Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1

An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures

Sponsor

Bill Morneau  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.

Part 1 implements certain income tax measures proposed in the March 22, 2017 budget by

(a) eliminating the investment tax credit for child care spaces;

(b) eliminating the deduction for eligible home relocation loans;

(c) ensuring that amounts received on account of the caregiver recognition benefit under the Veterans Well-being Act are exempt from income tax;

(d) eliminating tax exemptions of allowances for members of legislative assemblies and certain municipal officers;

(e) eliminating the tax exemption for insurers of farming and fishing property;

(f) eliminating the additional deduction for gifts of medicine;

(g) replacing the existing caregiver credit, infirm dependant credit and family caregiver tax credit with the new Canada caregiver credit;

(h) eliminating the public transit tax credit;

(i) ensuring certain costs related to the use of reproductive technologies qualify for the medical expense tax credit;

(j) extending the list of medical practitioners that can certify eligibility for the disability tax credit to include nurse practitioners;

(k) extending eligibility for the tuition tax credit to fees paid for occupational skills courses at post-secondary institutions and taking into account such courses in determining whether an individual is a qualifying student under the Income Tax Act;

(l) extending, for one year, the mineral exploration tax credit for flow-through share investors;

(m) eliminating the tobacco manufacturers’ surtax;

(n) permitting employers to distribute T4 information slips electronically provided certain conditions are met; and

(o) delaying the repeal of the provisions related to the National Child Benefit supplement in the Income Tax Act.

Part 2 implements certain goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) measures proposed in the March 22, 2017 budget by

(a) adding naloxone and its salts to the list of GST/HST zero-rated non-prescription drugs that are used to treat life-threatening conditions;

(b) amending the definition of “taxi business” to require, in certain circumstances, providers of ride-sharing services to register for the GST/HST and charge GST/HST in the same manner as taxi operators; and

(c) repealing the GST/HST rebate available to non-residents for the GST/HST that is payable in respect of the accommodation portion of eligible tour packages.

Part 3 implements certain excise measures proposed in the March 22, 2017 budget by

(a) adjusting excise duty rates on tobacco products to account for the elimination of the tobacco manufacturers’ surtax; and

(b) increasing the excise duty rates on alcohol products by 2% and automatically adjusting those rates annually by the Consumer Price Index starting in April 2018.

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

Division 1 of Part 4 amends the Special Import Measures Act to provide for binding and appealable rulings as to whether a particular good falls within the scope of a trade remedy measure, authorities to investigate and address the circumvention of trade remedy measures, consideration of whether a particular market situation is rendering selling prices in an exporting country unreliable for the purposes of determining normal values and the termination of a trade remedy investigation in respect of an exporter found to have an insignificant margin of dumping or amount of subsidy.

Division 2 of Part 4 enacts the Borrowing Authority Act, which allows the Minister of Finance to borrow money on behalf of Her Majesty in right of Canada with the authorization of the Governor in Council and provides for the maximum amount of certain borrowings. The Division amends the Financial Administration Act and the Hibernia Development Project Act to provide that the applicable rate of currency exchange quoted by the Bank of Canada is its daily average rate. It also amends the Financial Administration Act to allow that Minister to choose a rate of currency exchange other than one quoted by the Bank of Canada. Finally, it makes a consequential amendment to the Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1.

Division 3 of Part 4 amends the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act and the Bank Act to

(a) specify that one of the objects of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation is to act as the resolution authority for its member institutions;

(b) require Canada’s domestic systemically important banks to develop, submit and maintain resolution plans to that Corporation; and

(c) provide the Superintendent of Financial Institutions greater flexibility in setting the requirement for domestic systemically important banks to maintain a minimum capacity to absorb losses.

Division 4 of Part 4 amends the Shared Services Canada Act in order to permit the Minister responsible for Shared Services Canada to do the following, subject to any terms and conditions that that Minister specifies:

(a) delegate certain powers given to that Minister under that Act to an “appropriate Minister”, as defined in section 2 of the Financial Administration Act; and

(b) authorize in exceptional circumstances a department to obtain a particular service other than from that Minister through Shared Services Canada, including by meeting its requirement for that service internally.

Division 5 of Part 4 authorizes a payment to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research to support a pan-Canadian artificial intelligence strategy.

Division 6 of Part 4 amends the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act to expand eligibility for student financial assistance under that Act to include persons registered as Indians under the Indian Act, whether or not they are Canadian citizens, permanent residents or protected persons. It also amends the Canada Education Savings Act to permit the primary caregiver’s cohabiting spouse or common-law partner to designate a trust to which is to be paid a Canada Learning Bond or an additional amount of a Canada Education Savings grant and to apply to the Minister for the waiver of certain requirements of that Act or the regulations to avoid undue hardship. It also amends that Act to provide rules for the payment of an additional amount of a Canada Education Savings grant in situations where more than one trust has been designated.

Division 7 of Part 4 amends the Parliament of Canada Act to provide for the Parliamentary Budget Officer to report directly to Parliament and to be supported by an office that is separate from the Library of Parliament and to provide for the appointment and tenure of the Parliamentary Budget Officer to be that of an officer of Parliament. It expands the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s right of access to government information, clarifies the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s mandate with respect to the provision of research, analysis and costings and establishes a new mandate with respect to the costing of platform proposals during election periods. It also makes consequential amendments to certain Acts.

This Division also amends the Parliament of Canada Act to provide that the meetings of the Board of Internal Economy of the House of Commons are open, with certain exceptions, to the public.

Division 8 of Part 4 amends the Investment Canada Act to provide for an immediate increase to $1 billion of the review threshold amount for certain investments by WTO investors that are not state-owned enterprises. In addition, it requires that the report of the Director of Investments on the administration of that Act also include Part IV.‍1.

Division 9 of Part 4 provides funding to provinces for home care services and mental health services for the fiscal year 2017–2018.

Division 10 of Part 4 amends the Judges Act to implement the Response of the Government of Canada to the Report of the 2015 Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission. It provides for the continued statutory indexation of judicial salaries, an increase to the salaries of Federal Court prothonotaries to 80% of that of a Federal Court judge, an annual allowance for prothonotaries and reimbursement of legal costs incurred during their participation in the compensation review process. It also makes changes to the compensation of certain current and former chief justices to appropriately compensate them for their service and it makes technical amendments to ensure the correct division of annuities and enforcement of financial support orders, where necessary. Finally, it increases the number of judges of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta and the Yukon Supreme Court and increases the number of judicial salaries that may be paid under paragraph 24(3)‍(a) of that Act from thirteen to sixteen and under paragraph 24(3)‍(b) from fifty to sixty-two.

Division 11 of Part 4 amends the Employment Insurance Act to, among other things, allow for the payment of parental benefits over a longer period at a lower benefit rate, allow maternity benefits to be paid as early as the 12th week before the expected week of birth, create a benefit for family members to care for a critically ill adult and allow for benefits to care for a critically ill child to be payable to family members.

This Division also amends the Canada Labour Code to, among other things, increase the maximum length of parental leave to 63 weeks, extend the period prior to the estimated date of birth when the maternity leave may begin to 13 weeks, create a leave for a family member to care for a critically ill adult and allow for the leave related to the critical illness of a child to be taken by a family member.

Division 12 of Part 4 amends the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act to, among other things,

(a) specify to whom career transition services may be provided under Part 1 of the Act and authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting those services;

(b) create a new education and training benefit that will provide a veteran with up to $80,000 for a course of study at an educational institution or for other education or training that is approved by the Minister of Veterans Affairs;

(c) end the family caregiver relief benefit and replace it with a caregiver recognition benefit that is payable to a person designated by a veteran;

(d) authorize the Minister of Veterans Affairs to waive the requirement for an application for compensation, services or assistance under the Act in certain cases;

(e) set out to whom any amount payable under the Act is to be paid if the person who is entitled to that amount dies before receiving it; and

(f) change the name of the Act.

The Division also amends the Pension Act and the Department of Veterans Affairs Act to remove references to hospitals under the jurisdiction of the Department of Veterans Affairs as there are no longer any such hospitals.

Finally, it makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Division 13 of Part 4 amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to

(a) provide that a foreign national who is a member of a certain portion of the class of foreign nationals who are nominated by a province or territory for the purposes of that Act may be issued an invitation to make an application for permanent residence only in respect of that class;

(b) provide that a foreign national who declines an invitation to make an application in relation to an expression of interest remains eligible to be invited to make an application in relation to the same expression of interest;

(c) authorize the Minister to give a single ministerial instruction that sets out the rank, in respect of different classes, that an eligible foreign national must occupy to be invited to make an application;

(d) provide that a ministerial instruction respecting the criteria that a foreign national must meet to be eligible to be invited to make an application applies in respect of an expression of interest that is submitted before the day on which the instruction takes effect;

(e) authorize the Minister, for the purpose of facilitating the selection of a foreign national as a member of a class or a temporary resident, to disclose personal information in relation to the foreign national that is provided to the Minister by a third party or created by the Minister;

(f) set out the circumstances in which an officer under that Act may issue documents in respect of an application to foreign nationals who do not meet certain criteria or do not have the qualifications they had when they were issued an invitation to make an application; and

(g) provide that the Service Fees Act does not apply to fees for the acquisition of permanent residence status or to certain fees for services provided under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Division 14 of Part 4 amends the Employment Insurance Act to broaden the definition of “insured participant”, in Part II of that Act, as well as the support measures that may be established by the Canada Employment Insurance Commission. It also repeals certain provisions of that Act.

Division 15 of Part 4 amends the Aeronautics Act, the Navigation Protection Act, the Railway Safety Act and the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 to provide the Minister of Transport with the authority to enter into agreements respecting any matter for which a charge or fee could be prescribed under those Acts and to make related amendments.

Division 16 of Part 4 amends the Food and Drugs Act to give the Minister of Health the authority to fix user fees for services, use of facilities, regulatory processes and approvals, products, rights and privileges that are related to drugs, medical devices, food and cosmetics. It also gives that Minister the authority to remit those fees, to adjust them and to withhold or withdraw services for the non-payment of them. Finally, it exempts those fees from the Service Fees Act.

Division 17 of Part 4 amends the Canada Labour Code to, among other things,

(a) transfer to the Canada Industrial Relations Board the powers, duties and functions of appeals officers under Part II of that Act and of referees and adjudicators under Part III of that Act;

(b) provide a complaint mechanism under Part III of that Act for employer reprisals;

(c) permit the Minister of Labour to order an employer to determine, following an internal audit, whether it is in compliance with a provision of Part III of that Act and to provide the Minister with a corresponding report;

(d) permit inspectors to order an employer to cease the contravention of a provision of Part III of that Act;

(e) extend the period with respect to which a payment order to recover unpaid wages or other amounts may be issued;

(f) impose administrative fees on employers to whom payment orders are issued; and

(g) establish an administrative monetary penalty scheme to supplement existing enforcement measures under Parts II and III of that Act.

This Division also amends the Wage Earner Protection Program Act to transfer to the Canada Industrial Relations Board the powers, duties and functions of adjudicators under that Act and makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Division 18 of Part 4 enacts the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act, which establishes the Canada Infrastructure Bank as a Crown corporation. The Bank’s purpose is to invest in, and seek to attract private sector and institutional investment to, revenue-generating infrastructure projects. The Act also provides for, among other things, the powers and functions of the Bank, its governance framework and its financial management and control, allows for the appointment of a designated Minister, and provides that the Minister of Finance may pay to the Bank up to $35 billion and approve loan guarantees. Finally, this Division makes consequential amendments to the Access to Information Act, the Financial Administration Act and the Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act.

Division 19 of Part 4 amends the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to, among other things, expand the list of disclosure recipients to include the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces and to include beneficial ownership information as “designated information” that can be disclosed by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada. It also makes several technical amendments to ensure that the legislation functions as intended and to clarify certain provisions, including the definition of “client” and the application of that Act to trust companies.

Division 20 of Part 4 enacts the Invest in Canada Act. It also makes consequential and related amendments to other Acts.

Division 21 of Part 4 enacts the Service Fees Act. The Act requires responsible authorities, before certain fees are fixed, to develop fee proposals for consultation and to table them in Parliament. It also requires that performance standards be established in relation to certain fees and that responsible authorities remit those fees when the standards are not met. It adjusts certain fees on an annual basis in accordance with the Consumer Price Index. Furthermore, it requires responsible authorities and the President of the Treasury Board to report on fees. This Division also makes a related amendment to the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 and terminological amendments to other Acts and repeals the User Fees 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

June 12, 2017 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
June 6, 2017 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 5, 2017 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
May 9, 2017 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.
May 9, 2017 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “the House decline to give second reading to Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, since the Bill, in addition to increasing taxes and making it more difficult for struggling families to make ends meet, is an omnibus bill that fails to address the government's promise not to use them.”.
May 9, 2017 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, 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.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Leamington, ON

Madam Speaker, I would just add that the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent is one of the greatest orators in this House. I think we are all stimulated and actually shocked by his projections, and not only his projections but those of the parliamentary budget officer, who said that we would be possibly out of a deficit position in 2055.

There is a question that begs for an answer. With the trajectory on which our government was going, having handed the Liberals a balanced budget with a slight surplus, where would we be in 2030 let alone 2055? I wonder if the member could answer that question.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, speaking of Louis St. Laurent, let me remind members that he was the one who killed the deficit after World War II, so I am very proud to be the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

In response to the member's question, the civil servants at the finance department concluded that if the government does not change the target, we will reach a zero deficit in 2055. However, believe it or not, if nothing had changed under a Conservative government, thanks to the civil servants at the finance department who gave this answer, we would get back to a zero deficit in 2030. That is the main reality. That is a fact. It is not us who are saying that; it is the civil servants at the Department of Finance.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to talk about the budget implementation bill even though on closer inspection there is very little to be pleased about. I will use my speaking time to talk about some of the issues that have progressives in this country, New Democrats in particular, concerned.

I will talk about the form and the substance. Unfortunately, there is bad news on both counts. I will start with the form by quoting some passages and statements made by people, near or far, often near, in the House. This will provide a bit of context for the form. The first quote is taken from the electoral platform of the Liberal Party of Canada:

Stephen Harper has also used omnibus bills to prevent Parliament from properly reviewing and debating his proposals. We will change the House of Commons Standing Orders to bring an end to this undemocratic practice.

On June 9, 2015, the current President of the Treasury Board stated this in the House:For years, the Conservatives have crossed the line in what is acceptable in a functioning democracy as a government in the of respect for Parliament. It is not only how they have now normalized the use of massive omnibus bills, they regularly shut down debate in the House...

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage said this:

For example, the government's use of omnibus legislation has degraded the committee review process and hidden important legal changes from public scrutiny.

For his part, the Liberal member for Bourassa said this:

I must tell my colleague that we are against omnibus bills. A few years ago the current government claimed that it was against these bills, which at the time might have had 20 or 30 pages. Now we have a bill with more than 175 pages.

Surprise. The government has come up with a bill that is not 175 pages, but 300 pages long. It amends 30 legislative measures, creates two new ones, and introduces, through the back door, a bill that has already been introduced in the House, namely, Bill C-43, An Act respecting a payment to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to support a pan-Canadian artificial intelligence strategy.

Can anyone tell me what that has to do with the budget? Why is this shell game being used to ram a bill that has already been introduced in the House through more quickly?

Bill C-44 has all of the characteristics of an omnibus bill, even though the Liberals promised that they would never, ever resort to the use of such legislation if they took office. It is rather mind-boggling. If no changes are made, the Standing Committee on Finance will be called upon to study not only the budgetary measures but also the creation of the infrastructure bank, the amendments to the rules governing the parliamentary budget officer, the amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the amendments to labour laws, the amendments regarding the appointment of judges, and the amendments regarding food safety. That does not make any sense.

This is just another promise that the Liberals have broken and another example of the Liberals' attitude of “Do as I say, not as I do.” The Liberals are using the same old undemocratic tactics to make a complete mockery of the rules of the House and the ability of parliamentarians to do their job properly, to properly represent and inform their constituents.

I will come back to the ability of parliamentarians to do their job properly when I get into the substance of Bill C-44. Right now, I am going to repeat what I just said. Those quote are so good that I cannot help but read them twice.

The quote reads:

Stephen Harper has also used omnibus bills to prevent Parliament from properly reviewing and debating his proposals. We will change the House of Commons Standing Orders to bring an end to this undemocratic practice.

Where was that written? It was on page 30 in the election platform of the Liberal Party of Canada.

For years, the Conservatives have crossed the line in what is acceptable in a functioning democracy as a government and the lack of respect for Parliament. It is not only how they have now normalized the use of massive omnibus bills, they regularly shut down debate in the House...

Who said that? It was the President of the Treasury Board on June 9, 2015.

The government's use of omnibus legislation has degraded the committee review process and hidden important legal changes from public scrutiny.

Who said that? It was the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Canadian heritage in June 2015.

Last but not least:

I must tell my colleague that we are against omnibus bills. A few years ago the current government claimed that it was against these bills, which at the time might have had 20 or 30 pages. Now we have a bill with more than 175 pages.

Who said that? It was the Liberal member for Bourassa.

Now, the Liberal government has presented a 300-page budget implementation bill. This Liberal MP was outraged when it was 175 pages from the Conservative government. This is exactly, “Don't listen to me because I'll do the opposite”, which is the trademark of the Liberal Party anyway.

The government has exactly what we call an omnibus bill, changing more than 30 different pieces of legislation; creating two new laws, one of them being the infrastructure bank; changing the rules of the parliamentary budget officer, which is quite incredible; and changing so many laws. There are 30 laws that will be studied by only one committee, the finance committee.

The changes to immigration and the Citizenship Act will be studied by the finance committee. The labour code changes will be studied by the finance committee. The nomination of judges will be studied by the finance committee, and food protection in the country will be studied by the finance committee. I really hope that the men and women who sit on the finance committee have a huge knowledge of a lot of things that are happening in the country, because it really makes no sense.

Now let us move on to the content. I would like to address a few topics, and I hope I will have the time to do so. First I would like to talk about certain changes concerning the parliamentary budget officer. Over the years, the PBO has become an essential and unavoidable component of the capacity to require accountability from the government. The Liberals promised to make the office more independent. However, on closer examination, they are doing the exact opposite.

Three or four changes deserve to be highlighted here. First of all, the parliamentary budget officer will have to submit an annual work plan. To whom must it be submitted? To the speaker of the House of Commons and the speaker of the Senate, both of whom are politicians, I will add. During the year, will the parliamentary budget officer have the latitude to initiate studies or reports prompted by current events, a new revelation or a scandal? That is still uncertain. Will the PBO be placed in a straitjacket by this annual work plan? We wonder and worry about that. Most of the countries that have a parliamentary budget officer do not have this annual work plan.

Second, the PBO’s reports will have to be sent to the speaker of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Commons one business day before their public release. Therefore, the speakers will have the information in hand and will be able to prepare a response before all parliamentarians and citizens have access to the PBO’s study. We find it hard to understand this measure.

What is very important is that all parliamentarians used to be free and able to request a study from the PBO, to raise a question and ask him or her to consider it. The Liberals want to get rid of that. They want to deprive parliamentarians of this right, so that in future any request to the parliamentary budget officer would have to be associated with a proposal, a bill, or a motion that a member has already tabled or that has already been debated here in the House. Under these rules, we would not have been able to ask the PBO to verify, as was done in the past, the costs of purchasing the F-35s, for example, or of the Liberals’ income tax reduction which, in the end, has benefited only the very wealthy. The freedom of action of the parliamentary budget officer is being restricted. The ability of members to request studies is being restricted. On the pretext of making the office independent, the PBO is at risk of being made inoperative and ineffective. We in the NDP are immensely concerned about this.

Basically, after speaking with the parliamentary budget officer, this Liberal bill, I would like to point out again, has nothing to do with budget implementation outside of studying the budget, and focuses on the wrong priorities. It contains some measures that will be detrimental for Canadians, for the more disadvantaged, and will not help our communities. Above all, certain decisions or certain choices are not included.

I would like to point out that by abolishing the public transit tax credit, the Liberal government will recover $225 million a year. The government has also chosen to retain the stock option loophole, which costs us $800 million a year. This loophole only benefits the wealthy in our society, or the richest 1% or 2%. It costs us $800 million. The Liberals promised to abolish it, but they are keeping it. We do not understand how they can claim to be progressive, go in that direction, and do the exact opposite of what they promised during the election campaign.

They are abolishing the public transit tax credit, which could really help people. Every month, some people buy bus tickets or a transit pass to go to work, their activities, university or school. The public transit tax credit does not help the rich, but those who do not have a car and who try to use the public services available to them.

Every year, my office hosts a tax clinic. People with low incomes sign up, and I work with volunteers filling out their tax returns. Most of the people who come to us are people on social assistance, people with disabilities, and seniors with low incomes. For people with disabilities and seniors who might pay a little tax, the public transit tax credit saved them between $150 and $200 per year. That made a huge difference to them. I do not see why a government that claims to be working for the middle class and those who want to join it would attack these people in its budget but do absolutely nothing about getting money from people who do not need it, such as those who use tax loopholes to avoid paying tax on their stock options. This is despicable, and the NDP will continue to speak out against it.

The NDP does not understand the logic of cutting the tax credit for public transit. Who has benefited from that? Seniors, students, poor workers, single moms who, at the end of the year, could save maybe $150, $200 in taxes.

At the same time, the Liberal government has chosen to keep the loophole for CEOs of big companies who can avoid some taxes, which represents $800 million a year. That is money we are losing. This is who the Liberal government is helping and it is hurting people who are trying to make ends meet, those who take the subway and the bus every day. The Liberals are attacking those people.

I do not understand the logic of the government. It repeats all day long that it is there for the middle class and those who are trying to get there, but it is not taking any action in the budget to help them for real.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

The member is right, Madam Speaker. It is shameful. It is going to hurt poor people. I really do not get it. I will be quite glad to get back to my riding to tell that story to my constituents.

The Liberal government is also have in the BIA new legislation that will create the infrastructure investment bank. We are really worried about that move. Why?

During the election campaign, the Liberals were saying that we were experiencing a deficit in infrastructure in our country, and we agreed. They said that the interest rates were so low that this was time for the government to get some money from the market at 2% interest, which is a really low rate, and to take the opportunity to invest in our communities and build new infrastructure. It looks good and seems logical.

However, the big player in this bank will be the private sector, which is there to make profits, to make money, not to serve the public. Instead of borrowing at 2%, we will have private investors asking for profits of 7%, 8%, 9% per year. It will be the taxpayers who will pay for that. Infrastructure will cost more at the end. Also, during that time, we can expect a lot of new fees in order to drive on a highway, or to go to the airport, or to cross a bridge, if the airports are still public, which we are not quite sure of right now. The government will probably sell the airports to start its bank.

One aspect of this budget implementation bill that worries us is the creation of the infrastructure investment bank. During the election campaign, the Liberals talked about an infrastructure deficit and said that investments were needed. We agreed. Interest rates were low, so it was a good time to borrow and it would not be too costly for the government. It seemed logical, but surprise, the Liberals never told us that most of the investments in this bank would come from private investments, investment funds whose purpose would be to earn a return, to make a profit. Based on models we have seen in the provinces and other areas, the Liberals already knew that their investors would be asking for a rate of return of 7%, 8%, or 9% on their investment.

Why did they tell us that they were going to borrow at 2%, that it would be cheap, and now suddenly they have decided to take money from the private sector and they are going put between 7% and 9% back into their investors' pockets in profits? Our infrastructure is going to be more expensive, it will be privatized, and we will have to pay many new user fees for our highways, airports, and bridges.

For all these reasons, I ask for the unanimous consent of the House for the following motion: That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, Bill C-44, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, be amended by removing the following clauses : (a) clauses 128 to 191, related to the parliamentary budget officer; (b) clauses 403 to 406, related to the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act; that the clauses mentioned in section (a) of this motion do compose Bill C-48; that Bill C-48 be deemed read a first time and printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates; that the clauses mentioned in section (b) of this motion do compose Bill C-49; that Bill C-49 be deemed read a first time and printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Finance; that Bill C-44 retain the status on the Order Paper that it had prior to the adoption of this order; that Bill C-44 be reprinted as amended; and that the law clerk and parliamentary counsel be authorized to make any technical changes or corrections as may be necessary to give effect to this motion.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

Madam Speaker, in response to my NDP colleague's comments, I would simply like to say that everyone knows that we could have spent billions and billions of dollars more in the budget to help Canadians. However, no amount would ever be enough.

Can my colleague tell me how we would pay back the cost of those measures?

I would also like to ask him a question about the measures pertaining to the safety of seniors and the Canada child benefit that have been implemented to date. Those measures are very good for thousands of people in my riding, the people in his riding, and all Canadians.

Does he agree that the Minister of Finance announced good measures for the people in his riding, the people in my riding, and all Canadians?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

Obviously, some measures and some decisions have helped some people, particularly the guaranteed income supplement—even though the government could have done more—and the Canada child benefit.

However, the problem I have with the assistance offered to families with children is that the Liberal Party has been promising a national child care program since Jean Chrétien was in office in 1993, but we still do not have one. That would be the most effective way of helping families with children to reduce their child care costs. In some cities, like Toronto and Vancouver, child care can cost up to $70 or $80 a day per child.

Quebec's approach to child care clearly demonstrates that a national child care program is the best way to fight poverty, help families, and help women get back into the workforce.

If they want access to more revenue to pay for social programs and help our constituents, then the Liberals should have kept their promise to close the tax loophole for stock options worth $800 million. They could put an end to the bilateral agreements with tax havens, which cost us $5 billion to $8 billion annually. They could stop subsidizing the oil companies and giving tax credits and tax cuts to the big Canadian banks. These are things that could truly help Canada's middle class.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very fine speech.

Every day in the House the government says one thing but does another. The Liberals have broken many of their promises and this bill is just another example of that.

What changes would the hon. member like to see made to the bill?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. Many things in this bill could be changed.

I do not understand why the Investment Canada Act is being changed to provide for a study, a net benefit test when foreign interests take control of a Canadian company. The magic acquisition number used to be $600 million, but that number has increased to $1 billion. Now many Canadian companies could be bought by foreign investors and companies without the acquisition triggering a net benefit test for Canada.

The bill makes parental leave more flexible. This may seem like a good idea. Parents can now choose to take parental leave for 18 months instead of 12 months. However, the caveat is that instead of receiving 55% of their salary for 12 months, they will receive 33% of their salary for 18 months. Flexibility is nice, but who can afford to live on one-third of their salary? Only the wealthiest can. This type of measure does not help the middle class. It is smoke and mirrors. I would really like to know which constituents of Liberal ridings are able to live on one-third of their income. There is a lot that could be done. The Liberals could keep their promise of giving a pension for life to veterans wounded in combat. There are all kinds of things we could change in the bill.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 5:10 p.m.
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Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Arif Virani LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism)

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague across the way for his comments and speech.

I have a question for him about the public transit tax credit.

What was mentioned in my colleague's comments was that there are people who are in need. That is accepted. What was mentioned in my colleague's comments was that he is serving those people who are in need with tax clinics in his riding. That is accepted. It is a great initiative. I do the same thing in Parkdale—High Park. What I think is missing, and I would like a response from my colleague, is that the tax credit for monthly transit passes was not a refundable credit. It was a claim that could only be made by those persons who were paying taxes. For the very low-income people he is trying to serve, I am trying to serve, and we are all trying to serve, that tax credit was actually inapplicable.

Does the member not think it is more important to actually invest $21 billion, as our government is doing, in transit around this country to increase the number of subways, streetcars, and buses, in places like Montreal, to serve those very low-income people who actually had no access whatsoever, particularly if they could not even afford a monthly pass but could only pay on a daily basis for transit?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 5:15 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very pertinent and legitimate question.

We should not believe everything the government says about the $11 billion for affordable housing or the $23 billion for public transit, because the majority of these investments will only be made after the 2019 and 2023 elections. It is very unlikely that people will see any investments in the short term. There will be many governments and many budgets before then.

I am well aware of the difference between refundable tax credits and non-refundable tax credits. I always prefer refundable tax credits, which are more progressive and help the disadvantaged most in terms of taxes.

In my experience, low-income seniors and workers who pay a little bit of tax could benefit from this tax credit even if it were non-refundable. Sometimes it is the only means they have to try to reduce their taxes every year. It was not perfect, but it really helped people in our communities. I do not understand why the Liberals are eliminating it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 5:15 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie for talking about affordable housing. We saw in this budget, and the government takes pride in saying it, that it has announced $11 billion for affordable housing. However, when we look at it closely, it would be $20 million in the first year and $300 million before the next election. The bulk of it would be after the next election. This is while we have a housing crisis in southwestern British Columbia, in the GTA, and across Canada. People cannot find a place to live. In my riding of Courtenay—Alberni, for example, the vacancy rate is less than 0.5%.

There is an organization called Dawn to Dusk. Its members are dealing with people on the street, homeless people, and they are saying that we are in a crisis situation. At the same time, the current government is protecting shareholder stock option loopholes that are costing us $800 million a year. The government is choosing CEO stock option loopholes over people who need a place to live. Maybe the member could talk a bit about what $800 million could do this year for people who need a roof over their heads.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 5:15 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent question.

Indeed, being a politician is about making choices. Unfortunately, this Liberal budget contains bad choices, unrealistic choices. The Liberals claim to be doing things, but they will have no impact in the end.

The issue of social and affordable housing is an excellent example. The member put it very well. The Liberals can brag about investing $11 billion, but when you realize that this investment will be spread out over 11 years and that, this year, they will spend only 1% of the money promised in the budget, we soon realize that this will not make much difference in our communities. We could maybe build four or five small low-cost housing units in Canada, and then we would have to wait for next year, because the money will be gone.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 5:15 p.m.
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Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Arif Virani LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism)

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Winnipeg South.

It is a pleasure for me to rise today to speak to budget 2017. I want to address key parts of the budget that I know would have an important and lasting impact on my riding of Parkdale—High Park in Toronto.

Since October 2015, I have heard loud and clear from my constituents about the issues that matter to them most. I know that budget 2017 would help to address their concerns and the concerns of all Canadians.

One of the most important issues to residents in my riding is access to housing. Since being elected, I have met with the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association and the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada. I have also heard about this issue knocking on doors and in meetings with constituents and key stakeholders in my riding.

In Parkdale—High Park alone there are five co-op housing units that provide much-needed accommodation for low-income residents. The members of Dufferin Grove Housing Co-operative, Swansea Village Co-operative, 55 Howard Park Co-operative Homes, 91 Spencer Avenue Housing Co-operative, and John Bruce Village Co-operative have spoken to me and my staff about the critical need to ensure affordable housing stock in our cities. I am acutely aware of how urgent the housing crisis is, not only in Parkdale—High Park but right around the country.

I also know that housing is foundational. What I mean by that is that if we address people's housing needs, they will have better health outcomes, better educational outcomes, and better economic outcomes.

On March 29th I held a standing-room-only town hall in my riding on housing. I heard first-hand from the residents of Parkdale—High Park about just how important it is for our government to resolve the affordable housing issue and to work with local partners to make that happen. I am proud that budget 2017 would start to do just that.

Budget 2017 would make a historic $11-billion commitment to housing in this country. Combined with $4 billion in base funding, it would bring the total to $15 billion our government has committed in the first two years of our mandate to launch a much-needed national housing strategy. That would mean access to more affordable housing for residents in Parkdale—High Park.

The $15 billion in the aggregate would include the following investments. There would be $5 billion for a national housing fund to address critical housing issues and to prioritize support for vulnerable citizens. Who are they? They are seniors, indigenous people, survivors fleeing situations of domestic violence, people with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addiction issues, and veterans.

There would be $3.2 billion for a renewed federal and provincial partnership on affordable housing. There would be $2.1 billion to expand and extend the homelessness partnering strategy beyond 2018-19.

As my second component, I would like to underscore families and child care. I am the husband and father of two young children. My boys are three and six. My riding of Parkdale—High Park is home to countless families just like mine. These families have reached out to me to talk about our government's first act, which was to cut taxes for the middle class. They have also welcomed the Canada child benefit, which targets tax-free benefits to those who need it most.

For those raising children in Parkdale—High Park and around the country, our first budget last year provided an initial $500 million for early learning and child care. Building on this, this budget would invest an additional $7 billion to support the creation of high-quality child care spaces across the country. This would mean up to 40,000 new subsidized child care spaces.

What this would mean for Parkdale—High Park and ridings around the country would be more options for parents who are literally fed up. It is from personal experience and from others in my riding that I know about people who sign on to countless child care waiting lists, literally the moment they conceive a child. Those people need a greater supply of much-needed day care spots, and they need options that will make it possible for them to return to work, including for women to return to work. That is something our government firmly believes in. This unprecedented investment would both address the supply of child care spaces and help drive down costs by boosting the number of subsidized spots.

Budget 2017 would do even more for families. We fulfilled our campaign commitment to introduce more flexibility and choice for parents on parental leave. These changes would allow parents to choose to receive their current benefits over an extended period of up to 18 months, rather than 12, and spend more time with their young children in those key early months.

On women and gender parity, the third subject I would like to discuss, this budget was a historic first. For the first time in Canadian history, in 150 years, a federal budget included a gender statement. The statement reflects the impact of programs, across government, on women and reflects our commitment as a government to ensuring that the goal of gender equality permeates every single thing we do as a federal government.

As an example, we believe that women deserve to feel safe, supported, and protected in communities, so on top of our historic child care investment, I was heartened to see $100.9 million allocated in the budget over the first five years, and $20 million thereafter, to establish a national strategy to address gender-based violence.

In the past, I have supported work on this issue in my riding of Parkdale--Hyde Park, particularly at The Redwood shelter, a shelter for women and children fleeing violence. I have seen the amazing work being done in my community at places like The Redwood, but I have also seen first-hand the critical need for investment and resources to end gender-based violence.

Budget 2017 would do more. It would address the critical need for funding for women abroad. I am proud that our government has endorsed what is known as the Dutch initiative and would be dedicating $650 million in international aid to the education of women and girls and to empower women to maintain control over their reproductive rights.

I am proud to serve in a government with Canada's first ever gender-equal cabinet and in a government that has introduced Bill C-25, which would improve gender diversity on corporate boards in the private sector.

We know that more needs to be done, but budget 2017 is an important step in the right direction toward achieving true gender equality across all government programs.

The fourth area is indigenous persons. In my role as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, I am committed to our goal of rebuilding and repairing our relationship with indigenous peoples and to supporting the preservation of indigenous languages and culture. The mandate letter of the Minister of Canadian Heritage has an express commitment to provide funding and to enact legislation to promote, preserve, and enhance indigenous languages. I am honoured that the hon. minister has asked me to assist her with this project.

Building on the significant investments in budget 2016, budget 2017 would continue the important work of true reconciliation with indigenous persons. We would establish a new fiscal relationship that would lift the 2% cap on annual funding increases and move towards sufficient and predictable funding for first nations communities.

Budget 2017 allocates $225 million to provide access to affordable and culturally appropriate housing for Indigenous peoples living off-reserve. It also provides $300 million for the construction of housing in Canada’s north, and support for territorial governments to improve housing conditions. These investments will help approximately 3,000 families find adequate, suitable, and affordable housing. Budget 2017 also provides $225 million for housing providers who serve Indigenous peoples not living on reserves

We would also dedicate $828 million to improving health for first nations and Inuit, including $305 million for the non-insured health benefits program.

We would target mental health for first nations and Inuit, with $204.2 million going toward improving mental health services. We would build on our commitment to home care by investing $184 million for palliative and home care for first nations and Inuit communities.

The fifth area is transit and infrastructure. In my riding of Parkdale-High Park, I have heard time and again about the need for infrastructure investments in Canada, particularly to get people moving to work and school. Budget 2017 would deliver on this important commitment.

In budget 2017 we have committed $20 billion over the next decade, in partnership with the provinces and territories, for public transit projects that will shorten commutes, decrease air pollution, and allow Canadians to spend more time at home with their families. What would that mean in Parkdale--High Park? It would mean more subways, more streetcars, and more buses. It would mean access to more transit and greener transit, because our budget commitment would also include $21.9 billion in greener infrastructure.

The last subject I want to talk about as I conclude is vulnerable Canadians. What would the budget do for vulnerable Canadians? There is a new health agreement. There is $5 billion for mental health around the country and $6 billion for long-term care.

For low-income families, a dedicated fund of $13 million would be established to provide affordable access to the Internet for low-income families.

What would it do for asylum seekers? There would be legal aid for refugee applicants. I hear time and time again in Parkdale—High Park that we want to establish an open and compassionate program, accessible to all. The money dedicated, $60 million over five years, to enhance people's access to the refugee system would do just that.

There would be money dedicated to those who are victimized by hatred. We would double the security infrastructure program.

There would be money dedicated to newcomers who have problems integrating because their foreign credentials are not being recognized. There would be $27 million dedicated to foreign credential recognition.

For the LGBTQ community, there would be $3.6 million to protect and promote equality for people of different sexual orientations.

This government reflects a commitment to progressive values, housing, indigenous persons, women, families, and our most vulnerable. I will be supporting this budget. I urge everyone in this House to do the same.