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 5th, 2014 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Just to confirm, is there any way that these measures in Bill C-43 could be used by the Minister of Canadian Heritage to deny a tax credit for a film that the government deems offensive?

November 5th, 2014 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

I call to order meeting number 56 of the Standing Committee on Finance.

The orders of the day are pursuant to the order of reference of Monday, November 3, 2014, Bill C-43, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures.

I want to welcome our officials who are both here to help us go through this bill.

Colleagues, we'll go through the bill part by part. We'll have all the officials for part 1, part 2, part 3, and then for part 4, we will go by the various divisions.

We have before us here, as I understand it, officials who are all from the Department of Finance to deal with part 1 of Bill C-43. Is that correct?

I'm suggesting we follow the order of questioning that we have normally, and we will do five-minute rounds.

Mr. Caron, we will start with you. You have five minutes.

November 4th, 2014 / 4:40 p.m.
See context

Jonathan Denis Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General, Government of Alberta

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. It's nice to see you again, albeit through a different means than last time.

Our priorities in Alberta include promoting safe and secure communities, ensuring adequate access to justice, and, of course, supporting victims first. The rights of victims must not be ignored or compromised. Our position is that Bill C-32 carries the same premise.

In the three years that I've had the privilege of serving in this position, I've met many individuals who've been victimized, all through no fault of their own. Just last week in Edmonton, I was an invited guest of a group of families who had loved ones who had been murdered. While it was a very difficult meeting, it underpinned again to me the need to support these victims first and to continue to provide services to them. On the other side, of course, many victims who I've met have been nothing short of heroic, and you've heard from one of them today: Mr. Sheldon Kennedy.

We applaud the efforts of the federal government to act along the same lines as we believe. To this end, Alberta supports Bill C-32 as it reflects how victims of crime in Alberta have been treated for many years; however, we do have some comments about Bill C-32, which I'll outline in a moment.

Alberta agrees that the rights of victims should play a significant role in the criminal justice system. This is why earlier this year we passed amendments to the Victims of Crime Act to make it easier for victims to access benefits.

Our Victims of Crime Act gives legislative life to these important rights. We have had a compensation program in place since 1969 and will continue this. Since 1997, the Victims of Crime Act has included principles to which all members of the criminal justice system in Alberta must adhere when working with victims. These principles are very similar to those found in Bill C-32.

The robust programs and policies we have in this province make the legislation and its benefits available to victims across the province. On a daily basis, our victim services workers help victims of crime navigate the criminal justice system. In fact, our financial benefits program has assisted many Albertans who have been victimized by serious and violent crime, and we have every intention of continuing to do so.

Now, although we support Bill C-32, we have identified several challenges that may impact our provincial programs and services. It is our desire to make Bill C-32 more workable and, frankly, even better than it already is.

Bill C-32 establishes rights for victims that may create expectations of provincial programs, which could create resource and training impacts. We urge the federal government to make minor adjustments to the bill to ensure that it can be rolled out smoothly in Alberta and have a positive impact on the administration of justice from coast to coast to coast.

Our first concern is the definition of “victim”. The victims bill of rights act defines a victim as “an individual who has suffered physical or emotional harm, property damage or economic loss as the result of the commission...of an offence”. Bill C-32 amends the definition of victim found in section 2 of the Criminal Code. This amendment significantly broadens the current definition of victim for the purposes of the Criminal Code. This change may have far-reaching impacts on all aspects of the criminal justice system.

Our ask, basically, is that Alberta requires time to consider all of the impacts that this broader definition will have on the criminal justice system. Alberta, like many other jurisdictions, defines “victim” differently in our own provincial legislation. Our Victims of Crime Act defines victims for the purpose of financial benefits as those who are injured physically or psychologically or killed as a result of a crime. The key difference is that our definition in this province does not include those who are victims of economic or property crime.

We have another broader definition of victim for the purposes of victims of crime programs, and it includes all victims who have suffered injury or loss. Victims of crime in this province may apply for financial benefits under the provincial legislation if they have suffered injury. These benefits are not currently available to victims of economic or property crime. Economic or property crime may cause significant injury to individuals, and we are in no way discounting this fact, but rather are indicating that the resources required to move in this direction need to be considered and, of course, where they would come from.

The difference in definitions in the victims bill of rights, our legislation, and the amendment to section 2 of the Criminal Code may be somewhat confusing to victims. One possible solution would be to amend the definition of victims in Bill C-32 to “as defined by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council of the province in which sentencing is occurring”. Another possible solution would be to clarify that “victim” is “as defined by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council of the province in which sentencing is occurring for the purposes of all provincial programs and benefits”.

The second approach would mean that there is no substantive change to the availability of victims' access and all-round rights in Bill C-32, while affirming the rights of various provinces to define “victim” differently for the purposes of their own programs and services, and also to ensure consistency throughout the entire province and ease of understanding by victims.

Again, I recognize that economic or property crimes can cause real injury to victims across the country. That being said, appropriate time is needed before the legislation comes into force to allow victims' services organizations to prepare information and training materials to minimize confusion among victims about available programs and services. Ensuring that victims programs and services are well positioned to educate victims and communicate with them will ensure that the aims and goals of the victims bill of rights are met.

Finally, if the legislation were to continue to define “victims” as including economic or property crimes, we also ask that this matter be brought before the next federal-provincial-territorial meeting of justice ministers to discuss the financial impacts on provinces.

Our second commentary relates to the definition of “community”. Community impact statements added to the Criminal Code by way of Bill C-32 are not necessarily new. While the code was not specifically [Inaudible--Editor] for them, they have been used in many cases in the past. Defining “community” would assist in the implementation of this bill. It would also save valuable court time that would otherwise be spent litigating this definition and determining if a community impact statement were admissible under this provision. If there's no legislative definition, this could result in inconsistent definitions across this country as established by various courts.

As well, the legislation allows individuals to represent the community and to read community impact statements in court. Providing greater legislative guidance to the bill as to who can speak on behalf of a community would again save valuable court time that would otherwise be spent deciding these issues. It would also give community groups, the Crown, and victims certainty in knowing that they can speak on their behalf at sentencing hearings.

Our third concern relates to how complaints at provincial agencies and bodies will impact the current provincial complaint mechanisms and the resources that will be required. It's unclear whether this provision does more than affirm the rights of victims to take advantage of the current existing complaint mechanisms. If this section is meant to do more than affirm already-existing provincial complaint mechanisms, some clarity is required. This section will undoubtedly result in an increase in complaints to provincial bodies and agencies in this province and elsewhere. Some of that is not necessarily bad in and of itself, but we do need to plan for this.

Resources and time will be required to clearly define the complaint process. For example, victims programs and services will need to develop materials and information that will set out the various complaint mechanisms available, including complaints about police agencies and crown prosecutors. It will also have to determine how is best to distribute the information. Alberta's Victims of Crime Act requires the director of victims services to provide information to victims who they feel have not been treated in accordance with our act in order to resolve their concern. Work will have to be done to determine how the victims bill of rights will impact the work of our director when a victim files a complaint.

Finally, Alberta asks that the Government of Canada consider a longer coming-into-force period for this legislation. In addition to the rights granted for the victims bill, it also contains amendments of the evidentiary provisions found in the code. For example, the availability of testimonial aids such as screens during the act of evidence would need to be explained in Alberta to allow them to be accessible as required by this bill.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

November 3rd, 2014 / 5:10 p.m.
See context

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order, during the 80th time the government has brought in time allocation, to bring forward a motion addressing the fact that we are not having the time or due process to look at this bill carefully, the way it ought to be looked at.

I would like to seek unanimous consent to move the following motion.

I move that notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, that Bill C-43, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures, be amended by removing the following clauses: a) clauses 102 to 142 related to the Industrial Design and Patent Acts; b) clauses 145 to 170 related to the proposed Canadian high Arctic research station act; c) clauses 172 and 173 related to changes to the provision of social assistance for refugees; d) clauses 186 to 190, related to the Investment Canada Act; e) clauses 191 to 210 related to the Telecommunications Act and Broadcasting Act and the charging of pay-to-pay fees; f) clauses 225 and 226 related to the employment insurance small business job credit; g) clauses 306 to 314 related to temporary foreign workers and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; h) clauses 376 and 377 related to the proposed extractive sector transparency measures act;

that the clauses mentioned in section a) of this motion do form Bill C-45; that Bill C-45 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology;

that the clauses mentioned in section b) of this motion do form Bill C-46; that Bill C-46 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology;

that the clauses mentioned in section c) of this motion do form Bill C-47; that Bill C-47 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities;

that the clauses mentioned in section d) of this motion do compose Bill C-48; that Bill C-48 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology;

that the clauses mentioned in section e) of this motion do compose Bill C-49; that Bill C-49 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology; that the clauses mentioned in section f) of this motion do compose Bill C-50;

that Bill C-50 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities;

that the clauses mentioned in section g) of this motion do compose Bill C-51; that Bill C-51 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration;

that the clauses mentioned in section h) of this motion do compose Bill C-52; that Bill C-52 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology;

that Bill C-43 retain the status on the order paper that it had prior to the adoption of this order; that Bill C-43 be reprinted as amended; and that the law clerk and parliamentary counsel be authorized to make any technical changes or corrections as may be necessary to give effect to this motion.

That is why we are proposing this motion calling for real debate and a real examination of these issues that matter so much to Canadians.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

November 3rd, 2014 / 4:55 p.m.
See context

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government has focused on what matters to Canadians: job creation, economic growth and Canada's long-term prosperity.

Canada's economy has had one of the best economic performances in the G7 for a few years now, during both the global recession and the recovery.

As I have said, we are moving forward, with creating jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity being our focus. There are numerous things in Bill C-43 that would help do that, that would help create jobs and opportunities for Canadians, and some specific measures.

Among those, one that I want to highlight to begin with is the new small business job credit. Our government recently introduced this small business tax credit, a credit for small businesses that would reduce payroll taxes 15% over the next two years. It is estimated that this would result in savings of approximately $550 million for small businesses over two years. Our government recognizes the fundamental importance of small businesses in fuelling the Canadian economy. That is what this shows.

I want to be clear that this is very important for the constituents in my riding of Simcoe—Grey, whether it be the Nottawasaga Inn, where Sylvia Biffis runs a great enterprise and wants to hire more individuals; or Rebecca who is running Clearview Tea and wants to ensure she has that next employee; or finally the 100 Mile Store in Creemore, where Jackie and Sandra are running a great business but if they could expand they would look forward to it. That is exactly what this small business tax credit would do, provide them a great opportunity.

The second item that I will touch on is something that is very important to me, both personally and professionally. That is not just professionally as a member of Parliament and because of the constituents I have, the thousands of families in my riding, but as a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. Our government believes that fitness is an important part of healthy lifestyles, and that habits should be encouraged from a very young age. As a pediatric surgeon, I can attest to that and to our need to focus on ensuring that children have an opportunity to be fit and healthy.

As a result, in budget 2010 we introduced the children's fitness tax credit, a non-refundable $500 tax credit for registration costs associated with an eligible program of physical activity for children under the age of 16.

In October of this year, the Prime Minister announced that our government planned to double the children's fitness tax credit—which would go from $500 to $1,000—and to make it refundable. This would increase the benefits for the low-income families who claim the credit.

What does this mean? It means that we are making it more affordable for Canadians and more importantly Canadian children to participate in an active lifestyle. I chaired the panel on the children's fitness tax credit. I had the great opportunity in 2006 of having our late colleague, Jim Flaherty, the former minister of finance, call me at a conference and ask me if I was willing to chair the expert panel. I and two other individuals, Michael Weil and David Bassett from Vancouver, had the great opportunity of deciding how to focus the tax credit to include as many children as possible. Our task by the minister of finance was to be as inclusive as possible, to make as many children as possible, and their parents, eligible for this tax credit so that as many children as possible could be active. It did not mean just looking at Olympic sports but also dance, and ensuring that children who have disabilities have a great opportunity.

Now the doubling of this tax credit would mean that even more families would be able to participate and more important, being refundable means that all those families who may not have been eligible before would be eligible today. That is important, whether it be for the Sproule family that has, I cannot say how many, grandchildren who are active in activities and sports, or Holly Haire who is someone who works with me whose son Harrison is active in hockey, or the Special Olympics athletes that come to the Blue Mountain Resort every year to learn how to ski. All of these young people have a disability and are learning how to ski and now this is more accessible to them.

I cannot say enough great things about Dan Skelton, Dave Sinclair and Gord Canning, who help make sure that program runs.

The reason we are focused on this as a government is that we care about families. We want to ensure we are supporting them and the things that are most important to them, such as making sure that their families are healthy and happy and participating in things that are meaningful.

The third item that I will speak to is also outlined in this bill. When our government released the economic action plan in February, we promised to strengthen labour market opportunities and investments that would bring us closer to the goal of creating jobs, growth and economic prosperity.

One of our major investments was an $11 million commitment over two years and $3.3 million per year, ongoing, to reform the temporary foreign worker program. The goal of these reforms is to make sure that the program is used as it is intended and to ensure that Canadians are first in line for every available job here in Canada. It is a last and limited resource to fill those acute labour shortages through the use of the program when Canadians are not available. I think all sides of the House would agree that Canadians should always be the first in line for those available jobs.

We have brought in new changes. We brought in new rigorous application processes. We now require employers to provide more evidence that they have tried to hire Canadians first. They must disclose how many Canadians have applied for the jobs in question and how many Canadians have been interviewed for the jobs. They must also provide an explanation of why they have not hired a Canadian.

The scrutiny of employers who are using large numbers of temporary foreign workers has increased substantially. This will be gradually phased in over three years at a 10% cap on the number of low wage temporary foreign workers allowed to be on a work site. In addition, employers seeking high wage temporary foreign workers are required to develop a transition plan that outlines specifically the measures that are required to further reduce their dependency on this program. We have raised the application fee from $275 to $1,000 to ensure that the cost of administering the program, including all of the reforms, will be borne entirely by the employers who use the program and not by the taxpayer.

We have also made changes to the enforcement of the program. There will be four times as many government inspectors. One in four employers using the program will be inspected every year. Inspectors will also have greater powers to catch those breaking the rules through, for example, warrantless on-site visits, the ability to compel employers to produce relevant documents, and the ability to ban employers from the program when they break the rules.

Not only will inspectors have more power, Canadians will too. An improved confidential tip line has been launched along with a new complaints website, which is accessible from any location and any Internet connection. Any allegations of abuse of the temporary foreign worker program will be vigorously investigated. In fact, they have been already.

A basic principle of the temporary foreign worker program remains the same, and that is to fill acute short-term labour needs as a last and limited option when qualified Canadians are not available. In order to strengthen our economy and create long-term prosperity, we must ensure that employers cannot use the program and hire foreign workers unless they have no other choice.

Employment and Social Development Canada is working with Statistics Canada to develop two new surveys to collect reliable and comparable data on wages and job vacancies. This labour market information will help ensure that temporary foreign workers who enter Canada would only enter Canada when Canadians are not available. These steps, along with a number of other balanced reforms, will ensure that Canadians and their employers put Canadians first in the temporary foreign worker program.

As I said at the beginning, our government is focused. Our top priorities are job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity. We are moving forward with measures to create jobs, such as the small business tax credit. We are also implementing a number of initiatives that specifically help and support families, such as the children's fitness tax credit, which the government is doubling and making refundable. These are important things to Canadian families and I am sure that all of my colleagues here in the House agree.

I look forward to the opposition supporting these initiatives that are good for families.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

November 3rd, 2014 / 4:40 p.m.
See context

Delta—Richmond East B.C.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to support Bill C-43, the economic action plan 2014 act, no. 2.

Since 2006, our government has put in place a number of tax relief measures to support hard-working Canadians and their families. With balanced budgets in sight, our government is more determined than ever to provide tax relief.

We believe that good tax policy does not mean just collecting tax dollars. It also means putting money back into the hands of hard-working Canadians, so that they can save, invest and spend it as they see fit. We believe that Canada should have a tax system that rewards hard work.

One of the first family-related tax credits our government introduced in budget 2006 was the children's fitness tax credit.

It was developed based on the recommendations of a panel of experts.

Our government introduced the children's fitness tax credit to promote physical fitness and physical activity in children, because we want all children to have the chance to grow up healthy and happy in this great country. It is one of our government's most popular tax credits, providing about $150 million in tax relief to 1.4 million Canadian families each year.

In 2011, we promised Canadians that we would enhance the children's fitness tax credit as soon as we had succeeded in balancing the budget. We are now making good on that commitment by proposing both to double the maximum amount that can be claimed and to make the credit refundable.

The maximum amount that can be claimed under the tax credit will increase from $500 to $1,000 for 2014 and subsequent years.

Parents will be able to take advantage of the new limit in the spring of 2015 when they file their tax returns for 2014.

Obviously, they have to submit receipts with their claims.

The children's fitness tax credit will become refundable starting with the 2015 tax year. This change will increase the opportunity for low-income families to benefit from further tax savings. When fully implemented, the measures we are proposing will deliver additional tax relief to about 850,000 families who enrol their children in eligible fitness activities. I know that all four of my children were active in sports, in and outside of school.

This sets the foundation for a long, healthy, active adulthood. These enhancements build on the long list of actions that our government has taken to support Canadian families.

For example, we introduced the registered disability savings plan to help families with children with disabilities.

We introduced the universal child care benefit, first time home buyers' tax credit, public transit tax credit, family caregiver tax credit, and so much more.

Our government is equally committed to supporting Canadian businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses, the backbone of our economy. Small businesses represent about half of the jobs in the private sector and a third of Canada's gross domestic product.

That is why, under the economic action plan 2014 act, no. 2, we are taking measures to make small businesses even stronger.

Our government is proposing to introduce a new tax credit that will save small businesses more than half a billion dollars over two years. This small business job credit will help small businesses by lowering their employment insurance, EI, premiums in 2015 and 2016. The savings they realize will make it easier for them to grow their businesses.

The small business job credit lowers EI premiums for eligible businesses from the current legislated rate of $1.88 to $1.60 per $100 of insurable earnings in 2015 and 2016. Any business that pays employer EI premiums of $15,000 or less in those years will be eligible for the credit.

What this means is that almost 90% of all EI premium-paying businesses in Canada will receive the credit, reducing their EI payroll taxes by nearly 15%. The new small business job credit is expected to save small employers more than $550 million over 2015 and 2016.

We are making sure that there will be no increased paperwork associated with the new tax credit. Business owners do not have to apply for it. The CRA will automatically establish eligibility for 2015 and 2016 separately based on the employer EI premiums paid for each of those years.

The CRA will calculate the credit and apply it to any outstanding balance on the company's payroll account and then reimburse the company for any remaining amount.

Besides the two tax credits that I just highlighted, the economic action plan 2014 act, no. 2, contains many other measures that affirm our commitment to economic growth, families and communities.

One of our government's key areas of concern is the issue of international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. Bill C-43 contains our proposals to prevent the shifting of certain Canadian source income to low or no tax jurisdictions, encourage the exchange of tax information, and add new conditions for qualifying under the regulated foreign financial institution tax rules.

Our government has made great strides in improving the fairness and integrity of Canada's tax system. We believe that a strong and well-functioning tax system is of great value to Canadians and to Canadian businesses. The steps we have taken since 2006 and the measures included in Bill C-43 help to keep Canadian tax rates low and competitive. Low tax rates are an incentive to work, save and invest in Canada. They foster economic growth and prosperity for the benefit of all Canadians.

Canada's economic action plan is working.

Canada has had one of the strongest job creation records in the G7 since the height of the recession. Nearly 1.2 million net new jobs have been created in this country since July 2009.

Globally recognized authorities, from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to the International Monetary Fund, have ranked Canada as one of the best countries in the world in which to do business. They expect Canada to be one of the strongest growing economies in the G7 over this year and next.

Canadians are seeing the results of sound economic policies in action.

Personal income taxes are now 10% lower than they were before 2006, and the average family of four now pays close to $3,400 less in taxes. Overall, the federal tax burden is at the lowest rate it has been in over 50 years.

I encourage all members of the House to join me in supporting the economic action plan 2014 act, no. 2.

Members' votes would allow Canadian families and businesses to continue to reap the benefits of our sound fiscal policy.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

November 3rd, 2014 / 4:25 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to the budget implementation bill no. 2. I only wish I could say that I am pleased to speak to this particular bill. However, Bill C-43 does nothing to address many of the challenges facing my constituents in Random—Burin—St. George's and Canadians in general.

This omnibus bill is clearly the product of a tired, void-of-ideas government that has completely lost touch with the people it is meant to serve. Once again, the Conservatives have introduced omnibus legislation full of changes that simply do not belong in a budget bill. At 460 pages, with over 400 separate clauses, Bill C-43 represents an abuse of power. To use a single omnibus budget bill to limit debate on a host of unrelated measures is undemocratic. If the government does not recognize this, it really is time to put it out to pasture.

Using a single omnibus budget bill to limit debate prevents members of Parliament from doing their jobs and properly scrutinizing legislation. Since forming government in 2006, in its rush to push through legislation, and by ignoring input from other parties, the Conservatives have cemented a disturbing number of preventable errors in law. By my count, Bill C-43 attempts to fix no fewer than 10 of those sloppy mistakes, including many from previous omnibus budget bills.

The government has proven time and time again that it is not interested in input from anyone outside the Conservative caucus and the Prime Minister's Office, even if it means that Canadians would be negatively impacted.

Take for instance the so-called EI tax credit proposed in Bill C-43. This flawed measure actually discourages job creation and economic growth. This measure in particular is bad for employers, bad for workers and those seeking work, and bad for the Canadian economy as a whole.

In a recent report, the Parliamentary Budget Officer said that the Conservatives' EI plan would cost $550 million over two years and would create only 800 net new jobs. This translates to a cost of almost $700,000 to taxpayers for each new job created under the Conservative program. Canadians deserve a plan for jobs and growth. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has confirmed that the Conservatives' EI plan provides neither.

While the Minister of Finance claims that EI cuts for small businesses would produce thousands of new jobs, the numbers prove otherwise. The reality is that the government's changes to EI would encourage businesses to stay small and would actually punish them if they grew and were successful. For instance, the Conservative changes to EI would offer up to $2,234.04 to small businesses for firing a worker but only up to $190.52 for hiring a worker. Furthermore, there is no requirement for job creation. Regardless of whether a small business hired new workers, remained the same size, or even fired workers, so long as a business pays less than $15,000 in EI payroll taxes, it would qualify. This may be a tax credit, but it is certainly not a job credit.

There are currently over 6,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who had a job this time last year but who are now out of work. My constituents in Random—Burin—St. George's, and people throughout the province, face unemployment rates well above the national average.

For young workers, job creation is even more important. Youth aged 20 to 24 in Newfoundland and Labrador face higher unemployment rates than their peers throughout the country. At a time when many are struggling with high debt loads, youth unemployment is high and many young workers are forced to leave the province to seek work.

The Conservative government continues to compound the problem. What we need in Newfoundland and Labrador are more jobs, not fewer. Canadians from coast to coast to coast deserve a government with a plan to encourage job creation, not a government that is committed to limiting growth. As the Liberal leader said, Canadians from coast to coast to coast are generally worried about their future.

For the first time in our country's recent history, people are concerned that the next generation will struggle more than the present generation. Unfortunately, out of necessity, it has become common practice for adult children to live with their parents to make ends meet, and in doing so they have made it difficult, in some cases, for their parents to make ends meet. Such a practice was rarely heard of but is now more the norm than the exception.

That is why the Liberals are committed to helping create the right conditions for investment and economic prosperity, which will foster those badly needed jobs. Our proposed EI holiday on new hires would reward employers for creating new jobs instead of rewarding employers for firing workers. The Liberal plan has been applauded by job creators throughout the country, such as Restaurants Canada, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Yet the Conservative government refuses to consider a proposal that would be helpful, preferring instead to forge ahead with a proposal that is fraught with problems. Unfortunately, this is nothing new.

Since taking office, the Conservatives have also shown little respect for Canada's democratic institutions. The government has often refused to work in partnership with the provinces and territories to help solve many of the challenges it currently faces.

Last week, we heard that the government is unwilling to listen to its provincial partners in terms of amending the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act. According to an official, only Ontario was consulted about these changes, in spite of the fact that Newfoundland and Labrador would be affected by these changes. It and eight other provinces had absolutely no say. The Conservative government did not just ignore input from Newfoundland and Labrador, it ignored Newfoundland and Labrador altogether.

This amendment was not one the provinces asked for. In fact, the same official has confirmed that there had been absolutely no demands from any province for this change, none whatsoever. It is puzzling that the Conservative government is committed to pushing through a change that no province asked for and no province seems to want, while ignoring calls for policies and programs that would provide real benefits to Canadians.

In some cases, Bill C-43 would not add support. What it would do is add taxes.

Many of my constituents of Random--Burin--St. George's, as in other ridings, are seniors, who are often living on fixed incomes. For the government to add GST and HST to some services provided by non-profit health care facilities, such as residential services provided at an old age home, is simply wrong. At a time when the rate of poverty among Canadian seniors is rising, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is warning that current pension supports may be insufficient, adding to their financial burden is just not right.

Now I will speak about what is not in the budget.

In a 460-page document, with over 400 separate clauses, there is not a single mention of veterans. After years of ignoring the needs of Canadian veterans and their families, the Conservative government had an opportunity to finally act. Instead, it chose to remain silent.

In June, the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs outlined a series of measures that would make a difference in the lives of veterans and their families, but without further legislation, the Department of Veterans Affairs can only act on the recommendations that do not require any new money. This leaves it unable to implement many of the recommendations supported even by the government's own committee members.

In its response to the committee report, the government stated:

The more complex recommendations require further inter-departmental work, budgetary analysis, and coordination with a wide range of federal departments, as well as with the Veterans Ombudsman and Veterans' groups.

They will be dealt with at a later date.

Why do complex recommendations to support veterans require additional scrutiny, when the Conservatives maintain that many of the other measures proposed in the bill do not? Surely amending the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act is a complex measure. Yet without consulting with the provinces, the government saw fit to include it. Why will the government not give veterans the same priority? Bill C-43 was an opportunity to implement these recommendations. However, it has proven to be yet another opportunity wasted under the Conservative government. Sadly, Canadian veterans and their families will have to wait another year in the hope that the Conservative government will finally follow through.

This also would have been an opportune time to restore and enhance search and rescue capabilities; support Canadians with mental health issues, including PTSD; and address many more priority items.

Unlike the Conservatives and their flawed budget implementation bill, the Liberals are committed to growing Canada's economy and helping to create jobs by investing in infrastructure, education, environmental initiatives, our culture, and science and technology. We believe that government must not only create the right conditions for economic growth but must also ensure that growth is sustainable and will help struggling families.

The House resumed from October 31 consideration of the motion that Bill C-43, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

November 3rd, 2014 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Arnold Chan Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I want to echo the comments that Mr. Cullen has tabled, outlining the Liberal Party position again. This motion is part of an ongoing undemocratic process, part of a time allocation motion that would limit the committee's ability to study this bill, particularly now that we've set a deadline of November 27.

It's undemocratic in our view to limit debate and to have the complicated process of having this referred to a series of different standing committees then reported back to this particular committee under an incredibly tight deadline within the framework of a massive omnibus bill.

Bill C-43 includes a number of measures that have nothing to do with this committee, with the budget, and frankly don't belong in a budget bill and should not be before this committee.

For example, part 4, division 5 dealing with the denial of social assistance to refugee claimants in our respectful view does not belong before this committee. While subparagraph (a)(v) of the motion asks the immigration committee for their input on division 5 we do not believe that is sufficient. Immigration should also have the power to vote on these clauses and amend them as opposed to their simply being referred back to us. Under this motion the power to vote and amend these sections would rest solely with this committee.

For these reasons the Liberals will also oppose the motion.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

October 31st, 2014 / 1:25 p.m.
See context

Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

Roxanne James ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to speak for those three minutes.

Our Conservative government's proposal for a missing persons index is being brought forward as part of the economic action plan 2014. Every year in Canada, approximately 60,000 Canadian men, women, and children are reported missing. While 85% of those missing are found within a week, the tragic reality is that some 100 new missing person cases go unsolved each and every year. This means that there are thousands of families across Canada who wait in the dark for years, wondering if their family member will ever come home. In other cases, knowing that their loved one has been murdered, they wait in vain for closure and for justice to be delivered to whomever has harmed their loved one.

This is why DNA can play a vital role. DNA analysis is one of the most powerful tools that police have at their disposal when they investigate crime. Unfortunately, as it stands today, our national DNA data bank has limited use in the investigations of missing persons. Under current and existing laws, using DNA for national identification purposes is strictly governed by the DNA Identification Act. Through the national DNA data bank, police can only access two different indices. These are the convicted offenders index, which contains court-ordered DNA profiles of individuals convicted of a designated offence, and the crime scene index, which contains DNA profiles from biological material found at crime scenes of designated offences.

This information is critical to police investigations, and the national DNA data bank has been highly effective in helping to bring criminals to justice, exonerating the innocent, and linking crime-related incidents together. However, the act does not allow DNA to be added, retained, or matched to support missing persons or unidentified human remains investigations. In other words, there is no mechanism by which DNA, on a national basis, could be used to help advance missing person cases and hopefully bring that closure to grieving families.

For several years, Canadian families have called for changes to the system. They have advocated for a system in which DNA analysis could be used to link missing persons to unidentified human remains to help reveal their identity and their location. With Bill C-43, we will move ahead with these changes to help bring closure to these families and help our police with their criminal investigations.

We would amend the DNA Identification Act to create a new humanitarian application of the national DNA data bank. This would include creating three new indices. As I just mentioned, we would create the DNA-based missing persons index, which would contain the DNA profiles of biological material found on personal effects of missing persons. This index would be used to help find missing persons and identify previously unidentified human remains by comparing these profiles with profiles contained in all of the other indices.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

October 31st, 2014 / 12:55 p.m.
See context

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a little hard at times to sit here quietly and respectfully when members get up and say some of things like the previous speaker said.

He spoke about choice and grandparents, aunts and uncles raising and helping to raise children. At the same time, his government has prevented thousands of parents of new Canadians to come into our country and participate in that process of raising children and imparting the cultures from back home into the next generation. The government is taking choices away from families by not allowing them to be reunited in Canada for that better life.

He spoke about how the provincial government in Ontario was facing some financial struggles. At the same time, it is because the federal government has cut health care for refugees and the provincial government has had to pick up the slack. As the court said, that was cruel and unusual. That is what we get from the government. Time and time again, every budget, we find things that are cruel and unusual in it.

Now we have these new schemes coming from the government. It is hell-bent on ensuring that the cupboard is bare by the time the election happens, because another government of another sort might want to take a different approach.

He talked about being opposed to universality. We brought universality to health care and it transformed the country. From that point, no family had to decide between putting food on the table, or bringing a loved one to a hospital or to a doctor to get medical care.

That is what we want to do for child care. We want to ensure that families do not have to decide whether to work, whether to put their child into care, whether to feed their family, whether to put a roof over their heads. The government has actually taken choices away.

He mentioned that this would put money into the pockets of parents, that it would help fund child care. Child care in the Province of Ontario, depending on where one goes, costs on average between $1,000 and $2,000 a month. The government's plan, if it does everything it says it does, which it does not, would help to pay for child care for one to two months out of the year. What are parents supposed to do the rest of the time?

The government wants to expand the child fitness tax credit. That is great if one has the money. Single parents living in poverty already do not have money to put their kids into sports programs or arts programs. They want to but they are unable to. By putting all the money there, the government takes the choice away from those parents. They are forced to not put their kids into sports or arts programs. The government is in fact taking choices away.

I have sat here for the last three years, and time and time again I have heard the government boast that there are a million less people on the tax rolls. If they are for good reasons, I applaud it for that. However, a million less people are on the tax rolls because they are in fact too poor to pay taxes. Instead of focusing on a jobs plan to help get some of these people back to work, or to give them a living wage, like the NDP proposed with a $15 minimum wage, the government ignores them. It just takes them off the tax rolls and leaves them to fend for themselves.

That is un-Canadian. We look out for our neighbours, the less fortunate and those in need. A society is judged by how it treats and takes care of the least fortunate and the most vulnerable. The government, like some Conservative governments, particularly the Mike Harris government in Ontario, has really shown great disdain for people living in poverty by cutting their supports and services, and treating them like criminals. It has no place. We need to move on from that kind of behaviour.

Bill C-43 has shown to be yet another anti-democratic omnibus bill that subverts our traditional way of government and completely dismisses the role of the House in providing considered oversight and debate. The bill, as has been said, over 450 pages long, has more than 400 clauses, amends dozens of acts and contains a variety of measures never mentioned in the budget.

The Conservatives' anti-democratic haste has meant that the previous budget bills have been forced through the House and committees without adequate study, and we lament the fact that this will likely recur again. How are parliamentarians, Canadians and the people in my riding supposed to give considered thought and feedback to such Trojan horse bills that get rammed through the House by the government?

Now many of the measures contained within the bill are fixing the problems created by the Conservatives ramming through the previous bill, the one before that and the one before that. If the government would actually stop to take the time to do things properly, it would not have to spend so much time fixing problems it has created. It seems the Conservatives enjoy creating new problems, much to the contrary of what the parliamentary secretary said a few minutes ago.

We are not able to properly study these bills and the finance committee, which does very good work for the House, is then overburdened by the fact that the budget bill comes with so many clauses, amendments and things that have nothing to do with the budget. That makes the job of the committee chair for finance even more challenging, and I have to admit he does a very good job at committee. However, then he has to spend time, like committee members, dealing with amendments and clauses that have nothing to do with the budget, things that should be going to the environment committee, the industry committee, the transportation committee or to the agriculture committee. There are many things in the budget that have nothing to do with the budget itself.

It means we end up wasting a lot of time because of it. Then the government has to come back and fix it again next time. I am very curious when we get to the spring and there is a new budget and an implementation act, how many things in that implementation act will be put in to fix the problems created with this one.

The Conservatives used to lament omnibus bills, but when they came to power, instead of changing Ottawa as they said they would, Ottawa seems to have changed them. They have become exactly like the governments that came before them with respect to omnibus bills, and they have taken it, frankly, to a whole new level.

The Prime Minister used to stand when he was leader of the opposition and get very angry at the fact that there were Liberal bills that were 80 pages long. Eighty pages sounds like the good old days. Now we are dealing with omnibus bills that are 400 or more pages long, that are 370 more pages than that bill was. However, the Prime Minister has no problem with those now.

We do have a well spelled out and reasoned amendment that has been brought forward by my colleague, the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, in which he states that:

—this House should decline to give second reading to Bill C-43,...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...

On that point, the parliamentary secretary talked about how the government wanted to keep money in the pockets of people. The government was complicit with the Liberal government before it in raiding the employment insurance fund, the fund and money owned and contributed by workers and employers, a mere $60 billion. That could have gone back to workers, that could have gone into skills development and training. They could have made sure that more than half of the people in Toronto, who are unemployed, could actually qualify for EI.

The Conservatives talk about employment and growing jobs. Unemployment in my riding is over 12%. It is a far cry from where it was when the Conservative government came to power.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

October 31st, 2014 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am going to speak this morning in favour of Bill C-43, economic action plan 2014 act no. 2, and specifically division 3, which includes the proposed Canadian High Arctic Research Station act.

The establishment of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station, more commonly referred to as CHARS, is yet another example of our government's record investments and our ongoing commitment to promoting the Canadian Arctic as a vital part of our national identity, our sovereignty, and our economic security, as outlined in our 2007 northern strategy.

I am thrilled for the people of Cambridge Bay, who will benefit from our government's investments for years to come. As the member of Parliament for Nunavut, as someone who was born and raised in Canada's north, and as someone who still calls the north home, I know first-hand how this vision for a strong and sovereign Canada has benefited northerners in our day-to-day lives and continues to do so.

As the minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, I am particularly excited about the leadership role that this new world-class research facility located in the Arctic will play in the development and dissemination of Arctic research, both at home and abroad.

The Canadian High Arctic Research Station will serve as a year-round hub for scientists and scientific research and will anchor an existing network of smaller northern research facilities. This network, with CHARS at its centre, will allow Canada to exercise stewardship and sovereignty over our northern lands while strengthening Canada's role as a global leader on Arctic issues. It will also seek to establish partnerships and bring together industry, academics, aboriginal and northern governments, and international stakeholders to leverage their expertise, experience, and resources.

CHARS will not only promote Canadian sovereignty and stewardship of Canada's Arctic lands, waters, and resources but will also support the local economy by generating employment and service contracts in the region.

It is estimated that the construction phase will introduce 150 jobs across the north and in various other specialized sectors throughout Canada. Of the 15 construction subcontracts tendered to date, over $18 million has been awarded to Inuit-owned companies or Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated registered firms.

Once CHARS is in operation, the research, capacity-building, and outreach activities will provide northerners with the skills and experience to better participate in the labour force, from mining and energy through natural resources and wildlife management to health and life sciences. CHARS will also develop highly qualified personnel and leadership in the north and across Canada.

CHARS will also build upon the work of the existing Canadian Polar Commission. The commission works to promote the development and dissemination of knowledge in respect of the polar regions, which strongly complements the research and infrastructure aspects of the CHARS mandate and aligns with the goal of mobilizing Arctic science and technology.

The proposed act will combine the Canadian High Arctic Research Station with the existing Canadian Polar Commission under the name of CHARS to create one larger, stronger champion for polar knowledge and Arctic science and technology in Canada.

CHARS will function as a departmental corporation, just like the CPC. This is also in line with other organizations that perform world-renowned research in Canada, such as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. This model will provide CHARS with the necessary flexibility to compete on a global scale with other science organizations, but also with the resource development sector operating in Canada's North.

In addition to allowing CHARS to become a viable destination for world-class scientists, our government will ensure CHARS is positioned to address any Inuit employment and training requirements, including those arising from the Nunavut land claims agreement.

I would like to briefly review the steps that our government has made and is making to move this project from its initial inception to the establishment of this world-class research centre.

In the 2007 Speech from the Throne, the Prime Minister committed to build a world-class high Arctic research station that would strengthen Canada's sovereignty over the north and raise the profile of Canadian Arctic research both at home and abroad.

Since that time we have moved quickly. In 2008, consultations were held with partners and stakeholders, leading to a needs assessment. This brought together northerners, aboriginal organizations, research organizations, and territorial governments to share their ideas, their values, and their vision for this institution. It was at this stage, arising from discussions with stakeholders, aboriginal people, and northerners, that the vision for CHARS began to come to light.

In 2009, Canada's economic action plan provided $2 million for a CHARS feasibility study and $85 million for the Arctic research infrastructure fund. This infrastructure fund was a significant investment toward maintaining and upgrading key existing Arctic research facilities in order to improve the network of science and technology facilities that deliver benefits to northerners and all Canadians.

Following consultations and assessments in 2010, the Prime Minister announced that the CHARS facility would be built in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. I was pleased to be in Cambridge Bay, joined by the Hon. John Duncan, Minister for Indian and Northern Affairs Development at that time, to make the announcement in the community—

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

October 31st, 2014 / 10:05 a.m.
See context

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to rise once again on behalf of the riding of Parkdale—High Park and my constituents to speak to Bill C-43, which is the second budget implementation act introduced for the 2014 budget.

I would like to focus my remarks in my remaining time on three areas. First of all, I would like to focus on the nature of this omnibus bill that is before us and some of the problems I see within the bill. There are many, but I will focus on just a couple. Then I would like to look at some of the things that should be in this bill but are, in fact, missing. That is also extremely problematic.

Let us begin with the bill itself, Bill C-43, which is a rather large tome. Once again, it is 450-some pages. It is called the budget implementation act, but it actually contains a number of things that are not in the budget. It contains a number of items that ought to be separate bills and that have nothing at all to do with the budget.

My Conservative colleagues across the way will say that I am talking about process, that no one cares about process, and that I should be talking about substance. I will talk about the substance of the bill in just a moment, but let me say that what the Conservatives slough off as process is, in fact, the essence of our democracy. It is about the opportunity for parliamentarians, on behalf of the people of Canada, to adequately scrutinize, debate, and horror of horrors, on Halloween, possibly even amend some of the provisions in a bill.

The reason the government puts everything in one big omnibus is the following. There are two reasons. The first is that there are some changes the Conservatives would make that even they are embarrassed about. They do not want to shine the light of day on those changes, so they put them in an omnibus budget bill that faces very little scrutiny and that has time allocation so that the people of Canada will not fully see what is in the bill. At least, the Conservatives think they do not see what is in it.

The other thing is that, of course, there are some positive things in this massive tome. Goodness gracious, the dart has to hit the dartboard sometimes, and the Conservatives do actually have a couple of good things in there. However, they will then take this back to their communities and say that the NDP voted against x, y, or z, which we ourselves advocated.

For example, our New Democrat members for Sudbury and Davenport have been campaigning on behalf of consumers specifically to end the practice of pay-to-pay billing, where people have to pay a couple of bucks just to pay their bills if they do not want to do it online. The Conservatives are bringing in a half-measure. They are eliminating it for telecoms and utilities, which we of course support, but they are not going all the way and doing it for the banks. A member opposite was mistaken about that yesterday. Even he thought that they were, because there is so much in this omnibus bill.

Fundamentally, it is anti-democratic to have these omnibus bills brought before the House again and again. On this side, we say that it is wrong and it is undemocratic, and we will not stand for it. We will keep protesting that.

Let me move, in the limited time I have, to some of the problems in the bill as it is presented. I would like to spend time on two of them.

The first one concerns refugee claimants. Canada has had a reputation in the past of being a compassionate country and one that cares about its role in the world. With so much conflict and so many natural disasters taking place, sadly, there are a growing number of refugees in the world, the majority of whom are women and children. The majority end up fleeing by foot or over land across the border, so they end up in a neighbouring country. Often these are countries that really do not have adequate resources to care for the number of refugees they have, but they are taking on the burden of the majority of refugees in the world.

Canada has to play a role in accepting refugees. I think even the Conservatives would agree that Canada has to play a role.

However, through the bill, the Conservatives would further crack down on refugees and their being able to survive here in Canada. In a past budget implementation act, the Conservatives removed the ability of some refugees to get health care, which the Federal Court called cruel and unusual. The medical community, human rights activists, and many others have been protesting against that. Now the government would impose residency requirements for people receiving basic social assistance.

I know what the Conservatives are doing. Someone asked me at a community meeting a week ago why it is that these refugees can come here and get money from the government, social assistance, when Canadians cannot. I told the person that it was because refugees cannot work, and if they do not get this money, they cannot live. The person said, “Oh, I didn't know that”. It is basic human decency and common sense that these people are able to get this help.

I also want to criticize and point out the small business job credit the Conservative government would implement, which has been condemned even by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. It would take $550 million out of the EI fund, which is money that workers and employers have put in to get EI benefits, but it would create only 850 jobs. This is rather outrageous for that amount of money. My goodness, I do not think even the Conservative and Liberal senators cost us quite that much. There are many more effective job measures the Conservatives could be bringing in without taking money from the EI fund.

What is missing from this? The Conservatives would not create one job, except for their $550-million jobs, which is a ridiculous program. They do not have a manufacturing strategy. We have lost over 400,000 manufacturing jobs. They do not redress the cuts to EI; the vast majority of people who are unemployed do not get EI. They do not create one single child care space for Canadian parents. They do not address the housing crisis that forces too many people into poverty, especially in my community. There is nothing for the environment. They do not take away the more than $1 billion in subsidies to the oil and gas sector.

The budget implementation bill, like the Conservatives' budget, is a failure. It does not address the key issues facing Canadians today. I am proud to stand here on behalf of my community and denounce the omnibus budget bill, denounce the contents of it, and say very proudly that we will be voting against it.

The House resumed from October 30 consideration of the motion that Bill C-43, a second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

October 30th, 2014 / 5:55 p.m.
See context

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I understand that I have just a couple of minutes before we end debate on the bill this afternoon and that it will be resuming tomorrow morning.

I am happy to begin my remarks this afternoon on the budget implementation act, Bill C-43, on behalf of my constituents in my riding of Parkdale—High Park, an urban riding that borders Lake Ontario in Canada's largest city, Toronto.

When I go door to door and speak with members of my community, I hear people concerned about the lack of decent jobs. We have far too many people who are falling through the cracks and are either underemployed or unemployed. People are falling into the cycle of temporary work or part-time precarious work.

Young families are paying sometimes $2,000 a month for child care and are strapped with massively high housing prices, whether in rent that rises constantly or with mortgages that are unbelievably high because of the dramatic increase in housing prices in our city. I also hear from seniors who are very concerned about rising costs and fixed incomes.

I speak to small businesses, where the owners are working long and hard. They are doing their best to provide goods and services in our community, but they are just getting by, in many cases.

Nevertheless, it is a wonderful community. What we hear from people in Parkdale—High Park is that they need to have government on their side. Sadly, the budget implementation bill fails the needs of the vast majority of my community members in Parkdale—High Park.