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

Sponsor

Ramesh Sangha  Liberal

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

Status

Third reading (House), as of March 28, 2018

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-344.

Summary

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.

Elsewhere

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

Votes

March 28, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-344, An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (community benefit)
Oct. 25, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-344, An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (community benefit)

Department of Public Works and Government Services ActPrivate Members' Business

March 28th, 2018 / 5:50 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion to concur in Bill C-344 at report stage.

The House resumed from March 21 consideration of the motion that Bill C-344, An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (community benefit), as reported (without amendment) from the committee, be concurred in.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-344, An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (community benefit), as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

March 20th, 2018 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

It has nothing to do with ticking boxes. It adds a bureaucratic layer and adds costs for bidding.

Why haven't we done a study, or will we be doing a study on what it's going to cost taxpayers if Bill C-344 passes, as I assume it will?

March 20th, 2018 / 12:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Ms. Lemay, I want to get back to Bill C-344. Has the government done a study on what the added costs are going to be to taxpayers, if Bill C-344 is implemented?

March 20th, 2018 / 11:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Now, Ms. Lemay and Ms. Qualtrough, we've heard on the small business procurement study we're doing.... I think I can say its non-partisan. We're doing excellent work, and we're digging into it.

One of the issues that we're hearing is how difficult it is, the amount of red tape. However, at the same time, tomorrow we're going to hear a third reading of Bill C-344, the community benefits on procurement, which is going to add a lot of uncertainty and red tape to the process.

I've asked this twice before, and I'm going to ask again because it's third reading tomorrow. Has the government done a study on what Bill C-344 would mean in added costs to taxpayers and what it would mean in added paperwork and added time to our small businesses?

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

December 6th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal Humber River—Black Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 19th report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in relation to Bill C-344, an act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act, community benefit. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendment.

December 5th, 2017 / 4:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Madam Chair, if, after Mr. Badawey has reviewed clause 1 of Bill C-344, he has a specific amendment that he wishes to move, perhaps he could move that amendment so that we're all working off the same page.

December 5th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

On a point of clarification, you're working from an old document but I think that's already in Bill C-344. I think it's in the new bill, if you look at clause 1, the exact thing you were suggesting.

December 5th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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NDP

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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NDP

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.

December 5th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Gentlemen, thanks for joining us.

Mr. Parent, thanks for taking time out to beam in.

I want to follow up on Mr. Christie's comment about OSME. It is a phenomenal resource. We used it in Edmonton just last week for a town hall on how to sell to the government. A lot of the feedback we received that day directed toward OSME was concerning, as Mr. Parent mentioned—and it came up a lot—the difficulty of dealing with business, the complexity. I love the quote here: “Dealing with federal tenders is too painful to bother.”

That, of course, comes up in the procurement ombudsman's annual report. I think 25 of the top 32 issues were all concerning red tape.

I want to wrap it around to a couple of government initiatives. One is a private member's bill, Bill C-344, which is about community benefits. It provides the minister with the authority to require an assessment of community benefits as part of an RFP process. To me, this adds a huge level of red tape and also a large amount of uncertainty because it does not define what a community benefit is, but does allow the minister to demand that a small business provide an assessment.

I wonder if I can get feedback from CFIB and from you, gentlemen, about this possible bill coming down.

November 30th, 2017 / 5 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

I understand that completely, but it does say “whether community benefits have derived from the project.” So the word “whether” will disappear when it is next rewritten.

That leads me to talk to you about the report you have just mentioned. Bill C-344 provides no guidance on the matter. Perhaps we cannot talk about all the rules, but, in your opinion, should the bill specify the factors that the reports should contain so that they all have some semblance of a standard format?

November 30th, 2017 / 4:55 p.m.
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NDP

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 / 4:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Ramesh Sangha Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

I can tell you two things.

First, our government has decided to spend on green infrastructure and social infrastructure. The money will be flowing to different cities from the federal government. Plans are going to benefit the community, creating infrastructure in the community, but Bill C-344 looks to the further benefits we can get out of the federal investments as proposed to be given to the communities.

Whole local communities can get benefits out of those federal infrastructure projects, or we can enrol them.