An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1

Sponsor

Patty Hajdu  Liberal

Status

Considering amendments (Senate), as of Oct. 18, 2018

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-65.

Summary

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

Part 1 of this enactment amends the Canada Labour Code to strengthen the existing framework for the prevention of harassment and violence, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, in the work place.

Part 2 amends Part III of the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act with respect to the application of Part II of the Canada Labour Code to parliamentary employers and employees, without limiting in any way the powers, privileges and immunities of the Senate and the House of Commons and their members.

Part 3 amends a transitional provision in the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1.

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.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 17th, 2018 / 3:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to speak to Bill C-65, an important bill dealing with harassment in the federal workplace. It is important to understand that this bill did not come out when it did by pure coincidence. For context, I will recount some of the incidents that happened around the time the bill came out.

All members of the House will, I am sure, remember that the #MeToo movement touched a wide segment of society around the world last autumn. Then in January, just before the House sat, we had a number of revelations within Canadian political circles as well. One of them affected the Liberal government. Allegations about misconduct, about a decade ago, by the hon. member for Calgary Centre were made known. At that time he was the minister of sport and persons with disabilities. However, that did not continue because he was asked to leave the cabinet, and a secret investigation was launched later.

I do not cite these facts to be disrespectful or rude toward the hon. member. This is important context that will help to explain the Prime Minister's many quotable statements during this narrow window of time. For example, as news of the former minister's past actions were being reported, the Prime Minister, then at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, said:

We must each have a well-understood, established process in place to file allegations of workplace harassment. And when we receive those complaints, we must take them seriously.

As women speak up, it is our responsibility to listen, and more importantly, to believe.

Those were the Prime Minister's words. That is quite clearly the government's policy as well.

It is not just the words in the Prime Minister's speech that matter, but establishing a complaints process, including in our own offices on Parliament Hill, that is very much at the heart of Bill C-65.

Upon his return to Canada, the Prime Minister said days later to the the CBC, “The standard applies to everyone. There is no context in which someone doesn’t have responsibility for things they’ve done in the past.” Therefore, it is quite clear. As I mentioned earlier, a wave of revelations and probing questions were sweeping Parliament Hill that week. That is why it is not at all surprising that the CBC would, in that same interview with the Prime Minister, quiz him about his own past. When asked, the Prime Minister answered, “I've been very, very careful all my life to be thoughtful, to be respectful of people's space and people's headspace as well”.

Therefore, the Prime Minister laid down the law about sexual harassment and misconduct allegations when he stated that we should always: one, believe complainants; two, hear out retrospective complaints, without time limit; three, apply one standard to all; and four, do not worry, just know that he is squeaky clean, apparently.

With respect to this final point, it turns out that there were previous allegations of impropriety made against the Prime Minister that surfaced. Late this spring, copies of the Creston Valley Advance from August 2000 surfaced. An editorial, penned by a reporter on staff, informed readers, “I’m sorry. If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward.” Those were the words spoken to an Advance reporter by the son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau on August 4. He, the now prime minister, was in Creston to celebrate the Kokanee Summit festival, put on by Columbia Brewery. He apologized a day late for inappropriately handling the reporter while she was on assignment not only for the Advance, but also for the National Post and Vancouver Sun.

The editorial went on to say:

shouldn't the son of a former prime minister be aware of the rights and wrongs that go along with public socializing? ...Didn't he learn, through his vast experiences in public life, that groping a strange young woman isn't in the handbook of proper etiquette regardless of who she is, what her business is, or where they are?

“Groping” is her word not mine.

Applying the edict from the Prime Minister, I assume we are to believe her story that she was groped by the Prime Minister, disregard the date no matter how far back the complaint went, and apply the same standard that applies to the hon. members for Nunavut, Calgary Centre, and Calgary Skyview, which was removal from cabinet and/or the Liberal caucus. Is that not right?

Members will remember that things did not quite tum out as one would have expected based on the Prime Minister's own rules. Part of the problem was that the Canadian media paid virtually no attention to the groping allegations about the Prime Minister. If only they had given just a fraction of their coverage to this issue here in Canada as they did to the Kavanaugh story in the United States. However, that is wishful thinking.

Despite that, back in July, the Prime Minister went on record defending his groping by saying, “I had a good day; I don't remember any negative interactions that day at all.”

He said, “...I am confident—that I did not act inappropriately.... But part of this awakening that we're having as a society...is that it's not just one side of the story that matters”, and, “That the same interactions could be experienced very differently from one person to the next.”

The Prime Minister went on to say, “often a man experiences an interaction as being benign or not inappropriate and a woman, particularly in a professional context, can experience it differently and we have to respect that and reflect on it.”

To boil this all down, a simple phrase sums up the Prime Minister's words and deeds: Do as I say and not as I do. That catchphrase seems to describe a lot of what we see from the Liberal government. I am afraid it is playing itself out yet again in the area of sexual misconduct.

The Prime Minister, when he took the stage in Davos, said that having an established policy was crucial. His own government's legislation, which we are debating today, will entrench this expectation in federal labour law. However, we do not know what policies apply to the Prime Minister himself.

Earlier this autumn, I put some written questions on the Order Paper to get answers. Here is what I asked:

(a) what is the procedure when there is an accusation against the Prime Minister, including, (i) who decides if a complaint has merit and warrants an investigation; (ii) who conducts the investigation; (iii) does the individual conducting the investigation have the ability to recommend sanctions; (iv) are the recommended sanctions binding; (v) what is the policy regarding whether or not the reports and findings are released to the public; (vi) what mechanism, if any, exists for the temporary suspension of certain duties of the Prime Minister pending the outcome of an investigation; and (b) does the procedure...apply to incidents which occurred prior to the individual becoming Prime Minister?

Those are valid questions. Canadians deserve to know, this Parliament deserves to know, how the Prime Minister will be held accountable if there are past allegations of sexual misconduct. I have not had an answer back yet.

I would have thought that for something so near and dear to the Prime Minister's heart, the government would actually have had this already prepared and would have given me an answer immediately. Again, that was wishful thinking.

However, there is a deadline for a response to my question, so we should know, come mid-November, just what procedures are in place for Canada's Prime Minister. Maybe the government will even comply with what it expects of other Canadians in Bill C-65. This assumes, naturally, that the government actually answers the question, assuming that there is actually a policy, and assuming, of course, that Bill C-65 is not simply another case of Liberal's saying "do as I say and not as I do."

In closing, Canada's Conservatives support this legislation, as combatting harassment is a pressing need in all sectors of society, including in the Parliament of Canada. We believe that all forms of harassment, sexual violence and discrimination are unacceptable. That is why at committee, among other things, we, as Conservatives, successfully introduced an amendment to prevent political interference in political offices during harassment investigations.

We also successfully introduced amendments to ensure strict timelines for investigations into incidents of harassment to ensure that investigations are carried out in a timely manner.

I think we can all agree in this place that government policy needs to focus on supporting victims of harassment. This legislation is a positive step in that direction. We look forward to answers from the Prime Minister's Office in regard to the policies that are in place should there be allegations against the Prime Minister himself.

We support Bill C-65. We do want more answers. We expect more answers.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 17th, 2018 / 3:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Bryan May Liberal Cambridge, ON

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time this afternoon with the hon. member for Alfred-Pellan.

I am honoured to stand and speak to Bill C-65. Our government ran on a commitment to take action on workplace harassment and violence, and I am very proud of where we are here today.

Members of the House, from all parties, have worked together to create a strong piece of legislation, one that will address harassment and violence for the hundreds of thousands of employees who work in the federally regulated industries, and closer to home, one that will provide political staff here in the chamber, in the other chamber and in our constituency offices with the same health and safety protections under the Canadian Labour Code as all other workers in this country.

All of us here in the House, no matter our political allegiance, have a unique opportunity. Today we can join forces and take a stand together. We can send a strong message to all Canadians that workplace harassment and violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated any longer. Together we can support Bill C-65 so that it can become law and we can effect real change. Together we can help make a real difference in the lives of Canadian workers in federally regulated workplaces, including all of our staff right here on Parliament Hill.

It is true that this piece of legislation would apply only to federally regulated and parliamentary workplaces. However, we believe that through it, we will be leading by example. We believe that the bill will inspire other governments, businesses, employers and organizations across the country to follow in our footsteps. Indeed, with this new legislation, Canada is being seen as an international leader in addressing workplace harassment and violence.

We believe that we are not the only ones who strongly refuse to tolerate these toxic, destructive behaviours any longer. Harassment and violence, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, in the workplace and in our society at large is nothing new. However, over the past few years, it has been top of mind. In fact, over the past few years, social media lit up with campaigns such as #MeToo, #AfterMeToo, and Time's Up. These hashtags became movements and these movements showed just how pervasive and extensive this problem is.

These movements are the result of people. They are the result of brave women and men who thought it was important to show the world how common harassment and sexual violence are in our lives. They found the courage and strength to speak up, and now it is our turn to take action.

Our government ran on a commitment to take action on workplace harassment and violence, and I am sure my colleagues agree that action in this area is long overdue. I am sure they also agree that it affects us all. That is what we are doing here today: taking action.

The new approach we are proposing aims to drive a culture change in federal workplaces. This new approach aims to prevent incidents of harassment and violence from occurring, to have an effective response when they do occur, and to have support for those affected.

I want to acknowledge the work accomplished by the members in the House and the other place in their careful study of the bill. I also want to acknowledge the generosity of the many witnesses who informed that study, which resulted in important amendments. Amendments were made as the bill passed through this chamber, and several more were proposed by the other chamber. As a result, Bill C-65 is now stronger than ever.

Today I will give an example of how this tremendous work made our proposed legislation so strong.

As we know, members of the other chamber studied the bill carefully, and they proposed a number of amendments. One of the amendments our government is in support of concerns the terminology used in the bill. The members proposed a revision of certain terminology, terminology that they felt could have an adverse effect on the very people we are trying to protect if left unchanged.

Currently, the words “trivial”, “frivolous” and “vexatious” are used to describe the basis upon which a complaint to the labour program could be dismissed. While these terms are generally understood in law and appear throughout the Canada Labour Code, they are, as a member of the other place so rightly pointed out, rooted in prejudice. Our government understands the power of language and we fully support the replacement of these terms with the more neutral term, “abuse of process”.

This is just an example. Our government agrees with a number of other amendments proposed by the other chamber. For example, we agree with explicitly stating that nothing in Bill C-65 takes away from an individual's rights under the Canadian Human Rights Act. We agree with the proposal that anyone designated by the employer to receive complaints related to occurrences of harassment and violence has the appropriate knowledge, training and experience. We agree to the amendment to require data in the annual report on incidents of violence and harassment to be categorized according to prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act. Such amendments would strengthen Bill C-65.

At this point, I would be remiss if I did not mention the work also accomplished by the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disability, also known as HUMA. It is a privilege of mine to chair that committee. The HUMA committee also proposed some significant amendments, which were made to Bill C-65. These amendments include adding a clear definition of harassment and violence in the Canada Labour Code, including a specific reference to preventing occurrences of harassment and violence in the purpose clause of part II of the code; allowing former employees to come forward with complaints related to occurrences of harassment and violence; a provision allowing employees to complain to someone other than the supervisor if they prefer; an annual report on harassment and violence in all federally regulated workplaces; as well as giving the deputy minister powers normally given to the minister to avoid the possibility of any perceived conflict of interest when political actors are involved.

The work accomplished by members in this House, and in the other, will help us send a strong message to all Canadians that workplace harassment and violence is unacceptable and it will not be tolerated any longer. Each and every one of us here in this House can help us send a strong message. I urge everyone here today to help move this bill forward by casting a vote that will help end workplace violence and harassment in Canada.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 17th, 2018 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Bryan May Liberal Cambridge, ON

Madam Speaker, I agree with the member. I am not sure there was a question there, but I will take this opportunity to agree that this was a team effort.

I think that on the issue around what comes next, a lot of that is going to be dealt with, of course, in regulations. This is not something that is going to go away. I do not believe that we are done by simply passing Bill C-65. I think this is going to be a continuous project or issue that we are going to be dealing with well into the future.

We will have to evolve. We will have to make changes and we will have to develop the legislation over the years to deal with the times that we are faced with and the challenges that we are faced with.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 17th, 2018 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Angelo Iacono Liberal Alfred-Pellan, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Cambridge for sharing his time with me so I could speak on this important subject.

I am pleased to be speaking on the Senate's proposed amendments to Bill C-65, an act to amend the Canada Labour Code regarding harassment and violence, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1.

I want to start by thanking the members of the Senate for the effort they put into their study of Bill C-65. I especially want to thank them for the amendments they proposed, which we are debating today in the House. The government appreciates the work they did to strengthen this bill.

Getting back to the amendments to Bill C-65 proposed by the other place, one of them is intended to guarantee that the person designated by the employer to receive complaints regarding harassment and violence has the necessary knowledge, training and experience to deal with such situations. The amendment in question also highlights the need for the designated person to know the legislation applicable to each case. Our government recognizes the importance of ensuring that everyone in a workplace receives sufficient training. The bill enhances that aspect because it requires employers to ensure that all of their employees receive and undergo training in the prevention of harassment and violence.

Training for everyone is absolutely fundamental, not just to provide the necessary tools to respond effectively to a situation of harassment or violence, but also to bring about the cultural change needed to eliminate and eradicate this kind of behaviour. For these reasons, we support the proposed amendment, which explicitly requires the designated person to be qualified to receive complaints.

There are, however, other amendments that our government does not support. For example, the proposed amendment to clause 3 of Bill C-65 specifies that employers must ensure that the workplace is free from harassment and violence. While this is certainly in line with the intent of Bill C-65, it would, in practice, undermine the process at the heart of the code: the internal resolution system that gives those in the workplace the opportunity to quickly resolve the issue before escalating it to outside parties.

Workplace parties, including the employer, the employee or employees, must try to resolve the situation internally first, including undertaking an investigation if unable to resolve it to everyone's satisfaction. It is only in instances where the process has not been followed that a complaint would be made to the labour program, which would then trigger an investigation. This process recognizes that the workplace parties are the ones best positioned to identify, address, mitigate and prevent occupational health and safety hazards in their own workplace.

However, with this proposed amendment, the labour program could be required to investigate every incident relating to harassment and violence, regardless of the outcomes of internal workplace resolution processes. This would not only undermine the objective of the provisions, it would significantly increase costs for everyone involved. Furthermore, requiring the labour program to investigate every incident of workplace harassment and violence would divert resources from other health and safety investigations, ultimately delaying the resolution of all incidents. Resolving these incidents in a timely manner is paramount.

During our consultations prior to tabling Bill C-65 and in previous debates and committee meetings in the chamber, we heard time and time again that a lengthy resolution process is a major deterrent to those who might otherwise come forward. Individuals who experience workplace harassment or violence need effective and timely resolution. The last thing we want to do is deter individuals from coming forward when they experience an incident of harassment or violence in the workplace.

It takes an enormous amount of courage to do so and those individuals need to feel confident that their complaints will be dealt with as efficiently as possible. Members of the other chamber also proposed the addition of a line to specify that a copy of the investigation report must be provided to the employee and the employer. Let me assure everyone that this would be the case. It would be abundantly clear through the regulations that all parties involved would be informed of the status of the investigation. Unfortunately, where this was inserted in the bill as per the proposed amendment, it would not apply to complaints of harassment and violence. It would apply to all investigations undertaken by workplace committees of occupational health and safety violations except harassment and violence.

The line directly preceding the line that would be inserted states, “The employee or the supervisor may refer an unresolved complaint, other than a complaint relating to an occurrence of harassment and violence, to a chairperson of the work place committee or to the health and safety representative to be investigated jointly.” Complaints related to an occurrence of harassment and violence are specifically excluded here because if unresolved, they would be referred to a competent person. However, let me reiterate that this is a valid concern and it would be fully addressed in the regulations associated with Bill C-65. It would clearly stipulate that all reports from investigations would be shared with both the employee and the employer.

There is no doubt that this bill deals with some sensitive issues. Victims of harassment and violence deserve justice, they deserve a timely resolution, and they deserve to know that a good system is in place if needed. All of this is the basis for Bill C-65.

I assure the House that our government has carefully studied this legislative framework to ensure that the provisions are reasonably clear and effective. All Canadians deserve a workplace free from harassment and violence and in which inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour is not tolerated. Employees who have been victims of harassment and violence have suffered for too long and have had to deal with a limited system that did not work.

We listened to what Canadians had to say, and our action will bring about a change in culture that will have a positive effect on all workplaces and also on our society. We are keeping the promise we made to always stand with those who have been affected by these life-changing experiences.

I urge the House to support Bill C-65 so that we can set the standard and create a model of which we can all be proud.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 17th, 2018 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

Angelo Iacono Liberal Alfred-Pellan, QC

Madam Speaker, violence is unacceptable. According to Abacus Data, one in ten Canadians says that sexual harassment is common in their workplace.

That is not okay. It is not okay for employees to go to work with a sick feeling in the pit of their stomach. It is not okay for employees to be afraid to go to work.

This situation has gone on for far too long. That is why Bill C-65 is a major step forward toward ensuring safe, healthy workplaces for all. With this bill, we will ensure that victims get justice and swift resolution and that they can count on a system that works.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 17th, 2018 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Vancouver Centre.

I am pleased to rise today to participate in the debate on Bill C-65. The main goal of the legislation is to ensure that all employees of federal jurisdiction, including those in federal workplaces and in federally regulated industries, are treated fairly and protected from harmful behaviours such as harassment and sexual violence.

On this side of the House, we are fully supportive of the changes that have been made in the bill.

The past year has been defined by many powerful stories, spearheaded by survivors and their families. Movements such as #MeToo, Time's Up, as well as the global women's marches have shone a light on the ongoing challenges faced by victims and survivors, as well as the harsh realities that continue to hold us back.

Bill C-65, introduced last November by the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, represents the historic step this government is taking to prevent and address the issues of gender-based violence, particularly in federal workplaces.

Bill C-65 is built on the pillars of prevention, response and support. It will ensure that employers take steps to protect employees from these unacceptable behaviours, to respond to them when they occur and to offer support to those affected.

Sexual harassment and violence in the workplace is sadly nothing new. We know that legislation alone will not solve this problem. No one action will bring an end to gender-based violence. We must continue to do what we can. It will take a collective whole-of-government approach, alongside employers, employees, colleagues, family members and friends to move the needle forward.

To support our approach, in budget 2018, our government announced it would be providing $34.9 million over five years to support training and education, provide resources, such as an outreach hub accessible through an 800 number, and to support enforcement. Addressing gender inequality and gender-based violence has been a central theme to this government since day one.

Bill C-65 is historic and supports the first-ever gender-based violence strategy, which was launched by the Minister of Status of Women in 2017. Since the launch of “It's Time: Canada's Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence”, Status of Women Canada and federal partners have been working to find ways to take action on prevention, provide support for those affected and make changes to the justice system so it is responsive to the needs of women who experience harassment and violence.

In budget 2018, we expanded the gender-based violence program, with $29 million over five years, so more organizations, such as rape crisis centres, could help more high-risk women facing violence. This program supports the testing and implementation of practices that will help the gender-based violence sector do more for indigenous women and their communities and underserved populations, such as women living with a disability, non-status, refugee or immigrant women, LGBTQ2, gender non-conforming people and ethnocultural women.

It includes preventing dating violence and equipping health professionals to provide appropriate care to victims with an additional $31 million over five years; $5 million to enhance the development of preventative bullying and cyberbullying initiatives; enhancing support by $19.3 million over five years for the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre to increase the investigative capacity of the RCMP; providing $2 million over five years to support sexual assault centres in close proximity to Canadian bases so members of the Canadian Armed Forces have access to a full spectrum of supports to address gender-based violence; an additional $14.5 million over five years to address human trafficking by establishing a national human trafficking hotline, including an online portal and a referral mechanism to social services and law enforcement; and up to $5.5 million over five years, starting in 2018-19, to work with stakeholders, including the provinces and territories, toward developing a harmonized national framework to ensure consistent, comprehensive and sustainable approaches in addressing gender-based violence at post-secondary institutions across the country.

In June 2018, the Minister of Status of Women marked the first anniversary of the strategy. Concrete steps forward this past year included: 7,000 new or repaired shelter beds for survivors of family violence; 2,225 sexual assault case files classified as unfounded were reviewed by the RCMP; over $4 million in funding to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to protect children from sexual exploitation on the Internet and additional funding to establish a survivors' network; $20 million to support projects to address gaps in supports for gender-based violence survivors and their families; and the launch of the first ongoing national survey on gender-based violence in Canada.

In conclusion, the actions speak clearly and loudly. Our government is committed to preventing and addressing violence against women and girls. We are doing just that. I would like to encourage everyone in the House to continue the work that we have started. By working together, we can eradicate violence in all its forms and achieve peaceful, safe lives for everyone in Canada and around the world. In that worthwhile struggle, I wish members courage, wisdom and perseverance.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 17th, 2018 / 4:10 p.m.
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NDP

Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Madam Speaker, we have talked a lot about Bill C-65 in the House over the past two days. This bill amends the Canada Labour Code in order to reduce violence, intimidation and sexual harassment.

We have talked a lot about this, but I would like to hear what my colleague thinks. What does he think about the fact that, despite the many amendments I proposed, the government did not want to keep the joint health and safety committees? The government did not want to give those who file a complaint the option of submitting it to a joint workplace health and safety committee. We heard the argument that it would undermine the confidentiality of the person filing the complaint, but actually the opposite is true. The members of these committees have a certain expertise in the organization and they know how to work with people.

I would like to know why the government rejected the amendments and why it took away the right of joint workplace health and safety committees to receive and investigate complaints.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 17th, 2018 / 4:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Alupa Clarke Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my very hon. colleague from Cariboo—Prince George, in northern B.C.

As usual, I want to say hello to the people of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching us live on CPAC. I know that many of them do watch us, because they tell me so when I go door to door. They tell me that they watched me the week before. I want to say hello to all of them.

Today's debate is a very important one, since we are talking about harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Some may be surprised to hear me say this, and I am no expert, but it seems to me that the Canada Labour Code does not apply to employees who work in MPs' offices on Parliament Hill. This means that the code would not apply to me or my employees. This is rather surprising, in 2018.

I want to quickly touch on last week, which I spent in my riding. You will see why. I hosted two economic round tables. The first round table was for the Beauport business network, which I created a year and a half ago. There are some 50 business owners in this network, who get together once a month to talk about business-related issues and priorities in the riding. On Friday morning, I also held a round table called “Conservatives are listening to Quebecers”. This round table was attended by social, community and business stakeholders, among others.

Yesterday I asked the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour a question. After all, we are talking about workplaces here, with Bill C-65. I asked her if she was aware that we are in a crisis at the moment, especially in Quebec City, but all over Canada, because of the labour shortage. She made a mockery of it, saying that it was proof that the government has created so many jobs in Canada that businesses can no longer find workers. While that may be true from an objective, Socratic and rational standpoint, she is ignoring a real crisis situation that we are in.

I want to say one last thing before I get to the bill. At the two round tables I hosted, every time I visit businesses in my riding, in all my discussions with constituents and in all the correspondence I receive every day, to which I reply in writing every time, people mention the labour shortage. Some businesses have had to shut down in Beauport—Limoilou and others are scaling back operations, so I think it is very sad and upsetting that the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour would make a mockery of my question. The people of Quebec City were not happy to see that on Twitter and Facebook.

Today we are talking about an important bill, the act to amend the Canada Labour Code regarding harassment and violence, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1. It is clear that Conservatives, New Democrats, Liberals and all Canadians in general support the Liberal government's recently introduced bill. That is certainly not something I say every day, but when it is true, it must be acknowledged. With this important bill, even employees on Parliament Hill will benefit from guidelines and protection to keep them safe from sexual harassment, psychological harassment and every kind of discriminatory behaviour in the workplace.

I can say that this affects us all. It could also affect our family, a cousin, a brother or sister and, in my case, it affects my children. My daughter Victoria is four years old and my son Winston is a year and a half. My daughter started kindergarten a few months ago. It is the first time she has attended school. We definitely do not want her to experience discrimination or harassment. It will inevitably happen because good and evil are part of life, and harassment and discrimination will always exist. That is why it is important to have laws that govern, try to control, eliminate or at least reduce this as much as possible in our society.

I would like to tell you that I have directly experienced discrimination and psychological harassment, but not sexual harassment, thank God. When I was in grade six, I moved from New Brunswick to Quebec. I can see my colleague laughing because he knows that I grew up in New Brunswick. I am from Quebec, but I grew up in New Brunswick. I moved to Quebec when I was in grade six. Children can be very brutal because they lack empathy and an understanding of the context in which they find themselves.

Kids are often oblivious to the harm they inflict on others. I got beaten up at recess every day for a year, so this is a subject I am not unfamiliar with. In my case, the situation made me stronger. Unfortunately, in other cases, it has ruined lives. What we want to avoid is situations where harassment and discrimination destroy lives. It is terrible to see a life completely destroyed after such an incident.

I want to reiterate that, setting politics aside and speaking from a human perspective, all members and all Canadians should support this bill. However, that does not mean there is no need to propose certain amendments, which I will discuss shortly.

The bill is meant to strengthen the workplace safety framework on Parliament Hill. When I think of all the young Canadians who work on the Hill, it makes me even more motivated to support this bill. The people working on the Hill are often young Canadians in their twenties who are full of hope, ambition and energy. They love politics, and they love Canada. They are proud to work for a minister, the Prime Minister, a shadow cabinet member or an MP. These young people arrive in Parliament full of energy and enthusiasm.

There is no denying that, throughout our country's history, members and ministers have behaved inappropriately or committed inappropriate acts, including sexual harassment, psychological harassment and discrimination.

Many of the young victims were surely brilliant, highly motivated and ambitious individuals. Perhaps they were even future Liberal, Conservative or NDP prime ministers, although unfortunately for them, that will never happen now. These were young people who were here for the right reasons, who were not cynical. A lot of young people in Canada are saying they have no use for politics, and that is unfortunate. Those young people should read books on Canadian history to understand what we are doing here today. Some young people have had the courage to get over their cynicism and come to this place, only to become victims of sexual or psychological harassment or discrimination. Careers have been destroyed in some cases, along with their hope and love for Canada. I find that appalling and very upsetting.

This bill sets out to fill a legal void. I would like to remind everyone that Parliament Hill was the only place where Canada Labour Code provisions on harassment and discrimination did not apply. There was a legal void, and it is important to acknowledge that that void played a part in destroying young Canadians who came here full of energy to help build a strong and thriving country on both national and international stages. Everyone wants a workplace that contributes to their quality of life, one where safety is important. Employees perform better in such workplaces.

Most of the Conservatives' amendments were accepted. We successfully introduced an amendment to prevent political interference during harassment investigations. The Conservatives played an active role in bringing the bill to this stage. We successfully introduced an amendment to ensure strict timelines for investigations into incidents of harassment. We proposed mandatory sexual harassment training, training that all MPs received. We proposed a mandatory review of the bill after five years because it needs to be reviewed at regular intervals, as my colleague said.

In closing, since this is Small Business Week, I want to say three cheers for business people. I thank the people of Beauport—Limoilou for the work they do every day. I think they are wonderful, and I look forward to seeing them when I go door to door.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 17th, 2018 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to know what my colleague thinks about the amendments that were proposed concerning the definition of harassment and violence in Bill C-65, whether in committee or by the Senate. I myself presented amendments in that regard before the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, but they were rejected.

I would like to know what my colleague thinks about the Liberals' definition and about the fact that they rejected all the Conservative and NDP amendments. Does he think that the definition presented in Bill C-65 is ambiguous or restrictive?

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 17th, 2018 / 4:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to stand in the House any time I get a chance. I have listened to this debate for the full amount of time. The amazing thing about the House is that we can, at times, make jabs at those across the way. We are all here to support and represent those who elected us, but at times there are divides on certain issues. I think we all can agree that the time is up, that things need to change, that we need to be united as we move forward and that there is no place for harassment or violence in the workplace.

There is spirited debate all the time. We are not always going to agree on everything, but in listening to debates, we learn valuable things from other colleagues across political lines. I have to say that this debate has been interesting and illuminating at times. I am not a lawyer and have not had a chance to sit in the committee while this work was being done. I am a father of three amazing girls aged 30, 30 and 28, and my son is 24.

We should be doing everything in our power for victims of violence and harassment. I am going to repeat what the parliamentary secretary mentioned at one point yesterday during the debate, that we should always be looking through the lens of the victim, and that is really important. In how we comport ourselves in our everyday service to Canadians, we should be looking through the lens of the grassroots, those who elected us.

I am going to focus my time on where I see some failures. The Conservative Party and caucus are supporting this bill as it stands. In reading the notes, there was some great work done at committee. At committee is probably where we do some of our best work. It is an opportunity for us to work with our colleagues across the way out of the limelight, out of the glare of question period. We do great work in committee at times, and by all appearances, it looks like Bill C-65 is the culmination of some great work.

My hon. colleague from Jonquière mentioned mental health being left out. She put an amendment forward about it, for whatever reason. I do not know the reason. Again, I cannot talk about the background to that, because I was not part of the committee. However, every member of the House and the people watching know that I am a tireless champion of mental health. Whether it is first responders, veterans, military, victims of violence or first nation communities, we must do everything as Canadians and as leaders within this beautiful country of ours to make sure that those who come forward are believed so they have the confidence that when they do come forward with an allegation of sexual harassment, sexual assault or violence in the workplace, they will to be believed. We have to build an environment where it is conducive for them to come forward, to be believed, and therefore not to be revictimized time and time again throughout the process. Today that is what I want to talk about.

I am a new member of Parliament and I want to bring the House back to the early days of this session of Parliament when something called “elbowgate”. occurred. I was way down on the far end of the House as a new member of Parliament. It was an interesting situation. I saw the Prime Minister walk across the aisle, angrily shouting swear words, barking orders and then physically grabbing someone, the Conservative whip at the time, who has since, unfortunately, passed away.

A melee took place after that. I was shocked. Days after that, parliamentarians were asked what we thought his intent was. I started to talk about mens rea yesterday, which in a court of law is translated as a guilty mind. Can it be proven beyond a doubt that the perpetrator of that crime had a guilty mind, that he intended to commit that crime?

In my speech the next day following that event, I offered up how that incident impacted me. I said that it was like asking the guy who got caught shoplifting whether he intended to do it. Everybody is sorry when he or she gets caught. I used an example about my brother who was killed in a drinking and driving accident. I said that the person who would get behind the wheel after having a few drinks probably did not intend to hurt, maim or kill somebody when he or she did that, but how would we know?

As a new member of Parliament, I received some interesting comments, such as I was comparing “elbowgate” to drinking and driving, which was not what I was suggesting. I was merely asking how I would know what the Prime Minister intended when he walked across the way. How was I to know what was in his mind. How was I to know if he truly intended to elbow a colleague. We received an apology that day. I do not know whether it was sincere or not, but I took him at his word.

I also brought up yesterday what happened in the previous Parliament, when the prime minister at the time called another member of Parliament a derogatory term. He stood and offered an apology.

Through the summer, we heard allegations of groping. Whether it was eight months, eight days, 18 days or 18 years ago, we can all agree it happened. The Prime Minister had a bunch of different stories along the way. Unbelievably, he offered this, that everyone knew that during certain circumstances men and women would experience such circumstances differently. That was not an admission of guilt. If anything, it was a denial. That is what I am talking about today, that was another re-victimization of the victim.

It is no different than the #MeToo movement. When those who have been brought forth, the ones who perpetrated the incidents against the women who bravely came forward, they stand before the courts, before the public and say that they thought it was consensual. I have a problem with that.

As leaders, we must always comport ourselves to a higher standard. Law does not apply willy-nilly to others and those who are in cabinet or those with the highest power can say that it does apply to them.

This is not an attack. Our hon. colleagues are going to say whatever they want to say, but I offer this. Our Prime Minister, who says he is a feminist, missed an incredible opportunity to stand and apologize, and it would have been done.

Bill C-65 is good legislation. We support the bill. However, we have seen it before, where the Liberals put legislation forward to cover up other transgressions within their cabinet. They tell us this that is what they will do now, but they never apologize for what they did before. Somebody else is always to blame.

This has been a great debate. I have learned many new things from all my colleagues, and I say that with true respect. We can be held to a higher account and I trust that through Bill C-65 all of us will be held to a higher account, regardless of the position.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 17th, 2018 / 4:55 p.m.
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NDP

Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Madam Speaker, as I have said many times, every recognized party in the House has stated their willingness to study Bill C-65 in a non-partisan way. In committee, our three parties worked very hard and very seriously for many hours and we heard from witnesses.

We spent a lot of time talking about training in the workplace, in businesses. Even here in the House of Commons, every member was required to undergo training on harassment, sexual harassment, and bullying.

How does my colleague see Bill C-65 and what could we have done to require businesses to provide training? How could we have helped them have a structure that allows them to have the information they need, but also requires them to provide this training?

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 17th, 2018 / 5 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague has come to this debate in a very respectful way, asking all parties great questions. Whether in the private sector or when I was a coach for a long period of time, we go through harassment training. I believe it should be mandatory. I believe that Bill C-65 has it in there.

I want to touch on one thing. If people are in the private sector, Bill C-65 does nothing for them. It is for government and only 8% of Canadians are employed by the federal sector. If this were truly going to be a historic piece of legislation, it could have been expanded. The government was hoping that the private sector was going to adopt this. If we truly want to be leaders within our country on this subject, we could have put a little more meat to the bill. However, I applaud those who sat around the table, the committee that worked tirelessly and all parties that came up with this piece of legislation. I look forward to seeing what the Senate comes back with.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 17th, 2018 / 5 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Madam Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to rise today to speak to the motion by the government in response to the Senate's amendments to Bill C-65.

I am pleased to see that the government took a judicious view of the amendments, accepting those that strengthened the bill in combatting harassment and violence in federally regulated workplaces, while respectfully declining those that would have caused the bill to be imbalanced or that could be better dealt with through regulations. The government's thoughtful review of the amendments proposed by the other place have ensured that I will be supporting its response.

Recently, I spoke out here in the chamber against violence in our political discourse, stating that it had no place in Canadian society. I feel just as strongly about violence and harassment in our workplaces. They have no place in Canadian society or within Parliament. We have been working in recent years to move toward addressing these issues with the gravity they deserve.

The Conservative Party has a long and proud tradition of standing up for the rights of victims of crime. Our previous Conservative government passed the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, ensuring that the most vulnerable Canadians could still receive justice. I am happy to see that Bill C-65 follows along that same path set by the previous government, proposing legislation that seeks to prevent incidents of harassment and violence and ensure additional protections for parliamentary staff.

In some ways, this proposed act would continue the work that I and other members of Parliament undertook in the previous parliament through the all-party subcommittee on a code of conduct for members. In that subcommittee, we struggled with the balance between parliamentary privilege and responsibility, between holding to account and respecting privacy, and between the rights of the accuser and the rights of the accused. Due to my time on that subcommittee, I understand the complexity of these questions.

For most workplaces, these issues are difficult enough. Clearly, Parliament is far from a typical workplace. Our workplace is unique. As such, it can be ripe for abuse, and for far too long, victims of harassment and violence have felt that they had no recourse. The bill before us seeks to rectify this problem and would provide legal recourse and protection to MPs' staff as well as to other victims.

Recent events have made it clear that a rigorous process needs to be in place to ensure that all are treated equally. Our democratic system of laws demands that justice be blindly executed and that all face consequences for their actions, whether that person be the pauper or the prince. Is this currently the case? If I may make an observation about the party across the floor, it does not appear to be.

I fear that the Liberal Party has become the party of virtue signalling. The Liberals will readily say the right words, or more often, the words that sound nice in theory but fail in reality. Their actions do not match their platitudes. They are willing to create a rule and to then apply it unequally, as the need may be. At times, they have gone so far as to ignore their own rules, as was a recent case with the Prime Minister. In that case, there was one set of rules for the members of his caucus when it came to accusations of harassment and another for him. That is far from fair, far from feminist and far from just.

I know that I am not alone in wanting better from those in power. It is for this reason that I welcome the clarity Bill C-65 would bring to this process. No one, no matter who they are, should ever escape the consequences of their actions because of the title they bear.

Bill C-65 would ensure that every victim would be given due process and that the rights of the accused would be protected. Canadians want a fair process free from interference, free of innuendo and blind to power. I am happy to see that all parties worked together to ensure that this would be the case by amending the bill in committee.

Prior to the amendments, as my colleague, the member for Lethbridge, pointed out in her remarks at second reading, the bill granted a great deal of power to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. Those powers included the ability to choose when and if to begin an investigation.

We could see that this was an issue. Not only must investigations be free from political interference, they must be free from the appearance of political interference. Canadians must be completely confident that justice is served to all, or our justice system, as a whole, loses legitimacy.

Other powers originally granted to the minister included the power to subpoena personal and professional material in the offices of any member of Parliament under investigation. This could have included confidential political documents regarding internal party policy discussions. It is not hard to see how these powers could be misused.

We can all agree that allegations of harassment are sensitive and require the confidence of all participants in the process. Both accuser and accused must believe that the highest priority of the investigation is to find the truth.

The placement of so much power over an investigation in the hands of a political operative weakened the bill greatly. The victim's voice would be drowned out in political debates. I am pleased to see that the committee worked together to address this very serious concern. The power would no longer be in the hands of the minister but would be in the hands of the deputy minister, a non-partisan civil servant. I believe that this change would ensure the integrity of not only the investigation process but of our political process as well.

The bill would apply not only to Parliament Hill but to all federally regulated workplaces. I am pleased to see that the government accepted an amendment from the other place that would ensure that the person to whom complaints would be made would be required to have proper training, knowledge and experience in dealing with harassment. The amendment would give additional strength to the enforcement of the bill, as every federal employee would have an expert to turn to when faced with violence or harassment.

Much of the conversation around this act has focused on the after-effects of harassment and violence, or the allegations thereof. However, I am also pleased to see that an amendment was accepted during the committee stage to add mandatory sexual harassment training. The enactment of this training moves beyond reactive responses to harassment and instead seeks to prevent harassment from taking place in the first place.

I would once again like to congratulate my colleagues in this place and the other place for all the work they have done to ensure that Bill C-65 would be able to combat workplace violence and harassment effectively. I will be supporting the government's response to the amendments, and I look forward to seeing this bill become law.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 17th, 2018 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Madam Speaker, I think it is clear that all parties are going to support Bill C-65. It is an important step forward. However, the communication that goes around Bill C-65 is also important when we are sending a message to Canadians that we are taking a leadership role. When it comes to addressing harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace, it is also important that we tell Canadians that there is a level playing field, that every single Canadian, no matter who they are, whether a cabinet minister, a prime minister, or a supervisor in a workplace, will be treated the same as everyone else.

However, what we have right now appears to be “Do as I say, not as I do”. The Liberals are not practising what they preach. I would like my colleague to talk about how important it is that we tell Canadians that no matter who they are, they will be treated equally when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 16th, 2018 / 10:10 a.m.
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Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Employment

moved:

that a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint their Honours that, in relation to Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, the House: agrees with amendments 3, 5(b), 6 and 7(a) made by the Senate;

respectfully disagrees with amendment 1 because replacing the word “means” with “includes” would result in a lack of clarity for both employees and employers;

respectfully disagrees with amendment 2 because, in focusing on harassment and violence, it would create an imbalance relative to all of the other occupational health and safety measures under Part II of the Canada Labour Code, and, in addition, other legislation, such as the Employment Equity Act, addresses some of those issues;

proposes that amendment 4 be amended by deleting paragraph (z.163) and by renumbering paragraph (z.164) as paragraph (z.163) because the addition of proposed paragraph (z.163) would mean that a single incident of harassment and violence in a work place would be considered to be a violation of the Canada Labour Code on the part of the employer, which would undermine the framework for addressing harassment and violence that Bill C-65 seeks to establish;

respectfully disagrees with amendment 5(a) because the complaints that are investigated under the section that would be amended do not include complaints relating to an occurrence of harassment and violence;

respectfully disagrees with amendment 7(b) because this would be inconsistent with the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board’s other annual reporting obligations under both the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board Act and Part I of the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and because that Board would only be reporting on a small subset of cases in respect of which there are appeals, thus creating a high risk that an employee’s identity would be revealed if such statistical data were published.

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to rise today to speak to Bill C-65. First, I would like to recognize both chambers for their excellent work on the bill. Bill C-65 has had careful study over the course of many meetings, and both chambers have suggested amendments that would strengthen this historic legislation. All hon. members agree it is our responsibility and duty to end workplace harassment and violence, and Bill C-65 brings us closer to that goal.

This bill will change how we perceive and put a stop to unacceptable behaviour in workplaces under federal jurisdiction, including Parliament, but its ultimate goal is so much greater.

It is my hope that Bill C-65 will become the standard and the model for other jurisdictions in the country.

We have heard for years many stories of harassment and violence in the workplace and the extent of the problem. In 2017, more women than ever before came forward to share their experiences through the #MeToo movement. The flood of stories was overwhelming. Some were shocked by what we heard and read, but too many of us were not. So many women have experienced what can no longer be denied: a systematic and widespread tolerance of workplace harassment and sexual violence.