An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (community benefit)

This bill was last introduced in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2019.


Ahmed Hussen  Liberal

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Dead, as of Jan. 31, 2017
(This bill did not become law.)


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

This enactment amends the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act to provide the Minister with the authority to require an assessment of the benefits that a community derives from a construction, maintenance or repair project.


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.


Oct. 5, 2016 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

PensionsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

October 22nd, 2018 / 3:10 p.m.
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Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition highlights that before the 2015 federal election, Canadians were clearly promised, in writing, that defined benefit plans that had already been paid for by the employers and pensioners would not be retroactively changed to targeted benefit plans.

Bill C-27, tabled by the finance minister, would precisely permit this change, therefore jeopardizing the retired income security of Canadians who have negotiated defined benefit plans as a form of deferred wages. Therefore, the petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to withdraw Bill C-27 to amend the Pensions Benefits Standards Act.

December 5th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

I was going to say that Mr. Badawey isn't playing with a full deck here. In fact, I think you are actually working off some old notes here, Vance, because the NDP-1 that you are referring to here isn't the same as the NDP-1 that was passed out.

NDP-1, I think, was something Mr. Aubin looked at or brought forward when it was Bill C-227, when it said “benefit means a social, economic or environmental benefit”. If Mr. Aubin had that note from the first one and was to present that as an amendment, I think he would find that it would be adopted.

December 5th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

That's 0-2. I'll try to be more convincing, but since I've already presented these amendments, I won't believe in miracles.

We are proposing that, to be more specific, clause 1 be amended by adding the following after line 17:

(2.01) The Minister shall, before awarding a contract for the construction, maintenance or repair of public works, federal real property or federal immovables, require bidders on the proposal to provide information on the measures considered to:

Then, it describes what those measures would be:

(a) reduce the environmental impact of the work, property or immovable; (b) ensure respect for the biological diversity and ecological integrity of the surrounding ecosystems and contribute to their maintenance; and (c) ensure that the work, property or immovable is adapted to the effects of climate change.

During the study of Bill C-227, the committee wisely insisted that environmental issues be added to the elements it had to consider. That is exactly what NDP-3 is about.

In my opinion, the importance we are placing on the milieu, the environment and climate change is better defined by this addition than by clause 1 of Bill C-344.

December 5th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I will speak briefly about each of the amendments, since the ones I'm presenting are basically the same as those presented in the context of Bill C-227 and have been discussed. Since a new wording of this bill has been presented, I'd be out of my mind if I didn't try to push it a little further.

We all know that Bill C-344 is largely inspired by a similar Ontario bill. Although it is inspired by it, it stops very shortly after the starting point.

In proposing these amendments, I am trying to give a little more importance to this bill, which contains four or five clauses and is interesting in spirit, but which gives the minister the power to require an assessment of the local benefits without making him do so. That seems a little contradictory to me.

NDP amendment 1 proposes adding this paragraph to clause 1:

(1.1) Before awarding a contract for the construction, maintenance or repair of public works, federal real property or federal immovables, the Minister shall consult the public in order to assess the local need for community benefits.

Remember that the bill only deals with buildings that are financed or belong to the federal government. If we want to promote local benefits, the least we can do is go to the communities and ask them what their needs are, which could be filled by this bill once it's passed. This could be taken into account in a possible call for tenders.

I'll stop there.

November 30th, 2017 / 4:55 p.m.
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Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Welcome, Mr. Sangha.

Thank you for being here with us and for introducing Bill C-344, which, for the most part, is the old C-227. You do not need me to tell you that this is largely inspired by a similar bill in the Ontario legislature. I have to confess that I have a soft spot for bills that have only a few clauses and one main idea, bills that try to go right to the point.

In that spirit, may I ask you for some clarification about proposed paragraph 20.1(2)? It reads: “The Minister may, before awarding a contract for the construction, maintenance or repair of public works…”

Why do you not feel the need to say “the Minister shall…”? If the Minister “may”, he also may not, in which case, the entire spirit of the bill and all the results you are hoping for will never come to pass.

November 30th, 2017 / 4:45 p.m.
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Ramesh Sangha Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

Madam Chair, it's my pleasure to come before the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity.

My private member's bill, Bill C-344, is an act to amend section 20 of the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act to introduce community benefits. This committee has already done an extensive study on a similar bill, Bill C-227, which could not go through due to administrative reasons, as the chair has already mentioned. You conducted your study on Bill C-227 and suggested a few amendments. Now I am here with my private member's bill, Bill C-344, with your suggested amendments.

Let me congratulate you all for the great work done on the previous bill, Bill C-227.

Community benefit agreements, CBAs, are tangible socio-economic opportunities for neighbourhoods, local communities, and the environmental benefits that result from federal government projects across Canada. This includes local job creation, apprenticeships, education, and affordable housing. By giving more power to the minister of public services and procurement, Bill C-344 would make sure that the minister plays a leadership role towards the betterment of communities. This bill would empower the minister to ultimately create a platform to minimize delays and produce flexibility for communities' infrastructure development.

CBAs would require bidders on the proposal to provide information on the community benefits that the project would provide. CBAs would enable the minister to formulate agreements between developers and local community groups. CBAs would create a foundation to encourage local communities to form partnerships with developers and address local challenges.

My private member's bill, Bill C-344, would require the minister to report back to Parliament every year on what community benefits have been enacted.

We notice that the federal investment funds are making significant improvements in all the ridings across Canada, even in Brampton. We have federal funds of approximately $95 million for Züm bus rapid transit and $69 million for stormwater management infrastructure for the Peel region. Similarly, every riding across Canada is getting funding for federal projects. It is obvious that if CBAs were tied to these federal investments, communities would thrive.

Bill C-344 would allow for comprehensive consultation with communities across Canada, consequently strengthening the local community infrastructure for the residents. Moreover, various business groups and organizations support the idea of community benefit agreements. The Toronto board of trade, the Vancouver board of trade, and the Montreal board of trade have already recognized community benefit agreements as a strong economic policy and an optimal way to confront youth unemployment.

Furthermore, a joint report from Mowat Centre and the Atkinson Foundation found that community benefit agreements have the ability to adopt a better environment for impoverished areas.

Ontario has already enacted CBAs, and other provinces such as Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Manitoba are also following suit. Moreover, other countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have already implemented CBAs in their respective infrastructure funds. Ultimately, CBAs would create the foundation for communities to achieve their fair share of federal infrastructure investments. Furthermore, it's about ensuring that future federal projects involving construction, maintenance, or repair would result in community benefits for millions of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

I also put it to the committee that besides the tangible benefits of CBAs, they are a vehicle that would create an opportunity for the pursuit of dignity, and build the inner-being infrastructure of Canadians.

That is my submission. Thank you very much, and I'm prepared to answer any questions.

November 30th, 2017 / 4:45 p.m.
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The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Thank you very much.

Sorry, Mr. Aubin, we're over your time.

Thank you very much to all of our witnesses. We appreciate very much your taking the time to provide us with sufficient information as we do this study.

We will suspend for a moment and then resume shortly.

Pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, October 25, 2017, we are examining Bill C-344, an act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (community benefit). For those of you who were on the committee before, we dealt with this issue before under our current Minister of Immigration. He was hosting it. It subsequently was approved with two amendments from this committee. Then Mr. Hussen ended up being the minister and couldn't carry the bill any longer. Mr. Sangha picked it up. At that time it was Bill C-227. It is now Bill C-344.

Mr. Sangha would you like to speak to the bill, please?

Department of Public Works and Government Services ActPrivate Members' Business

June 19th, 2017 / 11:30 a.m.
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Erin Weir NDP Regina—Lewvan, SK

Mr. Speaker, we have heard that the Conservatives will be opposing this bill because it lacks specifics but they see the potential for negative consequences. We in the NDP are a hopeful and optimistic party, so despite the bill's lack of specifics we will be supporting it because we see the potential for it to be quite positive legislation. We will also be proposing amendments at committee to try to set out some of those needed specifics. We certainly support the concept of community benefit agreements, trying to ensure that public infrastructure investment creates local jobs and local training opportunities and that it really enriches the local community.

One of the main purposes the government has provided for infrastructure investment is to boost the Canadian economy. Of course, infrastructure spending only boosts the economy to the extent that it employs Canadian workers and procures Canadian-made inputs. However, the current government has a very weak track record of actually making an effort to use procurement policy in that way.

We see, for example, the construction of the new Champlain Bridge using only 19% Canadian-made steel. Even as we have steel mills struggling through bankruptcy protection and laying off workers, the Canadian government is importing a huge amount of steel to build this new bridge. This would be a great example of where the concept of community benefits could be put into effect in a very useful way. Therefore, I agree with basically everything that the member for Brampton Centre said; I am just somewhat skeptical that this bill would actually achieve the laudable goals that the member set forward.

The first thing that is important to emphasize is that this bill would not require community benefit agreements. It would not even require contractors to provide information on community benefits. What it would do is allow the minister to require contractors to provide this information. Therefore, in the hands of a very energetic and proactive minister, it is possible that this bill could be used as a tool to help negotiate community benefit agreements, but it would not actually require the government to do anything of the sort.

Another very important issue is the scope of this legislation. I asked the member for Brampton Centre whether it would apply only to infrastructure that is entirely funded by the federal government, which is very little infrastructure, or whether it would apply to infrastructure that the federal government cost-shares with other levels of government. We did not get any kind of a clear answer to that question, but this is a real issue and it came up at committee when this bill's predecessor, Bill C-227, went before the transport committee. The government essentially tried to indicate that Bill C-227 would only apply to infrastructure totally funded by the federal government, which means it would not apply to very much infrastructure at all.

We believe that a more realistic proposal would be to apply this legislation to infrastructure that the federal government cost-shares with other levels of government, but of course that would require a lot more detail and a lot more information about how the federal government would reconcile its objectives in terms of community benefits with those of provincial and municipal governments. I believe there is the potential for the federal government to work together with provinces and municipalities in quite a constructive fashion to achieve community benefit agreements. However, that is something we should be acknowledging and discussing, rather than talking about this bill as though it would only apply to the very small subset of infrastructure that is entirely paid for by the federal government itself.

Another issue I would like to raise regarding this bill is the lack of evaluation or monitoring. If we were to have a successful strategy to implement community benefit agreements, we would want a very good mechanism to report back on whether the benefits were actually achieved.

What this bill talks about is the minister providing a report on community benefits, which could be almost anything. The minister could easily just pick and choose projects that had some community benefits, and highlight those and trumpet those. It would be very easy for the minister to just put forward a positive report without actually doing much analysis or without really evaluating anything.

We believe it would make a lot more sense for this bill to actually require the minister to report on whether community benefits were achieved, so that we have some actual evaluation of whether all the money that the government is spending on public infrastructure is actually creating local jobs, providing apprenticeship opportunities, improving local communities, and improving our natural environment. We believe that this bill requires a lot more detail in terms of reporting and evaluation.

Another issue that is very important to discuss is how this bill fits with international trade agreements. The government has been very aggressive in signing onto trade deals that limit the public sector's ability to use procurement policy to require local employment, the purchasing of local inputs, and that sort of thing.

One of the questions that came up at committee with this bill's predecessor, Bill C-227, was whether it actually fit in with some of the trade deals that the government has signed. We have not gotten a very clear answer on this from the government, but I believe it is an important question. I do not bring it up as an argument against community benefit agreements. I think we want to pursue community benefit agreements, but we also want to make sure we are not negotiating trade agreements that take away the ability of government to use procurement policy in that way.

What I fear about this bill is that it actually contains so little that maybe it does comply with international trade agreements but it complies with them only because it requires so little of the government or of contractors. It is essentially totally up to the minister whether to even require information on community benefits. It seems as though the bill may not actually apply to very much infrastructure, if it is only those few projects that are entirely funded by the federal government. I hope the answer is not that this bill complies with international trade agreements because it does not actually do anything and it does not require anything.

Now, of course, we do have a number of trade agreements that apply to infrastructure that is entirely funded by the federal government. Where our country has more latitude to use procurement policy in a constructive way is with provincial and municipal infrastructure. Fortunately, most infrastructure is indeed also funded by those levels of government. However, the government does not seem to want to say that this bill would apply to those projects.

The NDP very much supports community benefit agreements. We want to see public investment in infrastructure supporting jobs in local communities, providing apprenticeship opportunities, improving the local area, and supporting a clean environment. A way of actually achieving that would be for the federal government to negotiate community benefit agreements in concert with provincial and municipal governments for infrastructure projects that are jointly funded. That would have an effect on a lot of infrastructure and would also comply with international trade agreements.

Unfortunately, we are getting the suggestion from the government that this would only apply to those few projects that are totally federally funded and, in that case, might not fit in with Canada's international trade obligations.

In conclusion, we in the NDP are going to support this bill, but we are going to support it with the view to getting it to committee so that we can amend it into a constructive and positive piece of legislation.

Department of Public Works and Government Services ActPrivate Members' Business

June 19th, 2017 / 11:05 a.m.
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Ramesh Sangha Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

moved that Bill C-344, An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (community benefit), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House with the support of the hon. member for Don Valley North to introduce my private member's bill, Bill C-344, an act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act to introduce community benefits.

I would like to take this moment to thank the residents of my riding of Brampton Centre for giving me the opportunity to introduce the bill and for electing me as the first member of Parliament for Brampton Centre.

Bill C-344 would further strengthen the federal infrastructure investment in communities, such as in my riding, and throughout Canada.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the member for York South—Weston for his extensive work on his previous private member's bill. At the committee hearing, two amendments to Bill C-227 were suggested by the committee. Hence my bill, Bill C-344, is before the house today.

Community benefit agreements, referred to as CBAs, create socio-economic opportunities for local communities and neighbourhoods as well as environmental benefits as a result of federal development projects across Canada. These benefits include local job creation, apprenticeships, affordable housing, education, support for seniors, health care, and other key benefits for communities.

Bill C-344 would amend section 20 of the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act. This would include a provision that would enable the Minister of Public Services and Procurement to require successful bidders on federal projects to report information on community benefits. This provision would ultimately create a platform to minimize possible delays and promote flexibility for community infrastructure development.

CBAs would enable the ministry of public services and procurement to formulate agreements with federal infrastructure developers with added input from community groups. These agreements would lay the foundation to encourage local communities to build partnerships with developers. Ultimately, CBAs would strengthen the socio-economic influence of publicly funded development projects.

For example, in my riding of Brampton Centre, federal investments into infrastructure have greatly contributed to social development in the community. The Züm bus rapid transit fund has revolutionized transit infrastructure across the City of Brampton and has attracted approximately $95 million of federal investment. Further, a federal investment of $69 million in a stormwater management project in Peel region has greatly contributed to improving the quality of life in the community. However, had CBAs been tied to these investments, the overall impact could have been much greater. Communities across Canada rely on federal investments to fund development projects, so if CBAs are tied to these federal investments, communities would thrive.

This was evident in the city of Vancouver, where the 2010 Olympic Village was built under a CBA. This initiative allowed communities to have a direct input on the project.

Bill C-344 would allow for comprehensive consultations with communities across Canada, consequently strengthening local infrastructure investments. It would also reduce red tape for small and medium-sized businesses and further accelerate the approval process for federal repair and construction projects.

Moreover, various business groups and organizations support the concept of CBAs. The boards of trade for Brampton, Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, and various unions, have endorsed CBAs as strong economic policy and an optimal way to promote youth employment.

As a member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, referred to as HUMA, I have first-hand experience of the harsh realities of poverty in Canada. This committee has conducted a study with recommendations on a national poverty reduction strategy that was submitted to this Parliament. It is quite evident that CBAs will promote increased prosperity and drastically reduce poverty in communities across Canada.

Further, a joint report from the Mowat Centre and the Atkinson Foundation found that CBAs have the ability to promote a better environment for unique areas. In Ontario alone, the provincial government will invest $130 billion into public infrastructure over the next 10 years. The federal government has committed more than $180 billion into transit, green, and social infrastructures. As such, this is the time to collaborate with communities so they can also benefit from such lucrative federal investments.

CBAs will ultimately enhance the socio-economic development of cities across Canada. CBAs have already been implemented in Ontario with the enactment of the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act. This act aims to remove any red tape so that the approval process for provincial infrastructure investment projects can be more efficient.

Furthermore, a number of organizations, including Metrolinx and the Toronto Community Benefits Network, have signed a community benefits framework, the first in Ontario.

The U.S.A. and the U.K. have already adopted the CBA concept into their respective infrastructure investments. In the U.S.A., CBA success stories include the Atlanta Beltline project, the Los Angeles airport expansion, and the Los Angeles Grand Avenue project. One stipulation on these projects was the requirement to submit reports on the benefits derived for communities. Provinces such as Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Manitoba are also in the process of adopting the CBA concept.

Bill C-344 would authorize the Minister of Public Services and Procurement to require bidders to provide a detailed explanation of how government-funded projects will benefit the community. It would also require the minister to report to Parliament on an annual basis on what community benefits have been implemented.

Bill C-344 is about implementing CBAs in the federal jurisdiction. This will give added responsibility to the Government of Canada to exercise leadership in implementing CBAs across Canada. Ultimately, CBAs will create the foundation for communities to earn their fair share of federal infrastructure investment. This will ensure that communities have reliable growth and meaningful employment while fostering a healthier environment.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario to have CBAs preserved in law. This can serve as a model for other jurisdictions to follow. It is about ensuring that future federal infrastructure projects would generate community benefits for all Canadians coast to coast to coast.

I therefore humbly invite all my colleagues in this House to support Bill C-344, an act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (community benefit) so that communities across Canada can have access to enhanced infrastructure developments.

Besides the tangible benefits offered by CBAs, they will also serve as a vehicle for the pursuit of dignity and rebuild the core infrastructure of Canadian communities that are eagerly awaiting them.

May 4th, 2017 / 9:10 a.m.
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Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Just on Ms. Boucher's private member's business, I appreciate what you were saying there, and I do appreciate you extending that branch to us, so thank you. I think we're making the difference that Ms. Boucher's bill is kind of outside the jurisdiction of this committee, whereas we believe the House made a decision on the other bill, Bill C-227, where that would have jurisdiction in this committee and that information is from the clerk. We believe the House has made a decision on one, whereas it hasn't on the other.

May 4th, 2017 / 8:50 a.m.
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The Clerk of the Committee Mr. Marc-Olivier Girard

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Thank you, Mr. Schmale, for your concerns.

To address these, you talked first about Standing Order 86, if I remember correctly. Just to inform the committee members, this standing order actually applies to notices, for instance a private member's motion or a private member's bill, that members eligible for private members' business put on the Notice Paper.

In this specific instance, the standing order doesn't apply, because you cannot argue that, for instance, Bill C-344 was identical or similar to another item already on the Order Paper. Why? Because on January 31, the House of Commons had already withdrawn the bill by Mr. Hussen, Bill C-227. Basically, Bill C-227 was no longer on the Order Paper when Mr. Mr. Sangha wanted to put Bill C-344 on notice. That was your first comment.

Your second point was about a decision of the House being made. The practical interpretation is this. The time of the House of Commons is very precious. The House doesn't like to waste its time on something it has already considered in the past and also voted on or decided on in the current session of Parliament. I interpret this decision as one of the following options: a bill that would be negatived at second reading; a bill that would be negatived at report stage; a bill that would be negatived by the House at third reading; or a bill that would be adopted at third reading for final passage of the bill.

If I take a look at Bill C-227, nothing in this decision actually happened to the bill. The bill was withdrawn when it reached report stage in the House of Commons. None of these options actually applied to Bill C-227 before the withdrawal from the House of that bill.

With that in mind, it's my interpretation, as a matter of procedure, that the decision has not necessarily been officially made. If you follow the spirit of the rule you mentioned on Bill C-227, the withdrawal from the House of Commons of that bill was mostly based on the fact that the bill had no eligible sponsor anymore for private members' business, Mr. Hussen having been appointed as a minister of the crown. It was not a decision made on the substance of the bill.

I'll let my interpretation be the advice I'm giving to the committee, but as a person devoted to the committee, I will emphasize that the final decision lies with the committee itself.

May 4th, 2017 / 8:50 a.m.
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Alexandre Lavoie Committee Researcher

The only item I wish to comment on is Bill C-344. You may have noticed that Bill C-344 is essentially the same as another bill, Bill C-227, which was struck from the Order Paper on January 31. I understand that this bill was dropped from the Order Paper not because of the substance of the bill, but because its sponsor was appointed Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Marc-Olivier can confirm that it shouldn't be a problem to have this bill discussed again in the House.

That's the only one, unless there are other questions on issues.

Framework on Palliative Care in Canada ActPrivate Members' Business

January 31st, 2017 / 6:30 p.m.
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Cheryl Hardcastle NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. It was a slip of the tongue.

Among other things, the motion called for the government to work with the provinces and territories on a flexible integrated model of palliative care by establishing a universal right to palliative care and by implementing a pan-Canadian palliative and end-of-life care strategy that would be tied to dedicated funding.

As I said, we expected this funding to be in the government's first budget but it was not. Here we are in the House debating a private member's bill from a member of the Conservative caucus, which indicates to me that we are at a momentous point in time. There is broad agreement across party lines on this issue and so it is time to face our responsibility to governance that makes progress on human rights and end-of-life care. That we are ready to be progressive on palliative care is momentous and I applaud my hon. colleague for utilizing her private member's bill for this noble initiative.

I was disconcerted when the previous Conservative government eliminated the federally funded national secretariat on palliative end-of-life care. Had it left the support funding intact, maybe we would not be discussing this matter today but would have a resolution and the member for Sarnia—Lambton would not have had to table this bill. I am sure she has other noble causes she could turn her attention to.

As for the current government, the Liberals have had ample opportunity to enshrine quality palliative care as a right for all Canadians, no matter where they live. They could have developed a national strategy that would have eased the burden on both the dying and their families on one end and health care providers on the other, but it was not a priority. I am still flabbergasted when I think of the callousness demonstrated as debate on Bill C-14 was introduced with absolutely no indication that anyone in the government understood the responsibility to secure end-of-life care standards for human beings.

The most significant reason I asked to speak to the bill today was I wanted to lament the unnecessary suffering in the reality of our systemic inadequacies. A national strategy would address these sufferings. I want to hear in person the government's rationale for choosing not to act on this issue.

The New Democrats were surprised to find that the 2016 federal budget contained zero federal funds earmarked for palliative care, especially after we fought for the joint committee on physician-assisted dying to incorporate palliative care.

Given the lack of health care spending in the federal budget, it is no surprise that palliative care was missing. Hopefully by now all of us understand this, that home care is very relevant to this issue. The fact that the Liberal promise of $3 billion for home care turned out to be fiction is also very disconcerting as we take stock of our health care system, its mandate and purpose and know that to move forward we have to include palliative care options that patients and their families deserve to expect.

The Canadian Cancer Society has stated that improvements to the palliative care system in Canada are desperately needed. Without clear national standards and accountabilities, individual jurisdictions are left to develop their own policies, programs, and guidelines, resulting in inconsistent or inadequate access across the country.

In Ontario, for instance, 40% of cancer patients do not receive a palliative assessment in their last year of life. In some regions of Atlantic and Western Canada, administrative data showed that less than half of people who died in a hospital received palliative care. Remarkably, there are many jurisdictions in the country where we do not even know how many Canadians receive quality palliative care. We lack consistent and ongoing data collection at a systematic level, which leaves us unable to more effectively hold our health care systems accountable to make positive changes.

Also, it is not just an issue of data collection. It is vital that any national palliative care strategy takes into account the geographic, regional, and cultural diversity of urban and rural Canada. It must respect our diverse cultural, spiritual, and familial needs, including Canada's first nations, Inuit, and Métis people.

According to Dr. Mary Lou Kelley, research chair in palliative care at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, the federal health care dollars that would help indigenous people receive end-of-life care at home have not kept up with the increasing demand. Health care for first nations is the responsibility of the federal government, and it does provide some home care services, but the system was never designed to provide complex health care to people with chronic or advanced terminal diseases.

Members might imagine my disappointment that the words “indigenous”, “first nations”, “Inuit”, or “Métis” do not appear anywhere in the text of Bill C-227. However, that is not a deal breaker because it is something that can be addressed meaningfully as we move forward on a national strategy.

New Democrats believe strongly that any legislation that deals with the matter of palliative care must take into account the geographical, regional, and cultural diversity of our urban and rural Canada, and Canada's first nations, Inuit, and Métis people.

As our population ages, palliative care will become an ever-increasing function of the health care system. The federal government needs to support health care workers with the training and resources necessary to deliver it all across Canada. All Canadians deserve to live their final days in dignity and comfort. That is why there is an urgent need to address the significant disparities that remain across Canada with respect to end-of-life care, quality of care, and out-of-pocket costs.

For years now, New Democrats have worked to improve palliative care services for patients and their families. As the party that founded public health care in Canada—

(Bill C-227. On the Order: Private Members' Bills:)

December 5, 2016—Bill C-227, An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (community benefit)--Mr. Ahmed Hussen

(Order discharged and bill withdrawn)

(Motion No. 109. On the Order: Private Members' Business:)

December 5, 2016—That the Standing Committee on Finance be instructed to undertake a study that would (a) examine the possibility and practicality of (i) building on the success of the Canadian Revenue Agency’s (CRA) auto-fill feature by further automating the tax filing process with the goal of achieving the ability of complete tax automation, (ii) offering to all Canadians the option of filing their taxes via a free, online T-1 tax form directly on the CRA “My Account” webpage or other secure format; (b) identify and examine the current cultural and institutional barriers that impede citizens from filing their taxes and thus from fully collecting their benefits; and that the Committee present its findings and recommendations to the House no later than one year from the adoption of this motion, provided that in its report, the Committee shall (i) explain the steps needed to implement these practices, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, (ii) highlight privacy, data security, and potential changes to the tax-code necessary to facilitate further automation, (iii) identify the prospective savings for Canadians in both time and money.--Mr. Andrew Leslie

(Motion withdrawn)

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

January 31st, 2017 / 10:05 a.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba


Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties and I believe you will find agreement for the following motion. I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, the Order for the consideration of report stage of Bill C-227, An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (community benefit), standing in the Order of Precedence on the Order Paper, be discharged and the Bill be withdrawn; that Motion M-109, standing in the Order of Precedence on the Order Paper, be withdrawn; that the recorded division currently scheduled to be held immediately before the time provided for Private Members' Business on Wednesday, February 1, 2017, and any further recorded divisions deferred to that day pursuant to Standing Order 93 or 98, be held instead at an expiry of the time provided for the Government Orders that day; and that, immediately following the taking of any deferred recorded divisions that day, the House shall begin adjournment proceedings pursuant to Standing Order 38.