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 18th, 2014 / 10 a.m.
See context

Roger Charland Associate Deputy Commissioner, Legislative Affairs and Planning, Competition Bureau

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

My name is Roger Charland and I am the associate deputy commissioner responsible for legislative affairs and planning at the competition promotion branch.

I am accompanied today by my colleague, Martine Dagenais, associate deputy commissioner, who is responsible for economics and advocacy.

Thank you for inviting us to appear to discuss Bill C-43, particularly with respect to the proposed amendments to the Telecommunications Act.

Before my colleague, Martine Dagenais, speaks to the bureau's interest in Bill C-43, I propose to begin with a brief overview of the Competition Bureau's mandate and role in promoting competition.

The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian consumers and business prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace. Headed by the commissioner of competition, the bureau is responsible for the administration and the enforcement of the Competition Act and three labelling statutes.

The Competition Act provides the commissioner with the authority to investigate anti-competitive behaviour. The act contains both civil and criminal provisions, and covers conduct such as bid-rigging, false or misleading representation, price-fixing, or abuse of dominant market positions.

The act also grants the commissioner the authority to make representation before regulatory boards, commissions, or other tribunals to promote competition in various sectors.

To advance the bureau's enforcement objectives and our mandate to advocate market-based solutions before regulatory bodies, we continuously strive to strengthen our relationship with our domestic and international law enforcement partners and counterparts, as well as with key government departments and agencies. These partnerships allow the bureau to enhance the impact of its competition, compliance, and promotion work for Canadian consumers and business alike, both in Canada and in our export markets.

As part of these efforts the bureau has entered into cooperation agreements and memoranda of understanding with a number of key agencies, including the signing of a letter of agreement with the CRTC in September of last year. The bureau and the CRTC each play an important role in the telecommunication and broadcasting industries, and the agreement provides a framework for cooperation and assists both agencies in the delivery of their respective mandates in the sector.

I will now invite my colleague, Martine Dagenais, to speak to the bureau's interest in Bill C-43.

November 18th, 2014 / 9:50 a.m.
See context

Kurt Eby Director, Regulatory Affairs, Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I'm Kurt Eby. I'm the director of regulatory affairs and government relations at CWTA. Bernard sends his regrets.

I'll be brief. I'm here to talk about one specific aspect of Bill C-43, and that is the amendments to the telecom act that would impose a prohibition on charging for paper bills. We just have a couple of things we wanted to talk about on that and answer questions.

Basically, this industry has been trying to move to electronic billing like many other industries. The government, for example, is phasing out paper cheques by April 2016. It's the same kind of principle, and we're facing the same challenges that were faced when companies went to direct deposit payments and we implemented automated teller machines. A number of practices have been tried to entice people to move to electronic billing. These include credits, discounts, offering reward miles, donations to charitable causes, and of course, charging to receive a paper bill. Bill C-43 proposes to remove that particular option, of course, and we just have a couple of comments and requests for the committee regarding some amendments to the bill in that respect.

The first one is about to whom this prohibition would apply. We think, as the government has stated publicly, that this should apply to individual consumers and not to businesses. Our request is that particular clause, clause 194 in the bill, be amended to read:

Any person who provides telecommunication services shall not charge an individual or small business subscriber for providing the subscriber with a paper bill.

Right now, it just says “subscriber”.

That definition of “small business” is already used by the commissioner for complaints about telecommunications services, and is used in the wireless code by the CRTC. The definition is that a small business is a business whose average monthly telecommunications bill is under $2,500. Businesses above that, corporate accounts, we think have the power and the ability to negotiate the full extent of their agreement, which would include how they receive a bill or invoice, and what goes on in that manner. We think this bill, as the government has stated, this proposal, which is to put more money back in the pockets of hard-working Canadian families, should be limited to families and individual accounts.

Our second request is regarding the coming into force period. A couple of weeks ago Industry Canada told this committee it had not undertaken consultation with the telecommunications industry with respect to how ready they would be to implement this. Our members have confirmed to us that it would be difficult if not impossible to effectively coordinate all of the IT system changes necessary to comply with this by, basically, January, when it could come into force. They have indicated that March 31, 2015, which is slightly more than five months from when the bill was introduced, would be an appropriate time to make sure that everything came into effect effectively and reasonably, and everyone would see that change uniformly.

That's all. I'm happy to answer any questions on that.

November 18th, 2014 / 9:50 a.m.
See context

Christopher Seidl Executive Director, Telecommunications, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Mr. Chair, I would like to begin by discussing the proposal to give the CRTC the authority to impose conditions on companies that resell telecommunications services provided to them by other carriers. Currently we do not have direct jurisdiction over these companies to require them to, for example, provide emergency 911 services. We impose public interest regulatory requirements on carriers whose services they resell and we look to the Canadian carriers to enforce these requirements with respect to the resellers. Bill C-43 would allow us to regulate these resellers directly. As an important change it means that the CRTC can extend the same safeguards to Canadians across the country regardless of the type of service provider they choose.

Bill C-43 would enable us to disclose the commercially sensitive information we receive to the commissioner of competition. By giving the commissioner access to confidential information he and his staff will likely be able to participate more meaningfully in our public proceedings. This would give us a more complete public record upon which to base our decisions.

The CRTC takes great pride in the role it plays in regulating Canada's broadcasting and telecommunications sectors. We're ready to apply the new responsibilities provided to us under Bill C-43 to further uphold the public interest.

We would be pleased to answer your questions. That being said, there are a number of ongoing proceedings before the CRTC. Mr. Chair, I hope the committee members will understand that, depending on the question, our answers will necessarily be limited in order to maintain the integrity of those proceedings.

Thank you.

November 18th, 2014 / 9:45 a.m.
See context

Christianne Laizner Senior General Counsel, Legal Sector, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

My name is Christianne Laizner. I'm the senior general counsel and executive director of the legal sector of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. With me today is Chris Seidl, who is the CRTC's executive director of telecommunications.

We are here today to answer your questions concerning Bill C-43, the budget implementation act 2, which proposes to grant the CRTC expanded tools and responsibilities.

The CRTC is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal that regulates Canada's telecommunications and broadcasting sectors. We operate in a transparent manner, and with the goal of upholding the public interest, so that Canadians have access to a world-class communication system. Our decisions are based on the evidence provided to us by the individuals, companies and organizations—including some on this panel—that participate in our public proceedings.

Mr. Chair, we recognize that this committee must complete its review of Bill C-43 quickly, and we are happy to accommodate its schedule. We would ask the committee, however, to keep in mind that our responsibilities as a regulatory body set us apart from the other members of this panel.

Let me now turn to Bill C-43. As you know this bill proposes to amend the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act to expand the powers of the CRTC. We believe that three of these amendments will greatly enhance our ability to achieve the objectives that Parliament has entrusted to us.

The first would allow the CRTC to issue monetary penalties to any company that violates the rules of the Telecommunications Act. Mr. Chair, this is an important addition to the CRTC's tool kit. By granting us the power to issue monetary penalties, Bill C-43 would give us a new tool that would act as a deterrent to anyone wanting to breach the legislation or our regulations.

Let me be clear on our use of monetary penalties. It is not our aim to turn to these penalties first. Our experience enforcing the national do-not-call list and Canada's anti-spam legislation reminds us that the best enforcement approach should be determined by the particular facts of the case. Sometimes education or a warning may bring about compliance and other times a more forceful approach is needed. The option to use monetary penalties to promote compliance gives us greater flexibility to tailor the right enforcement approach to each situation.

I'll now ask my colleague, Mr. Seidl, to address the other proposed amendments.

November 18th, 2014 / 9:30 a.m.
See context

Executive Assistant to the National Director, United Steelworkers

Mark Rowlinson

Let me just offer the following. I don't disagree, actually, with my colleague from the CBA that clearly there needs to be a balance in the Investment Canada process between preserving, for example, the confidentiality of business information whilst at the same time providing transparency to workers in communities who are affected by Investment Canada Act transactions.

In our view, what's really required in respect of the Investment Canada Act component of Bill C-43 is a much more substantial review of the statute itself and the process by which investments are made in Canada. I don't think that amending the statute in a piecemeal way, as part of omnibus legislation, is actually an effective way of ensuring that there is adequate transparency and that the entire Investment Canada process and the manner in which Canadian interests are protected economically...and also through a national security review. It actually has to be considered more globally, in a study preferably by this committee, and by Parliament more generally, so that we can truly have a better system and a more transparent system that provides for involvement from workers and communities and provinces when these large investments are considered in the Canadian economy by foreign investors.

That's what I would say.

November 18th, 2014 / 9:10 a.m.
See context

Tom McAllister Chief Executive Officer, Ontario, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

Thank you.

Mr. Chair, and honourable members, I am pleased to be here on behalf of the Heart and Stroke Foundation to address the positive developments in Bill C-43, particularly regarding the amendment to the Criminal Code that will now allow charities to use a computer to help run their lotteries. As you may be aware, the Heart and Stroke Foundation is a national volunteer-based charity supported by more than 140,000 volunteers and close to two million donors. The aim of the Heart and Stroke Foundation is to create healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. We can do this through the advancement of research and the promotion of healthy living. Our lottery programs are a vital source of revenue to achieve our mission goals.

Despite an impressive 75% reduction in the death rate from heart disease and stroke over the last 60 years since our inception, every seven minutes, someone in Canada dies from one of these diseases. This is unacceptable, given that it amounts to 66,000 deaths each year. Heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of hospitalization and the second leading cause of death in Canada.

Major charities—we ourselves, the Canadian Cancer Society whom you've just heard from, and others such as SickKids Foundation, the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, and the London Health Sciences—had requested that Budget 2014 include an amendment to paragraph 207(4)(c) of the Criminal Code of Canada. Through our collective efforts and discussions with parliamentarians and officials, this change was included in the budget and announced in February 2014.

We are extremely pleased to see this inclusion in the BIA because of the positive benefits it brings to our ability to raise needed funds to advance our mission. We are very pleased that the amendment will now allow charitable organizations to use computers and other modern technologies in their lottery sales and operations as well as in draws.

The provincial gaming organizations have always been able to use computers and online technologies to run their lotteries. Conversely, because of an outdated Criminal Code restriction, until now charities had to rely on costly, labour-intensive, manual processes. This has come at the cost of our ability to efficiently and effectively reach the consumer, whose expectations, which understandably have been established by other industries and the growth of e-commerce, make the charitable sector processes and practices appear to be quite antiquated.

We are confident that the proposed changes will enable the sector to better demonstrate that we operate in the most effective and efficient way possible. The amendment will result, in our estimation, in savings of millions of dollars each year across all Canadian charities that run lotteries, through the ability to transact online and minimize our dependency on printing, mailing, and the associated risks of human error. This is money that can be redirected to the collective mission activities, to the benefit of all Canadians. In our case, it will afford us the potential to invest further in life-saving research and health promotion.

As you know, Canada's charitable sector plays an important role in enhancing Canadians' lives by conducting life-saving research, providing crucial social and community services, and undertaking important initiatives in such areas as health promotion, sports and recreation, and arts and culture. These organizations help Canadians address the numerous health, social, and economic challenges they face on a daily basis. Allowing charitable organizations to make better, more efficient use of their funds is in the best interest of all Canadians.

To this end, it is our hope that the provinces will move to allow this pending federal amendment to be adopted expeditiously. The federal government wants charities to find innovative solutions that will make them more efficient and sustainable. The federal government is also committed to removing any unnecessary red tape or regulations that impede these solutions. Making this amendment provides just such a solution.

By implementing this change, the federal government would significantly enhance Canada's research capacity, make charities more efficient, and encourage and support Canadians in their efforts to become and stay healthy. It will allow charities to conduct business in a manner increasingly expected by consumers; that is, online and in real time.

Mr. Chair, members of this committee, thank you for your time. I look forward to your questions and to the discussion with you in a few minutes.

Thank you.

November 18th, 2014 / 9:05 a.m.
See context

Gerry Gaetz President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Payments Association

Good morning.

I'm Gerry Gaetz, the president and CEO. I want to thank the committee for inviting the Canadian Payments Association to contribute to your study of Bill C-43.

I have a very brief opening statement to situate the Canadian Payments Association and to explain the relevance and importance of division 26 contained in the bill.

The Canadian Payments Association is Canada's main financial market infrastructure. We design and operate Canada's national clearing and settlement systems for payments. Financial institutions rely on our systems to settle with finality their daily payment clearing balances on the books of the Bank of Canada. Canadians, businesses, governments, and financial institutions count on our systems to clear and settle payments, such as cheques, preauthorized debits, direct deposits, bill payments, payments made at point of sale, and wire payments. Last year, the CPA cleared and settled $44 trillion, or about $170 billion on average every business day.

We're guided by public policy objectives of safety and soundness, efficiency, and the interests of users, including Canadians. These objectives are enshrined in the Canadian Payments Act. Financial institutions that are engaged in the business of payments are required to be members of the Canadian Payments Association, and they completely fund our operations. Today our membership stands at 113 financial institutions.

Our focus at the CPA is ensuring that these financial claims between member institutions can be settled efficiently and without risk. In addition to technical infrastructure, we develop rules and standards that, together with the Canadian Payments Act, provide a strong legal framework for the payments of today and tomorrow.

Bill C-43 introduces important amendments to the Canadian Payments Act and the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act. Amendments to the Canadian Payments Act in particular bring about changes to the governance of the CPA. We believe that they will enhance the governance, overall functioning, and accountability of the CPA, thereby helping us to better fulfill our forward-looking strategy for the continued modernization of what is already a strong financial system and payment system in Canada.

The CPA has been fully engaged in the process leading up to the drafting and tabling of the amendments. Let me highlight a few of the key changes. A smaller, more independent board of directors will support a broader, more inclusive representation of the payments ecosystem. The Minister of Finance will retain the power to disapprove rules made by the CPA, but the bylaw approval process has been made more efficient with a new category of administrative bylaws that require only CPA board approval rather than the current practice of requiring ministerial approval. As well, the act will contain a new accountability framework, including a five-year corporate plan approved by the Minister of Finance, an annual report, and directive power for the minister.

Since the first reading of Bill C-43 in the House on October 23, we've had a chance to examine the provisions in more detail and discuss next steps with the Department of Finance, particularly around the drafting of the regulations. I'd like to highlight a couple of important areas with respect to those regulations.

One area is that we believe the regulations should specify a timely process for the minister's approval of the CPA's annual submission. This is because the CPA operates systems and infrastructure critical to the day-to-day functioning of the financial system.

Finally, under the Canadian Payments Act, the minister has oversight and directive power over the CPA. Under the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act, the governor of the Bank of Canada has oversight over the CPA's systems. Under Bill C-43, this Bank of Canada oversight will be expanded to our second system's infrastructure, if the governor believes this to be in the public interest. It will be important to ensure that the potential duplication and oversight does not impede our ability to review rules and make changes required to respond to the interests of users.

CPA is working diligently to ensure a speedy and smooth transition to this new governance framework, which we believe will help the CPA be more effective overall in achieving its mandate.

Thank you very much.

November 18th, 2014 / 8:55 a.m.
See context

Janice Gray Manager, Lottery, Canadian Cancer Society

Thank you, Mr. Chair and honourable members.

I'm pleased to be here on behalf of the Canadian Cancer Society to support Bill C-43 as it relates to the amendment that would allow us the use of computers to conduct and manage our lotteries.

Prior to joining the Canadian Cancer Society four years ago, I managed provincial lotteries for over 20 years at both the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and British Columbia Lottery Corporation. As I learned about the charitable lottery sector, I was shocked by the restrictions that disallowed the use of computers, based on a clause written in 1984. No one at that time could have predicted the pervasive use of computers in our everyday life and the extent to which we would rely on the efficiency and speed of doing business via the Internet.

Allowing charitable organizations to use computers and other modern technologies in their lottery sales, operations and draws, would increase our overall revenue dedicated to our mission work and improve customer service to the level our supporters expect. Every dollar saved on administrative costs is a dollar that goes to our life-saving work. We take very seriously our responsibility to keep our administrative costs at a minimum and manage our operations as efficiently as possible, so that we can distribute the maximum revenue to our various missions.

We also want to make sure that everything is as easy as possible for our customers, while minimizing our costs. I manage the lottery day to day, and it's very difficult to explain to a customer why we are unable to send their ticket or tax receipt by email, even though they ask us to. The time-consuming, costly and paper-heavy processes we currently use make our organizations look outdated, not environmentally conscious, and inefficient overall. This does not instill confidence in our supporters and will make acquiring new, younger customers even more difficult in the future.

The changes proposed would impact our current process at numerous points in the transaction with the customer. Depending on the charity, the savings could be well over $100,000 for only one lottery on even simply one of these touch points. Add in the cost for postage, labour, paper, etc., and the impact is significant. If you extrapolate that over all of the lotteries in the country, the savings are in the millions each year. This is money that could be used to enhance the lives of Canadians, with no cost to government or the taxpayer.

The net revenue from Canadian Cancer Society's lottery program goes directly to fund life-saving research into over 200 types of cancer. Since 2001, we have raised over $65 million for cancer research from our lotteries. Today, we can only afford to fund about 25% of the approved research grants that are submitted. Every dollar saved through improved efficiencies means more funds for cancer research and moves us closer to a potential cure.

We would also like to express our thanks to the federal government for including this amendment in the budget, and ask that you please support the amendment and help us move into the next generation of charitable lotteries and the associated additional funds for the benefit of all Canadians.

Mr. Chair and honourable members, thank you for allowing me a platform to present on behalf of the Canadian charitable lottery sector. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have.

November 18th, 2014 / 8:50 a.m.
See context

Omar Wakil Chair, Foreign Investment Review Committee, Competition Law Section, Canadian Bar Association

Thank you very much.

Good morning, Mr. Chair, members of the committee.

I am pleased to appear before you today on behalf of the Canadian Bar Association in response to division 9 of part 4 of Bill C-43 amending the Investment Canada Act.

The Canadian Bar Association is an association representing 37,000 members of the legal profession. Our primary objectives include improvement in the law and in the administration of justice. It is through that lens that we have examined this portion of the bill.

The submission before you has been prepared by the Foreign Investment Review Committee of the Canadian Bar Association's competition law section. This CBA section is composed of lawyers whose practices embrace all aspects of competition law and foreign investment review including direct experiences with transactions and other investments that are subject to review under the Investment Canada Act.

In 2009 the Investment Canada Act was amended to permit the review of virtually any foreign investment into Canada on the basis that it might be injurious to Canada's national security. We have previously expressed concerns about those amendments because of their broad potential application and because of the lack of guidance as to what sorts of investments would be reviewed. Without transparency and guidance it is difficult to advise foreign investors or Canadian businesses on the likelihood of a review or the potential outcome of a review. This creates a risk of chilling foreign investment into Canada.

We're making our comments today against the backdrop of those concerns. The amendments to the Investment Canada Act that are currently proposed would primarily make two changes to the law. First, the list of investments subject to notification requirements would be expanded. That may give rise to an increased number of national security reviews. The CBA section believes it would be helpful for the government to provide an explanation as to why these changes are thought necessary or desirable.

Second, the government would have greater discretion to disclose publicly information about the status and outcome of a national security review unless the Minister of Industry is satisfied that communication or disclosure of that information would be prejudicial either to the foreign investor or the Canadian business.

We fully support efforts to increase transparency and welcome this proposed amendment. However, we think the legislation would benefit from a specific qualification that no disclosure about the national security review process should be made in the context of a specific investment when the fact of that investment has not been publicly disclosed by the parties. Such unwanted disclosure could have the effect of deterring investors from approaching Industry Canada to address national security issues proactively and confidentially, thereby weakening the effectiveness of the process.

We also believe that the government should provide more disclosure about the frequency of national security reviews and the outcomes of those reviews. This would provide the Canadian public, the business community, and investors with better information about how the broad powers to conduct national security reviews are being exercised. In particular it would be helpful for foreign investors and Canadian businesses to have basic information about reviews in general. For example, how many reviews have there been since 2009? What were the countries of origin of the foreign investors? What business segments do the Canadian businesses operate? How many investments have been blocked? How many have been conditionally approved? We don't have access to any of that information. Industry Canada could make this information available in its annual report similar to what the committee on foreign investment in the United States does in that country.

In our view providing aggregate data on national security reviews would not itself be prejudicial to national security. We would encourage the minister to include such information in his annual report. We hope that the government would continue its efforts to increase transparency by considering amending the ICA and, further, require the annual reports to include aggregated data on national security reviews.

Thank you for your attention. I would be pleased to answer any questions later this morning.

November 18th, 2014 / 8:50 a.m.
See context

Michèle Biss Legal Education and Outreach Coordinator, Canada Without Poverty

Good morning. Thank you for this opportunity and for inviting Canada Without Poverty to appear at these very important hearings.

I would like to provide some context as to why I am speaking on behalf of Canada Without Poverty today. CWP is a federally incorporated charitable organization dedicated to the elimination of poverty in Canada. Since our inception in 1971 as the National Anti-Poverty Organization we have been governed and guided by people with a direct, lived experience of poverty, whether in childhood or as adults.

Our constituents, our directors, and our supporters have all informed us that clauses 172 and 173 of Bill C-43 are of grave concern to them.

Our first concern is with respect to the role of the provinces. Clauses 172 and 173 of Bill C-43 erode a key national standard. They open the door for provinces to impose a minimum residency requirement before refugees can apply for social assistance, without any penalty on that province's CST payment.

The government has suggested that this is being done at the behest of the provinces, but quite frankly we know this to be false. For example, an Ontario government spokesperson told a reporter that they did not want the provisions in clauses 172 and 173 and were concerned that “a waiting period could impact people with legitimate refugee claims who are truly in need” and that these concerns had been communicated to the federal government.

The government has also suggested that this arrangement would allow the provinces more flexibility in the administration of social assistance. The erosion of a national standard that protects the basic needs of a vulnerable group is unnecessary to grant the provinces flexibility. Provincial governments currently have the ability to administer social assistance in whatever way they see fit, as long as it remains available to vulnerable groups. It is our view that the government is hiding behind the provinces. What is in fact going on here is that the federal government is offering a financial incentive to provinces as a means of having provinces implement the government's ideologically driven policies towards refugees.

Our second concern is with the impact these clauses will have on a particularly vulnerable group. I encourage the members of this committee to stand in the shoes of a refugee.

Imagine you are a woman who has left her home in Africa—say, for example, in Sudan—after enduring persecution in the form of physical violence because of a perceived political affiliation. Imagine that you arrive in Canada, a baby in tow, your friends and family thousands of kilometres away. You make your refugee claim, and then what? You're suffering trauma. You're afraid. You're alone. You know little about Canadian society. You have no means to access basic necessities: food, housing, personal necessities. How are you expected to survive?

Women, children, and men who have sought the safety of a stable democracy will be forced to rely on already overburdened social services, such as emergency shelters, food banks, and churches, and will be forced to live on the street, all of which is equally if not more costly to provinces and municipalities. The provisions in this bill are overreaching and do not distinguish between non-legitimate refugee claims and refugees who are fleeing real persecution, like the woman I just mentioned.

Lastly and most importantly, if adopted, these provisions will contravene Canada's international human rights obligation to refrain from taking retrogressive measures. In other words, it is a violation of international human rights law for Canada to undermine the social protections that guarantee human rights. In this case, access for refugees is currently protected. By passing these provisions and taking away that standard, the federal government is permitting provinces to undermine that standard and deny social assistance on a discriminatory basis.

For these reasons we ask the committee to recommend that clauses 172 and 173 be struck from Bill C-43.

Canada Without Poverty is not alone in this call. I have with me an open letter signed by a coalition of 160 organizations that also assert that these provisions are a violation of human rights and must not be passed. I have attached this letter to my written comments.

I encourage members to reflect on how history will see this moment. Canadians pride themselves on our international reputation as a safe haven for refugees who are fleeing persecution, a community of compassionate individuals.

Let's not change that.

Thank you.

November 18th, 2014 / 8:45 a.m.
See context

Amrita Singh Associate, Bereskin and Parr LLP

Good morning. My name is Amrita Singh and I, along with my colleague, Scott MacKendrick, am here on behalf of Bereskin and Parr LLP to provide feedback about the proposed amendments to the Patent Act and Industrial Design Act as set out in part 4, clauses 104 through 142 of Bill C-43, and to answer any questions you might have about those amendments.

Bereskin and Parr is a leading Canadian intellectual property law firm. The firm's practice is comprehensive, encompassing all aspects of intellectual property law, including patents, industrial designs, and IP litigation. A number of the firm's practitioners are consistently ranked as leading practitioners in IP law in Canada and around the world.

We're pleased to have been invited to provide comments on the proposed amendments, many of which provide welcome updates to Canadian patent and industrial design law. Thank you for this opportunity.

I'll begin by addressing the amendments proposed to the Patent Act. The changes to the Patent Act are designed to implement the patent law treaty, the objective of which is to streamline and harmonize formal requirements set by various countries for the filing of patent applications and the maintenance in force of patents, as well as certain additional patent and patent applications requirements related to the communication with applicants or their patent agents, representation and recording assignments, and the like.

The treaty is intended to provide filing date requirements and procedures to avoid loss of filing dates, mechanisms to avoid the unintentional loss of rights arising from a failure to comply with time limits, an internationally standardized set of formal requirements consistent with the patent cooperation treaty requirements, standardized forms, and simplified procedures.

The majority of the amendments will require clarification by the yet to be made public, and presumably not yet drafted, patent rules. Until the rules are made public, it remains to be seen what the full impact of changes to Bill C-43 will mean for Canadian patent law.

I will highlight two things that are of particular interest to us. Intervening rights is the first thing I'm going to speak about.

Presently, there's no provision in the Patent Act for so-called third party intervening rights for someone who takes actions during the time that a patent application might be deemed abandoned, but is later reinstated, where the actions would otherwise be found to infringe the patent as issued. All that the act currently provides is that if a patent is issued, the patent owner may obtain reasonable compensation for the otherwise infringing actions during the deemed abandoned period.

Bill C-43 appears to change this, allowing for innocent infringement as long as the actions are taken in good faith and during the timeframe to be set out in the patent rules. There is no requirement for such a term in the patent law treaty, and what “good faith” means will, most likely, have to be determined by judges. This injects some uncertainty into the patent regime and such uncertainty is almost certain to result in litigation before the Federal Court.

Furthermore, this is a removal of rights already present in the Patent Act and will adversely affect patentees regardless of the reasons why applications were deemed abandoned or for which fees were unpaid at some time.

The second point I will address is reinstatement of applications. Currently, an application is deemed abandoned if a required action is not taken. Once abandoned, the applicant has 12 months to reinstate the application by requesting reinstatement, paying a late fee, and taking the required action.

Under the amendments, however, there are certain circumstances where the applicant must show to the commissioner of patents that the failure to take the required action was notwithstanding the applicant taking due care. The treaty only requires unintentional delay as the basis for reinstatement and this basis has been adopted by the U.S. patent office, among others. Due care is a more onerous standard than the Patent Act currently provides and is likely to result in litigation before the Federal Court as well.

November 18th, 2014 / 8:45 a.m.
See context

Wendy Zatylny President, Association of Canadian Port Authorities

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Good morning, committee members.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. As you noted, sir, my name is Wendy Zatylny and I'm the president of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities, representing the 18 port authorities that make up Canada's national ports system.

In the next five minutes of time that I have, I'd like to speak to the valuable role that ports play in facilitating trade and creating jobs in communities across Canada. I'll also speak to changes to the Canada Marine Act, as proposed in division 16 in Bill C-43. Finally, I'd like to take a few minutes to highlight the prebudget recommendations that we submitted to committee members.

First, let me begin by setting some context. Expanded trade agreements between Canada and international partners are making our world smaller. Traditional trade patterns are changing and competition to carry and receive cargo is intensifying. Navigating this new environment effectively is crucial to Canada's economy and our standard of living. Canada's ports are critically important to moving imports and exports around the world while creating jobs across Canada.

With 90% of everything that we buy and sell travelling by ship at some point in its life, maritime trade underpins the global economy. These are the goods that we depend on every day—cars, tools, resources, food, and medicines, to name just a few.

In total a combined 162 billion dollars' worth of goods are shipped or received through Canadian port authorities every year. Our ports handle nearly two-thirds of the country's waterborne cargo, contributing to job creation and economic growth and creating over 250,000 direct and indirect jobs that pay higher than average wages.

The expansion of port-based trade presents a remarkable opportunity for the Canadian economy. Trade agreements with Korea, the European Union, and other ongoing negotiations are creating new opportunities for Canadian businesses in key economic sectors.

However, we'll only be able to capitalize on this expanding global market through strengthened port facilities and improved supply chain efficiencies. It is for these reasons that we welcome the proposed changes to the Canada Marine Act.

The first amendment, respecting the treatment of federal real property, will provide administrative clarification that will enable Canadian port authorities to more effectively manage the potential acquisition of lands that support and fuel continued port growth.

The second amendment will help ensure greater regulatory oversight of port development projects by giving the federal government the ability to enact regulations that will provide additional safety and environmental protection measures. This can be done by referencing existing provincial regulations in areas where the federal government currently does not have jurisdiction.

Taken together, these amendments will further strengthen our ability to respond to current and projected trade needs as well as to create jobs and new economic development opportunities. But more still needs to be done. Canada is currently ranked 14th out of 155 countries when it comes to the quality and efficiency of our logistics infrastructure. In our view, 14th is simply not good enough for a G-7 country.

Our goal should be to break into the World Bank's top 10 in terms of supply chain efficiency and our prebudget submission calls for an intensified partnership with the Government of Canada to do just that. We have proposed working closer with Canada's trade commissioner service to develop a training program to better understand and utilize the value-add that is the national ports system. In a highly competitive and dynamic environment, speed and efficiency of cargo handling is key.

Our port authorities have invested intellectual and financial capital in working with supply chain partners to smooth out inefficiencies and speed cargo to its intended customers. This is an important facet of our global competitive advantage and should be reflected as such. It would also be beneficial to establish an interdepartmental working group to examine and resolve seemingly contradictory regulatory issues and barriers on a continuing basis, and finally we want to narrow the infrastructure gap that is preventing us from fully leveraging the benefits of Canada's trade agenda.

In a study conducted with Transport Canada we determined a $5.3 billion funding gap exists in the amount of funds required to address both current and prospective port infrastructure needs. While port authorities are adept at creating multi-partner funding models, federal funding is nonetheless a critical component in ensuring many projects of strategic and national importance are able to proceed. While the Building Canada fund was helpful, a gap still exists. The time is now to pair Canada's 21st century trade agenda with 21st century transportation efficiencies. Our proposals will help position Canada as the world leader in transportation logistics.

Thank you again for the opportunity to speak with you today, and I look forward to your questions.

November 18th, 2014 / 8:45 a.m.
See context

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

I call this meeting to order.

This is meeting no. 58 of the Standing Committee on Finance. I want to welcome all of our guests here this morning.

Pursuant to the order of reference of Monday, November 3, 2014, we are continuing with 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.

We're very pleased to have with us here this morning seven witnesses: the Association of Canadian Port Authorities, President Wendy Zatylny; Canada Without Poverty, Ms. Michèle Biss; the Canadian Cancer Society, Ms. Janice Gray; the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Mr. David Macdonald; the Canadian Payments Association, Mr. Gerry Gaetz; the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Mr. Tom McAllister; and from the Library of Parliament, Mr. Mostafa Askari.

Welcome to everyone and thank you all for being with us here this morning. You each have five minutes maximum for your opening statement and then we'll have questions from members.

We'll begin with the Association of Canadian Port Authorities.

November 17th, 2014 / 5:25 p.m.
See context

Jenn McIntyre Director, Romero House

Thank you.

My name is Jenn McIntyre. I am the director of a Toronto-based organization called Romero House and I am here today to express serious concerns regarding clauses 172 and 173 proposed in Bill C-43.

Romero House is a non-profit organization in the west end of Toronto that provides housing and other forms of support to refugee claimant families. I live in the community and I'm inspired every day by the strength and courage of people who have endured war, persecution, torture, and the more recent trauma of dislocation. The people I know and connect with every day come to this country for one reason—to seek safety for themselves and their families.

Refugee claimants are not immigrants. They are people looking for refuge, and they often leave everything behind to get here. The majority of families who come through our doors are not even aware that they are eligible to apply for social assistance. They come here not to take advantage of Canada's generosity, but because this country has a reputation of speaking out against human rights abuses and also a commitment to protect life. Part of protecting life is not paving the way for vulnerable and traumatized people to fall into extreme poverty as soon as they arrive here seeking safety. Removing restrictions on residency requirements would do that very thing.

At Romero House, I see the immediate impact that legislation has on families, and I cannot imagine the path that this may pave for people who have suffered so much already. I would ask you to think about a member of our community, a woman from a West African country who fled her abusive husband knowing that she would be killed if she did not leave.

With no other choice, she left behind five children and arrived here very pregnant, penniless, and with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. If she had not had access to social assistance, she would have ended up completely dependent on the shelter system, food banks, and the financial support of non-profits. Even though her work permit would eventually arrive, how would a mother with a newborn be expected to work? Would she have been able to care for her baby or would social services remove him from this woman who had already lost everything?

The very basic income provided by social assistance keeps refugee claimants off the street, out of homeless shelters, and out of hospital emergency rooms. It keeps families together. It keeps single women from the potentially dangerous situation of sleeping on the couch of someone they barely know because it is their only option. It keeps people from being exposed to labour exploitation because they are desperate to provide for their children.

Social assistance is a necessity for newly arrived refugees. Many of the people who come to Romero House are educated professionals in their country of origin and they cannot get a job and a stable income fast enough. They want to work hard to support their families and to contribute to Canadian taxes.

To illustrate just how true this is, I would like to introduce you to Alexandra Jimenez, who is here with me today. She is a former resident of Romero House and a committed member of our community. After making a claim for refugee status almost 13 years ago, Alexandra was accepted as a convention refugee and is now a Canadian citizen.

She arrived here from Colombia and was immediately dependent on social assistance to pay for her rent and basic needs. Her accounting certification was not recognized in Canada and she was not able to speak either of our official languages. After taking ESL classes and waiting seven months for her work permit to arrive, Alexandra has been working and paying taxes for 12 years. For the past nine years, she has been facilitating Romero House's tax clinic, assisting our refugee claimant residents in paying their taxes, starting in the very first year of their time in Canada.

A minimum residency requirement would have been devastating to Alexandra and her family. I encourage you to ask Alexandra questions about her experience, as she is available to switch spots with me in the question time.

Romero House has space for an average of 40 people. Agencies like ours can assist only a small percentage of refugee claimants. Think of the vast majority of refugee claimants who are not at Romero House and how they will be affected by restricted access to social assistance. Think about what will happen when our funds are quickly dried up from supporting the basic needs of our residents. Think about what will happen when the shelters, which are already full, are flooded with refugee families. It will just download the cost to somewhere else.

I realize that a decision to impose a minimum residency requirement will sit with the provinces, but for a country that is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions and claims to uphold human rights, it should not even be an option. To make it possible to deny social assistance to refugees is worse than an injustice; it is a new form of social cruelty.

Thank you.

November 17th, 2014 / 5:05 p.m.
See context

Daniel-Robert Gooch President, Canadian Airports Council

Mr. Chair, ladies and gentlemen members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak to you about the proposed amendments to the Aeronautics Act contained in Bill C-43, which is before you today.

My name is Daniel-Robert Gooch, and I am the President of the Canadian Airports Council. The 45 members of the council include all non-government airports that are part of the National Airports System.

There is good reason for rigorous consultation on initiatives and legislation. It helps the Government of Canada avoid unintended consequences. Airports have a concern that this relatively small bit of legislative text is broadly enough written that it could have an unintended negative impact on our nation's airports.

We understood that there would be a legislative move to provide the Minister of Transport with new regulatory authority to intervene in matters around the development and operation of new, small, private aerodromes. There are valid reasons for the minister to have new regulatory powers in this area, most notably to ensure the continued safety and security of Canada's skies. However, this language goes beyond the domain of private aerodromes and should be tightened, we contend. In light of all the possible implications of it, this kind of legislative exercise should be handled cautiously.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, we would suggest, is the more appropriate venue for this. It is designed to consider legislation of this nature so that its implications can be properly considered and the language amended as needed to better align with the stated objectives.

We do not believe that the Government of Canada wants to turn back the clock on the national airports policy or revert back to taking control of our nation's airports and the significant financial responsibility associated with their development and operation; however, the expanded powers being considered in Bill C-43, if implemented, could be interpreted as a move in this direction.

Air transport in Canada is a $35 billion industry that supports 140,000 direct jobs. Airports have an important role in the Canadian economy, and we must tread carefully. Airport authorities plan and implement key development programs costing from millions to hundreds of millions of dollars.

It is the breadth of the language of this legislative initiative that is of primary concern to Canada's airports. As drafted, the bill encompasses all airports in the country and, if approved, would confer broad new regulatory authorities for the minister, including, we would suggest, in areas that are explicitly devolved to local airport authorities under the national airports policy.

As drafted, the bill also would give the Minister of Transport the ability to halt development or expansion of an airport if the minister makes a determination that such a project would not be in the public interest. While there may be some who would suggest the minister should have such a role in airports, this would represent a major policy shift back to the pre-national airports policy era in terms of the role of the federal government in airports. That policy entailed a very deliberate depoliticization of decisions like this.

We are also very concerned that the public interest as outlined in the proposed amendments is vague and subjective. Is it, we would ask, truly the government's intent for the Minister of Transport and her successors to once again be at the heart of decisions about airport development and be an arbiter in matters that were designed to be handled locally? We do not believe so, but we are concerned that the changes proposed by this language could be used that way by future governments and/or interest groups. We want first and foremost to ensure all of the possible implications are properly explored and considered.

Another notable consideration is that a broad review of transportation policy is already under way through the review of the Canada Transportation Act being conducted by David Emerson and his esteemed panel of advisers. This is the more appropriate forum to consider major transportation policy changes.

That is why the Canadian Airports Council is asking the committee today to amend the legislation to take into account small private aerodromes that are important to the department or not to integrate the wording in question until it has been examined in more detail.

Thank you for your time. I would now be pleased to answer any questions you may have.

Thank you.