Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2

A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures

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

Sponsor

Joe Oliver  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

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

Part 1 implements certain income tax measures proposed in the February 11, 2014 budget. Most notably, it

(a) extends the intergenerational rollover and the lifetime capital gains exemption for dispositions of property used in farming and fishing businesses;

(b) extends the tax deferral provision with respect to breeding animals to bees, and to all types of horses that are over 12 months of age, that are kept for breeding;

(c) permits income contributed to an amateur athlete trust to qualify as earned income for RRSP contribution limit purposes, with an election available to taxpayers for up to a three-year retroactive application;

(d) extends the definition “split income” to include income from a business or property that is paid or allocated to a minor child from a partnership or trust where a person related to the child is engaged in the activities of the partnership or trust to earn that income;

(e) eliminates graduated rate taxation for trusts and certain estates with an exception for cases involving testamentary trusts whose beneficiaries include individuals eligible for the Disability Tax Credit;

(f) eliminates the 60-month exemption from the non-resident trust rules;

(g) allows an individual’s estate to carry back charitable donations made as a result of the individual’s death;

(h) expands eligibility for the accelerated capital cost allowance for clean energy generation and energy conservation equipment to include water-current energy equipment and a broader range of equipment used to gasify eligible waste fuel;

(i) adjusts Canada’s foreign accrual property income rules in order to address offshore insurance swap transactions and ensure that income from the direct or indirect insurance of Canadian risks is taxed appropriately;

(j) better circumscribes the existing “investment business” definition in the foreign accrual property income regime;

(k) addresses back-to-back loan arrangements involving an intermediary; and

(l) extends the existing tax credit for interest paid on student loans to interest paid on a Canada Apprentice Loan.

Part 1 also implements other selected income tax measures. Most notably, it

(a) alleviates the tax cost to Canadian-based banks of using excess liquidity of their foreign affiliates in their Canadian operations;

(b) ensures that certain securities transactions undertaken in the course of a bank’s business of facilitating trades for arm’s length customers are not inappropriately caught by the base erosion rules;

(c) modernizes the life insurance policy exemption test;

(d) amends the foreign affiliate rules to ensure they apply appropriately to structures that include partnerships and makes generally relieving changes to certain of the base erosion rules to ensure they do not apply in unintended circumstances;

(e) amends the rules for determining the residence of international shipping corporations;

(f) provides for the appropriate taxation of taxpayers that invest in Australian trusts;

(g) amends the foreign affiliate dumping rules to ensure the rules apply in appropriate circumstances and, if applicable, provide appropriate results;

(h) excludes from the definition “non-qualifying country” in the foreign affiliate rules those countries or other jurisdictions for which the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters is in force and effect;

(i) avoids unintended tax consequences with respect to the British Overseas Territory of the British Virgin Islands;

(j) simplifies the rules for the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit regime;

(k) amends the trust loss restriction event rules to provide relief for investment trusts that meet specific conditions; and

(l) increases the maximum amount that may be claimed under the Children Fitness Tax Credit and makes the credit refundable starting in 2015.

Part 2 implements certain goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) measures by

(a) ensuring that pooled registered pension plans are subject to similar GST/HST treatment as registered pension plans;

(b) implementing real property technical amendments that provide for the consistent treatment of different types of housing and ensure that the special valuation rule for subsidized housing works properly with the GST/HST place of supply rules and in the context of a GST/HST rate change;

(c) clarifying the application of GST/HST public service body rebates in relation to non-profit organizations that operate certain health care facilities; and

(d) relieving the GST/HST on services of refining precious metals supplied to a non-resident person that is not registered for GST/HST purposes.

Part 3 amends the Excise Act, 2001 to provide a refund of the inventory tax, introduced in the February 11, 2014 budget, on cigarettes that are destroyed or re-worked, in line with the refund of the excise duty that exists for tobacco products that are destroyed or re-worked.

Part 4 enacts and amends several Acts in order to implement various measures.

Division 1 of Part 4 amends the Industrial Design Act to make that Act consistent with the Geneva (1999) Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs and to give the Governor in Council the authority to make regulations for carrying it into effect. The amendments include provisions relating to the contents of an application for the registration of a design, requests for priority, and the term of an exclusive right for a design.

It also amends the Patent Act to, among other things, make that Act consistent with the provisions of the Patent Law Treaty. The amendments include reducing the requirements for obtaining a filing date in relation to an application for a patent, requiring that an applicant be notified of a missed due date before an application is deemed to be abandoned, and providing that a patent may not be invalidated for non-compliance with certain requirements relating to the application on the basis of which the patent was granted.

Division 2 of Part 4 amends the Aeronautics Act to authorize the Minister of Transport to make an order, and the Governor in Council to make regulations, that prohibit the development or expansion of or any change to the operation of an aerodrome. It also amends the Act to authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations in respect of consultations by the proponents and operators of aerodromes.

Division 3 of Part 4 enacts the Canadian High Arctic Research Station Act, which establishes a new federal research organization that is to be responsible for advancing knowledge of the Canadian Arctic through scientific investigation and technology, promoting the development and dissemination of knowledge of the other circumpolar regions, strengthening Canada’s leadership on Arctic issues and ensuring a research presence in the Canadian Arctic. It also repeals the Canadian Polar Commission Act and makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Division 4 of Part 4 amends section 207 of the Criminal Code to permit charitable or religious organizations to carry out, with the use of a computer, certain operations relating to a provincially-licensed lottery scheme.

Division 5 of Part 4 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to adjust the national standard for eligibility for social assistance to provide that no minimum period of residence is to be required for Canadian citizens, for permanent residents, for victims of human trafficking who hold a temporary resident permit or for protected persons.

Division 6 of Part 4 amends the Radiocommunication Act to:

(a) introduce an administrative monetary penalty regime;

(b) explicitly prohibit jammers, subject to exemptions provided by the Minister of Industry;

(c) provide for the enforcement of rules, standards and procedures established for competitive bidding systems for radio authorizations;

(d) modernize wording relating to the powers of inspectors and the requirements to obtain warrants;

(e) authorize inspectors to request information in writing and to seize non-compliant devices; and

(f) authorize the Minister of Industry to share information with domestic and foreign bodies for the purpose of regulating radiocommunication.

Division 7 of Part 4 amends the Revolving Funds Act to correct an error in the heading before section 4 by replacing the reference to the Minister of Foreign Affairs with a reference to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. The amendment is deemed to have come into force on July 2, 2013.

Division 8 of Part 4 amends the Royal Canadian Mint Act to eliminate the anticipation of profit by the Royal Canadian Mint with respect to the provision of goods and services to the Government of Canada.

Division 9 of Part 4 amends the Investment Canada Act to require foreign investors to provide notification whenever they acquire a Canadian business through the realization of security on a loan or other financial assistance, unless another Act applies. It also allows public disclosure of certain information related to the national security review process and makes related amendments to another Act.

Division 10 of Part 4 amends the Broadcasting Act to prohibit a person who carries on a broadcasting undertaking from charging a subscriber for providing the subscriber with a paper bill.

Division 11 of Part 4 amends the Telecommunications Act to provide the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) with the authority to impose certain conditions concerning the offering and provision of services on providers of telecommunications services that are not telecommunications carriers, to prohibit providers of telecommunications services from charging subscribers for the provision of paper bills, to allow for sharing of information between the CRTC and the Competition Bureau, to provide the CRTC with the authority to impose administrative monetary penalties for violations of the Telecommunications Act, CRTC decisions and regulations, to provide the Minister of Industry with the authority to establish a registration system and update other processes relating to telecommunications apparatus in order to assess conformity with technical requirements, and to update inspection powers for ensuring compliance with that Act.

Division 12 of Part 4 amends the Business Development Bank of Canada Act to clarify the financial and management services that the Business Development Bank of Canada is authorized to provide, including financial services in respect of enterprises operating outside Canada. It also makes some changes to the governance provisions of that Act.

Division 13 of Part 4 amends the Northwest Territories Act — enacted by section 2 of chapter 2 of the Statutes of Canada, 2014 — to provide that, if the election period for the first general election under that Act would overlap with the election period for a federal general election, then the maximum duration of the first Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories under that Act may be extended until five years from the date fixed for the return of the writs at the last general election under the former Northwest Territories Act (chapter N-27 of the Revised Statutes of Canada).

Division 14 of Part 4 amends the Employment Insurance Act to allow for the refund of a portion of employer premiums paid by small businesses in 2015 and 2016. An employer is eligible for that refund if its premium is $15,000 or less for the year in question.

It also amends that Act to exclude from reconsideration under section 112 of that Act decisions of the Canada Employment Insurance Commission made under the Employment Insurance Regulations respecting the writing off of penalties owing, amounts payable or interest accrued on any penalties owing or amounts payable.

Division 15 of Part 4 amends the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act in order to implement amendments to the dispute resolution mechanism of the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement.

Division 16 of Part 4 amends the Canada Marine Act to provide for the power to make regulations with respect to undertakings that are situated in a port. It also authorizes those regulations to incorporate by reference documents, including the laws of a province. Finally, it authorizes port authorities to acquire federal real property or federal immovables and to lease or license any real property or immovable other than federal real property or federal immovables.

Division 17 of Part 4 amends the DNA Identification Act to, among other things,

(a) create new indices in the national DNA data bank that will contain DNA profiles from missing persons, from their relatives and from human remains to assist law enforcement agencies, as well as coroners, medical examiners and persons or organizations with similar duties or functions, to find missing persons and identify human remains;

(b) create a new index that will contain DNA profiles from victims of designated offences to assist law enforcement agencies in identifying persons alleged to have committed designated offences;

(c) create a new index that will contain DNA profiles derived from bodily substances that are voluntarily submitted by individuals to assist in either the investigations of missing persons or designated offences;

(d) establish criteria for adding and retaining DNA profiles in, and removing them from, the new indices, and transferring profiles between indices;

(e) specify which DNA profiles in the existing and new indices will be compared with each other;

(f) specify the purposes for which the Commissioner of the RCMP may communicate the results of comparisons of DNA profiles and the purposes for which that information may be subsequently communicated; and

(g) specify the uses to which the results of comparisons of DNA profiles may be put.

It also makes consequential amendments to the Access to Information Act and the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.

Division 18 of Part 4 amends the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to provide that certain foreign entities that are engaged in the money-services business are included in the definition “foreign entity”.

Division 19 of Part 4 amends the Department of Employment and Social Development Act to eliminate the limit on the number of full-time and part-time members of the Social Security Tribunal.

Division 20 of Part 4 amends the Public Health Agency of Canada Act to create a new position of President as deputy head of the Public Health Agency of Canada, thereby separating the responsibilities of the Chief Public Health Officer from those of the deputy head of the Agency.

Division 21 of Part 4 amends the Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2 in order to provide that certain provisions of Division 8 of Part 3 of that Act apply to any corporation resulting from an amalgamation referred to in that Division, and to provide that certain provisions of the Blue Water Bridge Authority Act continue to apply to the Blue Water Bridge Authority after its continuance.

Division 22 of Part 4 amends several Acts to discontinue supervision of provincial central cooperative credit societies by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, to eliminate tools for federal intervention in relation to those centrals and to provincial local cooperative credit societies, and to facilitate the entry of provincial cooperative credit societies into the federal credit union system by simplifying the process for continuation and amalgamation that applies to them.

Division 23 of Part 4 amends the Financial Administration Act to authorize Her Majesty in right of Canada to neither pay nor collect low-value amounts, except amounts owed by Crown corporations to persons other than Her Majesty in right of Canada, amounts payable to Crown corporations by such persons, amounts payable under the Air Travellers Security Charge Act, the Excise Act, 2001, the Excise Tax Act, the Income Tax Act or the Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006, and amounts related to the public debt or to interest on the public debt. It also provides Treasury Board with the authority to make regulations to set a low-value threshold, to specify circumstances for the accumulation of amounts and to exclude amounts, as well as regulations generally respecting the operation of the authority to neither pay nor collect low-value amounts.

Division 24 of Part 4 amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to, among other things,

(a) replace references to an opinion provided by the Department of Employment and Social Development, with respect to an application for a work permit, with references to an “assessment”;

(b) authorize the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration or the Minister of Employment and Social Development to publish on a list the name and address of an employer who, among other things, has been convicted of certain offences; and

(c) authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations

(i) regarding the publication and removal of the names and addresses of employers,

(ii) regarding the power to require documents from any individual or entity for inspection in order to verify compliance with regulatory conditions,

(iii) requiring an employer to provide prescribed information in relation to a foreign national’s authorization to work in Canada for the employer,

(iv) governing fees to be paid for rights and privileges in relation to an assessment provided by the Department of Employment and Social Development with respect to an application for a work permit,

(v) governing fees to be paid in respect of the compliance regime that applies to employers in relation to their employment of certain foreign nationals,

(vi) regarding the collection, retention, use, disclosure and disposal of Social Insurance Numbers, and

(vii) regarding the disclosure of information for the purposes of cooperation between the Government of Canada and the government of a province.

Division 25 of Part 4 amends the Judges Act and the Federal Courts Act to implement the Government’s Response to the Report of the Special Advisor on Federal Court Prothonotaries’ Compensation with respect to the salary and benefits of the prothonotaries of the Federal Court.

Division 26 of Part 4 amends the Canadian Payments Act to make changes to the governance structure of the Canadian Payments Association and to add new obligations in respect of accountability, including by

(a) changing the composition of the Board of the Directors of the Association and the procedures for selecting the directors of the Board;

(b) establishing a Member Advisory Council;

(c) expanding the power of the Minister of Finance to issue directives to the Association; and

(d) adding new obligations in respect of the preparation of annual reports and corporate plans.

Division 27 of Part 4 amends the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act to expand and enhance the oversight powers of the Bank of Canada with respect to systems for the clearing and settlement of payment obligations and other financial transactions, so that the Bank is better able to identify risks related to financial market infrastructure and to respond in a timely and proactive manner. It also makes minor consequential amendments to other Acts.

Division 28 of Part 4 enacts the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act in order to impose the following obligations on entities that are engaged in the commercial development of oil, gas or minerals for the purpose of implementing Canada’s international commitments in the fight against corruption:

(a) the obligation to report to the responsible Minister certain payments made to payees; and

(b) the obligation to make reported information accessible to the public.

For the purpose of verifying compliance, the Act provides for an inspection regime and gives a power to the responsible Minister to require an entity to provide certain information. Finally, the Act provides for certain offences relating to the obligations under the Act.

Division 29 of Part 4 amends the Jobs and Economic Growth Act to provide that Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Ltd. (CNL) is an agent of Her Majesty in right of Canada, effective as of the date of CNL’s incorporation, and to provide that CNL will cease to be an agent on the day on which Atomic Energy of Canada Limited disposes of CNL’s shares. The Division also amends that Act to provide that the Public Service Superannuation Act will apply for a transitional period of three years to persons who are employees of CNL on that day.

Division 30 of Part 4 repeals a provision of the Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2 that amended a provision of the Public Service Labour Relations Act. It also amends provisions of the Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2 that amended the Public Service Employment Act in respect of the staffing complaint process.

It also makes a technical correction to a coordinating amendment in the Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2.

Division 31 of Part 4 transfers the pensionable service that is to the credit of certain Royal Canadian Mounted Police pension contributors under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act to the Public Service Superannuation Act and deems those contributors to be Group 1 contributors under the Public Service Superannuation Act. It also amends the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act to repeal provisions relating to members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police not holding a rank.

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

Dec. 10, 2014 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
Dec. 10, 2014 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “this House decline to give third reading to C-43, A Second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures, because it: ( a) amends dozens of unrelated Acts without adequate parliamentary debate and oversight; ( b) fails to take meaningful action to create jobs and address weak economic growth; ( c) seeks to restrict refugee claimants’ access to social assistance, despite no demonstrated fiscal need or request from provinces for such measures; ( d) introduces patent law changes which could lead to costly litigation against the government; ( e) implements a job credit whose job impacts have not been analyzed by the government itself, and which will deplete a significant sum from the Employment Insurance fund; and ( f) breaks the government’s promises to protect small businesses from merchant fees and to ban banks from charging pay-to-pay fees.”.
Dec. 8, 2014 Passed That Bill C-43, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .
Dec. 8, 2014 Failed That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 225.
Dec. 8, 2014 Failed That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 172.
Dec. 4, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-43, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the Bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at third 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 stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
Nov. 3, 2014 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.
Nov. 3, 2014 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “this House decline to give second reading to Bill C-43, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures, because it: ( a) amends dozens of unrelated Acts without adequate parliamentary debate and oversight; ( b) fails to address persistent unemployment and sluggish economic growth; ( c) aims to strip refugee claimants of access to social assistance to meet their basic needs; ( d) imposes a poorly designed job credit that will create few, if any, jobs while depleting Employment Insurance Funds; and ( e) breaks the government’s promises to protect small businesses from merchant fees and to ban banks from charging pay-to-pay fees.”.
Oct. 30, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-43, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures, not more than three further sitting days 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.

November 19th, 2014 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Joe Oliver Conservative Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Our government, as you suggest, recognizes that the charitable sector plays an essential and irreplaceable role in our society by providing valuable services to Canadians, including those most in need. Thanks to the work done by this committee, our government is continuing to respond to the report entitled “Tax Incentives for Charitable Giving in Canada”. The report recommends, as you know, that the government reduce the administrative burden on charities. It recommends that the government amend the Criminal Code to remove an antiquated restriction and allow charities to conduct their lotteries through the use of modern technology. We're doing just that. The bill amends the Criminal Code to allow charities to conduct lotteries through modern technology.

Each year charities in Canada raise hundreds of millions of dollars to support worthy causes through lottery sales, but outdated legislation forces them to process and activate all the sales manually and then send customers their tickets by mail. In order to reduce these costs, Bill C-43 will amend the Criminal Code to allow charities to conduct various aspects of lotteries through the use of a computer. It will also allow charities to use modern e-commerce methods for purchasing, processing, and issuing lottery tickets and receipts.

Prominent Canadian charities, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society, and SickKids hospital, report that allowing for the use of computers could save millions of dollars each year in administrative costs for all charities that run lotteries. For example, the Heart and Stroke Foundation identified potential savings of $1 million in annual administrative costs. The charities will be able to use these substantial savings to support their important work.

November 19th, 2014 / 3:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Thank you.

Our government recognizes the good work that charities and charitable organizations do across this country, helping disadvantaged Canadians as well as those in need. They also display the great generosity of Canadians and their compassion.

How does Bill C-43 cut red tape for Canadian charities and help them raise more funds? Can you give us some examples of which charities will benefit?

November 19th, 2014 / 3:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Joe Oliver Conservative Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Thank you for the question.

Currently the Business Development Bank of Canada may assist Canadian small businesses and medium-sized businesses wishing to expand beyond the domestic market, but it can only offer the financing to the parent company located in Canada. Small businesses can expand from coast to coast to coast in Canada, but they are limited when it comes to expanding beyond Canada's shores. Bill C-43 will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada to help finance an SME's subsidiary in a foreign company and support its access to global value chains. Bill C-43 will help all SMEs in Canada expand beyond Canada's borders.

It also aids small businesses to expand into international markets as well as to draw foreign investment into Canada by adhering to the Patent Law Treaty and the Hague agreement. The proposed amendments will standardize and will simplify administrative processes when Canadian businesses apply for a patent, ultimately resulting in lower costs and eliminating red tape.

November 19th, 2014 / 3:45 p.m.
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Assistant Commissioner Peter Henschel Deputy Commissioner, Specialized Policing Services, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Thank you, and good afternoon.

I would like to provide you with a brief overview of the proposed legislative amendments and explain the five new indices that would be created. I also want to describe how those indices would support the investigation of missing persons and unidentified human remains, and strengthen the current DNA regime in Canada.

Proclaimed in 2000, the DNA Identification Act governs the national use of DNA for criminal purposes and enabled the creation of the National DNA Data Bank, or NDDB.

The DNA Identification Act created two indices: the convicted offender index, comprised of DNA profiles taken from offenders convicted of a designated offence, and the crime scene index, comprised of unknown DNA profiles derived from biological material found at crime scenes. The use of DNA has contributed significantly to criminal investigations. In Canada, the NDDB has assisted investigations of over 2,200 murders, 3,800 sexual assaults, and 24,000 other designated offences.

Other countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, use DNA identification to support investigations of missing persons and unidentified human remains. This is not currently possible in Canada. Since the establishment of the National DNA Data Bank, there have been a number of calls for the creation of a national DNA-based missing persons' index that could assist investigators in finding missing persons and identifying human remains.

Notably, committees of both the House of Commons and the Senate recommended the creation of a DNA-based missing persons index following their reviews of the DNA Identification Act in 2009 and 2010. These recommendations were echoed by the Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women and the B.C. Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

This past spring, budget 2014 announced $8.1 million over five years beginning in 2016-17 to specifically create a DNA-based missing persons index. Since then, consultations on proposed options for legislative amendments were undertaken with a number of stakeholders, including provincial and territorial policy-makers, coroners and medical examiners, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National DNA Data Bank Advisory Committee, as well as a preliminary engagement with the Native Women's Association of Canada.

Stakeholders generally supported the creation of a DNA-based missing persons index. Feedback provided through these consultations informed the development of a number of safeguards in the legislation which I will address in a moment.

Bill C-43, economic action plan 2014 act, No. 2, proposes amendments to the DNA Identification Act that would expand the use of DNA identification to support the investigations of missing persons and unidentified remains by creating three new indices.

The first is the missing persons index comprised of DNA profiles of missing persons developed from personal effects, such as a toothbrush or an article of clothing.

The second is the human remains index comprised of DNA profiles from found human remains.

The third is the relatives of the missing index, comprised of DNA profiles voluntarily submitted by close relatives of the missing, and used to either confirm the DNA profile of the missing persons, or to compare against the human remains index.

To ensure the most effective use of these new indices, the missing persons and human remains indices would be compared to approximately 400,000 unique DNA profiles in the convicted offenders and crime scene indices. Comparison against the crime scene index would help to place a missing person at a crime scene at a particular time, thereby providing vital clues to the missing person investigator. Comparison against the convicted offender index could help to link found human remains to a specific convicted offender.

In addition to the changes to support the investigation of missing persons and unidentified human remains, the proposed legislative amendments would also strengthen the existing operations of the National DNA Data Bank.

Currently, the act does not permit the use of a victim's DNA to support criminal investigations, nor does it permit the use of DNA from relevant individuals who may wish to volunteer their DNA to further an investigation. To address these issues, the legislation would create two additional indices. The victims index would be comprised of DNA profiles from the victims of crime. These profiles would be uploaded in a number of circumstances including when a victim may voluntarily provide a sample. The victims of crime index will help police identify serial offenders and link crime scenes.

The voluntary donors index would be comprised of DNA profiles, voluntarily submitted by any person other than a victim, to advance a criminal, missing persons, or unidentified remains investigation. This index will be used primarily to exclude individuals from an investigation.

I would also like to note that the proposed legislation does not provide any new authorities to police to compel the collection of DNA from individuals. The proposed legislation would make retention provisions for offenders who have received either a conditional or an absolute discharge consistent with retention provisions for sentenced offenders. This change would address situations where the National DNA Data Bank may be retaining DNA profiles when it should not, or destroying profiles when they should be retained.

Finally, the proposed amendments would allow the RCMP to share DNA information related to missing persons or identified remains with foreign governments or international agencies. Consistent with current practices, this sharing would occur on a case-by-case basis and be governed by strict international agreements to protect the privacy and security of Canadians.

I would now like to explain the measures in the legislation to ensure the proper use of the new indices and the privacy safeguards in place.

First, it would remain a criminal offence for anybody to use or communicate any DNA information for a purpose other than what is specifically stated in the act.

Second, a two-factor legislated threshold would require investigators of missing person cases to demonstrate to the RCMP before a DNA profile is added to the data bank that there are reasonable grounds to suspect DNA analysis will assist in an ongoing investigation, and that other investigatory techniques have been tried and failed, or exigent circumstances exist.

Third, in the event that a DNA profile of a missing person links to a profile from a crime scene, the RCMP would communicate this information to investigators for humanitarian purposes only. Should a criminal investigator wish to use information derived from such a match to further a criminal investigation, that investigator must have reasonable grounds to suspect this information would assist in the investigation or prosecution of a designated offence.

Fourth, recognizing that the relatives of the missing persons index, the victims index, and voluntary donors index would be populated with voluntarily provided profiles, a number of consent provisions have been included in the legislation. To submit a DNA profile of any of the relatives of those on the missing persons index, the victims index, or the voluntary donors index, informed consent must be obtained. Anyone volunteering a DNA profile may withdraw their consent at anytime requiring its removal from the National DNA Data Bank.

Finally, the RCMP will remove profiles after a period specified in regulation unless the investigating agency confirms that DNA profiles remain associated with an ongoing investigation and that informed consent has not been withdrawn.

Operationally, this legislation will leverage the existing work of two program areas within the RCMP: the National DNA Data Bank and the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains.

Funding identified in budget 2014 will be used to create and maintain the infrastructure within the RCMP to operate the new humanitarian indices, so as to provide investigators with technical and scientific support and ensure the national coordination of information.

Thank you for the opportunity to present to you today. My colleagues and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

November 19th, 2014 / 3:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Thank you, Chair.

Thanks to the minister, the deputy minister, and the finance officials for being here today.

Our government understands the important role that small business plays in our economy by creating jobs and economic growth as well as paying their fair share of taxes, but opportunities for expansion often lie beyond our borders. How does Bill C-43 help small businesses that wish to expand beyond our borders?

November 19th, 2014 / 3:30 p.m.
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Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and ladies and gentlemen. I appreciate the opportunity to meet with the Standing Committee on Finance to discuss Bill C-43, an act to implement certain provisions of economic action plan 2014, tabled in Parliament on February 11.

Canada's Economic Action Plan underscores the government's top priority to create jobs, foster growth and ensure long-term prosperity. A weakened global economy has made that priority even more important.

Last week I presented to Canadians our government's economic and fiscal update. I outlined the state of both the Canadian and the global economies.

In the aftermath of worst recession since the Great Depression, Canada has done well. Since the depths of a recession that cost 62 million jobs worldwide, we created over 1.2 million net new jobs in Canada—one of the strongest job creation records in the G-7.

The federal tax burden is at its lowest level in over 50 years. In 2013, Canada leapt from sixth to second place in Bloomberg's ranking of the most attractive destinations for business. According to KPMG, total business tax costs in Canada are the lowest in the G-7 and are 46% lower than in the United States.

Both the IMF and the OECD expect Canada to be among the strongest-growing economies in the G-7 this year and next. A recent New York Times study found that after-tax middle-class income in Canada, substantially behind in 2000, now appears to be higher than in the United States. In fact, the Canadian middle class is among the richest in the developed world.

But today's prosperity is not a guarantee for tomorrow. This is especially true in a global economy defined by weak, uneven growth, or what IMF director Christine Lagarde has called the “new mediocre”. We must relentlessly take action to remain resilient and secure our prosperity, and that is what we have set out to do.

Therefore, we have to work persistently to remain resilient and ensure the prosperity of our generation, as well as the generation of our children and grandchildren.

First, we are taking action to improve the integrity and fairness of the tax system. Since 2006, and including measures proposed in economic action plan 2014, the government has introduced over 85 measures to improve the integrity of the tax system.

Bill C-43 goes further.

This bill takes the tax system and makes it simpler and fairer for fishing and farming businesses. It empowers amateur athletes to save money—money for their retirement. These kinds of amateur athletes, Mr. Chairman, are the ones who bring home the gold in the Olympic Games and in competitions around the world.

This bill puts in place new tax incentives to encourage clean energy generation. We are doing this by expanding the eligibility for the accelerated capital cost allowance. We're making it easier for Canadian film and video producers to receive the Canadian film or video production tax credit.

Mr. Chairman, we are cracking down on tax evasion, including offshore regulated banks and captive insurance schemes, ensuring that all Canadians pay their share.

Keeping taxes low and fair is an important element of our economic action plan. Another priority is creating jobs.

This is one of our government's priorities. Measures must be implemented to connect Canadians with the skills training they need to succeed.

In Canada, apprentices in skilled trades learn the most through paid jobs in the workplace and receive six to eight weeks of technical training a year.

They can face serious costs, including educational fees, tools and equipment costs, and living expenses. That is why we introduced the Canada apprentice loan in the first budget bill to help connect Canadians with available jobs. This initiative is helping apprentices register in Red Seal trades by providing access to over $100 million in interest-free loans each year to complete their training.

Given that the parameters of the Canada apprentice loan program are similar to those of the Canada student loan program, we believe that both programs should benefit from the same treatment. Specifically, Bill C-43 proposes that the Income Tax Act be amended to extend the existing student loan interest credit—which is a non-refundable tax credit available for interest payments on loans approved under the Canada student loans program and similar provincial programs—to interest paid on a Canada apprentice loan.

By helping Canadians acquire skills that will help them get hired or find better jobs, we are investing directly and wisely in our country's most precious asset—our citizens.

Mr. Chairman, this is only a small sample of the measures contained in this bill.

Let me briefly review a few more. The bill would amend the Telecommunications Act to prohibit service providers from charging their subscribers to receive bills in paper form, fulfilling a commitment in the 2013 Speech from the Throne to end pay-to-pay billing practices. It would establish the Canadian High Arctic research station, a world-class research station that will strengthen Canada's leadership in Arctic science and technology. It would also promote transparency and accountability in the extractive sector both at home and abroad; cut red tape for charitable organizations, allowing them to use new technologies to raise funds for the causes that matter to Canadians; and provide more than $8 million over five years, starting in 2016-17, to create a DNA-based missing persons index.

I take particular pride, Mr. Chairman, in this last initiative. Lindsey's law, which called for a DNA-based missing persons index, was named for Lindsey Jill Nicholls. At age 14 she went missing while on a car ride to meet friends in Kootenay, British Columbia. Her mother, Judy Peterson, has been a courageous advocate for a national DNA-based databank that can compare the DNA of missing persons with that collected through crime scene investigations and convicted offenders. Lindsey's law represents further action on the part of our government to stand up for the victims of crime and their families.

Mr. Chairman, it has been a pleasure to highlight some of the key measures to defend Canadian values and support growth and prosperity. The measures in this legislation are necessary and the benefits enduring.

Thank you.

November 19th, 2014 / 3:30 p.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

I call this meeting to order. This is meeting number 59 of the Standing Committee on Finance, and in our orders of the day pursuant to the order of reference of Monday, November 3, 2014, we are continuing our study of Bill C-43, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures.

Colleagues, we have two panels here today. In our first panel, we're very pleased to welcome back to the committee the Minister of Finance, the Honourable Joe Oliver.

Minister, welcome back to the committee this afternoon. You have two officials with you and we understand that you have an opening statement.

Then we'll have questions from all of the members. Please begin at any time.

November 18th, 2014 / 3:30 p.m.
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Maureen Basnicki Co-founder, Canadian Coalition Against Terror

I must say I was scheduled to be here in October, the day after the terrorist attacks in Ottawa, so that was a real trigger for me.

Today I come here after the attack in Jerusalem. The co-founder of CCAT, the Canadian Coalition Against Terror, is in Israel at this moment in time, and it is a friend of his who has been greatly injured, the gentleman who lived in Toronto. All this affects me needless to say. Bear with me, please.

Good afternoon, everybody, Mr. Chairman and honourable members of the justice committee. I am grateful to be here today to lend my support and to thank the current government for initiating Bill C-32 for all victims.

This particular bill has been a passion of mine ever since I became a member of the victims of crime club. It was the murder of my husband on 9/11 that put me in this club.

Like many average Canadians, before the murder of my husband by terrorists, I could never envision my life changing so drastically. Never could I imagine being called a victim. You will note on the written statement that I always capitalize victim because it denotes respect.

Many people ask why I continue to identify myself as a Canadian 9/11 widow and a victim. I respond with a reply that makes most Canadians uncomfortable. I am a living Canadian victim, and my late husband is the dead victim. I will continue to label myself as a victim, and not a survivor or victorious, until such time as my beloved country Canada finds the balance between rights for criminals, or in my case terrorists, and the rights of victims.

My experience as a Canadian victim living in Canada, as did my late husband, was not something Canadians would be proud of if they knew all the issues I was faced with in the aftermath of Ken's murder. In the question and answer period after my testimony, I will be pleased to give any details this honourable committee wants to hear.

The point I would like to make is that there was no plan or policy in place for victims of terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11. Most Canadians just assume, first, that they will never enter the victims of crime club, and second, that if a Canadian is victimized, there will be basic rights and victim services to help them in their darkest moments.

The very basic rights of respect, compassion, and courtesy were not enforceable for me and my family after 9/11. I'm not talking about average Canadians, but rather the political powers, the government at the time of the terrorist attack in New York City.

I became a victim of politics. Even from the recent past, politicians are debating whether the murders of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent were acts of terror or cold-blooded murders. One does not need to debate whether or not they were victims. Even though they resided in different provinces and were victims of a terror attack or a violent crime, there should be rights at the federal level and a sense of fairness for the victims of these heinous crimes.

In the aftermath of 9/11, at the highest level of our Canadian political leaders, I was dismissed. Initially our former prime minister at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attack discounted that Canadians were in New York. Six months after 9/11, following an outcry to have a public 9/11 memorial in Canada, the former PM said that these things happen from time to time and he saw no reason to mark that occasion.

To add to the pain of losing my husband to such a heinous crime, the prime minister publicly blamed the victims on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The prime minister was interviewed on CBC by Peter Mansbridge and publicly blamed western greed for the 9/11 attacks. I repeat, our Canadian prime minister blamed the victims.

When the fog of disbelief and hurt began to dissipate, I started to look into my rights as a victim of violent crime, albeit outside of our Canadian border.

We are not here to discuss victim services which victims should rightfully count on to navigate through the trauma they have been sentenced to for the rest of their lives. What is important to note, however, is that when I began to question what victim services were available at the provincial level, I was told that I did not qualify because my husband's murder occurred outside our borders. I have to qualify that, too, and right now, because sitting beside me is somebody who was instrumental in the Ontario victims of crime organization, Sharon Rosenfeldt. There was an outreach at the time, but they were tied by provincial mandates that didn't include terrorism. Everything was done that could possibly be done at that time. It was only later when there was a change of government that things changed.

At this time, I would like to have the committee look at the current definition of who is considered a victim of crime. As stated by the current Government of Canada Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime:

The law defines a victim as someone who has experienced emotional or physical harm as the result of a crime [committed in Canada]. Family members, legal guardians or dependants are considered victims when the victim is deceased, is a child, or is unable to act for him/herself due to illness or incapacity.

If we are to strengthen the victims bill of rights, it is most important to remember that a Canadian who resides in Canada is no less a Canadian if they happen to become a victim of traditional violent crime or terrorism outside our borders. Please ensure that victims' rights are enshrined when the crime is committed outside our border. After all, terrorists who are Canadian citizens and have been successfully convicted as terrorists—and I refer to Omar Khadr—are able to demand their rights. There should be a balance. I understand that there has been a lawsuit initiated against the Canadian government by Mr. Khadr.

At this time I would like to once again commend the current government for their initiative in proposing the VBR. I would like to invite all political parties to help draft the final result. Victims' rights are a non-partisan issue. I remind all the MPs here that they themselves narrowly escaped becoming victims of terrorism. Terrorists don't know borders. They don't care what political party you represent. They don't differentiate in regard to what one's ethnic or religious belief is when they decide to attack innocent civilians.

In my closing remarks, I would like to add the following. It was after my appearance in regard to the ATA that the Honourable Peter MacKay suggested that a Canadian ombudsman be created in order to have a federal government office that works to have victims of crime and their families heard. This was a giant step. However, I am still waiting for the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime to be empowered to represent victims in situations when victims' needs are not being met. It is difficult to insist on victim services when the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada have not seen fit to include Canadians who have been victimized outside our borders in the definition of “victim”.

I'd like to refer to a quote by an Irish barrister: “All Canadian victims, including cases where the crime occurred abroad, shall have the right to access and receive, at least, a minimum standard of nationally consistent victim services and supports.” This quote could have come from the forum that was initiated by our ombudsman's office. I was fortunate to participate in this forum in September of this year.

It was at this conference that Maria McDonald, an Irish barrister, explained what was happening with the victims' rights directive in the EU. The victims' rights directive is a European law that requires all EU member states to implement legislation to give all victims of crime minimum rights, supports, and protection. This law will apply regardless of where the crime was committed in the EU.

I would like to echo the submissions of other members of the victims of crime club. Victims' voices of traditional types of crime have been heard by you from my friends Joe Wamback and Yvonne Harvey, and by wonderful victims organizations such as the CRCVC—I believe it was Heidi Illingworth—and of course, the federal ombudsman's office. Actually, Sue O'Sullivan, our current ombudsman, is supporting me today with her presence. Thank you, Sue. I know I will agree with Sharon Rosenfeldt, who is sitting next to me. I haven't read her testimony yet, but I know ahead of time that I will support her statements, because she shares membership in the victims of crime club.

I wish to go on record as supporting all the recommendations to strengthen this bill. I wanted to add my concerns through the lens of a victim of terrorism. I urge politicians of all our Canadian political parties to pass Bill C-32, but to strengthen it by listening to what other victims have stated before me. I sincerely hope that the Canada I know and love will be a leader in the global community and make the statement through the victims bill of rights that will enshrine our values as Canadians, and declare a national victims bill of rights that will be enforceable.

Thank you.

November 18th, 2014 / 12:30 p.m.
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Jonathan Fitzpatrick President, Chalk River Professional Employees Group, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am joined today by Mr. Vince Frisina, vice-president of the Chalk River Professional Employees Group, and Mr. Steve Hindle, vice-president of PIPSC.

Our union represents almost 900 engineers, scientists, and technicians at the Chalk River and Whiteshell sites of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, formerly known as AECL. These professionals are at the very heart of the Canadian nuclear industry. Collectively we are the bearers of a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience. Together we have endured the ups and downs of the nuclear industry's eventful history. Nuclear energy supplies a big part of our country's energy needs. It is also an important contributor to our medical, industrial, and innovation requirements.

Our members are a key part of Canada's science and technology knowledge infrastructure, and they collaborate with advanced nuclear research institutions worldwide. We provide the research that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the industry's regulator, requires to keep this industry safe and online.

Nuclear contributes $5 billion to our economy and tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs in this country as a result of domestic needs and international trade. Canada's long history as a nuclear nation has been built on this research and expertise.

Division 29 of Bill C-43 includes measures related to the implementation of a new model for the laboratories of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, an entity now known as Canadian Nuclear Laboratories. These measures include the provision of transitional pension coverage to CNL employees following the share transfer, after which CNL will become a GOCO, a government-owned and contractor-operated facility.

Ensuring that this new management model works means ensuring that CNL can continue to retain and attract the best and brightest nuclear scientists and engineers. These scientists and engineers are needed to maintain Canada's status as a tier one nuclear nation and to meet the federal government's long-term obligations to public safety and scientific innovation both nationally and internationally.

We are here today to voice our deep concern that the pension measures in this bill do not meet this requirement and would put this capacity at risk. Let me explain.

BillC-43 would allow existing employees to continue to participate in the public service pension plan for a transitional period of three years. The public service plan, however, would not be extended to any new employees of CNL, and there would be no requirement to maintain a similar standard of defined benefit pension as provided under the Public Service Superannuation Act once the transition is complete. In fact, the RFP prepared for prospective new operators requires them to have an alternative pension plan in place at the time of share transfer. By excluding new hires from the transitional coverage, the message to industry workers is that the next pension plan will not be equivalent, comparable, or for that matter, negotiable.

As a result, the Canadian industry and, more specifically, the new corporate entity will be at serious risk of failing to attract and retain the best and brightest nuclear expertise. To be clear, we agree that transitional pension coverage under the PSSA should provide certainty and stability for both employees and the bidders in the procurement process. Unfortunately, by not extending the same treatment to new hires, Bill C-43 undermines the objective of a seamless transfer from AECL to CNL.

In fact, putting in place a two tier pension system for the first three years of the new entity would be divisive in the workplace and would have an impact on collective agreement negotiations. Once the new plan had been imposed on new hires and eventually on all employees of CNL, it would be very complex to successfully negotiate a different plan at a later date, so that would be highly unlikely.

This, in our view, would place the labs at risk of being programmed to fail rather than set up for success. It sends a clear message to highly skilled professionals at CNL to start looking elsewhere in a very competitive industry.

I should note that, while our union represents 900 employees at CNL, all 3,400 employees would be affected by these pension measures. The future prospects of Canada's premier nuclear labs depend on a fair, stable, and predictable pension plan being put in place for all employees. We believe the best, the easiest, and the most cost-effective avenue to achieve this goal is to have the three-year PSSA transitional coverage applied to both existing employees and new hires at CNL following share transfer.

Transitional pension coverage should give the new employer and its employees three years to negotiate a deal that pleases everyone. But this will only be possible if participation in the PSSA is extended to new hires following the share transfer.

Thank you for your time. We look forward to your questions.

November 18th, 2014 / 12:25 p.m.
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President and Chief Executive Officer, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

Dr. Robert Walker

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I am joined by Jonathan Lundy, Chief Transition Officer for AECL.

As noted in the previous session, Canada's nuclear labs have a new name. On 3 November, we proudly launched a wholly-owned subsidiary of AECL called Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, or CNL for short.

As discussed by NRCan colleagues, ownership of CNL will be transferred to a private-sector company next year. AECL will retain ownership of site facilities, intellectual property and liabilities on behalf of the government.

Now it's important to note that this government-owned, contractor-operated approach, or GOCO, has proven to be a success. It has enabled national nuclear laboratories in other countries to provide excellent careers for their employees to excel in science and technology and to grow their business lines.

The new CNL, with private sector management, operation, and approaches, will be better able to seize market opportunities in order to strengthen Canada's nuclear sector worldwide.

In the decades ahead, the employees of CNL will focus on three main missions. The first is to safely and effectively manage Canada's radioactive waste and decommissioning responsibilities. The second is to ensure that nuclear science and technology capabilities support the government in health protection, public safety and security, and environmental protection. And third, CNL will provide access to industry on a commercial basis to provide innovative nuclear science and technology expertise.

The government is our customer for the first two missions and industry for the third. These critical missions obviously require a sizable and highly skilled workforce. I believe personally that restructuring is a good thing for our employees, for our industry, and for our communities. For example, when leaders from local municipalities visited vibrant GOCO-run labs in the United States, they liked what they saw. The elected officials in our surrounding communities are excited about the synergies inherent in the GOCO approach.

At CNL, we've been working diligently on restructuring with our federal government colleagues. We have been working side by side, supporting the government with all our resources to achieve a smooth and successful transition for our employees. Within CNL, we are ready for GOCO. We've been improving our performance. Increased operational efficiency has allowed us to decrease our funding ask of government while increasing our commercial revenues and margins.

While these are exciting times for CNL with much future promise, we also realize that organizational change can introduce stress and uncertainty in our workforce. Our aim is to try to make the transition to GOCO as seamless as possible for our 3,400 employees while respectfully listening to concerns and addressing them as best we can. We are sensitive to, and have been diligent in addressing, the needs of our employees to help answer their most important questions. Naturally employees want to know what restructuring means to their jobs and career plans. They want to know how working for a private sector company will affect their pensions and benefits. We're providing comprehensive information to our employees through many internal communication initiatives, frequent face-to-face staff engagements, online restructuring, frequently asked questions, and regular CEO meetings with our union leaders. We've rolled out human resources programs to support our people. We continue to be sensitive to the essential need to maintain trust in our organization at all levels through open, honest, and timely two-way communications. One of the most frequent employee questions has to do with pensions. That is why we welcome BillC-43 because if implemented it will provide clarity and certainty to our employees regarding transitional pension coverage.

When the shares of CNL are acquired by the private sector GOCO company, CNL will become a private sector entity. As a consequence, employees at CNL will no longer be eligible to participate in the public service pension plan, or PSPP. Bill C-43 provides for the grant of transitional coverage to employees of CNL so they may continue to participate in the PSPP for a period of three years following the date when CNL ceases to be a crown corporation. This will provide sufficient time for the new private sector management of CNL to set up its own pension plan.

The proposed measures in the bill have the effect of treating CNL employees in the same way as former AECL employees who were transferred to the private sector during the first phase of restructuring, but this news comes much earlier in the process. Although employees of CNL will eventually cease contributing to the PSPP and will begin contributing to a new plan, they will retain the benefits accrued over their years of pensionable service under the PSPP, including eligibility for the public service health care plan. Future access to the options of an annuity, a transfer value, or a return of contributions will be protected.

In conclusion, we're confident that a GOCO-managed CNL will enjoy the same success as it has in other jurisdictions: exciting work for employees, modern facilities, and competitive compensation. These essential ingredients attract and retain the highly skilled educated workforce that we will need for decades ahead. With the new GOCO organization, our focused missions, and the ongoing capital investment by the government we will successfully project our experience and capabilities to a broader array of customers at home and abroad.

Thank you.

John and I would be pleased to take your questions.

November 18th, 2014 / noon
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Conservative

Colin Mayes Conservative Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I thank the witnesses for being here today. I have a couple of questions for Mr. Conrad.

The first one is about employers who have been found to be non-compliant with the temporary foreign worker program conditions and may not hire temporary foreign workers for two years. Bill C-43 would expand the scope of this list by including violations of any other federal or provincial law relating to employment or the recruiting of employees. What type of added protection does this provide for foreign workers hired today under the temporary foreign worker program?

The other question I have is about what I found out in my last trip to my riding. For the old applications for the temporary foreign worker program—now we have new applications and new forms, correct?—has the department worked to make sure those old applications are off-line? I have two constituents who applied with the old form and put up their $1,000. They were told that it was the wrong form, but the $1,000 has been taken. Now they have to get a new form and put in another $1,000. I wondered about that. Is the work complete to make sure the old forms are not still available online?

November 18th, 2014 / 11:40 a.m.
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Alexis Conrad Director General, Temporary Foreign Workers, Skills and Employment Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I will speak briefly to division 24.

On June 20, 2014, the Government of Canada announced an overhaul of the temporary foreign worker program, which was in response to growing concerns about the abuse and misuse of the program. These reforms are intended to ensure that the program continues to operate in the national interest.

The program reforms included splitting the TFWP into two distinct programs: the TFWP and the International Mobility Program. The TFWP now refers to those streams requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment for a temporary foreign worker to enter Canada. The LMIA ensures that the foreign workers are used only as an option of last resort to address immediate skills and labour shortages on a temporary basis.

The new international mobility program includes those streams in which the entry of foreign nationals is not subject to a labour market impact assessment, such as those entering under free trade agreements that provide reciprocal benefits where the benefit to Canada has already been established. Agreements allow foreign nationals in certain occupations from partner countries to work in Canada without the requirement for a labour market test like the LMIA, and in turn allow Canadians to work abroad with similar advantages.

The temporary foreign worker program reforms were announced under three pillars. Pillar one is limiting access to the temporary foreign worker program to ensure Canadians are first in line for available jobs. Pillar two is more and better labour market information for stronger screening. Pillar three is stronger enforcement with tougher penalties. Collectively these reforms strike the right balance to ensure that the temporary foreign worker program is being used as intended, to assist employers in filling their genuine labour market requirements on a temporary basis when qualified Canadians and permanent residents are not available. Moreover, these reforms will help deter employers from breaking program rules, or face consequences if they choose to do so.

Reforms to the international mobility program were also announced that will put in place a robust compliance regime, enabling Citizenship and Immigration Canada to impose consequences on employers who are found to be non-compliant. To support the implementation of reforms to the temporary foreign worker program and international mobility programs, eight amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act were introduced under Bill C-43.

The first amendment would change all references of “opinion” to “assessment” to reflect the change from a labour market opinion to a labour market impact assessment.

The second amendment would seek the authority to make regulations for the collection, retention, and use of social insurance numbers. Social insurance numbers will be used for the administration of the two programs, including verifying employer compliance with program requirements such as the cap and transition plans.

The third amendment will support the stronger compliance regime in the temporary foreign worker program and the international mobility program by allowing regulations to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations to require third parties, such as banks and payroll companies, to provide documents for the inspection of an employer's compliance with program rules. This would help the temporary foreign worker program and international mobility program in verifying information provided by employers in the context of an inspection.

The fourth amendment would seek the authority to create a list that will be used to publish names and addresses of employers found guilty of an offence under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, or any other provincial or territorial law governing the regulation of employment or recruitment. The employers listed would be ineligible to access the temporary foreign worker program and international mobility program, the criteria for which would be set out in regulations.

The fifth amendment would allow regulations in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations for ESDC to leverage a privilege fee on employers. This fee is for the privilege of hiring foreign workers, the details of which would be set out in regulations. It is estimated that it will be in the amount of $100 per temporary foreign worker.

The sixth amendment would allow regulations for the collection of a new compliance fee that applies to employers in relation to their employment of certain foreign nationals who are exempted from the requirements of an LMIA.

The seventh amendment would seek authority to require employers who are hiring through the international mobility program to submit a job offer and other relevant information directly to Citizenship and Immigration Canada by electronic means.

Finally, the eighth amendment is seeking the authority to make regulations for CIC to share information with provinces and territories for compliance and enforcement purposes.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

November 18th, 2014 / 11:35 a.m.
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Benoît Long Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Processing and Payment Services Branch, Service Canada, Department of Employment and Social Development

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I will be speaking on behalf of our colleagues.

We are here to talk about part 4, division 19, of Bill C-43. Subclause 252(1) amends subsection 45(1) of the Department of Employment and Social Development Act by eliminating the legislative cap on the number of full-time Social Security Tribunal members and allowing for the appointment of part-time Social Security Tribunal members by the Governor in Council.

Subclause 252(2) repeals subsection 45(3) of the Department of Employment and Social Development Act. In essence, the workload criteria to appoint part-time members and the maximum amount of time that part-time members can collectively devote to their functions and duties are removed.

As you know, the Social Security Tribunal of Canada hears appeals related to the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and Employment Insurance. Budget 2012 announced the creation of the Social Security Tribunal to replace four existing tribunals. The new tribunal was created with the objective of streamlining and simplifying the appeals process to provide a fair, credible and accessible appeals process for Canadians while achieving administrative efficiencies.

The SST began operating April 1, 2013. It received a transfer of appeals that had been filed with the four former tribunals. The number of transferred appeals exceeded that which had been forecast based on historical workload inventories of the former tribunals, particularly for pensions cases at the first level of appeal. In addition, the SST, as a newly created organization, is still in the ramping up phase and has not yet reached its final steady state.

The SST and the department are committed to ensuring that the inventory of transferred appeals is addressed as quickly as possible. The current limits on the number of tribunal members are not sufficient to reduce the inventory of transferred appeals and address the regular intake of appeals.

The government wants to ensure that appellants receive a decision in a timely manner. The proposed amendment to the Department of Employment and Social Development Act to remove the limit on the number of full-time and part-time members is a key action to reduce the inventory.

In addition to the measures the tribunal is taking, the department is also taking actions to support the SST's productivity. For example, the department has fast-tracked the hiring of the full complement of part-time members provided under the legislation.

In addition, to help reduce the inventory of transferred cases, the department has set up a special unit to review transferred appeals to determine whether any could be settled as a result of new information. The department is also implementing an interim imaging solution on a priority basis which will help enable a more efficient administration and preparation of cases by the SST.

In conclusion, the department and the SST are taking a number of actions to reduce the inventory of transferred appeals, and the proposed amendments to the Department of Employment and Social Development Act represent a key element of the inventory reduction plans.

Thank you for your attention. My colleagues and I will be happy to take your questions.

November 18th, 2014 / 11:35 a.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Conservative Phil McColeman

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

This is meeting number 37 of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

Today is Tuesday, November 18, 2014, and we're here at the request of the finance committee to study the subject matter of clauses 252 and 306 to 314 of Bill C-43, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures.

Today we have a split panel of witnesses. We also have a few minutes set aside at the end of our meeting to deal with some committee business, which we will try to squeeze in.

Joining us now, from the Department of Employment and Social Development, we have: Ms. Kei Moray, director general of policy, appeals, and quality at the processing and payment services branch; Mr. Éric Giguère, director of employment insurance appeals at the processing and payment services branch; Alexis Conrad, director general for the temporary foreign worker program at the skills and employment branch; and finally, Mr. Benoît Long, senior assistant deputy minister, from the processing and payment services branch at Service Canada. From the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, we have Mr. Robert Judge, the director of the temporary resident policy and program.

Because of the time constraints, we would ask you to keep your comments to up to five minutes, and the shorter the better, as that allows more questioning.

Please proceed.

We'll start with Ms. Moray or whoever is talking for the department.

Is that you, Mr. Long? Thank you.

November 18th, 2014 / 10:20 a.m.
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Senior General Counsel, Legal Sector, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Christianne Laizner

Mr. Chairman, the CRTC currently has a proceeding before it called Let's Talk TV where it's looking at a wide range of issues, including bundling, so we really can't comment on what may or may not happen in that area because the decision of the commission has not yet been rendered, even though the public hearings have concluded.

We do note that under the provisions in this Bill C-43 there is a prohibition on charging for paper bills under the Broadcasting Act, as well as under the Telecommunications Act. So there is the same provision under both acts.