Combating Counterfeit Products Act

An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2013.

Sponsor

Christian Paradis  Conservative

Status

In committee (House), as of June 12, 2013
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

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

This enactment amends the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act to add new civil and criminal remedies and new border measures in both Acts, in order to strengthen the enforcement of copyright and trade-mark rights and to curtail commercial activity involving infringing copies and counterfeit trade-marked goods. More specifically, the enactment

(a) creates new civil causes of action with respect to activities that sustain commercial activity in infringing copies and counterfeit trade-marked goods;

(b) creates new criminal offences for trade-mark counterfeiting that are analogous to existing offences in the Copyright Act;

(c) creates new criminal offences prohibiting the possession or export of infringing copies or counterfeit trade-marked goods, packaging or labels;

(d) enacts new border enforcement measures enabling customs officers to detain goods that they suspect infringe copyright or trade-mark rights and allowing them to share information relating to the detained goods with rights owners who have filed a request for assistance, in order to give the rights owners a reasonable opportunity to pursue a remedy in court;

(e) exempts the importation and exportation of copies and goods by an individual for their personal use from the application of the border measures; and

(f) adds the offences set out in the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act to the list of offences set out in the Criminal Code for the investigation of which police may seek judicial authorization to use a wiretap.

The enactment also amends the Trade-marks Act to, among other things, expand the scope of what can be registered as a trade-mark, allow the Registrar of Trade-marks to correct errors that appear in the trade-mark register, and streamline and modernize the trade-mark application and opposition process.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

June 12, 2013 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-56, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and that, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 11:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter Braid Conservative Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, the issue here is not an issue of resources. Rather, it is an issue of tools. The CBSA has the resources. It has indicated that it will make this a priority. What is missing is the legislative tools and authority to deal with the flow of counterfeit goods across our border. I am confident that once the bill is passed we will be in a much more effective position to deal with the scourge of counterfeit goods.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 11:30 p.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, before beginning my speech, I would like to mention that I will be sharing my time with the House Leader of the Official Opposition, who is also the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. He is one of the members who works the hardest in the House of Commons. What is more, he is the most ardent defender of the rights of Canadians. The NDP is really proud of its parliamentary leader.

I would also like to mention the great work that my wonderful colleague from LaSalle—Émard has done. She gave an excellent speech. She has a good grasp of the dynamics of the situation. I listened very carefully to her speech, which was very enlightening. I am also very pleased to mention my colleague from Sherbrooke's excellent work. He talked about the importance of border protection. Over the past few months, there have been major scandals in the ridings of Sherbrooke and Compton—Stanstead. Incidents have shown that our border is indeed porous. Unfortunately, the Conservative government did not do its job and did not make sure that our border is secure.

Bill C-56, the Combating Counterfeit Products Act, amends the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act. It seeks to strengthen the enforcement of copyright and trade-mark rights and to curtail commercial activity involving infringing copies and counterfeit trade-marked goods.

This bill creates two new criminal offences under the Copyright Act. They deal with the possession and export of infringing copies. The bill also creates offences related to the sale or offering for sale of counterfeit goods on a commercial scale. It creates a prohibition against importing or exporting infringing copies and counterfeit goods. Finally, it grants border officials new ex officio powers to detain infringing copies and counterfeit goods.

These are important changes, since up until now, border officials required copyright holders to first get a court order before they would seize infringing copies or counterfeit goods. These are the main changes proposed in this bill.

However, it is important to understand that this bill assigns new tasks to border authorities, to the border officers. As I have already said, as my colleague from Sherbrooke said so well earlier, and as my colleague from Compton—Stanstead often says during question period, there are already problems at the border. Ensuring safety at the border to allow the border authorities to do their job properly is problematic. The reason is quite simple: $143 million was cut from the Canada Border Services Agency. There were already problems, but instead of strengthening the border, the government made more cuts to the Canada Border Services Agency, which is irresponsible. This will have a direct impact on jobs. It will affect officers who work to protect our borders. Five hundred and forty-nine jobs will be cut, which means 549 fewer people to do the work at the borders across Canada, including in the Sherbrooke area and at the Compton—Stanstead border.

This is not going to improve the situation, despite the fact that this bill makes some corrections, as a number of members have mentioned. I am not one to make partisan speeches. I will even mention the hon. member for Durham, who made a very important speech and talked about a number of things, including the fact that this bill needs to be improved in committee. I think it is a shame that we have to hear such things.

It is 11:35 p.m. and I am a bit tired, so that explains why I sometimes lose my train of thought. I think it is important to the democratic process for us to be here, even at 11:35 p.m., to make speeches, debate bills, propose amendments and provide explanations about the validity of these bills. We will support this bill at second reading so that it can go to committee. That is very important.

This is directed mainly at the Conservatives, because I know that NDP members do an excellent job in committee. I do not know how many times I have made speeches in the House about the excellent job NDP members are doing in committee. They listen carefully to the recommendations made by experts and then bring them forward in the form of amendments.

We will support this bill. As a number of members have mentioned today, we have been waiting for this bill for a long time. We must strengthen the fight against counterfeiting to ensure respect for the efforts of Canadian businesses and the goods they produce and to protect the health and safety of all Canadians.

Several of my colleagues have given good examples of car parts and other items we use every day that could put our health and safety at risk. That is why this kind of bill is so important. It will essentially guarantee that the products Canadians use are safe.

However, the Conservatives, who are currently in power, have to provide the necessary financial and human resources to implement this bill. We will support it and study it in committee.

I must appeal to the Conservatives once again, because unfortunately, as we have seen many times in the past, they have not been listening. I hope they will listen closely to all of the experts who testify before the committee, and I urge them to take the experts' recommendations into account along with amendments that the NDP and others will make based on the experts' recommendations. I hope they will improve this bill. That would be a first step to show that they are acting in good faith.

They could also show they are acting in good faith by investing the necessary money and human resources to ensure all Canadians benefit from a bill that meets their expectations.

The government has been aware of this problem for a long time. Difficulty measuring the scale of counterfeiting and pirated goods in Canada has been a challenge from the start. The OECD's 1998 report entitled “The Economic Impact of Counterfeiting and Piracy” was a first look at the scale of the problem.

I am running out of time, so I will wrap up my remarks. This bill must meet the needs of Canadian consumers and protect health and safety. The Conservatives must reverse their decision to cut the CBSA's budget by $143 million, a decision that will result in the loss of 549 jobs. Otherwise, this bill will not really benefit Canadians.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 11:40 p.m.
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NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Drummond for his speech. I know his area quite well, since it borders my home region in central Quebec.

I would like to speak some more about the industrial landscape of Canada in recent decades, in order to explain the proliferation of counterfeiting. For several years, Canada's manufacturing sector has suffered significant setbacks. Many businesses in the area represented by my colleague have had to shut down, much the same as in my region. Canada's manufacturing has shifted to foreign markets, whether in China or elsewhere. This outsourcing of Canadian jobs and production means that goods from other countries may well be made differently from those made by Canadian businesses.

I would also point out that Canadian incomes have stagnated over the past several years. Canadians are also grappling with high debt, which encourages consumers to look for low-priced attractive products. However, as mentioned by the member for Durham, these products can cause major health and safety problems. These two issues are very troubling.

I would like my colleague to tell me how manufacturing businesses in his region have been affected over the last few years.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 11:40 p.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for LaSalle—Émard for the outstanding work she does every day in committee and as our critic.

In fact, there are two very important points in this bill which, I hope, will be effective. For Canadians to benefit from this bill, the necessary financial and human resources will need to be put in place.

In committee, it will be important to ensure that this bill minimizes the negative impact counterfeit goods have on Canada's economy. I know that my colleague from LaSalle—Émard will be able to see to it that everything happens as it should. We are trying to protect our Canadian industries.

The other important point she mentioned was in relation to the health and safety of Canadians. When products do not meet Canadian health and safety standards, there could be very serious implications. Take, for example, counterfeit automobile parts, whether brakes or airbags. There could be serious repercussions with those types of products.

Once again, I am calling on the Conservative government to invest, to stop these draconian cuts and to stop eliminating positions at the Canada Border Services Agency.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 11:40 p.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the enthusiasm is overwhelming. I am moved. Especially considering that we are coming to the midnight hour, the enthusiasm New Democrats have for the House of Commons, for democracy and even for debate is stirring and important, because there has been a certain lack of enthusiasm for debate coming from the Conservatives.

The Leader of the Government in the House of Commons will know the actual number. I think we are at 47 or so time allocation motions. On all of these bills, and this is one of those bills, we seek to find some comfort for the Conservatives, who are often looking for comfort, particularly when there is a lot of turmoil in their lives, much of it self-inflicted. They want these kinds of things to move at an orderly pace. We offer them an orderly calendar. A certain number of New Democrats will speak and allow the bill to go ahead, and they still shut down debate, even under those circumstances. One wonders what the motivation is sometimes. I think we are up to 47. Again, if the government House leader rises tonight, he will be able to remind us.

This bill is an important one. The Conservatives say that it is critically important. How critical it is in their minds begs the question, simply because it was first introduced on March 1 of this year, seven or eight years into their mandate and 27 years after the last time the bill was reviewed. My friend from the Conservatives earlier talked with some great expertise about the importance of this thing. If it were important, one would think it would be a priority, and if it were a priority, one would not think that the 11th hour of this particular sitting and session of the House of Commons would be the time they would move the bill. If this were devastating to the Canadian economy, to the intellectual property rights regime in Canada, our ability to trade with other nations and all of these things that have been talked about, it would be a priority, but it is not a priority. It is a panic. When things are panicked, mistakes are made.

It is important for my friends to realize that they cannot quite have it both ways. If they say that this is urgent and desperate and we need to move it through rapidly, then one says that there has been a majority government for two years. Other bills have been moved, some of certainly less consequence or even quality, some would argue. I am thinking of a few bills, such as Bill C-30. My friends will remember Bill C-30, the Internet snooping bill, which the Minister of Public Safety so eloquently justified by saying to the opposition and to all Canadians that one was either with the Conservatives or was with the child pornographers. Do members remember that classic? That was a good one. They got rid of that bill. It was a bigger priority than this piece of legislation.

However, let us talk about the bill, because it is important. We will take a look at Bill C-56 and see what it actually would do.

New Democrats have been aware of the importance of protecting intellectual property rights in Canada. It is important both for our own industry and our ability to innovate and design leading-edge technology, as Canada has so often done in the past, particularly when we used to have things like industrial development strategies, but not so much with these guys. We had export policies that said that adding value to our resources in Canada was a priority for the federal and provincial governments, but not so much with that side.

We agree with the merits of this bill and agree with sending it to committee. We believe that we need to hear from the experts. We have one or two experts in the House of Commons who maybe spent a previous life looking at the intellectual property regime in Canada and around the world. I do not claim that expertise, and I think most members of Parliament would not either. We need to rely on the experts, and not just the industry experts, and this is important for us as New Democrats. While those voices are critical to the design and implementation of legislation, we need to hear from the border guards, who are the folks who are going to be potentially seizing some of these products. We will have a very challenging time distinguishing between the bootlegged products people have talked about and other products that would offer serious harm or threats to Canadians' safety and health.

My friend talked about toothbrushes and toothpaste that caused people harm, but it gets even more serious than that. There is medical equipment that is improperly made. It is counterfeit, and Canadians are exposed to this, because they trust the label on the brand. It is not about buying a sweater for a child and hoping that it is the actual brand. Some of these things are quite important. When buying brake pads for one's car, one wants to ensure that they are actually brake pads that will stop the car.

The problem with counterfeit is that it can so often appear as something that is solid and consistent and legitimate. The reason it is so effective is that it looks good.

We have been having a bit of a debate. I do not want to say that it has been a nerd fight, but we have been arguing about the numbers. The numbers do not really help out the government's case in terms of providing help for the border officials who are meant to guard our borders, not just from counterfeit products, which is important, but even more important, from illegal contraband and weapons. They come into this country, some would argue, through our ports, where 2% to 3% of all containers are inspected. That is not a lot, and with those types of odds, some smugglers will just take the chance of getting caught, because the ability to make money is so great.

We have heard from the CBSA itself in this year's report. This is not a report produced by the official opposition. This report is produced by the border agency. We have heard that the government has cut $145 million from the border agency this year. Excuse me, I want to get the number right. It is $143 million. I exaggerated. It is not $145 million but $143 million. I want to make sure the number is right. I do not want to upset anyone on the other side.

The CBSA's report on plans and priorities indicates a loss, not a gain of 1,000 and a loss. It indicates a net loss of 549 full-time-equivalent positions. If the CBSA is not telling the truth or has its numbers wrong, I would encourage those on the government side to help it out a little. The Conservatives are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts. The facts of the matter are that there are 549 fewer full-time-equivalent positions. If we are going to ask them to do more with fewer staff, is the law worth the paper it is written on?

We need two things, of course. We need the tools. This is an update of the legislation, and New Democrats support the updated legislation. Things have changed since the last time we looked at these intellectual property regimes that are so important for businesses that are looking to innovate and trade. If we do not look at legislation often, we want to get it right. To the Conservatives who say that one hour of debate is good enough, that we can zip it through committee and get it back out the door and then wait 30 years to correct the errors we make, I say that it is not right.

Nearly 100% of the amendments the opposition moved were based on testimony from experts, from border officials, from those in industry and those who deal with intellectual property. We hope that there is some sort of new openness, because the Conservatives have rejected virtually everything we have offered before, because they can, not because they have any counter-argument.

I have been at the committee hearings where we quote witnesses everybody agreed with when they testified. We move the change the witness suggested. There is no debate or counter-argument from the Conservatives. There is a vote, they kill it and they move on. We just do it over and over again.

A number of pieces of legislation have moved through the House completely unamended. Some of these bills are hundreds of pages in length. They are technical bills amending other acts. Sometimes as many as 60 other acts of Parliament are amended by one bill. The government does not change anything based on the testimony it hears. The testimony we hear, in very specific and technical ways, offers another viewpoint.

It raises the question of what is going on. Why would a government claim to have a keen interest in helping manufacturers and innovators in this country protect their intellectual property and a keen interest in helping consumers, yet not allow border officials to have the tools and services they need?

If we hear from border officials that we should change something in the legislation and New Democrats happen to be the party offering the amendment to the bill, for goodness sake, I hope the Conservatives change some of their patterns and hubris and say that it does not matter which political party moves it. What matters is whether it is a good amendment and whether it is a good improvement. Going through hundreds of pages of laws without any changes smacks of a certain unfortunate level of arrogance.

On this legislation, let us make sure that the tools we are offering our border officials also match up with the planning priorities—not the stated planning priorities of the government, not the stated spending priorities, but the real priorities, with real money and training.

We have talked about giving border security officers new powers to play a discerning and defining role in investigating the products to make sure that they are contraband, or not. That requires new training. We all admit it, but we do not see in any spending priorities from the government actual resources for training. CBSA has to take it from something else.

To the government, to all members of the House, let us do what the House of Commons is built to do: study legislation, look at it, take our time and get it right. If we are only going to do this once every generation, and if it is so important for our industry, then let us make sure we get it right.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 11:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the NDP House leader for his remarks as we approach midnight tonight. I am glad he mentioned hubris, because that concept was coming to mind during his remarks.

Specifically, he addressed the need for training and CBSA needs in relation to some of these changes. He may not be aware that such training is already taking place between intellectual property rights holders, border officials and law enforcement officials. I was personally involved in some of those efforts. However, those are impossible to later act upon without a registry of intellectual property rights or a request procedure, given the volume.

Therefore, I would ask him to comment on whether his party agrees with those provisions of the bill and whether that agreement would change if there were several more weeks of debate on this.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 11:55 p.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are under time allocation. There are not going to be several more weeks of debate on this. We are under time allocation for everything.

My friend suggests something that is quite critical. I can read all sorts of quotes and citations from experts on intellectual property regimes that suggest that the ex officio powers being granted to border officials are not now being met with the training required to perform those powers. That should be a concern to my friend and the companies he used to represent, as it should be to all Canadians. We cannot give people new powers over a whole and sophisticated regime without giving them the training to do that, and the experts agree.

In terms of the debate on the bill, he will not remember, because he was not here, but I remember Conservatives in opposition, and Reformers before that, decrying when the Liberals invoked time allocation after a few weeks of study. We are getting time allocation before we start debating a bill. The Conservatives cannot have it both ways. If this place is meant to work on the idea of exchanging new perspectives, on trying to improve legislation, on challenging the government, that is a good thing. They should not take it as a threat; they should take it as an opportunity.

We are challenging them on this aspect. We are saying that their spending priorities do not match up with the priorities they are saying are so important at the border. They should take that challenge on as an opportunity and rethink the spending priorities for the border. Maybe cutting $145 million and 349 FTEs is not a great idea if we want a border that is more efficient and more able to do the job we ask of it. That is all. That is how this place works, and it works well when we allow it to do that work instead of shutting down debate almost 50 times now, breaking the record, by almost double, of any government in Canadian history.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 11:55 p.m.
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NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to continue along those same lines, because this is a bill I have been waiting for since it was introduced on March 1, 2013. A study was conducted on intellectual property.

We met with a number of stakeholders who mentioned the importance of a bill like this one in its current form. Since March 1, I have been meeting with people who raised questions about the enforcement of this bill and about whether all of the right protections have been proposed, namely protecting consumers and the rights of copyright holders.

I would like to ask my colleague about the work done in committee. We are coming to the end of the session. I would like him to talk about that and about the important role committees play in studying bills.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 11:55 p.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, we can see what the government does: it waits a month and a half to talk about certain priorities. We are just about to adjourn for the summer and the government decides we need to pass this bill. It is impossible to pass all of the bills in the time we have left. The government says it wants to get out of Parliament right away. It wants to leave as soon as possible. That is what it is saying. At the same time, it is saying that we have to pass this bill. The government is saying that it would like to adjourn right now, except all of a sudden we have these priorities. It will have to make up its mind. It is one or the other. It cannot have it both ways.

This is not a priority or a plan. It is panic. That is to be expected with a government that has no plan and that does not like to plan for anything, including the economy, investment or industry.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2013 / midnight
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Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is great to have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-56. I want to thank my colleagues from Durham, Vancouver South, York Centre, Kitchener—Waterloo and Don Valley West who also commented on the bill.

I will agree with my colleagues from the NDP that this has been a very good debate tonight. It is an interesting debate on an interesting bill. Even though I do not serve on the industry committee, it has been—

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2013 / midnight
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Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Yes, I might want to go to the industry committee now.

However, it is really an interesting bill. Before I get into some of the details of the bill, when I was in my consulting realm, I always talked about the change imperative for companies and the reasons for bills and why they were so important.

We have had a bit of discussion about counterfeit products and foods. We have discussed a number of things in the House tonight. We have talked about the level of problems with counterfeit worldwide. Some have estimated it at $250 billion and some at $400 billion to $600 billion. A significant percentage, or at least a good percentage of that, is tied to organized crime, which has to be a concern to the House as well as to the citizens of Canada.

I represent one of the largest potato-growing areas in Canada, with two large McCain french fry plants. There is a significant amount of intellectual property that goes into the development of new potato breeds and those types of things. As well, there is a lot of research into foods. McCain Foods does a tremendous amount on its french fries worldwide. All of this is very important intellectual property for these industries.

Innovation is alive and well in many of our industries. Many of those who represent forestry and agricultural ridings know it is the same for them as well.

The proposed combating counterfeit products act is the latest in our government's ongoing efforts to strengthen and modernize Canada's intellectual property laws. It will help confront the realities and challenges presented by large-scale commercial shipments of counterfeit goods. It will also respond to concerns raised by Canadian consumers and job-creating innovators and will provide a made-in-Canada approach to fighting counterfeiting that is compatible with the approaches of our allies.

Counterfeit goods are more pervasive now than ever before. Seizures of counterfeit goods by the RCMP increased fivefold between 2005 and 2012. Not only is counterfeiting increasingly pervasive, it is increasingly dangerous to Canadian consumers and costly to our economy.

Anything can be the target of counterfeiters, from everyday consumer goods to car parts. We have heard about brake parts and hockey jerseys. Earlier today we heard about Canada Goose, face wash, shampoo, batteries for cars, golf clubs and even wine.

This disturbing trend affecting Canadians' health and safety needs to be addressed right away. Over 30% of counterfeiting now involves harmful products, compared to 11% in 2005. Without these robust measures, these products will make their way into our homes and our children's playgrounds.

As was said earlier tonight, a lot of these products are getting harder and harder to identify. Being an avid golfer, I can speak to the fact that somewhere in the area of two million counterfeit golf clubs enter the market every year, as well as wine. It gets harder and harder to pursue these types of things because it is hard to tell the difference between what is counterfeit and what is real.

The government takes counterfeiting very seriously, and this bill would give Canadian rights holders and law enforcement the tools they need to combat this growing problem that exists at the border and domestically and to target those who profit from the commercial trade of counterfeit goods.

Specifically, the bill would give the authority to the border services officers to detain suspected shipments. Border services officers would have the authority to detain suspected counterfeit goods that were imported into Canada or that were exported from Canada on their own initiative.

When I was talking before about some of the golf clubs and wine and how hard it was to even trace some of these things, I looked at the website of a company that now provided the scanning tools to try to identify some of these types of things. It is interesting that it was talking about the wine industry and how it was taking counterfeit product and putting it into original-type bottles to be sold. There were 17,000 bottles which were deemed to be counterfeit. It was estimated that it would take 7,000 hours and $1 million for this to all be assessed.

I know there are many people in the House of Commons who would love to be in on that project and on the committee responsible for assessing these 17,000 bottles of wine. I can think of all kinds of things at midnight that would be interesting to see.

When we talk about the golf club industry, counterfeiting is so pervasive that the industry is actually investing to help the border services officers in the U.S. get the training to identify counterfeit golf clubs. This is because they have a different regime from the one we have in terms of responsibility.

Once the suspected goods are detained, border services officers will have the authority to communicate with the copyright owner or the registered trademark owner to inform them that a suspected shipment has been encountered. This bill would also allow for the creation of a new process, called the “request for assistance”. It would allow the rights holders to seek assistance from border services officers by supplying information about their copyright and registered trademarks. The request for assistance would also facilitate communications between border services officers and rights holders.

The bill would provide rights holders with new tools to protect against counterfeiting and to take civil action against infringers. The new civil causes of action would target manufacturing, distribution and possession with the intent to sell counterfeit goods. Currently, counterfeit goods must be sold or offered for sale before a rights holder can initiate a civil action. With the combatting counterfeit products act, rights holders would be able to initiate a civil trial earlier in the supply chain, before these goods reached the market where they could deceive and harm Canadians' and steal Canadians jobs.

The bill would add new criminal offences to help combat counterfeiting for the purposes of trade. These target the sale of counterfeit goods, as well as manufacturing, importing, exporting and processing counterfeit goods, if they are intended to be sold or distributed on a commercial scale. The bill would also add new offences for exporting and possessing pirated copyright goods. These offences are meant to complement the existing criminal offences in the Copyright Act, such as the sale, rental and importation for sale or rental of copyright-infringing copies.

I really appreciated the comment that was made by my colleague from Durham with respect to his background and experience in this field. He gave us some real context for the House on this debate tonight.

The bill would recognize newer practices, such as applying counterfeit labels just before sale. Sophisticated counterfeiters want to ship goods separately from labels so as to avoid being caught. To deal with this, new offences would target the sale of counterfeit labels or the manufacture, importation, exportation or possession of counterfeit labels for the purposes of trade.

In addition, the bill would introduce minor amendments to the Trade-marks Act, which has not been modified since the 1950s. For example, the bill would remove unnecessary paperwork requirements for businesses during the trademark application process, would modernize the language found in the act and explicitly would allow the registration of non-traditional trademarks, including sounds, scents and holograms. Overall, the bill would improve the Trade-marks Act by aligning the legislation with modern business practices.

The problem of counterfeiting is not just a Canadian problem. It is a global problem in which Canada is one destination among the many for counterfeit goods. As I indicated earlier, there are estimates that the counterfeit market could be $250 billion, but that does not count some of the DVDs and similar items that are pirated as well. That could take it to well over $500 billion.

This bill would provide a domestic response to a global problem. It is a made-in-Canada solution that would ensure our intellectual property enforcement regime would be compatible with global standards. It is a domestic approach that draws on the best practices of peer countries.

Let us take a moment to look at border regimes in some of the other countries, because that is important.

In the EU model, customs authorities have ex officio authority to temporarily detain suspected infringing goods. They cannot take ownership and seize or destroy the goods.

In the EU, rights holders may apply to customs authorities for enforcement of their IP rights at the border. In these cases, it is the rights holders who assume all the costs of the border enforcement process, possible ensuing civil action and the storage and disposal of suspected IPR infringing goods. In return, they will be informed of any resulting border detention.

However, in the EU, when the action of IP rights infringement results in the violation of public laws—for example, criminal fraud or a threat to public safety—the state can also commence criminal investigations and prosecutions, the cost of which is assumed by the government.

In the U.S. model, it is the federal government that is primarily responsible for enforcing IP rights at the border. In particular, the U.S. customs and border protection is responsible for detecting, seizing and disposing of counterfeit and pirated goods found at the U.S. border. If an importer takes issue with the seizure, it is customs and border protection and not the courts that decide the issue, making administrative determinations on the existence and validity of IP rights. Customs and border protection has the authority to impose administrative fines for violations. It also absorbs all the costs of the IP rights enforcement process, ensuing litigation, storage and disposal of goods.

In terms of the overall approach to IPR enforcement, Bill C-56 proposes a made-in-Canada approach, an approach that is appropriate and well-suited to Canada's needs. The bill reflects the fact that the enforcement of intellectual property rights is primary the rights holders responsibility, while acknowledging some role for federal agencies.

For example, to temporarily detain suspected counterfeit goods and inform rights holders and in the area of criminal enforcement, which will be worked out between them and the RCMP, the determination of whether goods are counterfeit is ultimately left to the courts.

The new request for assistance process will allow border services officers to use information provided by rights holders in their request for assistance document in order to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the shipments contain counterfeit goods. If there is a suspicion, the border service officer can detain the shipment and notify the rights holder of a suspected shipment. The rights holder is then given a period of time to decide whether he or she will pursue the matter in civil court.

The RCMP and Health Canada will be given the chance to decide whether the shipment at issue may be a criminal or a health and safety matter respectively.

The detention of suspected goods allows the RCMP or Health Canada to pursue the matter criminally and the rights holder to pursue the matter civilly.

The border services officer does not make a final determination on whether the detained goods are counterfeit. Only a judge in a court has the power to do that. That is a departure from some of the questions that have been asked tonight, because that is the court process. I know I will get some questions on this with respect to the financial aspect of CBSA. That is important for us to know.

Since the tabling of the bill in March, many stakeholders have been in support of the bill. These include the Canadian Intellectual Property Council, the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Electro-Federation Canada, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada and Food & Consumer Products of Canada.

While the bill is supported by a majority of stakeholders, some misconceptions have been heard. I will take the opportunity to address these concerns.

Some have suggested that the bill grants border services officers more power without judicial oversight, in a sense expecting these officers to be copyright and trademark experts. This is simply not true. As I mentioned before, they would have the authority to detain goods based on a reasonable suspicion that the goods were counterfeit. The ultimate authority to determine whether goods are counterfeit can only come from a judge in a court.

Some members may have heard the misconception that the bill was the result of international pressures to change our laws. In fact, the bill was developed in response to repeated calls by Canadian stakeholders, including innovative businesses, which we have talked about tonight, that employ Canadians.

As early as 2006, the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network released a position paper on the need for legal reform in Canada to address intellectual property crime. In 2007, it released another report on counterfeiting and piracy in Canada. It was also in 2007 that two parliamentary committees, the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology and the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, both heard several stakeholders on this issue.

Since 2009, the Canadian Intellectual Property Council has also released reports asking for legislative changes in the area. More recently, in 2012, the standing committee that this will be referred to also heard from many witnesses about the issue of counterfeiting. Many others have met with or written to government officials with their concerns. Canadian stakeholders have been clear about the economic and health and safety issues associated with counterfeiting. This bill shows that we have listened.

There should be no concerns that Canadians will have luggage and their personal music devices searched for counterfeit goods and pirated copies. I am glad we have consensus on that. With everybody who spoke to that, it is very clear in the bill that this is not an attack on individuals personally for bringing things across the border.

Personal baggage will not be searched for counterfeit or pirated goods upon entering Canada, nor will personal music devices be searched. In fact, Bill C-56 clearly identifies such goods for personal use to be outside the scope of the legislation. The bill would provide the tools to pursue those who aim to profit from commercial counterfeiting activities: those who manufacture, possess, import, export or attempt to export for the purpose of sale and distribution, as well as those who sell or distribute counterfeit on a commercial scale. We are going after the core of the problem, the criminals, often highly organized and sophisticated, who prey upon unsuspecting Canadian customers.

Intellectual property legislation is always about creating a balance between owners and users. Bill C-56 provides a carefully balanced approach to protecting Canadians against the effects of counterfeiters. A strong intellectual property rights regime is central for any knowledge-based economy such as Canada's in order to foster an environment that promotes innovation, attracts new investment and stimulates economic growth.

As the committee moves forward with the bill, our government remains committed to working with Canadian rights holders as well as our international partners in fighting against counterfeiting. The bill will send a clear message to those who aim to profit from counterfeit goods that what they are doing is against Canadian law.

In conclusion, counterfeiting hurts jobs, threatens growth, and it exposes Canadians to health and safety risks. With this bill, our government continues to stand up for the economy, the rights holders and for all Canadian consumers. I thank all my colleagues in the House and all my colleagues from the opposition parties for their willingness to support this at second reading to send it to committee.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2013 / 12:15 a.m.
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NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member who just spoke. He gave a rather exhaustive overview of the bill.

He mentioned the resources, as we did, and the techniques available to detect counterfeiting, since it is becoming increasingly complicated to do so.

Does the government plan on giving the Canada Border Services Agency this type of technology and investing in the kinds of resources needed to properly, effectively and accurately detect counterfeiting?

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2013 / 12:15 a.m.
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Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. It is very complicated and I understand that very well.

I also would like to mention that the department is very committed to ensuring that the CBSA has the tools to ensure it can do this work. We have a bit of a difference of opinion on what it will take to do that.

As my colleagues who spoke before me said, there will be some new tools that this legislation will provide, which will be very important for the folks at the border.

The other thing we need to understand, in my view, is that our border officers, who do tremendous work at our borders, face a lot of challenges, depending upon the safety conditions. However, they also currently have the ability to seize commercials goods and those types of things, which they do every day, at least at the border crossings in my riding and I know in the other folks' ridings as well.

However, what I also think is important for us to really understand is that the department is going to complete the mandate and it is going to take the steps to expedite and improve efficiencies at the border, as well.

However, the copyright owner has a lot to do in this in framing the copyright and what it is. Appealing to the courts through civil action will determine that.

That is where I see the difference with the U.S. The U.S. would to need have significantly more tools because it has the responsibility to determine that copyright when it comes to the border, which is why I used the example of the golf clubs. The actual companies are providing money to the government to train its border services officers because it is important to the industry to do that.

Therefore, there are some things going forward that I think will be good for the committee to discuss. However, I have a difference of opinion as to whether it will take a lot more resources to do that.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2013 / 12:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Tobique—Mactaquac for particularly focusing on a large employer in his riding, McCain Foods. I can assure him that I regularly support the economic development of that important employer, probably a tad too much.

It is key to recognize that these intellectual property rights are held by employers and that loss and erosion of these rights erodes economic development and jobs in our communities, whether it is in New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec, or elsewhere.

I would like the member to address what employers, like McCain Foods in his riding, feel about our new measures that would allow them to exert their intellectual property rights, protect these, particularly for a large and important Canadian exporter like McCain Foods.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2013 / 12:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is very important to look at these large multinational corporations, especially McCain Foods which has plants all over the world in many different countries and is able to shift production around. When they start shifting this production around, they start introducing new risks to the model of intellectual property as they are working in different countries and different people could get an opportunity to get their hands on their intellectual property.

Therefore, companies like McCain Foods are hugely grateful and that they will be beneficiaries of this. It will be very important for anybody is actually doing research, who holds these patents and copyrights. It will also be very important for business from the standpoint of not eroding its profits in the future, especially when it comes to the food industry.

Another concern I have, and it has not been discussed a lot here tonight, is pirated foods which come in without the safe qualities that we demand of our foods in Canada. In the absence of that, we are setting ourselves up for some very unsafe conditions, and that will be a huge issue.