Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2

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

Sponsor

Bill Morneau  Liberal

Status

In committee (House), as of Nov. 8, 2017

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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) removing the classification of the costs of drilling a discovery well as “Canadian exploration expenses”;

(b) eliminating the ability for small oil and gas companies to reclassify up to $1 million of “Canadian development expenses” as “Canadian exploration expenses”;

(c) revising the anti-avoidance rules for registered education savings plans and registered disability savings plans;

(d) eliminating the use of billed-basis accounting by designated professionals;

(e) providing enhanced tax treatment for eligible geothermal energy equipment;

(f) extending the base erosion rules to foreign branches of Canadian insurers;

(g) clarifying who has factual control of a corporation for income tax purposes;

(h) introducing an election that would allow taxpayers to mark to market their eligible derivatives;

(i) introducing a specific anti-avoidance rule that targets straddle transactions;

(j) allowing tax-deferred mergers of switch corporations into multiple mutual fund trusts and allowing tax-deferred mergers of segregated funds; and

(k) enhancing the protection of ecologically sensitive land donated to conservation charities and broadening the types of donations permitted.

It also implements other income tax measures by

(a) closing loopholes surrounding the capital gains exemption on the sale of a principal residence;

(b) providing additional authority for certain tax purposes to nurse practitioners;

(c) ensuring that qualifying farmers and fishers selling to agricultural and fisheries cooperatives are eligible for the small business deduction;

(d) extending the types of reverse takeover transactions to which the corporate acquisition of control rules apply;

(e) improving the consistency of rules applicable for expenditures in respect of scientific research and experimental development;

(f) ensuring that the taxable income of federal credit unions is allocated among provinces and territories using the same allocation formula as applicable to the taxable income of banks;

(g) ensuring the appropriate application of Canada’s international tax rules; and

(h) improving the accuracy and consistency of the income tax legislation and regulations.

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

(a) introducing clarifications and technical improvements to the GST/HST rules applicable to certain pension plans and financial institutions;

(b) revising the GST/HST rules applicable to pension plans so that they apply to pension plans that use master trusts or master corporations;

(c) revising and modernizing the GST/HST drop shipment rules to enhance the effectiveness of these rules and introduce technical improvements;

(d) clarifying the application of the GST/HST to supplies of municipal transit services to accommodate the modern ways in which those services are provided and paid for; and

(e) introducing housekeeping amendments to improve the accuracy and consistency of the GST/HST legislation.

It also implements a GST/HST measure announced on September 8, 2017 by revising the timing requirements for GST/HST rebate applications by public service bodies.

Part 3 amends the Excise Act to ensure that beer made from concentrate on the premises where it is consumed is taxed in a manner that is consistent with other beer products.

Part 4 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to allow the Minister of Finance on behalf of the Government of Canada, with the approval of the Governor in Council, to enter into coordinated cannabis taxation agreements with provincial governments. It also amends that Act to make related amendments.

Part 5 enacts and amends several Acts in order to implement various measures.

Division 1 of Part 5 amends the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act to update and clarify certain powers of the Minister of Finance in relation to the Bretton Woods institutions.

Division 2 of Part 5 enacts the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Agreement Act which provides the required authority for Canada to become a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Division 3 of Part 5 provides for the transfer from the Minister of Finance to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the responsibility for three international development financing agreements entered into between Her Majesty in Right of Canada and the International Finance Corporation.

Division 4 of Part 5 amends the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act to clarify the treatment of, and protections for, eligible financial contracts in a bank resolution process. It also makes consequential amendments to the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act.

Division 5 of Part 5 amends the Bank of Canada Act to specify that the Bank of Canada may make loans or advances to members of the Canadian Payments Association that are secured by real property or immovables situated in Canada and to allow such loans and advances to be secured by way of an assignment or transfer of a right, title or interest in real property or immovables situated in Canada. It also amends the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act to specify that the Bank of Canada and the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation are exempt from stays even where obligations are secured by real property or immovables.

Division 6 of Part 5 amends the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act in order to expand and enhance the oversight powers of the Bank of Canada by further strengthening the Bank’s ability to identify and respond to risks to financial market infrastructures in a proactive and timely manner.

Division 7 of Part 5 amends the Northern Pipeline Act to permit the Northern Pipeline Agency to annually recover from any company with a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued under that Act an amount equal to the costs incurred by that Agency with respect to that company.

Division 8 of Part 5 amends the Canada Labour Code in order to, among other things,

(a) provide employees with a right to request flexible work arrangements from their employers;

(b) provide employees with a family responsibility leave for a maximum of three days, a leave for victims of family violence for a maximum of ten days and a leave for traditional Aboriginal practices for a maximum of five days; and

(c) modify certain provisions related to work schedules, overtime, annual vacation, general holidays and bereavement leave, in order to provide greater flexibility in work arrangements.

Division 9 of Part 5 amends the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 to repeal the paragraph 167(1.‍2)‍(b) of the Canada Labour Code that it enacts, and to amend the related regulation-making provisions accordingly.

Division 10 of Part 5 approves and implements the Canadian Free Trade Agreement entered into by the Government of Canada and the governments of each province and territory to reduce or eliminate barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, services and investments. It also makes related amendments to the Energy Efficiency Act in order to facilitate, with respect to energy-using products or classes of energy-using products, the harmonization of requirements set out in regulations with those of a jurisdiction. Finally, it makes consequential amendments to the Financial Administration Act, the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act and the Procurement Ombudsman Regulations and it repeals the Timber Marking Act and the Agreement on Internal Trade Implementation Act.

Division 11 of Part 5 amends the Judges Act

(a) to allow for the payment of annuities, in certain circumstances, to judges and their survivors and children, other than by way of grant of the Governor in Council;

(b) to authorize the payment of salaries to the new Associate Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta; and

(c) to change the title of “senior judge” to “chief justice” for the superior trial courts of the territories.

It also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Division 12 of Part 5 amends the Business Development Bank of Canada Act to increase the maximum amount of the paid-in capital of the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Division 13 of Part 5 amends the Financial Administration Act to authorize, in an increased number of cases, the entering into of contracts or other arrangements that provide for a payment if there is a sufficient balance to discharge any debt that will be due under them during the fiscal year in which they are entered into.

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

Nov. 8, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
Nov. 8, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
Nov. 8, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
Nov. 8, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
Nov. 8, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures

November 9th, 2017 / 6:20 p.m.
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Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

I do not see that. If somebody wants to move a motion outside of the day that we're dealing with Bill C-63, they have the right to do so. They can lift it off the table and we'll be back here in the week of November 20.

Mr. Dusseault had his hand up next, and then Mr. Fergus, and then Mr. Albas.

November 9th, 2017 / 6:15 p.m.
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Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

That will be the last question.

On Bill C-63, just for committee members, the deadline to submit amendments to the bill is 12 noon on November 16. We'll start clause-by-clause on November 21 at 8:45 in the morning and, if we have to, we'll go through until 9 o'clock that night. That will be on Tuesday the 21st.

Thank you, witnesses. We really appreciate your coming forward and answering questions.

We'll now turn to your motion, Mr. Dusseault. The floor is yours.

November 9th, 2017 / 6:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Just to go back to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and to talk about the flexible work arrangements specifically, a lot of the rules proposed in Bill C-63 are for federally regulated employees. My question for you is, first—because you had said you're kind of worried about it—what kind of impact will it have on your members? You do represent small and medium-sized businesses, so which of your members would specifically be most impacted by this? Second, what would be your suggestions for amendments or modifications to the proposal put forward in Bill C-63?

November 9th, 2017 / 5:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Thank you.

Mr. Mulvihill, I recognize the great work that MaRS does and the opportunity it has. Thank you very much for your testimony regarding the measures in Bill C-63.

You also said there are some aspects that could still go a little further. If you can, please give me a quick summary, because I think I have a short period of time.

November 9th, 2017 / 5:45 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Okay. I had a question about it.

Let me turn to the representative of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. In recent meetings, we have talked a lot about different ways of accounting. One of them was bill-based accounting.

Bill C-63 talks about the possibility of eliminating bill-based accounting for designated professionals, such as lawyers, accountants and other kinds of professionals.

Have any of your members talked to you about that part of the bill? Are they concerned about the new way of accounting?

November 9th, 2017 / 5:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

You're saying that Bill C-63 and providing nurse practitioners with that additional responsibility will potentially save the health care system dollars and will improve health care outcomes for individuals, or patients, if I can use that term correctly. I think that's great.

November 9th, 2017 / 5:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Thank you for pointing out some concerns you may have on the multiplication of the small business deduction. That's the first I've heard of that language here, so I definitely want to take a look at that.

I want to add, although it's not in Bill C-63, that it was announced that we'd be lowering the small business tax rate to 9% by the end of 2018, which would provide up to about $7,500 in tax savings to your members. I think we need to applaud that.

I will move on to Ms. Agnew and the nurse practitioners.

Our health care system innovates along the way and provides innovative solutions—if I can use the word “innovation” on that angle—and flexibility. I see the contents of Bill C-63 as providing enhanced flexibility for patients because nurse practitioners will be able to fill a void and gap in certain areas geographically and also provide flexibility to the health care system.

How important is it for nurse practitioners to have this right and be given this responsibility for their patients?

November 9th, 2017 / 5:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Cory, our government has announced the superclusters initiative, which has been applauded by many tech sectors. I've been down to the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, and a lot of really exciting and great things are happening there.

In relation to the two initiatives we are undertaking within Bill C-63, the VCC and the second initiative whereby BDC and EDC are coming in to assist, how important is it for government to partner with—I call it the tech sector—the innovation sectors, or sectors in which innovation plays a crucial role? How important is that to drive innovation in Canada, and commercialization as well?

November 9th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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Theresa Agnew Chief Executive Officer, Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario

Thank you so much.

Hello, everyone. My name is Theresa Agnew, and I am the chief executive officer of the Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario. With me here today is my colleague, Dr. Dawn Tymianski, a director on the board of NPAO. Dawn will shortly become the interim CEO of the NPAO as I step down from this role after five years.

We thank the Standing Committee on Finance for giving NPAO the opportunity today to provide feedback on Bill C-63. I will start by providing the committee with a short background on the role of NPs and NPAO.

The Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario is the professional association representing more than 3,100 nurse practitioners and NP students in Ontario. The NPAO formed in 1973 as an independent association representing NPs. NPAO has the largest percentage of voluntary members of any professional nursing association in Ontario.

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced university education and experience who provide a full range of health care services to millions of patients across the province and across Canada. In Ontario, NPs can order and interpret all laboratory tests and most diagnostic imaging tests. NPs are also able to refer to specialists and admit, treat, and discharge hospital patients. Nurse practitioners can also do minor surgical procedures.

Nurse practitioners are authorized to prescribe controlled drugs and substances, and this long-anticipated change to scope of practice now enables nurse practitioners, as primary care providers, to deliver all aspects of palliative and end-of-life care to their patients across the province, including medical assistance in dying for those eligible patients who request it. You will be interested to know that in Ontario more than half of the practitioners on the ministry's MAID registry are nurse practitioners.

Nurse practitioners work across the health care system in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, family health teams, community health centres, NP-led clinics, and long-term care centres. Nurse practitioners work with individuals and families, from newborn babies to the elderly, and serve many vulnerable and marginalized populations.

I'm going to jump now to our support of Bill C-63.

As you know, Bill C-63 is an omnibus budget bill. We have not read all 275 pages of the bill, nor have we examined the many pieces of corollary legislation that would be amended if the bill is passed, so we will keep our comments to a very high level.

First, NPAO is pleased to see proposed changes to the Canada Labour Code that would provide Canadians with greater flexibility to take vacation time, to add more bereavement days in the event of losing a loved one, and with time to attend traditional healing practices. In addition, we strongly support statutory time off work to recover after experiencing family violence. This is a compassionate approach, and we know that all of those affected by family violence can be traumatized and need time to begin to heal. NPAO would, however, recommend that the statutory time off be with pay, rather than an unpaid leave. This would help to ensure that families are not penalized financially when they have already been through so much.

Potentially, the bill could also go further in supporting families experiencing domestic violence. I speak in loving memory of Zahra Abdille, who was a nurse practitioner I had the honour of getting to know when she was an NP student. Zahra was passionate about the care of the elderly. Sadly, she kept the fact that she was a victim of domestic violence from her colleagues and friends.

In July of 2014, Zahra had left her husband and had taken the boys to a women's shelter. She then sought legal assistance to pursue leaving her abusive husband. She worked as a nurse practitioner and was the family's sole breadwinner, and because it was determined that she earned too much money, Zahra was denied access to free legal aid—this despite the fact her husband controlled the family's bank account. Feeling that her options were limited, she and the boys returned to her husband. On November 29, 2014, Zahra and her two children, Faris and Zain, were killed by her husband. He later killed himself.

On behalf of women like Zahra Abdille, NPAO implores the government to ensure that all women who are victims of domestic violence have access to free legal assistance. If this amendment cannot be made as part of Bill C-63, we urge the government to find a way to enshrine this access into legislation.

NPAO also supports measures within Bill C-63 that seek to make our tax system more transparent and fair. Canadians pay tax to support the programs we hold near and dear, such as medicare, affordable housing, and subsidized day care. Those who make more should pay more. We support any amendments that would close tax loopholes that unjustly benefit the top income earners. Revenues from fair and equitable taxation could then go to improving the social determinants of health, thereby improving health for all Canadians.

We also speak in favour of proposed amendments within Bill C-63 that provide enhanced incentives to use geothermal energy.

Finally, we'd like to thank the committee and thank the federal government for introducing changes in the omnibus bill that enable nurse practitioners to sign many federal forms. Despite the fact that nurse practitioners are independent assessors of patients, make diagnoses, and treat and manage health conditions, there are currently many federal forms that do not accept the signature of a nurse practitioner. This results in patients having to return to a clinic or health care setting to see a physician who may not know them. This causes additional expense for the client and the system.

We're thrilled with the omnibus changes in Bill C-63 that enable nurse practitioners across Canada to serve clients in a more expeditious and efficacious way. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Canadian Nurses Association and the Nurse Practitioner Association of Canada for their extensive work and advocacy to make these changes a reality.

Again, we thank you for the opportunity, and we look forward to your questions.

November 9th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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Dr. Cory Mulvihill Lead Executive, Policy and Public Affairs, MaRS Discovery District

Thank you, Mr. Chair, for the invitation to come to speak to Bill C-63.

My name is Cory Mulvihill, and I'm the lead executive for policy and public affairs at the MaRS Discovery District. MaRS is North America's largest innovation hub and is located in the heart of Canada's largest research cluster. We bring together entrepreneurs, educators, researchers, social scientists, investors, and corporate business experts under one roof, giving innovators what they need most—a home with connections to networks of talent, customers, and capital to grow and scale.

MaRS provides advisory and programming support to over 1,100 start-up ventures, with our reach extending to partners in start-ups across Canada. Since 2008, MaRS-supported ventures have raised $3.5 billion in capital and generated $1.8 billion in revenues. Today they employ more than 6,100 people in knowledge economy jobs.

Today I'd like to speak specifically to the importance of nurturing a strong ecosystem of smart capital for Canada's emerging companies, particularly in our four focus areas: health, energy and environment, finance and commerce, and work and learning. A critical element to the success of these companies is their ability to access the right amounts and types of capital for their stage of growth, along with the effective advice that comes along with it.

Budget 2017 will commit a further $400 million to stimulate growth in the Canadian venture capital ecosystem, following on the success of the previous government's venture capital action plan. As Canada's foundation of high-growth companies is accelerating, this investment through the Business Development Bank of Canada will play a critical role in ensuring that the momentum built through VCAP to strengthen the VC ecosystem will continue and that these companies will be able to access capital during their critical stages of growth.

While this year's deal flow, according to the Canadian Venture Capital Association, is said to outpace that of last year, the Canadian economy continues to face a systemic challenge in scaling firms to compete globally due to their undercapitalization. At MaRS, we have used our role as a centre of convergence in the innovation ecosystem to nurture the growth of capital in areas where we've seen gaps. This includes the management of the investment accelerator fund, Ontario's most active seed fund, which has invested $52 million through 115 investments, and ArcTern, which was launched to address a gap in funding for clean tech-focused companies.

We look forward to the launch of the venture capital catalyst initiative, which will be a critical component in maintaining the momentum of Canada's venture capital ecosystem.

Thank you.

November 9th, 2017 / 5:15 p.m.
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Senior Vice-President, National Affairs and Partnerships, Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Corinne Pohlmann

Sure.

This is because most smaller employers already understand the importance of being flexible for retaining employees, attracting new workers, and maintaining good work morale.

We believe this new legislation could pose several challenges for the small businesses, as listed on slide 6.

First would be the added administrative burden, such as reorganization of responsibilities to deal with employee requests and complying with regulations related to applications. Also, small businesses have limited resources to address any potential complaints or appeals processes that may result.

Second, in some businesses it is difficult for employers to offer certain types of arrangements, such as working from home, which may also require specialized equipment, which can be quite costly for smaller firms.

Third, there can be significant costs in terms of temporary reductions of productivity due to disruptions of regular schedules. Moreover, many small-business owners may have concerns regarding the fair treatment of other employees, who may end up taking on extra work, causing resentment among co-workers.

Finally, such legislation could lead to undue pressure on those small employers who are unable to accommodate the requests due to the nature of the work they do, such as those in the transportation sector.

Each business faces its own unique challenges. That's why it's really best left with employers and employees to work out the most suitable arrangement between them. In our feedback to the government, we recommended that they not proceed with this legislation, and if they did, that they potentially exempt smaller businesses. If they still planned to move forward, we had put forward a series of reasons that an employer should be allowed to refuse such a request, and we were pleased to see that many of those were incorporated into this legislation. However, we would like to see more than 30 days allotted to the employer to respond to a request. We had suggested three months, which is the period that's allowed in the U.K., and there were a few details about the enforcement of this bill and whether there will be an appeals process. These are areas that we remain concerned about at this time.

Next I want to talk about the multiplication of the small-business deduction.

In Bill C-63 changes were made to the treatment of farmers and fishers selling to co-operatives so they can remain eligible for the small business deduction. This was welcome clarification of the changes to this multiplication of the small business deduction that was introduced earlier this year, but, really, more needs to be done with it. In budget 2016, the government announced changes that would seem to be targeted at those who had created certain structures that enabled access to the small business deduction more than once, but this now seems to be affecting more businesses than we were first led to believe. Under these new rules, active business income is not eligible for the small business deduction if a corporation earns that income from providing services or products to a direct or indirect interest; however, no guidance detailing what exactly “indirect interest” is has been given.

What does this mean? Well, it seems these new rules are having a broader impact on some small businesses, especially in rural areas. For example, we have one member from a small town in Alberta who owns a restaurant and purchases fresh produce from her father's farm. Our member has a very limited number of suppliers, as there are few other businesses in her area that provide fresh produce, so she purchases it from her father. However, under these new rules, any active business income generated from their arm's-length relationship may no longer be eligible for the small business deduction, even though they both run completely separate businesses.

The rules have also created additional administrative costs, as it requires increased effort to determine whether these rules apply to one's corporate earnings, and to what extent. If a business is affected by the rules, it has been recommended to them that they keep two sets of accounting records: one for income not eligible for the small business deduction and one for the part that is eligible. We believe more needs to be done to fully understand and address the impacts of these changes.

Finally, I want to mention the importance of the Canadian free trade agreement and how pleased we are that this budget bill confirms the federal government's commitment to this important and historic agreement. It's clearly important to small businesses, but now the really hard work begins. We need the federal government to continue to play a key role in making sure that progress is made on the agreement, and this starts with making sure the regulatory reconciliation and co-operation table is active in addressing key issues for small business.

On slide 11 you can see the list of regulatory areas that require greater alignment across Canada and that should be tackled quickly by the RCT. They include corporate registration and reporting, agricultural and transportation regulations, professionals and trade licensing, and workers' compensation and health and safety rules. We would encourage the federal government to use its influence in keeping discussions going and finding solutions.

Thank you.

November 9th, 2017 / 5:15 p.m.
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Corinne Pohlmann Senior Vice-President, National Affairs and Partnerships, Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Thank you for the opportunity to be here today. You should have a slide presentation on your tablet that I was hoping to walk you through over the next few minutes.

CFIB is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization that represents more than 109,000 small and medium-sized businesses across Canada. Our members represent every region of the country and are found in every sector of the economy.

Today I want to touch on three aspects of Bill C-63: introduction of flex-work arrangements, implications of the changes to the multiplication of small business deduction, and the Canadian free trade agreement.

Allowing employees the right to request flex-work arrangements is unprecedented in Canada. Though only a small number of small businesses are federally regulated, provincial governments often implement similar changes, which then affect many more.

We would argue that such legislation is actually not needed among small companies, because as you can see on slide 4, CFIB found that many small business owners offer some form of flexibility to help their employees balance work with other responsibilities. In fact, most do.

Also, an Ipsos poll that was conducted earlier this year of those working in firms with fewer than five employees showed they tend to be more satisfied with the flexibility given to address personal needs, as you can see on slide 5.

In addition, the same employees are more likely to be very satisfied with their job in general, compared to workers in larger firms.

November 9th, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Dr. Kate McInturff Senior Researcher, National Office, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Good evening. My name is Kate McInturff, and I am a senior researcher at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. I would like to thank the committee for inviting me to speak today.

The government's decision to include gender-based analysis in the federal budget is an important step forward for gender equality and, as I argued in my pre-budget submission, for our economy. Budget implementation bills are an important moment for the government to act on that analysis.

To date, the analysis presented in both budget 2017 and the fall economic update identifies how men and women are affected differently by, for example, tax policy. I was very pleased to see the fall update take note of the negative impact on women of income splitting and income sprinkling. It is important, however, to ensure that the analysis actually forms the basis for action and better policy. That is to say, our government policies need to be designed with the analysis in mind.

The scope of Bill C-63 is understandably narrow. However, I would like to take this opportunity to demonstrate how gender-based analysis can make the government's policies more effective and go further in setting us down the path to gender equality. I am going to speak specifically to the issue of leave for victims of domestic violence.

In the 2017 budget's gender statement, the government recognized that “[w]omen and girls are more likely than men to experience poverty, violence and harassment”, noting that “[w]omen are more likely than men to experience the most severe forms of self-reported spousal victimization”.

The government's decision to implement leave for victims of domestic violence is a very welcome step in addressing the relationship between economic insecurity and susceptibility to domestic violence. However, a deeper analysis suggests that there are two further steps that need to be taken to ensure that this policy achieves its goal. Bill C-63 provides an excellent opportunity to take those steps.

First, leave for victims of domestic violence needs to be paid. The evidence is clear that when women remain in violent settings and return to those settings, it is because they cannot afford to leave. A study from the University of British Columbia found that survivors of intimate partner violence experienced financial hardship as a result of that violence, regardless of their income status prior to leaving their abusive partner. That is to say, this has an impact on women from all economic groups. That financial hardship continued for years after they had left the violent setting.

In the short term, when a woman leaves a violent setting, she faces immediate financial challenges. One of the primary reasons given by women in shelters for returning to a violent household is that they cannot afford housing. Additionally, women with young children fear that if they are unable to financially support themselves and their children, those children may be apprehended by child and family services. This not only means the tragedy of a victim of violence being separated from her children, but in small communities this can also result in the children being placed with, for example, a relative of the violent partner, potentially putting them at further risk.

The costs of lost work, lost wages, and lost productivity are significant. Justice Canada estimates the cost of lost wages due to domestic violence at $33.7 million annually. The cost of lost productivity to employers is an estimated $68.5 million annually.

What does this look like in the life of a survivor of domestic violence? When you leave an abusive spouse, you leave with almost nothing—your children and a few suitcases at most, not a fork, not a pot, not a chair, not a bed. When it's time to find housing, a survivor of domestic violence is starting from scratch. If she has children, she has the additional pressure of having to demonstrate to child and family services that she can provide the basic necessities of life for her children.

Three days of wages, three days of paid leave, for a woman making $25 an hour amounts to $600. That is enough to buy a mattress, a few plates, and a fork. That can make a world of difference in the life of a woman trying to build a new, safer life for herself and her family.

The second recommendation I would make to ensure that domestic violence leave is effective is to eliminate the exclusion of those facing police charges. While I understand the desire not to extend this leave to someone who is charged with a violent crime, the exclusion of those who have been charged with domestic violence has the potential to exclude victims of abuse as well. This is because in some jurisdictions in Canada the police practise the policy of automatic or dual charging. Automatic charging means that when police respond to a domestic violence call, they are required to charge those involved. This may result—and does in fact result on occasion—in both the abuser and the victim of the abuse being charged.

Automatic charging is intended to ensure that charging occurs and that the police response to domestic violence is robust. However, the result is that in some cases victims are charged. Under the current proposal, under the legislation proposed here, those victims would be excluded from eligibility.

The government is leading the way by recognizing the role of financial hardship and lost work in the lives of those who experience domestic violence. With these additional changes, the policy will set a new standard in supporting survivors of that violence. Further, it is precisely in implementing its policies that the government has the opportunity to put gender-based analysis to work and to ensure that this analysis leads to action.

Thank you.

November 9th, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Michael McDonald Executive Director, Canadian Alliance of Student Associations

Thank you.

Good evening, Mr. Chair, esteemed committee members, fellow witnesses, and members of the gallery.

My name is Michael McDonald, and I am executive director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, otherwise known as CASA. Thank you for your invitation to speak about Bill C-63.

Broadly speaking, CASA was pleased see the continued investments in students in budget 2017. We were especially encouraged by new supports for first nations and Inuit learners, expanded access to grants for students with dependents and for part-time students, and new rules on unpaid internships.

For the remainder of my time, I am going to be focusing on the proposed amendments on unpaid internships, which are part of this bill. This move fits with the broader efforts to make Canadian workplaces more modern, inclusive, and effective. We applaud, for example, the framework announced a few days ago to fight harassment and sexual violence in the public service and in federally regulated workplaces.

Tens of thousands of students work in federal government jobs and in federally regulated sectors each year. Alongside all their colleagues, they deserve a safe and respectful workplace that allows them to thrive. For the same reason, we support Bill C-63's proposed changes to ban uncompensated internships.

At CASA we are firm supporters of quality work experience for students. Recent research links participation in co-op programs with higher pay and better jobs after graduation. Surveyed students who did co-ops as part of their studies give their overall post-secondary education experience better reviews than those who did not, and employers also speak highly of the skills and job readiness of co-op graduates.

While we know that the quality of work experience pays off for students and employers, uncompensated experiences do not. An American study found that far more graduates who did unpaid internships did not land jobs as compared to those who did do paid internships. Indeed, an unpaid experience did virtually nothing to improve job prospects, according to a recent study by the Canadian Internship Association.

The likely explanation is simple: when an employer is invested in the experience, they give the student more attention, more responsibilities, and more opportunities.

Ultimately, we would like all internship experiences to be paid. However, we do recognize that compensation in the form of credit is better than no compensation at all, and Bill C-63 proposes to end unpaid internships in federally regulated sectors except when those internships are part of formal education programs. We support this move, as it is an important measure to promote high-quality work experiences and safety and to fairly compensate young workers.

We recognize that like paid internships, quality is generally also higher for work experiences that are built into formal post-secondary education programs, and we support the budget 2017 promises to ensure that all interns, including those working for credit in formal programs, receive labour standard protections. Moreover, we think it's important to highlight that unpaid interns tend to be far more prevalent in fields that are dominated by women. We think this is particularly problematic and we hope it is something that this bill addresses.

Another important consideration is for students from low-income backgrounds who have less flexibility when it comes to choosing between experience that might help them now and paying their bills.

We are pleased with the steps taken by the budget to protect interns; therefore, we will continue to be advocating for federal investment in new paid work opportunities for students. This is why we're a big supporter of some of the work-integrated learning opportunities that have been presented most recently.

We'll continue to support high-quality compensated student work experiences. We are pleased to see the changes presented in the bill and we think it's moving in the right direction.

Thank you.

November 9th, 2017 / 5 p.m.
See context

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

We'll reconvene to panel two for further discussions on the budget implementation act, Bill C-63. Welcome to all the panellists.

We will have to suspend this discussion at 6:15 because we have a motion to deal with.

On this panel, we'll start with Michael McDonald, executive director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations.

The floor is yours, Michael. We'll try to keep it to about five minutes if we can.