Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2

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

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

Sponsor

Joe Oliver  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) modernizes the life insurance policy exemption test;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Division 6 of Part 4 amends the Radiocommunication Act to:

(a) introduce an administrative monetary penalty regime;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) establishing a Member Advisory Council;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elsewhere

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

Votes

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

November 19th, 2014 / 4:55 p.m.
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President and Chief Executive Officer, Credit Union Central of Canada

Martha Durdin

Currently five provincial centrals in Canada are dually regulated by OSFI and the federal institutions of the centrals. The implications of adjusting to such a significant departure from past practice will take some time to understand and to respond to.

I think I'll just go straight to my conclusion, seeing as I'm over the time.

Bill C-43 is proposing changes to the system framework that governs parts of the system and we're looking for time to prepare for and implement the transition envisioned by the federal government. To that end we request that this committee when it reports on Bill C-43 include a recommendation that the federal government ensures that credit union stakeholders have the time to prepare for the transition to an exclusively provincial regulatory regime, and that the transition timetable be dictated by the requirements of the smooth transition.

Thank you.

November 19th, 2014 / 4:55 p.m.
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Martha Durdin President and Chief Executive Officer, Credit Union Central of Canada

Good afternoon.

My name is Martha Durdin, and I am President and CEO of Credit Union Central of Canada. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to speak to Bill C-43.

Credit Union Central of Canada is the national trade association for the 317 credit unions operating in Canada outside of Quebec. These credit unions hold over $166 billion in assets and operate out of 1,740 locations across the country. They provide over 27,000 jobs and banking services to 5.3 million Canadians.

Credit unions are provincially regulated financial co-operatives owned by their members. These member-owners play an important role in guiding the evolution of their credit unions and exercise control over their institutions on a “one member, one vote” basis.

Credit union innovation goes beyond our unique ownership structure. Credit unions have a rich history of Canadian financial sector firsts. Credit unions were the first Canadian financial institutions to lend to women in their own names. They were the first to offer daily interest savings accounts, the first to offer full-service ATMs, and the first to offer fully functional online banking.

Credit unions have strong relationships with the communities they serve.

We do not seek short-term profits and we stay invested in our communities when competitors chase profits elsewhere. ln fact, the credit union system today operates in 380 branches in communities where there is no other physical banking presence.

Credit unions also have a special affinity for small businesses.

I hesitate to raise them after the exchange a little while ago, but the Canadian Federation of lndependent Business data shows that credit unions, including Desjardins, have the second highest share of small business lending in Canada at 18.6%, just behind the Royal Bank of Canada, which of course is a much larger institution. According to the CFIB, credit unions have achieved this success because they dominate the banks in providing exceptional service to small business.

Credit unions are also a force for stability in the Canadian financial sector. Our loan growth is steady. Our average credit union loan losses have been significantly lower than those of the chartered banks.

In short, credit unions are a Canadian success story.

They are innovative, community-focused, a key support for small business, and a force for stability in volatile times. They are key elements in a competitive financial sector ecosystem. The success is a product of efforts at individual credit unions but it is also the result of collaboration between credit unions. Over time this collaboration has built provincial centrals, and more recently, regional centrals like Central 1 in B.C. and Ontario, and Atlantic central that provide back-office services to credit unions across provincial boundaries.

Collaboration helps the credit union system build scale and find common approaches to technology, branding, liquidity management, compliance, and market strategy. ln many instances, this collaboration has been aided by a federal legislative framework that has facilitated cooperation across the credit union system. That brings me to Bill C-43.

Bill C-43 proposes significant changes to the federal framework that has governed aspects of the credit union system for decades. These proposed legislative changes were initiated by the federal government in the budget in 2014, as you know, and were not made at the request of the credit union system.

ln basic terms, Bill C-43 will reorder the federal government's relations with the credit union system. This is particularly true with regard to the relationship with the provincial credit union centrals, and regional credit union centrals.

November 19th, 2014 / 4:55 p.m.
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Loly Rico President, Canadian Council for Refugees

Good afternoon. First of all, we want to say thank you to the chair and the committee members for allowing the Canadian Council for Refugees to present our position on clauses 172 and 173 of Bill C-43.

I am not going to read the whole submission, because it will take longer than the six minutes. I am going to focus on one of the points.

Just to let the members know, if they don't know, the Canadian Council for Refugees is a national umbrella organization that is made up of 170 members that work for refugees and immigrants. We are firmly opposed to the proposed amendments. As you see in our written submission, we have several concerns.

One point we want to share with the members is that we are not the only ones. We presented an open letter to the Minister of Finance, Joe Oliver, where 160 organizations were opposed to the amendments. These organizations represent not only refugees but also health, poverty, and human rights sectors, faith communities, women, and legal advocates. Among them are national, local, and provincial organizations. The main reason why we oppose these amendments is that refugee claimants are the most vulnerable population.

I want to give you a specific case, because in all the presentations we talk about refugee claimants in very broad terms. I work specifically with women and children. This is the experience of one refugee claimant whom I welcomed in my daily work. She is from the Congo. She fled persecution and even jail. Her family sold everything to protect her life. She arrived at Pearson airport and claimed refugee status. She didn't have money. She got to one of our refugee houses.

She has 15 days to present her basis of claim and to get a legal aid certificate. She also needs to have her medical exams. Once she has completed the BOC and the medical exams, she is allowed to apply for a work permit. That will take between three and four months. At the same time, she has to prepare herself to present her refugee case at the refugee hearing two months after she has arrived.

Imagine that she is living... I am talking about a case that is in a major city, but imagine that this woman went from Pearson to a refugee house in Windsor. She has to go and see her lawyer in Toronto. She has to go and do her refugee hearing in Toronto without money. Just put yourself in her shoes. At the same time, she doesn't have money to pay rent. She will be in a homeless shelter with other people, and one of the challenges she will face is that she won't have the right support.

With this example and this situation I'm presenting you with, these amendments are clearly targeting refugee claimants. Even though refugee claimants are not mentioned in the amendments, all the criteria and all the categories are there. That means this is a clear violation of the principle of human rights, because it is treating refugee claimants in a different and discriminatory way.

We need to remember, as some of the presenters expressed before, that Canada is a signatory to human rights international treaties, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in which we recognize the right of everyone to social security, including social insurance.

In addition, you need to take into consideration that refugee claimants are not only adults, but there are also children among them. Canada is a signatory country to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and has an obligation to protect children and provide basic services to them, including refugee claimants' children.

They were talking about the settlement organizations that serve immigrants and refugees. I want to clarify that the settlement organizations funded by the federal government are not giving services to refugee claimants, because they do not fit the eligibility criteria.

The eligibility criteria for immigrants and settlement organizations covers only immigrants and government-assisted refugees, and some of the sponsorship. That's a clarification of what happened at the beginning of the afternoon.

We are very sorry to see that the Canadian government is applying changes and amendments. They are considered in other countries.... Looking at the U.K., Peter Showler explained to you that they provide social services. But in 2003 the U.K. removed social assistance to asylum seekers, and in 2005 the House of Lords ruled that this provision was inhuman and degrading treatment. That means the court found that the cuts didn't deter the asylum seekers from going to the U.K. This is not going to stop refugee claimants from coming to Canada. These provisions of the House of Lords were used by the court when they told the Canadian government to re-institute the interim federal health program.

One of the things that I want to bring is that in my—

November 19th, 2014 / 4:50 p.m.
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Dr. Gregory Taylor Chief Public Health Officer, Public Health Agency of Canada

Mr. Chair and members of the committee, thank you for giving me an opportunity to discuss with you the amendment to the Public Health Agency of Canada Act—which is presented in Bill C-43—and my role as Chief Public Health Officer of the Public Health Agency of Canada.

As you know, that amendment aims to redefine the role of the chief public health officer so that it would focus exclusively on the public health needs of Canadians. This amendment also aims to create a position of president of the Public Health Agency of Canada, who would be in charge of managing the agency.

I strongly support this amendment. My unique journey has allowed me to gain a lot of experience and come to this conclusion.

I started my medical career as an M.D. in a private small city practice. As a family physician I experienced the challenges of holding two jobs much like the position of chief public health officer. On one hand I was helping patients improve their health and essentially managing a business on the other, often causing tension between the two.

In the 20 years since, I've held progressive leadership positions in the federal government, specializing in public health, and I've watched the agency grow from a branch of Health Canada to a global leader in public health. Today with an ebola epidemic in the public spotlight, we're reminded why the country needs its leading public health professional to focus exclusively on one major task: public health.

Since the agency's inception, the competencies and experiences to lead national public health issues have grown, as have the skills needed to manage a growing public sector organization. The Public Health Agency of Canada now has over 2,000 employees across the country. It's annual operating budget is over $600 million.

For years now it's been clear to me and my colleagues that the CPHO role must evolve and complement that growth in a way that makes sense. Division 20 of this bill will allow my position to focus on moving Canada forward in public health issues, providing advice directly to the Minister of Health and to Canadians, collaborating with all partners and interacting with multiple key players including the Canadian public. At the same time, a dedicated agency president will provide focused strategic management and corporate leadership for a world-leading, vibrant and strong organization.

The president, as deputy head of the agency, will assume some of the management responsibilities currently assigned to the CPHO including accountabilities for finance, audit, evaluation, staffing, official languages, and access to information and privacy. These are all important functions requiring the attention of a senior leader.

The changes proposed do not diminish the role of the chief public health officer, they enhance it. In essence, they associate internal management and capacity issues with a dedicated agency head and direction on public health issues with the CPHO. It makes good management sense and good public health sense to make these changes.

It's a structure that works well for many provinces and territories, and for countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia. In fact, we've been moving this way as an agency for some time now and have, in fact, adopted this type of management structure since 2012. At that time we began to separate out the roles and responsibilities of the CPHO on an interim basis. My appointment as CPHO on September 24th of this year—the date of the agency's 10th anniversary—reflected the first step needed to move public health forward in Canada.

The next step will ensure we have the right people in the right positions focused on the right tasks for Canadians. I'm very proud of the agency's maturation. The agency has become a world leader in public health, and just as its profile of importance has grown, so have public expectations of our work. We need to enhance our public health connections globally.

After 10 years and many high-profile public health success stories, the agency and the position of chief public health officer are no longer young. We now need to adapt and advance in a way that makes good management and public health sense.

Mr. Chair, committee members, for these reasons I strongly support division 20 of Bill C-43 before you today that will amend the Public Health Agency of Canada Act.

The associate deputy minister and I believe these changes are the right thing to do for the health of Canadians. I thank you for inviting me today.

November 19th, 2014 / 4:50 p.m.
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Aaron Wudrick Federal Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Thank you, Mr. Chair. It's a pleasure to be here today and to speak on the subject matter of certain clauses within Bill C-43 and I thank the committee for the invitation.

Just quickly, my name is Aaron Wudrick and I'm the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Our advocacy is centred around three key principles: lower taxes, less waste, and accountable government. It's largely on this third principle of accountable government that I appear today to speak to these provisions. My remarks are fairly limited in scope. We support the changes proposed in these provisions for the simple reason that, from our standpoint, they are purely jurisdictional in nature. We, of course, are not experts in refugee or immigration policy and we take no position at all as to whether or not provinces should actually set minimum residency requirements. We merely believe that, as the level of government responsible for the delivery of social services, the provinces are also the appropriate level of government to retain the power to make such a decision without the risk of fiscal penalty from Ottawa.

In short, if it is objectionable for the provinces to have this power, surely it must also be objectionable that the provinces already have the same power with respect to determining eligibility for health care services. As committee members are likely aware, many provinces already set a minimum residency requirement for access to health care services.

In our view, most opponents of these provisions are conflating two very separate debates. The first is whether or not foreign refugee claimants should be subject to a minimum residency requirement. The second is whether provinces should be able to make this decision without being penalized by Ottawa. It is, of course, entirely appropriate to debate whether or not there should be minimum residency requirements, but, again, this is not the area I'm here to comment on. The only contribution to the debate made by these proposed changes, however, is ensuring that this debate takes place in the provincial legislatures, and we view that as a positive change.

In our view, the real principle underlying these proposed changes is respect for provincial jurisdiction. When different levels of government overstep their constitutionally defined areas of jurisdiction, accountability suffers because Canadians are left unclear as to who bears responsibility for what. Only when each level of government takes proper responsibility can Canadians pass judgment at election time as to whether or not they approve of these policy decisions. Indeed, the inappropriate use of the federal spending power by federal governments to encroach upon areas of provincial jurisdiction has long been an unfortunate source of federal-provincial tension. These proposed changes would be one small step towards reducing that tension.

Thank you.

November 19th, 2014 / 4:45 p.m.
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Hassan Yussuff President, Canadian Labour Congress

First, James, let me thank you on behalf of the Canadian Labour Congress for inviting us to come to present our views today on Bill C-43.

The Canadian Labour Congress, as you know, is the national voice on behalf of 3.3 million workers across Canada.

I will focus my comments on the issues of employment before turning to the temporary foreign workers program.

We continue to face a very serious unemployment challenge in this country. Unemployment, especially youth unemployment, remains stubbornly high. The overall labour force participation rate and the employment rate have still not recovered to their pre-recession days of 2008. On the contrary, the participation rate continues to fall, and the employment rate has been stagnating since 2010. We still have a crisis on our hands with respect to jobs for young people, and especially good jobs for young people.

Bill C-43's response to this crisis is inadequate, to say the least.

Bill C-43 implements a small business job credit. According to the Parliamentary Budget Office, this will create 800 new jobs in 2015 and 2016. Instead of doling out a $550-million El premium cut to employers, the federal government needs to make this program work for the unemployed workers.

There are nearly 270,000 unemployed workers in Toronto, and only 17% of them are receiving unemployment insurance benefits. It's fundamentally unfair that workers are paying into this program and are unable to access benefits when they lose their jobs. Imagine paying premiums for house insurance only to be denied compensation when your house burns to the ground. We need action to improve the employment insurance program, not to erode it. The CLC has long been calling on the government to allow more workers to access El benefits.

We also need a major public investment, economic growth, and a lift to private sector productivity in this country. High-quality and accessible child care for all Canadians would create jobs and increase the labour force participation for parents with young children. The federal government could also be doing much more to encourage skills training and expand the apprenticeship programs. We need a skills training and workforce development strategy if we are ever going to end employer dependence on the temporary foreign worker program.

I want to speak next to the temporary foreign worker program. Bill C-43 gives the government great powers to beef up the inspection and compliance verification of the temporary foreign worker program.

In our view, the efforts to protect migrant workers' rights will continue to be undermined by the fact that workers in the low-wage stream are unfree, dependent on employers, and of course vulnerable to exploitation and abuse as a consequence. Temporary migrant workers must be given access to permanent residency and given the legal means and support to escape abuses from employers. Otherwise, no amount of compliance efforts will suffice to safeguard migrant workers' rights.

The government has not moved to address the temporary migrant workers entering Canada under the international mobility program. Employers who hire these workers are not bound by any of the rules that are set out under the labour market impact assessment process. The requirements that employers pay prevailing wages and first advertise for permanent residents and Canadians don't apply.

The federal government's decision to change the live-in caregiver program rules add further to the problem. They will almost certainly restrict the ability of caregivers to gain access to permanent residency.

Finally, I want to say that it is irresponsible that Bill C-43 allows provinces to set minimum residency requirements for social assistance. This will restrict social assistance benefits for refugee claimants who are awaiting a determination of their claims. This serves no policy purpose, and only serves to demonize refugee claimants.

With that, I want to thank the committee and welcome any questions that you may have.

November 19th, 2014 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Joe Oliver Conservative Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

There are a number of ways in which we have addressed the issue of fairness. I mentioned how the fishing industry benefits.

Bill C-43 reflects our government's ongoing commitment to improving fairness and integrity in the system and to ensuring that everyone pays their fair share. This includes a package of actions to address aggressive tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.

A well-functioning tax system is essential to keeping Canada positioned as an attractive place to work, invest, and do business, so efforts to ensure the integrity of the system also benefit provincial governments by protecting provincial revenues on our shared tax basis.

Specifically the bill will eliminate a graduated-rate taxation for trusts and certain estates. It will better target income tax rules relating to non-resident trusts. It will protect the tax base by preventing the shifting of certain Canadian source income to no- or low-tax jurisdictions. It will adjust the policy that encourages the exchange of tax information, and it will add new conditions for qualifying under the regulated foreign financial institution tax rules.

Since we have been in government, we have introduced over 85 measures to improve the integrity of the tax system.

November 19th, 2014 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Thank you very much.

Minister, you also mentioned during your opening remarks that the government has taken many actions, in fact 80 different measures, to increase fairness and the integrity of our tax system.

How does Bill C-43 build on the tax fairness measures the government has already introduced?

November 19th, 2014 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

—ongoing commitment to the north and our record on the environment. Maybe you could tell us how Bill C-43 will build on that.

November 19th, 2014 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Joe Oliver Conservative Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Our government committed in the 2013 Speech from the Throne—and reinforced this in budget 2014—to end pay-to-pay billing practices so that customers do not pay extra to receive paper bills. Bill C-43 will end pay-to-pay billing practices in the telecommunications sector. Any company that breaks the rules faces penalties of up to $15 million.

Our government is committed to putting the interests of Canadian consumers first. I could quote from the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Consumers' Association of Canada, which welcomed the fact that the federal government will introduce legislation to end pay-to-pay billing practices in the telecommunications sector.

John Lawford of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre said, “Consumers are clearly opposed to paying for paper bills and the federal government has clearly committed to 'eliminating' these charges.”

November 19th, 2014 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Joe Oliver Conservative Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Well, Mr. Chairman, let me deal with that important question. Bill C-43 fulfills Canada's 2013 G-8 commitment to establish reporting standards for the extractive sector by next year.

Our government is committed to improving transparency and accountability in the extractive sector, where Canada has a world-class reputation. I had the opportunity of travelling around the world representing our country when I was the Minister of Natural Resources, and I can attest to that directly.

Our government's commitment builds on Canada's reputation as a global leader in responsible resource development, and already the sector has a well-established financial reporting system that ensures transparency and good governance of natural resource revenues.

The new reporting system will complement existing reporting requirements and will be established with a view to improving transparency, ensuring as well that Canada's framework is aligned with other G-8 countries and is consistent with existing international standards, particularly those of the United States and the European Union. It will also ensure a level playing field for companies operating domestically and abroad. It will enhance investment certainty and help reinforce the integrity of the Canadian extractive companies. Finally, it will help ensure that citizens around the world benefit from the natural resources in their countries.

The government's pan-Canadian approach will require Canadian extractive companies to publicly report payments of $100,000 and over to all levels of government, both domestic and abroad, including aboriginal entities, on a project-by-project basis. This approach would apply to public and private and medium and large mining, oil, and gas companies operating in Canada.

November 19th, 2014 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. Just so you know, so we can get all the rounds in, I'm going to be splitting my time with Mr. Van Kesteren.

Minister, one of the things I'd like to ask you, being a former member of the natural resources committee and also recognizing your former position as the Minister of Natural Resources, is this question with respect to part 4 and division 28 on the natural resources extractive sector.

In 2013 and in the past number of years, there have been a lot of things in the House in with respect to the extractive sector, as you're well aware. We made a G-8 commitment to establish reporting standards for the extractive sector. Recognizing your experience in the past and also as the minister, how do you see Bill C-43 helping our government to demonstrate our leadership on this issue?

November 19th, 2014 / 3:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

The other thing in Bill C-43 is how it addresses tax non-compliance and how it combats money laundering and terrorist financing.

One of the issues that we've heard from Canadians on a constant basis is the amount of tax non-compliance and money laundering that we believe is going on offshore. We've done a good job of collecting a lot of those dollars back.

In particular, with the events of the last month and a half to two months, the idea that we can shut down the source of terrorist financing is something that I think all Canadians will embrace.

Can you expand on how this budget works to do that?

November 19th, 2014 / 3:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Joe Oliver Conservative Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

I would be happy to do that.

Bill C-43 makes the tax system simpler and fairer for farming and fishing businesses.

A special income tax rule will be available to farmers who dispose of breeding livestock due to drought or excess moisture conditions existing in specific regions in a given year. This rule permits farmers to exclude up to 90% of the sale proceeds from their taxable income until the year following the sale, or a later year if the conditions persist.

Bill C-43 will also help amateur athletes. Currently, income contributed to an amateur athlete trust does not qualify as earned income in determining an athlete's annual RRSP contribution limit.

I can elaborate on that if you like.

November 19th, 2014 / 3:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Welcome, Minister and department officials.

First of all, Minister, congratulations on the budget. Quite frankly, when any budget measures give any portion of EI remittances back to the small businesses who pay those remittances, I think that's good policy.

There are a couple of steps in Bill C-43 that make the tax system simpler and fairer for Canadians. In particular, two that are near and dear to my heart are the changes to the tax rules for combined farming and fishing businesses and the changes to the rules for farmers who face catastrophic weather-related losses to breeding livestock.

Can you just expand on those a bit, please?