An Act to amend the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act

This bill was last introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2021.

Sponsor

Paul Lefebvre  Liberal

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Introduced, as of April 19, 2021
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

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

This enactment amends the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to exclude postsecondary educational institutions from the Act.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Alleged Premature Disclosure of Private Member's BillPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

April 21st, 2021 / 3:25 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Paul Lefebvre Liberal Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to respond to the question of privilege raised by the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London with regard to Bill C-288, which I introduced in the House on Monday.

I would like to begin by thanking the member for bringing this matter to my attention. It is true that I spoke to reporters about my bill between the time it was put on notice and its introduction in the House.

That was a mistake on my part. I thought that, since I had described my bill during the emergency debate last Wednesday evening, it was okay to repeat the same comments outside the House. I did not know that one should not talk about a private member's bill during that period.

I would like to sincerely apologize to all members. I did not intend to breach the parliamentary privilege of the House. I now understand the implications of that decision, and I pledge to become more familiar with the rules and practices of the House.

Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to explain myself on this important issue.

Alleged Premature Disclosure of Private Member's BillPrivilegeOral Questions

April 20th, 2021 / 3:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege concerning the premature disclosure of the contents of Bill C-288, an act to amend the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. This bill is sponsored by the member for Sudbury.

On Sunday, April 18, 2021, the Toronto Star posted an article entitled “Liberal MP's bill aims to keep turmoil at Laurentian University from happening at other schools”. The member is quoted in the article disclosing the contents of his bill. The problem is that the bill, which was on notice at the time the article was published, was not introduced until Monday, April 19, 2021. The article attributes several statements to the member for Sudbury. The article says:

“I’m going to add post-secondary institutions to the exemptions for institutions that cannot avail themselves of CCAA protection. It’s as simple as that,” [the member stated], referring to the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, which allows for court protection during financial restructuring....

The article also quotes the member as saying:

“This includes additional financial support from our CCAA lender in order to continue to operate as Laurentian implements its plans to position the university for long-term sustainability and a basis for recovery for its creditors and stakeholders.”

On March 10, 2020, the Speaker, ruled a prima facie case of privilege following the premature disclosure of the contents of Bill C-7, an act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying). The Speaker said:

...based on a reading of the Canadian Press article on Bill C-7 on medical assistance in dying, and in the absence of any explanation to the contrary, I must conclude that the anonymous sources mentioned were well aware of our customs and practices and chose to ignore them. It seems clear to me that the content of the bill was disclosed prematurely while it was on notice and before it was introduced in the House....

The rule on the confidentiality of bills on notice exists to ensure that members, in their role as legislators, are the first to know their content when they are introduced. Although it is completely legitimate to carry out consultations when developing a bill or to announce one’s intention to introduce a bill by referring to its public title available on the Notice Paper and Order Paper, it is forbidden to reveal specific measures contained in a bill at the time it is put on notice.

On April 19, 2016, the Speaker, in finding a prima facie case of privilege regarding the premature disclosure of contents of Bill C-14, an act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other acts (medical assistance in dying), stated:

As honourable members know, one of my most important responsibilities as Speaker is to safeguard the rights and privileges of members, individually and collectively. Central to the matter before us today is the fact that, due to its pre-eminent role in the legislative process, the House cannot allow precise legislative information to be distributed to others before it has been made accessible to all members. Previous Speakers have regularly upheld not only this fundamental right, but also expectation, of the House.

Another question of privilege was raised on March 19, 2001, regarding a similar matter. Speaker Milliken, on page 1840 of the House of Commons debates, supported this principle and said:

In preparing legislation, the government may wish to hold extensive consultations and such consultations may be held entirely at the government's discretion. However, with respect to material to be placed before parliament, the House must take precedence. Once a bill has been placed on notice, whether it has been presented in a different form to a different session of parliament has no bearing and the bill is considered a new matter. The convention of the confidentiality of bills on notice is necessary, not only so that members themselves may be well informed, but also because of the pre-eminent rule which the House plays and must play in the legislative affairs of the nation.

In addition, there was another case of contempt on October 15, 2001, where the Department of Justice briefed the media on the contents of a bill prior to the legislation being introduced in the House.

Given the contents of the article, and that it was published before Bill C-288, an act to amend the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, was introduced in the House, I ask that you find a prima facie case of privilege. I am prepared to move the appropriate motion.

Companies' Creditors Arrangement ActRoutine Proceedings

April 19th, 2021 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Paul Lefebvre Liberal Sudbury, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-288, An Act to amend the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

Mr. Speaker, I am introducing my private member's bill, which would amend the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, CCAA, by simply adding publicly funded post-secondary institutions to the companies excluded from CCAA protection. It is seconded by my colleague, the MP for Nickel Belt.

As members of the House know, Laurentian University filed for protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act on February 1.

As a result, it has been a long and difficult two months for the Laurentian University community, for Sudbury and for Northern Ontario.

As a Sudburian, I was shocked by the scope and depth of the cuts announced last Monday. I spoke to students, professors and staff about the cuts and about the devastating effects they will have on the entire community.

The fact that the Laurentian University administration felt that it had to cut more than 188 professors and staff and dozens upon dozens of academic programs, and that it had to throw thousands of students into chaos right in the middle of their exam period by using the CCAA process to salvage Laurentian University, demonstrates the need to amend the CCAA. This restructuring process was not created for such an institution or, obviously, such an outcome.

Until now, it was reasonable to assume that the provincial governments responsible for these institutions would ensure that their finances did not get out of control, but unfortunately, here we are. What is happening at Laurentian University should never be allowed to happen at any other university or college in Canada.

In my opinion, it is clear that the CCAA process was never intended to be used by publicly funded institutions in this way. With this bill, I want to guarantee that no other publicly funded post-secondary institutions in Canada, nor their students, professors or communities, suffer in the way that our Laurentian University community is suffering right now, and that provincial governments finally ensure the oversight and proper funding of our publicly funded post-secondary institutions.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)