An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts

Sponsor

Jane Philpott  Liberal

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

Summary

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

This enactment amends the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to, among other things,

(a) simplify the process of applying for an exemption that would allow certain activities to take place at a supervised consumption site, as well as the process of applying for subsequent exemptions;

(b) prohibit the importation of designated devices — unless the importation is registered with the Minister of Health — as well as prescribed activities in relation to designated devices;

(c) expand the offence of possession, production, sale or importation of anything knowing that it will be used to produce or traffic in methamphetamine so that it applies to anything that is intended to be used to produce or traffic in any controlled substance;

(d) authorize the Minister to temporarily add to a schedule to that Act substances that the Minister has reasonable grounds to believe pose a significant risk to public health or safety, in order to control them;

(e) authorize the Minister to require a person who may conduct activities in relation to controlled substances, precursors or designated devices to provide the Minister with information or to take certain measures in respect of such activities;

(f) add an administrative monetary penalties scheme;

(g) streamline the disposition of seized, found or otherwise acquired controlled substances, precursors and chemical and non-chemical offence-related property;

(h) modernize inspection powers; and

(i) expand and amend certain regulation-making authorities, including in respect of the collection, use, retention, disclosure and disposal of information.

It makes related amendments to the Customs Act and the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to repeal provisions that prevent customs officers from opening mail that weighs 30 grams or less.

It also makes other related amendments to the Criminal Code and the Seized Property Management Act.

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

May 15, 2017 Passed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts
May 15, 2017 Failed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts (amendment)
May 15, 2017 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts
Feb. 15, 2017 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
Feb. 14, 2017 Passed That Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .
Feb. 14, 2017 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts, not more than one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage of the said bill and not more than one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the third reading stage of the said bill and, fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration of each stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the report stage or the third reading stage, as the case may be, of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
Feb. 1, 2017 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Health.
Feb. 1, 2017 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

December 7th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

When we look at the situation that we're facing right now, absolutely, as indicated, we are certainly faced with a public health crisis when it comes to this situation. Again, when I heard the numbers this morning, it is devastating to see the number of lives lost in this situation.

We cannot minimize the actions that our government has taken to date with respect to regulatory changes and also the issue of Bill C-37. Once again, providing access to individuals to supervised consumption sites saves lives. We know that. Also, ensuring that naloxone products are readily available to individuals as well saves lives.

Also, with respect to the changes made with respect to providing provinces and territories with the opportunity to open overdose prevention sites, that was an announcement that I made, I believe, about two weeks ago. When we met with the health ministers at the meeting in October, some provinces had indicated that they thought it would be appropriate if the provinces had more powers. Again, they're closer to their constituents and they know what's going on on the ground. We took that back, and just two weeks ago we indicated that we were prepared to look at providing class exemptions to provinces if they choose to open overdose prevention sites.

There is a difference between an overdose-prevention site and a supervised consumption site. Sometimes we talk about these terms and people aren't aware of the difference. On the supervised consumption site, when they choose to apply, the municipalities or the areas will get in touch with Health Canada and then from there the licensing will go through that department. It can take a bit more time.

When it comes to overdose prevention sites, however, we can certainly go through those requests in a very timely fashion. Minister Hoskins got in touch with us yesterday, and just today we were able to approve a class exemption. From there, the Province of Ontario will be able to determine what services need to be put on the ground in order to provide services to the individuals in their community. At the end of the day—

December 7th, 2017 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

We've had an opportunity to discuss this one on one, and I'm happy that you bring up the question again today. We also have to recognize that the issue of the opioid crisis, as I've indicated in my earlier remarks, is quite devastating when you look at the numbers that are coming in right now. Again, with the report that came out from Ontario, it's very alarming to see the numbers that are coming up.

I have to say that our government certainly has taken steps so far in order to address the situation. When we formed government, one of the first bills that was brought forward was Bill C-37, a bill that really streamlined the application process to make sure that individuals had access to supervised consumption sites, and we recognized that saves lives.

Also with the issue of naloxone, we know that making sure that naloxone was a non-prescription type of medication that was available for people also saves lives. When the provinces and territories told us they were dealing with a targeted situation in their provinces, again, a specific funding was given to them. If you look at British Columbia, your province, they received an additional $10 million with respect to targeted funding and also, with respect to Alberta, they received some additional funding.

Just last month when I was in Calgary, we made some announcements. When we look at the Canadian youth substance abuse strategy that was put in place, we've also made some investments there as well to look at the issue. Again, when it comes to services that are on the ground, it's truly important to make sure that we continue to work with provinces and territories. The federal government absolutely has a role to play, and we certainly cannot be complacent when it comes to this crisis.

December 7th, 2017 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

With respect to the work that we've done in the opioid crisis, first of all, as indicated in my opening statement, we recognized as the government and as all Canadians have that we're faced with a public health crisis when it comes to the opioid situation. Again today, we've seen some numbers that have been released from Ontario, and the numbers are devastating. We recognize that they're not just numbers. These are people's children, their mothers, their fathers. They're personal stories, and the damage that is created by these losses, the collateral damage, is huge to families and to communities. It's certainly an area of priority of mine as Minister of Health.

I have to say that the first briefing that I received as Minister of Health was specifically on the opioid crisis and it's my number one priority, which I'm dealing with on a regular basis, on a daily basis. As you've indicated, in terms of some of the key steps that we've been able to take so far, when it comes to Bill C-37 that was certainly an important step in the right direction in order to streamline the application process for the consumption sites that are out there.

We certainly need to make sure that we have a harm reduction approach when it comes to dealing with these situations and we are pleased to see the progress that has been made.

When we formed government, we had one of these sites available in Canada and now we have a total of 28 supervised consumption sites available. Those are certainly, again, steps in the right direction.

Also, when you mentioned about making naloxone more readily available, ensuring that it's a non-prescribed medication certainly allows many individuals to have access to that tool. That's exactly what it is, something they need to effectively deal with the situation on the ground. Certain provinces make sure that is available free of charge, but again, that's a decision that's brought forward by provinces and territories. We certainly need to do all that we can to ensure that the naloxone product is more readily available.

We've also made significant investments as well when it comes to addressing this situation. When the Health accord was being negotiated last year, there are a few provinces that indicated that the opioid crisis was an absolute priority in the areas that needed to be addressed. Above and beyond the monies that they received for the health transfers, if we look at the Province of British Columbia, for example, they received $10 million in direct funding to deal with this crisis on the ground.

If we look at the Province of Alberta, they received, I believe it was $6 million to deal with this crisis on the ground. There's also Manitoba, there was a series of targeted issues that they needed funding for but opioids was certainly one of those as well that was listed. They received additional funding as well.

Aside from that, we also can't forget that Canadians as a whole have told us that mental health and addictions is absolutely a priority for them. Through our budget in 2017 and with the health care agreements, we recognize that we made significant investments, $6 billion in the area of mental health.

Again, they're steps in the right direction, but I can't say enough that we recognize that we cannot be complacent when it comes to this crisis. We have to continuously monitor the situation. We have to address the needs that are out there. We have to be progressive. Also, we can't deal with this alone. There's no one single solution to this, and we recognize that we have to work with the provinces and the territories and front-line workers. That's going to be key.

December 7th, 2017 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Doug Eyolfson Liberal Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

Thank you very much.

I've also noted the good work that's been done by the ministry regarding addressing the opioid crisis. Again, I keep coming back to what I was doing in my previous life. It was something I saw a lot of in that job, and sometimes with very tragic results, which I had to witness.

I was very pleased that the government was able to pass Bill C-37, which increased the ability of community health groups to make safe consumption sites available. We know this is something that would save lives. The initiatives making naloxone more available have been a very important life-saving tool as well.

We undertook a study of the opioid crisis, and we produced a report that had 38 recommendations. Would you be able to tell the committee what progress you've had in implementing that series of recommendations?

November 9th, 2017 / 9:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Various analysts, including the Auditor General, have from time to time pointed to the need to improve our interdiction capacity at the border. There have been several comments made by the Auditor General in that regard.

As you know, in Bill C-37 we've also given the new authority to intensify inspections. Previously, inspections applied to items that were over 30 grams. Now we have the capacity to inspect items under 30 grams.

HealthOral Questions

November 2nd, 2017 / 2:45 p.m.
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Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his work and his tireless efforts in this matter. Like him, I was extremely disappointed yesterday when I heard the opposition leader's outdated belief. Unlike the Conservatives, our government is actually supporting law enforcement where it matters. Rather than prosecuting those with mental health and addiction issues, we are disrupting illegal drugs at the border and diverting people out of the criminal justice system.

With Bill C-37 and C-224, our government is taking a compassionate, evidence-based approach to reduce barriers to treatment and encourage innovative measures to prevent overdoses and save lives.

HealthOral Questions

October 16th, 2017 / 2:55 p.m.
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Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his advocacy on this issue. Our government has been very clear that this is a national public health crisis in Canada, and we are responding in a way that is collaborative, compassionate, and comprehensive.

In addition to passing Bill C-37, which streamlines the application process for supervised consumption sites, we are also providing over $10 million in urgent support to British Columbia to assist with its response to the opioid crisis.

Our government will continue to bring forward evidence-based solutions to help save lives in Canada.

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActPrivate Members' Business

September 21st, 2017 / 6 p.m.
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Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today and speak in favour of the private member's bill put forward by my colleague, the member for Markham—Unionville. I want to thank the other members who have risen in the House today to speak on this important piece of legislation to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act in order to increase sentences for offences related to the importing and exporting of controlled drugs and substances.

I want to be very clear. We have an opioid crisis. It is plaguing our communities. As legislators, we must take some sort of action. We heard from some of my colleagues earlier today on Bill C-37, which would give our border services agents additional tools to address things like illegal pill presses and to search small packages. Those are all steps to address what I think all of us in this House would agree is a plague that is impacting communities across the country.

Bill C-338 is another step for us as parliamentarians to give our law enforcement officers, as well as the judicial system, the tools they need to fight this opioid crisis that is unfortunately taking away our friends, neighbours, and, in some cases, our family.

I want to talk a little about what is going on in my home province of Alberta. My riding is almost completely rural. We have never seen something like this affect the communities in my riding for as long as most of us have been there. For example, in 2016 there were 338 accidental opioid deaths, and the 2017 numbers are predicted to be much worse.

I have a first nations community in my riding, the Kainai Blood first nation, which had to declare a state of emergency in 2016 because of the number of deaths they were facing in their community. Many of those were young people. About 80% of the deaths in Alberta were people 20 to 35 years old. These were young people who had their entire lives ahead of them.

We have to understand that we have to get away from that stereotype that these are somehow down-and-out people or those who have long-term drug addiction problems. Some of them may, but what is most frightening to me and to many of my colleagues in this House is that a large number of those who have died from these opioid overdoses were trying opioids for the first time, or had taken something else that unknown to them was laced with fentanyl or carfentanil.

My colleague across the floor was talking about trying to take marijuana out of the hands of children and out of the black market. Unfortunately, many of these deaths are from people smoking marijuana that has been laced with some of these very dangerous opioid products. It is disingenuous to say that the legislation brought forward by the Liberal government is going to take marijuana out of the hands of children. That is what concerns me on the approach to fentanyl.

If people are allowed to have four plants, three feet high, in their house, how is it possibly going to make it less accessible to children? For example, in Ontario the provincial Wynne government is saying it is going to look at the LCBO as the avenue or vehicle to sell marijuana. The odds of the LCBO selling marijuana at a cheaper price than what is available on the street is probably slim to none.

We have to take stronger action to address some of these issues. What is attractive in Bill C-338 is that it takes a hard line on those who are importing and exporting fentanyl and carfentanil and these other very harmful opioids. These products are flooding our communities. I would attest that there is not a community, not a constituency, not a riding anywhere in Canada that is immune to this opioid crisis.

I think those of us who are in western Canada, in B.C. and Alberta, felt it a little sooner than maybe the rest of the Canadian provinces and territories. It is certainly making its way across Canada. There are massive numbers of these fentanyl and carfentanil pills. I know some of it is from prescriptions, from pharmacy patients who are distributing or reselling these products, but the vast majority of it is being imported from out of the country. A lot of it is from China.

We have to take some very strong steps as parliamentarians to ensure that those who import these products face some very harsh punishment, as well as those who export them, even though we do not have as much control over that aspect of it.

I have been to far too many funerals over the last two or three years for young people who have overdosed on fentanyl. The last one I was at was for a young man who was 26 years old. I had known him for most of his life. I coached him in hockey. I certainly never expected something like that to happen. This is a life that was taken much too soon. I know the bill does not address some of the consequences of fentanyl and opioid abuse, but it certainly addresses some of the root causes of it. I am not saying we cannot focus on funding for mental health. That is a key part of this issue as well.

Certainly access to counselling, access to addictions counselling and recovery, those things are also very critical. I hope we have those discussions in Parliament moving forward. However, a big part of this is also on the justice side. What tools can we as parliamentarians give to our law enforcement and justice to ensure they can take hard action against people who import these products and then sell them in our neighbourhoods, schoolyards, and in communities across the country.

That is why as Conservatives we have taken such a hard stance on ensuring we have safe communities, mandatory sentencing, being tough on crime. As Canadians, we want to ensure we have safe communities, safe streets. I want to feel comfortable that my children are safe in my community. That is why it is so critical to do everything we can to stop the illegal importation of these drugs, methamphetamines, ecstasy, fentanyl. Again, we must provide our health services with the tools they need for mental health, resources on counselling, but we must ensure that those who import and sell these drugs face the harshest of punishments. They must be severely held accountable when they import these types of products.

I want to emphasize the fact that Bill C-338 does not talk about substance misuse. I do not want our friends across the floor to think we are not focusing on the consequences of drug addiction. That was a large issue with Bill C-37, which we talked about in the last session. We are talking about people who are bringing in these illegal substances into our country and making them available for sale and distribution in our communities. I recognize the importance of mental health services, but it is also to ensure we have the tools in place so those who import and sell these drugs face the most severe consequences.

The bill from my colleague from Ontario is one step, one tool in taking action against drug dealers.

We are facing an emergency. Drugs do not discriminate. It does not matter what age, gender, or how much money people make. These drugs are dangerous and unfortunately for many of us in the House we have seen they can kill our friends, neighbours, or loved ones.

It is important as parliamentarians that we take action. Canadians are looking to us to take strong action on the opioid crisis. I believe Bill C-338 brought forward by my colleague from Markham—Unionville is a key part of that strategy. It is one tool we can take to ensure our communities and our families are safe.

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActPrivate Members' Business

September 21st, 2017 / 5:50 p.m.
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Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Marco Mendicino LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate on Bill C-338, which proposes to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to increase mandatory minimum penalties, or MMPs, of imprisonment for offences relating to the importation and exportation of certain drugs and substances.

I would like to begin by commending my hon. colleague across the way for bringing forward this private member's bill. It will encourage and foster an ongoing and important discussion regarding how we best regulate controlled substances.

Let me also say that I have been listening carefully to the debate on Bill C-338 and I would like to echo the political and legal concerns that have already been raised, including the constitutional implications of this bill.

To start, it strikes me as inappropriate to provide the same MMP for substances that have vastly different levels of potency and danger. It is exactly this type of situation that the Supreme Court of Canada has raised concerns about in recent cases in which it struck down MMPs. I refer the House to the Supreme Court of Canada case in Regina v. Muir, in which the court cited R v. Lloyd in stating that “mandatory minimum sentences that...apply to offences that can be committed in various ways, under a broad range of circumstances...are vulnerable to constitutional challenge.”

Although the bill targets the importation of powerful opiates like fentanyl and carfentanil that are lethal in very small quantities, the increased MMPs would also apply to other substances like cannabis. Hon. members will recall that the government has introduced Bill C-45 and Bill C-46 to address and introduce a new comprehensive regime so that we can keep cannabis out of the hands of our youth and vulnerable communities.

Although a highly regulated substance, cannabis simply does not share the devastating qualities of fentanyl for instance. Suffice it to say that such differences are material from a sentencing and charter perspective, so it does not make sense to treat these two substances in the same way.

That said, there is no doubt that the increasing prevalence of potent opioids in our communities has sparked a public health crisis in Canada.

The onslaught of this deadly epidemic in Canada is twofold. First, the overdose crisis has been driven by the emergence of these powerful illicit opioids on the black market, leading to an unprecedented number of deaths among illegal drug users. This unfortunate reality is exacerbated by vile and deceitful drug dealers who mix these incredibly cheap yet highly addictive and potent substances with other more expensive drugs, for instance heroin or cocaine, in an effort to maximize their profits. The relative ease with which these opioids can be produced further compounds these problems.

A secondary contributing factor has been the high levels of addiction to legal opioids across Canada. This trend has been caused in part by inappropriate prescribing practices and poor education on the risks associated with opioid use.

Unfortunately, once prescription renewals expire, many individuals turn to the black market to supply their addiction. The demand that emanates from legal opioid addiction helps fuel the demand for such substances on the black market.

To effectively respond to the opioid crisis in Canada both contributing factors must be addressed. This is partly why I have strong reservations about the approach proposed in Bill C-338. It proposes an unnecessary, costly, and likely ineffective approach to a complex drug problem. The bill is focused on increasing MMPs for offenders engaged in importing and exporting instead of focusing on the root causes of this epidemic.

Evidentiary support is simply lacking to suggest that increasing MMPs in the way proposed by the bill will reduce the influx of these lethal drugs into Canadian communities. In fact, research on the “war on drugs” in the United States reveals that increased penalties do little to deter high-level drug traffickers from engaging in this lucrative criminal conduct, nor do they do anything to help those battling addictions. Health and criminal justice experts assert that addressing the demand side is critical to comprehensively responding to complex social problems like these.

The import and export offences targeted by Bill C-338 are already punishable by a maximum term of life in prison. In Canada, this is the highest penalty a judge can impose. In my personal experience as a drug prosecutor, our judges consistently use their discretion to impose stiff penalties if and when they are warranted. In fact, courts around the country are already treating fentanyl trafficking very seriously.

For example, in a recent decision this year, Regina v. Fyfe, the judge imposed a total sentence of five years' imprisonment on a low level first-time fentanyl trafficker. I would point out that this is two more years than the mandatory minimum jail sentence proposed by this private member's bill. In the decision, the court noted that an appropriate sentence for fentanyl trafficking must be more serious than other hard drugs, for example cocaine, given the substantial risks posed by this and similar opioids.

Moreover, appellate courts across the country are revisiting sentencing ranges for those who traffic in these dangerous substances, noting that previous ranges are “out of sync” with the dangers these substances pose to society. I offer and commend to the House the case of Regina v. Smith, decided by the British Columbia Court of Appeal in 2017.

I will pause to note that it is important that we reaffirm the fundamental principle of the independence of the judiciary as that imparts a high degree of confidence among the public that the judiciary will do their job.

Let me be clear. We are talking about an unprecedented number of fatal drug overdoses in Canada. Our government fully understands the gravity of the situation, and we continue to take action to address the problem. The policies put in place to deal with this crisis need to be guided by performance measurement standards and evidence. These policies must have an immediate impact in order to reduce the number of tragic deaths.

That is why I am so pleased that our government has introduced a new Canadian drug and substances strategy. The strategy focuses on prevention, treatment, and enforcement, but it also reinstates harm reduction as a core pillar of Canada's drug policy. The strategy champions a comprehensive, collaborative, compassionate, and evidence-based approach to drug policy.

To further advance this strategy, the Minister of Health introduced Bill C-37, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments under other acts. Together, these will address the serious and pressing public health issues related to opioids. That bill has now received royal assent, which is something all members in the House should celebrate.

This legislative response is one important part of our government's comprehensive approach to drug policy in Canada. Bill C-37 will simplify and streamline the application process for supervised consumption sites, clamp down on illegal pill presses, and extend the authority of border officers to inspect suspicious small packages coming into Canada, which is precisely the object of what this private member's bill tries to address.

In relation to this last point, extending the inspection powers of the CBSA officers is important, because one standard-sized envelope can contain 30 grams of fentanyl, potent enough to cause 15,000 overdoses. These numbers will increase exponentially where the substance in question is carfentanil.

In addition, our government is also investing over $100 million to support the new Canadian drugs and substances strategy. This is in addition to $10 million in emergency support that the federal government has provided to the province of British Columbia to assist in responding to the overwhelming number of overdoses.

While the private member's bill is well intentioned, its objectives will not be accomplished through the provisions set out in it. This is for all the reasons I have stated in my remarks. I therefore encourage all members to vote this private member's bill down and continue to support all the good work our government is doing with regard to controlled substances.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
See context

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

moved:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, commencing upon the adoption of this Order and concluding on Friday, June 23, 2017:

(a) on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the ordinary hour of daily adjournment shall be 12:00 a.m., except that it shall be 10:00 p.m. on a day when a debate, pursuant to Standing Order 52 or 53.1, is to take place;

(b) subject to paragraph (e), 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) or Standing Order 78, but not including any division in relation to the Business of Supply or arising as a consequence of an order made pursuant to Standing Order 57, (i) before 2:00 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, it shall stand deferred until the conclusion of oral questions at that day’s sitting, or (ii) after 2:00 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, or at any time on a Friday, it shall stand deferred until the conclusion of oral questions at the next sitting day that is not a Friday;

(c) notwithstanding Standing Order 45(6) and paragraph (b) of this Order, no recorded division requested after 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 22, 2017, or at any time on Friday, June 23, 2017, shall be deferred, except for any recorded division which, under the Standing Orders, would be deferred to immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business on Wednesday, September 20, 2017;

(d) the time provided for Government Orders shall not be extended pursuant to Standing Order 45(7.1) or Standing Order 67.1(2);

(e) when a recorded division, which would have ordinarily been deemed deferred to immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business on a Wednesday governed by this Order, is demanded, the said division is deemed to have been deferred until the conclusion of oral questions on the same Wednesday;

(f) any recorded division which, at the time of the adoption of this Order, stands deferred to immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business on the Wednesday immediately following the adoption of this Order shall be deemed to stand deferred to the conclusion of oral questions on the same Wednesday;

(g) a recorded division demanded in respect of a motion to concur in a government bill at the report stage pursuant to Standing Order 76.1(9), where the bill has neither been amended nor debated at the report stage, shall be deferred in the manner prescribed by paragraph (b);

(h) for greater certainty, this Order shall not limit the application of Standing Order 45(7);

(i) no dilatory motion may be proposed after 6:30 p.m.;

(j) notwithstanding Standing Orders 81(16)(b) and (c) and 81 (18)(c), proceedings on any opposition motion shall conclude no later than 5:30 p.m. on the sitting day that is designated for that purpose, except on a Monday when they shall conclude at 6:30 p.m. or on a Friday when they shall conclude at 1:30 p.m.; and

(k) when debate on a motion for the concurrence in a report from a standing, standing joint or special committee is adjourned or interrupted, the debate shall again be considered on a day designated by the government, after consultation with the House Leaders of the other parties, but in any case not later than the twentieth sitting day after the interruption.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to government Motion No. 14. For the benefit of members, the motion would extend the sitting of the House until we rise for the summer adjournment.

We have much to accomplish in the coming weeks. Our government has an ambitious legislative agenda that we would like to advance in order to deliver on the commitments we made to Canadians in the last election. Let me reflect on our recent legislative achievements before I turn to the important work that lies before us over the next four weeks.

In our last sitting week, the House and Senate were able to reach agreement on securing passage of Bill C-37, which would put in place important measures to fight the opioid crisis in Canada. I would like to thank members of the House for the thoughtful debate on this bill and for not playing politics with such an important piece of legislation. In particular, I would like to thank members of the New Democratic Party for co-operating with the government to advance this bill when it was in the House and for helping us dispense with amendments from the Senate. This was a high watermark for the House and I hope that we can take this professional and courteous approach forward. I would also like to thank senators for their important contributions to this bill.

I would also like to point out the passage of two crucial bills related to trade. The first, Bill C-30, would implement an historic trade agreement with the European Union. The second, Bill C-31, would implement a trade agreement with Ukraine, a country that is dear to many members.

I am proud that our government continues to open the doors to trade and potential investment in Canada to grow our economy and help build a strong middle class.

In looking forward to the next four sitting weeks, I would like to highlight a few priority bills that our government will seek to advance. I will start with Bill C-44, which would implement budget 2017. This bill is about creating good middle-class jobs today while preparing Canadians for the jobs of tomorrow.

I will provide some examples of the initiatives that will contribute to building a strong middle class. The budget makes smart investments to help adult workers retain or upgrade their skills to adapt to changes in the new economy and to help young people get the skills and work experience they need to start their careers.

The budget also provides for investments in the well-being of Canadians, with the emphasis on mental health, home care, and health care for indigenous peoples.

Bill C-44 would provide financing to the provinces for home care and mental health care. It would also create leave for those who wish to care for a critically ill adult or child in their family. These initiatives help build stronger communities.

I would also like to point to initiatives in the budget that deal with gender equality. The first-ever gender statement will serve as a basis for ongoing, open, and transparent discussions about the role gender plays in policy development. Our government has other initiatives that aim to strengthen gender equality. For example, Bill C-25 encourages federally regulated companies to promote gender parity on boards of directors and to publicly report on the gender balance on these boards.

Another bill, which I will discuss in greater detail later in my remarks, is Bill C-24, a bill that would level the playing field to ensure a one-tier ministry. The bill has a simple premise. It recognizes that a minister is a minister, no matter what portfolio he or she holds.

Our government has committed to legalizing and strictly regulating the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis. I look forward to the debate on this important bill tomorrow. I will note that the bill would provide strong safeguards and deterrents to protect young people from enticements to use or access cannabis.

The government has taken a responsible approach in seeking to legalize cannabis by ensuring that law enforcement agencies have approved methods to test the sobriety of drivers to guard against cannabis use while operating a motorized vehicle. This afternoon, the House will continue to debate this bill, which, I will happily note, has support from all opposition parties in the House. I hope that we can agree to send this bill to committee on Wednesday.

Now I would like to return to our government's commitment to improving gender equality. Bill C-24, which stands in my name, seeks to formalize the equal status of the ministerial team. This bill is very straightforward in its nature. It is fundamentally about the equality of all ministers. We strongly believe that the Minister of Status of Women should be a full minister. We believe that the Minister of Science and the Minister of Democratic Institutions should be full ministers.

I am disappointed that the Conservatives do not share this fundamental belief in equality. I think we should send this bill to committee for a detailed study of what the bill actually does.

I would like to draw members' attention to another piece of legislation, Bill C-23, regarding an agreement with the United States on the preclearance of persons and goods between our two countries.

This bill is currently being studied by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. The principle of the bill is simple. It is about ensuring a more efficient and secure border by expanding preclearance operations for all modes of transportation. This will increase the number of trips and the volume of trade, which will strengthen both of our economies.

As members may know, preclearance operations currently take place at eight Canadian airports, and immigration pre-inspection is also conducted at multiple locations in British Columbia in the rail and marine modes.

Once that bill comes back from committee, I hope that we can work together to send it to the other place.

In our last sitting week, our government introduced comprehensive modernization of our transportation systems. A strong transportation system is fundamental to Canada's economic performance and competitiveness. Bill C-49 does just that. The bill would enhance the utility, efficiency, and fluidity of our rail system so that it works for all participants in the system. Freight rail is the backbone of the Canadian economy. It moves everything from grain and potash to oil and coal, to the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, and the food we eat.

I would also like to draw to the attention of members provisions in Bill C-49 that would strengthen Canada's air passenger rights. While the precise details of the air passenger rights scheme will be set out in regulations, the objective is that rights should be clear, consistent, transparent, and fair for passengers and air carriers.

Finally, our government committed to creating a national security and intelligence committee of parliamentarians. Bill C-22 seeks to accomplish two interrelated goals, ensuring that our security intelligence agencies are effective in keeping Canadians safe, while at the same time safeguarding our values, rights and freedoms, and the open, generous, inclusive nature of our country.

I appreciate the work that was done in the House committee to improve the bill. The bill is currently before the Senate national security committee, and I look forward to appearing before that committee with my colleague, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Sitting a few extra hours for four days per week will also give the House greater flexibility in dealing with unexpected events. While it is expected that the Senate will amend bills, it is not always clear which bills and the number of bills that could be amended by the Senate. As we have come to know, the consideration of Senate amendments in the House takes time. This is, in part, why we need to sit extra hours. I know that members work extremely hard balancing their House duties and other political duties. I expect that extending the hours will add to the already significant workload.

I wish to thank members for their co-operation in these coming weeks. As I reflect upon my time as government House leader, there were examples where members of the House came together, despite their political differences, and advanced initiatives that touched directly upon the interests of all Canadians. I hope that over the four remaining sitting weeks before we head back to work in our ridings, we can have honest and frank deliberations on the government's priorities and work collaboratively to advance the agenda that Canadians sent us here to implement.

In the previous Parliament, when the government decided to extend the sittings in June of 2014, Liberal members supported that motion. We knew then, as we know now, that our role as legislators is a privilege, and we discharge our parliamentary functions in support of our constituents.

There will be initiatives that the government will bring forward over the coming weeks that will enjoy the support of all members, and there will be issues on which parties will not agree. Our comportment during this time will demonstrate to Canadians that we are all in this together, despite our differences, for the good of this great country. Let us not lose sight of that.

I believe the motion before the House is reasonable. I hope opposition members can support sitting a few extra hours for four days a week for the next few weeks to consider important legislation for Canadians.

May 18th, 2017 / 1:55 p.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:

Rideau Hall

Ottawa

May 18, 2017

Mr. Speaker:

I have the honour to inform you that Ms. Patricia Jaton, Deputy Secretary to the Governor General, in her capacity as Deputy of the Governor General, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bill listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 18th day of May, 2017, at 10:32 a.m.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Wallace

The schedule indicates the bill assented to Thursday, May 18, 2017 was Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts.

Message from the Senate

May 18th, 2017 / 10:05 a.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has concurred in the amendment made by the House of Commons to amendment No. 1(b) to Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts, without amendment.

HealthOral Questions

May 16th, 2017 / 2:50 p.m.
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Markham—Stouffville Ontario

Liberal

Jane Philpott LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for raising this issue again in the House. Again, we will talk about the fact that this is an unprecedented national public health crisis. We are working determinedly on all aspects of the crisis. Our response is comprehensive. We have invested money in prevention. We are investing money in treatment. We are scaling up access to all ranges of treatment, including pharmaceutical grade diacetylmorphine. We are making sure we are expanding harm reduction sites, including the passage of Bill C-37 in the House yesterday, to make sure people will have harms reduced. We will continue to work at all levels to save the lives of Canadians.

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

May 15th, 2017 / 6:55 p.m.
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NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this year in question period, I asked the government for immediate action on the opioid crisis. I said that we cannot afford to wait for Bill C-37 to wind its way through the parliamentary process. Ironically, months later, while this legislation has made progress, it has not yet received royal assent.

At the time, I asked the government to provide immediate and direct support to communities like those I represent in Essex which continue to grapple with this public health emergency. Unfortunately, this crisis continues to spiral. Front-line workers do not have the resources that they need. People in my community are frustrated and angry by the lack of response from the government.

Earlier today, the Minister of Health spoke about emergency funding to B.C. and Alberta. I would like to remind her that communities across Canada need emergency funding. Small communities especially are struggling to deal with this issue when there is not a holistic plan. We need care in this country that sees people from detox through transition and into rehab. That is very difficult to find in small communities. We need the government to step up with the resources necessary to bring this crisis under control.

In my riding of Essex, youth addiction is a significant issue. In fact, our county has the seventh highest rate of youth addiction in the province. People in law enforcement feel that their hands are tied and they are stuck in the cycle as well. They pick up the same person, bring him or her to the hospital, and then the person is back on the street again. They want to be part of the solution, but there is currently no way for them to participate in that.

Families are feeling desperate. When a loved one experiences an addiction, the parents and the family struggle so much. It is life or death. They try to support their loved one in getting help, but there are so many gaps in the system that it often feels like the system is working against them. Families are doing all they can to help each other.

This morning I spoke with a woman from my riding who was trying to help another family save their child. Fortunately, she was able to get her daughter into treatment and her daughter is healthy today, but this is not the case for everyone. If it were not for Narconon and family support systems that are popping up, we would have no formal way for people to be able to find out what treatment is available to them.

When someone with an addiction is ready to detox and then go to rehab, it is often the beginning of a frustrating experience of running up against the common problems of lack of beds, long wait lists, and a complete lack of resources. People with addictions simply cannot get the help they need and sadly, this can have tragic consequences. People not being able to get into help is heartbreaking.

I have met with some of these families. They have visited me in my office. It is a very emotional conversation with people who are struggling to get their loved ones the help that they need. I have heard their pain and sorrow, and more often, their frustration and anger. When families tell me that their only hope is that their loved one will somehow end up in jail so that their loved one can get the treatment that he or she needs, this tells us how incredibly broken our system is.

Since I held a round table several months ago, seven more people have died in our region due to opioid addictions. I implore the government to revisit its five point plan and reconsider the level of resources that this public health crisis deserves. I would like to ask what the government can offer to rural communities like those in Essex to assist with strengthening the response to the opioid crisis.

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActGovernment Orders

May 15th, 2017 / 6:15 p.m.
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Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

It being 6:15 p.m., pursuant to order made earlier today, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the amendments tabled by the Senate to Bill C-37 now before the House.

The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?