Combating Counterfeit Products Act

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

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

Sponsor

James Moore  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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elsewhere

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

November 5th, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
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Director General, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Mark Schaan

Then we'll switch to the Trade-marks Act changes. This is part 4, division 7, subdivision B, clauses 214 to 242.

Just by very quick way of background, this is in part related to concerns from trademark stakeholders about the possibility for what some people call “trademark squatters”, individuals who take out trademarks with no intention of using them for the purposes of trying to shake down individuals who they believe are already using that trademark in a non-trademarked way, or likely will anticipate the need of someone for that trademark.

What this does is a number of things. First, it adds bad faith as a ground of opposition to the register of a trademark and for the invalidation of a trademark.

Second, it prevents the owner of a registered trademark from obtaining relief for acts done contrary to that trademark during the first three years after the trademark is registered, unless the trademark was in use during that period or special circumstances exist that excuse the absence of use.

Very quickly, without getting into too much of the technical details of trademark law, one of the exceptions to use in the trademark process is during the first three years of a trademark, because, in many cases, you will have trademarked a good, but you can't use it because you're just getting going.

Our concern was that it could be a trademark squatter who is hiding under that three-year exception to be able to potentially still use that three years to shake someone down for cash. What we have said is that, during those three years, you have no access to remedies, so you can't pursue damages against that individual if you're not using the trademark.

We also clarify that the prohibitions in subparagraph 9(1)(n)(iii) do not apply in section 11 of the act with respect to a badge, crest, emblem or mark that was the subject of a public notice of adoption and used as an official mark if the entity that made the request for the public notice is not a public authority or no longer exists.

Very briefly, this relates to the system of official marks in Canada. Official marks are, by and large, relegated or are subscribed to public authorities and public entities. The Canada Wordmark is a good example. There is a whole host of other badges and crests that are official marks. They're put on the registry by public authorities. There are a lot of them, and one of the challenges is that some of the people who put them on the list weren't public authorities under the definition, so when people seek to use that official mark, they're prevented from doing so because this public authority put the official mark on the registry.

The other thing is that many of them no longer exist. There are many official marks related to the 1976 Montreal Olympics. There are many related to Canada Games in most cities and provinces across the country, and many for events that took place decades ago. People are prevented from using those official marks currently, despite the fact that they can't reach an agreement with the entity to use them, because the entity doesn't exist anymore. This, essentially, will allow people to be able to use those official marks without having to seek an entity when the entity is no longer in place.

We then also modernized the conduct of various proceedings before the registrar of trademarks under the act, including by providing the registrar with additional powers in such proceedings. This is essentially to give some additional teeth to the trademarks opposition board, including the opportunity for case management and the ability to potentially levy costs in cases where people are making frivolous use of the trademarks opposition board.

Finally, we make certain housekeeping amendments to provisions of the act that are enacted by the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1, and the Combating Counterfeit Products Act, which is essentially to bring us in line with changes in anticipation of Canada's accession to the Madrid protocol and that lay on from these provisions that I laid out earlier.

December 9th, 2014 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I have the honour to inform the House that when the House did attend His Excellency the Governor General in the Senate chamber His Excellency was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:

C-3, An Act to enact the Aviation Industry Indemnity Act, to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Canada Marine Act, the Marine Liability Act and the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 29.

S-213, An Act respecting Lincoln Alexander Day—Chapter 30.

C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act—Chapter 31.

C-8, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 32.

S-1001, An Act to amend the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada Act.

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, Aboriginal Affairs; the hon. member for Ottawa—Vanier, Consumer Protection.

Message From the SenateOral Questions

December 9th, 2014 / 3:10 p.m.
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Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed the following bill:

Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

November 6th, 2014 / 9:35 a.m.
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Denis Martel Director, Patent Policy Directorate, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch , Department of Industry

Thank you for the opportunity to be here today to talk about the changes to the Patent Act and the Industrial Design Act.

As you know from the study of this committee on the IP regime in Canada, it concluded that Canada's IP's regime is strong. In many areas Canada provides more than the minimal requirement than what is required under our international obligations. As you've heard there were some areas where Canada's system could be strengthened. One area was regarding enforcement, and the government introduced Bill C-8 on combatting counterfeit products.

The other area that the committee identified was the need for support for Canadian businesses on the global stage to ensure that the administration of Canada's IP regime is internationally compatible and streamlined. To do so, the committee recommended that the government ratify key international IP agreements, including the Patent Law Treaty and the Hague agreement for industrial design. It is the latter recommendation that brings us here today.

The first step took place in January 2014, when the government tabled five international intellectual property treaties in the House, that had to do with trademarks, patents and industrial designs. This followed up on a recommendation by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

The first phase of the economic action plan contained the necessary amendments to comply with trademark treaties. Now, the second budget bill proposes amendments to the Patent Act and the Industrial Design Act.

This is to allow Canada to ratify and accede to the remaining two treaties: the PLT and the Geneva Act of the Hague agreement. The purpose of the amendments to the Patent Act and the Industrial Design Act is to give legislative and regulatory powers to accede to the PLT and the Hague agreement. Both treaties deal strictly with administrative matters. They do not consider substantive issues related to either patents or industrial design. Those two treaties are applicant-friendly. They require fewer forms, allow for electronic means of communications, notification of missed deadlines, and longer grace periods before sanctions could be taken.

Just to give a sense of the international agreement in terms of the Hague, it's an international registration system that provides an opportunity to obtain protection for industrial design in several jurisdictions with one single application.

There are many clauses in the bill, but essentially there are four key ones that I would like to highlight. They relate to the content of an application, to simplify what is required to submit; clarification of the rules of design when someone seeks a registration; clarification of the rules regarding requests for priority; and increasing the term of protection from 10 to 15 years.

The major benefits are to protect the designs in several countries by filing one application, which could be done in one language and paying one fee.

With regard to the Patent Law Treaty, it's also a treaty that is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization, which aims to simplify and harmonize administrative practices among intellectual property offices around the world.

Some of the key amendments in the bill that I would like to highlight are the following: reduce the requirements to obtain a filing date, again, less information that the applicant is required to submit; require that an applicant be notified for a missed due date before action is taken; allow applicants to perform certain administrative tasks themselves; and introduce grace periods before sanctions that affect rights.

Collectively, those amendments and the ratification of the PLT would allow reductions in red tape, simplify filing requirements, reduce risk of errors and loss of rights, and bring lower costs.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Combatting Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2014 / 11:35 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to speak on Bill C-8, which is a bill that deals with quite sweeping changes to copyright infringement and intellectual property rights in Canada.

I presented numerous amendments to the bill before committee, and I am sorry to say that, shockingly, my amendments did not carry. I am afraid that this has become the custom due to the passage of, astonishingly, identical motions in 20 different committees at the same time, intended to deprive me of my rights to present substantive amendments at report stage. Since I have been going to many committees under this new edict, I have not had a single amendment carry at committee. However, I remain hopeful that one day the reasoned efforts I am making will meet with favour.

In the case of Bill C-8, as I mentioned, we would be making sweeping changes, perhaps the most sweeping changes in intellectual property rights law in Canada in over 70 years. We would make these changes without adequate hearings, study, or the proof of any need.

As a matter of fact, one prominent member of the Canadian bar, Howard Knopf, describes the effort to deal with counterfeiting and fake products with this headline: “Is Parliament Rushing to Respond to a Fake Crisis About Fake Products?”

So, we have copyright infringement and we want to protect, and I completely agree with all members of the House who have spoken to our desire to protect artists, innovators, and creators from having the products of their intellectual efforts pirated and stolen without adequate response. However, I will share with this House quite simply what we fear is happening here: we would create multiple offences for relatively minor matters, criminalize things that would normally be dealt with in civil efforts, and we would create new charges under the Criminal Code for offences for which we already have adequate measures within the Criminal Code to handle such infringements.

I want to first begin with the question of invasion of privacy, which is found at clause 59 of Bill C-8.

The definition of “offence” under the Criminal Code section dealing with wiretapping would be amended to include infringements found and created in Bill C-8. It is important to note that this section is not before us at the moment because when we are amending one legislation and creating Bill C-8, we do not always go back and look at the legislation we are changing. However, I think it is important for all members in this place to look at the Criminal Code section that Bill C-8 would amend.

Bill C-8, intended to deal with copyright and trademark, would amend section 183 of the Criminal Code. If we look at section 183, we find that the definitions of “offence” deal with the following: first is high treason; second is intimidating Parliament or a legislature; third is sabotage; then is forgery, sedition, highjacking, endangering the safety of aircraft, offensive weapons, breach of duty, using explosives.

This category of offences, I think all members of this House would agree—even those who do not have statutory interpretation training—are offences of a high order and significant, dangerous activities in the Criminal Code for which we want to be able to have access to wiretap. However, we would now add offences under copyright and trademark infringement, as created by this proposed act. Now, that is a step too far for the Green Party.

It means that, immediately upon passage of Bill C-8, we would see the day that people who, for instance, in a number of fact settings that we certainly do not contemplate as dangerous, could have their phones wiretapped. There is accidental downloading, as the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay mentioned, and most high school kids could break this proposed law any day of the week without planning to make a fortune for themselves or do anything other than download illegally from a website.

A noted lawyer in this area, Howard Knopf, was not a witness and was not allowed to speak before the committee. However, he mentioned that, “The DNA and fingerprints of the movie and record industries are all over this bill”. Why else would we want to allow the RCMP and law enforcement agents to have the ability to wiretap the phones of people they suspect have downloaded illegally?

Copyright infringement in this new scenario, the brave new world of Bill C-8, goes quite far into activities that one would not ordinarily consider dangerous at all, not even criminal, but they will be criminalized. For instance, under some sections of the bill, it would not be hard to imagine that someone had infringed copyright under the bill by playing at a private function, such as a wedding, tunes that normally would be played by disc jockeys at various events. That could prompt a wiretap if they were so inclined.

These changes are quite sweeping. I do not believe the Canadian public is aware of what Bill C-8 proposes to do or the complexities and confusion that would be created by the way this legislation is structured.

Under Bill C-8, if criminal remedy is available for anyone who knowingly distributes copies of a work in which copyrights exist, that could capture a kid downloading or using files on BitTorrent. We do not want to encourage those activities, but on the other hand, the level of criminality and the ability to wiretap for those offences is certainly extreme.

The trademark and copyright area is a difficult area. People who work in this area are concerned that the bill could also inadvertently capture parallel imports. Parallel imports are also referred to as grey products. They are in a murky area. A parallel import is not actually infringement of copyright at all. It is not a counterfeit or a piracy measure. I will use an example from New Zealand that I found when I was looking for a commonplace example to explain what I mean by parallel imports.

In New Zealand it is common for luxury car dealers to go to Malaysia, buy a Mercédes Benz, which is cheaper there, then import that vehicle legally into New Zealand and sell it at the price Mercédes Benz wants to sell that car for in the New Zealand market. People who go to the trouble of getting the car in Malaysia have not broken any law and they make a fair bit of money on this.

It is generally considered that parallel imports increase consumer choice, aid competition and keep prices low. The way the bill is structured, it could quite easily capture parallel imports inadvertently, not counterfeit nor pirate imports. Not only do we capture parallel imports, we could then have the ability to wiretap to find out what that group is doing.

This legislation has a lot wrong with it. The failure to make any effort to make it more precise is astonishing when one considers that these fundamental changes to our copyright law are being pushed through without adequate time to consider the implications.

My colleague from Hamilton made an interesting point. How could a border guard be expected to have sufficient grasp of this complex area of international copyright law to distinguish between a parallel import and a counterfeit or pirated good? It is simply beyond the scope of even people who practise this area of law full-time to make such a determination on the spot at the border.

I will turn quickly to the recommendations that Howard Knopf would have made had he been allowed to speak at committee. I will quote from an article he wrote. The first recommendation was:

The numerous references apparently intended not to interfere with the free flow of parallel imports are inconsistent and present potentially serious drafting problems that require further study. The bill should propose appropriate declaratory language for both the Copyright Act and Trade-marks Act that makes is absolutely clear that, with the exception of the sui generis book importation scheme now found in s. 27.1 of the Copyright Act, neither of these acts shall in any restrict the importation, distribution or sale of any product...

The second recommendation was:

It would be mistaken and harmful to criminalize routine copyright and trade-mark infringement activity and there is no need to add additional criminal sanctions, much less wiretap enablement provisions or any provisions that would authorize the warrantless search of travelers to determine whether they have infringing items in their baggage...

The third recommendation was:

The bill should contain no provisions that are not essential for the purpose of combatting counterfeit...

I urge this place to accept that this legislation will require massive amendments very soon.

Combatting Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2014 / 11:25 a.m.
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NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to speak to Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Today, I want to express my support for this bill. It is difficult to disagree with the principle. Clearly, combatting counterfeiting is important for Canadian businesses and consumers. I will certainly not speak out against virtue.

However, I would like to express a few reservations that I have, particularly with regard to this government's true commitment to protecting copyright in Canada and the enforceability of the bill. I hope that the government will listen to what I have to say and that my comments will help to improve the measures that will be taken if this bill is passed.

I think that everyone here can agree that we have to crack down on counterfeiting, both because of the negative impact that counterfeit goods can have on our economy and the economies of our neighbours and because of the danger they can pose to Canadians' health.

The clandestine nature of counterfeiting prevents us from being able to accurately determine the scope of the problem for our economy. According to the RCMP, in 2011, 80% of counterfeit goods came from China, a 46% increase as compared to 2005.

According to Industry Canada, counterfeiting has increased in recent years:

The retail value of counterfeit goods seized by the RCMP increased from $7.6 million in 2005 to $38 million in 2012.

Of course, that is only counting the goods that were seized.

In 2009, in a report entitled “Magnitude of Counterfeiting and Piracy of Tangible Products: An Update”, the OECD estimated the value of counterfeit and pirated goods in international trade at $250 billion. These numbers speak for themselves. There is an urgent need for effective measures to combat this growing phenomenon.

The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology recently conducted a study on intellectual property. Many businesses testified in support of taking action at the border to fight the increase in illegal counterfeit goods.

In its 2013 report entitled “Intellectual Property Regime in Canada”, the committee made a number of recommendations regarding action to be taken at the border to prevent the import of counterfeit goods.

Similarly, in a dissenting opinion, the NDP members of the committee argued that the Canada Border Services Agency should be given sufficient funding to combat counterfeiting without compromising the other important responsibilities it has in protecting Canadians and defending our border.

Of course, because this was an NDP recommendation and would require an increase in government spending, even though this measure would protect the Canadian economy, the NDP was forced to submit it in a written dissenting opinion, because the Conservatives are too blinded by their ideology to see the benefits of such a measure for our industries. It makes no sense, but this is not the first time something like this has happened, and it probably will not be the last.

This government is full of contradictions. Only now has it come forward with Bill C-8, a nice collection of good intentions, although for years now, our American neighbours have been calling on Canada to bring in tougher measures against counterfeit products.

In its 2012 Special 301 Report, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative made a statement regarding the Americans' position.

It said, in part, that the United States “continues to urge Canada to strengthen its border enforcement efforts, including by providing customs officials with ex officio authority to take action against the importation, exportation, and transshipment of pirated or counterfeit goods”.

This bill adds two new criminal offences under the Copyright Act for the possession or export of infringing copies and creates a prohibition against importing or exporting infringing copies and counterfeit goods.

Those are great principles. This could help fight counterfeiting, thereby protecting copyright, and help prevent counterfeit goods from entering the Canadian market—which hurts our economy—or passing through our borders and entering the U.S. The problem is that this will take mare than just words.

I actually have to wonder how this government can possibly claim to be serious about fighting counterfeit goods when in their 2012 budget, the Conservatives announced cuts totalling $143 million over three years to CBSA funding. Some $31.3 million was cut in 2012-13 and $72.3 million in 2013-14, for a total of $143.4 million that will be cut from the CBSA budget by 2014-15.

It is not hard to see that these very cuts will reduce the number of front-line officers and impair our ability to monitor our borders.

What is more, this year's report on plans and priorities indicates a loss of 549 full-time equivalent jobs by 2015 at the Canada Border Services Agency. This will reduce the agency's ability to discharge its responsibilities.

In other words, the government is speaking out of both sides of its mouth yet again. On one hand it says it wants to fight fraud, which is a good thing, but on the other hand it makes cuts that will prevent our border services from doing their job.

This bill gives even more responsibilities to CBSA just as the government keeps reducing the agency's ability to discharge them. Is that really what the government is proposing? I fail to see the logic in that.

Jean-Pierre Fortin, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union, commented on the 2012 budget cuts to the Canada Border Services Agency and how they would reduce border officers' ability to do their work:

These proposed budget cuts would have a direct and real impact on Canadians and our communities across the country: more child pornography entering the country, more weapons and illegal drugs will pass through our borders, not to mention terrorists, sexual predators and hardened criminals.

That is frightening.

In 2012, the union president was already saying that the agency would have a hard time protecting our territory. I wonder where the government thinks the necessary resources will come from for combatting the import of counterfeit goods, protecting Canadian industries, their transit from Canada to the United States, or for protecting Canadians from counterfeit products that might be dangerous for their health and safety, when it keeps cutting the agency's budget.

To effectively combat the entry into Canada of counterfeit goods, we need a lot more than words and good intentions. We need the means.

The NDP supports the measures that would help Canadian businesses keep jobs and production here, instead of transferring them to countries that have stricter copyright protections.

The NDP also wants to ensure that enough funds will be available so that laws like the one proposed in Bill C-8 can realistically be enforced, and so that the agencies responsible for enforcing them do not have to make choices that could compromise their other responsibilities, thus jeopardizing the safety of Canadians.

In this case, if the government is truly serious about wanting to crack down on counterfeit products coming into our country, it will have to give Canada Border Services the means to fulfill all of its responsibilities. The government will have to revise its decision to decrease the agency's budget and reverse the trend of reducing the number of front-line officers.

As I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, the New Democrats support the underlying principles of the bill and will vote in favour of the bill. We just want to ensure that this is not in vain.

Combatting Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2014 / 11:10 a.m.
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NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to rise in the House and speak to Bill C-8 on counterfeiting measures.

I have spoken many times over the last 10 years on these issues. In terms of legislative issues, often the issues regarding copyright, counterfeit, and trademark have been blurred, and there is a need to come up with coherent policies that protect citizens and rights holders.

This is not an easy situation, because we are in a market that has transformed itself incredibly since Lord Macaulay, in 1841, talked about the need to protect the writers of the time. He said we have to stop “the knaves who take the bread out of the mouths of deserving men”. Lord Macaulay believed there needed to be copyright provisions, but he also said there had to be a balance, that it was not about creating a monopoly for a certain group of book holders in London to stop upstarts who wanted to come in.

We know the story of the reason Hollywood exists. It is because California at that time was beyond the copyright laws of the Thomas Edison corporation. They moved out to the desert, not because it was beautiful but because they were the original pirate culture. They set themselves up and created an industry. The issue of these balances throughout history is a difficult act.

We have seen WIPO and ACTA, the secretive anti-counterfeiting trade agreement that received great international backlash from ordinary citizens because it was blurring the roles between domestic copyright policies, citizens' rights policies, and the issue of counterfeit.

Where this comes in is that we need to ensure that we can protect our rights holders and citizens from the counterfeit goods and bootleg operations that are undermining our economy. We need to ensure that we have the tools to go up against them.

When we see large corporate rights holders say they want to spread that across the board, we end up with an overreach, as with my colleagues in the Liberal Party saying we should go after individuals when a kid downloads a song and sends it to three friends.

The United States attempted, through its Digital Millennium Copyright Act of the 1990s, to create a legalistic response to the issues the digital culture was creating. After 35,000 lawsuits against citizens, the market did not come back. What was missing from the market at that time was a coherent plan for the remuneration of artists, who were facing some very difficult and challenging conditions because of the ease of copying. It used to be the only people who could actually copy were the ones who had the means of production, the bookbinders and record companies, but suddenly ordinary citizens could make copies, so the right to make copies became very challenged.

Canada had come up with one of the those solutions, which was the private copying levy. We recognized in Canada that people were going to make all manner of copies and that it would be impossible to remunerate artists for all the copying going on, so for every cassette that was produced, a few pennies were put aside into a fund for artists. The decision by the Conservative government to kill the private copying levy has cost the Canadian music industry $25 million a year. Given the conditions of the music industry in Canada, that is $25 million we cannot afford to lose.

Under the latest copyright act, the government killed the mechanical royalties for musicians and for the record industry, which is millions more. At a time when the artistic culture of our country is suffering very much, the need to remunerate those artists has been steadily whacked away. There is the issue of collective copying regimes in schools. It certainly needs to be updated because of the digital culture, but to simply undermine it would leave artists working for free and would make the intellectual and artistic development of our country much more challenged.

The other issue we are seeing now is the copyright board's rules on live streaming. In the United States, it is an abysmal situation. As an example, Lady Gaga was paid $162 in royalties for over a million plays. I think that was through Spotify, the streaming service.

For someone of the magnitude of Lady Gaga to receive a $162 cheque shows you just how impossible it is for any other mid-size artist to make a living and run a business doing the kind of music that is Canada's premier export. We can talk about our oil and gas and mining, but the talent that has come out of Canada in terms of music, our artists, playwrights, internationally, this is an industry that we cannot afford to undermine anymore.

In the United States the streaming royalties set by its copyright tariffs are so low that it is undermining the ability of any artist to survive. The Copyright Board of Canada has set it at 10% of the American rate. Therefore, they are living as paupers in the United States with what their copyright board has set for this new medium and in Canada it is only 10% of what the rate is in the United States. We would assume then if Lady Gaga had one million plays in Canada, she would get $16.50, which would make anyone decide to go and work at Tim Hortons rather than be an artist in this country.

Those are the issues we are facing in terms of the need to protect our artists. How do we protect our artists? We do not criminalize the consumer. We create a monetary stream. That is a reasonable solution. In terms of counterfeiting we have to separate the issues around protecting our artists and giving them the tools they need to be able to prosper, from the issues around being able to go after the counterfeit gangs.

I will stay on the artists' situation for one more minute. Where we have small businesses or small creative artists, if their trademarks or arts are taken by some counterfeit gang in China and reproduced, they have no mechanisms to go after them. Individual and small rights holders have no ability to go after these counterfeit operations. Sony and Warner Bros. can, but the individual creative rights holders who has their work stolen has no ability. If we are looking at international trade agreements, how do we provide provisions so that the small creative artists who are having their works stolen can respond?

The bill is really an attempt to bring Canada in line with what came out of the ACTA negotiations, which were secretive. It was an overreach. It was a process too beset by lobbyists to be credible and when it came to the public, there was a huge backlash. It was interesting to see that the backlash was in Europe. Therefore, we see some of these provisions have been modified somewhat.

Now the border guards are able to seize counterfeit goods at the border. That is a good provision because rights holders actually had to go to court and get a court order before, so it was very difficult. Giving border guards the ability to seize goods at the border is a reasonable solution to dealing with criminal counterfeiters. Counterfeit operations undermine our economy and they also undermine basic health and security in this country.

Again, I want to point out that our Liberal colleagues wanted to extend this to be able to go after individuals who are travelling, which would have made it the ultimate harassment tool for anyone travelling anywhere internationally. You could be pulled out of a line and told that officials wanted to look at your iPod and go through every one of your songs. My kids send me songs that they have downloaded, maybe from iTunes, but I would be liable for that. That would be an overreach, so the Liberal position of going after individuals and criminalizing individuals when the focus of our border guards should be going after the criminal gangs is very wrong-headed and out of step with pretty much the rest of the world, although maybe North Korea might side with them on that one.

If we are going to have counterfeit laws we need the resources so that border guards can go after counterfeiters. We have seen massive cuts in border services. We also need resources for the police because they still do not often see that this is an issue, going after the knock-off goods, going after the bootlegged DVDs. Perhaps we need to look at provisions that provide our police services with the incentive to clean up some of the illegal trades in goods that have undermined our economy and undermined safety for Canadians.

Combatting Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2014 / 11:05 a.m.
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NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, as a parent I am very concerned about some of these counterfeit items. I talked about batteries exploding, and a number of Canadians have died from these sorts of products.

As a father of two children, I am very concerned, especially about batteries and such, because my son uses batteries in a number of different gadgets that he has.

The other case I pointed out was on the airbags that were being sold into the United States by an individual from my city. He has been jailed for six months in the United States. This is a very recent case. One would think that airbags would deploy and work properly when they are needed.

These are very serious health and safety issues for all Canadians. To detect these products and ensure that they do not come into the market, we need CBSA officers to inspect the goods that are coming in, so making cuts to the numbers of those officers is not going to help.

I encourage the government to provide the resources so that we can properly implement Bill C-8.

Combatting Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2014 / 11 a.m.
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NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the NDP will support Bill C-8. Of course we will, because this bill will protect Canadians. We are in favour of that, just as we are in favour of day care and minimum wage. Voting for a good law is fine, but making sure it gets implemented is essential. This is becoming quite scandalous; an experienced leader like the Leader of the Opposition would never have done such a thing. In this particular case, what can we expect from the legislation when the people responsible for enforcing it have had some 500 positions cut? What can we expect from a bill that does not apply to generic prescription drugs? There are criteria governing the quality of patented drugs, but the government takes no responsibility for generic drugs. That is the problem. I would like an answer about that.

Combatting Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2014 / 11 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to my hon. friend from Surrey North, we have limited time to debate Bill C-8 in this place, and his response has gone slightly off topic unless there are Iraqi goods to which counterfeiting measures would apply.

Combatting Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2014 / 10:40 a.m.
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NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Hamilton Mountain made a very passionate and eloquent speech on this particular bill, and I would like to thank her for providing that very useful information to the House.

I rise today on behalf of my constituents in Surrey North to speak to Bill C-8, the combating counterfeit products act. The title of the bill requires that we all agree to issues like this in the House. It is very rare that all parties agree on certain issues in the House and move forward an agenda that is in the best interests of Canadians.

It is a pleasure to speak to the bill today to support a piece of legislation on which all parties are in general agreement. Often in the House, it seems impossible to move forward and create meaningful legislation that all parties can agree on. Of course, no piece of legislation will ever be perfect to every party, but when we have the opportunity to advance the legislative agenda in this country and create legislation surrounding important issues, I gladly welcome the progress.

As members of the official opposition, it is our duty to ensure that legislation is carefully considered and questioned, and that dissenting opinions are publicly expressed and debated. However, as embodied by our late leader, Jack Layton, there is also great value in working together. I believe that the bill will be a step forward for all Canadians.

Issues surrounding counterfeiting, copyright and trademark infringement, and intellectual property are, without a doubt, complex matters that may seem far removed from the lives of normal Canadians. However, in reality, these issues have a direct impact on all Canadians, especially with regard to their health and safety. I truly believe that as elected officials, we should work to make this country as safe as possible for all citizens. Counterfeit goods have the potential to put the health and safety of Canadians at risk, and as such, it is time that we strengthened our laws against counterfeit goods.

Dealing with counterfeiting and infringement is important in protecting Canadian consumers who may unsuspectingly purchase counterfeit goods that could put their health and safety at risk. As the member for Hamilton Mountain pointed out, there is a lack of awareness with regard to counterfeit goods across the country, with many consumers not knowing whether a particular product is counterfeit or not. Certainly, more education and information for consumers would be another step that we could take to inform consumers, but that is another issue.

The talk of counterfeit products intuitively brings to mind images of the knock-off designer handbags, sunglasses and watches that we frequently see. I am sure that it is hard to imagine how these products might pose a risk to the health and safety of Canadians. These types of products breed different problems in that they undermine the value of the original product and capitalize on the creativity of another company by infringing on its intellectual property. By dealing with counterfeiting and infringement, as we are attempting to do with the bill, we will hopefully also cut down on counterfeit products of this nature, which are serious infringements on rights holders.

What concerns me most are the products that pose a health and safety risk to Canadians. While researching the bill, I read about counterfeit batteries that exploded in the desks of police officers who had stored them there. I also learned that acid leaking from counterfeit batteries has caused burns to at least eight Canadian children.

I am a parent myself. My young son is eight years old and he has a number of electronic gadgets that he plays with. It is not just my son who plays with these toys, as his friends from around the neighbourhood play with them, too. The batteries often run out and he comes to me or his mom and asks for new batteries for those gadgets. It scares me to think there are counterfeit batteries out there that my son or another child could be exposed to, which could be hazardous to their health. As a parent, I am concerned. We need to take steps to ensure that these counterfeit products are not on the market.

It is terrifying to hear that these types of goods are in our society and our kids could be using them. It scares me to think that Canadians have to fear that the batteries their children use in their remotes for their video games or TVs might injure them. This is merely one example of an ordinary household product that we unassumingly utilize in our everyday lives. We hardly expect something like this to harm us.

I will give the House one more example of counterfeiting that poses a serious health and safety risk. Just a few days ago a man from Surrey was sentenced to six months in prison in the United States for selling counterfeit vehicle airbags. All Canadians would be seriously concerned if they found they had counterfeit airbags in their cars that might not deploy properly. This is a safety device that we often take for granted. On the rare occasion that they would be used, we assume they would protect us. The consequences of counterfeit products like this not working are serious. Serious injury or even death could result. This is a prime example of a safety risk stemming from a counterfeit product. We need to protect all Canadians from this type of counterfeiting.

The technical details of Bill C-8 would add two new criminal offences under the Copyright Act: the possession of and the exportation of infringing copies and selling or offering counterfeit goods on a commercial scale.

The bill proposes to create a prohibition against importing or exporting infringing copies and counterfeit goods and introduces a balance to the prohibition by creating two exemptions: for personal use and for items in transit control. I will speak to that aspect of the bill later in my speech.

Bill C-8 would also grant ex officio powers to border officials to detain infringing copies of counterfeit goods. This is a significant policy shift as until now border guards required the private rights holder to obtain a court order before seizing infringing copies of goods. This policy change would grant much greater power to front-line officers to prevent counterfeit goods from entering the country.

Additionally, Bill C-8 would grant new ex officio powers to the Minister of Public Safety and border officials to share information on detailed goods with the rights holder.

I have another serious concern with Bill C-8 in regard to how the provisions of this legislation would be implemented.

Over the last four years, I have seen the government bring in legislation which could basically be considered a paper tiger. Legislation needs to have teeth. There also has to be the necessary resources to implement legislation that the government brings into the House. That is the case with this legislation as well.

This legislation would help Canadians look after their health, but no resources have been allocated as to how the legislation would be implemented or how CBSA would implement some of the provisions in the bill. It is extremely unclear how CBSA would implement enforcement measures introduced in Bill C-8 in the face of the cuts from budget 2008.

Budget 2012 slashed $143 million in funding to CBSA, which in turn reduced front-line officers and weakened our ability to monitor our borders. The New Democrats understand that CBSA needs to be adequately resourced in order to carry out this new work that we expect from it in a manner that does not take away from the other very important work it already performs.

This $143 million in cuts to CBSA over three years will equate to a loss of 549 full-time equivalents between now and 2015, according to this year's CBSA Report on Plans and Priorities.

The changes proposed by Bill C-8 will require that CBSA dedicate additional resources to areas such as intelligence analysis, port of entry examination and officer training. However, to accomplish the goals set out in the bill without additional funds, CBSA will have to re-allocate internal sources. This puts at risk many of the other extremely important work that CBSA perform.

If we look at some of the other bills the government brought in, on one hand, it brings in some legislation that will be tough on crime. On the other hand, it cuts funding to preventive programs that require either monitoring of individuals or reintegration of some of the people who will be out of jail. The government is creating these paper tigers, while at the same time it is not only cutting the very people who will be enforcing the legislation, but it is also cutting some of the remedial funding that is needed to ensure these kinds of laws and regulations actually work in real life.

It is very discouraging that we are trying to protect the health of safety of Canadians, of balancing that with the copyrights, while at the same time cutting the funding for the very officers who would be monitoring all of this. That is very troubling.

The men and women of the Canada Border Service Agency have the extremely important job of defending our borders in every respect, and they put their lives on the line every day to ensure our borders and our citizens are safe. The New Democrats believe that CBSA needs to be adequately funded in order to carry out the provisions of the bill effectively so it can continue to do its job without compromising its other important responsibilities in protecting our borders and our citizens. I hope the government will take steps to ensure CBSA has the resources needed to perform the duties that are being asked of it under Bill C-8.

As I mentioned earlier, I want to speak to the exceptions that are included in the bill, including the exception for personal use and for items in transit control. The personal use exemption means that border officials would not be permitted to seize copies that would be in one's possession or baggage. The provision for items in transit is also important in providing balance in the bill for items that may be destined for a location to which they are being imported lawfully. These are important exemptions to ensure that on the whole, this system is workable and cost effective.

As I mentioned earlier, budgetary restrictions on border officers already pose challenges to the implementation of the bill. These exemptions would ensure that Bill C-8 would not create longer border delays, increased searches of individual travellers as well as put an additional burden on CBSA officers.

I come from Surrey, which is only a 10 or 15-minute ride from the border, and I have already seen long lineups at the border going both ways. In the Lower Mainland of B.C., a lot of the jobs are created by tourism. As we know, one of the best places to live is British Columbia, in Surrey, Vancouver and greater Vancouver. There are a lot of visitors from the states and, likewise, Canadians go south of the border. Many times I have seen hours and hours of long lineups either to get into the United States or to come to Canada.

There should not be cuts to the very people who look after our borders. The cuts to CBSA over the last number of years, and cuts that will happen in the next few years, have put extra burden on these individuals. I hope the government takes into consideration that cutting the very people who are patrolling our borders, CBSA officers and RCMP, is going to have an impact not only on the movement of people from one side to the other, but also goods, which would hurt the economy in which we operate. It also hurts jobs. Cutting the funding for these border services officers will impact not only how we implement this bill, but will have an impact on the movement of goods and services across the border.

The New Democrats believe that intellectual property requires an approach that strikes a balance between the interests of rights holders and the interests of users and consumers. These exceptions are important provisions that work to maintain this delicate balance.

I am glad to see the Conservative government put forward legislation that essentially all parties can agree on. That is an important step in protecting both businesses and consumers in Canada. Although I am not hopeful, I hope the government will take my comments about the need for more resources to be allocated to CBSA under advisement and work to ensure the bill is implemented effectively.

The member for Hamilton Mountain talked about the New Democrats introducing amendments that would improve the bill. I have seen in other committees where the government brings in legislation, many experts testify before committee and offer very thoughtful suggestions that could improve bills further to ensure they are workable, in the best interests of Canadians and close any sort of loopholes. As usual, time after time, whether it is this bill or other bills, the government has failed to take those suggestions into consideration.

Surely, after many thousands of suggestions, whether by the official opposition, the New Democrats, or experts from many different organizations across the country, the government would consider some of those suggestions to improve bills. Time after time, it has not accepted amendments offered by us.

I hope the governing party takes my advice with regard to providing more resources and implementing Bill C-8.

Combatting Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2014 / 10:35 a.m.
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NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for the question. On raising the integrity of medicines and the health and safety of Canadians with respect to the medications that they take, he is, of course, spot on.

I think the member was referring to matters that we raised in question period here on this side of the House with respect to Apotex and the fact that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health effectively said that they raised the issue of unsafe drugs with the company but the company refused to act, as if that somehow were good enough for Canadians. Clearly, it was not.

Now, in Bill C-8, we have that issue before us again. We moved amendments in committee to make sure, as I said, that consumers would still be able to take generic drugs with the confidence that they were taking the right medication. We are now able to have generic drugs with the same shape, colour and size as the original medications precisely so that consumers can have confidence in the system. That is absolutely imperative.

The other question we have to ask ourselves is this. If we are creating this framework to keep Canadians safe, why are we cutting the resources for both the RCMP and Canadian border officials, which would make it impossible to enforce that regime?

Those resources have been cut dramatically. Over 500 full-time jobs will be gone. How can Canadians have confidence that, even with this new regime, the necessary enforcement will be there to keep them and their families safe?

Combatting Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2014 / 10:35 a.m.
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NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my distinguished colleague for having so ably defended Bill C-8.

Clearly, the NDP always sides with Canadian consumers. The best example of that is when it comes to medication. The government waited three years to take medication with major defects off the market. That is a mistake that an honest and experienced leader, such as the Leader of the Opposition, would never have made. He would not have waited three years, I can tell you that.

Like all our policies, Bill C-8 is very much in line with our support for the minimum wage, our insistence that the health care cuts be reversed and our call for an inquiry into missing aboriginal women. In other words, with Bill C-8, is the NDP not demonstrating that it wants the government to work for Canadians, first and foremost?

Combatting Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2014 / 10:35 a.m.
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NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, trying to get into the heads of my Liberal colleagues is a very daunting proposition. I am not really prepared to do that.

I do know that when we were at committee my colleagues on our side of the committee room were quite surprised at the Liberals' approach. Every bit of expert testimony we had suggested that their proposed amendment would be a huge infringement on civil liberties. We found ourselves in the very strange position as New Democrats of voting with the Conservatives in maintaining the balance. It is indeed a very crucial balance that we tried to achieve in the bill between consumer rights and still being able to go after counterfeit goods.

I very much appreciate the question. I do not have an answer. I have no idea why the Liberals wanted to infringe civil liberties through the implementation of Bill C-8. It certainly made no sense to us.

Combatting Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2014 / 10:10 a.m.
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NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-8, the combating counterfeit products act. What a great short title for a bill. Who could possibly not be against counterfeit products coming into our country, especially when they may pose serious health and safety risks for Canadians? Certainly New Democrats are against that. However, despite the fact that the bill tries to frame the debate in the now infamous George Bush way of suggesting “you are either with us, or you're against us”, my NDP colleagues and I take our responsibilities here in the House very seriously, and we proposed a number of amendments that would have vastly improved the bill. So yes, despite supporting the thrust of the bill, we were at times critical of some of its provisions.

Let me not get ahead of myself. I will speak to our proposed amendments in due course. First though, let me spend a moment commenting on the bill as a whole. Bill C-8 would amend both the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act so as to strengthen enforcement of copyright and trademark rights and to curtail commercial activity involving infringing copies or counterfeit trademark goods.

To that end, the bill would add two new criminal offences under the Copyright Act, for possession and exportation of infringing copies, and create offences for selling or offering counterfeit goods on a commercial scale. It would also create a prohibition against importing or exporting infringing copies and counterfeit goods and introduce some balance to that prohibition by creating two exceptions: one, for personal use, meaning items in one's possession or baggage; and two, for items that are in transit.

On the enforcement side, the bill would grant new ex officio powers to border officials to detain infringing copies or counterfeit goods. This is a significant policy shift. Until now, border officials required private rights holders to obtain a court order before seizing infringing copies or goods. I will have much more to say about that in a moment, but first let me continue with my quick overview of Bill C-8.

The bill would also grant new ex officio powers to the Minister of Public Safety and border officials to share information on detained goods with rights holders. Lastly, it would widen the scope of what can be trademarked to the features found in the broad definition of “sign”, including colour, shapes, scents, taste, et cetera.

There can be no doubt that dealing with counterfeiting and infringement is important to both Canadian businesses and consumers, especially as I said before, where counterfeit goods may put the health or safety of Canadians at risk. However the bill is only as good as its enforcement. The strongest laws in the world do not mean a thing if governments are not willing to dedicate the necessary resources to crack down on counterfeit products coming into our country. When I look at the Conservative government's track record in that regard, I fear that we might be creating a paper tiger.

It is very difficult to see how a bill like this would be implemented, when last year alone the Conservatives slashed $143 million in funding to the Canada Border Services Agency, which further reduced front-line officers and harmed the agency's ability to monitor our borders. In fact, CBSA's report on plans and priorities indicates a loss of 549 full-time employees by 2015.

When I asked the minister about that at committee, he said that no new resources would be needed to implement the bill, but that means that border officials and the RCMP would have to reallocate existing resources to enforce this new law and that begs two questions. Which of the functions that they are currently performing to keep Canadians safe are they going to drop to enforce Bill C-8; or are they really not going to get serious about combatting counterfeit goods, in which case, why are we passing this bill? We never did get a satisfactory answer to that question, but it is a point that we will continue to press because it is critical to the successful fight against counterfeiting.

I want to move on now to a different issue. Canadians will remember that my NDP colleagues and I have often criticized the Conservative government for failing to take a balanced approach to copyright legislation in the past. The government's record was far from stellar. I do want to give the government some credit where credit is due. Bill C-8 contains important measures to protect consumer and individual rights, and my NDP colleagues and I worked hard at committee to make sure that these measures were maintained and strong.

When dealing with intellectual property, it is imperative that we adopt an approach that strikes a balance between the interests of rights holders and the interests of users and consumers. At first, alarm bells went off when the deputy minister for the Department of Industry said that Bill C-8 would bring Canada in line with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. ACTA contains copyright provisions that have been heavily criticized for failing to achieve this necessary balance. The European parliament rejected ACTA after an unprecedented outcry because its benefits were far outweighed by the threats to civil liberties.

Those threats included the risk of criminalizing individuals, concerns about the definition of “commercial scale”, the role of Internet service providers, and the possible interruption of the transit of generic medicines. In the end, the European Parliament rejected the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement.

I was therefore happy to see that Bill C-8 is much narrower than ACTA and that it contains a number of provisions that offer balance. There are important personal-use exceptions and exceptions for goods that are in transit. Most important, the bill does not address Internet service providers. Therefore, while my NDP colleagues and I continue to be concerned about the broader provisions in ACTA, we are comfortable supporting Bill C-8.

Ironically, it was the Liberal Party that, at committee, threatened to undermine the important balance that Bill C-8 struck. In fact, it moved two amendments that we worked hard to defeat precisely for that reason.

The first Liberal amendment was to remove the personal-use exception for individual travellers, a provision my NDP colleagues and I believe is absolutely crucial to bringing some balance to the bill.

As Dr. Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, put it in his blog:

Given that personal use exceptions are even included in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, it is shocking to see any party proposing their removal, which would result in longer delays at the border and increased searches of individual travellers...“this was one of the important provisions that brought some balance to the bill.”

Professor Jeremy de Beer added that:

...the personal use exception...[is] important...to make the whole system workable, manageable, and cost-effective. It's not possible to do everything within the resource allocations and the training parameters that our agents are provided with. So the system in the bill as it is creates a very pragmatic, workable starting point, and I would encourage us just to leave it there.

Thankfully, the Conservatives agreed with us, and the Liberal amendment was defeated.

The same was true of the Liberal amendment to add statutory damages to the bill. Having already proposed removing the personal exception for travellers and a simplified procedure for the seizure of goods that would remove court oversight in the destruction of goods in a greater number of cases, the Liberals proposed an amendment to add statutory damages, with a mandatory minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $100,000 in liability. The provision would limit the discretion of judges to order damages based on the evidence.

Again, I am going to quote the expert testimony by Dr. Geist at our committee:

With respect [to trademarks], statutory damages...are unnecessary. Rights holders frequently cite the specific value of their goods and the harms associated with counterfeiting. If the claims are accurate, demonstrating the value for the purpose of a damage award should not be difficult.

Moreover, other countries have experienced problems with statutory damages for trademarks. For example, Taiwan reformed its trademarks statutory damages provision when courts began awarding disproportionate awards. In the U.S., statutory damages for trademarks has led to trademark trolls engaging in litigation designed primarily to obtain costly settlements against small businesses that can ill afford to fight in court.

Again, my NDP colleagues and I were adamant that this amendment be defeated, because it not only undermined the delicate balance achieved by Bill C-8 but actually went beyond what even ACTA had envisioned.

Not all proposed amendments were bad, however, and as I said at the outset, there were sections of the bill that could, and should, have been strengthened. To that end, I want to spend the remainder of the time available to me here to highlight just a few of the amendments my NDP colleagues and I moved in committee in a sincere effort to improve the bill.

The first was one that all parties ended up agreeing to, which was that we needed to return to the original definition of “distinctive” in the Trade-marks Act.

I understand that squabbling about definitions may seem as exciting as watching paint dry, but in this case, it was important that we get it right.

As the generic drug industry persuasively argued before our committee, there is significant case law to make it possible for a generic version of a drug to have the same colour, shape, and size as the brand-name drug with the same effect. This is absolutely crucial for the patients who are using those drugs, since any confusion could have deadly consequences.

To throw that case law into doubt by changing the existing definition for no demonstrably important reason made no sense to any of us on the committee.

I am pleased to say that the original definition is now restored in Bill C-8. Sadly, the spirit of co-operation did not extend to other amendments that would have been equally important to ensuring that the intent of the bill was actually reflected in its language. For example, the NDP moved amendments to Bill C-8 that would have ensured that parallel imports would be excluded from the bill's reach.

Intellectual property lawyer Howard Knopf told us:

The bill should propose appropriate declaratory language for both the Copyright Act and Trade-marks Act that makes is [sic] absolutely clear that, with the exception of the sui generis book importation scheme now found in s. 27.1 of the Copyright Act, neither of these acts shall in any way restrict the importation, distribution or sale of any product, whether tangible or digital, that has been manufactured or first put on the market anywhere in the world with authorization.

This is crucial, because parallel importation is an important tool for many businesses for participating in perfectly legal trade, which we would not want to discourage. Yet the bill is unclear as to whether trade like this could unintentionally get caught under this bill. We of course continue to expect that important health and safety standards are met by all parallel imports, but at the same time, we want to ensure that small and medium-sized businesses, and in fact businesses of every kind, can continue to engage in parallel importation.

We heard from Jeremy de Beer at committee. He said:

...I've consulted with a number of my expert colleagues, other intellectual property experts—we don't understand how this doesn't apply to parallel imports. If it's inadvertent, then it's an easy fix. If everybody agrees this shouldn't apply to parallel imports, then we just add an exception for parallel imports and the matter's closed.

We could not agree more, but unfortunately, the government rejected the amendments that would have added that much-needed clarity to the bill.

Our NDP amendments to create a duty to use the measures of the bill in good faith unfortunately met the same end. The intent of our amendments was to counter vexatious litigation and to prevent a rights holder from using detentions and delays to harm a competitor in cases where there was no legitimate counterfeit infringement concern. This is especially important for small-business owners whose businesses may not be able to survive the costs of malicious or bad-faith claims. Again, this was a concern that was raised in testimony to our committee.

Michael Geist made this clear:

...detention of goods can be used to harm small Canadian businesses that could find the goods they are seeking to import detained, oftentimes by competitors. The absence of a misuse provision in this bill is particularly notable in this regard.

Our amendments should have been seen as friendly. They were in keeping with the spirit of the legislation and simply sought to improve enforcement mechanisms without creating new barriers to competition. Sadly,the government rejected our good-faith efforts to improve the bill.

In a similar vein, we tried to amend Bill C-8 to address the costs that may be borne by small businesses for the wrongful and mistaken detention of goods. As the bill is currently written, it contains a “no liability” provision for the crown and provides for damages against rights holders in cases where court proceedings are dismissed or discontinued. In attempting to strike an appropriate balance between consumer and industry interests, Bill C-8 would place the cost of detaining suspect goods on the rights holder. However, as we heard during testimony at committee, Bill C-8 is clearly lacking misuse provisions to ensure that actors are not engaging in frivolous claims as a means of acting anti-competitively. As a result, our amendments sought to provide the courts with the clear authority to provide for damages where any court action is determined to be frivolous, vexatious, or made in bad faith.

Without creating a new barrier for rights holders to protect their copyright or trademark, this amendment would create a safeguard to ensure the integrity of the system and would protect small businesses from the possibility of a company abusing the provisions of Bill C-8 for anti-competitive purposes rather than for protecting their legitimate intellectual property. Although we again believed that these amendments would be deemed to be friendly by the government, we were mistaken. These two were defeated, and in our view, it was an important missed opportunity to make the bill stronger.

The last NDP amendment I want to highlight here was our effort to create a tool for assessing whether the bill would actually be effective in combatting counterfeit products, as the bill's title would have us believe it would be. When my NDP colleagues and I asked in committee whether it was possible to ascertain the extent of the problem of counterfeit goods coming into our country, the answer was a resounding no. At best, we know the value of the seizures that were made. As the RCMP told us, the retail value of counterfeit goods they seized increased from $7.6 million in 2005 to $38 million in 2012. However, that does not account for any of the goods that were not detected as they crossed our borders.

That is a significant concern, especially since, as I said earlier, the government has cut the ability of Canada Border Services to do its job by slashing the agency's budget by $143 million. That cut has seriously harmed our ability to monitor our borders.

We know that the problem is bigger than the numbers reflected in the RCMP's seizure stats, but accurately measuring the scale of counterfeit copies and goods in Canada remains difficult. This is owing to the clandestine nature of counterfeiting. In addition to the actual seizures, much of the data are estimates based on anecdotal information or are from industry itself, in which case, the collection methods may be unavailable to assess.

What we do know is that counterfeit products can pose risks to the health and safety of consumers, whether we are talking about counterfeit electrical components, faulty brake pads, or unsanitary stuffing in goose down jackets.

According to the Chamber of Commerce's Canadian Intellectual Property Council, counterfeit batteries have exploded in the desks of police who have stored them, and the acid leaking from counterfeit batteries has caused burns to at least eight Canadian children. It is precisely for those types of safety reasons that it is essential that we know the scope of the problem. How else can we know whether we are assigning the appropriate resources to dealing with the problem of counterfeiting?

When I raised this issue with the Minister of Industry in committee, he acknowledged that there are no more accurate estimates out there. When we asked the RCMP whether it had numbers, just with respect to the number of Canadian manufacturers who have been convicted of importing or exporting counterfeit goods, we were told that it had no figures for that either. Therefore, it seemed to us that the bill could create an important opportunity to require accurate information to be both collected and reported so that Parliament, and more importantly Canadians, would have a better way of evaluating whether we were being successful in addressing the concerns at the heart of this bill. In fact, we were simply echoing the recommendation of the industry committee in 2007, which called on the government to establish a reporting system that would track investigations, charges, and seizures for infringing copies and counterfeit goods as a means of collecting some data.

Our proposed amendment had the support of the Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters. Joy Nott, the president and CEO of the organization, responded to a question from me by saying:

Do I support the monitoring of this sort of thing? Absolutely I do. I think that's a great idea because, from a business perspective, business lives on metrics and on data. This is how they help to make decisions. Right now when it comes to copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and the ability to import into Canada, it's a little bit like the wild west in that there's nothing that stops these shipments at the border currently unless the owner of the trademark takes specific, very onerous action through Canadian federal courts to register something.

Since there seemed to be agreement that a reporting requirement would be an important improvement to Bill C-8, we moved an amendment to require an annual report to Parliament with information on detainments made under the bill. We had hoped for information on the number of detainments, the number of requests for assistance under both the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act, and the number of inspections conducted. Sadly, the government members voted to defeat this amendment, and once again confirmed for me that this government has complete disdain for evidence-based decision making.

Despite the fact that our amendments were defeated, we continue to be supportive of the bill as a whole. In this case, at least it is a start. Dealing with counterfeiting and infringement is important for both Canadian businesses and consumers. Members can rest assured that with or without a report back to Parliament, we will not stop holding the government to account on this important file. Without adequate resources for enforcement, C-8 will prove to be a paper tiger. That cannot be allowed to happen, especially when the health and safety of Canadians may very well be at risk.

The House resumed from September 19 consideration of the motion that Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the third time and passed.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

September 25th, 2014 / 3:05 p.m.
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York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, on the question of missing and murdered aboriginal women, I was pleased that last night the House of Commons had an opportunity to vote to concur with the excellent work in the report done by the committee of parliamentarians that examined that issue, one of well over two dozen such studies that have been undertaken on the subject. They have been helpful in forming the government's action plan that is taking place to help address this problem and help to improve the conditions of aboriginal women on reserve and elsewhere.

In terms of the government's agenda, this afternoon we will continue the second reading of Bill C-41, the Canada-Korea economic growth and prosperity act. This important bill would implement our landmark free trade agreement with South Korea, Canada's first in the Asia-Pacific region, I might add. It would provide expanded access for Canada's businesses and workers to a growing G20 economy, Asia's fourth largest.

Free trade with South Korea is projected to create thousands of jobs for hard-working Canadians by boosting Canada's economy by almost $2 billion annually and increasing our exports to South Korea by almost one-third.

That debate will continue next week, on Tuesday.

Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, will see the conclusion of the report stage of Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. The House will recall that we are working to implement this legislation before the Supreme Court’s decision in Bedford takes effect before Christmas.

Monday shall be the third allotted day, with the New Democrats choosing the topic of discussion.

I am designating Monday as the day appointed pursuant to Standing Order 66.2 for the conclusion of the debate on the first report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

On Wednesday, the House will return to the report stage debate on Bill C-13, the protecting Canadians from online crime legislation.

Thursday morning should see the end of the third reading debate on Bill C-8, the combating counterfeit products act. Then we will resume the second reading debate on Bill C-40, the important bill to establish the Rouge national urban park. After question period we will start the second reading debate on Bill S-5, which would also, in a similar vein, create the Nááts’ihch’oh national park reserve.

Friday will be set aside for third reading of Bill C-36.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2014 / 10:40 a.m.
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NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, this bill touches on relatively complex issues such as copyright, intellectual property, trademark rights and the ethical and legal challenges related to Internet regulations. There are many types of counterfeit products, and depending on the case, Canadians can suffer very different consequences. As with the Criminal Code, some infractions could endanger peoples' lives or safety, while others have economic consequences. When it comes right down to it, counterfeiting is a form of fraud and, like all fraud, sooner or later it will affect Canadians' quality of life.

The International Chamber of Commerce “puts the cost of lost tax revenue and additional welfare spending due to counterfeit goods up to USD 125 billion in developed countries alone. And 2.5 million jobs have been lost as a result of fake products.”

Globalization makes it easier for countries to engage in trade, thus considerably increasing the opportunities for this type of activity. The counterfeit products intercepted in Canada in 2012 and seized by the RCMP were worth nearly $40 million a year. That number has increased more than fivefold in the past 10 years, from $7.6 million in 2005 to $38 million in 2012.

By 2015, the International Chamber of Commerce expects the value of counterfeit goods globally to exceed $1.7 billion U.S. That is over 2% of the world's total current economic output.

The government introduced this bill on March 1, 2013, as Bill C-56. Interestingly, that very same day, the U.S. International Trade Administration published a report asking Canada to adopt specific measures in line with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to combat counterfeiting in Canada. Specifically, it recommended that customs officers be given the necessary authority to intercept suspicious goods.

The problem is that Canada has not yet ratified the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement despite the fact that it signed the agreement on October 1, 2011. For its part, the European Parliament rejected the agreement, which means that neither the European Union nor any of its member states will be able to ratify the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, the United States and Europe, Canada seems to want to have its cake and eat it too by taking a vague position on the importance of combating this phenomenon without talking about the agreement specifically.

The American authorities can certainly suggest that the Canadian government improve its customs services and give them the authority they need to seize or at least intercept products that they suspect are counterfeit, but nothing can force the government to allocate the necessary resources. Without adequate training for officers and additional resources for inspection services, especially the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and customs, they can write whatever they want.

Not only do officers have to know all of the laws in addition to the Customs Act and details about trade agreements that have a bearing on these issues, they also have to have the expertise to recognize problematic situations and counterfeit goods. However, the government is cutting jobs and the agency's budget the same way it is cutting other departments and organizations.

We always get the same answer: the cuts are not affecting services. However, we must not kid ourselves. Border officers did not have these responsibilities before this bill was implemented, and with the staff cutbacks, there are fewer people doing the same amount of work. The agency was asked to cut back by at least 10%, as were all departments and agencies, which has resulted in a shortfall of over $140 million since 2012. The border officers' union said that some 1,000 jobs would be lost over the next few years as a result of those budget cuts.

In fact, that was one of the main criticisms of the members of the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, a not-for-profit group made up of individuals, businesses and associations that have joined forces to combat fraud, counterfeiting and copyright violations. In a letter to the Minister of Industry prior to the parliamentary committee's study of Bill C-8, which we are currently debating, the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network outlined five contentious issues in the bill, including the lack of resources.

The letter states, and I quote:

While the Bill empowers Canadian customs officers more than before, we are concerned that insufficient resources may be allocated to allow for effective enforcement by CBSA.

We fully agree that more powers need to be given to border services officers. However, they must know what their rights and responsibilities are, since they will have no legal supervision. The agency must also have the resources needed to train them and properly enforce this legislation.

The Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network is currently fulfilling its mandate by helping to train customs officers and members of various police forces to recognize fraud and counterfeit products. In committee, the group's representative expressed his frustration with staff turnover and layoffs. He said:

I'm continually frustrated by the fact that it's like a drop in the bucket. If we go to the Niagara Falls border and train 50 border guards, as we did last year, and then come back in three months, 50% of them have gone on to other jobs, and we start over again. It's very difficult to maintain a level of understanding of what products look like.

They need some help on their side, and we're willing to help them, but we don't have funding either.

Let us be clear: strengthening the rules and legislation on counterfeiting is a good idea, but we have to put words into action.

According to a number of witnesses, the financial burden that comes with penalties and the administrative costs of a seizure falls to the rights owners, who are already stung by the counterfeiting.They therefore become financially responsible for the legislation put in place to protect their rights. The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology heard from several witnesses about that, including Michael Geist, Wayne Edwards and Martin Lavoie.

At the very least, I would like to cite part of the testimony by Michael Geist, who is well known in the field of digital law and copyright:

Further, detention of goods can be used to harm small Canadian businesses that could find the goods they are seeking to import detained, oftentimes by competitors. The absence of a misuse provision in this bill is particularly notable in this regard.

Those remarks were echoed by Martin Lavoie of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association:

...I would like to raise a number of concerns that we and our members have with the bill in its current form.

One of them is about the responsibility of the right holder—or in other words, the victim of counterfeiting—to pay the fees associated with the detention and destruction of goods. We do not understand the rationale for this.

We believe that the importers should be responsible for these costs, since they are the ones introducing these goods into our country in the first place. They should not be given a free ride. Where is the disincentive [for importers of counterfeit products] in that? Moreover, these costs, which will largely be incurred in court proceedings, are likely to be onerous and difficult to support for smaller companies that are the victims of counterfeiting. I know that you've heard this from other witnesses. We share this concern.

That is a concern that we on this side of the House also share. We are going to support this bill at third reading, but it is important to recognize that the bill still has shortcomings that were not corrected by the committee.

The NDP proposed nine amendments, which were all rejected. The only amendments that were accepted were technical amendments. This happens regularly in every committee when the Conservatives see certain flaws in their bills.

Like all opposition parties, our role as the official opposition is not only to oppose—which will not be the case with Bill C-8 since we are going to support it—but also to point out any significant flaws in the text and any negative effects that the government did not take into account when drafting and examining the bill. We therefore strongly criticize the government for failing to listen to the arguments made by the opposition.

We are going to support this bill, since it is a step in the right direction on the important issue of counterfeiting. Given that trade with our major trade partner, the United States, is fairly free, this is a way to coordinate our efforts in the fight against counterfeiting, a practice for which there is no justification. As I mentioned earlier, counterfeiting is a type of fraud that must be dealt with.

Will the government now put words into action? Will it provide the resources necessary to implement this bill and ensure that border and other officials responsible for identifying and seizing counterfeit goods can do their work effectively?

With regard to funding for these agencies, whether it be border services, food inspection or customs as a whole, the government still has a long way to go to ensure that Bill C-8 becomes law and that authorities have the strength and power to enforce it.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2014 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

I am pleased to join the debate today on Bill C-8, an act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. People watching at home might think this is something that does not really concern them, that it is an arcane piece of legislation that does not affect their daily lives. I want to emphasize to them that, in fact, this is something that affects Canadian jobs, Canadian consumers, and Canadian safety in our homes and in our communities.

In brief, the purpose of the bill is to strengthen the enforcement of copyright and trademark rights and to basically curtail counterfeit goods coming into Canada. Specifically, it would add two new criminal offences under the copyright act for the possession and export of infringing copies. It would create offences for selling and offering counterfeit goods on a commercial scale. It would create a prohibition against importing or exporting infringing copies and counterfeit goods.

It would introduce some balance to that prohibition by creating two new exemptions. One is personal use, and this is important. In other words, a person might have something in his or her personal possession, perhaps in personal baggage, that happens to be counterfeit and he or she does not know it. The second is for items that are in transit control.

It grants new ex officio powers to border officials to detain infringing copies or counterfeit goods. That is a significant policy shift, because until now, border officials required private rights holders to get a court order before seizing or infringing any copies or goods.

There are other measures as well, but let me, in the limited time I have, elaborate a bit on what this means for Canadians. Most of the counterfeit goods that come into Canada today are from China, but some come in from the U.S. and some other countries. How does this affect Canadian jobs? Companies that manufacture here in Canada, that trademark their name on the quality and value of the product people buy, become subject to cheap knock-offs that get sold at discount prices.

Let me give a very specific example. On a cold winter day, all across Canada, we can see many people wearing Canada Goose jackets and coats. Canada Goose jackets have a distinctive logo that is very clear to see. The coats are fairly expensive, but they are super warm and good quality and when people buy them, they know that they are getting that quality. These coats are made here in Canada. They are designed here. They are manufactured here under tight quality controls. Canadian workers make these coats. They do an excellent job and provide good value. For these cheap knock-offs that come in, we have no idea what the labour conditions are. They could be produced in very hazardous conditions. They could be produced by child labour. We have no idea of the conditions that these, or any counterfeit products, are produced under.

Consumers might think they are getting a heck of deal. These are expensive products, and if they can get them on sale online cheaply, why not do it?

Let me quote Canada Goose. It talks about counterfeits of its products that have come into Canada.

Made illegally in factories in Asia, the fake jackets are found on many rogue websites as well as in the flea markets of Shanghai, Beijing and Bangkok. Counterfeiting is illegal. It often funds organized crime and counterfeit factories in regions where labour standards are lax and often employ child labour.

Counterfeiting is not only illegal, but also dangerous.

After analyzing the content of counterfeit jackets, we know that instead of the sanitized, Canadian down used by Canada Goose, counterfeiters often use feather mulch or other fillers. These materials are often coated in bacteria, fungus or mildew, posing significant health risks to unsuspecting consumers. As well, raccoon, dog or other unknown animal hair may be used in place of our functional coyote fur ruff.

Even more frightening is that for a person in cold climate, an authentic Canada Goose parka could mean the difference between life and death. Without real down and fur, the chance of frostbite or freezing becomes a real possibility.

This is one very concrete example of what the proposed legislation is designed to combat.

We also have examples of counterfeit batteries that have exploded. There are a number of cases of children being burned by products that had counterfeit batteries in them. The bill is designed to combat that, and certainly New Democrats support the notion of dealing with counterfeiting.

For those who are concerned about what this might mean for the Internet, the proposed legislation does not deal with websites. It does not block content or take down websites. As I outlined earlier, infringement goods are limited to personal exemption in one's personal baggage.

New Democrats support taking on this issue and dealing with counterfeit goods. However, I will say that it is difficult to understand how a bill like this would be implemented when the Conservatives' 2012 budget cut $143 million in funding from border services. That means that the very border guards who would be required to enforce the legislation would have less resources to do that.

Those budget cuts in 2013-14 meant a loss of 549 full-time equivalent jobs between now and 2015. What is more, under the bill, customs officers would need special training because they would be asked to make highly complicated assessments of whether goods entering or exiting the country infringe on any copyright or trademark rights. This is an assessment that sometimes the courts themselves struggle with, yet we would ask border guards to adequately implement the bill and protect Canadians and our borders without a full complement of staff.

The NDP will be supporting the bill at third reading. We think it is important that we deal with copyright in order to protect Canadian jobs and consumers, and certainly for the health and safety aspects, where we have seen real problems in the past.

The bill speaks to the notion of labour rights and making sure that people have adequate protections in the workplace. However, we do not want to, through shoddy or weak enforcement of the bill, inadvertently be subsidizing counterfeit goods or organized crime that trades in counterfeit goods.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2014 / 10:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise to speak to Bill C-8 this morning. I will start off with an example that I think people would be able to relate to on why it is important that we bring forward legislation of this nature.

As everyone knows, Winnipeg had the opportunity to have the Winnipeg Jets NHL franchise. That was just a couple of years ago now. At the time, there was a great deal of hype built around the Winnipeg Jets, what the new logo was going to look like, and so forth. It was kept secret until a certain release date when the new logo was announced.

When that business plan was developed, part of the business plan included the sale of merchandise, wanting to capitalize, no doubt, on the fresh, newly minted Winnipeg Jets. The NHL franchise came up with a very unique and, I suggest, wonderful logo. Within months of the release of that logo, NHL material was authorized, copyrighted, and so forth, and was up for sale. Many would argue the price was a little steep for these NHL freshly minted Winnipeg Jet jerseys, at well over $100 each, but it was the authentic jersey, the real thing, if I can put it that way.

Within weeks of the release of the logo, jerseys started appearing that were not authorized. They were infringements on the copyright. What ended up happening was that it caused quite a bit of a commotion, and I can appreciate why. The NHL and the Winnipeg Jets franchise were quite concerned about how this counterfeit product was being produced in such a quick fashion and being sold to the thousands of Manitobans and many others who were quite fascinated and wanted to purchase some of this merchandise. It had a fairly profound impact in terms of sales and the franchise would argue that, ultimately, it lost a great deal of revenue because of it.

I use that as just an example of why it is that, as a Parliament, we need to provide protections for the copyrights of entrepreneurs and others. That is, in essence, what Bill C-8 is really all about.

It would create new civil causes of action with respect to sustaining commercial activities in infringing copies and counterfeit trademarked goods. It would also create new criminal offences for trademark counterfeiting that are similar to existing offences in the Copyright Act. It would create new criminal offences prohibiting the possession or exporting of infringing copies or counterfeit trademarked goods, packaging or labels.

It would also enact new border enforcement measures enabling customs officers to detain goods that they suspect infringe copyright or trademark rights, and allowing them to share information relating to the detained goods with rights owners who have filed a request for assistance, in order to give the rights owners a reasonable opportunity to pursue a remedy in court. It would exempt the importation and exportation of copies and goods by an individual for his or her personal use from the application of the border measures.

It would also add the offence set out in the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act to the list of offences set out in the Criminal Code for the investigation of which police may seek judicial authorization to use a wiretap.

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

My colleague, the member for Toronto Centre, the Liberal Party critic, has done a wonderful job ensuring that the Liberal Party was well represented at the committee stage, getting and providing positive feedback. On occasion, she did propose amendments. Unfortunately, the government did not see the merits of the amendments, which were ultimately defeated. It is somewhat sad to see, given the importance of the legislation, that the government did not allow amendments to pass, whether Liberal or New Democratic.

Yesterday, I was talking about the importance of the committee stage and how we can improve legislation by bringing forward amendments. One of the things we have noticed with the majority Conservative government is that its attitude toward amendments in committee is not positive at all. The government seems to be of the opinion that unless an amendment originates from a Conservative member of Parliament, or more particularly, from the ministry or the Prime Minister's office, that amendment should not pass. That seems to be a general rule that applies to all pieces of legislation, which is most unfortunate given the importance of trying to pass good, solid legislation.

The idea and principle behind legislation going to the committee stage is one of allowing members to participate and be engaged in the process. If members feel they have something to contribute they can bring forward amendments, either on their behalf or behalf of their political party, as the Liberal Party critic attempted to do.

There are a number of things that are worthy of noting. In terms of the actual cost, the RCMP has increased, virtually fivefold since 2005 to 2012, the number of seizures that have taken place. As members can appreciate, we are talking about millions of dollars' worth of product. This really emphasizes the degree to which the RCMP, if they are engaged on the file, are finding that much more counterfeit product being recognized.

We know there is a great deal of counterfeit product coming in through the Internet. There are many different ways in which one could sell product over the Internet. At the end of the day, we suspect there is a great deal of counterfeit product being sold through the Internet. We challenge the government to be more proactive in regard to that particular issue. As an example, I made reference to the Winnipeg Jets. Once could also talk about other consumer products.

The other day someone brought this issue to my attention with regard to purses. If one were to go into some of the more upscale commercial facilities, purses sell in the neighbourhood of $400 to $600. They can be very expensive. Copies provided by someone who is prepared to infringe on copyright and provide a duplicate that is incredibly close to the original are sold for a fraction of the cost. There might be a retail value on a certain type of purse at the upper end, somewhere around $450 to $500, but through unethical organizations or business individuals, they can produce that purse at a substantially lower cost and then undersell the retailer. Instead of $450, they might be able to sell that same look-alike purse for $30 to $40 and still make a substantial profit. These are the types of things we need to be aware of. As more and more consumers look to the Internet to acquire goods, I suspect this is going to be a larger problem going forward.

Today through our border officers and customs agents, we get a great deal of commercial activity. One of the areas that is really growing is the Internet. This is something the government has fallen short on in terms of providing some sort of assurance or protection for copyrighted material.

It is also important for us to recognize that even though the legislation is a step forward in the right direction, as I have tried to emphasize, it could have done so much more. One of the things I want to emphasize is that even though there is more power going to our Canada border control, we need to put that into perspective in terms of what the government has done in recent budgets in terms of cutbacks to border control and customs offices.

On the one hand, we recognize there is a problem with copyright and trademark infringements. A major aspect of that problem comes from international borders where product comes in or is leaving, which is growing every day. On the other hand, we have a government that is reducing the resources that are being allocated at our borders.

I have a difficult time with that. There is a larger problem and it continues to grow. The government responds by saying it has legislation, Bill C-8, which is its attempt to deal with the problem. Conservatives present it and try to appease the different stakeholders by saying they brought in the legislation to deal with this issue, but on the other hand, they did not provide the proper resources for our customs officers and border control people to provide the types of assurances through checks, and so forth, that show we are serious about dealing with it, that we are compensating product and ensuring there is a consequence to those who are trying to illegally bring in material for resale purposes.

Yes, it is great to see that we have legislation before us today and it is a step in the right direction, but we should not try to give false impressions because the legislation is only one aspect of this. The other aspect is to ensure that we provide additional resources to our law enforcement agencies. This is where the government has really fallen short.

As I indicated, the Liberal Party has some concerns with regard to the legislation. We recognize the need to provide new enforcement tools to help strengthen Canada's existing enforcement regime for counterfeit goods. We believe that the Canadian business and industry associations must be protected to ensure the well-being of those domestic businesses and the health and safety of Canadians, as well as the integrity of the Canadian economy as a whole. When we make reference to the issue of health and safety, this is something that quite often gets overlooked.

Whether it is medication or something that might be used for prescriptions, there are many products being brought into Canada, and we do not know if those products are safe for use.

I have emphasized that the Liberal Party would like to investigate how e-commerce may provide a loophole for counterfeit products. That is why I have suggested that the government has missed an opportunity where there may be great deal of potential abuse. I suggest that the government might want to reconsider.

Border officers are not copyright experts. They do their best, and we must compliment them on the fantastic job they do. Having said that, they would be given new and increased powers that are not overseen by courts, which may lead to some illegitimate seizures and violations of the Charter of Rights. To what degree has that been taken into consideration?

There are several further concerns that have been raised. If there are more seizures due to increased powers for border officers and the RCMP, how will the government fund these extensive investigative operations? Should genuine non-counterfeit products be seized and destroyed, how will the government compensate companies and individuals that might have been exploited? Moreover, how will the government protect the information of legitimate importers from potential misuse of the request-for-assistance mechanism? How will the government determine whether importers of counterfeit products are aware that products are counterfeit? These are the types of questions that have been raised. We have found that the government has been wanting in terms of providing the answers.

Why are there no provisions for counterfeit goods being shipped through Canada? That is a bit of a surprise. The legislation does not seem to deal with that issue. We know that counterfeit products will come into Canada and ultimately leave Canada. How big the problem is, it is hard to say. To what degree do we have products coming into Canada, being labelled as coming from Canada, and being sent to other regions? These are legitimate concerns.

There is so much one could say about this particular bill. However, at the end of the day, it is about protecting Canada's economy and ensuring that we bring in legislation that enhances our economic activity. This is something that is important to the Liberal Party as we strive to ensure that the middle class is given the opportunity to grow and prosper. Legislation of this nature, if it is done properly, will actually protect jobs. It will ensure that Canadians are healthy and that the products they are acquiring are legitimate products from the original manufacturers.

If I pay a price believing that I have acquired something that is under trademark or copyright, I would like to think that this is what I am receiving. The Government of Canada has a role to play in that.

The House resumed from June 19 consideration of the motion that Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the third time and passed.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2014 / 3:15 p.m.
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York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let me welcome you and everyone back to the House for the autumn sitting. I know it will be a hard-working, orderly, and productive sitting because there is much work that we have to do.

This afternoon, we will resume third reading debate on Bill C-3, safeguarding Canada's seas and skies act. Tomorrow, we will have the final day of third reading debate on Bill C-8, combating counterfeit products act.

Monday, at noon, we will start the report stage of Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. In the afternoon, we will start the report stage of Bill C-13, the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act.

Tuesday, as I announced at the start of the week, shall be the second allotted day. This will be an opportunity for the leader of the Liberal Party to put forward a proposal for some new initiative. This week we saw the New Democrats do that. As much as their idea was neither bold nor responsible, it was a motion which let us have a debate on the merits of an idea. I hope the hon. member for Papineau will be inspired to set aside his musings of the summer and present to us a concrete proposal for which he will come into this House to explain and defend in debate.

On Wednesday and Thursday, I will give priority to the consideration of any new government legislation that may be introduced between now and then.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2014 / 9:10 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her remarks. We are always acknowledging the skill of my colleague, who does good research and provides relevant examples throughout her presentations. However, there is one image she evoked in her speech that struck me and stayed with me for the 20 minutes that she spoke.

In the very first words of her speech, she said that Bill C-8 is a first step. We have heard this expression many times. The image that came to mind is that with a first step we are not actually going anywhere. We need to take at least two steps to move forward. One step can be used to pivot and skirt around the subject, but it does not move us forward.

In the case of Bill C-8, it seems to me that the second step was proposed by the NDP in a very good amendment, which called on Parliament to produce an annual report based on RCMP seizures, in order to have the clearest possible picture of a situation that is hard to grasp, as it has to do with the black market.

Given the Conservatives' refusal to adopt the proposed amendment, why have they not managed to come up with a plan to collect better data, which would allow us to take the second step and give us the sense that we are making progress?

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2014 / 8:50 p.m.
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NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to debate Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, the short title of which is the Combating Counterfeit Products Act.

In fact, I am also surprised to be speaking, because I remember very clearly that the Conservatives have had a lot to say about this issue over the years. In 2007, the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology submitted a rather lengthy report that said specifically that counterfeiting and piracy were theft. The committee made numerous recommendations to that effect.

What surprises me this evening is that not one Conservative has spoken on this important government bill. This is a bill that was introduced by the Minister of Industry, which is somewhat rare. As well, during the time for questions after each speech, there have been no questions from the government.

As the member for LaSalle—Émard, when I debate a bill, I always ask myself whether it affects the people in my riding. The riding I have the honour and pleasure to represent is very diverse. It is a residential riding, but it has a very large industrial park. There are a lot of businesses in my riding and a lot of small and medium-sized businesses. When I look at this bill to combat counterfeiting, I wonder what impact counterfeiting has on the people in my riding.

There are numerous examples of counterfeiting that I will talk about briefly and that were discussed earlier. There are certain counterfeit products, and a number of cases in the media have shown this, that affect people’s health and safety. Combating counterfeiting means preventing products that could be hazardous to the health and safety of my constituents in LaSalle—Émard from coming in and circulating, and that is very important to me.

There is another perverse effect of counterfeiting: when counterfeit products are in circulation, there are consequences for our economy and intellectual property owners, Canadian companies and companies from elsewhere, that have invested in research and development to create a product, a trademark or a new product for which they hold the patents and the intellectual property—which they own, in a word. If those products and trademarks are copied, there is an economic loss for the owner of the intellectual property.

That is why I rise today to speak to Bill C-8, a bill to combat counterfeiting. I do it on behalf of the people of LaSalle—Émard.

Let us look a little more closely at what the bill is going to do.

(2.11) It is an infringement of copyright for any person, for the purpose of doing anything referred to in paragraphs (2)(a) to (c), to export or attempt to export a copy—of a work, sound recording or fixation of a performer’s performance or of a communication signal—that the person knows or should have known was made without the consent of the owner of the copyright in the country where the copy was made.

This bill has a long history. As I said, there was the big report after which the Copyright Act was changed. That was a very long process. In the last session, the bill was introduced as Bill C-56. Then it was sent to committee. Now it is Bill C-8.

I have been in charge of several files since being elected. I was the science and technology critic and the industry critic. I was a member of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, where I participated in a very long study of intellectual property. During that long study, we had the opportunity to hear from many experts and many witnesses who talked about the importance of protecting intellectual property. They talked about how we could improve that protection. They also emphasized the importance of intellectual property to the Canadian economy, especially in that it stimulates innovation. Intellectual property is often the result of research and development, which is what can make Canada a leader in innovation.

Over the past few years, unfortunately, Canada has lost ground on the innovation front and is no longer a leader. The Canadian Intellectual Property Council pointed that out recently. It mentioned the importance of having a solid framework for protecting intellectual property.

I believe that the copyright bill and Bill C-8, which we are talking about now, are a step in the right direction toward greater protection for intellectual property. The Canadian Intellectual Property Council also says that it is important for small and medium-sized businesses. In Canada, a lot of them do not exercise their rights. They develop innovations, but they may not be aware that their innovations can be patented and can be considered intellectual property. The Canadian Intellectual Property Council would like small and medium-sized businesses to take advantage of this tool, which can help them continue to innovate and profit from intellectual property.

Bill C-8, which was studied in committee, is a step in the right direction to stop counterfeit goods at the border. Now, how does that work in practice?

We noticed that the bill gives increased powers to border services officers so that they can seize counterfeit products. We stressed that this desire to give new powers to border services officers should not just be put in writing, but should also come with the necessary resources.

Some experts wondered what tools should be given to these officers to recognize counterfeit products and what exceptions exist for these products. Also, will expanding their powers give officers the necessary resources to effectively combat counterfeiting?

It is very important to combat counterfeiting effectively, but we must also provide the means to do so in order to protect people's health and safety. I am not sure the current government is prepared to give the Border Services Agency the necessary means to do that.

What will happen once the bill is passed? Will it produce the expected results? Will border services officers be able to shoulder the burden and effectively combat counterfeiting?

As I mentioned, we support the bill because we feel it is important to the health and safety of Canadians. We do not want counterfeit products to be used in Canada and to affect the health and safety of Canadians. We also recognize the impact of those products on the Canadian economy, on certain businesses, and on copyright violations. However, the necessary means must be available.

It is difficult to get a clear idea of the situation with the data from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, for example, or the Canadian Intellectual Property Council, which produced a document on how to stop counterfeiting in the Canadian market. What types of products cross borders? Which products do we manage to intercept?

The NDP made a very good recommendation in committee on how to measure the impact of this bill. Indeed, after its implementation, we will have to find out whether Canada is really combatting counterfeiting effectively. Unfortunately, that recommendation was ignored.

However, I must admit that when the bill was studied in committee, the government agreed to amendments that would clarify the bill. I commend the government for working with us. This shows once again the importance of studying these bills properly in committee in order to make them better. That was done with this bill when it was studied in committee.

This bill deals with imports and exports. It does not deal with the fact that, without realizing it, a person could cross the border with a counterfeit product for his personal use. This bill only deals with large quantities of goods that would be held at the border when they arrive in Canada. We have to make that distinction when debating this bill.

Recently, when I was researching a bill on a free trade agreement, I took note of Canada's trade imbalance. In the past 15 years, Canada's imports of manufactured goods have been increasing steadily.

There used to be manufacturers in Canada. There were foundries and factories that made industrial machinery. In the region where I was born, for example, there was a manufacturer of large industrial machines. At that time, Canada was much more self-reliant in terms of manufacturing production. Instead of relying on imports, Canada was independent, that is to say it had a very strong manufacturing sector. We made the clothes we wore, and we built the machines used to make telephones and all kinds of parts.

In the town where I was born, there was a die casting plant that made parts for snowmobiles, cars and so forth. We no longer have this large manufacturing sector. We import more and more parts from other countries. The trade imbalance is due to the incredibly large number of all kinds of parts that we import, and this makes it increasingly difficult to know under what conditions they are manufactured. These are things I wonder about.

That is why we need a bill like this to fight counterfeiting. Canada is becoming increasingly dependent on parts of all kinds that are used in the manufacture of the equipment we use. Bill C-8 adequately addresses the problems I just raised. It helps protect us from some of these counterfeit parts, drugs and trademarks.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2014 / 8:45 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Saint-Jean for his speech.

I would also like to point out one part of his speech that may have gone unnoticed. He reminded the House of a famous quote from an animated film: “No stones, no construction. No construction, no palace. No palace...no palace.” What lessons should we be learning from that grandiose plan to build a fictitious Egyptian palace that we could apply to Bill C-8?

I would also like to give him the opportunity to tell us about the dangers related to counterfeit products and children's toys in particular. For example, I am thinking about cases where there is too much lead in the paint or it does not meet Health Canada's health and safety standards.

What are the potential consequence for our children, for Madeleine, for example, if Bill C-8 is not backed with enough resources?

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2014 / 8:20 p.m.
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NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to speak to this bill without being restricted by the time limits that the Conservative government usually has in store for us.

Bill C-8 is important to me because the riding of Saint-Jean is in southern Quebec, on the United States border. The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie and Jacques Villeneuve were born in this riding. It is a riding that has to deal with the problem of smuggling and trafficking in illegal substances. This mostly involves counterfeit cigarettes and drugs.

Although there is no real border crossing between the riding of Saint-Jean and the United States, in practice two government agencies are responsible for controlling the flow of goods between the United States and Canada. There is the RCMP station in Venise-en-Québec, in the riding of Brome—Missisquoi, and the border crossing at Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, which is in the riding of Beauharnois—Salaberry. Those are the two main points of entry for certain goods.

Goods are transported by standard means through Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, because they arrive by truck, even though some goods are counterfeit. However, the RCMP is responsible for monitoring the boats on the river. We are obviously not dealing with cargo ships, but individuals with small boats transporting goods they are not authorized to move. These two situations are different and are managed by two different government agencies that each have their own mandate: the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency.

This is why it is also important for our riding. A certain number of people living in our riding work in Montreal—even though that city is not in our riding—in businesses where piracy and counterfeiting have serious consequences. As was mentioned earlier, there is the pharmaceutical industry.

There is another example, which is also important for those of us living in Quebec and in the Montreal area in particular, and that is the video game industry. This industry is very aware of piracy because millions of dollars are invested in research and development. Montreal companies need these protections to earn a return on their investments, which are investments in intellectual property. People working in these industries live in the greater Montreal area and therefore in my riding.

If I were also to digress and talk about the Conservative government, I would say that the people in my riding who are going to work in those industries—and who are therefore very sensitive to the issue of piracy and counterfeiting—are obviously using the famous Champlain Bridge, which the government has unfortunately neglected for a number of years. What the government, through the Minister of Infrastructure, has repeated today is unacceptable to the constituents in my riding. It is the infamous “no toll, no bridge”. That sounds a bit like the famous Asterix and Obelix quote: “No stones, no construction. No construction, no palace. No palace...no palace.”

This type of mindset assumes that, when there is no P3 project, residents will be asked to pay for infrastructure that they already use, national infrastructure used not only by Quebeckers, by people in the region, but also by our American friends when they trade goods with the Montreal area. Contrary to what the Prime Minister said in a speech in the Quebec City area, the Champlain Bridge is not local infrastructure, it is not a small bridge over a small river, it is national infrastructure, as highways 10 and 15 converge on the Champlain Bridge, where Brossard is. That is why it is major infrastructure.

I will end my digression by saying that the NDP will oppose the toll for replacing the Champlain Bridge. In fact, the NDP has always been opposed to a toll.

This part of my speech had to do with the economic consequences of counterfeit and piracy in general. Clearly, the economic consequences for the Montreal area and for Quebec are critical, because the Montreal industry relies on high tech.

We are also talking about aircraft manufacturing. As surprising as it may seem, there is also counterfeiting of high-tech components, which are vital to aircraft safety. There are two aspects to consider here. First, companies that manufacture the parts are losing money. Second, there is the issue of health and safety. If an aviation accident is caused by a defective part, both of those consequences of counterfeiting come into play.

I would like to come back to information and statistics for a moment. It has already been said that various agencies have figures on counterfeiting. That is the case in Canada as well as the United States and Europe. Government agencies provide figures. As I said before, there is a paradox in that the figures we have are just a snapshot and not the entire picture. Criminals obviously do not fill out packing lists when they ship counterfeit items, let alone when they traffic drugs. If only criminal organizations did fill them out, check the box marked “counterfeit goods” and then send them to the Canada Border Services Agency when shipping counterfeit toys, medication and so on. All we know about this type of crime is the information that has been gathered from seizures. It only makes sense that the amount of goods being seized would be proportionate to the effort being put into seizing them.

If the number of people working to seize goods is reduced and those who remain are no more productive than before because no one has found a new way of seizing goods, it is only logical that the snapshot will not be as good. If we extrapolate based on the quantity of counterfeit goods that are being moved and add in the fact that the number of people working on these investigations is going down, it only makes sense to assume that the market is larger than we envisioned.

This is not being taken into account, and when you look at the raw numbers, you can see that the number of goods seized increases considerably—exponentially, even. We can only conclude that the statistics we have are not representative of how this fraud has evolved and that the statistics are under-estimated.

We know that the Conservative government does not particularly like statistics. We saw evidence of that in 2010 when it decided to get rid of form 2B, Statistics Canada's long form census. That is a classic example.

For decades, we had continuous knowledge of populations and communities, since form 2B enabled us to ask more specific questions to 20% of the population, which is a more-than-representative sample. No other Statistics Canada study asks specific questions to 20% of the population. Form 2A was sent to 80% of the population and form 2B was sent to 20% of the population.

This provided specific information. The survey asked questions about language spoken at home, modes of transportation—which is very useful for projecting public transit needs—and other important topics such as the representation of age groups, which is useful when municipalities are creating schools, day cares or sports facilities. This enabled us to get a detailed and localized view of the needs of the population.

Unfortunately, in 2010, when the Conservative government made the decision to stop collecting the data we had been collecting on an ongoing basis for decades, we lost our ability to learn specific information about our communities. It spoke to the fact that the government had only a short-term vision and did not have a long-term vision for how crucial this accurate, specific, and localized information was to making extrapolations about the public, its needs and the infrastructure required by different communities.

This is a pattern. We are seeing the same thing with how the government deals with skills training needs, particularly in the case of the renewal of labour market agreements with employment insurance. That information is missing. I am obviously not going to talk about information from Kijiji, since I am not in the know about that. However, we know that information is missing.

The Conservative government has this strange logic of not gathering information and statistics from reliable sources that use a proven methodology, such as Statistics Canada. The statistics used by the government are usually concocted out of thin air or wildly unrealistic. We also saw that with Bill C-36 on prostitution. The statistics used are bogus because the government does not want to know what is really happening on the ground. When they do not have statistics, they make up their own. This is like the old saying, “give a dog a bad name and hang him”.

It is always the same thing. They make up their own statistics to support their views and to introduce bills that reflect an ideology, rather than the statistical reality measured with scientific means and representative samplings, like Statistics Canada does with its social surveys.

That covers the part on information.

I will now return to a point raised by several members, namely the issue of resources. Investigations are conducted by the RCMP, among others. As recently as May 22, operation Pangea VII was conducted in 111 countries and led to the arrest of 237 individuals. During this operation, more than 9.5 million unauthorized pharmaceuticals with an estimated value of $35 million were seized.

These specific examples show the need for resources to conduct such investigations. This operation is an example of an international investigation completed in May 2014 that required the co-operation of 111 countries. It is really a huge operation. We are talking about 140,000 counterfeit pharmaceuticals seized at the Canadian border alone. There were also seizures in other countries. Between May 13 and May 20, a total of 2,282 packages were seized.

Incidentally, these packages are often delivered by Canada Post. The corporation does not have the mandate to monitor the content of these packages, or to determine whether the pharmaceuticals are genuine or not. This requires special expertise that Canada Post employees do not have and that border services officers do not all have.

As was mentioned earlier, counterfeit products are very sophisticated. They look so much like the real products that, in the case of drugs, some holograms are the exact replica of genuine security holograms. Therefore, it becomes increasingly complicated for law enforcement agencies, for the Border Services Agency in particular, and for the RCMP to detect counterfeit products when they arrive at the border. Counterfeit products are increasingly sophisticated. This means that more advanced investigations relying on international co-operation are required.

This example shows that resources are necessary. We need the same number of trained resources, not less. The government did the opposite in 2012, when it announced that over 500 members of the Border Services Agency would lose their jobs. In fact, the number is higher. Indeed, in 2012, more than 1,000 employees received notice that their position was potentially threatened by the restructuring of the Canada Border Services Agency.

Since I have one minute left, I will end my speech here and take questions from my colleagues. There is a contradiction between wanting to move forward with this bill, which would target counterfeiting and piracy, and wanting to cut the amount of resources allocated to doing so. This is a contradiction that the NDP has pointed out.

Unfortunately, the government has set a goal to reduce spending, as part of its opportunistic attempt to garner votes in 2015. It wants to be able to claim to be a government that balances its budget, when in reality, it is balancing the budget at the expense of Canadians' safety, whether we are talking about medications or the profitability of our businesses that invest in research and development. We need to speak out against this.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2014 / 8:15 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot for her fine speech and for so kindly agreeing to share her time with me.

I would like to come back to my concern about the resources that are not made available to the government to enable it to concretely apply the measures set out in Bill C-8. I would also like to remind honourable members that money supposedly allocated for the border infrastructure fund two or three years ago ended up being used to build arenas and gazebos. Once again, the government did not allocate the resources needed to secure our borders.

Now the government is saying that it will make an additional effort to fight contraband and counterfeiting and will cut $143 million and 549 jobs. I would like to know what the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot has to say about that and whether she shares my concerns.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2014 / 8:05 p.m.
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NDP

Marie-Claude Morin NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for their incredible support. It really is an honour to be part of the NDP.

We support this bill, but I am pleased that a gag order has not been imposed and that we now have the opportunity to express our opinions. Since the beginning of this Parliament, 76 gag orders have been imposed. That makes 76 bills that we have not been able to debate appropriately. That is deplorable. I am therefore pleased that no gag order has been imposed this time, although, at the same time, we are not too sure what is coming.

I also find it deplorable that the party opposite and the third party have not taken part at all in the debates that have been held in the evenings for several weeks. We sit until midnight and we are the only ones rising to speak. I want to take this opportunity to speak out against that situation. I find it particularly galling.

We support Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, despite its imperfections. However, we still feel justified in questioning certain aspects of it. The government will therefore not be able to say that we are opposed to everything.

Bill C-8 is designed to strengthen the enforcement of copyright and trade-mark rights and to curtail commercial activity involving infringing copies and counterfeit trade-marked goods.

Clearly, we always support companies, consumers, authors and musicians—my colleague was talking about music earlier on—and the whole area of the intellectual property of scientists, for example. There is also considerable mention in this bill of the health and safety of Canadians. I feel that the bill has a lot of merit in this area.

When we talk about counterfeit medication, for example, it can be a serious matter. A person ordering medication online for some kind of problem could choose the wrong product. If the person is allergic to that product, problems arise. That is one of the reasons why we support this kind of measure, which will help to keep Canadians healthy and to protect them.

Bill C-8 creates two new criminal offences under the Copyright Act, prohibiting the possession or export of infringing copies; it also creates offences for selling, or engaging in commercial activity with, counterfeit products.

It also creates a criminal offence prohibiting the importing and exporting of infringing copies and counterfeit goods, while introducing some balance by creating two exemptions, one for personal use, that is, items that a person has in their possession or in their luggage, and another for items in customs transit control.

The bill also gives customs officers new powers to detain counterfeit goods and copies. That is an important policy change, since up until now, border officials required copyright holders to first get a court order before they would seize infringing copies or counterfeit goods.

The bill also gives the Minister of Health and border authorities new powers that allow them to share with rights owners information relating to the detained goods. These are meaningful and significant changes that needed to be made to fight the counterfeiting of all kinds of items that could harm the health and safety of our fellow citizens.

The bill has also expanded the scope of what can be registered as a trademark, as described within the broader definition of “signs”, including colours, shapes, scents and tastes.

What concerns me as I read this bill is the fact that several million dollars have been cut from the Canada Border Services Agency. The bill gives border authorities new powers. But how will everything be appropriately financed? How can they continue to be effective and to do their jobs? We agree that counterfeiting is a scourge and that something must be done about it. We also agree that they have other responsibilities as well. Are they going to be asked to work twice as much? I am not sure how it is all going to work. Are we going to clone them? I do not know. In short, this is something that really must be given particular attention. This is not the only situation where there have been budget cuts and increases in responsibility for the staff of an agency.

Take tax havens, for example. They say they want to fight against tax havens and allocate more resources to doing so. But the Canada Revenue Agency has undergone budget cuts. The same applies to Canada Post and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The number of inspectors has been cut but they are being asked to provide the same level of service. That is particularly worrisome to me. I am curious and I would really like to know how this is all going to be implemented.

Naturally, we support political and legal tools that will combat counterfeiting and copyright violation effectively. Such violations can have a negative impact on Canadian businesses and consumers. As I said earlier, that is especially the case when the health and safety of Canadians are at risk, which often happens when counterfeiting is involved. On the other hand, intellectual property calls for an approach that strikes a balance between the interests of rights holders and the interests of users and consumers. We have to strike a fair balance there too.

We also need better ways to share information about counterfeiting with people. We have to implement measures to ensure that border services agents use their new law enforcement powers appropriately. That also includes better information about the extent of the problem. We have to raise people's awareness about what counterfeiting, intellectual property and copyright are. We have to explain that in terms people can understand. These are things of importance to society that I think have been somewhat neglected over the past few years.

Bill C-8 does not feature the same lack of balance as other copyright bills this government has come up with. It is a good improvement even though it is not perfect. Nothing is perfect, after all.

As I said earlier, we still do not know how the bill will be enforced. We would like the Canada Border Services Agency to have enough resources to carry out this work without interfering with its priorities. Those people have a lot of work to do, and cuts will not help them do more work. If we overload them, it will not work.

It is in the interest of Canadian businesses and consumers to combat counterfeiting, especially, as I said earlier, when counterfeit goods can jeopardize the health and safety of Canadians. To do that, we have to give those involved the tools they need. There has to be money for that. I see no other way. It will not happen if the government puts some relevant provisions in a bill but continues to make cuts.

I would like one of my colleagues opposite to share some thoughts about this. That would be really interesting.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2014 / 8 p.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie for his excellent speech on Bill C-8.

Although he said the official opposition would be supporting this bill, he pointed to some significant deficiencies. The first one that comes to mind is the lack of funding despite the government’s good intentions. I am trying to imagine how such a bill could be implemented when the Conservatives cut $143 million from the Canada Border Services Agency’s budget last year.

I know my colleague closely monitored the last Conservative budget and saw that many budget cuts were made to numerous services, which affected various departments. Now, once again, we have been presented with a bill that is inconsistent with the budget envelopes and the cuts made by the Conservatives. I would therefore like to know how my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie feels about that.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2014 / 7:50 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to continue working in the House and to continue talking about the NDP's proposals and vision on a variety of subjects. In this case, it is about copyright, counterfeiting, smuggling and intellectual property rights.

Since the Conservatives asked all parliamentarians to sit in the House later, that is, to debate and work until midnight every night, they have set a record of 157 or 160 missed turns to speak, if not more, because they refuse to rise in the House and debate and speak. However, we in the opposition are doing the work. They ask us to sit but they refuse to speak, to debate or even to ask us questions. They sit speechless and silent, kind of like the 21 members from British Columbia who for two days now have refused to give interviews about the approval of the northern gateway pipeline project. That is rather significant. I think we can talk about a deafening silence. Blaise Pascal himself would be a little terrified if he were aware of the silence of these infinite spaces. It has been very revealing.

I have the pleasure of rising to speak to Bill C-8, which, it must be acknowledged, contains some good provisions and good intentions. Some parts of it are on the right track, which does not happen often. There are quite a few problems that are going to cause us concern, in particular a certain inconsistency. First, they are going to impose more measures to reduce smuggling and counterfeiting at the borders, but at the same time they are going to eliminate hundreds of positions for employees who enforce those measures. I will try to come back to this a little later.

We are talking here about intellectual property and trade law. My father is a writer and my brother is a musician; consequently, coming from a family of artists, I am very aware of copyright, smuggling and counterfeit issues. Artistic creation is the bread and butter that brings in income every day. People work and the fruit of their work brings them an income and results. If the fruit of their labour, their inventiveness, their artistic genius, their innovation, or their creativity is stolen, this represents money that is not coming in to pay their mortgages, send their children to school, travel or buy clothes. When I think of them, I tell myself it is important to have measures that will curb and fight against smuggling and counterfeiting, because this has an impact on the people who create, think, innovate and bring new products and new ideas to the marketplace, whether we are talking about artistic works or commercial products. These two elements are not incompatible.

The NDP and I are pleased to note that Bill C-8 also establishes a balance between the rights of creators and respect for consumers, so that we do not have a police state that will interfere in private life. When the trade considerations in the massive transfer of goods are not involved, but it is rather a matter of individual consumption, the bill will ensure that there is also some balance and some moderation.

My wife and I have two daughters, Marianne and Aurélie, and they have iPods that they use to listen to music. I do not always know where their music comes from, or which Internet site they visited to get it, because they listen to a lot of music. It is even difficult to talk to them because they always have their earphones in their ears. I would not want them to be punished because they are music lovers. The Internet today allows you to access files for which the creator has not received compensation, unfortunately. We must think about this balance and have an Internet that is accessible and free.

That being said, we must look at how Bill C-8 responds to the issue of copyright and to the issue of contraband and counterfeiting. My colleague from Trois-Rivières spoke earlier about products that can sometimes be found on the sidewalk or in public markets. It is very difficult to know how many of these products are legitimate and whether they have come from the real company that invented the product or whether it is a really exciting cheap copy.

I once was a young student in New York and I was shown a lot of different things. Today I am quite sure that those were not real Guccis for $10. However, it is extremely difficult to assess the scale of counterfeiting and copies in Canada, whether for digital files or real objects such as a tie, a jacket or a shirt.

It is difficult to understand how we are going to be able to fight against counterfeiting if we do not have a real idea of the scale of the phenomenon and exactly what it is we are fighting against. Industry Canada states that the retail value of counterfeit goods seized by the RCMP increased from $7.6 million in 2005 to $38 million in 2012.

My colleague from Saint-Jean—and I must point out that Saint-Jean is my home riding, where I spent my childhood and my teenage years—said earlier that this is a somewhat simplistic view that we must be careful about, because these are only the goods that were seized by the RCMP. There has been an explosion in the number of goods that have been seized. However, what percentage of all the contraband or counterfeit items on the marketplace do the goods that were seized represent? There is no way of knowing.

I am seeing some frantic waving. I have a confession to make, Mr. Speaker. I am going to share my time with my eminent colleague from Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, who has just come to my rescue in an extremely professional way.

We cannot rely solely on the number of goods that were seized by the RCMP when determining the full extent of trade in contraband or counterfeit good in 2009. However, we can say that, in 2009, the OECD estimated that international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods could account for up to $250 billion. That is huge. What methods has this government implemented to address this problem?

We see that Bill C-8 is a step in the right direction, but we do not know how the enforcement scheme it proposes will be financed. This is a small problem. There are a lot of bills that have good intentions, which could even be called wishful thinking. I am referring, for example, to the Victims Bill of Rights, which contains no budget for training, compensation or support for families who might need it. It is good that some political progress has been made over the past eight years on victims’ rights and on the fact that opposition members are bad guys who control and always defend the criminals, but sometimes it is necessary to put some money into the proposals that are made.

In the 2012 budget, the Conservatives cut $143 million from the Canada Border Services Agency. Border officials are the ones who are going to be enforcing the rules set out in Bill C-8. The Conservatives say that they are going to crack down on smugglers and counterfeit goods, but then they make budget cuts of $143 million over three years, which includes a loss of 549 jobs by 2015.

I would like to hear my Conservative friends and colleagues say again that they are tough on crime and tell us how they are going to be able to limit contraband and counterfeit items at our borders—as the United States has asked us to do, by the way—with 549 fewer jobs by 2015. It means squaring the circle. They have increased the responsibilities and set even higher objectives and, at the same time, they have slashed the resources available in the field to do the work. Unfortunately, this is the Conservatives’ trademark.

If they do not walk the talk, or vice versa, there is a problem.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2014 / 7:35 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether I will be finishing my session with this speech on Bill C-8, but I am always pleased to take part in this democratic exercise, too often abused in the House, of exchange or debate among parliamentarians on the various bills introduced by the government or by private members.

However, I cannot help but note that we set an extraordinary record of 76 time allocation motions a few days ago. I get the impression we will soon need an Excel file to follow all the bills that have been subject to a time allocation.

Speaking of software, or rather counterfeit software, obviously none of the examples I will be citing involve the members here. No one here buys counterfeit products, and no one encourages piracy. However, everyone knows someone who has done so and who has had problems. I will come back to that subject later.

Getting back to my 76 closure motions, unless the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons rises in the next few minutes to make the traditional announcement and trigger the 77th closure, Bill C-8 seems headed for an open, democratic debate in accordance with the rules of the House. I should be happy, but, after 76 closure motions, you will allow me to feel somewhat pessimistic and to say I am skeptical of that prospect. Why? Obviously because government members are probably glad and very much aware that the NDP, a dynamic and structured official opposition if ever there was one, agrees with most of the bill’s content and is preparing to support the bill at the this stage, still hoping that a few improvements can be made at the final stage.

What are we to understand from that? The Conservatives allow all members to speak if they think as they do or if their thinking is similar to their own. However, the axe falls the moment we have a different opinion to express on another bill.

I can cope with closure personally, but I do not think our Canadian democracy can afford that luxury or option. Even if my remarks were not true, there is still a perception. As they say in the advertising industry, perception is very often reality. I hope that the Canadians and Quebeckers who vote and re-elect their members to the House of Commons will have a perception that corresponds to reality. That is the end of my comments on that subject.

The subject before us is the bill entitled An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. I would have been more comfortable debating the part of the Copyright Act that deals, for example, with artistic creations such as musical works, artworks, choreographies and many other things. Where intellectual property or value are at issue, I must admit I always join the debate because that was a battle I waged for a very long time in my previous careers.

The same is therefore true of products of all kinds. To ensure that a trademark that is valued and used by consumers can continue surprising them with its creativity and affording them the means to pursue their objectives, we must combat counterfeiting and piracy to the best of our ability.

Of course, no one in the House has done this, but we all know someone who has travelled to a city in or outside Canada and not exactly scoffed at items offered to him or her at absurdly low prices.

We may think of watches that in all respects resemble watches by Gucci and Tag or Swiss brand watches. We may also think of handbags that our spouses dream of but that we cannot afford to give them. The prices of these products are absurdly low. Most people know very well that these are counterfeit products, and the booths where they are sold obviously provide no invoices. We can imagine that the after-sales service, long-term guarantees and product quality vanish, not to mention the fact that, on every occasion, we are undermining the original product.

Counterfeit products sometimes seem real to the eye. With wear, however, everyone knows that the quality is not there and that someone is trying to take advantage of someone else’s creative process to make a fast buck, without offering any after-sales service or reinvesting in the business whose product has been copied. This is also the case of sunglasses.

There has been a wave of flea markets over the past 10 years, particularly in Quebec, although they have recently been somewhat less popular. I do not know whether that was the case in the other regions of Canada. People thought that, by going there often, they would unearth the find of the century at an absurdly low price. Of course, someone may once have picked up a Renoir for $150 because he found it in the closet of a grandmother who did not know the value of the work she owned. Most of the time, however, what people found were counterfeit pieces.

Counterfeit works can be particularly dangerous. I have heard my colleagues speak at length about drugs. Although people did not shop at flea markets to buy a lot of drugs, equally dangerous things could be found there. I am thinking, for example, of electrical components found at lower prices than at regular hardware stores. These were not used items. They looked new and were properly packaged but did not meet CSA standards. CSA standards are the Canadian standards that, according to the government, are the responsibility of the provinces, for example where pyrrhotite is concerned, but that is another debate I do not want to engage in.

Let us imagine that, to save a few pennies, someone buys switches that do not meet Canadian standards and installs them on his electrical panel. While he sleeps peacefully, parts of the electrical panel could overload and cause a fire that, at best, might result in material damage or, at worst, could have a serious impact on the health and lives of the people living in the house. This is a common occurrence.

Another example is those hunting jackets that were purportedly made of goose down. They were comfortable and very warm. After getting the coat caught on a tree branch, someone realized that what was supposed to be goose down was instead a kind of padding that was hard to identify and probably highly inflammable. That made the product dangerous.

I will now skip right to the conclusion of my speech since time is short. I hope to have the opportunity to discuss these matters at greater length when I answer my colleagues’ questions.

In conclusion, I would like to echo the sentiment expressed in the title of the report that the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology prepared in 2007. The title of that report was, “Counterfeiting and Piracy are Theft”.

I believe the title was very much inspired by a campaign that was designed to make music users more aware of the fact that not only was copying theft, but also that theft takes money away from the creators who allowed consumers to enjoy the products of their creativity.

It is not easy to strike a balance between rights holders’ interests and those of users and consumers. My NDP colleagues and I believe that that balance should serve as a guide for all of the suggested improvements to the wording of this bill.

I will stop there and will be pleased to answer my colleagues’ questions.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2014 / 7:15 p.m.
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NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House for a third time today, this time to discuss Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. It is the NDP's intention, of course, to support it at third reading.

We in the NDP could not agree more with protecting consumers. It is only right to support bills of this kind that have that intent. It is important for Canadian companies and consumers to fight counterfeiting, which, we must remember, is a breach of intellectual property rights. That is no small thing. It is particularly important when the counterfeit products can jeopardize Canadians' health or safety.

The reason I have risen three times today in the House to speak on various bills is because they have one thing in common: the health and safety of Canadians. We can never be too careful to make informed decisions and to really make sure that everything is being done with respect to health and safety because, ultimately, lives are at stake. Once again, this is the issue here.

It is hard to see how a bill such as this one could be implemented when, last year, the Conservatives cut $143 million from the Canada Border Services Agency. That, of course, reduced the number of front-line officers even further and undermines our ability to control our borders.

The Conservatives added to the agency’s responsibilities while cutting its funding. That is where we are risking problems and where that is a concern. That is why we are here tonight in the House to raise this concern and express these well-founded fears.

This government has refused several times to take a balanced approach on copyright. The NDP believes that intellectual property requires an approach that strikes a balance between the interests of rights holders and the interests of users and consumers.

When we look more specifically at Bill C-8, we need to point this out. It adds two new criminal offences under the Copyright Act for the possession or export of infringing copies and creates offences related to the sale or offering for sale of counterfeit products on a commercial scale. It prohibits the import or export of infringing copies and counterfeit goods, and it ensures a balanced approach to this prohibition by creating two exceptions. One is for personal use and the other is for copies in customs transit control.

It gives customs officers new powers to detain counterfeit goods and copies. That is an important policy change, since up until now, border officials required copyright holders to first get a court order before they would seize infringing copies or counterfeit goods.

It gives the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and border authorities new powers enabling them to share with rights owners information relating to the detained goods. Lastly, it expands the scope of what can be registered as a trademark, as described within the broader definition of “signs”, including colours, shapes, scents and tastes.

In June of 2012, I rose in the House to ask the government a question. I referred to a report by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce stating that one-third of all products pose a real threat to the health and safety of Canadians. That is why we have to take action against counterfeiting. This is not just about jeans and handbags.

My colleague said that whenever we talk about counterfeiting, people think we are talking about a handbag sporting a recognizable trademark that someone saw in some back alley in New York. That is the kind of thing most people think of. However, we are also talking about drugs, and that is very serious. They can contain uranium and lead.

We are talking about safety and security because it can be that serious. It is important to have the necessary resources to keep one-third of products from being hazardous to people's health and safety. It is really important for us to take action on this.

Many people support our position, and that is an important thing to add to the debate. Jean-Pierre Fortin, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union, commented on the 2012 budget cuts to the Canada Border Services Agency. He explained how those cuts would reduce border officers' ability to do their work:

These proposed budget cuts would have a direct and real impact on Canadians and our communities across the country: more child pornography entering the country, more weapons and illegal drugs will pass through our borders, not to mention terrorists, sexual predators and hardened criminals.

Mr. Speaker, before I talk about some more of the support we have been receiving, I would like to indicate that I will be sharing my time with the wonderful member for Trois-Rivières.

According to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Canadian Intellectual Property Council, the Canadian system has no tools to track and report the instances of counterfeiting that are actually detected in the country. According to European Commission regulation 1891/2004, customs authorities in all EU member states are obliged to report statistics on customs seizures, and the Canada Border Services Agency does not have a mandate for reporting on intellectual property crime at the border. That is another important source of support.

We also have support from the World Customs Organization, which published Model Provisions for National Legislation to Implement Fair and Effective Border Measures Consistent with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights at the WTO. In its introduction, the World Customs Organization indicates that model provisions ensure the effective enforcement of intellectual property rights at the border without undue restriction of the flow of trade in legitimate goods. The extent and effectiveness of customs interventions are dependent upon the resources available for customs administration.

We have the support of Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa and Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law, a field in which we will most certainly have to make some major progress. In relation to Bill C-8, he said that officers are not experts in intellectual property. The purpose of the assessment is to determine whether one of the exceptions in the Copyright Act may apply. This is a complex process. The courts often have a hard time deciding. Nevertheless, the bill still plans to give these powers to border officers without judicial review or a limit on the types of goods concerned.

I could cite more examples of support, but I am sharing my time with the hon. member for Trois-Rivières. It is important to do something about counterfeiting. It is not just a scourge. Counterfeiting results in economic losses, but it is also a health and safety issue.

We cannot allow drugs to be sold on the Internet when we do not have any information about them and they might contain uranium or lead. Honestly. We must absolutely make sure we have better legislation to truly fight counterfeiting.

I think that we have the full support of various players across the country, people who think that it is high time we do something about this.

As the deputy critic for consumer protection, I have risen in this House a number of times. I would obviously like us to move forward with this.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2014 / 7:15 p.m.
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NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have a general idea.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has indicated that it amounts to $250 billion per year, which is a huge amount. Here, we know only about the portion that we catch, but we know it is enormous and that it is important. The companies that are the victims tell us. They see their market shrinking even though their product is still just as popular. There are therefore commercial indicators, namely, the fact that the sales of the companies that sell the products are affected. There is economic harm. Does it have to be measured within Canada? No. That is the problem, and it relates to our credibility with our own market and our financial and economic partners. They tell us that things are not going well in our country and we are causing them to lose money. For example, Adidas says that it sees its products everywhere here, but it is not selling any, so something is not quite right. Obviously, an ambassador is going to be called in and is going to be told that his country is turning a blind eye to fraud. Canada must not get this reputation. In fact, that is the reason why Bill C-8 needs to be implemented quickly and effectively.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2014 / 7 p.m.
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NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the New Democratic Party will support Bill C-8 at third reading, because the fight against counterfeiting is so important to our economy.

First of all, it is a matter of respecting the economic rights of creators and copyright or trademark owners, who have invested their research into developing their product. This requires time and money. Very often, they invest in advertising and marketing for their product, to demonstrate its quality and the significance of buying it.

Some people pay the bills, while the counterfeiters run off with the profits. This is a great recipe for making a respectable company go under. In addition, when the counterfeit items are of poor quality, both the company’s market and the value of its trademark collapse. If we want to protect our businesses, we must ban this kind of practice.

We must make sure that consumers are really buying the product they are paying for. If you pay $3,000 for a beautiful Rolex watch, you expect it to contain a little bit of gold and silver. If you pay $15 for it in a back alley in New York, of course there will not be any gold or silver in it. It cannot be anything but a toy. Nonetheless, the brand of the watch is being undermined.

Let us imagine that a counterfeiter makes an almost exact copy of a watch but replaces the gold and silver with lower quality metals. First of all, he increases the amount of profit he makes from this inferior product. Then the legitimate company loses the sale and the brand value declines, because the owner believes the watch should last a lifetime but it stops working after six months. It is the value of the brand name that takes a hit. It is important to preserve it.

Very often, it is just a question of keeping the public safe. For instance, children’s toys cannot have lead paint in them. All the major brand companies know this, and the counterfeiters do as well. However, the counterfeiters sometimes like to make a little more money and do not comply with essential international public health standards. They use hazardous products.

If these people started making prescription drugs, there would be a problem. In Canada, we feel it is absolutely awful that prescription drugs we import may be of poor quality, depending on the plant where they were manufactured, even within a company. The plant manager lowers the quality of the brand-name product. This has happened in the United States, where some companies have been banned from selling prescription drugs. We hope of course that control will happen in Canada. It is a matter of public health.

If we expect a prescription drug to contain 70% of active ingredients, and there is a problem if it only contains 50% or if it contains 115%. Doctors write their prescriptions for medications whose properties they know. If someone starts playing around with them, it becomes a public health issue.

With regard to food, Canada bans a certain level of pesticides. If this level is exceeded, the food in question is not safe. The counterfeiters will use poor quality products in their cans and stick on a label from a company that has a good reputation to sell them. They do not meet the standards and this also poses risks.

This is why the NDP is in complete agreement with Bill C-8. We have to make sure this protection is provided in order for food, toys, drugs and even construction materials to have real value. This is the era of globalization, and very often we receive by-products that are incorporated into our own national production. That is what the problem of contamination is all about. If a contaminant enters our production chain at some point, then when the product comes out the end, our chain of production will have a lower value. The estimated value of our product will not be what we had hoped because we will have been duped. This is therefore important. It is a question of security, not just physical but also economic.

One major flaw must be noted, however. It is all very well to enact the finest laws in the world, but if there is no one to enforce them, then things are not going to work. Unfortunately, in recent years, a significant amount has been cut from the budget of the Canada Border Services Agency. That has led to 549 jobs being cut. That is a huge number. We can imagine how many containers inspectors can check and how many long-term investigations they can do into counterfeit products that appear on the market. Those investigations are important. Legislation is nothing if there is no structure to ensure that it will be enforced.

We recently discussed a free trade agreement with Honduras. The problem I raised at the time was that there is no point in having a law that prohibits murder in that country if the leaders of the country can go around killing people with complete impunity because the police will never bother them for it. This is somewhat the same problem.

Prohibiting counterfeiting in a piece of legislation is all very well, but it is not going to stop a fraudster from trying to do it. What is really going to stop them from doing it is telling them that all the lovely dishes from China with lead paint that we find in their container are going to be destroyed with a crusher and the container is going back to China. If we do that once or twice, I guarantee that the third time, they are not going to be interested in bringing in a container with dishes that have lead paint. That is the border. That border is important. It is called the law and the justice system. It is not just thinking that because we are pure of heart, everyone is going to have the same ethics as we do. Ethics have to be protected.

Obviously, it goes without saying that this is difficult to quantify. As I said, we do not have the number of inspectors we need. We know that counterfeiting exists and is here. We have a general idea because companies say their sales are down. How do we determine the value of an underground activity when it is hidden and there is no one to ferret it out? We have seen it grow. The RCMP says that in 2009 it seized $7.6 million worth of goods, and that in 2012 it seized $38 million worth. That is just the tip of the iceberg, because we cannot determine the extent of this underground activity. It is hidden and we do not have the personnel we need to shed light on it.

I will quickly conclude by saying that giving our customs officers the powers they need and instituting civil and criminal penalties for counterfeiting trademarks enables them to share information with the owners of the trademarks and the products. These are things that the NDP and the international community agree with entirely.

We are going to support the bill and we are even going to try to improve it in committee.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2014 / 6:55 p.m.
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NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few moments to congratulate my colleague for his bill on conflict minerals. His speech was very eloquent. I congratulate him on this initiative that all members strongly support.

With respect to Bill C-8, my colleague spoke at length about the lack of available data. Experts have pointed that out as well. It is very difficult to determine the impact of counterfeiting. It certainly has an impact, but the data are lacking. As he mentioned, we support the bill.

My colleague spoke about resources and mentioned Mr. Geist, who said that it was not always easy to detect counterfeit goods.

Have we allocated the resources needed for border officers to be able to detect counterfeit goods?

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the third time and passed.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2014 / 6:45 p.m.
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NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to mention that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin.

We are now switching from the situation in Congo, but I want to finish pleading with my colleagues across the way to really consider that issue. If there is one issue that is not partisan, it is this one about what is happening in Congo. I think we can somehow find a way to agree on how to stem the violence in Congo.

The bill that I am now addressing is Bill C-8. Members will know that this legislation has quite a lengthy history. I do not mean just Bill C-8, but the whole issue of copyright and the Trade-marks Act and making consequential amendments to other acts.

This issue requires caution. It requires an understanding of not just the law but enforcement of the law as well.

Many people are concerned about how international treaties and copyright interplay. They are concerned about the fact that we are in the midst of finishing negotiations on CETA and how that agreement would relate to copyright. It is important to note that the international agreement dealing with counterfeiting also comes into play here. Many have noted that while a treaty to combat counterfeiting presently exists, not many countries have signed on to it, about which there is some concern. It is this international context, and how it would apply to this legislation, that we are dealing with.

If we abide by certain rules made by legislation such as this and there are trade deals or other treaties we have to contend with, it is important that we understand what those trade deals and treaties mean. In the case of CETA, it is important to understand how it would apply.

I am pleading with the government yet again to at least tell us what is going on with respect to CETA, because it would affect trademark and copyright legislation. My understanding is that there could be consequences from the CETA deal for copyright and trademarks. I would like to hear about what action the government is taking. I would like to know what success, or lack thereof, the government has had with respect to CETA, and the sooner the better.

Here we are trying to find a way to help people create in an unhindered and legal way, while also making sure that the creative class will be able to access technology and ideas and material and will not be suppressed. The law has to find a balance. By the same token, we want to make sure that what we are creating and what we have copyright protection for will not be usurped or be taken and used without the creators benefiting from their work. It is obviously a delicate balance.

I would like to go over some of the aspects of the bill and what it proposes to do.

As I said, this legislation has a long history. I remember previous Parliaments that attempted to deal with the copyright issue. It should be noted that many of our trading partners have been pleading with us, particularly our friends south of the border, to get this done and get it right. The new ambassador brought it up in a recent meeting with us. He indicated that this was an important issue for the United States because most of our trade is done with that country.

Bill C-8 deals with counterfeiting and infringement, which is important. It proposes to add two new criminal offences to the Copyright Act for the possession of and export of infringed copies. The bill would also create offences for the selling or offering of counterfeit goods on a commercial scale.

There is some contention as to the degree of the export and import of counterfeit goods.

I cite Michael Geist, because he is the expert in the country on this issue. His testimony at committee raised some questions about the extent to which there is counterfeiting. He should be listened to, because he is an expert. He asked this very good question: what is the scope of the studies that are referenced by government and officials? In other words, do we have accurate data?

That said, it is important that we have legislation that would deal with counterfeiting and the trade of counterfeiting materials, as contemplated in this bill.

That is the first part. The bill adds two new criminal offences under the Copyright Act for possession and exportation of infringing copies and creates offences for selling or offering counterfeit goods on a commercial scale.

The other aspect is that it creates a prohibition against importing or exporting infringing copies and counterfeit goods. It introduces some balance to that prohibition by creating two exemptions. One is personal use. As I referenced earlier, it relates to the creative class and those in the knowledge industry. I will use educators as an example.

I come from the business of teaching. As educators, it is important that we have access to knowledge and make it available to students. There is a balance that has to be struck so that we will not arrest teachers if they are just sharing materials with their students to allow them to gain knowledge. That is one of the areas we have to keep in mind.

The other one we have to look for is items in transit control.

Finally, the bill would grant new ex officio powers to border officials to detain infringing copies or counterfeit goods. That is a significant policy shift, because until now border officials required these private rights holders to obtain a court order before seizing infringing copies or goods. The bill grants new ex officio powers to the Minister of Public Safety and border officials to share information on detained goods with rights holders. It also widens the scope of what can be a trademark to the features found in the broad definition of “sign”, which includes all sorts of things: shapes, colours, scents, et cetera. What we want to see on this side is that we strike that balance. These are fairly important new powers that are being given to the government.

I will finish by saying that it is fine to pass laws on copyright and trademark to make sure that we deal with what we are focused on—that is, those who decide to get into the business of knock-offs and use the creations of others to benefit themselves when they have not had any input into the creation of any goods, ideas, or products. By the same token, how do we enforce these measures?

Members will hear from my colleagues tonight about some of the problems we have with the government's cutting of border services in this area. On the one hand, it is fine to give powers to border agents to say, “Here it is; you make sure that you deal with the infringements on copyright”, but on the other hand it has cut the budgets of those who are responsible for dealing with this authority.

This is an issue with our friends south of the border. They are aware of this. We have had issues with our friends south of the border regarding regulations. Let us make no mistake, this is a trade issue. They want to know if we are serious about this issue and will bring in laws that are modern and up to date with current copyright thinking. That means little unless we have an enforcement mechanism, to say the least. It is not only about passing laws; it is also about ensuring that we have resources on the ground to enforce them.

Members will hear from my colleagues and me that we have to get it right and make sure that we do not go too far in terms of infringing on those in the creative class, those in the knowledge business, and those who need to have access to materials, while on the other side making sure that if we bring in new responsibilities for our border agents, we do not cut their budgets. It is important that we give them support and training as to what these new powers mean and how they will exercise them.

At the end of the day, we will be supporting the bill to ensure that we do our bit as a country, that we have a balance in terms of the copyright obligations, that those in the creative and knowledge classes have access to the materials they need to create, and that, on the other hand, we provide our border agents with the proper support that they need in material supplies and training.

The House resumed from January 31 consideration of the motion that Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the third time and passed.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2014 / 3:20 p.m.
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York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, after this proceeding, we will start the second reading debate on Bill C-21, the Red Tape Reduction Act. I know that my hon. friend, the President of the Treasury Board—a man with firm views on paper documents—is very keen to get this debate started.

Tonight, after private members' hour, the House will resume the third reading debate on Bill C-8, the Combating Counterfeit Products Act. Once that is done, I look forward to picking up where we left off this morning with second reading of two bills to create new parks: Bill C-40, An Act respecting the Rouge National Urban Park, in the greater Toronto area, and Bill S-5, which will establish a new national park reserve in the Northwest Territories.

If we have time left before midnight, we will continue debating Bill C-35, the justice for animals in service act (Quanto's Law); Bill C-26, the tougher penalties for child predators act; Bill C-3, the safeguarding Canada's seas and skies act; and Bill C-21 if we do not finish that by 5:30 today.

Tomorrow will be the sixth and final day of second reading debate on Bill C-32, the victims bill of rights act, a bill that, despite lengthy debate, all parties agree should be studied by our hard-working justice committee.

However, the highlight of this week will of course come later this afternoon. The Usher of the Black Rod will knock on the door and summon us to attend the Governor General in the Senate chamber where, with the three constituent elements of Parliament assembled, we will participate in the ancient ceremony of royal assent.

Based on messages read from the other place, and messages I anticipate later this afternoon, 14 new laws will be made upon His Excellency's imperceptible, or barely perceptible, nod. This will mark a total of 25 bills passing through the entire legislative process since October's Speech from the Throne. Of these, 20% are private members' bills, further underscoring the unprecedented empowerment of members of Parliament under this Prime Minister's government.

Speaking of the time passing since October, we are also marking the end of the academic year. This means the end of the time with this year's fine class of pages. Here I know that some in the chattering classes have concerns about the length of my weekly business statements, but I hope they will forgive mine today.

As we all know, the pages work extremely hard and do some incredible work, both in the chamber and in the lobbies. They perform many important duties, which in some cases go unnoticed, or at least so they think so. They show up before the House opens each morning and stay until after it closes at night. We all know that over the past few weeks, it has meant much longer days than usual, but even then, the pages have remained professional, respectful, and have started each day with a smile, and ended it with one too, although that occasionally required a bit of encouragement on my part.

I would first off like to thank them for their service. Without them and their support, members of Parliament would not be nearly as effective and efficient in performing the duties that Canadians sent us to Ottawa to undertake.

I do have some insight from being married to a former page, from the class of '87 actually, and she often refers to her year as a page as the best year of her life. Here I can say that the experiences the pages have had at the House of Commons is something they will remember for the rest of their lives.

In addition, I know that in my wife's case, some of the friends she made in the page program are still good friends to this day, including, in fact, the chief of staff to the current leader of the Liberal Party. I hope that will be the same for all of you, that is being friends for life—not that other thing.

I am sure that the pages are looking forward to the summer break so they can all take their minds off of school and visit with friends and family to share their many stories and experiences, some of which are even funny, with us here in the House. I will not be surprised one day if we find some of them occupying seats in this chamber, something that happened for the first time in this Parliament with the hon. members for Etobicoke—Lakeshore and Mississauga—Brampton South, both having been elected to sit here in this Parliament.

Some of the pages may also find employment on Parliament Hill working for members, and I know that I have, without fail, been impressed by the high calibre of ambitious young people who have worked in my office during stints as page.

Over the past three years, the House has worked in a productive, orderly, and hard-working manner, and this has not been possible without the help of the pages. I believe it is safe to say that I speak on behalf of all members of the House when I thank them for their dedication and service, and finally, give them our best wishes for success in all their future endeavours.

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

June 12th, 2014 / 3:25 p.m.
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York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have another opportunity to respond to the Thursday question from the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster.

I know how proud he claims to be about showing up to work. In fact, though, the New Democrats seem to have a spotty record on that. Last evening, that very member rose to speak to our government's bill to protect our communities and exploited persons—that is Bill C-36—and after one whole minute he moved to adjourn the House. He said we should all go home. Maybe that is the parliamentary equivalent of taking one's ball and wanting to go home when one is unhappy with how things are going in another meeting.

In any event, we did all dutifully troop into the House to vote on that at 6 p.m. However, what was very revealing was that only 61 of those 98 New Democrats stood in their places to vote. A few of them were missing their shifts, oddly. We did not find that on the Conservative side. In fact, we just had two votes in the House, and the number of New Democrats who were not standing in their places was very similar to that.

Therefore, when I ask myself who is not showing up for work, I can say it is not the Conservatives not showing up; it is, in fact, the New Democrats.

However, following the popular acclaim of last week's Thursday statement, I would like to recap what we have actually accomplished in the House since last week in terms of the legislative agenda.

Bill C-37, the riding name change act, 2014, which was compiled and assembled through the input of all parties, was introduced and adopted at all stages.

Bill C-31, the economic action plan, act no. 1, was adopted at both report stage and, just moments ago, at third reading.

Bill C-24, the strengthening Canadian citizenship act, was concurred in at report stage.

Bill C-20, the Canada-Honduras economic growth and prosperity act, was passed at third reading. Of course, the NDP tried to slow down its passage, but Conservatives were able to get around those efforts, as I am sure the 50 New Democrats on vigil in the House last night fondly appreciate, and we were able to extend our hours because there were, again, not even 50 New Democrats here in the House to stand in their places to block that debate as they wanted to. So we did finish the Canada-Honduras bill that night, and were able to vote on it.

The government's spending proposals for the year were adopted by the House, and two bills to give these plans effect, Bill C-38 and BillC-39, were each passed at all stages.

Bill C-22, the energy safety and security act, was reported back from committee, and several other reports from committees were also tabled. As I understand, we will see Bill C-17, the protecting Canadians from unsafe drugs act, reported back from the health committee in short order.

Finally, this morning we virtually unanimously passed a motion to reappoint Mary Dawson as our Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

Sadly, though, the New Democrats did not heed my call last week to let Bill C-32, the victims bill of rights act, pass at second reading. We were treated, sadly, to only more words and no deeds from the NDP.

Turning to the business ahead, I am currently anticipating the following debates. This afternoon and tonight, we will finish the debate on Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, at second reading. That will be followed by third reading of Bill C-24 and second reading of Bill C-35, Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law).

Tomorrow morning, we will debate Bill C-24, if necessary, and Bill C-18, Agricultural Growth Act, at second reading. After question period, we will get back to Bill C-32, and give the NDP one more chance to send the victims bill of rights to committee.

The highlight of Monday is going to be the report stage of Bill C-6, the Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act. Tuesday’s feature debate will be Bill C-2, the Respect for Communities Act, at second reading. Wednesday will see us finish third reading, I hope, of Bill C-6. During the additional time available those days—in addition to Thursday and Friday of next week—I will schedule any unfinished debates on Bill C-18, Bill C-32 and Bill C-35.

I will also try to schedule debates on Bill C-22 and Bill C-17, as well as other bills, such as Bill C-3, the Safeguarding Canada’s Seas and Skies Act, at third reading; Bill C-8, the Combating Counterfeit Products Act, at third reading; Bill C-12, the Drug-free Prisons Act, at second reading; Bill C-21, Red Tape Reduction Act, at second reading; Bill C-26, Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act, at second reading; Bill S-2, Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act, at second reading; Bill S-3, the Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act, at second reading; and Bill S-4, the Digital Privacy Act—which I understand we will receive shortly from the other place—at second reading.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

June 5th, 2014 / 3:10 p.m.
See context

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I will start with the concept of the very strange proposition put forward by my friend. He uses this concept of shifts and believes there is some perverse obligation on the part of the government that, if the opposition wishes to filibuster the production of new laws and delay their production, we somehow have an obligation to match them step for step in extending that process. His comparison is with ordinary Canadians. He said that ordinary Canadians should not produce a product at the end of the day at work; they should take two, three, or four days to get the same thing made. That is his idea of getting things done. That is his idea of how ordinary Canadians can work. I think that says something about the culture of the NDP and the hon. member. I will let members guess what culture that is. It is a culture that does say we should take two or three times longer to get something done or to get to our destination than we possibly can.

We on this side are happy to make decisions to get things done for Canadians. In fact, that is exactly what we have been doing. Since I last rose in response to a Thursday question, the House has accomplished a lot, thanks to our government's plan to work a little overtime this spring.

I know the House leader of the official opposition boasts that the New Democrats are happy to work hard, but let us take a look at what his party's deputy leader had to say on CTV last night. The hon. member for Halifax was asked why the NDP agreed to work until midnight. She confessed, “We didn't agree to do it.” She then lamented, “We are going from topic to topic. We are doing votes. We are at committees. They are really intense days. We're sitting until midnight.”

On that part, I could not agree more with the deputy leader of the NDP, believe it or not, but with much more cheer in my voice when I say those words, because we think it is a good thing. These are intense days. We are actually getting things done. We are actually voting on things. We are actually getting things through committee. For once, we are going from topic to topic in the run of the day.

Let me review for the House just how many topics, votes, and committee accomplishments we have addressed since the government asked the House to roll up its sleeves.

Bill C-24, the strengthening Canadian citizenship act, was passed at second reading and has even been reported back from the citizenship committee.

Bill C-10, the tackling contraband tobacco act, was concurred in at report stage and later passed at third reading.

Bill C-31, the economic action plan 2014 act, no. 1, was reported back from the finance committee.

Bill C-27, the veterans hiring act, was passed at second reading.

Bill C-20, the Canada-Honduras economic growth and prosperity act, was concurred in at report stage.

On the private members' business front we saw:

Bill C-555, from the hon. members for West Nova in support of the seal hunt, was passed at second reading.

Bill C-483, from my hon. colleague, the member for Oxford, cracking down on prisoners' escorted temporary absences was passed at third reading.

Bill C-479, from the hon. member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, on improving the place of victims in our justice system was passed at third reading last night.

Progress is not limited to Conservative initiatives. The Green Party leader's Bill C-442, respecting a Lyme disease strategy, was reported back from committee yesterday.

The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay saw a motion on palliative care pass.

We have also seen countless reports from committees reviewing the government's spending plans, as well as topics of importance to those committees.

This morning we even ratified the appointment of an officer of Parliament.

Finally, I do want to reflect on the accomplishment of Bill C-17, the protecting Canadians from unsafe drugs act (Vanessa's law), which members may recall me discussing in last week's Thursday statement. It finally passed at second reading. However, this did not happen until the NDP relented and changed its tune to allow the bill to go to committee. It was the first time ever that we had an expression from the New Democrats when we gave notice of intention to allocate time in which they said, “We don't need that time; we're actually prepared to allow a bill to advance to the next stage”. I think, by reflecting on the fact that those dozens of other times the NDP did not take that step, we could understand that they did not want to see a bill advance; they did not want to see progress made. That lets Canadians understand quite clearly why it is we need to use scheduling and time allocation as a device to get things done in the face of a group that thinks the objective is to fill up all possible time available with words rather than actual votes and getting things done.

It is clear that our approach is working. We are getting things done in the House of Commons and delivering results for Canadians.

Perhaps I might be overly inspired by the example of Vanessa’s Law, but I do want to draw the attention of the House to Bill C-32, the Victims Bill of Rights Act.

So far, we have seen three days of debate on second reading of the bill, but “debate” is actually not accurate. What we have witnessed is speech, after speech, after speech—most of them from New Democrats—offering platitudes of support for the idea of getting that bill to a committee where it could be studied. What I want to know is, why will they not just let it happen? Victims of crime want to see meaningful action, not just kind words.

Suffice it to say that I will need to schedule additional time for discussion of this bill. Perhaps the NDP will let it pass after a fourth day of talk.

This afternoon, we will continue with the report stage debate on Bill C-31, our budget implementation bill. When that concludes, we will turn to Bill C-20, to implement our free trade agreement with Honduras, at third reading. If time permits, we will continue the third reading debate on Bill C-3, the Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies Act.

Tomorrow morning, we will start the report stage debate on Bill C-24, which makes the first modernization of the Citizenship Act in 35 years. After question period, I will call Bill C-32, the Victims Bill of Rights Act, to see if the NDP is ready to deliver results, not talk.

Monday morning, we will continue the third reading debate on Bill C-20, if more time is needed, and then resume the second reading debate on Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act. After question period, we will get back to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.

Tuesday shall be the eighth allotted day when the NDP will have a chance to talk, and talk, about a topic of their own choosing. At the end of the night, we will have a number of important votes on approving the funds required for government programs and services and pass two bills to that end.

On Wednesday, we will debate our budget bill at third reading, and then we will start the second reading debate on Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, which my seatmate, the Minister of Justice, tabled yesterday.

We will continue the debates on Bill C-36 and Bill C-24, if extra time is needed, on Thursday. After those have finished, and on Friday, we will resume the uncompleted debates on Bill C-3, the Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies Act, at third reading; Bill C-6, the Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act, at report stage; Bill C-8, the Combating Counterfeit Products Act, at third reading; Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act, at second reading; Bill C-26, the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act, at second reading; Bill C-32, the Victims Bill of Rights Act, at second reading; and Bill C-35, the Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law), at second reading.

To make a long story short, we have accomplished much in the House over the last week, but we still have much left to do, which inspires me to note that in the week ahead I have to take my automobile in for maintenance. At that time, when I take it to the dealership, I hope one person will work on it for an hour, get the job done, and then return it to me at a reasonable cost. I do hope I am not told, “There are still many more employees who have not had a chance to have a shift working on your car as well, so we are going to keep it here another three days and give everybody a turn to work on your car.” I hope the dealership will do as Conservatives do: get the job done and then deliver me the product.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

May 27th, 2014 / 5:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will give a few very interesting examples. I talked about Bill C-32 earlier. The last time we studied it was on April 9. Three people spoke to this bill, which the government claims is fundamental and extremely important.

I cannot wait to see which of these bills will get more time than the others. Obviously it will be their pet projects, the ones they can get a lot of mileage out of.

There are other bills that we have not seen since January, such as Bill C-2. Three people spoke to Bill C-3 on May 8. No one has spoken to Bill C-6 yet. Three people spoke to Bill C-8 and no one has spoken to Bill C-10. However, they were approved in committee a very long time ago.

If the government believed in the fight against contraband tobacco, the bill would have been sent back to the House as soon as it left the committee. Since the bill was approved in committee, it could have been passed quickly by the House. We are going to have to pass it at the same time as a bunch of other bills.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

May 27th, 2014 / 5 p.m.
See context

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, what an odd debate. I listened with interest to the speech by the hon. member for Burlington. He is the chair of the committee and I am the vice-chair.

I found some of his statements peculiar. The fundamental problem with the motion presently before the House is not the fact of staying until midnight. The NDP team has a reputation for hard work. Anyone who wants to entertain themselves by visiting my Facebook page would see that the people of Gatineau are actually advising me to slow down because they are worried about my health. Perhaps they are right, considering the flu I have at the moment. We in the NDP work very hard. A number of bills, for example, are before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, so that they can be debated in the House or in committee. It is not the work we are afraid of.

The cat is out of the bag. There are issues that our Conservative friends want to talk about, and they want to speak about them at length. Had I been asked, I would have said—before they even rose to speak—that I expected to see a great many Conservatives rise to speak in the House about Bill C-32. Why? Because it is an opportunity for the Conservatives to give Canadians the impression that they have been dealing with this issue—and this issue alone—for weeks, months and even years. They are the ones who stand up for victims. We are all deadbeats and have washed our hands of the problem. That is not true, though. Now, when workers’ rights were at stake, the Conservatives wanted to cut debate short.

The member said that nine bills had been passed and that he is embarrassed to return to Burlington. What I would say to him is that he is absolutely right to be embarrassed; the Conservatives did nothing with their majority aside from getting nine bills passed, and they had to resort to time allocation motions to ram the bills through. There is something not quite right with this government. The Conservatives are averse to debate. They do not like hearing opinions that do not coincide with their own. When the Conservatives too often hear something they disagree with, a red light suddenly goes on. We have had to debate many a time allocation motion. I do not know how many times I have taken part in debates in the House or how many speeches I have made expressing my dissatisfaction with the fact that we have been stripped of our right to speak.

The Conservatives made mention of Bill C-13. I am fortunate to be the NDP justice critic and to have had the opportunity to voice my opinion regarding this omnibus bill, right after the minister spoke. This is no small bill; on the contrary, it is approximately 50 pages long and has an impact on numerous other pieces of legislation. It does address the issue of cyberbullying, as the government likes to point out, but it goes much farther, so far that the committee is being flooded with requests for meetings. We hear all manner of experts warning us to be careful. That is what is missing in the House.

The Senate is referred to as a chamber of sober second thought, but we were not elected to this place in order to abdicate our duty to think. Members have a responsibility to be present in the House to voice and stand up for the opinions of their constituents. Canadians expect us to go about our work in an intelligent and thoughtful manner, to take the time to properly analyze bills. I am in favour of debating this bill in the House and referring it to committee for further consideration. More often than not, bills are analyzed at lightening speed.

The Conservatives will say that the House was given an opportunity to debate Bill C-13, the bill on cyberbullying, and thank God, especially given the time allocation motion that was foisted upon us so as to ram the bill through to committee.

Suddenly, things became urgent. Why urgent after the death of Rehtaeh Parsons, and yet not after the death of Amanda Todd? That was a question a witness asked us. The notion that the government would somehow need to act urgently does not really cut it with me; these things are more politically driven than they are concrete. It is a bit worrisome.

Bill C-13 is large and contains a number of disturbing provisions. When considered alongside the remarks made by the Conservative committee members, it leads me to believe that the Conservatives will not be very receptive to the many amendments proposed by expert witnesses. If past events are any indication, I am not very optimistic. Still, I am an optimistic woman by nature.

In light of this, I have trouble believing it when the government tells us, hand on heart, that its goal is to work harder. Working harder, for a Conservative, does not necessarily mean working more effectively and harder. It simply means that members end up working until midnight in order to discuss all the bills before the House, including those bills that have not been studied for an eternity.

For example, there is Bill C-2 on safe injection sites; Bill C-3 on marine transportation; Bill C-6, which implements the Convention on Cluster Munitions; Bill C-8 on counterfeit products; and Bill C-10 on contraband tobacco, which we finished studying in committee such a long time ago that I will have to reread all my material. Indeed, since then, we have studied so many other topics that I have almost had enough time to forget all about it. We will resume studying this bill at report stage. We could have covered it a long time ago. I have been waiting for some time for this stage to be completed in the House. Everything will have to be done over. It is a colossal waste of time for everyone concerned. There is also Bill C-11 on the hiring of injured veterans. If there is a category of people in our society who have huge needs, it certainly is our veterans.

Suddenly, the Conservatives are going to try and push all this through at once. The member for Burlington has done the math when it comes to the number of hours, and the government is going to try and give us a few hours for each bill. Then the government turns around and calls itself a champion of hard work. Well done, champion.

There is also Bill C-17, Vanessa’s law, about drug safety, an extremely important bill that must be debated; Bill C-18, concerning farm regulations; and Bill C-20, concerning the Canada-Honduras agreement, which is at report stage. I no longer even remember when I gave my last speech on that subject. It has already been a heck of a long time. The Conservatives have been in no rush, but all of a sudden, they are in a rush.

We will examine Bill C-21, concerning red tape for small businesses. The junior Minister of Tourism is travelling all over Canada to talk about the importance of eliminating red tape everywhere, while this bill is stuck in some office or other. It could have been debated a long time ago.

There is Bill C-22, concerning oil, gas and nuclear liability, and Bill C-24, concerning the Citizenship Act. These are bills that are announced to us with great fanfare at big press conferences, but then they stagnate and we do not see them again.

There is Bill C-26, about sexual predators. I expected that one would move quickly, because the Conservatives told us we had to work on this issue quickly. There is also Bill C-27, about hiring veterans in the public service. It is extremely important, I repeat, because it concerns a category of people in our society who have needs that are just as important.

Then there is Bill C-32, about the victims bill of rights. I think it is the reason why this government’s Motion No. 10 has no credibility at all. For a full year, I was treated to one press conference after another. If it was not the Prime Minister, it was the Minister of Justice with his senator from the other side. They told us they were going to work very hard, listen, set up panels and do everything we could wish for, and then they brought forth a charter that was denounced by many people, starting with victims, because they expected a lot more. That may be why the Conservatives kept their charter hidden for some time.

Apart from the minister, one Liberal and myself, no one has yet spoken on this subject. I am going to make a wager with my colleagues in the House. I expect there will be a time allocation motion on this. The Conservatives are going to rend their garments and plead that it is urgent, that it is extremely important and that it must be passed immediately, or the opposite will happen, because they will want to talk to us about it for hours on end. It becomes part of their narrative.

Every Conservative member wants to go back to their riding and have their householder and the excerpt from their speech in the House, which they made to show that they are protecting victims’ rights.

In the NDP, we want to talk about important issues and show that we could do even better than Bill C-32, specifically by amending it. We want to talk about the proposals made by the federal ombudsman for victims of crime. In fact, Bill C-32 does not contain a large percentage of her recommendations. A balance has to be struck. For every Conservative who speaks, the New Democrats will also speak.

When we want to talk about something, it is not important. That is the message we constantly get in the House, and, perhaps because we are approaching the end of the session, it is becoming extremely annoying, to put it mildly and stay within the bounds of parliamentary language.

It is appalling to see that people who are elected to represent the residents of their riding are silenced as often as we are by this government. We get told they are not interested. I have also heard the member for Burlington say—and I am going to talk to him about it again, in fact, at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights—that sometimes we just need to go and read because members all read pretty much the same thing.

If the people of Gatineau think the same thing as the people of Laval, I think it is important that this be pointed out. Who has more right than whom to speak in the House on a particular bill? There is something indecent about wanting to constantly silence people.

Sometimes, I tell the members opposite that they should stop imposing time allocation motions and motions to get things done, as they like to say. I very much liked the expression my colleague used yesterday, when he talked about motions that are “a licence for laziness”.

This is unpleasant. If they had taken the time spent on debating those motions and instead used the time to finish the debate on the bill that they were trying to stop from being debated, we would probably have finished. The fact is that not all members in the NDP caucus or the Liberal Party or the Green Party or whatever colour you like necessarily wish to speak.

However, if the government limits the speaking time of a single member who wishes to speak, we cannot claim to be living in a democratic system. That is what is known as the tyranny of the majority. I believe we have to stand up against that, loud and clear. Every time that happens here, we are going to speak out against it, in every way possible.

We are told that we could perhaps go faster. I listened to the Minister of Foreign Affairs say that, and what he said made sense, in some respects. The way that Manitoba and the NDP government operate makes sense. Those consensus-based approaches make sense.

Quebec managed to pass a bill on a very sensitive issue, end-of-life care, with the agreement of all parties. There was an election, and the members all agreed to reinstate the bill once the election was over. That is being discussed.

The problem here is that the people on the Conservative benches are not talking to the opposition parties. All they talk about is strategies. We keep wondering who is going to pull a fast one on us. They use roundabout tactics such as counting how many MPs are in the House, catching them off guard, and forcing a party leader to go testify before a committee. This is unprecedented—and they say they are democratic.

Then the Conservatives get all offended when we say that Motion No. 10 is total nonsense. This is not about giving us more time. This is about taking all of the bills—there are more on the agenda than have already been passed, and that took much longer than the amount of time we have between now and June 20—and making us think they are giving us more time. They are not giving us a thing. I do not believe in Conservative gifts, and nobody in Canada should believe in any Conservative gift whatsoever.

The truth is that the Conservatives are going to shove their agenda down our throats because they could not get through it in a mature, parliamentary, by-the-rules way. They could have said that the House leaders would discuss it and try to see if some of the bills were more palatable or if we could agree to pass some of them more quickly. Then the real committee work could have started.

It is true, for Bill C-13, we had a lot of witnesses. However, I am not yet ready to give a seal of approval to the government in power, indicating that the bill has been studied in depth, because we still have the entire amendment stage. I believe that what the other side wants to accept is under so much remote control that the committee is not really doing the work. Instead, the higher-ups are dictating to our colleagues opposite what they have to do, while at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, we are trying to bring out the best in the bill.

I have not even mentioned the upcoming Bill C-35, dealing with service animals. Bill S-2 deals with statutory instruments and may not seem like much. However, it is a very significant bill that is going to change an entire way of doing things in terms of regulations. We know that regulations have an impact on the everyday lives of our fellow Canadians in all kinds of areas: the environment, transportation, health and what have you. This is a real concern. I bet that we will analyze it very quickly. That concerns me.

The fact that we are extending our hours until midnight does not encourage any belief on my part that we will be having constructive debates followed by more productive work in committee. That is why the Conservatives have this problem with credibility. We are not the only ones saying so. When their measures are challenged in court, the Conservatives get slammed.

I will take a deep breath and take a little time to say that perhaps we should review our way of doing things. Our friends in the House may not know this, but the bill on prostitution may well be coming our way next week. We hear whispering in the corridors that the government wants the bill passed. It is huge, though, since it comes as a response to a Supreme Court of Canada decision. Everyone in the House knows that passing the bill will not be easy because there are people on all sides of that issue. I would bet that we are going to have just a few hours of debate before they pitch it—to put it very nicely—to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. We can expect a hot and heavy summer on that one.

Extending the sitting hours until midnight just to work harder is one more tactic that is just like their time allocation motions, closure motions and any other kind of motion they can think of. It is part of the Conservatives' bag of undemocratic tricks. They will force these tricks on the House, but not on themselves, as ministers. Based on how the motion is written, I think it will be quite humourous. It will be interesting to see how many of them will be here in the House to happily participate in the debates on all the topics I mentioned, instead of at a cocktail party. That is why it is extremely important that we amend this motion.

Seconded by the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard, I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “place” and substituting the following:

(b) when a recorded division is demanded in respect of a debatable motion, including any division arising as a consequence of the application of Standing Order 61(2), but not including any division in relation to the Business of Supply, Private Members’ Business, or arising as a consequence of an order made pursuant to Standing Order 57,

(i) before 5:30 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, it shall stand deferred until the time immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business at that day’s sitting,

(ii) after 5:30 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, it shall stand deferred until the time immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business at the next day’s sitting,

(iii) after 5:30 p.m. on a Thursday, or at any time on a Friday, it shall stand deferred until 6:30 p.m. on the following Monday.

May 12th, 2014 / 5 p.m.
See context

Second Vice-President, Canadian Bar Association

Janet Fuhrer

The Singapore treaty, there are lots of provisions in both Bill C-8 and Bill C-31 that deal with the Singapore treaty. The Singapore treaty is all about harmonizing procedural requirements for filing trademark applications.

May 12th, 2014 / 4:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

In the documentation we received from the law society and so on, they urged the government to do more consultations on this issue. I didn't think we have had enough consultation. I don't remember how long it was we dealt with this, but it was not a very long time for something as significant as Bill C-8. It did, however, certainly for all of us in the committee, show us the number of challenges there are, and the need to have good policy and good law in Canada.

Is the intent of use issue the most significant part that concerns you in Bill C-31 and Bill C-8 when it comes to the trademarks?

May 12th, 2014 / 4:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Thank you all very much.

While the debate on Bill C-31 has been going on, and of course, Bill C-8, being very similar, the government has insisted that this was going to be good for business, right? But the amount of letters and other things from IP people and lawyers from across this country flagging this issue have been very overwhelming.

Can you tell me a little bit more about this? Since a lot of people seem to think this is going to hurt businesses in Canada, and you have more or less all been alluding to that fact, could you reiterate some of the ways that it's going to affect business in Canada if this goes forward?

May 5th, 2014 / 4:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and through you to our witnesses.

This is Bill C-31, Canada's economic action plan. I think you outlined the benefits and how our economy will grow as a consequence of businesses being able to focus more on marketing and sales, and not having to re-qualify for all the trademarks with these different countries involved in the treaties. Thank you for clarifying why it's part of Canada's economic action plan.

Going through this, I know we did study Bill C-8, and I believe, Mr. Halucha, you were here. Would you refresh our memories on the difference between a certification mark and a trademark?

May 5th, 2014 / 4:30 p.m.
See context

Director General, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Department of Industry

Paul Halucha

Thank you very much for the question.

I would agree that the two objectives you outlined, making sure Canadian companies were more competitive and ensuring costs were brought down, were the two policy objectives of the decision the government took to move forward with these treaties.

Stakeholders have been supportive of parts of the provisions. The committee will note that elements of this bill are also contained in Bill C-8, the anti-counterfeiting bill that was debated extensively here in the fall.

For example, they're supportive of elements like the expansion of trademark registration to more modern forms of trademarks. These non-traditional marks that were discussed at the time have received support.

There are procedures like allowing applicants to split their applications. For example, if they are in a process and they have a portion of the application that is controversial that may be the subject of opposition, but another component that isn't, they can split them off and proceed with the one where there is no controversy so they can acquire and protect that IP as quickly as possible. That also has received support.

I think it's fair to say that in general, everyone is supportive of the accession to the Madrid Protocol and the Singapore Treaty. There has been some discussion on whether or not the benefits will accrue equally. There's clear observation that internationally, multinational companies have a preponderance of the types of marks, and therefore they will benefit more than potentially small businesses that don't need the Canadian market or are present in only a small number of countries.

It depends a bit on whom you are talking about in terms of who will benefit.

One issue that has come up, which has been raised certainly with us in a number of pieces of correspondence, is the issue of use. That has been a decision that was taken in terms of how to administer this protocol to the benefit of Canadians. A form in particular has been eliminated, or the proposal is to eliminate it as part of this. There's a compliance cost to businesses to filling out this form, and it doesn't exist in other jurisdictions outside of Canada that are party to the protocol, with the exception, I believe, of the Philippines.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

May 1st, 2014 / 3:10 p.m.
See context

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, first, let me acknowledge my colleagues', and I say that in the plural, co-operation with respect to both Bill C-30, the fair rail for grain farmers act, and Bill C-25, the Qalipu Mi'kmaq first nation act, today. We appreciate that co-operation.

This afternoon, we will continue with the second reading debate on Bill C-33, First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act. That debate will conclude tomorrow and we will then proceed with a committee study of this important legislation this spring.

Monday shall be the fourth allotted day. We will debate a proposal from the New Democrats.

The Liberals will then get their turn on Tuesday, which shall be the fifth allotted day. I am still waiting to see a proposal from the Liberal leader on the economy. Maybe he is still finessing his newest definition of the middle class. I recommend to him the recent study from the U.S.A., the one that has been widely reported, which demonstrated that the Canadian middle class, according to his recent definition, that is the median income, is doing better than ever in history. For the first time, the Canadian middle class is doing better than its American counterpart. Perhaps we will see that on Tuesday as the subject of debate in the Liberal motion, since they claim that the middle class is their priority.

On Wednesday, we will start the report stage debate on Bill C-23, the fair elections act. I want to take this time to acknowledge the hard work of the members of the procedure and House affairs committee. My friend was just talking about the hard work they have been undertaking and the difficult pressure they are under. Largely, it should be said, it is a result of the lengthy filibuster, of which the New Democrats were so proud, at the start, whereby the committee lost many days, when it could have heard witnesses.

Notwithstanding that loss of work, those delay tactics, and the obstruction by the New Democrats, the committee has got on with its work. It heard from almost 70 witnesses. It had over 30 hours of meetings. Now it has gone on to complete about a dozen or so hours of detailed study of the clauses of the bill and the government's reasonable and common-sense amendments to the bill. I expect that it will complete that work shortly.

Despite the long hours the committee members are putting in, I know that they will be keenly anticipating the appearance, before the next constituency week, of the Leader of the Opposition at that same committee. That will, of course, be in compliance with the House order adopted on March 27 respecting the allegations of inappropriate spending and the use of House of Commons resources by the New Democratic Party. There the hon. member for Outremont will have the opportunity to answer many important questions of interest to all Canadians, including, I am sure, some questions from his own caucus members, who have been dragged into the scheme the NDP leader has put in place.

Finally, on Thursday morning, we will consider Bill C-3, the safeguarding Canada's seas and skies act, at report stage and third reading. After question period, we will resume the third reading debate on Bill C-8.

Bill C-8—Notice of Time AllocationCombating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

April 1st, 2014 / 4:05 p.m.
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York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise that agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Order 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the third reading stage of Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the Crown will propose, at the next sitting, a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at the said stage of the bill.

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 3rd, 2014 / 5:50 p.m.
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York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, in light of this afternoon's debate, I did want to make a short statement with respect to the business of the House.

First, the sixth allotted day will not be tomorrow. I will return to the House at a later time to designate a new date.

Second, the first item to be considered tomorrow under government orders shall be Bill C-8, the combating counterfeit products act, at third reading.

Finally, I give notice that with respect to the consideration of the privilege motion of the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, at the next sitting a minister of the crown shall move, pursuant to Standing Order 57, that the debate be not further adjourned.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2014 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to stand today and speak to Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

It is also a particular pleasure to stand in the House when parties are in general agreement about a piece of legislation. We on this side of the House feel it is our constitutional responsibility and our political duty to provide a rigorous opposition to government. The flip side of that, though, as typified by our late leader Jack Layton, who was always looking for ways to work together in the House, is that it is incumbent upon us to congratulate the government when it does bring in a piece of legislation that would advance the legislative agenda in Canada. I think we would do that with this piece of legislation.

We are dealing with copyright and trademarks. I am wondering if the NDP should now trademark our policies and positions against the incursions that the Liberal Party continues to make.

The Liberal leader is getting kudos in the news right now for removing Liberal senators from partisanship by removing them from caucus. New Democrats put forth a motion in the House, in October, that called on the House to request exactly that. It called on the parties to remove senators in the Senate from their caucuses. The Liberal leader voted against that just three months ago, which leads to questions of hypocrisy. In terms of taking ideas that are not really owned by them, it is quite timely that we are talking about that here today. I am wondering if political parties should start taking advantage of it.

The official opposition New Democrats are going to support this legislation at report stage, and a brief summary of our position on this issue is as follows.

We New Democrats believe that dealing with counterfeiting and infringement is important for both Canadian businesses and consumers, especially where counterfeit goods may put the health or safety of Canadians at risk.

Intellectual property requires an approach that strikes a balance between the interests of rights holders and the interests of users and consumers. Again, I want to congratulate the Conservative government for tabling a bill that largely strikes that balance because it is a difficult area. I do not think the bill is perfect, but I am looking forward to seeing improvements and hearing from Canadians and interest groups at committee to hopefully find out where the bill can be improved and honed. I encourage the government to be open to those ideas because that can only make the legislation better.

Bill C-8 would amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act. Its purpose is to “strengthen the enforcement of copyright and trade-mark rights and to curtail commercial activity involving infringing copies and counterfeit trade-marked goods”.

This legislation would add two new criminal offences under the Copyright Act for possession and exportation of infringing copies and would create offences for selling or offering counterfeit goods on a commercial scale. The bill would create a prohibition against importing or exporting infringing copies and counterfeit goods and introduces some balance to that prohibition by creating two exceptions: first, for personal use, items in one's possession or baggage; and, second, for items in transit control.

The bill would grant new powers to border officials to detain infringing copies or counterfeit goods. This is a significant policy shift, as until now border officials required these private rights holders to obtain a court order before being able to seize infringing copies or goods.

Bill C-8 would grant powers to the Minister of Public Safety and border officials to share information on detained goods with rights holders and would widen the scope of what can be trademarked to the features found in the broad definition of “sign”.

I will stop here and pause for a moment to talk about the health implications of copyright or trademark infringement.

Many of us think of copyright infringement as the archetypical issue of buying a knock-off Prada bag. When a consumer travels to Asia and buys goods for personal use that are not the real item, that is a problem. That is a serious infringement of the rights holder's rights and the creator's rights, and that is something that nobody can countenance.

However, that is not the worst aspect of this type of issue. I went to the U.S. embassy in Ottawa about six months ago, where a presentation was put on by U.S. officials that was frankly nothing short of shocking. They gave us information and showed us material that indicated that counterfeiting is going on with things like automobile airbags and prescription medication. In other words, there are places in this world that are making knock-off airbags and selling them to Canadian autobody shops, which then will install in Canadians' cars what they think are factory-authorized airbags. They may pay the price for that mistake with injury or death when the bag does not function as it is supposed to.

Canadians are always facing issues with prescription medication costs. That is another idea that I hope other parties in the House will come to agree with New Democrats about, to finally get a national pharmacare program in this country so we can deal with the very real problem of people being able to afford their medications. Why would any Canadian want to buy knock-off or non-authorized medications? It is because medications are too expensive, and that should never be the case. There are other ways to get at an issue like that. However, in the meantime, when there are producers selling false medications, not only in Canada but the United States and Mexico, that presents a serious problem to Canadians' health.

I want to talk a bit about the background to this situation. Measuring the problem of counterfeit goods and copies in Canada, and its corresponding impact on our economy, is very difficult. Nevertheless, New Democrats support dealing with counterfeiting even if we are not able to fully quantify the extent of the problem. We know it is real and that it exists. However, it remains unclear as to how the Canada Border Services Agency would implement enforcement measures in the face of cuts that originated in budget 2012. Our analysis of the budget information shows that the current government has slashed $143 million in funding to CBSA, which has further reduced front-line officers and harms our ability to monitor our borders. I will be giving more numbers on that in a few moments.

I think it is fair to say that the government previous to the current one has long been aware of the difficulties that exist with respect to counterfeiting copies and goods in Canada. That was a challenge that was identified first in a 1998 OECD report on the economic impact of counterfeiting. The reason that there is difficulty in getting a firm handle on the extent of the problem is because of the clandestine nature of counterfeiting. By the very nature of the issue it is done underground and in secret, and the parties involved are trying to skirt and avoid scrutiny.

Therefore, much of the data we have is estimated based on actual seizures, anecdotal evidence, or from industry itself, in which case the collection methods may be unavailable to assess. Nevertheless, the 2007 industry committee report on counterfeiting recommended that the government establish a reporting system that would track investigation, charges, and seizures for infringing copies and counterfeit goods as a means of collecting some data. The recent 2013 report notes that it is difficult to obtain a precise estimate of the market for counterfeit or pirated products in Canada. I would repeat: as a piece of good policy in this country and good regulatory control, we should be looking for ways to collect actual data to monitor and track the extent of it. That would be so we not only know the extent of the problem we are dealing with, but also as a means of measuring the efficacy and success of our attempts to deal with it, such as is the goal of this bill.

Much of the information in Canada comes from statistics from actual seizures, as I mentioned. Industry Canada notes that the retail value of counterfeit goods seized by the RCMP increased from $7.6 million in 2005, to $38 million in 2012. In 2009, the OECD estimated that international trade in counterfeit goods and infringing copies could be valued at up to U.S. $250 billion worldwide.

Again, we know anecdotally that counterfeit products can pose risks to the health and safety of consumers, whether we are talking about the issues I mentioned, airbags and medicine, or even counterfeit electrical components or unsanitary stuffing in the clothing that our children wear.

I have noticed reports that counterfeit batteries have actually exploded while in the custody of police officers, and there are at least eight cases of children in Canada being burned by counterfeit batteries, things that seem innocuous. People may ask, “What is the problem if people pick up a couple of batteries? They are cheaper than the real ones, and there is no harm being done.” Well, there is and there can be serious harm done by counterfeit goods. It is not just about economics.

I want to talk about the cuts to the CBSA. New Democrats believe that dealing with counterfeiting is important both for Canadian businesses and for consumers. As we said, we are not going to make much progress on this file if we do not start getting a good handle on what the extent of the problem is so that we can measure and track the success of our efforts to combat it, as well as provide the resources and tools to those we ask to enforce the principles of this bill, our Canada Border Services Agency staff. They are the men and women in this country who every day go to work and put their lives on the line to defend our borders, but who also have an incredibly important responsibility to protect our borders in every aspect, which includes ensuring that illicit goods do not come into our country.

In budget 2012, the Conservatives imposed $143 million in cuts to the CBSA. That reduced the number of front-line officers and reduced our ability to monitor our borders. This year, the CBSA report on plans and priorities alone indicates a loss of 549 full-time employees between now and 2015.

What is more, under Bill C-8 customs officers would be asked to make highly complicated assessments as to whether goods entering or exiting our country infringe upon copyright or trademark rights. Such an assessment for infringing copies could include, for example, considerations of whether any of the exceptions under the Copyright Act apply. That is something that even our courts have difficulty with. For this reason, New Democrats believe and want the CBSA officers to be adequately funded to implement the bill without compromising the other important responsibility of protecting Canadians and our border.

The United States, our major trading partner and the country with which we have so much trade and goods going back and forth every day, has wanted stronger enforcement measures in Canada for counterfeit and pirated goods for years. In fact, I believe that is why I, as the official opposition trade critic, was invited to the U.S. embassy last year to work with United States officials and hear their concerns.

In its 2012 Special 301 Watch Report, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative stated that the U.S. continues to urge Canada to strengthen its border enforcement efforts, including by providing customs officials with authority to take action against the importation, exportation, and transshipment of pirated and counterfeit goods.

In its June 2012 report on counterfeiting in the Canadian market, the Canadian Intellectual Property Council identified counterfeiting as a barrier to competitiveness and specifically recommended that customs officials have powers, that Canadian law be amended to bring criminal and civil sanctions for counterfeiting and piracy, and that enforcement officials have the power to seek and implement strong remedies for infringements.

In terms of trade, this piece of legislation effecting well-thought-out and well-resourced remedies to deal with this issue is important to Canada. In a speech I gave earlier this week, I mentioned that Canada is a trading nation, and exporting and importing are extremely important parts of our economic development. Therefore, I think any piece of legislation that would assist our competitiveness and help us protect Canadian businesses and rights holders is a good thing in terms of promoting trade.

A 2007 study conducted by the industry committee produced a report called “Counterfeiting and Piracy are Theft”.

This report shows the importance Canadians need to attach to what is often considered to be simply a minor commercial crime. It is something that hurts the rights holders. It hurts businesses and companies that invest in research and development and go to great lengths to produce goods and services in the market. We have to be respectful of their ability to derive an economic benefit from their hard work and research.

At the same time, we have to balance interests. New Democrats recognize that legislation in this area must balance the interests of copyright and trademark holders with those of consumers and users.

Bill C-8 contains some of the less controversial provisions in ACTA, and the NDP has publicly questioned whether Bill C-8 signals the government's intent to ratify it. ACTA, which Canada has signed but not yet ratified, contains copyright provisions that have been heavily criticized for failing to achieve this necessary balance.

ACTA refers to the piece of legislation the European Parliament rejected after an unprecedented outcry in Europe. The European Parliament was urged to reject that agreement because the benefits were far outweighed by the threats to civil liberties. It is an example of a piece of legislation that failed to achieve the balance the New Democrats are calling for in this legislation.

The European Parliament rejected ACTA because of the risk of criminalizing individuals and because of concerns about the definition of commercial scale, the role of Internet service providers, and the possible interruption of the transit of generic medicines.

New Democrats have taken those concerns to heart, and we have applied the same concerns very rigorously in our analysis of the bill before us today. We support Bill C-8, because in our estimation, the bill is much narrower than ACTA, and it contains a number of provisions that do offer balance. There are important personal-use exceptions and exceptions for goods that are in transit. The bill does not specifically address Internet service providers.

New Democrats do, however, continue to be concerned about the broader provisions in ACTA and will continue to speak out against any legislation that we believe infringes unnecessarily on civil liberties or digital rights in a digital world.

New Democrats want effective legal and policy tools to deal with counterfeiting and infringement that can negatively affect Canadian businesses and consumers, especially where the health or safety of Canadians is at risk. We want legislation that requires an approach that strikes a balance between the interests of rights holders and the interests of users and consumers.

New Democrats are calling for better information and data on counterfeiting. We want safeguards in place to ensure the appropriate use of any new enforcement powers for border officials, and we want to make sure that our border officials have the resources they need to carry out this important task.

I have already mentioned that budget 2012 included $143 million in cuts to CBSA over three years. That was $31.3 million in 2012-13, $72.3 million in 2013-14, and $143 million by 2014-15.

The government minimized the loss of full-time employees by saying that the numbers would be around 200. It was then 250 in a more recent order paper question, Question No. 846. That means that those budget cuts, according to the government's own admission, resulted in the loss of 250 border guards and border officials. However, this year's CBSA report on plans and priorities indicates a loss of 549 FTEs between now and 2015.

New Democrats find it very difficult to see how a bill like this would be implemented in practice in the face of that. We are asking our border officials to take on additional, onerous requirements in a very important area with fewer staff. On this side of the House, we are going to continue to pressure the government and urge it to make sure that we have the tools and resources necessary to carry this out.

It is one thing to be tough on crime. It is another thing to come up with smart policies and to put the resources there that would actually make a meaningful dent in that problem.

Again, I congratulate the government in bringing forth a thoughtful bill. The New Democrats will support it at second stage and at committee, and we hope we can work together to make this good bill an even better one for the benefit of all Canadians.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2014 / 12:55 p.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the parliamentary secretary opposite that Bill C-8 is a step in the right direction and that certain tools will be made available to the Canada Border Services Agency. However, could the member tell us what additional financial and human resources will be allocated to CBSA officers? The national president of the Customs and Immigration Union commented on the CBSA cuts, which amounted to about $143 million. He said that these cuts could make it harder for border officers to ensure the safety of the public, to fight crime, and to crack down on the trafficking of arms, drugs and child pornography.

What financial resources will be made available? We did not manage to get an answer in committee, so I hope that the member opposite will be able to share some information with us.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2014 / 12:45 p.m.
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Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to rise today in the House to speak, for the second occasion, on our important work to update our intellectual property regime and, more specifically, to combat counterfeit products, Bill C-8.

This is not just a modernization of our IP regime here in Canada but a bill that would have major impacts on public safety, on economic activity and revenues, and on jobs, because counterfeit products not only lead to risk for Canadians but lead to job losses.

Our present legal framework for intellectual property is also incredibly out of date. Like many areas, our government is moving on important issues of public policy, while other previous governments preferred to kick the can down the road. In fact, the Trade-marks Act was last amended in the 1950s and is out of date. That is before many members of the House were born. Also, with respect to trademarks, it does not even recognize the current state of intellectual property.

A few years ago, I had the good fortune to have a column in Marketing magazine, and in 2012 I wrote a column on the emergence of sound trademarks in Canada. It might interest the House, especially on a Friday, to know that in the U.S. sounds have been trademarked for some time. We are all familiar with the NBC TV broadcast chime that started with radio and is on television. We all know the MGM lion roar. Well, the MGM lion roar is now a sound mark. In 2012, the Canadian intellectual property office allowed, for the first time, a sound mark. A lot of our big companies and big brands will use a sound to associate a connection with that brand. In the marketplace it is called a sound mark or a sting.

Even the language of the act would be modernized from using the old term “wares” to using the more broad and modern term “goods”.

The landscape has changed. Sounds, colours, three-dimensional shapes, textures, and even taste are a critical part of a brand's identity. Companies, employers in Canada, spend millions of dollars securing these brands and this intellectual property.

Speaking of colours being associated with brands, I cannot resist to note that the colour blue is widely known to associate with strength and trust, while the colour red is considered boisterous and flashy. I think these differences between blue and red illustrate the differences between the Conservative leader and Liberal leader perfectly.

Bill C-8 would also enable IP rights holders to stop counterfeit goods at every step in the process: ports, distribution, and retail. As I mentioned the first time I rose to speak on this subject many years ago, for five years I was in-house corporate counsel at Procter & Gamble in Canada. In 2006, I was confronted with the ugly face of counterfeit goods in my job as a lawyer for the company. I assembled a brand protection team, with the support of the company president, Tim Penner; my general counsel, Eric Glass; our head of security, a proud OPP veteran working for P&G, Rick Kotwa; and a regulatory scientist, Jennifer Cazabon, who was in the gallery earlier today with her daughter, Maya. We put together a team to investigate and stamp out counterfeit goods that were affecting that company. They were not only affecting its revenues, its investments in Canada, and its jobs but potentially the safety of people who buy products because they trust the brand. They trust the logo, the trademark.

Bill C-8 would allow rights holders, like Procter & Gamble and other companies, to stop counterfeit goods throughout the criminal activity used to bring them to consumers' homes. The bill would provide better tools to investigate commercial counterfeiting and help reduce trade and counterfeit goods by promoting new enforcement tools to strengthen our current enforcement regime. The bill would provide new criminal offences that criminalize the commercial possession, manufacture, or trafficking of counterfeit goods or trademarked counterfeit goods.

It would also create new offences for trademark counterfeiting and equip law enforcement and prosecutors with the right tools to stamp out this problem.

The act would also give border officials, the CBSA, the authority to detain suspected shipments and contact the intellectual property rights holders about their brands and their rights being attacked. It would allow Canadian businesses to file a request for assistance with the Canada Border Services Agency, in turn enabling border officials to share that information with the rights holders regarding suspect shipments.

This bill is yet another example of our government consulting widely with employers and key stakeholders, and listening. These changes, protections, and new enforcement mechanisms are what industry and rights holders have been demanding for over a decade. Increasingly, our well-trained and professional workers at CBSA have also been asking for these tools to do their job better and more efficiently.

It is also important to note, on the subject of counterfeit goods, that criminal networks around the world are feeding on counterfeiting as a highly lucrative profit to help fuel other enterprises. We know that these international criminal networks throughout the world bring tremendous harm and oppression, not just here in Canada but around the world, and the proceeds from these IP crimes fuel that. In 2005, the RCMP declared organized crime to be the primary actor in this area of malfeasance. Stamping out counterfeit products and IP crimes starves these criminal networks of funding and the ability to hurt.

The public safety elements of Bill C-8 are also very important and deserve highlighting. The bill would give border officers additional tools to work with their government partners at Health Canada and the RCMP. This would ensure that unsafe or unsanitary products that could harm Canadians are pulled from the market.

In my case, Procter & Gamble found that law enforcement officers could tell it that they knew there was a suspicious activity regarding one of its brands, but there could be no tracking and no proper investigation. There would be no prosecution because the tools were not there; so law enforcement, busy as it was, would have other priorities that were more likely to lead to criminal charges and jail time.

I hope we can move ahead quickly with the passage of this bill. By protecting consumers and families and by encouraging businesses through innovation, protecting their brands, and encouraging them to invest in Canada, these amendments would not only promote innovation and creativity; they would help stimulate job growth.

In my situation, while I was at Procter & Gamble, this one employer in eastern Ontario was the largest private sector employer in the communities of Belleville and Brockville, making important investments in manufacturing jobs in an area of our province that has chronic unemployment. Large companies around the world estimate losses in the hundreds of millions or billions of dollars due to the theft of the goodwill surrounding their brands.

The Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, leading Canadian employers, brands, and academics have all been asking for us to update our intellectual property regime in Canada and provide law enforcement with the tools to stamp out these products, which will not only lead to job losses but will fuel crime and pose health risks to Canadians across the country. I truly hope that all my friends in the House will recognize that there has been a decade of asking for this. With our government, we are delivering.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2014 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech by my colleague on the government side.

This is definitely a step in the right direction, and we are always delighted when the government goes in the right direction, but there are still not enough resources. This government seems to have a great deal of difficulty understanding that resources are needed to make improvements. Every time the government takes a step forward, it insists on taking a step backwards. For example, when it passes one regulation, it abolishes another. This government seems to go in opposite directions at the same time.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Communities says that the required resources will be available to implement what is being proposed by Bill C-8 today. Even the union is wondering where these resources will come from. Exactly what resources is he talking about?

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2014 / 12:30 p.m.
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Kitchener—Waterloo Ontario

Conservative

Peter Braid ConservativeParliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Speaker, it is certainly a privilege for me to rise today and speak in support of Bill C-8, the combatting counterfeit products bill. I will begin by indicating that I will be splitting my time with the member for Durham.

Counterfeit products are a threat to all Canadians. They undermine the success of Canadian businesses by stealing the good reputation of a business in order to sell knock-off goods. The inferior nature of these knock-off goods then serves to tarnish the reputation of quality that the real Canadian business has worked so hard to establish.

However, counterfeit products are not simply a threat to Canadian businesses. Counterfeit automobile parts, counterfeit circuit breakers, counterfeit drugs, and many more dangerous counterfeit products also pose a threat to the health and safety of Canadians. The government has reintroduced the combatting counterfeit products act because we are committed to ensuring that the hard-earned reputations of Canadian businesses are maintained and that all Canadians are protected from the dangers posed by counterfeit products.

I would like to take this opportunity to focus on one of the key elements of Bill C-8. New provisions introduced in this bill would provide businesses and rights holders with better tools to stop those who form a part of the supply chain for counterfeit goods and to obtain compensation from them . These supply chains are essential to the spread of counterfeit products and are directly responsible for counterfeit products entering the Canadian marketplace.

Under the current Trade-marks Act, it is prohibited to sell, offer to sell, distribute, or advertise counterfeit products or services. What this means is that any person found to be selling, distributing, or advertising counterfeit products can be sued by the rightful owner of the trademark that the counterfeit products are attempting to imitate. For example, if someone is selling counterfeit jackets out of the back of a van, the legitimate company, under the current law, is able to sue that individual, both to stop him or her from selling and as a means of getting compensation for the damage done by the counterfeiter. Similarly, that company would also be able to sue an individual who is advertising counterfeit jackets or an individual who is found to be distributing counterfeit jackets to others for the purpose of sale.

However, the problem with this current system is that it does nothing to target those individuals who are part of the supply chain that enables the sale of counterfeit products. Under the current law, the rightful trademark owner has no means of stopping those who produce, import, export, or store counterfeit products prior to a distributor or seller actually selling the counterfeit goods. To illustrate the problem, allow me to give some examples.

Let us imagine that a manufacturer of car parts finds a production line for counterfeit car parts operating somewhere in Canada. Under the current Trade-marks Act, despite knowing that car parts with another person's trademark on them are being produced, the owner of the trademark would be unable to ask a court to stop the production line. Until those individuals producing fake car parts attempted to make a sale or began to advertise their counterfeit products, the owner of the trademark would have no legal recourse to stop them or obtain compensation for damages.

In another case, let us imagine that a brand-name hockey manufacturer finds a series of storage units full of hockey jerseys bearing a counterfeit trademark. Under the current Trade-marks Act, the legitimate manufacturer would have no grounds to seize the counterfeit jerseys, even if the manufacturer was certain that they were indeed counterfeit. Until the legitimate manufacturer could produce evidence of the sale, attempted sale, or advertising of these counterfeit jerseys, he or she would not be able to seize the jerseys. Imagine if this was one's favourite hockey team.

Again, imagine that a legitimate electronics company has grounds to believe that an importer is bringing thousands of fake smart phones into the Canadian market. As members can appreciate, this would be a concern for me as the member of Parliament for Waterloo, for obvious reasons.

Under the current law, they would be unable to go to court to get an order preventing that importer from bringing those counterfeit smart phones into Canada. Unfortunately, once the counterfeit phones arrive in Canada, it is much more difficult to ensure that they are not released into the Canadian market, where unsuspecting Canadian consumers may be tricked into purchasing them.

Clearly, there are gaps in our current laws that need to be filled in order to better combat counterfeiting. Our legislation needs to be updated to ensure rights holders can protect their rights and that Canadian consumers can have confidence that they are purchasing the goods they intend to.

Part of what the combatting counterfeit products bill proposes to do is to fix these loopholes in the law. It would do so by adding new civil provisions to the Trade-marks Act that would tackle all parts of the counterfeit supply chain, not just point of sale.

Specifically, the Trade-marks Act would be amended so that along with selling, distributing, or advertising, individuals who are found to be manufacturing, causing to be manufactured, possessing, importing, exporting, or attempting to export counterfeit products could also be stopped and sued for damages by rights holders. These are overdue provisions.

Under the proposed changes contained in the combatting counterfeit products bill, a legitimate car parts manufacturer would be able to stop the manufacturers of counterfeit car parts under the new manufacturing provision. A legitimate hockey equipment company would be able to seize the storage units full of fake hockey jerseys under the new possessing provision. Under the new importing provision, a legitimate electronics company would be able to prevent an importer from bringing counterfeit smart phones into Canada.

These new provisions will serve to better protect the interests of rights holders by giving them the ability to ask a court to halt the actions of members of the supply chain for counterfeit products. The new provisions will also create a much-needed deterrent to those counterfeiters who, up until this point, had been able to participate in the supply networks critical to counterfeit operations with little risk that they could be targeted by the law.

To sum up, we need the expanded civil provisions contained in the combatting counterfeit products bill to effectively combat counterfeit products that pose serious risks to Canadian businesses and to Canadian consumers. I urge my fellow members of this House to swiftly pass the combatting counterfeit products bill.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2014 / 12:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise again to resume my comments on Bill C-8. I would like to speak a bit about what is in the bill.

Bill C-8 amends the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act to add new civil and criminal remedies and new border measures in both acts, in order to strengthen the enforcement of copyright and trademark rights and to curtail commercial activity involving infringing copies and counterfeit trademarked goods.

More specifically, the bill creates new civil causes of action with respect to activities that sustain commercial activity in infringing copies and counterfeit trademarked goods. It creates new criminal offences for trademark counterfeiting that are analogous to existing offences in the Copyright Act. It also creates new criminal offences prohibiting the possession or export of infringing copies or counterfeit trademarked goods, packaging or labels.

The bill enacts new border enforcement measures enabling customs officers to detain goods that they suspect infringe copyright or trademark rights. I think my colleagues in the House obviously agree that it is important to protect copyrights and trademarks. It is important to protect Canadians' jobs. This is how they earn their living.

The bill also allows customs officers to share information relating to the detained goods with rights owners who have filed a request for assistance, in order to give the rights owners a reasonable opportunity to pursue a remedy in court. The bill exempts the importation and exportation of copies and goods by an individual for their personal use from the application of the border measures. This is important to consider.

The bill also adds the offences set out in the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act to the list of offences set out in the Criminal Code for the investigation of which police may seek judicial authorization to use a wiretap. Obviously, in this situation, it would be illegal to use a wiretap. We are already hearing about illegal wiretaps that the government has done.

Bill C-8 also amends the Trade-marks Act to, among other things, expand the scope of what can be registered as a trade-mark and allow the Registrar of Trade-marks to correct errors that appear in the trade-mark register. That is important.

Personally, I hope that, in the future, the government will introduce a bill ensuring that these provisions apply not only to trade-marks but also to official marks. I think that significant changes must be made to official marks legislation and to how we correct past mistakes.

Finally, the bill streamlines and modernizes the trade-mark application and opposition process.

Now that I have given a bit of a review of what is in the bill, let us talk about what happened after the bill passed second reading and went to committee, where a variety of proposals for amendments were brought forward.

The fact is that this is unfortunately a case, another case, of the Conservative government using its majority to ram through a flawed piece of legislation that could have done a much better job of protecting Canadian business interests and Canadian consumers.

We are supporting the bill, because it is important to have some measures to protect these interests and to try to stop this enormous flow we are seeing of counterfeit goods into Canada.

Nevertheless, it does not mean the bill could not be better. We certainly would have liked to have seen it made better.

Every single amendment we brought forward and that the NDP brought forward at committee was torpedoed by the Conservatives there. The Conservatives followed orders. When the minister appeared, he stated that he wanted the bill passed by committee quickly and that he would allow no more than four days of hearings. To no one's surprise, that is exactly what happened.

When we talk about having less partisanship around here, about having more collaboration around here, this is what we are talking about. I hope that the changes we are proposing to the Senate make it a less partisan place and a more collaborative place. If we succeed in having a less partisan Senate, a Senate that is appointed in a non-partisan way, we would actually have to have more collaboration between the members of this House and members of the other chamber. That might even influence this chamber to become more collaborative and non-partisan. Hopefully it will be less hyperpartisan than it has been in the past eight years under the Conservative government.

What a shame that there were not more days of hearings and the consideration of amendments during the committee stage. This could have been a really strong piece of legislation, but no one on that side was interested in anything other than bowing down to the minister and the PMO.

The committee heard from many witnesses who testified about the serious problems and serious shortcomings in Bill C-8. They are flaws that could have been addressed through amendments.

Now, everyone agrees that this is a step forward. Some would go as far as to say that this is a good step to bring us in line with the international community.

In fact, when I was on the committee and when I was previously the Liberal critic for industry, I actually met with the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada and with the Canadian Institution of Plumbing & Heating. Both these groups were among those that were very concerned about counterfeit products coming into Canada. If we are talking about things that involve the plumbing and heating in our houses and in buildings where we work, the last thing we want are products that we think are up to Canadian standards but that are, in fact, counterfeit and have been brought in illegally and, unbeknownst to whoever brought them into Canada, are not the quality they are supposed to be.

That could create serious problems. It could lead to flooding. It could lead to fires. It could lead to serious dangers for Canadians.

I have not even talked about the issue of pharmaceutical drugs. When those come in and are counterfeit, we can imagine the concerns.

My colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, the member for Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, was talking earlier about Canada Goose. I was on the committee last year when we heard from companies like Canada Goose about the kinds of outrageous things that are put into counterfeit jackets and other products that come into this country. We ought to be concerned about this.

It has also been said that the way the bill is, it is a bit like providing bread crumbs to a starving man. The impact of counterfeit goods in Canada is growing. In 2005, the value of seized counterfeit items, which are the items our Canadian Border Services Agency was able to stop and identify at the border and seize, was $7.6 million. That is quite a bit. However, by 2012, that number had grown to $38 million. I think we can all agree that it has probably grown significantly since then.

This ought to be a matter of serious concern to us, because it means that those counterfeit products are replacing products produced by Canadians, and it is taking jobs and work away from Canadians. We ought to be very concerned about that.

The fact of the matter is that both Liberal and NDP members of the committee brought forward reasonable amendments in good faith in an effort to improve Bill C-8 because they do recognize it is an important piece of legislation. However, instead of a strong bill that the Conservatives could be proud of, that all of us in the House of Commons could be proud of, we are left with the minister's determination that it be just the minister alone required to make us compliant under global treaties. We do not how that will work, so the bill needed to be amended.

The government failed to address the really big issues and to make meaningful change. This, I suppose, is not surprising from this crowd. The Conservatives are driven by their ideology and the optics of things, as we have seen so often. They seem to care less whether they really stand up for the real interests of Canadian businesses and Canadian consumers.

Many witnesses pointed out that this legislation is all punitive, but the Conservatives did not really want to hear that and why it could be problematic, and even rejected the measures we proposed to help small businesses. Many small businesses simply cannot afford to go through the courts, which is a very costly exercise, to protect their brands. In some cases, this does not help them.

We could have helped those businesses, who provide the jobs we all want for Canadians, if the government had been willing to listen to witnesses and accept amendments to Bill C-8. When the opposition proposed a simplified approach that would have made it easier for small businesses, the Conservatives shut it down. I should not be too harsh on Conservative committee members; after all, they are just doing what they have been ordered to do by the minister or the folks over at the PMO.

One of the more disturbing things that will happen with the legislation is that it will give our enforcement agencies a lot more work at a time when they are struggling because of short-sighted funding cuts. The RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency need the proper resources to do their job and to enforce legislation like Bill C-8, but they are not getting them from the government.

In the 2012 budget, the government cut $142 million from Canada Border Services Agency. My colleague says it was $143 million. Whatever it is, it is in that range. It is a bit like the fact that the Conservatives are talking about all of this stuff they will do for veterans, but failing to mention that they have cut 781 people from Veterans Affairs Canada. That is 22% of the workforce, yet they expect people across Canada to believe this will improve their service to veterans. It does not wash. I am frankly astonished that the Conservatives would do this. Why they have not been listening to veterans and hearing the concerns about these office closures and cuts to services, and pretending they will get better service, I do not really comprehend. It does not make sense for the government to do this, but it is not the first time I have seen something from the government that does not make sense.

When I speak of the bill, it is sad to see an opportunity to bring in a real strong piece of legislation squandered by the Conservative government. Nevertheless, the Liberal Party recognizes the need to provide new enforcement tools to help strengthen Canada's existing enforcement regime for counterfeit goods.

We believe that Canadian businesses and industry associations must be protected to ensure the well-being of domestic businesses; the health and safety of Canadians, including in regard to the items in our homes I spoke earlier about, such as electrical components and pharmaceutical products; as well as the integrity of the Canadian economy as a whole. This is important for those reasons.

We would like to see public education regarding possession, production and distribution addressed in Bill C-8. We see nothing coming forward from the government to do that.

We would like to investigate and further study how e-commerce may provide a loophole to the seizure and the reduction of the presence of counterfeit products. We see no interest in such a study from the government.

With the current government deficit, as well as the recent cuts to the budget of the Canada Border Services Agency, we question how the Conservatives will fund the new prevention and investigative system. How on earth will we improve services at our borders when they are cutting the funding dramatically?

Border officers, who are by no means copyright experts, will be given new and increased powers that are not overseen by courts, which may lead to illegitimate seizures and violations of the Charter of Rights. We have to be concerned about that. Why would we want to put the Border Services agents in that position? We should not be doing that to them.

There are several further areas in which concerns have been raised. With an increased number of seizures due to increased powers being given to border officers and the RCMP, how will the government fund such extensive investigative and legal operations? Should genuine or non-counterfeit products be seized and destroyed and, in that case, how will the government compensate companies and individuals? Moreover, how will the government protect the information of legitimate importers from potential misuse of the request for assistance mechanism? These are important questions. How will the government determine whether importers of counterfeit production are aware that products are counterfeit? Why are there no provisions for counterfeit goods being transshipped through Canada?

While Bill C-8 certainly does not accomplish everything that it might, it does mark a step forward in the fight against the deeply damaging practice of counterfeiting and moves Canada closer, if only slightly, toward a modernized intellectual property regime.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the third time and passed.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2014 / 10:55 a.m.
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Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today, even if it is for the three minutes remaining before we begin statements by members and question period. However, I obviously will have an opportunity to finish my remarks after question period, and I look forward to that.

I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-8, which is an important piece of legislation. I think it could have been improved at committee, and it is unfortunate that the Conservative government did not accept any amendments that were brought forward. This seems to be a pattern that we have seen over and over in committee. Rather than consider, discuss, and have a collaborative process when it comes to possible amendments that could improve a bill, the Conservative MPs on committees unfortunately seem determined not to consider them, or perhaps they are cowed and afraid of the PMO or the minister's office and do whatever the minister's office tells them and simply vote to defeat all amendments.

That is unfortunate, because this is an important bill. It is a bill that could be better. It could have improvements to make it a stronger piece of legislation to serve our country better. It could better serve our businesses that are so concerned about this issue of counterfeit goods.

I sat on the industry committee last year before that. As my hon. colleague the parliamentary secretary was saying earlier, we heard from various companies that expressed grave concern about the impact of the increasing amount of counterfeit goods coming into the country. When we consider the kinds of goods we are talking about here, it should be of concern to all Canadians.

We are not talking just about things like hockey jerseys, for example, that really take away revenues from the teams that own those brands. That has an impact on those teams. Normally, people think NHL teams are wealthy and the players are wealthy, so they are not worried about them. However, if we think about it, with the dollar below 90¢ these days, we are going to hear more about the challenges that presents to NHL teams operating in Canada, because they pay their players in U.S. dollars, so that is a concern for them.

We also hear about things like pharmaceuticals or electrical components. We can imagine a counterfeit electrical component in a house. That counterfeit electrical component might lead to a fire. We need to be concerned about all these things.

I know my time before question period is coming to an end, Mr. Speaker, so I will pause and let you take over. I look forward to resuming my comments later.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2014 / 10:40 a.m.
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NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the members of the House for giving their unanimous consent to allow me to speak this morning. It is greatly appreciated. I would also like to commend my colleague on her very intelligent and well-presented comments.

I want to speak to Bill C-8 today because it is an important measure for combating counterfeit products in Canada. I will begin by saying that we intend to support the bill at this stage because we believe it will greatly benefit Canada in terms of combating counterfeiting and piracy.

As my colleague mentioned, according to the OECD, the estimated cost of counterfeiting is $250 billion. That is a lot of money. It is quite troubling to know that all that money is going into the hands of people with questionable practices. When we talk about counterfeit products we immediately think of fake Louis Vuitton bags because they are everywhere. I see them every day. However, counterfeiting is much more than that.

Prescription drugs can be counterfeit and pose a serious risk to the health of Canadians. Electronic devices can also cause problems, especially small devices used on airplanes, for example. If a counterfeit device is used on a plane, it can cause serious problems and put the lives of Canadians in jeopardy. This is quite troubling.

I want to say a few words about a company in my riding that tests electronic components to see if they are counterfeit. I had the opportunity to visit that company roughly a year ago and I learned a lot of things, including that there are a lot counterfeit components. Honestly, I was surprised to see to what extent the components we buy from other countries are not always authentic. The people at this company explained to me the procedure they follow to test these components. It is quite an involved process and not something that everyone could do. I commend them for their work, which is essential. Thanks to them, a number of companies in Canada and in the United States can be 100% certain that the component they purchased is authentic and will work properly, especially when we are talking about aircraft equipment. Their work is quite impressive. I just wanted to take a bit of time to talk about a personal experience.

Back to Bill C-8, which proposes a number of different things that I would like to discuss in detail.

The bill adds two new criminal offences under the Copyright Act for possessing or exporting counterfeit copies and creates offences for selling counterfeit goods or offering them for sale on a commercial scale. It prohibits the import or export of counterfeit copies and counterfeit goods and ensures a balanced approach to this prohibition by creating two exceptions: personal use and copies in customs transit control.

The bill also gives customs officers new powers to detain counterfeit goods and copies. It gives the Minister of Public Safety and border authorities new powers enabling them to share information relating to the detained goods with rights owners. Lastly, it expands the scope of what can be registered as a trade-mark, as described within the broader definition of a certain term.

Basically, these are good measures, and the NDP supports them. However, there is one big problem, and I believe my colleagues talked about it. CBSA's funding has been reduced by $143 million. Officers are being asked to get more training and spend more of their time fighting counterfeiting. In principle, that is a good thing, but given the budget cuts, it is hard to imagine that they will be able to perform those additional duties.

We are seriously questioning the idea of giving our border agents more responsibility when we do not necessarily have the financial means to do so.

In that regard, I would like to quote Jean-Pierre Fortin, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union, who commented on the budget cuts as follows:

These proposed budget cuts would have a direct and real impact on Canadians and our communities across the country: more child pornography entering the country, more weapons and illegal drugs will pass through our borders, not to mention terrorists, sexual predators and hardened criminals.

Clearly, these budget cuts could have serious repercussions. The government should seriously consider that when asking border agents to take on more responsibilities as part of their job.

I would like to make another point. I asked this question during question period when the bill was introduced in the House. Does Bill C-8 signify that the government is planning on ratifying ACTA in its entirety? That is a very important question. ACTA has attracted widespread criticism on the international stage. The European Union rejected many clauses in the agreement, and I would like to take a few moments to highlight the most problematic ones.

For example, there are clauses that would criminalize certain individuals. There were concerns about the use of shell corporations, the role of Internet service providers, and potential interruptions in the generic drug supply. Those clauses were rejected by the international community.

I would like to reassure those who are fighting for an open Internet environment and who are speaking out against the idea of the government being able to block websites, that this bill does not seem to include those troubling clauses.

I want to congratulate the government on that, because introducing those clauses here in Canada could cause problems regarding Canadians' access to an open Internet environment.

Obviously, we will have more to say, but this seems to be relatively balanced in terms of our intention to ratify ACTA. I would encourage the government to think twice—or even three or four times—before it proposes such measures, if it intends to do so in the future, because this comes with a great deal of risk.

I want to support another aspect of this bill, and that is the exception for personal use. Naturally, when we see a bill on counterfeiting, certain questions come to mind. Will someone crossing the border who bought a knock-off of a Louis Vuitton bag be arrested? Will her bag be seized? That would be going a little too far, so I am glad an exception has been included for personal use, to avoid those kinds of situations.

We can also consider people who go through customs with a laptop and would be forced to turn it on to determine whether there are any pirated programs or illegally downloaded songs on it. Having to go through all of someone's software could cause a problem. I am therefore happy to see the exception for personal use, but that provision needs to be examined further to make sure that it will not cause any such problems.

Since my time is almost up, I would just like to reiterate our support for this bill. Fighting counterfeiting is an issue that is very important to the NDP. We are prepared to work with the government in order to find ways to strike a balance between the law, copyright holders and consumers. That is what really matters.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2014 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to specify that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Terrebonne—Blainville.

Before I begin my speech, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Vietnamese New Year. Tet is the start of a new year and, according to the lunar calendar, this is the year of the horse. In Vietnamese, we say, “chúc mung nam moi”.

Now back to Bill C-8. Counterfeiting is a crime that harms legitimate trade. It puts the health and safety of Canadians at risk, as we have just heard. Counterfeiting is when a recognized trademark is put on a fake product in the hopes of fooling clients and businesses.

In recent years, counterfeit products have caused serious injuries. There were batteries that exploded and caused burns, drugs that had very dangerous side effects, and toys that injured children. In addition, there are clothes that are made with materials that are dangerous to our health and substandard coat linings that cause skin disease, for example.

The proportion of counterfeit products that are dangerous to our health is on the rise. In 2005, the proportion was 11%; however, it is now 26%. Canadians should not have to take risks when buying imported products.

Counterfeiting also has a devastating effect on businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses. Our small and medium-sized businesses invest their creativity and their resources in the development of unique, reliable and competitive products. When counterfeit goods enter the Canadian market, they cause serious damage to businesses, and small and medium-sized businesses do not always have the means to take the counterfeiters to court.

The value of counterfeit goods seized by the RCMP has risen from $7 million to $38 million over the past seven years. The OECD estimates that the value of counterfeiting worldwide is approximately $250 billion a year. China is the main source of counterfeit goods. In 2011, 80% of counterfeit goods came from China, and that trend is on the rise. The United States is the second-largest source.

We hope that Bill C-8 will help reduce the amount of counterfeit goods in Canada. The bill basically aims to strengthen the fight against counterfeiting by amending the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act. In fact, the bill will add two new criminal offences under the Copyright Act for possession and exportation of counterfeit goods. Furthermore, it also creates offences for selling or offering counterfeit goods on a commercial scale. It also prohibits the importing of counterfeit goods, while creating two exceptions: the first exception is products imported for personal use, given that people do not always know when something they buy outside Canada is counterfeit, and the second has to do with items in transit control, that is, goods that are passing through Canada on their way to their final destination.

Bill C-8 also gives border officials new powers to intercept infringing copies. Thus, they will no longer have to wait for a court order, which makes a lot more sense. The Canada Border Services Agency and the Minister of Public Safety will also be able to share information on detained goods with copyright holders. These tools will help fight counterfeiting.

However, it is of the utmost importance that we have the resources to enforce the law. The Conservative government has made major cuts to border services. Contrary to what the parliamentary secretary said earlier, approximately $143 million in cuts will be made, resulting in the loss of 549 full-time jobs between now and 2015. That is quite significant given that the border between Canada and the United States is almost 9,000 km long.

The Franklin border crossing in my riding was closed in 2011. Border guards and RCMP officers came to see me immediately to tell me how concerned they were because the smuggling of tobacco, drugs and weapons across the border is a major problem. Now that the RCMP and border services have fewer resources, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to keep Canadians safe. Border guards and RCMP officers are being given more responsibilities and fewer resources, making it even harder for them to protect Canadians from counterfeiting and maintain border security.

Let us not forget that Bill C-8 will require customs officers to analyze the products entering and leaving the country to determine whether they are counterfeit copies and whether they fall under one of the exemptions. In the case of counterfeit goods, customs officers will have to detain the goods, store them and contact the rights owners. They will have to take care of all that in addition to doing their regular duties.

One has to wonder whether the Canada Border Services Agency will have the means to implement the law without compromising its other responsibilities, which are to protect Canada's borders and keep our country safe.

The president of the Customs and Immigration Union, Jean-Pierre Fortin, had this to say about the cuts to the Canada Border Services Agency:

These proposed budget cuts would have a direct and real impact on Canadians and our communities across the country: more child pornography entering the country, more weapons and illegal drugs will pass through our borders, not to mention terrorists, sexual predators and hardened criminals.

Experienced people are concerned. How can the government ensure that all of the measures proposed in Bill C-8 are funded without affecting other surveillance services? The government refuses to comment on this, despite all of the questions we asked about it in committee.

The other major issue is the lack of data on counterfeiting in Canada. We do not know the magnitude of the problem. All we have are statistics on actual seizures. We do not have any information about what type of goods are being counterfeited and where they come from. We do not have any information on all of the counterfeit goods that are on the market.

The Canadian Intellectual Property Council believes that the Canadian system does not have the tools to track cases detected and report them to the authorities. European border authorities must publish statistics but, in Canada, the Border Services Agency is not mandated to report infringements of intellectual property rights.

In committee, when we asked the RCMP whether they had an idea of the number of Canadian manufacturers charged with importing or exporting counterfeit goods, the federal policing superintendent replied that he did not have any statistics in that regard.

In fact, the RCMP's police information retrieval system does not track enough information to provide a clear picture of the number of counterfeit goods imported or exported.

In 2007, a report by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology recommended that the government establish a reporting system that would track investigations. It is difficult to tackle this problem without the facts and the exact figures.

How can we measure progress after we implement this law without a baseline? Let us be realistic. Without funding for tracking counterfeiting and without a team of experts to manage border measures, the legislation will have very mixed results.

The NDP attached a dissenting opinion to the committee's report on its study of the bill. We are calling on the government to consult with consumer associations and industry. We would also like customs officers to have the powers they need to do their jobs while ensuring compliance with civil liberties and usual procedures. We are also asking that the agency be provided with sufficient funding, it goes without saying, to fight counterfeiting and continue doing the work it does every day.

In conclusion, the NDP supports the fight against counterfeiting. Our approach respects both copyright holders and citizens. We are also pragmatic. We know that if we pass a law but do not allocate the necessary resources to enforce it, the outcome will be poor. Fighting counterfeiting effectively without taking away from other border control activities means providing the appropriate resources to the relevant authorities.

The government must also stop cutting front-line officer positions. The number of full-time jobs has been reduced by 549.

We have also taken a very close look at Bill C-8 in committee, and we believe that it does not compromise Canadians' basic rights. The bill does not include censorship, does not criminalize travellers, and does not cover goods in transit.

However, there must be conclusive evidence and follow-up on analyses. Most importantly, the government must provide adequate human and financial resources to our border services and RCMP officers.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2014 / 10:05 a.m.
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Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise today to speak to Bill C-8, the combating counterfeit products act. I am happy to say that the bill passed through the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology with all-party support. The committee heard many witnesses and introduced a number of amendments that improve this important piece of legislation.

However, before I speak to the particulars of Bill C-8, allow me to remind the House of the important measures that our government has already taken and will continue to take to support Canadian consumers. In the recent Speech from the Throne, the government committed to taking strong action to protect consumers and families that is aimed at lowering prices, enhancing access and choice, and ensuring fair treatment.

The modernization of our intellectual property laws has also brought real benefits to consumers. Last year, Canada's long-standing copyright laws were updated and brought into the 21st century through the Copyright Modernization Act. The amended copyright act allows for legitimate and commonplace actions by Canadian consumers to be protected under copyright law. Canadians no longer have to be concerned about the legalities of time shifting television programs on their personal video recorders, transferring music from their CD collection to their MP3 player, or remixing music or videos for non-commercial purposes and sharing it on social media. By enacting the Copyright Modernization Act, the government listened to the concerns of Canadian consumers and provided them with legitimate protection for their actions. Canada now has a modern copyright regime that will play a critical role in protecting and creating jobs in Canada's digital economy.

It is the resolve of our government to continue to bring forward legislation that empowers Canadian consumers and instills confidence in the marketplace.

It is in this spirit that I will speak to Bill C-8, which addresses the real need for protection against allowing counterfeit goods to enter Canada. By reducing the trade in counterfeit goods, the bill would help protect our economy, support innovation, and benefit both businesses and consumers. For years, Canadian stakeholders in the business community have been seeking improvements to our intellectual property laws in order to better tackle the problem of counterfeiting and piracy. They have told us repeatedly that Canadian brands and works are being copied and taken advantage of, causing hardship not only to legitimate businesses but also to Canadian consumers.

Let me reiterate: counterfeit trademark goods are not only harmful to the economy, but they are often made without regard to Canadian health and safety standards which could harm consumers and their families. How so? Consumers could inadvertently buy counterfeit products that look like the real thing but could cause significant harm. For example, witness testimony at the industry committee mentioned several dangerous products. The CSA group talked about counterfeit circuit breakers found in a hospital in Quebec that were supplying power to life support equipment. Committee members were shown a video of a counterfeit circuit actually exploding under conditions that simulated normal electrical use. The International Trademark Association mentioned counterfeit food, medicines, and automotive parts. Canada Goose explained that the stuffing in counterfeit versions of their jackets are, at best, of very low quality, and at worst, not sanitary.

It is easy to see how these types of goods could present serious health and safety issues for anyone who would encounter them. Canadians who spend their hard-earned dollars to buy what they believe are high-quality products backed by a brand name are furious when they learn that they have been deceived.

Bill C-8 is our government's response to this problem. It amends the Trade-marks Act and the Copyright Act to provide new tools for rights holders, border officers, and law enforcement to better fight this issue. Most importantly, it puts in place strong measures to protect Canadian consumers and their families from the threat of counterfeiting.

Allow me to explain how the bill would provide for a stronger border regime, new civil causes of action, and new criminal offences. First, the bill gives copyright and trademark owners additional tools to protect their intellectual property rights at the border. Importantly, Bill C-8 provides border agents with the authority to temporarily detain suspected shipments and the ability to verify their suspicion with rights holders. Under the new system, rights holders would be able to file a request for assistance with the Canada Border Services Agency, asking for border officers' help in detaining suspected counterfeit or pirated goods. Allowing trademark and copyright owners to exercise their rights at the border means fewer shipments of counterfeit and pirated goods into the Canadian market, to the benefit of businesses, consumers, and their families.

Second, with regard to civil infringements, Bill C-8 adds a series of activities to the existing civil causes of action in the Trade-marks Act. Currently, trademark owners can only pursue a civil action against a counterfeiter when a good is being sold.

Bill C-8 fills important gaps by making it a civil infringement to manufacture, possess, import, export, or attempt to export counterfeit goods for commercial purposes. By targeting activities that occur earlier in the supply chain, the bill helps rights holders keep counterfeit goods out of the Canadian market and out of the hands of unsuspecting Canadian consumers.

Not only does this bill add new civil causes for activities prior to sale, it also targets the practice of shipping labels separately from goods in order to avoid detection. Bill C-8 adds specific provisions against manufacturing, possessing, importing, exporting, and attempting to export labels or packaging that are destined to be associated with counterfeit goods. This measure protects consumers from counterfeiters who may apply counterfeit labels to goods here in Canada in an attempt to avoid getting caught.

To summarize the civil measures, Bill C-8 equips rights holders with improved tools to assert their trademark and copyright in a civil context.

In recognition of the fact that counterfeiting is an unlawful act, the bill adds new offences to the Trade-marks Act for selling, manufacturing, causing to be manufactured, possessing, importing, exporting, or attempting to export counterfeit goods on a commercial scale. The new criminal offences also cover services, labelling, and packaging. This is important because law enforcement knows that criminal groups are involved in the production and distribution of counterfeit goods. These groups forego safety regulations, certifications, and quality controls in order to maximize profits. They simply do not care about the health and safety of consumers. For these groups, counterfeiting is just another profitable line of business. The new criminal offences will give law enforcement agencies additional important tools to fight against serious and organized crime. They will help us keep those goods off the market and help protect Canadian families.

All of the measures I have just outlined pertain to sale for commercial purposes. That is the focus of Bill C-8 and of law enforcement authorities. In this way, Bill C-8 will protect consumers and their families from the threat of counterfeit goods by reducing the presence of these goods in the Canadian market.

In addition, Bill C-8 provides a specific exception at the border for individuals importing or exporting counterfeit or pirated goods intended for personal use when these goods are in their possession or personal luggage. Simply put, Canadians may cross the border with counterfeit goods or pirated copies for personal use. However, let me be clear. Every person who supports counterfeiting at any level hurts the Canadian economy and risks his or her health and safety.

As I mentioned earlier, there is also a possibility that counterfeit goods and pirated copies are connected with organized crime, which often profits from the sale of counterfeit goods.

The measures in this bill are designed to help federal agencies and rights holders target their efforts to confronting criminals who gain commercially from the sale of these goods. This is the balance that the government has achieved with this bill. If we want to target those who profit from counterfeiting and piracy, we have to put our efforts into stopping commercial activities relating to counterfeiting and piracy, not in stopping individual Canadians who may inadvertently carry a counterfeit good in their luggage.

Another area where this bill achieves the right balance is with regard to the respective roles of the state and rights holders in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. Trademarks and copyrights are private rights. We believe that the trademark and copyright owners have an important role to play in defending these private rights. That said, the government also plays a key role in keeping unsafe products out of the Canadian market and in stopping serious and organized crime.

With Bill C-8, the government puts in place a framework that allows trademark and copyright owners to protect their rights more efficiently at the border and within the country. For example, rights holders will have the ability to file a request for assistance with the Canada Border Services Agency. This will allow rights holders to receive information from border officers about shipments suspected of containing counterfeit or pirated goods, allowing them to pursue remedies under the Trade-marks Act or the Copyright Act.

Rights holders who choose to file a request for assistance will be asked to assume the costs of storage and destruction of counterfeit and pirated goods. For its part, the government will continue to play a leading role in stopping goods that present health and safety issues or that are linked to criminal activities. Border officers will continue to refer these goods to the RCMP and Health Canada as appropriate.

In my introduction I mentioned the work of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, as we reviewed Bill C-8 for several weeks. In particular, I would like to highlight a number of substantive amendments that were adopted by the committee that will clarify and improve the application of Bill C-8, while keeping with the balance I alluded to earlier to help better achieve outcomes for Canadians.

First, the bill was amended to clarify that rights holders can use information obtained from border officers about suspected shipments to seek out-of-court settlements. Such settlements are part of the process of pursuing remedies under the act. They would enable rights holders to assert their rights in a cost-effective manner.

Second, the knowledge requirements of the new criminal offences introduced in the Trade-marks Act were found to be unnecessarily high, which in turn meant a low probability of successful prosecution.

If we want the bill to provide an effective deterrent for counterfeiters, we have to make sure that criminal offences can be prosecuted. The amendments introduced at the committee achieve this goal by requiring the crown to prove that the accused knew that he was copying a trademark and that he did not have the consent of the trademark owner to do so. The criminal offences will continue to apply only to activities on a commercial scale and only to registered trademarks.

The third amendment introduced at the committee stage concerns the definition of “distinctive” in the Trade-marks Act. Some witnesses expressed concerns about changes in the wording of the definition. These changes were meant only to modernize the language, and there was no intention of changing the meaning of “distinctive”.

The committee moved to replace the expression “inherently capable of distinguishing” with the expression “adapted so to distinguish”, which is currently found in the Trade-marks Act. This amendment alleviates the concerns of stakeholders and removes any risk of costly and unnecessary litigation associated with the reinterpretation of the new definition.

The final amendment I would like to mention concerns the new civil causes of action in the Trade-marks Act. Originally, the bill's new civil causes of action for manufacturing, possessing, importing, exporting, and attempting to export only applied to the goods and services for which the trademark was registered. In contrast, the existing causes of action for selling or distributing apply to all goods and services that could be confused with a registered trademark, whether or not the goods and services are on the trademark register. The committee's amendment ensures that both the existing and the new civil causes of action have the same scope of application.

Bill C-8, as amended by the industry committee, is further proof that our government is focused on protecting consumers and their families. By keeping unsafe products out of the hands of unsuspecting consumers, it would enhance consumer confidence in the marketplace and would help legitimate businesses in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.

I would urge all members of the House to support the bill and refer it to the Senate as soon as possible to ensure that Canadian rights holders, customs officers, and law enforcement have the tools they need to fight counterfeiting and piracy domestically and at our borders.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, as reported (with amendments) from the committee.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

January 30th, 2014 / 3:05 p.m.
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York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, first let me wish you and everybody else a happy new year.

This afternoon, we will continue the NDP's opposition day. Tomorrow, we will consider Bill C-8, the Combating Contraband Products Act, at report stage and third reading. Should we need to call a second bill, we will resume debate on Bill C-2, the Respect for Communities Act, which went through its seventh day of debate on Monday.

Monday and Tuesday shall be the third and fourth allotted days. Wednesday and Thursday, we plan to continue the second reading debate on Bill C-20, the Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act.

As for the invitation from my friend, I certain would not want to tread upon the very important responsibilities of the whips, and I am sure they will carry out those discussions among themselves.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

December 5th, 2013 / 3 p.m.
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York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I want to first start by thanking the House staff, you, and all members of the House for indulging Tuesday night in going through 284 virtually identical amendments from the opposition with regard to that budget implementation bill, all of which simply required deletion. Fortunately, those were reduced by the Speaker to some 16 to make the process more manageable. That did help us to advance the process, notwithstanding the clear efforts by the opposition to obstruct at every stage our very important economic action measures for the benefit of Canada's economy, for job creation, and economic growth for Canadians.

First let me thank all parties in the House for their co-operation on that. This afternoon we will continue and finish the second reading debate on Bill C-15, Northwest Territories Devolution Act. If we wrap it up before 5:30 p.m., we will return to the second reading debate of Bill C-11, Priority Hiring for Injured Veterans Act.

Today, all parties in the House worked together to pass—at all stages—Bill C-16, the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation Governance Act. Perhaps this is a sign of the Christmas spirit spreading throughout the parliamentary precinct. I hope it will continue into tomorrow and next week.

Tomorrow, we will have the third reading debate on Bill C-4, the Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2.

As I told the House on Tuesday, the budget implementation bill has a number of very important measures that our government has advanced. Unfortunately, once again we find the NDP opposing it, despite such things as the extension and expansion of the hiring credit for small business, which has the potential to benefit an estimated 560,000 employers and many thousands of employees they might hire into the future. That is something the NDP is voting against. We think it is important that it be put in place right away.

Monday will be the final allotted day of the autumn, which will see us consider a proposal from the New Democratic Party, followed by the supplementary estimates and a supply bill.

During the remaining time available to us next week, I hope to see the House adopt second reading of Bill C-15, if that does not happen today; second reading of Bill C-3, the safeguarding Canada's seas and skies act; and report stage and hopefully third reading of Bill C-8, the combatting counterfeit products act, which was reported back from the hard-working industry committee this morning.

Consumer ProtectionOral Questions

December 5th, 2013 / 2:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Devinder Shory Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, supporting and protecting Canadian families is a priority for our government, and that is why we have taken measures to protect Canadian consumers from harmful knock-off products by introducing the combating counterfeit products act.

Canadians should feel confident that the brands they buy are the real deal, not a wheel and deal. Can the Minister of Industry please tell this House what our government is doing to help protect Canadian families from counterfeit products that could be harmful to their health and safety?

Industry, Science and TechnologyCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

December 5th, 2013 / 10:05 a.m.
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Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology in relation to Bill C-8, an act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back the House, with amendments.

I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology in relation to the supplementary estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014.

December 4th, 2013 / 4:45 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I appreciate that.

I'm not suggesting that by inserting the new offences under Bill C-8 into the Criminal Code we've reduced the threshold for obtaining a wiretap, but what we've done is insert an offence that is at this point still vague. It could, on my reading, and also that of a number of lawyers who would like to have testified to the committee—taking Ms. Charlton's point—but weren't invited.

In particular I've been in touch with Howard Knopf of Perley-Robertson. He was involved as counsel in at least part of the Laurier Office Mart case, where a very minor offence, something like 332 dollars' worth of photocopying, ended in a costly court battle, particularly costly to the small family business that was involved.

Those kinds of offences could be caught under this provision to allow wiretapping.

I'd further submit that because government amendment G-7 has changed the threshold of mens rea to make it clearer that a person—and I think it was a good amendment. I thank the government members for bringing in G-7. But with the provision of G-7, to make it clear that a person actually has to have known that what they were doing was an offence, as opposed to knowing the particular sections of the act, and so on, we've reduced the threshold of mens rea. It even reduces further the need to treat this as a proper case for needing the investigative tool of wiretapping.

You would think English wasn't my first language, Mr. Chair.

I am a bit tired.

That said, I think this provision is one too many.

We don't need it. It inserts wiretapping opportunities where law enforcement won't need it, and the nature of offences could include very trivial offences, such as in the Laurier Office Mart case.

December 4th, 2013 / 4:45 p.m.
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Director General, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Department of Industry

Paul Halucha

The amendment seeks to limit the tools available to the police who are investigating offences under the Copyright Act. As a result, the RCMP would be unable to seek judicial authority to conduct a wiretap as part of a criminal investigation involving the production of, for example, thousands of infringing DVDs, Blu-rays, or CDs for commercial distribution.

As indicated in earlier testimony before the committee by the RCMP, organized crime groups are diverse, and investigations normally involve many forms of contraband. The amendment would also create a differential treatment regarding the tools available for law enforcement investigations of copyright and trademark counterfeiting crimes.

Ms. May listed a number of the high crimes in the Criminal Code that are found in those provisions around wiretapping. I haven't done a formal count, but I think it's in the range of 150 to 200. Many of the provisions, which are quite close to the criminal provisions being created through Bill C-8 for copyright and trademarks, are already included in the Criminal Code, for example, forgery, theft, fraud, uttering or making counterfeit money, and smuggling. So there is an analogous set of offences that are in the act.

The proposal in Bill C-8 is effectively to add the two new criminal offences. I'll be clear that no civil offences are being added into the Criminal Code.

With regard to the issue of safeguards, which was raised, there are no new safeguards added in Bill C-8 regarding wiretapping. The safeguards are actually quite comprehensive and are already spelled out in the Criminal Code. There's no narrowing or expanding of wiretap provisions as a result of Bill C-8. In the act, we've established new criminal offences for trademark violation and, on the criminal side, for copyright, and in both cases, we're simply providing the RCMP with a warrant and sufficient evidence, with all of the safeguards in the Criminal Code in place, so that with a judge's concurrence they can seek a wiretap. This is undertaken in extraordinary circumstances. The RCMP reports publicly on the number of wiretaps it seeks. You can find that on Public Safety's web page. That's done in a very small percentage of overall investigations. I think the numbers range over the last five years from about just over 100 to the low 90s.

December 4th, 2013 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Thank you very much, Chair.

I kind of wish we had heard some testimony on this. We heard none, which isn't very helpful to me at this point. I know that some of the clauses in the bill would require that any wiretapping happened with the oversight of the courts. I expect that the court oversight would be balanced. By that, I mean that the courts would account for the exceptions under the Copyright Act in their deliberations. We also know that the Criminal Code already has safeguards in place to protect privacy, including reporting and notification requirements and a limit on the use of powers only as a last resort.

All of that being said, it's still not clear why this measure is required in the context of Bill C-8. No witnesses testified about this, either raising concerns or asking for those kinds of powers.

While those of us on this side of the table support Bill C-8, we do agree that this clause of the bill could have impacts beyond the scope of anything that was presented here at committee. For that reason, I'm going to be supporting amendment PV-1.

December 4th, 2013 / 4:40 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

My thanks to all the interpreters.

There are other offences in the Criminal Code that are already on point to copyright, and I'm wondering why Bill C-8 isn't taking those on board rather than having them stuck under this act under which, I'm concerned, some of the offences are rather vague regarding permission to wiretap.

Section 408 of the Criminal Code makes it an offence to forge trademarks or trade descriptions, and section 432 of the Criminal Code speaks to the issue of videotaping in a movie theatre without permission what is on the screen, which is, in other words, pirating films.

Those are sections of the Criminal Code which I think could have been more appropriately used under Bill C-8. From our reading of Bill C-8 and the insertion into the Criminal Code of offences under Bill C-8, we have now an overly broad and ill-defined set of offences that are not inherently criminal, although there are criminal activities under trademark already covered in the Criminal Code, and they would insert lesser crimes into a series of wiretapping capabilities where they don't properly belong.

I think that covers my point, Mr. Chair. Thanks for the latitude so I could speak while breathing.

December 4th, 2013 / 4:35 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Chair, I am here because you invited me. I'd like to say on the record that I've rarely sat at a committee table where I look around the room and see nothing but friends. I want to acknowledge that I'm grateful to see you all here and that I have nothing but goodwill towards all assembled; however, I need to put on the record that I object to the motion that was passed by this committee and that the so-called invitation to me and other members in my situation amounts to coercion and denial of our rights to put forward substantive amendments at report stage.

That said, I'd like to propose an amendment which I think would be very helpful to this bill. It would be to delete said subclause 59(1), particularly lines 8 through 12, to delete the incorporation of offences under the Copyright Act in section 42 into the Criminal Code, where they would be found in section 183.

To put it simply, Mr. Chair, what I'm objecting to, and what I hope my amendment could correct—and I have a couple of grounds of concern here—is the insertion of essentially a civil offence into a criminal section of the Criminal Code, essentially creating increased opportunities for wiretaps into an offence for which I don't believe wiretapping is appropriate.

Particularly, Mr. Chair, I refer to the Supreme Court decision in R. v. Tse, which identified that electronic surveillance is a last resort, and only in cases of investigative necessity. The way the Copyright Act has been...and these provisions and these amendments we have before us in Bill C-8 incorporate things that are in, I think, a fairly vague swath between private use and commercial scale. In previous conversations on other amendments, we've had discussions about how many Coach purses before you're caught under the act, how many items that you should have known were being passed off in violation of copyright, and so on.

Wiretapping is a particularly invasive mechanism of the state, and inappropriate, as you can see from the kinds of offences that we're now inserting, such as these offences relating to infringement. The act deals at section 183 of the Criminal Code with high treason, sabotage, hijacking, sedition, using explosives, threats, providing for terrorist purposes, hoax—terrorist activity, perjury, and luring a child.

In any case, we're not suggesting that offences under copyright are all right. We're just suggesting that the investigative rights of invasion of privacy of a wiretap offence don't belong there. We also suggest that we don't need to make it a further offence. I wonder if this committee had taken note of other sections of the Criminal Code that already deal with these areas.

I'm surprised that they're not incorporated into Bill C-8, but under section 406 of the Criminal Code, we have making it a criminal offence to engage in forgery of a trademark. We also have, under section 432—and I'm going quite fast because I know I only have a minute—an offence—

December 4th, 2013 / 4:30 p.m.
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Paul Halucha Director General, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Department of Industry

Sure.

The effect of the amendment would be to establish a new system of statutory damages, with a mandatory minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of up to $100,000. Statutory damages were not included in Bill C-8, and I would note the following consideration around statutory damages.

The amendment would have the effect of limiting the discretion of judges. Currently, judges have full discretion, based on the evidence provided to them in specific court hearings, to make a determination on what damages are appropriate. I would just quote the Trade-marks Act, which states:

Where a court is satisfied, on application of any interested person, that any act has been done contrary to this Act, the court may make any order that it considers appropriate in the circumstances, including an order providing for relief by way of injunction and the recovery of damages or profits....

Courts are using this discretion now, and we expect that they would continue to do so should Parliament approve Bill C-8.

December 4th, 2013 / 4:30 p.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Yes.

According to the experts we have heard from, I think that adding the damages would disrupt the balance achieved through Bill C-8. In fact, it would be especially harmful for parallel imports and consumer choice. I don't think the experts said to include the damages.

Could the officials tell us something about that?

December 4th, 2013 / 4:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Chair, the amendment deals with the statutory damages idea. Witnesses stated that Bill C-8 may result in increased litigation and enforcement actions. Well, if this proves correct, some of Canada's smallest companies or retailers may find themselves in a position where corporate finances dictate the vigour with which they are able to pursue damages. Consequently, inclusion of statutory damages in clause 45 of Bill C-8 may be worthy of consideration. Amendment LIB-6 would accomplish that.

Again, I'm just going back to the issue. We don't have a simplified procedure. We've opted to go a different way. I can understand all of that, but the issue of statutory damages seems to be a logical one, because there's an awful lot of small companies out there that are going to have real difficulty with the lawsuits and the costs, and so on. This is an idea that we've heard from our witnesses and that would help accomplish exactly what it is you're trying to accomplish with Bill C-8, I think, in a more affordable way.

Would the officials like to comment?

December 2nd, 2013 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

I find this difficult. We started this whole process of Bill C-8 saying that we have to get through this in four meetings and it's hugely important. I agree given that there's been a 400% increase in the amount of counterfeiting going on, with all kinds of issues. Canada's getting a black eye because we don't have legislation, even if it's the minimum that we're putting into this one....

I guess I should be talking through the chair here. Either we're going to deal it or we're not going to deal with it. It seems to me that we're just saying that we're going to get serious about counterfeiting—but it's okay if I bring back two Coach purses that are counterfeit.

When I was in Europe this summer, I was told that if I were to purchase any of the purses or other things that were being sold in various locations, I would be subject to a $150 fine. They decided that the only way to deal with this was to go after the person purchasing it. That's what I'm told they decided in Europe. But we're going to say that it's okay if you bring back a half a dozen Coach purses or whatever it is, because we're only after the big guys.

I think it sends the wrong message. I think we should be getting tough on this stuff if it's having an impact on the government, if we want money. And we want people paying taxes. We want companies paying taxes. This way nobody is paying any taxes to the government and we're just going to allow it to go on.

I know we can all argue both sides of this issue. I just think if we're serious, then let's get serious.

December 2nd, 2013 / 5:15 p.m.
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Director General, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Department of Industry

Paul Halucha

I would note, as well, that the committee has already voted against NDP-1, which is similar to this provision but applied to the Copyright Act.

Similar to my comments on that earlier amendment, I would note that this is not necessary, as Bill C-8 already clearly exempts parallel imports from the application of the border measures. In this case, the exemption can be found at clause 42, proposed paragraph 51.03(2)(a), which states that the prohibition does not apply if:

(a) the trade-mark was applied with the consent of the owner of the trade-mark in the country where it was applied;

That effectively is the definition of a parallel import. Given that parallel imports are made with the consent of the trademark owner in the country where they are made, the bill clearly excludes these grounds from the application of the border measures, and the language in Bill C-8 does not change the existing law dealing with parallel importation.

In our view, similar to the earlier ones, we agree strongly with the policy intent but would argue that the legislation already contains a very clear exemption.

December 2nd, 2013 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

I know that it is exactly the same as the provision proposed in amendment NDP-1. Mr. Halucha said earlier that it was already in Bill C-8. Yet a number of witnesses who were involved in the committee's study, including Mr. de Beer, a law professor, and Mr. Knopf, an intellectual property lawyer, told us that they consulted a number of intellectual property experts who expressed concern about the bill's vagueness when it came to parallel imports.

Those experts would like an amendment that states clearly that Bill C-8 will not target parallel imports. We added this so there would be no confusion in Bill C-8 between counterfeit products and parallel imports, which are legal.

December 2nd, 2013 / 5 p.m.
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Director General, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Department of Industry

Paul Halucha

Currently, only the Federal Court has the jurisdiction to correct any errors on the trademark register. The goal of Bill C-8 is to give the registrar the ability to correct errors without going to the Federal Court. Right now the circumstances are such that even if an error is determined right after a filing, in order to have it corrected once it's on the register, the commissioner of trademarks or the trademark owner has to go to Federal Court to have that correction made. So what the amendment does is provide for a six-month period during which, if an error is determined by the trademark owner, then the commissioner of trademarks has the ability to make that correction without going to Federal Court.

The amendment changes the flexibility the commissioner has in response to errors identified by the rights holder to a liability, so he or she would effectively be in a position of having, first off, to proactively correct all errors, and then, secondly, be responsible and liable in situations where they did not find the error.

From the perspective of analyzing this section, there's a legal community of trademark agents who have the strongest incentives to make sure that their trademarks are accurate. Our view is that they are best-positioned and most responsible to bring those errors forward to the commissioner, who can then correct them. To create a liability on behalf of the commissioner would substantively raise the bar.

December 2nd, 2013 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

I sort of feel the same way as Ms. Charlton. The proposed provisions are still fairly long.

Bill C-8 amends the Copyright Act. Do these proposed provisions respect the spirit of that act? It covers a lot of things.

Let's take Canada Goose for example. It's a company that mainly makes coats. If someone made gloves that Canada Goose did not manufacture and puts the Canada Goose logo on them, that provision would make it possible to sue that person and seize the goods in question.

I would like to know whether this respects the provisions of the Copyright Act.

December 2nd, 2013 / 4:35 p.m.
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Senior Analyst, Copyright and Trade-mark Policy Directorate, Department of Industry

Michael Ryan

After the legislation was tabled, we received some comments, or I believe comments were supplied to the committee with respect to the exact drafting and whether it actually fulfilled the entire intention of the provision. I'll provide a bit of information on where the law stands as it is now, on what it would do unamended, and what the amendment seeks to do.

Currently with respect to a registered trademark, you have protection against a mark that is identical to or confusing in regard to that mark for the same goods that are listed on the trademark register or for goods that would be confusing with the list on the register. What Bill C-8 also sought to do, under clause 21, is that not only is that infringement at the time of sale, which it currently is, but it would also seek it earlier in the supply chain, so that's importing for the purposes of sale or manufacturing for the purposes of sale.

However, the way it was drafted, it limited those new civil causes of action to only the explicitly registered goods or services on the registry. This created a bit of discord between what's an infringement to sell versus what's an infringement earlier in the supply chain.

It can be difficult to follow, so I think it would be best to use an example. Since it's everyone's favourite example, we'll look at Canada Goose. They registered their trademark for jackets, but they didn't—hypothetically—register it for mittens and gloves, for example, which are also winter attire. If somebody were selling a knock-off version with a counterfeit Canada Goose mark on gloves, that would be infringing, because it would be confusing with a registered trademark, even it weren't explicitly listed on the registry.

Bill C-8 sought to ensure that not only is that at the time of sale, but that it is also earlier in the supply chain. Bill C-8, if unamended, would allow an infringement for anyone importing for the purpose of sale, or manufacturing for the purpose of sale, for example, those coats or jackets, but not those gloves or mittens. What the restructuring ensures is that whatever is an infringement to sell is also an infringement to manufacture for the purposes of sale. It's filling a gap there in the protection for types of wares and services that aren't on the trademark registry.

December 2nd, 2013 / 4:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Again to the staff, you indicated there are mechanisms to report yet no one knows how many cases we're going to see, or we've seen in the past, in spite of the fact that we were told there has been an increase of over 400% in counterfeiting. So what are the mechanisms? Somebody is tracking these cases or we wouldn't be sitting here dealing with Bill C-8 today.

December 2nd, 2013 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Thank you, Chair.

I'm being hopeful and optimistic that my friends across the way will be loving with this amendment.

I know it's similar to my previous amendment, but I think this addresses the cost that may be borne by small businesses for the wrongful or mistaken detention of goods. As it's currently written, Bill C-8 contains a no-liability provision for the crown and provides for the damages against rights-holders in cases where court proceedings are dismissed or discontinued.

In attempting to strike a balance between consumer and industry interests, I think Bill C-8 places the cost of detaining suspect goods on the rights-holders. However, as we heard during the testimony of Dr. Geist, C-8 is clearly lacking a misuse provision to ensure that actors are not engaging in frivolous claims as a means of acting anti-competitively.

I could speak to it further but I'd like to hear from the officials.

Thank you.

December 2nd, 2013 / 4:15 p.m.
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Michael Ryan Senior Analyst, Copyright and Trade-mark Policy Directorate, Department of Industry

Thank you.

With respect to G-2, it seeks to amend a provision that allows the owner, importer, or exporter to pay security to the court after an action has been initiated to have the goods released. A court would determine on what security or conditions those goods could be released. It provides a balance to allow that they may be maintained. But a person who is interested, the owner of the goods, may seek the court's direction on getting them released pursuant to a payment of security. That's with respect to G-2.

G-3 is a clarification on a safeguard. If litigation proceeds, and if it is ultimately dismissed, it is not an infringing good. Not only is the owner, importer, or consignee able to recover damages for what was determined to be inappropriate seizure or detention, G-3 also adds reference to the exporter, since exporters can also have their goods detained, pursuant to Bill C-8.

December 2nd, 2013 / 4:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Witnesses and experts who appeared before this committee said that they were afraid that Bill C-8 would have some unexpected negative consequences. For instance, one major consequence we can see is an unfair financial burden being imposed.

That is exactly what could happen as a result of subclause 44.07(1). In those specific cases, the charges for storing, handling and, if applicable, destroying the samples could fall on the shoulders of a victim whose copyright has been stolen, rather than on the shoulders of the importer of the goods in question.

A witness from Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters said: “We believe that the importers should be responsible for these costs, since they are the ones introducing these goods...”.

That is why I suggest replacing “The owner of copyright” with “The importer” in that subclause.

Since I unfortunately cannot discuss that with you, I hope you see my point of view.

December 2nd, 2013 / 4:05 p.m.
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Director General, Border Programs, Canada Border Services Agency

Megan Imrie

There's just one point of clarification I hadn't mentioned earlier. If they go through the court process, and, in fact, those goods are found to be infringing, they could be awarded damages through the court, which would include the cost of storage and holding onto those goods. If they are successful through the court process, they will be refunded those fees.

What we're saying, in terms of the way Bill C-8 is constructed to put the onus on the rights holder, is that they're the ones who have an incentive or a predominant interest in this. The danger with impacting the importer is that it may not turn out to be an infringing good or they may not be the actual owner of that property. We don't want to alter the balance in the way Bill C-8 is currently designed and put the onus elsewhere.

December 2nd, 2013 / 3:55 p.m.
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Director General, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Department of Industry

Paul Halucha

I'd be happy to do that.

Bill C-8 seeks to implement a cost-effective border enforcement regime that balances the interests of rights holders, importers and exporters, and individuals. A key component of the legislation is that when goods are detained at the border, they aren't determined as being counterfeit; they are only detained as suspect of being counterfeit or pirated. Only the court makes that final determination.

The amendment under discussion would alter this approach by making the rights holder's allegation stronger and by forcing an importer-exporter to go to court to disprove the allegation. Due to the complexity of international trade transactions, importers may have little incentive or ability to give timely notice of detention to the actual owner. If notified the actual owner may be able to establish that the goods are not infringing, while importers may lack information on the provenance or purposes of the goods. And the courts are well equipped.

A number of witnesses testified to the importance of not turning border guards into judge and jury on whether a good is counterfeit or not. The balance that we have in the bill is that if an allegation is made, the goods can be detained at the border. There is a sharing of information between the rights holders and the state. The state is accepting responsibility for dealing with the most grievous forms of counterfeit goods, either those where there is a criminal investigation or those cases where there could be health and safety risks, and then also supporting the information exchange with the rights holders. We're not turning the border agents essentially into judge and jury in a situation where they could be expropriating property from importers without having that go to court.

So that's effectively the balance in the legislation that we think could be disrupted by this amendment.

December 2nd, 2013 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

This amendment proposes to create a simplified procedure that we heard mentioned by many of our witnesses and is designed to eliminate the need for legal proceedings where there is no dispute that the goods are counterfeit. It proposes to do this by including additional steps early in the process that will effectively create a simplified procedure when there is no dispute that the goods are counterfeit.

Stated generally, once the goods are detained, the process that follows would be that the information is provided to the rights holder, who is asked to determine whether or not the goods are counterfeit. The rights holder responds in writing as to whether or not the goods are counterfeit, and if the rights holder confirms that the goods are counterfeit, the minister provides notice to the importer of the goods that the goods are being detained because they are believed to be counterfeit.

For example, a customs officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that the importation or exportation of the goods is prohibited under subsection 53(1) of the Trade-marks Act, or that the importation or exportation of the copies is prohibited under section 44.1 of the Copyright Act, requiring that the importer provide written notice to the minister within a specified period of time if they wish to dispute this. If the importer does not provide such written notice, the goods are forfeited. If the importer provides such written notice, the brand owner would have to initiate legal proceedings in order for the detention to continue.

Mr. Chair, we heard a lot about the issues of how the U.S. and Europe deal with these counterfeit goods, and that without this, we're just going to create a huge amount of money for lawyers—with all due respect to the lawyers at the table, and any other lawyers in this country—but we're not going to achieve what we need to achieve with Bill C-8. Counterfeiters are not going to own up and go and collect their goods, unless they really feel they have a solid case and the goods are not counterfeit.

So then you would have a difference between the brand owners and the so-called counterfeiters.

What we're going to get into without the simplified procedure is a whole lot of wrangling. It will involve lot of cost for the brand owners, and for many of them it's a huge cost. I'm surprised the department didn't put forward the simplified procedure as a recommendation, and I assume that now they're going to explain why they didn't, but I do think it's an important part of the procedure that we're going forward with.

December 2nd, 2013 / 3:45 p.m.
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Megan Imrie Director General, Border Programs, Canada Border Services Agency

Bill C-8 as written does give the Minister of Public Safety and CBSA broad discretion with respect to addressing issues of bad faith from a request for assistance that may be frivolous or vexatious and which could—as you mentioned—have impacts on an importer. There is a process. The bill provides for a process for a rights-holder application, which CBSA has the discretion to accept or not. Therefore, if it is viewed that it would be a bad faith issue, we cannot accept a request for assistance. Also, we would have the discretion as written not to extend a request for assistance from a rights holder.

In terms of the liability clause that exists in C-8 , we do also have the opportunity or the discretion not to action a request for assistance where, for instance, there would be an issue of bad faith. We will, as part of our FA process, ensure that there are safeguards in that process to prevent bad faith requests or abuse of the system. As well, we will ensure that we are doing appropriate tracking and monitoring of those requests for assistance to ensure that they are timely and responsive so that there are not undue impacts on the importer.

December 2nd, 2013 / 3:40 p.m.
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Paul Halucha Director General, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Department of Industry

Thank you.

I'll start off by reminding the committee that parallel importation is the act of importing legitimate copies into Canada against the wishes of a copyright owner, authorized importer, or distributor, and which originate from the source having some relationship to the rights holder.

So parallel imports are by definition not pirated copies, not counterfeit copies, and Bill C-8 clearly exempts parallel imports from the application of the new border measures. I would point out that proposed paragraph 44.01(1)(a) does this by requiring the copies to have been made without the consent of the owner of the copyright in the country with which they were made.

In short, the legislation as it exists already has a clear exemption for parallel imports. They are not included, and having a second amendment would effectively do the same thing as has already been done in the legislation.

December 2nd, 2013 / 3:40 p.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

By introducing this amendment, we just wanted to point out that similar imports would no longer be included in Bill C-8. A number of experts and witnesses have made submissions asking the committee to clarify this point. We want to make sure that small and medium-sized businesses are not the only ones paying the price for this type of trade, which makes it possible to offer competitive prices to consumers. It is a legal trade that meets the health and safety standards.

December 2nd, 2013 / 3:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The issue that just adds to that is why are we in such a rush on Bill C-8? It's an important piece of legislation, and I do think all of us probably would like to support it. This just adds another reason to ask if we have to start clause-by-clause today.

Can we not continue to seek some more information for another couple of meetings? Where's the deadline? And what's the pressure that this was to be done in three and a half or four meetings? Could someone explain that to me?

December 2nd, 2013 / 3:35 p.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Sweet

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Bienvenue à tous. Welcome to the seventh meeting of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

Pursuant to the order of reference of Monday, October 28, 2013, we are considering Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. Today we'll be considering it clause by clause.

Pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), consideration of clause 1 shall be delayed.

First I'll go Ms. Charlton, who wants to raise a point. It was agreed among the parties that she would do that first.

November 25th, 2013 / 3:55 p.m.
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NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

That flows right to my next question.

What's your perspective on whether Bill C-8 will protect Canadian consumers from unwittingly purchasing potentially dangerous counterfeit products found in some of Canada's largest retail chains?

November 25th, 2013 / 3:55 p.m.
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NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Sure. I know we're going to get to some questions soon, and some of my colleagues will ask about the resource piece.

But in your opinion, do you think Bill C-8 will have a tangible impact on the volume and flow of counterfeit products entering Canada?

November 25th, 2013 / 3:35 p.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Sweet

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

Welcome to the sixth meeting of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, where we're hearing evidence with regard to Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Before us in person we have Kevin Spreekmeester, vice-president of marketing for Canada Goose, and via teleconference we have Joy Nott, the president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters.

I will follow the agenda that is before us.

By the way, colleagues, you'll see that we have time set aside between 5 and 5:30 for committee business. I think we have a committee budget that we're going to deal with, along with some other items.

Now we'll go to the witnesses.

Yes, Mr. Bélanger?

November 25th, 2013 / 2:45 p.m.
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NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

With regard to CBSA, Canada Border Services Agency, right now they are undergoing significant cuts; from 2012 to 2015, approximately $160 million is being gutted from them. Just recently they moved the east coast marine operations to Toronto with regard to intelligence gathering. They also cut the marine dogs from the service. I'm told that significantly affects the speed and capability of getting intellectual property abuses and contraband, in particular, off the streets and keeping it out of our country.

We're also moving on Bill C-8, which is actually going to allow CBSA officers to suspend materials they believe are contraband. Are your members interested in that issue? Contraband has actually been rising significantly in Canada, including not just regular T-shirts and CDs, but it's actually circuit breakers and other types of public infrastructure.

November 20th, 2013 / 5:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

You're all very sweet. Thank you all so very much.

Since we seem to have this increasing speed to deal with this bill.... We have a memo that says we may have to put in our amendments as early as the coming Wednesday.

To any of you at the table, do you.... I'm glad we're dealing with Bill C-8, not to go on record as going the wrong way, but I see health and safety concerns being raised. I also see opportunities to talk more about a simplified procedure. Otherwise, it's the rights holder that's going to get hit with added costs and problems, whereas if we were to put in a simplified procedure or administrative regime—call it whatever you like—it seems to me that we would be saving money.

The government talks about spending tax money and so on. I think we should make sure that whatever we do is not adding costs that we don't have to for anybody other than the people who are doing the criminal activity, which I'd like to see us go stronger on from that perspective.

I guess that's the first question: do you think we should be spending more time on this bill to put more teeth into the bill?

Second, because I may not get the floor again, Mr. Keon, you mentioned legal opinions in regard to the distinctiveness issue that you're concerned about. Would you be prepared to give those to the committee to make sure that we all have adequate information?

November 20th, 2013 / 4:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to all the witnesses for appearing today.

I will be addressing my questions to you, Mr. Keon. First of all, thank you very much to your industry for the medicines you've donated to Health Partners International. They celebrated $40 million worth of medicines distributed to the world's most needy last year. I know that's in large part your industry. Even now they're delivering medicines to the Philippines. So thank you very much for that.

My question is also in relation to the definition and the suggestions you've made. I see by your brief...which I found quite disturbing, to be honest, as a lawyer as well, because of the changes.

My understanding, in relation to the definition in the current act, is that you are only making a suggestion that two words be deleted, in essence—three words, but only two different words—and in the new definition in Bill C-8, there are actually 14 words that you're suggesting that are different.

So there's quite a difference between the old definition and the new definition, and you're only suggesting a minor change to the old definition—a tweak, in essence—because of the case law that has taken place over the last how many years.

November 20th, 2013 / 4:45 p.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Right. Perfect.

Both of you also addressed the issue of cybercrime involving products sold over the Internet. Should any measures be added to Bill C-8 to cover everything sold over the Internet?

November 20th, 2013 / 4:45 p.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

So there should be more resources. When the Minister of Industry came to testify, he clearly repeated a number of times that there would be no further investment, that all of it would be part of people's duties.

Should we have an amendment to Bill C-8 that would add financial and human resources? Would you recommend that?

November 20th, 2013 / 4:40 p.m.
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Vice-President, Federal Government Affairs, Food and Consumer Products of Canada

Carla Ventin

I think the border officers would require perhaps more resources. I mean, let's think about this. Counterfeiters are becoming much more sophisticated. If the officers are going to be given additional responsibility at the border, I think more training would be required. I think that's a key consideration.

But also, to help alleviate that concern somewhat, don't forget that Bill C-8 will actually allow—for the first time—the border officers to contact and discuss with the rights holders.... For example, our member companies have intelligence and can help out at the border. Hopefully that would be helpful, and we look forward to working with the border officers on this.

November 20th, 2013 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to everyone for being here to testify about this very important subject.

My questions are for Carla Ventin and Mr. Gagachev.

You both spoke about additional resources. Mr. Gagachev, you rightly said that you had to use specialists in your industry in particular, even retired gentlemen, to do inspections. Under Bill C-8, all these additional responsibilities would be given to our Canada Border Services Agency officers, with no additional financial or human resources.

Does that trouble you? Do you think the lack of resources will cause problems in applying the legislation?

November 20th, 2013 / 4:35 p.m.
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Vice-President, Federal Government Affairs, Food and Consumer Products of Canada

Carla Ventin

We're satisfied as well.

Many of our products line the grocery shelves and drugstore shelves. These are products that you put in your mouth and that touch your skin, so the stakes are very high. These are a concern for us, and we think Bill C-8 will address that on the counterfeit side.

As I mentioned in my remarks, there are also other products, non-compliant products. These are products that are also a health and safety risk. They are not counterfeit, but they do pose a health and safety risk to Canadians, both inside and outside the product. For example, on the inside these products may not comply with Canada's very strict rules and regulations. They may have ingredients that have not been approved in Canada. This is a really big concern.

November 20th, 2013 / 4:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

To our other two witnesses, you made comments with regard to concerns on health and safety issues. You certainly raised some concerns with us that are of significance. Are you satisfied that Bill C-8 will be able to address those?

November 20th, 2013 / 4:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

The issues in and around the RCMP and CBSA continue to have some significant challenges themselves. Are you satisfied, based on the amount of time you've spent on these kinds of counterfeit issues and the number of border crossings we have and so on that they have sufficient knowledge and manpower to be able to make a significant dent if they have Bill C-8?

November 20th, 2013 / 4:30 p.m.
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Partner, Kestenberg Siegal Lipkus LLP, Canadian Intellectual Property Council, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Lorne Lipkus

Well, Bill C-8 creates a mechanism whereby you have to go to court, and the existing simplified procedure regimes also have a very similar regime for going to court when there's a dispute.

The point that people like me are making is that if there is no dispute, let's not go to court. Those are the cases that we have to get rid of. Those are the cases that I think are going to cost the government, cost the taxpayers, cost customs a lot of money to go after.

A simplified procedure will save everybody money.

November 20th, 2013 / 4:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Yes, it just seems like that isn't the simplest way to deal with it. You call it a simplified regime versus an administrative regime, but it does seem a much simpler way of dealing with a problem than the way we're doing it in Bill C-8.

November 20th, 2013 / 4:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

In this industry portfolio, I suspect we will see a lot of lawyers. Maybe we should see a few more theologists; it might be more helpful as we move forward.

There have been quite some serious health and safety issues raised by many of the panellists we've had a chance to see. That very much concerns me.

Mr. Keon, you can elaborate more on Mr. Holder's question.

On the case law that's already been established as a result of years and years of litigation, with the changes being proposed in Bill C-8, it seems to be your feeling that unless amendments are done to change further that issue of “distinctiveness”, it will lead to more litigation, which may be great for Mr. Lipkus and his sons and others, but I'm not sure that it's necessarily good for the taxpayer. Is that correct?

November 20th, 2013 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

From your perspective, what's the implication if the definition remains the same as suggested in Bill C-8? You talked about litigation, but what's the other specific use?

November 20th, 2013 / 4:25 p.m.
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President, Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association

Jim Keon

On the definition of “distinctive”, the phrase that we are suggesting be taken out of Bill C-8 is the phrase “inherently capable of distinguishing”. Why we think that introduces uncertainty is simply that under the current law it's been made clear that you have to demonstrate that a trademark actually is distinctive. In the pharmaceutical industry, where wording matters, and issues of technical definitions matter and are litigated extensively, putting in a new concept there, we believe, will open up more litigation, more uncertainty. That particular phrase is what our law firms have flagged for us.

November 20th, 2013 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Well, I'm getting it a bit more, so I thank you for that. I look forward to reading more of your formal representation on that, which is a nice segue to Mr. Keon.

Mr. Keon, it looks like you're talking specifically to one issue as it relates to the Trade-marks Act. It didn't sound to me like you didn't want to modernize the Trade-marks Act, you just wanted to make sure that it was not counter to the tradition you've had with regard to generic drugs.

Here's my question. I look at page 3 of your presentation, and I'm a little confused. Mine's just a philosophy degree, so I have to read this a little more carefully. As I see this, there are two sets here on page 3, at the very bottom. There's the CGPA proposal compared to the definition of Bill C-8. There is the definition of Bill C-8 compared to your proposed revised definition. Then below that is your proposal compared to the definition in the current act, where you have the definition of the current act versus the proposed revised definition.

From your perspective, where are you going? Where would you like to see this? I think it really does centre on the point you made about “distinctive” in relation to a trademark, and that which is inherently capable of distinguishing and so on. That is your definition concern. I see a couple of proposals here. From the standpoint of your association, where are you looking to take this?

November 20th, 2013 / 4:15 p.m.
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President, Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association

Jim Keon

Bill C-8 does not include in-transit goods as part of the “in scope” activities the Canadian Border Services Agency would be looking at. We think this is appropriate; we're not in favour of expanding those powers beyond the scope of the current bill.

Pharmaceuticals trade around the world. Many companies, brand name and generic, buy inputs from around the world, manufacture in one location, and package and distribute in others. In some cases, trademarks law and patent law can be different. If the product is not coming into Canada for sale in Canada, then asking the Canadian Border Services to interpret the product according to Canadian law is inappropriate, and has led in the past, as you indicated—in Europe in particular—to seizure of legitimate products, delays of those products, extra costs, and uncertainty, and in some cases has resulted in companies changing the way they distribute products. I don't think that's the intent here.

We support Bill C-8 in that regard and would not recommend any change.

November 20th, 2013 / 3:55 p.m.
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Vladimir V. Gagachev Manager, Regulatory Affairs, Electrical Sector, Eaton Industries (Canada) Company

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Honourable members, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.

My name is Vladimir Gagachev. I am a professional electrical engineer employed by Eaton Industries (Canada) Company, the Canadian operations of Eaton Corporation, based in Burlington, Ontario.

We manufacture electrical equipment and systems that range from 120 volts to 46,000 volts. My company employs about 1,200 Canadians in manufacturing facilities located in most Canadian provinces and in sales and field services offices in each major city across Canada.

The whole electrical industry in Canada and across all of North America faces grave challenges from reconditioners who place counterfeit labels on electrical products and from product counterfeiters, both domestic and foreign. While this unlawful activity impacts our businesses, there is a far more serious impact and danger to our citizens here in Canada. Unsafe and dangerous electrical products are being installed in facilities that cannot only cause significant property damage but also have life-threatening effects. Electrical shocks and fire hazards can result when an electrical product does not perform as a consumer expects from reading the label on the product. This consumer can be a trained electrician relying on the information contained in labels on the product. Consequently, counterfeit labels and/or products with false labelling can lead innocent users to believe, albeit incorrectly, that they are dealing with a safe product.

Canadian manufacturers of electrical products, represented by Electro-Federation Canada, recognize the seriousness of grave issues with both domestic relabelling, which is outright counterfeiting, and international product counterfeiters. Please allow me to explain.

About 16 years ago we found an electrical product reconditioner selling unauthorized circuit breaker products. Using private investigators we purchased some of these breakers. Subsequent laboratory analysis concluded that the investigators purchased used circuit breakers being passed off as new. These breakers were likely salvaged from demolition sites in questionable circumstances, tampered with and relabelled to change the electrical ratings of the breaker, which is extremely serious and dangerous. The new labels also included trademarks of certification organizations, such as the Canadian Standards Association and the Underwriters Laboratories, along with the original equipment manufacturer’s counterfeited labels.

Subsequent litigation in the Federal Court of Canada with one such counterfeiter has had no impact on this counterfeiting activity in Canada. Over the past 15 years, examples of these dangerous electrical devices have been found in the intensive care unit of a hospital, a grocery store, and even in schools. This problem, like cancer, is appearing to grow and spread, threatening the electrical safety integrity of our country.

We have been involved with our industry’s attempts to stop this activity for the past 13 years. It still continues, and we need your help by bringing Bill C-8 into law.

About 11 years ago, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police agreed to act on a formal complaint logged by Eaton. That complaint was based upon a discovery of a counterfeit-labelled moulded-case circuit breaker, MCCB for short, supplying power to the intensive care unit of a Quebec City hospital. Other investigations and seizures found similar cases of counterfeit and tampered circuit breakers in hospitals. These investigations culminated in search and seizure operations against three suspected businesses, with charges being laid in two instances. The charges brought were forgery and passing off under the Criminal Code, for lack of better provisions in the Trade-marks Act.

In the cases where charges were laid, the perpetrators pleaded guilty. In the first case, the defendant was fined $76,000. In the second case, a fine of $40,000 was assessed, along with an unconditional discharge. The third case was not prosecuted because the crown did not believe there was sufficient evidence to bring charges.

Another firm, sued by Eaton in 2000 in civil court with a favourable judgment, has been charged by the crown in new criminal proceedings. The trial has been set for early 2014 in a Montreal court.

Eaton's manager for codes and standards at that time, Brian Savaria, professional engineer, appeared as a witness before this standing committee and testified on these very issues on April 30, 2007.

However, this problem continues. Are you sure your electrical system will function as it was intended? As long as Canada has electrical retailers selling suspect reconditioned products from unauthorized sources, how do we know they have not been tampered with? We cannot possibly check them all. We do check the ones that look suspicious, but with the state-of-the art copying technologies nowadays there should be serious concern about this issue.

During the course of 2011, 2012, and 2013, Eaton, Schneider Electric, and Siemens helped Public Works and Government Services Canada in the inspection of electrical panels in thousands of buildings across the country. A large number of counterfeit-labelled moulded-case circuit breakers were identified and designated for removal from panels in federal buildings and airports. I believe the number approached almost 150. A couple of representative examples have been submitted with this testimony. They should be in your package. If this is the situation with the largest landlord in Canada, then, by extension, it will be similar to any other commercial or industrial property, etc., in the country.

The international counterfeiting problem that was referred to earlier is equally serious, in that Asian copies of circuit breakers are being made and widely distributed at trade fairs and on the Internet. There are many Chinese websites purportedly offering genuine circuit breaker products. Your information package also includes a photograph example of what happens when an electrical circuit breaker fails. In this case, it shows a Chinese residential breaker seized by U.S. Customs failing the Underwriters Laboratories standard test. As you can see, the results are catastrophic.

I shall now play you a quick video—it's only 11 seconds—of a mining circuit breaker.

[Video Presentation]

I shall spare you the technical details of what just happened. I'll just say, imagine this happening in a mine where methane and whatnot gases are present

The Canadian Electrical Code defines “circuit breaker” as “a device designed to open and close a circuit by non-automatic means and to open the circuit automatically on a predetermined overcurrent without damage to itself when properly applied within its ratings.” Circuit breakers are absolutely essential devices in the modern world and are one of the most important safety mechanisms in homes and other buildings. Whenever electrical wiring in a building has too much current flowing through it, these devices interrupt the power until somebody can attend to the problem.

Without circuit breakers, or the alternative fuses, electrification would be impractical because of the potential for fires and other mayhem resulting from simple wiring problems and equipment failures. Counterfeit circuit breakers can potentially explode, cause fires, as you saw, or false trip. If that circuit breaker is on life support equipment in a hospital, the false trip would shut the equipment down and could kill the patient. In an airport control tower, a false trip can also be catastrophic. One of the examples in your package contains four counterfeit circuit breakers from the L.B. Pearson International Airport.

The spectre of substandard, defective, and counterfeit circuit breakers and domestically labelled circuit breakers with false information and settings entering into Canadian homes, stores, public buildings, schools, and hospitals poses a serious threat to a safe electrical infrastructure. It is a truly frightening situation that must be addressed. The Canadian electrical safety community has been on guard, and for many years it has been alerted to the potential hazards these products can cause.

Consumers are also looking for evidence that government views this as a serious problem that has consequences. I do like to think that I testify before you today, not only as a corporate employee but also as a father, a neighbour, a citizen. But of course the most credible spokespeople against counterfeit products would be the victims thereof, people whose health has suffered.

Thank you.

November 20th, 2013 / 3:45 p.m.
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Carla Ventin Vice-President, Federal Government Affairs, Food and Consumer Products of Canada

Food and Consumer Products of Canada welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology's study of Bill C-8, the Combating Counterfeit Products Act.

FCPC is the largest national industry association in Canada, representing companies that manufacture and distribute food and consumer products. Our industry is the top employer in manufacturing in Canada, employing approximately 300,000 Canadians in 6,000 manufacturing facilities located in every region in Canada.

Our members represent a vast array of household products sold on grocery and drug store shelves across the country. I have distributed a handout that has some facts on our industry and that on the opposite side has a list of our member company logos.

We're very pleased that the government has taken action to address the growing presence of counterfeit products in the Canadian marketplace. Our industry's priority is the safety and integrity of our products, and we therefore welcome the introduction of Bill C-8.

We've become increasingly concerned with the growing presence of counterfeit and non-compliant products in Canada and have been raising awareness of this issue with the federal government for some time. Our primary concern is the impact on the health and safety of Canadians. We are also concerned about the negative impact on Canadian manufacturers, especially in terms of brand reputation.

FCPC is a proud member of Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, which appeared before this committee on November 6 and which represents a coalition of individuals, companies, and associations that have united in the fight against product counterfeiting in Canada and abroad.

The provision of new authorities in Bill C-8 for border officers to detain suspect shipments and share this information with rights holders is a critical component of the bill. Importantly, the legislation allows for businesses to file a request for assistance with the government regarding suspect shipments. This new framework will, for the first time, allow border officers and rights holders to share information and work together. We fully support this collaborative approach.

As the government steps up its efforts at the border, additional resources will be required, and we would like to ensure that this requirement has been accounted for. The ability to enforce this legislation at the border will determine whether we succeed in decreasing the number of counterfeit products entering Canada.

We need to ensure that Bill C-8 strikes a reasonable and fair balance between law-abiding rights holders who play by the rules and those who profit at the expense and safety of others. Bill C-8 must deter this illegal activity while at the same time not place an unnecessary burden upon legitimate and law-abiding companies. There are a few areas in Bill C-8 in which we think this balance needs to be adjusted.

Our first concern deals with the financial burden and liability for charges.

Under proposed subsection 44.07(1) of the Copyright Act, the rights holder is responsible for costs associated with the storage, handling, and destruction of detained goods. We disagree that rights holders who play by the rules should pay for the costs associated with the illegal activity of others. Canadian manufacturers already face enormous challenges, and we oppose any new fees that unfairly burden law-abiding companies.

We fully support the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network's recommendation to amend this provision so as to put primary responsibility for costs on the perpetrators of the crime instead of on the rights holders.

In the legislation, under the heading “OFFENCES AND PUNISHMENT”, we have concerns also about proposed subsection 51.01(1) of the Trade-marks Act, which outlines that a new trademark offence is limited to situations in which the perpetrators know not only that the goods are counterfeit but also that the acts of sale and distribution that they are undertaking would be contrary to the law.

Obtaining proof that counterfeiters knew they were selling illegal products and were also aware that their activity is illegal will be extremely challenging. We need to take into consideration that it is a reasonable requirement for a person conducting business to not only understand the laws of the country in which they operate but also to familiarize themselves with the products they are importing or selling. We therefore recommend a more pragmatic approach to the intent provision that would place more responsibility upon the perpetrator.

l'd also like to take this opportunity to provide comment on how the tools and authorities outlined in Bill C-8 could help our industry address a similar concern regarding an increase in non-compliant products entering Canada. While these products are not counterfeit, they originate from other parts of the world with different labels that do not comply with Canadian regulations. Some of these products also contain ingredients that are not approved for use in Canada or are not clearly identified or disclosed on the package.

Like counterfeit products, non-compliant products are a health and safety concern, especially to Canadians with allergies. The presence of these products also has a negative impact on Canadian manufacturers who take the time to comply with Canadian rules and regulations regarding both product formulations and labelling.

To address this concern, we suggest that companies be allowed to use the request for assistance to flag to border officials not only counterfeit products but also non-compliant products. We'd be interested in discussing in more detail how we can rely on the new tools and authorities in Bill C-8 to prevent these products from entering Canada.

Finally, we would also be interested in learning how Bill C-8 will apply to the selling of counterfeit products on the Internet. We need to be prepared for the different and changing ways that illegal products are entering Canada.

The safety and integrity of our products will remain a priority for our industry, and we look forward to continuing to work with the government and to discussing partnering in areas like training to help equip border officials with the information they require for implementation.

Thank you.

November 20th, 2013 / 3:40 p.m.
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Jim Keon President, Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association

Thank you, Mr. Chair and honourable members of the committee. On behalf of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association, let me say that we appreciate the opportunity for Canada's generic pharmaceutical industry to contribute to your study.

The bill is largely focused on the important objective of combatting counterfeit products. We've already heard some explanation of the importance of that. I will not address my comments to that issue; I would be happy to address questions about it later. I want to focus on one issue, a very specific issue, and that includes the part of Bill C-8 that is related to changes to the Trade-marks Act.

Before I do that, I'll just say a couple of words about our industry. We, the generic pharmaceutical industry, are operating the largest life sciences companies in Ontario, the largest in Quebec, and the largest in Manitoba. We are Canada's primary pharmaceutical manufacturers and exporters. We are among the top R and D spenders across all industrial sectors. Generic pharmaceutical companies employ directly more than 12,000 Canadians in highly skilled research, development, and manufacturing positions.

We are strong supporters of free and open trade, and we export our high-quality “Made in Canada” generics to more than 115 countries. We supply two out of three of all prescription medicines in Canada—two out of three are with generics—quality products at very good prices. That is our role and responsibility in the Canadian health care system.

The issue I wish to address today, as I mentioned at the outset, will focus on the aspects of the bill aimed at modernizing the Trade-marks Act. They are not really intended at all to deal with the issue of counterfeiting; they're just about modernizing the act.

Our primary concern with Bill C-8 is the change to the definition of what is considered “distinctive” under this act.

By way of background, the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association and our member companies have invested tens of millions of dollars in litigation under the provisions of the current Trade-marks Act to develop decades of Canadian case law on this issue. The case law has determined that trademark applications for the size, shape, and colour of a medicine do not meet the requirement for “distinctiveness” under the current Trade-marks Act.

As a result, there are very few trademarks covering the size, shape, or colour of pharmaceutical products that are registered in Canada today. Very few of those trademark applications are ever granted; they are rejected as being not distinctive. Our Canadian pharmacy customers expect generic medicines to appear in similar size, shape, and colour to their brand-name equivalents. In addition to being beneficial for pharmacists, this is also of enormous benefit to patients, as it helps them adhere to their treatment regimens. Their blue water pill is their blue water pill, regardless of whether they are using a brand name or a generic medication.

So similar trade dress for pharmaceuticals is the situation we have today in Canada, and it has been the situation for several decades. The definition of what is “distinctive” under the Trade-marks Act, as it has been interpreted by the Trade-marks Opposition Board and the courts over the span of several decades, is at the heart of it all.

So why is Bill C-8 of concern to our industry?

Bill C-8 changes the definition of what is distinctive under the Trade-marks Act. In our view, it will create a great deal of uncertainty in the law. The International Trademark Association's submission agrees that legal uncertainty is created by the change in definition.

I'll ask for the committee's indulgence. I'm just going to read the two definitions. They can be found on the last page of our brief, for anybody who wants to follow along with our three-page brief.

The well-established definition in the current Trade-marks Act reads as follows:

“distinctive”, in relation to a trade-mark, means a trade-mark that actually distinguishes the wares or services in association with which it is used by its owner from the wares or services of others or is adapted so to distinguish them

The definition in Bill C-8 is different. It sounds different; it is different. This is in Bill C-8:

“distinctive”, in relation to a trade-mark, describes a trade-mark that actually distinguishes, or that is inherently capable of distinguishing, the goods or services of the trade-mark’s owner from those of others

Our concern is with regard to the current case law, which has become clear after decades of litigation around it. It establishes that a mark actually distinguishes something and has acquired that distinctiveness through use, and that a trademark is adapted to distinguish when it is inherently distinctive.

The new language introduces the phrase “is inherently capable of distinguishing”. It will introduce uncertainty. What does “inherently capable of distinguishing” mean? How will this be interpreted by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, the Trade-marks Opposition Board, and the courts?

It is our understanding from officials...and we understand that Industry Canada officials and the minister made it clear when they were here that in drafting the language in Bill C-8 they had a legal opinion asserting that the new definition is clear under the law and does not create any substantive change in the law.

Industry Canada, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, and Public Safety Canada have all advised CGPA and this committee that their sole intention is to modernize the language of the act. There was no intention to make a substantive change in the definition of “distinctiveness”. Again, they have clarified that to your committee. Neither was there any intention of altering pharmaceutical trade dress practices in Canada in any way.

This give us little comfort. We have consulted three different law firms who all raised concern that the new definition will create a great deal of uncertainty in the law around pharmaceutical trade dress. It will perhaps come as no surprise to members of this committee that the pharmaceutical industry is the most litigious industry in Canada. At the very least, the change in definition would cost the generic pharmaceutical industry millions of dollars in their efforts to maintain Canadian trade dress for pharmaceuticals and bring increased certainty in the law.

In our view, this is an unintended consequence that is entirely avoidable. On behalf of CGPA, we would urge the members of the committee to table and adopt our proposal for a technical amendment to the definition of “distinctive”. This would not impact the anti-counterfeiting objective of Bill C-8 in any way. It would address the Government of Canada's goal of modernizing the act, as well as the concerns I have outlined to you this afternoon.

I am going to stop there.

I thank the chair and committee for the opportunity to appear and for considering our request.

I look forward to further discussion with you.

November 20th, 2013 / 3:30 p.m.
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Director, Intellectual Property and Innovation Policy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Scott Smith

I will indeed.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for the opportunity to address you today.

I am representing, as you mentioned, the Canadian Intellectual Property Council, which I'll refer to as CIPC. The CIPC is a special council of the Canadian Chamber, representing a broad cross-section of companies dedicated to improving the IPR regime in Canada.

With me is Mr. Lorne Lipkus. He is an intellectual property lawyer, an active member of CIPC, and a recognized expert in the fight against the proliferation of counterfeit goods in the Canadian marketplace.

I'd like to take a few minutes to talk to you about an overview of how important Bill C-8 is to the membership of CIPC and the Canadian Chamber. Lorne is here to provide you with some specific examples of how a few modifications to the bill could save significant time, effort, and money for taxpayers, enforcement agencies of the crown, and brand owners who are the victims of IPR crimes.

The Canadian Chamber, through the CIPC, has been strongly advocating for IPR regime change for the past five years. Many of our members have been doing so for much longer than that. A key component of this advocacy effort is marketplace integrity. Securing ex officio powers for the CBSA, the facilitation of information exchange between enforcement agencies and brand owners, and criminal enforcement provisions for the importation of trademark and copyright infringing materials are high on our list of needed measures. And all of these are hallmarks of Bill C-8.

Counterfeit goods, as you know, cost the Canadian economy billions of dollars. I did have a handout for you, but unfortunately I don't think I had enough English copies, so those will be distributed to you at a later time, but it gives you most of the stats that are of interest to you.

What I'd like to focus on is the fact that we are pleased to see the introduction of Bill C-8 in Parliament. In particular, we are pleased to see the addition of criminal offences in the Trade-marks Act, making it a crime in Canada to import, export, manufacture, or distribute counterfeit goods.

Without second-guessing the urgency of the need to move forward with this bill, there are a few suggestions that we have that might serve to aid the operational side of the legislation. First is the knowledge requirement provisions. We see those as being difficult to proceed with. A preferred approach might be “knowingly” or “should have known”. We look at counterfeiting as being all about money. It's willing buyers and willing sellers, and finding ways to curb the revenue flow for the perpetrators of counterfeit is the most effective deterrent.

A second effective deterrent would be education. We look at education as also being important for enforcement agencies to ensure they are familiar with the marks, the product IDs, etc., of all shipments. So clarity in the request for assistance provisions of Bill C-8 that facilitate the recording of information pertaining to the products of goods of a right-holder in a system that is accessible to CBSA would be very helpful.

One final comment before I pass this on to Lorne is about the exclusion of in-transit shipments. There is a potential threat to public safety if these products are allowed to continue to circulate in the marketplace; they may cause public safety problems.

I'd like to pass this on to Lorne now, who will speak about a simplified procedure that might save time and money. But in thinking about these options, I'd also like to suggest that the committee consider the benefits of operational monitoring, and by that I mean maintaining performance-based statistics leading to a statutory review in three years.

November 20th, 2013 / 3:30 p.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Sweet

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Bonjour à toutes et à tous.

Welcome to the 5th meeting of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. We're hearing testimony from witnesses regarding Bill C-8.

We have before us, from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Scott Smith, who is director, intellectual property and innovation policy, and Lorne Lipkus, partner, Kestenberg Siegal Lipkus LLP, Canadian Intellectual Property Council; from the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association, Jim Keon, president; from Food and Consumer Products Canada, Carla Ventin, vice-president, federal government affairs; and from Eaton Industries (Canada), Vladimir Gagachev, manager, regulatory affairs, electrical sector.

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, for being with us. I understand that the clerk has advised you of the time limits for your testimony.

I need to ask the Canadian Chamber of Commerce if it is just one person who will be giving testimony today or if you are sharing your time.

November 18th, 2013 / 5:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Why isn't it in Bill C-8? Why did the drafters of the bill not think it was necessary?

November 18th, 2013 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

We could have kept right on because of fact that the EU and the United States have a way of dealing with it that seems much faster, much more capable, and we're just trying to do catch-up with Bill C-8. I'm glad it's here but we just seem to be doing catch-up more than anything else.

I do appreciate the amendments that you have suggested we put forward. I would hope that in discussions with departmental staff they would view those as a real positive.

But I want to ask you a couple of questions about the “distinctive” issue. Maybe I'd ask Mr. Giddens.

In your brief there were concerns about the word “distinctive” under the act. You had suggested that the word “distinctive” be changed to the phrase “inherently capable of distinguishing” to replace the word “distinctive”. What were your concerns with allowing the word “distinctive” to go forward?

November 18th, 2013 / 5:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

And that's what you're talking about, proper balance. You suggested at the start of your submission that Bill C-8 does find the proper balance.

November 18th, 2013 / 4:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

In the brief you sent to us, you raised some concerns about terminology, the word “distinctive” being one. Could you elaborate a bit on your concerns about the word “distinctive” and the implications of that in Bill C-8?

November 18th, 2013 / 3:55 p.m.
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Professor Jeremy de Beer Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, As an Individual

Thank you very much for the opportunity to testify before you on the important matters in Bill C-8, Combating Counterfeit Products Act.

I would like to focus my comments to the committee today on only one issue in particular and that's the issue of parallel imports. The term “parallel imports” is one that you may or may not have heard before. I would like to help the committee understand what parallel imports are, and why they are important to Canadian families, and how Bill C-8 might help to fight price discrimination against Canadians.

What are parallel imports? Parallel imports are not pirated goods nor counterfeit products. Counterfeit products mislead consumers about the origins, quality, or other valuable aspects of goods. Assuring quality, especially in respect of health or safety standards, is among the most important functions of a trademark. It's essential that consumers not be misled by inauthentic marks, especially when it comes to compliance with health and safety standards. Bill C-8 is correctly aimed at prohibiting pirated goods and counterfeit products bearing inauthentic trademarks from entering into Canada.

Parallel imports typically pose no such problems. Parallel imports are genuine articles sold with the authority of the intellectual property rights owner outside of Canada. Manufacturers may want to segment geographic markets, so that they can keep prices higher in some jurisdictions than in others. They do this by giving certain distributors exclusive licenses or assignments of their intellectual property rights. Often those rights are to packaging, labels, logos, or other incidental aspects of the goods.

Exclusive licensees or assignees often then use these intellectual property rights to fully control their territorial markets, including pricing. Legitimate competitors who would otherwise import genuine articles from abroad and offer them to consumers at lower, fairer prices, are called “parallel importers”. Parallel importers are not exempt from Canadian health and safety standards, or from complying with all relevant regulations regarding duties, taxes, and other legal requirements. Parallel importers do, however, sell the same goods at lower prices.

Why are parallel imports important? Parallel imports help to prevent geographic price discrimination against Canadians. They are one way of encouraging pricing parity across borders, such as the one between Canada and the United States. Permitting parallel imports is also an essential aspect of free trade. For example, we want Canadians to have access to goods from the European Union on the fairest terms possible. That is among the reasons for concluding the comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the EU. Fair access is facilitated when multiple legitimate suppliers of genuine articles are able to compete to offer Canadians access to goods produced with the authority of intellectual property rights owners in other countries.

I note that the principle of eliminating price discrimination against Canadians is rightly identified in the most recent Speech from the Throne as a priority to protect Canadian families, but I worry that the bill creates the risk of inadvertently undermining these aims.

I also note that Bill C-8 might undermine certain provisions recently enacted into Canadian law through the Copyright Modernization Act, which gives copyright owners the right to control the distribution of goods only if distribution has not previously been authorized inside or outside of Canada. Certain intellectual property rights, lawyers say, are “exhausted” by the first sale of goods anywhere, but Bill C-8 seems to restore some of these rights to permit detention of such goods at the border.

Finally, I note that this aspect of Bill C-8 appears to make Canadian law inconsistent with the law concerning parallel imports in the United States, particularly following a decision of the United States Supreme Court, which I can speak to more in questions if you're interested.

I admit that it was not easy for me, or a number of other IP experts whom I consulted, to understand the intricacies of this bill's provisions affecting parallel imports. The provisions are technical and complex, and they interact with the provisions of the existing legislation with effects that may not be immediately apparent. So my recommendation is that the committee carefully review all of the provisions to ensure that parallel imports of genuine articles from abroad are allowed so that the government can live up to its promise to protect Canadians from geographic price discrimination.

If I had more time, I might also explain why I believe that Bill C-8 strikes an appropriate balance in providing effective procedural remedies and anti-counterfeiting support to rights holders without unduly burdening taxpayers with the full costs and complexities of enforcing private rights. I believe it would be impractical and excessively costly for taxpayers to impose further obligations on customs and border services officers than already provided for in the bill—certainly without increased budgetary support. Extending the act's application to in-transit shipments, for example, would increase the administrative burden on officials and the financial burden on taxpayers. So might be the imposition of an obligation upon public officials to destroy or indefinitely detain suspected, but not confirmed or of interest to the rights holder, infringing goods. I think statutory damages may also skew the balance in the bill too far away from parallel importers or other small businesses that offer choices to consumers but are not trading in truly pirated or counterfeit goods.

Thank you.

November 18th, 2013 / 3:50 p.m.
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Peter Giddens Lawyer, International Trademark Association

Thank you.

INTA believes that the Canadian Intellectual Property Office should not destroy trademark application or registration records unless and until electronic copies are made and perpetually maintained. Although INTA is mindful of the practical difficulties and costs associated with warehousing original documents, in our view the downside risk of losing public access to these documents outweighs the hardships to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office associated with maintaining those records.

Neither the United States Patent and Trademark Office nor OHIM destroys the electronic versions of the documents upon the destruction of the paper version, and paper versions are kept without limitation. If Bill C-8 does not provide for electronic copies prior to destruction, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office will be significantly out of step with both the U.S. and European intellectual property offices when it comes to trademark files record retention. In any event, INTA believes that the proposed six-year clock as a countdown to destruction of documents is at odds with many established private sector file retention policies. INTA recommends that Bill C-8 be amended to require that electronic copies be made and retained by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office before destruction is permitted.

Finally, INTA also urges you to expand clause 21 of the bill to provide for a cause of action against not only counterfeit goods that are identical to those appearing in the trademark owners' registration but also those goods that are reasonably ancillary, incidental, or connected to the goods that appear in the trademark owners' registration. Also, we urge that clause 21 of the bill be expanded to prohibit the unauthorized use or display of a trade name that is identical to or confusing with a registered trademark. Such changes, in keeping with the law concerning confusing trademarks in Canada, will assist trademark owners in combatting counterfeiters who ride on the trademark owner’s product line expansions before a Canadian trademark is issued or who try to avoid the reach of these new provisions on the basis of an argument that the impugned sign was a trade name rather than a trademark.

In conclusion, INTA appreciates the efforts of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology and its consideration of our testimony. INTA supports Bill C-8, but our members would like to see amendments to make it more effective in protecting the Canadian public, including adding tougher and effective deterrent factors against counterfeiters to protect consumers from harmful counterfeits; developing stronger measures and an operational administrative regime at the border to keep counterfeits out of Canada; and making a number of practical technical amendments regarding trademark practice.

Thank you again for this opportunity to participate in these committee hearings.

November 18th, 2013 / 3:45 p.m.
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Lawyer, International Trademark Association

David Lipkus

Yes, I'll begin. Thank you.

Good afternoon. My name is David Lipkus, and I am a lawyer at Kestenberg Siegal Lipkus LLP.

I am appearing today on behalf of the International Trademark Association as chairman of the Canada subcommittee of INTA's anti-counterfeiting committee.

I am joined by Peter Giddens, partner at McMillan LLP, chair of the Canada subcommittee of INTA's trademark office practices committee.

We are honoured to appear today before this committee to share INTA's views on the Combating Counterfeit Products Act.

INTA supports the bill as a major step in improving protection against counterfeiting in Canada, but our members believe that Bill C-8 can better protect the Canadian public by including tougher deterrents against counterfeiting and developing stronger measures at the border to keep counterfeits out of our country.

INTA is a not-for-profit membership association, with 6,300 member organizations in over 190 countries. We have 179 member organizations across Canada. INTA's membership spans all industry lines and sectors and is united in the support of trademarks and related intellectual property in order to protect consumers and promote fair and effective commerce.

Our message is simple, and as you have heard from other witnesses, counterfeiting is a crime. Counterfeiting endangers the public health. Counterfeiting steals from Canadian businesses. Counterfeiting drains revenue from our government. And counterfeiting and the counterfeiting problem are growing in our country.

We believe that including our suggestions to Bill C-8 could make a huge and significant impact on this growing problem

INTA members have seen counterfeits in product categories such as food, medicines, automotive parts, electronics, appliances, cosmetics, and luxury goods. These counterfeits can be bought anywhere, from basements to shopping malls, and increasingly on the Internet. These products are bought and used by Canadians and found in Canadian homes, Canadian schools, Canadian businesses, and Canadian hospitals. We need effective laws to address this crime that harms the public and steals from our businesses.

Also, because counterfeiting is a global issue, Canada's actions on this issue will have international consequences. Canada must address counterfeit products with the same high bar as its trading partners. Bill C-8 is an essential step towards this objective. As we express support for Bill C-8, we recommend priority amendments that are important improvements to the bill.

With respect to statutory damages, INTA is recommending additional provisions to the Trade-marks Act, giving courts the power to award significant statutory or pre-established damages against counterfeiters in recognition of situations where it is difficult, or even impossible, for the trademark owners to prove the measurable monetary loss or damage. Often counterfeiters don't keep any records of the business they do and transact only in cash. The minimal compensatory damage awards currently ordered by our courts make breaking the law and selling counterfeit in our country simply the small and insignificant cost of doing business in our country.

While the bill does allow for punitive damages, they are discretionary and therefore rarely awarded by our courts. Thus, there is a need to deter the sale of counterfeits in our country against businesses, both large and small business, in order to protect the public from this crime. Statutory damages can help to accomplish this.

INTA applauds the addition of sale and distribution of counterfeits as a criminal offence in Bill C-8. These provisions align with the criminalization of counterfeiting globally, including places like the EU, United States, and China. However, after a counterfeiter is charged, the government must prove several elements of the counterfeiter's knowledge, which will make it very difficult for the government to prosecute criminal cases. More importantly, it misses the fundamental nature of mens rea, which makes these offences criminal.

As the bill is drafted today, a counterfeiter could easily deny knowing that the trademark was registered, that the mark on the goods is identical to or indistinguishable from a registered mark, and that the sale or distribution is an infringement as defined in the relevant sections of the Trade-marks Act. I'm not sure how many counterfeiters go to the CIPO database or review the Trade-marks Act on a regular basis, as I do in my practice.

The criminal offences should be written in a manner that they will be enforceable to truly act as a deterrent to counterfeiters and keep these criminals from hurting the public.

With regard to goods in transit, INTA recommends that the section of the Trade-marks Act that explicitly prohibits the Canada Border Services Agency from intercepting and seizing counterfeit goods in transit be removed from Bill C-8. Counterfeits must be stopped at any point in transit or destination. Allowing counterfeit goods in transit to pass through Canada encourages the use of our country as a convenient transit destination by organized crime. Counterfeiters rely on transit through third countries as a covert way of getting their illegal products to designated markets. Countries must therefore be vigilant about stopping counterfeits in transit, even when the products are destined for a third country.

Ensuring that national laws allow customs inspectors to seize counterfeit goods in transit is an important tool in the global fight against counterfeiting. For example, counterfeit car parts shipped to the United States could easily be installed into cars that travel to our border in Canada. Given the integration in North American manufacturing, it makes sense to intercept counterfeit goods when and where they are discovered. It is not in any country's best interest to support counterfeiting. Allowing counterfeits in transit to pass through Canada has the unfortunate effect of supporting the global trade of counterfeit goods.

An administrative regime at Canada's border to efficiently destroy counterfeits can significantly reduce the costs and resources devoted to counterfeit goods seized at the border. The alternative is litigation, which, as you know, is time-consuming. The costs associated with the request for assistance and the storage of counterfeit merchandise will undoubtedly be onerous on the rights holder and taxpayers because court actions will be issued after every seizure done by customs. Many INTA member organizations will not have the budgets to participate in this request for assistance program.

An administrative regime will eliminate many unnecessary costs, especially in cases where the importer does not even respond to a seizure notice and the goods are confirmed to be counterfeit. Many countries already have an administrative regime in place to quickly destroy counterfeit goods seized at the border. That is working. The customs officials in the European Union, Australia, and the U.K. dispose a large percentage of counterfeits seized at the border by some form of administrative regime. The inclusion of an administrative regime in Bill C-8 would be beneficial for not only brand owners but also the government.

Peter Giddens is now going to address the additional important trademark issues.

November 18th, 2013 / 3:35 p.m.
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Dale Ptycia Senior Manager, Licensing, Hockey Canada

Mr. Chairman, honourable members, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for inviting Hockey Canada to participate in the committee's study of Bill C-8.

Hockey Canada is the country's national sport organization. Our association is responsible for the creation and implementation of hockey-specific programming for more than 650,000 young Canadians, from entry-level beginners through to high-performance athletes competing at world championships and such multi-nation games as the Paralympic and Olympic games.

More than 1.2 million Canadians are involved in minor hockey as players, participants, officials, and administrators, from coast to coast to coast. Over the last 20 years, the retail licensing of Hockey Canada brands—Team Canada, Équipe Canada—and our logos and trade dress all have been diligently cultivated to provide a substantial revenue stream for the association. In our particular case, counterfeiting means lost royalty revenue. Lost revenue for Hockey Canada equates to lost opportunities to support wholesome, athletic hockey opportunities for Canadians of all ages and of all abilities. Every dollar lost to counterfeits has a direct negative impact on our programs and services.

A very specific example that I'd like to bring to your attention today occurred in early February of 2010. In a time span of less than two weeks during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the RCMP and the Canadian Border Services Agency at the Vancouver mail facility intercepted and detained more than 16,000 counterfeit Team Canada jerseys, with a retail value of more than $2.3 million. At the request of the RCMP, Hockey Canada arranged for additional personnel to assist with the processing of these counterfeit jerseys. More than 1,500 individual shipments in those two weeks were processed, and all at substantial cost to Hockey Canada. Together, we estimated that less than 10% to 20% was intercepted of the actual number of counterfeit jerseys imported into Canada leading up to and during the games. This translates into more than 250,000 jerseys that were imported into Canada, with a retail value of over $32.5 million—all lost revenue, which negatively impacts Hockey Canada.

I understand that Bill C-8 may afford brand owners such as us the ability to work directly with the CBSA through a request for assistance process, with costs to be borne by the brand owner. At a bare minimum, the estimated cost per request to proceed with a court action is in the neighbourhood of $500 for legal fees and disbursements, and likely substantially more than that in many cases.

Using a real-life example from 2010 from a single mail facility, Hockey Canada would be asked to spend in excess of $750,000 just to action the very first step in the proceedings. This takes away from resources that are earned to reinvest into Canada's youth and from the programming involved with delivering minor hockey across the country. There are substantial costs and inherent difficulties in enforcing IP rights in Canada currently through the civil avenues afforded brand owners such as us. We are dealing with criminals who do not adhere to any laws and don't keep records for anyone to estimate what profits have been made or what revenues they generate.

As a double whammy, many counterfeiters simply view any exposure to civil remedies as a small and insignificant cost of doing business. Monetary penalties or awards are generally small and much less than the actual costs associated with enforcement in any civil action, even assuming that we can collect on those civil actions. Without statutory damage awards or appropriate border seizure capabilities, Canada's civil remedy toolbox will continue to be severely limited, with additional costs required of the brand owner just to prove what our actual damages were or what profit the counterfeiter might have made or has made.

The current supply chain for counterfeit jerseys is dominated by manufacturers based overseas. Counterfeit commerce is conducted primarily and increasingly over the Internet. This channel makes it virtually fool-proof for any individual with a credit card and a mailing address to participate as an importer of counterfeit goods.

Hockey Canada officially released the 2010 Sochi Winter Olympic Games hockey jersey on October 8. Within three weeks we have seen counterfeit jerseys enter the country and be offered from unauthorized sources from overseas factories, with minimum quantities as low as single units and with prices in the $30 neighbourhood. A bona fide retailer would pay in excess of $65 at wholesale, with a retail value of $140 per jersey. These are already being resold here in Canada by unauthorized sources for less than $100 to unsuspecting Canadians and consumers.

We currently have several covert purchases under way to validate the counterfeits, which are clearly identifiable by our brand experts. One major variable to understand is that all bona fide Team Canada jerseys have been produced elsewhere from where they're originating as counterfeits, and all by one source—our single and only official licensee—and not by multiple factories offering the counterfeits over the Internet.

The entire production of our 2014 jerseys was shipped only in container quantities by our exclusive licensee and landed in Canada earlier this summer for distribution to bona fide Canadian retailers. Please note that to date neither our office nor our investigators have been notified of a single interception by authorities of these readily identifiable and individual small-quantity shipments of counterfeit jerseys.

Ease of access via the Internet has exponentially added to counterfeit Team Canada product in the country. Importing or exporting counterfeit product should be treated with strong measures. The current model utilized by the European Union, which aims to strengthen the protection of intellectual property in the EU and reduce the administrative burden on customs authorities, is perhaps an exemplary model. The model allows for the destruction of counterfeit goods without requiring lengthy and burdensome legal proceedings on the merits to establish whether an intellectual property right actually has been infringed upon in circumstances where there is no dispute by the importer when confronted with evidence that the goods being imported are counterfeit.

With virtually no deterrent currently for importing or possessing counterfeit goods in Canada, this channel will continue to be utilized by counterfeiters to ply their unauthorized goods.

As a registered brand owner with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, Hockey Canada has a responsibility to monitor and police our intellectual properties and brands. The tools afforded to brand owners such as us through the Trade-marks Act and the Copyright Act realistically are limited, but with reasonable and future progress being made through this bill.

The proposed changes are a very strong step forward; however, still more can and should be accomplished.

Hockey Canada regularly engages the services of anti-counterfeiting experts, dedicated legal counsel, and trained investigators to assist with the ever-elusive task of counterfeit enforcement, consuming valuable financial resources. We have been and continue to be prepared to do this task, but within realistic parameters. Adding significant costs to such not-for-profit entities as Hockey Canada may not be the most effective manner to deal with counterfeit goods at our borders.

Hockey Canada continues to support and participate in actively engaging the efforts of the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network and the Canadian Intellectual Property Council, just to name two. We support the need to strengthen Canadian legislation to empower front line officers to target and seize counterfeit goods. Greater deterrents and resources are also necessary for the officers to process seized goods and effectively deal with them as counterfeit items.

As the honourable members of the committee continue to study how to combat counterfeit goods, you are urged to include appropriate measures for the protection and enforcement of rights associated with the intellectual property of Canadian brand owners, ultimately for all of us as Canadians. We should not and cannot continue to lose sales to these criminals, who very often deal in cash-only transactions, keep no records, and contribute nothing positive, really, to our economy.

With that, I'd like to close and say thank you very much for your attention this afternoon.

November 18th, 2013 / 3:30 p.m.
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Martin Lavoie Director, Manufacturing Competitiveness and Innovation Policy, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you for inviting me to discuss Bill C-8, the Combating Counterfeit Products Act.

I represent the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. We are Canada's largest trade association. We represent about 10,000 manufacturers and exporters across the country. Our sector represents more than 75% of all R and D expenditure by the Canadian private sector, so you can understand that protecting intellectual rights is central to our industry.

We applaud the government for introducing this important legislation and the committee members for keeping a close eye on the details of this bill. We strongly support the objective of the bill. Canada needs strong legislation to prevent counterfeit goods crossing our borders. However, I would like to raise a number of concerns that we and our members have with the bill in its current form.

One of them is about the responsibility of the right holder—or in other words, the victim of counterfeiting—to pay the fees associated with the detention and destruction of goods. We do not understand the rationale for this.

We believe that the importers should be responsible for these costs, since they are the ones introducing these goods into our country in the first place. They should not be given a free ride. Where is the disincentive in that? Moreover, these costs, which will largely be incurred in court proceedings, are likely to be onerous and difficult to support for smaller companies that are the victims of counterfeiting. I know that you've heard this from other witnesses. We share this concern.

Our second concern is the provision that the detention of goods requires that a court action be undertaken by the IP owner. Court actions are expensive and time-consuming, and they take a long time to get results. We believe that if there is enough evidence to show that the goods in question are counterfeit, they should be destroyed, regardless of whether or not the IP owner undertakes a court action.

You have heard the stories. Not only have you seen many examples of goods that are counterfeit, but you have seen cases where even the Canadian standards association logo is being copied. Do we really need a long court process to destroy those items? I think there are many examples of where we could proceed with the destruction of goods without requiring prior legal action on the part of the victim.

As the witness from the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada said when she appeared here on November 6:

Other countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, as well as the European Union have already introduced a summary procedure whereby goods that are truly counterfeit, where there's incontrovertible evidence that they are, and the importer of the goods does not respond to an inquiry, will be permanently detained or destroyed.

That should apply to Canada as well.

We believe that when legal proceedings do take place, the onus should be placed on the importer, or whoever is responsible for bringing the goods in question into the country, to provide evidence that the goods are not counterfeit. Has the importer undertaken sufficient due diligence to ensure that the foreign supplier is not producing counterfeit products? What steps have been taken to make sure that counterfeit goods are not harming our economy? In its current form, the bill makes it too easy for the importer to claim ignorance.

Another issue I'd like to raise, which is not necessarily within the scope of this bill but is essential if you want to succeed in combating counterfeiting, is the need for better international coordination. This may be another area in which Canada can do more.

As you know, the “Special 301” priority watch-list of the United States Trade Representative, or USTR, has included Canada for the past several years because of our failure to implement our international obligations or to take effective enforcement action against counterfeit and pirated goods, especially at the border. This priority watch-list is an annual review of the global state of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement.

In 2011, the USTR's report stated:

The United States encourages Canada to provide for deterrent-level sentences to be imposed for IPR violations as well as to strengthen enforcement efforts, including at the border. Canada should provide its Custom officials with ex officio authority to effectively stop the transit of counterfeit and pirated products through its territory.

This bill will fix some of these issues. That's why in 2013 the same report was better. It recognizes the importance of Bill C-8. As a result, the USTR is moving Canada from its priority watch-list to its watch-list. The report says that the United States “urges Canada to expand the legislation to also provide authority for its customs officials to take action against goods-in-transit”. We agree with that. I know this has been raised by some other witnesses who were here before.

Finally, we applaud the Canadian government's leadership in the negotiation of the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement, the ACTA. While most countries have not yet implemented the agreement, it is a step in the right direction. The ACTA signatories are Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United States. The European Union and the 22 EU member states signed the agreement in January 2012, but it has not yet been approved by the European Parliament.

You will notice that none of the countries included in the U.S. watch-list is a signatory of the agreement, so we still believe that a lot of work remains to be done to bring more countries to the table.

Thank you again for your time and for inviting me. I look forward to questions.

November 6th, 2013 / 4:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Professor Geist, in your opening comments you spoke of health and safety, and of the value of the existing statutes and case law. You also spoke of the danger, of course, of unintended consequences. So with all of this in mind, would you please tell me briefly what you think of Bill C-8? Will it have unintended consequences, specifically for the generics industry?

November 6th, 2013 / 4 p.m.
See context

Dr. Michael Geist Canada Research Chair, Internet and E-commerce Law, University of Ottawa, As an Individual

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Good afternoon. I am a law professor at the University of Ottawa, where I hold the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. I have appeared before this committee on a number of occasions and as in past occasions I appear here in a personal capacity representing only my own views.

I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you about Bill C-8. While the panel may disagree on certain elements of the legislation, I am sure that all agree that where harmful counterfeiting occurs—particularly involving health and safety—the law should provide all concerned with the legal tools necessary to address the problem. Indeed, we should not forget that the existing law in Canada is regularly used to conduct anti-counterfeiting raids and seizures, that border officials—as you heard on Monday—work with the RCMP and Health Canada on health and safety issues through their MOUs, and that the courts in Canada have awarded increasingly significant penalties in counterfeiting cases.

That said, context within a discussion on counterfeiting is important. It's easy, and rather scary as we just saw, to point to the obvious health and safety issues and, based on that, conclude that any available legal remedy should be adopted in response. Yet I'd argue that it's important to recognize that the scope of the problem remains subject to considerable debate, but even more, some proposed solutions may have unintended consequences that are themselves harmful and should be avoided. Moreover, given Minister Moore's insistence on Monday that the bill is about protecting intellectual property on an international scale, the international context, including the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and the proposed trade agreement between Canada and the EU, merits some discussion as well.

Given that need for context, I'll actually shorten my remarks a bit by focusing on two main issues, first highlighting some of those unintended consequences, particularly those that could arise from some of the proposals for amendment that you just heard, and secondly, briefly discuss the international context of ACTA and CETA.

I should add that I won't be discussing the myriad of trademark reforms in the bill, some of which we just heard about, but I frankly think those are out of place in a counterfeiting bill. If the intent was to introduce an omnibus-style intellectual property bill, it should also deal with other live issues, including access to the blind that was the subject of a new international treaty that Canada actively participated in and was agreed to in June of this year, as well as reform of the Copyright Board of Canada that stakeholders on virtually all sides are increasingly calling for.

Let me focus though, as I suggested, on the potential unintended consequences of Bill C-8. I'll start by noting that the exception for individual travellers, the exclusion of patents and in-transit shipments, and the attempt to avoid application to grey market goods—some of the parallel import issues—I think are positive policy choices designed to ensure that the bill targets bad actors and doesn't allow border seizures to raise consumer costs. That said, there are some real concerns about potential unintended consequences, and I wish to highlight four.

First, as you know, the bill vests enormous power in the hands of customs officials, who are not copyright and trademark experts but will now be forced to assess infringement cases, including determining whether any copyright exceptions apply. The bill opens the door to detention of works if created without the consent of the copyright owner and the infringed copyright. Yet there are many works that are in fact created without consent of the owner, but rely upon exceptions such as fair dealing to do so, and are perfectly lawful. That often results in disputes over whether in fact the works infringe, an issue that is frankly best left to the courts and which even the courts often fight over. With this bill, though, it's now customs officials who are asked to make the determination and send the works to the copyright owner to consider whether they think it infringes copyright.

Some have claimed that the powers in this bill are consistent with international standards, yet the reality is that there are a number of countries—including allies such as Australia and Mexico—that do not have the ex officio powers envisioned by this bill in their laws. Using the courts for oversight is still viewed as a workable, legitimate approach to dealing with counterfeiting. As I mentioned, you heard on Monday how the CBSA works with the RCMP and Health Canada on the safety and security concerns. To vest this kind of power in non-expert customs officials, and to go even further as you've just heard, could lead to unintended consequences.

You have heard only today that some want this legislation to go further, including cost-shifting enforcement to the public, ignoring the costs that are borne by small businesses that import goods and could get caught up in the seizures. In fact, even today others have called for even more expansive powers for customs officials, including destruction or forfeiture of goods without court oversight. In my respectful view, these proposals are enormously problematic and would alter the attempt at balance in the bill by removing both important safeguards, shifting private enforcement costs to the taxpayer, and ultimately raising consumer costs.

Further, detention of goods can be used to harm small Canadian businesses that could find the goods they are seeking to import detained, oftentimes by competitors. The absence of a misuse provision in this bill is particularly notable in this regard.

Second, the bill does include an exception for personal travellers. However, the bill is oddly drafted by speaking of “works” rather than “goods”. Both the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and leaked drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership focus on physical goods. By focusing on works, it could also cover things like iPod and laptop searches. In fact, if the exception were removed—and there have been some proposals that the exception could be removed—it could lead to escalated searches of iPods, smartphones, and other electronic devices, on personal travellers when they come across Canadian borders.

Third, there are groups, as we just heard, that are arguing for expanded penalties. The bill already moves copyright and trademark into the world of criminal provisions in a manner that extends far beyond what we've had in conventional IP law. Further, some are looking, and we just heard this, for statutory damages for trademark infringement. With respect, statutory damages for trademark are unnecessary. Rights holders frequently cite the value of their goods and the harms associated with counterfeiting. If the claims are accurate, demonstrating the value for the purpose of a damage award should not be difficult. Moreover, other countries that have moved in this area have run into serious problems. For example, Taiwan actually scaled back their statutory damages for trademarks when they found courts awarding disproportionate awards. In the United States, the use of statutory damages for trademarks has led to what is known as trademark trolls, similar to patent trolling. We would engage in litigation primarily designed to obtain costly settlements against small businesses that can often ill afford to fight in court.

Fourth, as you again just heard in some of the debates on what was then Bill C-56, there has been the prospect of removing targeting in-transit shipments. I'd argue that the bill wisely excludes in-transit shipments, and, with respect, a removal of that would be a mistake. The seizure of generic pharmaceuticals in transit would pose a threat to international trade, development, and public welfare. Experience with such seizures in the European Union led, in 2010, to both India and Brazil filing complaints with the World Trade Organization. They highlighted several incidents of consignments of generic medicines that were being transited via the European Union and being detained there.

In fact, Doctors Without Borders reported that in 2008 and 2009 there were at least 19 shipments of generic meds from India headed for other countries that were impounded while in transit in Europe. In one instance, German customs authorities wrongfully seized a drug shipment of amoxicillin, on suspicion that it infringed the brand name Amoxil. The cargo was detained for four weeks during investigation and ultimately revealed there was no trademark infringement. In another instance, Dutch customs authorities seized a shipment of AIDS drugs that were en route from India to a Clinton Foundation project in Nigeria.

In 2011, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled against in-transit seizures on the grounds that there was no infringement in the EU. A similar approach to exclude in-transit seizures is appropriate here, and any arguments that it should be removed, I believe, should be rejected.

Finally, from an international context perspective, notwithstanding some claims that this legislation is responding primarily to domestic concerns, much of the pressure comes from outside the country. Ms. Sgro asked about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, on Monday. In fact, the United States has not yet ratified ACTA. The only country to have done so is Japan. The vast majority of signatories to ACTA, the entire European Union—all their member states—as well as Switzerland, are out. They have rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement through their votes at the European Parliament. There are doubts that ACTA will ever take effect, as it may not even receive the requisite number of ratifications to take effect. Frankly, even if it does, it now stands as damaged goods and a far cry from the relevant international standard that some had hoped. It elicited an enormous public backlash, and Canada would do well to move on.

Perhaps even more relevant is CETA, which apparently contains border provisions consistent with Bill C-8. The problem, as many will know, is that the government has not yet released the CETA text, so there is no way of knowing precisely what is required under that treaty and whether there is room for change under this bill. It is perhaps consistent, but without the text we can't know if alterations to the bill might still fall within treaty requirements.

Finally, there is also the possibility, indeed, some say the likelihood, of border measures provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is also still under negotiation.

The net effect of these international pressures—and with this I'll conclude—is, I would argue, that Canada would do well to pause for the moment until these international treaties are concluded and our obligations with regard to these kinds of border measure provisions are better understood.

I'll stop there, and I would welcome your questions.