and so excited about what they are going to do in this country, building the homes and the infrastructure for tomorrow.

The same thing takes place, whether it is at the LiUNA 506 training facility in York Region or LiUNA 183's training facility, with the operating engineers, the painters, and the HVAC and the electrical workers. The same thing takes place, and we are partnering with all of these organizations.

Members will remember that the Conservative Party from prior years attacked private sector unions with Bill C-525 and Bill C-377. The first thing we did in 2015 and 2016 was repeal those bills. We will always stand beside working Canadians, and we will always stand beside those tradespeople who go to work every day to maintain and build and repair our critical infrastructure.

When it comes to homes, I have spoken before about them in the House. I am blessed to live in a very entrepreneurial area. I have to hand it to the entrepreneurs in my area. The Mayor of Vaughan, the hon. Maurizio Bevilacqua, was a member of Parliament for many years. He committed to raising $250 million for our hospital, so this city of 330,000 people has the spirit of generosity.

We, the city of Vaughan and the entrepreneurs, hit the target of $250 million last week. I applaud them. They are entrepreneurs who have taken risks, invested, made money and contributed to their hospital. With that—

March 3rd, 2022 / 4:55 p.m.
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Wayne Long Liberal Saint John—Rothesay, NB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Good afternoon to my colleagues.

Good afternoon to our witnesses. Thank you so much for your testimony this afternoon. It's very interesting.

I, too, want to thank MP Zarrillo for bringing this motion forward.

My questions will be for the Canadian Labour Congress.

Before I start, I want to thank you for what you do for workers, as you said, Ms. Vipond, 3.3 million workers across this country. I want to thank you for your leadership and for your advocacy. I know that your past-president Hassan Yussuff has been in my riding of Saint John—Rothesay many times. We've laid wreaths together on the National Day of Mourning. I always enjoyed my time when he was here.

Our government has been an ally and friend of unions since coming to office. I remember that in 2015 one of the things I was absolutely passionate about going to Ottawa for was to fight for the repealing of Bill C-377 and Bill C-525, with our Bill C-4. I remember working with the CLC to make that a reality.

We've engaged regularly with unions and stakeholders across the country in numerous areas of our economy, from the energy workers to the building trades, and from the care economy to the tourism and hospitality sectors, all of which are critically important in my riding. We've been there to address the challenges facing these industries with government support and improvements to existing rules and legislation, such as the Canada Labour Code and occupational health and safety for federally regulated sectors.

Despite health care being a provincial jurisdiction legislated and regulated by their respective provinces, I do believe the federal government can still play a role in the hiring, the retention and the retraining of staff while improving work conditions for all.

Recognizing that health care is provincially delivered, what further opportunities do you see between unions, professional orders and employees in the care economy and the federal government to deliver quality services?

LabourOral Questions

June 8th, 2021 / 2:40 p.m.
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Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas Ontario


Filomena Tassi LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, this matter falls under provincial jurisdiction, but let me share with members what we have done as a government in order to support unions and workers from the time we were elected.

In 2015, one of the first measures we implemented was Bill C-4, which repealed Bill C-525 and Bill C-377, which were actually anti-union pieces of legislation. We have been there for workers. Members can look at the enhancements we have made under the Labour Code, such as increasing leaves and creating new leaves. We have been there, and we will continue to be there for workers every step of the way.

March 9th, 2021 / 3:50 p.m.
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Wayne Long Liberal Saint John—Rothesay, NB

Thank you, Chair, and sorry about that confusion.

Good afternoon to our witnesses. Thank you for your presentations.

Mr. Yussuff, it's certainly great to see you again. I think we first met here in Saint John, New Brunswick. You came down for the Day of Mourning and laid a wreath on behalf of the CLC at the Frank & Ella Hatheway monument here in Saint John.

I've been on HUMA going on six years. I remember the first questions I asked you were about the Conservative union-busting bills C-377 and C-525. It seems like a long time ago.

Anyway, I want to focus on the EI benefits and the expanded benefits. I would certainly concur that the opposition is there to challenge and oppose, but when it comes to impeding the progress of a bill that would affect thousands and thousands of Canadians, I think we all should be very concerned.

We're certainly aware that in late February, Minister Qualtrough came forth with an extension of the CRB and the caregiving benefit, and the additional 24 weeks of EI. We all know how critical those programs are. Certainly, I will say that we have seen first-hand how critical a strong EI system and EI programs are to support workers, especially during what I would call, obviously, a historic crisis, a historic pandemic.

Mr. Yussuff, on February 25, as we know, the government tabled Bill C-24, which would extend EI regular benefits for Canadians who are unable to work due to the pandemic. Yesterday the bill was read a second time, and the Conservatives refused to allow this bill to be sent to committee.

Just to make the committee aware, if these EI benefits are not extended, in the first week alone, 23,000 Canadians will lose access to their only source of income support. Every week that they delay, tens of thousands of Canadians will exhaust their EI benefits.

Mr. Yussuff, with the Conservatives delaying the implementation of this bill, what impact do you believe this will have on Canadians?

COVID-19 Pandemic and Other MattersGovernment Orders

July 8th, 2020 / 1:45 p.m.
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Filomena Tassi Liberal Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, ON

Madam Chair, with all due respect, I have to completely disagree with the member's statement and assertion. We have been working hard for workers from the time we were elected. Right off the bat, we had the implementation of Bill C-4, repealing Bill C-525 and Bill C-377, which were anti-union pieces legislation.

Let us look at some standards and enhancements that we have implemented: stronger labour standards, enhanced leaves, new leaves and flexible work hours. We have and we will continue to work hard for our workers in Canada.

June 1st, 2020 / 1:20 p.m.
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Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas Ontario


Filomena Tassi LiberalMinister of Labour

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I'd like to thank the member for Hamilton Mountain for that question and for his advocacy on this file. I remind the member that since 2015 one of our first initiatives was the repealing of Bills C-525 and C-377, which were anti-union legislation.

Since then, we've implemented a number of measures to protect workers. We've increased the wage earner protection program by extending it from four weeks to seven weeks. The member is well aware that in 2019—

News Media IndustryOral Questions

May 29th, 2019 / 2:25 p.m.
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Papineau Québec


Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we know that a strong, independent media is essential to the functioning of a healthy democracy. That is why we wanted to make sure, on our independent panel, that unlike what the Conservatives want, it is not just newspaper owners and media giants that are on that panel. We need to make sure that hard-working journalists are well represented on that panel as well.

On this side of the House, we will always defend labour and we will always defend workers, unlike the Conservatives, who attack organized labour at every chance they get, including with Bill C-525 and Bill C-377 in the last Parliament.