Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1

An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures

Sponsor

Bill Morneau  Liberal

Status

Second reading (House), as of April 12, 2019

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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 and related measures by

(a) providing a temporary enhanced first-year capital cost allowance rate of 100% in respect of eligible zero-emission vehicles;

(b) removing the requirement that property be of “national importance” in order to qualify for the enhanced tax incentives for donations of cultural property;

(c) providing a temporary enhanced first-year capital cost allowance rate in respect of a wide range of depreciable capital properties, including a temporary first-year capital cost allowance rate of 100% in respect of

(i) machinery and equipment used for the manufacturing or processing of goods, and

(ii) specified clean energy equipment;

(d) ensuring that social assistance payments under certain programs are non-taxable, are not included in income for the purposes of determining entitlement to income-tested benefits and credits and do not preclude an individual from being considered a “parent” for the purposes of the Canada Workers Benefit;

(e) repealing the use of taxable income as a factor in determining a Canadian-controlled private corporation’s annual expenditure limit for the purpose of the enhanced scientific research and experimental development tax credit;

(f) providing support for Canadian journalism;

(g) introducing the Canada Training Credit;

(h) amending the Income Tax Act to reflect the current regulations for accessing cannabis for medical purposes;

(i) eliminating the requirement that sales be to a farming or fishing cooperative corporation in order to be excluded from specified corporate income for the purposes of the small business deduction;

(j) extending the mineral exploration tax credit for an additional five years;

(k) ensuring that business income of a communal organization retains its character when it is allocated to members of the communal organization for tax purposes;

(l) increasing the withdrawal limit under the Home Buyers’ Plan and amending how it applies on the breakdown of a marriage or common-law partnership;

(m) extending joint and several liability for tax owing on income from carrying on business in a TFSA to the TFSA’s holder and limiting the TFSA issuer’s liability for such tax;

(n) supporting employees who must reimburse a salary overpayment to their employer due to a system, administrative or clerical error;

(o) expanding tax support for electric vehicle charging stations and electrical energy storage equipment;

(p) allowing joint projects of producers from Canada and Belgium to qualify for the Canadian film or video production tax credit; and

(q) ensuring appropriate pension adjustment calculations in 2019 and subsequent tax years for registered pension plans that reference the enhanced Canada Pension Plan.

Part 2 implements certain goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) measures proposed in the March 19, 2019 budget

(a) to provide GST/HST relief in the health care sector by relieving the GST/HST on supplies and importations of human ova and importations of in vitro embryos, by adding licenced podiatrists and chiropodists to the list of practitioners on whose order supplies of foot care devices are zero-rated and by exempting from the GST/HST certain health care services rendered by a multidisciplinary team of licenced health care professionals; and

(b) by introducing amendments to ensure that the GST/HST treatment of expenses incurred in respect of zero-emission passenger vehicles parallels the income tax treatment of those vehicles.

Part 3 implements certain excise measures proposed in the March 19, 2019 budget by changing the federal excise duty rates on cannabis products that are edible cannabis, cannabis extracts (including cannabis oils) and cannabis topicals to $0.‍0025 per milligram of total tetrahydrocannabinol contained in the cannabis product.

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

Subdivision A of Division 1 of Part 4 amends the Bank Act to, among other things, provide members of federal credit unions with different methods of voting prior to meetings and provide additional exceptions to the requirement that a proxy circular be sent in order to solicit proxies. The Subdivision also makes a technical amendment to An Act to amend certain Acts in relation to financial institutions.

Subdivision B of Division 1 of Part 4 amends the Canadian Payments Act to allow the term of the elected directors of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Payments Association to be renewed twice, to extend the term of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of that Board and to allow the remuneration of certain members of the Stakeholder Advisory Council.

Subdivision A of Division 2 of Part 4 amends the Canada Business Corporations Act to require a corporation, on request by an investigative body that has reasonable grounds to suspect that certain offences have been committed, to provide to the investigative body a copy of its register of individuals with significant control or information in that registry that is specified by the investigative body. It also requires those investigative bodies to keep certain records in relation to their requests and to report annually in respect of those requests.

Subdivision B of Division 2 of Part 4 amends the Criminal Code to add the element of recklessness to the offence of laundering proceeds of crime.

Subdivision C of Division 2 of Part 4 amends the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to, among other things,

(a) allow the Governor in Council to make regulations defining “virtual currency” and “dealing in virtual currencies”;

(b) require the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (“the Centre”) to disclose information to the Agence du Revenu du Québec and the Competition Bureau in certain circumstances;

(c) allow the Centre to disclose additional designated information that is associated with the import and export of currency and monetary instruments;

(d) provide that certain information must not be the subject of a confidentiality order made in the course of an appeal to the Federal Court; and

(e) require the Centre to make public certain information if a person or entity is deemed to have committed a violation or is served a notice of a decision of the Director indicating that a person or entity has committed a violation.

Subdivision D of Division 2 of Part 4 amends the Seized Property Management Act to authorize the Minister to, among other things,

(a) provide consultative and other services to any person employed in the federal public administration or by a provincial or municipal authority in relation to the seizure, restraint, custody, management, forfeiture or disposal of certain property;

(b) manage property seized, restrained or forfeited under any Act of Parliament or of the legislature of a province; and

(c) dispose of property when it is forfeited to Her Majesty in right of Canada and, with the consent of the government of the province, when it is forfeited to Her Majesty in right of a province, and share the proceeds.

The Subdivision also makes consequential amendments to the Criminal Code, the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act and the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.

Division 3 of Part 4 amends the Employment Equity Act to require federally regulated private-sector employers to report salary information that supports employment equity reporting beyond salary ranges, including making wage gap information by occupational groups more evident.

Division 4 of Part 4 authorizes payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for climate action support and in relation to infrastructure as well as to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and to the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service.

Division 5 of Part 4 amends the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to, among other things,

(a) require all parties in a proceeding under the Act to act in good faith; and

(b) allow the court to inquire into certain payments made to, among other persons, directors or officers of a corporation in the year preceding insolvency and imposes liability on the directors for those payments.

The Division amends the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to, among other things,

(a) limit the relief provided in an order made under section 11 to what is reasonably necessary and limit the period staying all proceedings that might be taken in respect of the company to 10 days;

(b) allow the court to make an order to disclose an economic interest in respect of a debtor company; and

(c) require all parties in a proceeding under the Act to act in good faith.

The Division also amends the Canada Business Corporations Act to, among other things,

(a) set out factors that directors and officers of a corporation may consider when acting with a view to the best interests of that corporation; and

(b) require directors of certain corporations to disclose certain information to shareholders respecting diversity, well-being and remuneration.

Finally, the Division amends the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985 to clarify that a pension plan is not to provide that, among other things, a member’s pension benefit or entitlement to a pension benefit is affected when a plan terminates. It also authorizes a pension plan administrator to purchase an immediate or deferred life annuity for former members or survivors in order to satisfy an obligation under the plan to provide a pension benefit arising from a defined benefit provision.

Division 6 of Part 4 amends the Canada Pension Plan to authorize the Minister of Employment and Social Development to waive the requirement for an application for a retirement pension in certain cases.

Division 7 of Part 4 amends the Old Age Security Act to provide, starting in July 2020, a new income exemption for the purposes of calculating the Guaranteed Income Supplement. The new exemption excludes the first $5,000 of a person’s employment and self-employment income as well as 50% of their employment and self-employment income greater than $5,000 but not exceeding $15,000.

Division 8 of Part 4 amends the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act, the Public Service Superannuation Act and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act to increase the surplus limit that applies to the Canadian Forces Pension Fund, the Public Service Pension Fund and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pension Fund, respectively, to 25% of the amount of liabilities.

Subdivision A of Division 9 of Part 4 amends the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to permit trustee licensing fees to be paid on a date to be prescribed by regulation and to permit trustees to maintain electronic records instead of retaining original documents.

Subdivision B of Division 9 of Part 4 amends the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act to allow for the addition, by regulation, of units of measurement for electricity and gas sales and distribution.

Subdivision C of Division 9 of Part 4 amends the Food and Drugs Act to improve safety and enable innovation by introducing measures to, among other things,

(a) allow the Minister of Health to classify certain products exclusively as foods, drugs, cosmetics or devices;

(b) provide oversight over the conduct of clinical trials for drugs, devices and certain foods for special dietary purposes;

(c) provide a regulatory framework for advanced therapeutic products; and

(d) modernize inspection powers.

Subdivision D of Division 9 of Part 4 amends the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act to limit the application of the Act to intoxicating liquors imported into Canada.

Subdivision E of Division 9 of Part 4 amends the Precious Metals Marking Act to provide that exemptions made by regulation can be either conditional or unconditional.

Subdivision F of Division 9 of Part 4 amends the Textile Labelling Act to provide that exemptions made by regulation can be either conditional or unconditional.

Subdivision G of Division 9 of Part 4 amends the Weights and Measures Act to authorize, by regulation, the use of new units of measurement and to update the definitions of the basic units of measurement in accordance with international standards.

Subdivision H of Division 9 of Part 4 amends the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act to streamline the process for reviewing claims for exemption, to allow for the suspension and cancellation of exemptions and to harmonize the provisions of the Act that allow for the disclosure of confidential business information with similar provisions in other Department of Health Acts.

Subdivision I of Division 9 of Part 4 amends the Canada Transportation Act to authorize the electronic administration and enforcement of Acts under the Minister of Transport’s authority and to promote innovation in transportation by authorizing the granting of exemptions for the purpose of research, development and testing.

Subdivision J of Division 9 of Part 4 amends the Pest Control Products Act to, among other things, allow the Minister of Health to

(a) expand the scope of a re-evaluation of, or a special review in relation to, a pest control product rather than initiating a new special review; and

(b) decide not to initiate a special review if the aspect of a pest control product that would otherwise prompt such a review is being, or has been, addressed in a re-evaluation or another special review.

Subdivision K of Division 9 of Part 4 repeals the provisions of the Quarantine Act that relate to the laying of proposed regulations before Parliament.

Subdivision L of Division 9 of Part 4 repeals the provisions of the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act that relate to the laying of proposed regulations before Parliament.

Division 10 of Part 4 amends the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act to establish the Management Advisory Board, which is to provide advice to the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on the administration and management of that police force.

Division 11 of Part 4 amends the Pilotage Act to, among other things,

(a) set out a clear purpose and principles for that Act;

(b) transfer the responsibility for making regulations from the Pilotage Authorities, with the approval of the Governor in Council, to the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Transport;

(c) transfer responsibility for enforcing that Act and issuing and charging for licences and certificates from the Pilotage Authorities to the Minister of Transport;

(d) set out an enforcement regime that is consistent with other Department of Transport Acts;

(e) provide that regulatory matters for the safe provision of compulsory pilotage services not be addressed in service contracts between the Pilotage Authorities and pilot corporations;

(f) allow the Pilotage Authorities to impose charges other than by making regulations;

(g) require that service contracts between pilot corporations and the Pilotage Authorities be publicly available; and

(h) prohibit pilots, or users or suppliers of pilotage services, from sitting on the board of directors of a Pilotage Authority.

The Division also makes consequential amendments to the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act and the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada Act.

Division 12 of Part 4 enacts the Security Screening Services Commercialization Act. That Act, among other things,

(a) authorizes the Governor in Council to designate a body corporate incorporated under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act as the designated screening authority, which is to be solely responsible for providing aviation security screening services;

(b) authorizes the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority to sell or otherwise dispose of its assets and liabilities to the designated screening authority;

(c) regulates the establishment, imposition and collection of charges related to the provision of aviation security screening services; and

(d) provides for the dissolution of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.

The Division also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Division 13 of Part 4 amends the Aviation Industry Indemnity Act to authorize the Minister of Transport to undertake to indemnify

(a) NAV CANADA for acts or omissions it commits in accordance with an instruction given under an agreement entered into between NAV CANADA and Her Majesty respecting the provision of air navigation services to the Department of National Defence; and

(b) any beneficiary under an insurance policy held by an aviation industry participant.

Division 14 of Part 4 amends the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada Act to clarify that the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada has jurisdiction in respect of reviews and appeals in connection with administrative monetary penalties provided for under the Marine Liability Act.

Division 15 of Part 4 enacts the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act. That Act creates a new self-regulatory regime governing immigration and citizenship consultants. It provides that the purpose of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants is to regulate immigration and citizenship consultants in the public interest and protect the public. That Act, among other things,

(a) creates a licensing regime for immigration and citizenship consultants and requires that licensees comply with a code of professional conduct, initially established by the responsible Minister;

(b) authorizes the College’s Complaints Committee to conduct investigations into a licensee’s conduct and activities;

(c) authorizes the College’s Discipline Committee to take or require action if it determines that a licensee has committed professional misconduct or was incompetent;

(d) prohibits persons who are not licensees from using certain titles and representing themselves to be licensees and provides that the College may seek an injunction for the contravention of those prohibitions;

(e) provides the responsible Minister with the authority to determine the number of directors on the board of directors and to require the Board to do anything that is advisable to carry out the purposes of that Act; and

(f) contains transitional provisions allowing the existing regulator — the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council — to be continued as the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants or, if the existing regulator is not continued, allowing the establishment of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants, a new corporation without share capital.

The Division also makes related amendments to the Citizenship Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to double the existing maximum fines applicable to the offence of contravening section 21.‍1 of the Citizenship Act or section 91 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

In addition, it amends those Acts to provide the authority to make regulations establishing a system of administrative penalties and consequences, including of administrative monetary penalties, applicable to certain violations by persons who provide representation or advice for consideration — or offer to do so — in immigration or citizenship matters.

Finally, the Division makes consequential amendments to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

Division 16 of Part 4 amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to

(a) introduce a new ground of ineligibility for refugee protection if a claimant has previously made a claim for refugee protection in another country;

(b) provide that if the Federal Court refuses a person’s application for leave to commence an application for judicial review, or denies their application for judicial review, with respect to their claim for refugee protection or their application for protection, the date of that refusal or denial is the first day of the period that must pass before a request or application referred to in section 24, 25 or 112 of that Act may be made; and

(c) authorize the Governor in Council to make an order regarding the processing of applications for temporary resident visas, work permits and study permits made by citizens or nationals of a foreign state or territory if the Governor in Council is of the opinion that the government or competent authority of that state or territory is unreasonably refusing to issue or unreasonably delaying the issuance of travel documents to citizens or nationals of that state or territory who are in Canada.

Division 17 of Part 4 amends the Federal Courts Act to increase the number of Federal Court judges.

Division 18 of Part 4 amends the National Housing Act to allow the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to acquire an interest or right in a housing project that is occupied or intended to be occupied by the owner of the project and to make an investment in order to acquire such an interest or right.

Division 19 of Part 4 enacts the National Housing Strategy Act. That Act provides for, among other things, the development and maintenance of a national housing strategy and imposes requirements related to the mandatory content of the strategy. It also establishes a National Housing Council and requires the appointment of a Federal Housing Advocate. Finally, it requires the submission of an annual report by the Advocate on systemic housing issues and the submission of periodic reports by the designated Minister on the implementation of the strategy and the achievement of desired housing outcomes.

Division 20 of Part 4 enacts the Poverty Reduction Act, which provides for an official metric and other metrics to measure the level of poverty in Canada, sets out two poverty reduction targets in Canada and establishes the National Advisory Council on Poverty.

Division 21 of Part 4 amends the Veterans Well-being Act to expand the eligibility criteria for the education and training benefit in order to make members of the Supplementary Reserve eligible for that benefit.

Division 22 of Part 4 amends the Canada Student Loans Act and the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act to extend the interest-free period on student loans by six months and to provide for transitional measures in respect of individuals to whom student loans were made and who ceased to be students at any time during the six months before the amendments come into force.

Division 23 of Part 4 amends the Canada National Parks Act to establish Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve of Canada and to decrease the hectarage of certain ski areas.

Division 24 of Part 4 amends the Parks Canada Agency Act to provide that, starting on April 1, 2021, any balance of money appropriated to the Parks Canada Agency that is not spent by the Agency in the fiscal year in which it was appropriated lapses at the end of that fiscal year.

Subdivision A of Division 25 of Part 4 enacts the Department of Indigenous Services Act, which establishes the Department of Indigenous Services and confers on the Minister of Indigenous Services various responsibilities relating to the provision of services to Indigenous individuals eligible to receive those services.

Subdivision B of Division 25 of Part 4 enacts the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Act, which establishes the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, confers on the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations various responsibilities relating to relations with Indigenous peoples and confers on the Minister of Northern Affairs various responsibilities relating to the administration of Northern affairs.

Subdivision C of Division 25 of Part 4 makes amendments to other Acts and repeals the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act.

Subdivision D of Division 25 of Part 4 makes amendments to the First Nations Land Management Act, the First Nations Oil and Gas and Moneys Management Act and the Addition of Lands to Reserves and Reserve Creation Act.

Division 26 of Part 4 enacts the Federal Prompt Payment for Construction Work Act in order to establish a regime to provide prompt payments to contractors and subcontractors for construction work performed for the purposes of a construction project in respect of federal real property or federal immovables and a regime to resolve disputes over the non-payment of that construction work.

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.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

April 12th, 2019 / 10:10 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Scarborough Centre.

It is a pleasure to rise in the House to speak to budget 2019, Bill C-97.

For the past four years, our government has invested in Canadians and in what matters to them the most. Budget 2019 continues that plan by investing in something that matters to all Canadians: their health. We all know the sinking feeling that comes when you hear a loved one is sick or badly hurt. The clock seems to stop and it is hard to think about anything else, especially about how much money there is saved in the bank. However, the sad reality is that too many Canadians have to think about finances in moments of such dread.

We are proud of our publicly funded universal health care system, connecting Canadians with the best health care system and connecting Canadians with the best doctors, nurses and health care providers based on their needs. However, when it comes to prescription drugs, not everyone has access to what they need to regain and maintain their health.

Many middle-class Canadians, and those struggling hard to join the middle class, cannot afford the prescription drugs they need. No one should have to choose between putting food on the table and buying prescription drugs. Therefore, our system can and must be improved, because when prescription drugs are unaffordable, it leads to poorer health for many Canadians and higher health care costs for all of us.

It is true that most Canadians have some form of public or private drug coverage. However, the nature of that coverage varies significantly from person to person across the country. Therefore, to improve the accessibility and affordability of prescription medications, the government announced, in budget 2018, the creation of an advisory council. This council is providing advice on how to implement the national pharmacare plan in a manner that is affordable for Canadians, employers and governments. With budget 2019, we are laying the foundation for the implementation of a national pharmacare program while we await the final report by our advisory council on its full implementation.

Based on the consultation and interim report of the advisory council on the implementation of national pharmacare, our government intends to work with provinces, territories, the private sector and other partners on three foundational elements: first, create the Canadian drug agency that will assess drug effectiveness and negotiate prices; second, establish an evidence-based list of prescribed drugs, a list of drugs Canadians can access, to be developed as part of the agency; and third, establish a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases.

I will speak about these three items, specific measures and, should I have some time remaining, I would like to take a quick aside to discuss budget 2019's strong emphasis on issues facing seniors in communities like mine.

I will start with the first foundational element: assessing drug effectiveness and negotiating prices.

The new Canadian drug agency, through its ability to negotiate prices, will lead to lower prices for prescription drugs. That is very good news, because right now, Canada faces some of the highest drug costs in the world. Costs have risen dramatically over the last three decades. Prescription drug spending in Canada was about $2.5 billion in 1985. In 2018, it was nearly $34 billion and the costs keep rising.

Canada's current patchwork of drug coverage is not well equipped to handle the increasingly expensive drugs coming into the market. There are over 100 public prescription drug insurance companies in Canada and over 100,000 private insurance plans.

The Canadian drug agency would help make things better by negotiating drug prices on behalf of Canada's drug plans. The agency would also assess the effectiveness of new prescription drugs and recommend which drugs represented the best value for money for Canadians. For the first time in Canada, drug evaluation and price negotiation could be carried out by one single entity. This was one of the initial recommendations included in the interim report of the advisory council on the implementation of national pharmacare.

The Canadian drug agency would be established in partnership with provinces, territories and all other stakeholders. It would build on existing provincial successes by acting as a single evaluator and negotiator on behalf of Canada's drug plans.

The proposed agency could help to considerably reduce drug spending. The Canadian drug agency could, in the long term, lead to billions of dollars in savings on prescription drug costs each year. In short, the Canadian drug agency could be a powerful tool for addressing the rising cost of prescription drugs across Canada.

The second foundational element is establishing a new national formulary for prescribed drugs. While the Canadian drug agency's key responsibility would be the development of a national formulary, the agency would work in partnership with provinces, territories and other stakeholders to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based list of prescribed drugs. This would provide the basis for a consistent approach to formulary listings and patient access across the country. Therefore, budget 2019 proposes to provide Health Canada with $35 million over four years to establish a transition office to support the development of this vision.

The third foundational element is making high-cost drugs for rare diseases more accessible. I would like to discuss what budget 2019 would mean for Canadians who require high-cost prescription drugs to treat their diseases. For these Canadians, the cost of the medication they need can be astronomical.

It is worth noting that rare diseases predominantly affect children. These diseases are often genetically based and appear in early childhood. More than 7,000 rare diseases have been identified to date. However each one of them affects a relatively small number of patients, which makes decisions on drug approval and coverage very difficult. The list price of some of these drugs often exceeds $100,000 per patient per year. In some cases, it is even more. This obviously creates significant distress for these patients and their families.

These costs also represent significant challenges for the government and private drug plans when it comes to making decisions on whether and how to pay for the treatment. This can lead to challenges for many provinces and territories looking to help families. This is why we need a national approach to drugs for rare diseases.

Canada's national strategy will be created in partnership, again, with the provinces and territories. It will allow for a coordinated approach for gathering and evaluating evidence, improve consistency in decision-making and access across the country, and ensure that effective treatments reach the patients who need them the most.

Budget 2019 proposes up to $1 billion over two years, starting in 2022, with up to $500 million per year ongoing, to help Canadians with rare diseases.

I know I have less than one minute left, so I would like to speak briefly about seniors and how those in my riding will be impacted.

Our government is increasing the GIS exemption from $3,500 to $5,000 per year to give more of our fixed-income seniors the choice to continue to work without being penalized. We will begin proactive CPP enrolment at age 70 to ensure that no seniors miss out on benefits they are entitled to.

We are increasing transparency and will launch an initiative to change corporate laws to increase oversight and grant the courts a greater ability to review payments made to executives in the lead-up to insolvency, protecting workplace pensions from predatory practices.

In conclusion, like many of my colleagues, I look forward to reading the final report of the advisory council on the implementation of national pharmacare, which is due later this spring.

Moving forward, national pharmacare will help lead to protecting the health of every Canadian.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

April 12th, 2019 / 10:20 a.m.
See context

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if my colleague realizes that he spent much of his speech talking about pharmacare and the fact that the Liberals have been promising universal pharmacare for nearly 25 years now. In his speech, the member asked Canadians and the House to wait a bit longer for the advisory council's report. Canadians have been waiting for this program forever.

Can the member explain why, after nearly 25 years, the Liberals are still not ready to keep their promise and why they keep calling for more meetings, more discussion groups and more analysis? What more could they possibly need after 25 years? What is the problem?

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

April 12th, 2019 / 10:20 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I cannot talk about the past 25 years, but I can talk about what our government has done. Our government, shortly after coming to power, started the process for pharmacare. Almost all members within our caucus are very supportive of pharmacare.

I draw on my background as a management consultant. One does not launch such a huge initiative by blindly coming up with a plan or an act. One does consultations and puts a tough advisory team together. The research is done and a decision is made.

We are looking forward to seeing the report, but I can assure members that from the first step taken to the recommendations that have been made, we are well on our way to being able to implement national pharmacare.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

April 12th, 2019 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Richmond Hill for his work as the chair of the all-party mental health caucus.

As he knows, suicide has a profound effect in Canada. For every suicide death, there are five self-inflicted injury hospitalizations, 25 to 30 attempts and seven to 10 people profoundly affected by suicide loss.

Could the hon. member comment on the Government of Canada's investments in mental health, particularly for suicide prevention programs, in budget 2019?

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

April 12th, 2019 / 10:20 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member for Guelph's strong advocacy on the mental health file and his unyielding support for this initiative.

In budget 2019, our government announced a pan-Canadian suicide prevention service. It is about $25 million over five years, with another $5 million per year thereafter.

The most important thing is that there were other initiatives in 2017 and 2018 vis-à-vis mental health. In 2017, the largest investment in mental health was tabled, with $11 billion over 10 years to support home care as well as mental health. Specifically, about $5 billion went to mental health. In budget 2018, about $20 million over five years was committed to projects focused on seniors and women living with dementia.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

April 12th, 2019 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Richmond Hill for his speech.

I have been the MP for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier for three and a half years now, having started at the same time as this Liberal government. I will pick up where my NDP colleague left off. He mentioned that it has been 25 years. Speaking personally, for the past three and a half years, I have been listening to the Liberals say that they are going to start a process, hold consultations, establish a council, create wide-ranging initiatives, set up a team and develop policies. They talk about 2022 and beyond.

How can we trust this government, which has been in power for three and a half years? What do I tell the seniors in my riding who want real help today?

This Liberal government has nothing concrete to offer. How can it be proud of what its Minister of Finance has introduced?

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

April 12th, 2019 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, first let me say how proud I am of the accomplishments of our government.

One thing the hon. member has to remember is that this is a partnership. I emphasized that in my speech a number of times. This is not something we can do overnight, and this is not something we can do alone. It requires partnership, and it requires making sure that we spend the time needed to do it right.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

April 12th, 2019 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Salma Zahid Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have not had the opportunity to speak at length in this place for some time, and I am happy to have the opportunity to rise today on Bill C-97 to speak to some of the initiatives in our government's budget that are going to make a difference for my constituents in Scarborough Centre.

This is our government's fourth budget, and it is the continuation of the plan Canadians voted for in 2015, a plan that is working.

Back in 2015, Canadians had a choice between Conservative and NDP plans for austerity and cuts and a Liberal plan for investing in growing the middle class and those working hard to join it. Canadians chose to invest in our future, and their decision is paying off. Today Canada's economy is one of the fastest growing in the G7. Since 2015, Canadians have created more than 900,000 new jobs. Thanks to the middle-class tax cut and the tax-free Canada child benefit, Canadian families have more money in their pockets to help make ends meet.

However, we recognize that our work is not yet done. We need to ensure that all Canadians share in the growing prosperity. That means being able to find an affordable place to live, getting the skills to find a well-paying job and being able to retire with confidence. That is why it is important that we do not allow the clock to be turned back to the Harper era and that we keep investing in Canadians and in our future.

Before I get to some of those investments, allow me to touch on another area of focus in budget 2019: keeping Canadians safe from violence and hate. Canadians of all backgrounds and identities should always feel safe together. Unfortunately, as recent tragic events have demonstrated, certain groups of people, because of their race, religion or sexual orientation, are at risk of being targeted by hate-motivated crimes, threatening their safety and security and the gathering places they enjoy.

To help community gathering spaces, such as schools, community centres and places of worship, make needed security improvements, we would double the annual funding for the security infrastructure program, from $2 million per year to $4 million per year. Several faith organizations in Scarborough Centre have already leveraged this program to upgrade their security infrastructure, and I encourage all eligible institutions to take advantage of this program.

We all know that diversity is one of Canada's strengths, but sadly, we know that Canada is not immune to the effects of hateful rhetoric. That is why budget 2019 would invest $45 million to support a new anti-racism strategy. It would work to find ways to counter racism in its various forms, with a strong focus on community-based projects.

While we cannot be blind to the threats, I know that most of my fellow Canadians are warm and welcoming people who reject fear, racism and division. What unites us all is our shared desire to provide opportunities for families, and this budget would make a number of important investments in that regard.

Perhaps the biggest issue I hear about at the door in Scarborough is housing. Buying a home is increasingly out of reach for the average family, and rental housing is often outdated, overpriced and inadequate for the needs of many families.

Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to live, but in the greater Toronto area, too many are being priced out of the market. The Harper government did nothing to address housing affordability for 10 years. The Conservatives were missing in action, leaving the provinces, the municipalities and community organizations to try to pick up the slack. However, with our 10-year, $40-billion national housing strategy, the federal government is finally back at the table when it comes to housing.

I had the opportunity to join the Prime Minister and the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development in Scarborough, where our government committed $1.3 billion to help repair and renovate more than 58,000 Toronto community housing units. This will allow for long-delayed repairs to be completed and will improve the quality of life for thousands of Toronto families. We would build on these investments in budget 2019.

The new first-time homebuyer incentive will make home ownership more affordable for first-time homebuyers and allow them to lower their monthly mortgages. On a newly built $400,000 home, this new incentive could save an eligible homebuyer up to $40,000, or 10%, of the total cost. We expect as many as 100,000 Canadians could benefit from this program over the next three years, putting the dream of home ownership back within reach.

I have spoken with independent experts in the real estate industry who tell me this program will mean more families will be able to enter the housing market, especially younger families just starting out, families like Sameer Ahmed in my riding, whose wife and three children are crammed today in a two-bedroom apartment. They can now dream of a home in which their family has the room to grow and thrive. The more flexible homebuyer plan will let Canadians borrow an additional $10,000 from their RRSPs, raising the limit to $35,000, providing more flexibility for Canadians.

For Canadians looking to rent rather than buy, increased funding for rental construction finance initiatives means 42,500 new rental units across Canada. It is so important that we build capacity in the rental housing market where supply far outstrips demand and much of the existing supply is increasingly old and out of date.

I am also excited about the Canada training benefit. It is an initiative very similar to one brought as a policy to last spring's Liberal policy convention developed by a group of youth in my riding. It addressed a challenge identified by many of their peers, the challenge of lifelong learning and re-skilling for an ever-changing economy throughout our lives.

To ensure Canadians have the skills they need to get the well-paying jobs of the new economy, we are introducing the Canada training benefit. Canadians earning less than $150,000 can accumulate up to $5,000 tax-free over their lives, at a rate of $250 per year, to help with the cost of enrolling in a training program. Every four years, they can take up to four weeks of training to upgrade their skills and progress in their careers. With the EI training support benefit, they will get help with living expenses while on training leave. New leave provisions will ensure their jobs are safe.

While Canadians will need to supplement these resources with their own, this program will make it much easier for Canadian workers to invest in their careers and in themselves.

Speaking of young Canadians, we are helping our youth get ahead by lowering interest rates for student loans, saving the average borrower $2,000. We are also making the six-month grace period after graduation interest-free. If students temporarily leave their studies to have a child or deal with health issues, that period is now interest-free, too. We are helping students gain real-world experience by creating up to 40,000 annual new work placements and another 44,000 work-integrated work opportunities for Canadian students.

While the Conservatives were only focused on pushing back the age of retirement, we are committed to supporting seniors. With this budget, we are making their lives more affordable. We are ensuring that working seniors can keep more of their hard-earned income by enhancing the guaranteed income supplement earnings exemption. We are increasing the earnings exemption from $3,500 to $5,000, extending the exemption to include self-employment income, and introducing a 50% exemption in income between $5,000 and $15,000.

To fight social isolation and help seniors stay active and engaged in the community, we are increasing funding for the new horizons for seniors program. This program funds community-based projects designed to meet the needs of local seniors. I have seen first-hand in Scarborough the benefits this program brings to local seniors. For example, the Sesheme Foundation is using a new horizons grant to familiarize seniors with technology and help arm them with valuable financial literacy skills.

As I said earlier, our plan is working. I know this because, since 2015, 825,000 Canadians have been lifted out of poverty and Canada's poverty rate has dropped by more than 20%.

As I also said earlier, there is still more work to do. That is why we have launched Canada's first-ever poverty reduction strategy. Under this strategy, we are setting poverty reduction targets and entrenching Canada's official poverty line and the National Advisory Council on Poverty into law.

I could go on and on about the positive elements in this budget implementation act. Instead, let me just say that I am proud to be part of a government that is investing in Canadians. Truly, there can be no better bet than to bet on Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

April 12th, 2019 / 10:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of the things missing in budget 2019 has to do with diabetes. Eleven million Canadians have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Diabetes Canada came with an ask for the budget for its 360 plan to address this chronic disease, yet there is nothing in the budget.

Could the member explain why the government is not supporting that initiative or will she commit that it will?

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

April 12th, 2019 / 10:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Salma Zahid Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this government has committed to many health initiatives for mental health and home care. In 2017, it committed over $11 billion in mental health and home care. That is helping seniors have a life where they can be more healthy and can continue to live in their homes. It is really making a difference in the lives of those seniors.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

April 12th, 2019 / 10:35 a.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech. She emphasized that we need to work together to fight racism, xenophobia and intolerance. Naturally, we on this side of the House support that fight.

To govern is to make choices. For instance, we have a government that continues to tax medicinal cannabis, which sick Canadians need for pain relief. Now it is giving Loblaws $12 million to buy some refrigerators.

I do not understand why a company that made $3 billion in profit last year needs our money, public money, to buy new refrigerators, while the government continues to tax sick Canadians who need cannabis for health reasons.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

April 12th, 2019 / 10:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Salma Zahid Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have lowered taxes for the middle-class. We are investing in the middle class. Since 2015, when Liberals came into power, Canadians have created over 900,000 new jobs. Canada has the fastest growing economy in the G7. As well, we take diversity as one of our greatest strengths and we will fight for that, regardless of where people came from or when they arrived in Canada. This is a land of opportunities for everyone.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

April 12th, 2019 / 10:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Scarborough Centre for talking about the issues that matter most to Canadians. These are pocketbook issues like making home ownership affordable and helping working get their skills.

I would like her to talk about how the government is helping young people in her riding get the skills they need to get the jobs of the future.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

April 12th, 2019 / 10:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, as everyone knows in the House, we had significant job losses in Oshawa when the plant there announced that it would be closing. I have looked through this budget and it does not seem to address any of the issues for which manufacturers have asked, such as the competitiveness of the Canadian economy, especially with this new carbon tax. Many people still do not understand how high it will be.

Could the member point out if there is anything in the budget that addresses the competitive disadvantage of Canadians? If she cannot, could she at least let us know what the carbon tax is going to be by 2030 so companies that are making once-in-a-generation investments know what the costs are going to be in Canada?

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

April 12th, 2019 / 10:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Salma Zahid Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, climate change is a reality today and for our future generations, we have to accept that reality.

Pollution cannot be free. There has to be a price on pollution. There will be a rebate to all families through climate action incentives. For example, in Ontario, a family of four will receive a climate action incentive of $307 for the price on pollution.