Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1

An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures

Sponsor

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

Summary

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

Part 1 implements certain income tax measures by

(a) providing relieving measures in connection with COVID-19 in respect of the use by an employee of an employer-provided automobile for the 2020 and 2021 taxation years;

(b) limiting the benefit of the employee stock option deduction for employees of certain employers;

(c) providing an adjustment for payments or repayments of government assistance in determining capital cost allowance for certain zero-emission vehicles;

(d) expanding the scope of the foreign affiliate dumping rules to further their objectives;

(e) providing change in use rules for multi-unit residential properties;

(f) establishing rules for advanced life deferred annuities;

(g) providing for an option to deduct repaid emergency benefit amounts in the year of benefit receipt and clarifying the tax treatment of non-resident beneficiaries;

(h) removing the time limitation for a registered disability savings plan to remain registered after the cessation of a beneficiary’s eligibility for the disability tax credit and modifying grant and bond repayment obligations;

(i) increasing the basic personal amount for certain taxpayers;

(j) providing a temporary special reading of certain rules relating to the child care expense deduction and the disability supports deduction for the 2020 and 2021 taxation years;

(k) providing flow-through share issuers with temporary additional time to incur eligible expenses to be renounced to investors under their flow-through share agreements;

(l) applying the short taxation year rule to the accelerated investment incentive for resource expenditures;

(m) introducing the Canada Recovery Hiring Program refundable tax credit to support the post-pandemic recovery;

(n) amending the employee life and health trust rules to allow for the conversion of health and welfare trusts to employee life and health trusts;

(o) expanding access to the Canada Workers Benefit by revising the applicable eligibility thresholds for the 2021 and subsequent taxation years;

(p) amending the income tax measures providing support for Canadian journalism;

(q) clarifying the definition of shared-custody parent for the purposes of the Canada Child Benefit;

(r) revising the eligibility criteria, as well as the level of subsidization, under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), extending the CEWS and the CERS until September 25, 2021, providing authority to enable the extension of these subsidies until November 30, 2021, and ensuring that the level of CEWS benefits for furloughed employees continues to align with the benefits provided through the Employment Insurance Act until August 28, 2021;

(s) preventing the use by mutual fund trusts of a method of allocating capital gains or income to their redeeming unitholders where the use of that method inappropriately defers tax or converts ordinary income into capital gains;

(t) extending the income tax deferral available for certain patronage dividends paid in shares by an agricultural cooperative corporation to payments made before 2026;

(u) limiting transfers of pensionable service into individual pension plans;

(v) establishing rules for variable payment life annuities;

(w) preventing listed terrorist entities under the Criminal Code from qualifying as registered charities and providing for the suspension or revocation of a charity’s registration where it makes false statements for the purpose of maintaining registration;

(x) ensuring the appropriate interaction of transfer pricing rules and other rules in the Income Tax Act;

(y) preventing non-resident taxpayers from avoiding Canadian dividend withholding tax on compensation payments made under cross-border securities lending arrangements with respect to Canadian shares;

(z) allowing for the electronic delivery of requirements for information to banks and credit unions;

(aa) improving existing rules meant to prevent taxpayers from using derivative transactions to convert ordinary income into capital gains;

(bb) extending to a wider array of eligible automotive equipment and vehicles the 100% capital cost allowance write-off for business investments in certain zero-emission vehicles;

(cc) ensuring that the accelerated investment incentive for depreciable property applies properly in particular circumstances; and

(dd) providing rules for contributions to a specified multi-employer plan for older members.

It also makes related and consequential amendments to the Excise Tax Act, the Air Travellers Security Charge Act, the Excise Act, 2001, the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, the Income Tax Regulations and the Canada Disability Savings Regulations.

Part 2 implements certain Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) measures by

(a) temporarily relieving supplies of certain face masks and face shields from the GST/HST;

(b) ensuring that non-resident vendors supplying digital products or services (including traditional services) to consumers in Canada be required to register for the GST/HST and to collect and remit the tax on their taxable supplies to consumers in Canada;

(c) requiring distribution platform operators and non-resident vendors to register under the normal GST/HST rules and to collect and remit the GST/HST in respect of certain supplies of goods shipped from a fulfillment warehouse or another place in Canada;

(d) applying the GST/HST on all supplies of short-term accommodation in Canada facilitated through a digital platform;

(e) expanding the eligibility for the GST rebate for new housing;

(f) expanding the definition of freight transportation service for the purposes of the GST/HST;

(g) extending the application of the drop-shipment rules for the purposes of the GST/HST;

(h) treating virtual currency as a financial instrument for the purposes of the GST/HST; and

(i) clarifying the GST/HST holding corporation rules and expanding those rules to holding partnerships and trusts.

It also makes related and consequential amendments to the New Harmonized Value-added Tax System Regulations, No. 2.

Part 3 implements certain excise measures by increasing excise duty rates on tobacco products by $4.‍00 per carton of 200 cigarettes along with corresponding increases to the excise duty rates on other tobacco products.

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

Division 1 of Part 4 amends the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act to, among other things,

(a) specify the steps that an assessor must follow when they review a determination of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation with respect to the payment of compensation to certain persons;

(b) clarify that the determination of whether or not persons are entitled to compensation is to be made in accordance with the regulations;

(c) prevent a person from taking certain actions in relation to certain agreements between the person and a federal member institution by reason only of a monetary default by that institution in the performance of obligations under those agreements if the default occurs in the period between the making of an order directing the conversion of that institution’s shares or liabilities and the occurrence of the conversion;

(d) require certain federal member institutions to ensure that certain provisions of that Act — or provisions that have substantially the same effect as those provisions — apply to certain eligible financial contracts, including those contracts that are subject to the laws of a foreign state;

(e) exempt eligible financial contracts between a federal member institution and certain entities, including Her Majesty in right of Canada, from a provision of that Act that prevents certain actions from being taken in relation to those contracts; and

(f) extend periods applicable to certain restructuring transactions for financial institutions.

It also amends the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act to

(a) specify the steps that an assessor must follow when they review a determination of the Bank of Canada with respect to the payment of compensation to certain persons or entities; and

(b) clarify that systems or arrangements for the exchange of payment messages for the purpose of clearing or settlement of payment obligations may be overseen by the Bank of Canada as clearing and settlement systems.

Finally, it amends not-in-force provisions of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act, enacted by the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1, so that, under certain circumstances, an error or omission that results in a failure to meet a requirement of the schedule to the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act will not prevent a deposit from being considered a separate deposit.

Division 2 of Part 4 amends the Bank of Canada Act to authorize the Bank of Canada to publish certain information about unclaimed amounts.

It also amends the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985 with respect to the transfer of pension plan assets relating to the pension benefit credit of any person who cannot be located to, among other things,

(a) limit the circumstances in which such assets may be transferred and specify conditions for the transfer; and

(b) specify the effects of a transfer on any claims that may be made in respect of those assets.

Finally, it amends the Trust and Loan Companies Act and the Bank Act to

(a) include amounts that are not in Canadian currency in the unclaimed amounts regime; and

(b) impose additional requirements on financial institutions in connection with their transfers of unclaimed amounts to the Bank of Canada and communications with the owners of those amounts.

Division 3 of Part 4 amends the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 to exclude certain businesses from the application of a provision of the Bank Act that it enacts, which allows certain agreements that have been entered into with banks to be cancelled.

Division 4 of Part 4 amends the Trust and Loan Companies Act, the Bank Act and the Insurance Companies Act to extend the period during which federal financial institutions governed by those Acts may carry on business to June 30, 2025.

Division 5 of Part 4 amends the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) to

(a) provide that the entities referred to in that Act are no longer required to disclose to the principal agency or body that supervises or regulates them the fact that they do not have in their possession or control any property of a foreign national who is the subject of an order or regulation made under that Act; and

(b) change the frequency with which those entities are required to disclose to the principal agency or body that supervises or regulates them the fact that they have such property in their possession or control from once a month to once every three months.

Division 6 of Part 4 amends the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to

(a) extend the application of Part 1 of that Act to include persons and entities engaged in the business of transporting currency or certain other financial instruments;

(b) provide that the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre make assessments to be paid by persons or entities to which Part 1 applies, based on the amount of certain expenses incurred by the Centre, and to authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting those assessments;

(c) amend the definitions of designated information to include certain information associated with virtual currency transactions and widely held or publicly traded trusts that the Centre can disclose to law enforcement or other governmental bodies;

(d) change the maximum penalties for summary conviction offences;

(e) expand the list of persons or entities that are not eligible for registration with the Centre; and

(f) make other technical amendments.

Division 7 of Part 4 enacts the Retail Payment Activities Act, which establishes an oversight framework for retail payment activities. Among other things, that Act requires certain payment service providers to identify and mitigate operational risks, safeguard end-user funds and register with the Bank of Canada. That Act also provides the Minister of Finance with powers to address risks related to national security that could be posed by payment service providers. This Division also makes related amendments to the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act and the Payment Card Networks Act.

Division 8 of Part 4 amends the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985 to establish new requirements and grant new regulation-making powers to the Governor in Council with respect to negotiated contribution plans.

Division 9 of Part 4 amends the First Nations Fiscal Management Act to allow First Nations that are borrowing members of the First Nations Finance Authority to assign their rights to certain revenues payable by Her Majesty in right of Canada, for the purpose of securing financing for that Authority’s borrowing members.

Division 10 of Part 4 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to, among other things, increase the maximum amount of a fiscal stabilization payment that may be made to a province and to make technical changes to the calculation of fiscal stabilization payments.

Division 11 of Part 4 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to authorize additional payments to the provinces and territories.

Division 12 of Part 4 authorizes payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund in relation to Canada’s COVID-19 immunization plan.

Division 13 of Part 4 authorizes payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund in relation to infrastructure and amends the heading of Part 9 of the Keeping Canada’s Economy and Jobs Growing Act.

Division 14 of Part 4 authorizes amounts to be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, to a maximum total amount of $3,056,491,000, for annual payments to Newfoundland and Labrador in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Hibernia Dividend Backed Annuity Agreement.

Division 15 of Part 4 amends the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador Additional Fiscal Equalization Offset Payments Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to make an additional fiscal equalization offset payment to Nova Scotia for the 2020–2021 fiscal year and to extend that Minister’s authority to make additional fiscal equalization offset payments to Nova Scotia until March 31, 2023.

Division 16 of Part 4 amends the Telecommunications Act to provide that decisions made by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on whether or not to allocate funding to expand access to telecommunications services in underserved areas are not subject to review under section 12 or 62 of that Act but are subject to review by the Commission on its own initiative. It also amends that Act to provide for the exchange of information within the federal government and with provincial governments for the purpose of coordinating financial support for access to telecommunications services in underserved areas.

Division 17 of Part 4 amends the Canada Small Business Financing Act to, among other things,

(a) specify that lines of credit are loans;

(b) set a limit on the liability of the Minister of Small Business and Tourism in respect of each lender for lines of credit;

(c) remove the restriction excluding not-for-profit businesses, charitable businesses and businesses having as their principal object the furtherance of a religious purpose as eligible borrowers;

(d) increase the maximum amount of all loans that may be made in relation to a borrower under that Act; and

(e) provide that lesser maximum loan amounts may be prescribed by regulation for loans other than lines of credit, lines of credit and prescribed classes of loans.

Division 18 of Part 4 amends the Customs Act to change certain rules respecting the correction of declarations made under section 32.‍2 of that Act, the payment of interest due to Her Majesty and securities required under that Act, and to define the expression “sold for export to Canada” for the purposes of Part III of that Act.

Division 19 of Part 4 amends the Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act to require the concurrence of the Minister of Finance when the Minister designated for the purposes of section 16 of that Act appoints panellists and committee members and proposes the names of individuals for rosters under Chapter 10 of the Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement.

Division 20 of Part 4 amends Part 5 of the Department of Employment and Social Development Act to make certain reforms to the Social Security Tribunal, including

(a) changing the criteria for granting leave to appeal and introducing a de novo model for appeals of decisions of the Income Security Section at the Appeal Division;

(b) giving the Governor in Council the authority to prescribe the circumstances in which hearings may be held in private; and

(c) giving the Chairperson of the Social Security Tribunal the authority to make rules of procedure governing appeals.

Division 21 of Part 4 amends the definition of “previous contractor” in Part I of the Canada Labour Code in order to extend equal remuneration protection to employees who are covered by a collective agreement and who work for an employer that

(a) provides services at an airport to another employer in the air transportation industry; or

(b) provides services to another employer in another industry and at other locations that may be prescribed by regulation.

Division 22 of Part 4 amends Part III of the Canada Labour Code to establish a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour and to provide that if the minimum wage of a province or territory is higher than the federal minimum wage, the employer is to pay a minimum wage that is not less than that higher minimum wage. It also provides that, except in certain circumstances, the federal minimum wage per hour is to be adjusted upwards annually on the basis of the Consumer Price Index for Canada.

Division 23 of Part 4 amends the provisions of the Canada Labour Code respecting leave related to the death or disappearance of a child in cases in which it is probable that the child died or disappeared as a result of a crime, in order to, among other things,

(a) increase the maximum length of leave for a parent of a child who has disappeared from 52 weeks to 104 weeks;

(b) extend eligibility to parents of children who are 18 years of age or older but under 25 years of age; and

(c) limit the exception that applies in the case of a parent of a child who has died as a result of a crime if it is probable that the child was a party to the crime so that the exception applies only with respect to a child who is 14 years of age or older.

Division 24 of Part 4 authorizes the Minister of Employment and Social Development to make a one-time payment to Quebec for the purpose of offsetting some of the costs of aligning the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan with temporary measures set out in Part VIII.‍5 of the Employment Insurance Act.

Division 25 of Part 4 amends the Judges Act to provide that, if the Canadian Judicial Council recommends that a judge be removed from judicial office, the time counted towards the judge’s pension entitlements will be frozen and their pension contributions will be suspended, as of the day on which the recommendation is made. If the recommendation is rejected, the judge’s pension contributions will resume, the time counted towards their pension entitlement will include the suspension period and the judge will be required to make all the contributions that would have been required had the contributions never been suspended.

Division 26 of Part 4 amends the Federal Courts Act and the Tax Court of Canada Act to increase the number of judges for the Federal Court of Appeal by one and the number of judges for the Tax Court of Canada by two. It also amends the Judges Act to authorize the salary for the new Associate Chief Justice for the Trial Division of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador and the salaries for the following new judges: five judges for the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, two judges for the Supreme Court of British Columbia and two judges for the Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan.

Division 27 of Part 4 amends the National Research Council Act to provide the National Research Council of Canada with the authority to engage in the production of “drugs” or “devices”, as those terms are defined in the Food and Drugs Act, for the purpose of protecting or improving public health. It also amends that Act to provide authority for the incorporation of corporations and the acquisition of shares in corporations.

Division 28 of Part 4 amends the Department of Employment and Social Development Act in relation to the collection and use of Social Insurance Numbers by the Minister of Labour.

Division 29 of Part 4 amends the Canada Student Loans Act to provide that, during the period that begins on April 1, 2021 and ends on March 31, 2023, no interest is payable by a borrower on a guaranteed student loan.

It also amends the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act to provide that, during the period that begins on April 1, 2021 and ends on March 31, 2023, no interest is payable by a borrower on a student loan.

Finally, it amends the Apprentice Loans Act to provide that, during the period that begins on April 1, 2021 and ends on March 31, 2023, no interest is payable by a borrower on an apprentice loan.

Division 30 of Part 4 confirms the validity of certain regulations in relation to the cancellation or postponement of certain First Nations elections.

Division 31 of Part 4 amends the Old Age Security Act to increase the Old Age Security pension payable to individuals aged 75 and over by 10%. It also provides that any amount payable in relation to a program to provide a one-time payment of $500 to pensioners who are 75 years of age or older may be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Division 32 of Part 4 amends the Public Service Employment Act to, among other things,

(a) require that the establishment and review of qualification standards and the use of assessment methods in respect of appointments include an evaluation of whether there are biases or barriers that disadvantage persons belonging to any equity-seeking group;

(b) provide that audits and investigations may include the determination of whether there are biases or barriers that disadvantage persons belonging to any equity-seeking group; and

(c) give permanent residents the same preference as Canadian citizens in external advertised appointment processes.

Division 33 of Part 4 authorizes the making of payments to the provinces for early learning and child care for the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2021.

Division 34 of Part 4 amends the Canada Recovery Benefits Act to, among other things,

(a) provide that the maximum number of two-week periods in respect of which a Canada recovery benefit is payable is 25;

(b) reduce the amount of a Canada recovery benefit for a week to $300 in certain circumstances;

(c) provide that certain persons who were paid benefits under the Employment Insurance Act are eligible to be paid a Canada recovery benefit in certain circumstances;

(d) provide that the maximum number of weeks in respect of which a Canada recovery caregiving benefit is payable is 42; and

(e) provide that the Governor in Council may, by regulation, on the recommendation of the Minister of Employment and Social Development and the Minister of Finance, amend certain provisions of that Act to replace the date of September 25, 2021 by a date not later than November 20, 2021.

It also amends the Canada Labour Code to provide that the maximum number of weeks of leave for COVID-19 related caregiving responsibilities is 42.

Finally, it repeals provisions of the Canada Recovery Benefits Regulations and the Canada Labour Standards Regulations.

Division 35 of Part 4 amends the Employment Insurance Act to, among other things,

(a) facilitate access to unemployment benefits for a period of one year by

(i) reducing the number of hours of insurable employment required to qualify for unemployment benefits to a national threshold of 420 hours,

(ii) reducing the amount of earnings from self-employment that a self-employed person is required to have to be eligible to access special unemployment benefits,

(iii) providing that only a claimant’s most recent separation from employment will be considered in determining whether they qualify for unemployment benefits,

(iv) ensuring that earnings paid to a person because of the complete severance of their relationship with their former employer do not extend the person’s benefit period, and

(v) providing for an increase in the maximum number of weeks for which regular unemployment benefits may be paid to a seasonal worker if certain conditions are met; and

(b) extend the maximum number of weeks for which benefits may be paid because of a prescribed illness, injury or quarantine from 15 to 26.

It also amends the Canada Labour Code to, among other things, extend to 27 the maximum number of weeks to which an employee is entitled for a medical leave of absence from employment.

It also amends the Employment Insurance Regulations to, among other things, ensure that, for a period of one year, earnings paid to a person because of the complete severance of their relationship with their former employer do not extend the person’s benefit period or delay payment of benefits to the person.

Finally, it amends the Employment Insurance (Fishing) Regulations to, among other things, reduce, for a period of one year, the amount of earnings that a fisher is required to have to qualify for unemployment benefits.

Division 36 of Part 4 amends the Canada Elections Act to provide that the offences related to the prohibition on making or publishing certain false statements with the intention of affecting the results of an election require that the person or the entity making or publishing the statement knows that the statement in question is false.

Elsewhere

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

Votes

June 23, 2021 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures
June 21, 2021 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures
June 21, 2021 Failed Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 14, 2021 Passed Tme allocation for Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures
May 27, 2021 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 12:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Chris Lewis Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is so important for the federal government to work with individual provinces, with their leaders and, quite frankly, with their governments. Everyone has to come to the table. It is important that everyone has a voice at the table and whatever works best between the federal government and each specific province is a direction about which we certainly need to talk.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 12:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Essex for pointing out that the Liberals love making things up. One of the things that they suffer from is a disease called “dyspocketnesia”. What it means is taking from “this pocket”, which is the taxpayer pocket, and putting it into “that pocket”, which is the government's pocket, and then forgetting about why they did it.

One person who does not forget about things that the Liberals do is the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who points out the Liberal claim that they would create 315,000 jobs this year, 334,000 in 2022, and 280,000 in 2023. He notes that it is more likely 39,000 jobs this year, 74,000 next year and 94,000 in the year after that.

I wonder if my colleague would mind commenting about these job numbers.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 1 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Chris Lewis Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day, there are other people who know about the taking money out of this pocket and putting it into that one. It is everyday taxpayers. It is the young 20 or 21-year-old man and woman who pays taxes and wonders what is left in their bank account at the end of the day.

As I mentioned in my speech, 54,000 jobs directly related to manufacturing in Windsor-Essex are coming under the gun if we do not get this ship righted really soon.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 1 p.m.
See context

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the member's speech. He said that everybody needed help, and I agree. Seniors who are not getting their OAS increase because they are under the age of 75 but over the age of 65 need to be treated equally.

People are going to be cut from their CRB payments when they are not going back to work yet. Businesses, in particular in the tourism industry, are not going to have the wage subsidy extended in time.

The member also talked about the debt. I wonder how he sees these two things fitting together. Who should be bucking up and paying their fair share?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 1 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to the budget implementation bill.

Before I do that, I would just like to say thank you to some people. Undoubtedly, one of the problems with a minority Parliament is that we never quite know when that election might come. Whether the rumours are true or not, two years is certainly, by conventional wisdom, on par with the standard length of a minority Parliament, so I will take this opportunity to give thanks to some people.

I have been coming to this House for 75 sitting days in a row. I have been in the House almost every single hour, every single minute. I just referenced my own participation and attendance in the House, which I think I am allowed to do.

I could not have done this work without the incredible work of the folks back in my offices. We all know we have these incredible teams of people who work behind the scenes. In particular, in Ottawa, I have Kaitlin and Kelly, who have been working to help me prepare for here.

Then, of course, because I have been here so much, I have not been able to be back in my riding or working on a lot of that constituency work. I have three incredible women in my Kingston office, Ann, Nicole and Jennifer, who have been handling that case work and working with the government to help people through these difficult times.

I just want to give a huge thank you to them for being so supportive in the functions and for being an incredible team that really knows how to come together.

I also would like to say thank you to you, Mr. Speaker. When you first announced you would not be running again, I said something briefly, but I have really enjoyed you as Deputy Speaker. I hope that means something coming from the riding that also produced the longest serving Speaker of the House of Commons, Peter Milliken. We certainly have a keen eye for a good Speaker.

You have undoubtedly done such a good job in your role as Deputy Speaker throughout the years. Whenever you are in the chair, I have admired your patience with us, even at times when we seem to be at each other's throats. Thank you for that.

Getting toward my discussion on the budget, I would like to talk about the first responders out there who have literally been fighting this pandemic on the front lines for the last 15 to 16 months. We come to this place and we fight, argue, debate and create policy with the hopes that it impacts those on the front lines and makes a genuine difference in the work they do. At the end of the day, they are the ones we need to be looking out for, making sure they have the right tools to fight and do the incredible work they do.

A lot of those frontline workers are probably not even all that keenly interested in what is going on in this place, but nonetheless we have an incredible obligation to make sure they have what they need to do the job they are doing on our behalf.

To that end, I know it has come up in this debate from a couple of different members, I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to members of the House with respect to something that happened in this House yesterday. Hopefully we could learn from the experience.

I learned very early on in my political career, back in municipal politics in Kingston, that it is fair game to be fighting and disagreeing with other politicians. We are elected. We choose to be put in this position. We choose to come forward, voice our opinions and engage in those debates and that dialogue. However, staff do not. What we witnessed here yesterday was something that, quite frankly, has not happened in this Parliament, in this institution, for more than 100 years.

We dragged a public civil servant to the bar of the House of Commons, to Parliament, to receive a scolding from the Speaker. I am appealing to members because of my desire to try to have them recognize that that is not proper conduct toward a public servant. If there is disagreement or concern over the manner in which a government or a particular minister is acting, it would be entirely appropriate to engage in holding them accountable, and if they wanted to, to pull that minister before the bar, if they could do that, and to exercise the same kind of decision or scolding on them.

I just do not think it is right to bring a public servant, especially the lead of the Public Health Agency of Canada while we are in the middle of a global pandemic, to be used as a political tool, as we saw yesterday. It is just not appropriate and, in fact, it has very rarely ever happened. Never has a public servant come before the bar. The last time a private citizen did was in 1913.

For all the differences we have in this place, I really hope we can learn something from yesterday and commit to never doing that again. Politicians are here to be the ones who are in the line of fire, not our public servants, who are doing the incredible work on behalf of Canadians. I will note that my understanding is that that particular public servant has been in executive positions in public health for the last 17 years, which spans multiple governments of different parties.

I did obviously want to speak to the budget implementation act, and I am very proud to be supportive of this. I am very proud not just of the government, but also of this Parliament, for the way it acted 15 or 16 months ago to get supports to Canadians, quite often through unanimous consent motions. We were passing motions in this House to immediately trigger sending money to Canadians who needed it. It was not just because Canadians needed the money, although that is incredibly important, but also because we were encouraging people to stay home.

In the beginning of this pandemic, the objective was to get people to stay home. We did not want people to go out because we did not want them to become infected and for the pandemic to spread. We saw our public service working through the direction of Parliament to send money out in record speeds. When we think about what it did in four short weeks back in March of 2020, it is truly remarkable. I am indeed proud of all members of this Parliament for working together.

I know different parties had different ideas about how much the wage subsidy should be, and I think we ended up with better proposals and better policies as a result of those deliberations and discussions. I am very relieved to see this budget, and it looks like it will be supported and that it will pass, so we can continue those supports through to the end of this pandemic.

We see the light at the end of the tunnel. We can see what is coming, and we can see we are going to be, fingers crossed, in a much better position in the coming weeks and months in terms of relaxing restrictions throughout the country. We can see Canadians will be getting back to life like it was before the pandemic.

I think knowing the government and Parliament were there for them genuinely means a lot to Canadians because, when it was necessary to provide the supports, the government, and indeed Parliament, had their backs. It is extremely rewarding for me personally to see that we were able to do that.

I also think there is a great opportunity here. I will choose my words carefully, because when our Minister of Finance said that there was a political opportunity she was pounced on and her words were taken out of context. At the heart of this, there is an opportunity in all of this to look at the way in which Canadians are supported, where we can do better and where we can make corrections. For example, long-term care homes and developing national standards on long-term care homes is something we can do better in.

This pandemic has provided us with an opportunity to say that we failed many seniors in long-term care homes and must do better. It is a provincial jurisdiction, and I certainly do not want to reopen the debate with the Bloc Québécois about who is responsible for what. I totally accept provinces are responsible for long-term care, but the federal government could play a leadership role in defining how we can develop some long-term care standards, just like we do with our national building code, as one example.

We can also look at this as an opportunity to say we need to invest in our economy now if we want to come roaring out of this and ask ourselves where the best place is to invest right now. If we look throughout the world, we see new technologies developing.

There is an opportunity here for the government to determine if it should continue to invest just in traditional infrastructure like roads and bridges or also look at some of these new technologies. We could help businesses develop them so these technologies and new opportunities can continue to spin off for years and decades to come.

Therefore, I think it is entirely appropriate to look at where we can position ourselves in the global economy in the years to come and use that as a strategy for where to invest money now. It is incredibly indicative of the government to take that approach and quite frankly for any government would take that approach.

I find it concerning and unfortunate that the words of the Minister of Finance were taken out of context when she said that there is a political opportunity to look at child care. The opposition clipped half of her sentence, because what she was really saying is there is a political opportunity to look at the way we are approaching child care.

I am very happy to see the budget announcement on child care. I will start off by saying we probably owe to the Province of Quebec for the desire and need to move toward more affordable child care. Quite frankly, it has done an incredible job of showing what child care supports can mean to individual families and some of the burden it relieves.

It has recognized that, in 2021, it is not only the responsibility of parents to raise children, but also that of our collective society. That is where child care comes in, and why I think we are better off as Canadians because of Quebec's experience with child care.

Not only has Quebec seen an increase in people in the workforce as a result of its incredibly good child care program, it has particularly seen more women in the workforce, which is incredibly important because, more often than not, it is women who end up staying at home with the children. By using child care opportunities to help subsidize those costs, Quebec has seen more women enter the workforce, which has contributed to more economic activity, which means more income taxes paid. It has also contributed to more women pursuing the entrepreneurial desires they may have held back on because they chose to or were expected to stay at home with children.

Therefore, I look at this child care plan in the budget as not only a support for families, but also as an economic opportunity to unleash into the marketplace and the labour force those people who want to work, but for one reason or another, based on their family situation and young children, have chosen not to participate. That would result in more people working and paying taxes.

This would also result in having more entrepreneurs and people running family businesses, generating income and creating ideas, which would be better for our entire society and indeed all Canadians. Therefore, as the government strives to provide more supports with respect to child care, I hope it takes a long, hard look at the incredibly efficient model Quebec has produced and how it has changed the labour force, according to the statistics that have come out.

I will also touch briefly on seniors and the OAS. I know that has been coming up a lot. In particular, there has been a lot of criticism about how the increase should be for every senior over the age of 65, which is a really good talking point. It sells well and delivers well when the Bloc and NDP members continually bring it up. However, the reality of the situation is that, the longer seniors are in retirement, the more of their savings they go through and the less they have as they get older. This is not the case for every senior, but it is the case for low-income seniors in particular.

The government had a choice here. It could either increase the amount for everybody or increase it even more for those aged 75 and over. Of course, in response to that, we are asked why we did not increase it for everybody. Well, there are limitations. There are budgetary limitations and decisions that have to be made from time to time with respect to how much money to spend. I think the government is trying to balance the objective of having meaningful supports with the genuine need for them.

I do not hold the NDP and the Bloc entirely in distain, for lack of a better expression, for using that argument. I think it is a very effective political argument, so I can appreciate why they are doing it, but I think it is important to recognize why the current approach is the right one.

Finally, I want to talk about the debt incurred as a result of the pandemic, because I know that has been coming up a lot. The reality of the situation is that if we had told any member of the House two years ago that the debt would be over a trillion dollars, they would have probably laughed and said nothing. When I think back to the first majority Parliament session that I was a part of, I remember that people were harping about an extra $10 billion being spent or said the deficit was supposed to be $10 billion and it ended up being $20 billion.

We are now talking about hundreds of billions of dollars. It is over a trillion dollars. Indeed it is a lot of money, but the choices were quite clear: Do we invest in Canadians so that we can come out of this in a much better position, or do we leave people on their own? It is not a Liberal, Conservative or NDP thing. Every member agreed on it. Every member voted in favour of it, and we had unanimous consent motions to spend the money because members knew it had to be done.

As I indicated in a question for the member for New Westminster—Burnaby earlier, this was acceptable because every country did the same thing. Every country took on incredible amounts of debt. If Canada had been the only country that took on this kind of debt, it would have been detrimental to a lot of our policies. It would have sent companies running out of the country. It would have done a whole bunch of other things that could have been seen as extremely negative.

The reality is that all of the ally countries that we interact with in the marketplace through commerce and our various trading relationships did the exact same thing. We are going through this together with our partner nations. Also, we had an incredible debt-to-GDP ratio going into the pandemic, and if we expect to come out of the COVID recession with relatively similar economic activity, we will have to invest. I genuinely believe that everybody agrees with that. I think that is why everybody, at the end of the day, supported the measures. They recognized that it was important.

I believe that because of the measures we took and because of the spending that was authorized by the House, we will be in a better place when we come out of the pandemic in a few months. Our economy will come roaring back and we will see the debt-to-GDP ratios return to what they were before. We will also see unemployment return to some of the historic lows that we previously had. Why? It is because when we went through this, we did it in the right way. It cost a lot of money, there is no doubt about that, but we did it in conjunction with our global partners and did it in the responsible way according to the vast majority of economists.

I hope that after my run of 75 consecutive sitting days, this will not be my last opportunity to speak. However, I know I have had my fair share of time over the last 75 days, so if it is, I am entirely content with that. I look forward to questions.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Jeremy Patzer Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, I did not hear the member use his favourite word, according to Open Parliament, which is “Conservatives”, so I want to congratulate him for being able to avoid the rhetoric.

I am grateful that he talked about some things of substance in the budget bill, particularly child care. The federal government has a $30-billion plan for it. There has been a lot of interest and a lot of feedback on that in my riding. A lot of people are concerned about the costs that are going to be shared with the provinces. People are looking at the finances of the provinces and asking how on earth the provinces will be able to afford their portions of this.

Can the member comment on that?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, it would be a mistake if we tried to develop a national plan that was completely done by the national government. It is indeed something that will be done through collaboration with the provinces. The first stop in this exercise needs to be Quebec. We should have a real thorough look at how it has been so successful at this, and then try to see how we can apply this model to other provinces, respecting the fact that everything is different from province to province to territory.

There is a great opportunity here, and I think the provinces will have to be partners in this. They will have to want it too, which is why it will take negotiations and discussions with the provinces.

To answer the member's question, I do not know what the exact cost will be, but I do know that it is something the feds want to do. If the provinces want to do it, I am sure we can find the solution.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Luc Desilets Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to congratulate our colleague because he is his party's sole representative across the aisle, in the actual House, of course. There are Liberal members who we will not recognize when the Liberals decide to resume sitting in the House.

My question for my colleague is the following: Concerning child care, can he guarantee that Quebec will obtain the full amount that it is due?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not know. I guess that will come out in the discussions with the provinces. The formula will be set up through negotiating with Quebec and the rest of the provinces, such as Ontario and Alberta, wherever it may be. If we can replicate Quebec's success, I certainly would not want to try to change the program considerably. We know something already works successfully in Quebec, so I agree that we should be looking at that and having those discussions. If the outcome the member is suggesting is determined to be the best course forward, then I suggest that is what we need to do, if it is why Quebec has been so successful at this.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity now to thank you in public, although I know I had a chance to speak with you privately last week to thank you for your years of service and gentlemanly conduct in the House of Commons. It has really been appreciated by all of us.

To the member for Kingston and the Islands, we have heard repeatedly about the senseless cut in CERB payments that the Liberals have brought in, but there is a similar senseless cut to other pandemic supports. One is very important in my riding: the seasonal agricultural worker program. The federal government has been providing $1,500 per worker to pay for extra costs, including from the two-week quarantine and charter flights from Jamaica, Mexico and Central America, because there are no public flights. These costs are not going down any time soon, yet this benefit is being cut in half right now, to $750.

I wonder if the member could comment on where the sense in that is.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day, it is important to recognize that these programs were never designed to be there forever. There needs to be a transition away from them. There needs to be a transition back to regular life, so to speak, that does not depend on these programs specifically.

There will be some industries that are affected for quite some time. A good friend of mine is an audio engineer who works at a lot of big concerts and conventions. His industry was one of the first to be hit. He went from having six months' worth of work ahead of him to having absolutely nothing in 48 hours, and it will be one of the last industries to come back, later on. He is equally worried about these kinds of supports and what the changes are going to mean.

Will we have to continue to revisit this and look at new opportunities to support people? I think that is the fair thing to do, and I hope we will be able to consider the people who will be impacted by the pandemic for longer than others.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, let me say, and not in a back room in a private conversation, that you are awesome. Thank you for your service.

To the member for Kingston and the Islands, the demographics in this country are getting older, and we know that means there will be less of a tax base for governments, both provincial and federal. We also know that there has been criticism, even from the member's own party. Mark Carney has said publicly that this is not a growth-oriented budget and so has David Dodge, both former governors of the Bank of Canada. We need to see more investments for the long term that make us more productive, but unfortunately it seems that the government is only focused on consumption today.

I agree that making sure people have supports during the pandemic is important, but why is the government always fixated on giving people money for things that will not build long-term value in the way that we need for growing this economy to help support public services, like health care, that we all depend on?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately I could not disagree more. There is a reality, and I spent a lot of time talking about child care, for example. That is not about just giving people money right now to deal with their children; it is a long-term growth strategy.

The member asked how we are going to get more people into the economy. I submit that one of the ways we are going to do that is by unleashing the economic potential of the many people who are stuck at home taking care of their kids. That is not a bad thing, because a lot of people want to do that, but there are a lot of people who would also like to be working.

To the member's point specifically about how we deal with the labour shrinkage, it is in the budget. Child care is one way. However, it is not something that will work when we start spending the money. It is going to take years to get to a point where the labour force has the injection. To that point, we need to be investing in ways and in places that are going to help our labour market later on.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:30 p.m.
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Bloc

Mario Beaulieu Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague why the Liberals absolutely do not want to provide stable and adequate funding for health care systems by increasing health transfers.

Health care systems in Quebec and the provinces have reached the breaking point. Cuts in health transfers have left them with insufficient funding. In the meantime, the Liberal government is meddling in Quebec's jurisdictions with its spending power.

Why not increase health transfers, as Quebec and all the provinces are asking?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not think my intervention would be complete without a question from the Bloc Québécois about health transfers. It is my understanding, at least from what I have heard the Prime Minister say in the House over the last several months and from discussions out there in the public, that it is the intention of the government to revisit this issue. Could it have been done in this particular budget? I think everything that has been going on with the pandemic, as we get through it and focus on it, has made it more difficult to do. However, there is an opportunity, as we move into the future, to have those discussions.

I know that people within our party are talking about it. I certainly hear it a lot from the Bloc Québécois, and I hear it from the Conservatives. I think there is an opportunity here, but it was perhaps too challenging to accomplish in this budget in addition to all of the other stuff that needed attention.