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

May 5th, 2021 / 5:10 p.m.
See context

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Sean Fraser LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and to the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for her work in putting together this transformational document that is going to support Canadians.

The pandemic has not impacted everyone equally. A lot of people are doing just fine from an economic perspective, notwithstanding the public health crisis we are facing. However, women, young people, Black Canadians, indigenous Canadians and other groups from marginalized communities have suffered disproportionate consequences. When we talk about job numbers and GDP growth, sometimes people think that politicians are concerned with the economy but not as concerned as they should be about the people who live and work in it.

I am hoping the minister can offer comments on why supporting the groups that have been hit hardest by the pandemic is not just the right thing to do from a moral perspective. It is in our economic self-interest to support them as we rebound from the economic crisis of COVID-19 pandemic.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

May 5th, 2021 / 5:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to start my answer by paying tribute to my parliamentary secretary and highlighting the very personal role he played in putting together this budget. He has a constituent who had advocated, with huge energy and personal passion, for extending the EI sickness benefit from 15 to 26 weeks. The parliamentary secretary spoke to me about the personal story of this constituent. In his view, based on his constituency work as a MP, this was a measure we needed to put in place, as sick Canadians needed longer support. We acted on what he proposed, and I am very, very glad we were able to do that.

I would say to all members of the House that there are times when speaking up for an individual member of our constituencies can transform the lives of millions of Canadians. I think that is what the parliamentary secretary has done.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

May 5th, 2021 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the minister for reaching out to me last week after the budget had been tabled. We had a good conversation. However, had she reached out a little earlier, we could have helped her craft a budget that was truly a growth budget.

I noticed that her speech was almost exclusively about how much she had spent. There are certainly elements within the budget that we support, but as she is the finance minister, I would have expected her to talk about debts, talk about deficits and talk about the impact inflation and interest rates could have on the sustainability of our economy and our national finances. She mentioned none of that.

The minister's mandate letter from the Prime Minister directed her to come up with a “new fiscal anchor”. However, the fiscal anchor she came up with was the old one based on the debt-to-GDP ratio, except it did not have any targets attached to it this time.

Why has the minister not directed her mind to the financial sustainability of the country? Why did she not—

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

May 5th, 2021 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Speaker, earlier on, the parliamentary secretary spoke about his personal high regard for the member for Abbotsford and, I believe, his fondness for him. I must confess to the same weakness. I was glad to speak with him last week, and indeed to speak with him while we were putting the budget together. Notwithstanding that high regard, I disagree with some of the hon. member's contentions.

When it comes to the fiscal sustainability of our budget, let me point to something that is important for Canadians to know. I am holding it up now. A week after we delivered the budget, S&P Global, the ratings agency whose job it is to determine which sovereign borrower has a good plan and which does not, reaffirmed Canada's AAA rating. S&P said that it expects the Canadian economy will post a strong recovery in—

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

May 5th, 2021 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Maxime Blanchette-Joncas Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Madam Speaker, seniors are angry, and with good reason.

They view the latest budget as an insult. Seniors saw an increase in old age security for people aged 75 and over, but no increase for people aged 65 to 74.

Will the Minister of Finance stop denying our seniors their dignity and provide the OAS increase to people aged 65 to 74 and those 75 and over?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

May 5th, 2021 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, that is not what we are hearing on the ground. We are hearing a lot of grumbling about the creation of two classes of seniors and the exclusion of seniors aged 65 to 74. From our point of view, this is not being well received on the ground.

I would like to start by informing the House that the Bloc Québécois will support the principle of the bill. We will make amendments in committee and review our position in subsequent votes.

This implementation bill is mammoth in scope. It has 346 pages, four parts, 37 divisions and four schedules. The summary alone is 10 pages long. It goes without saying that it contains tons of measures, like the woolly mammoth, which could weigh up to six tons. We obviously support most of the measures, such as the ones aimed at extending support programs like the wage and rent subsidies.

Given the mammoth scope of the bill and the time I am allotted, I will limit myself to a brief overview, stopping to discuss some of its elements.

Part 1 contains a series of highly technical amendments to the Income Tax Act. It limits the stock option deduction for large companies. It increases the basic personal deduction to $15,000. It prohibits bonuses for senior executives in companies receiving the wage subsidy, and introduces anti-avoidance measures. These are some of the measures we support. Part 2 imposes GST on Internet and Airbnb purchases, which is obviously a good thing.

The bill extends the wage subsidy until September 27, gradually reducing the rates from 75% to 20%, and also allows the minister to extend the program by regulation for two more months, until November 30. During these two months, the minister could also make a regulation concerning eligibility criteria for the wage subsidy as well as its calculation.

This provision sounds like an insurance policy in case the House is dissolved for elections, preventing it from enacting a law that would extend the wage subsidy beyond September 27 if necessary. If you read between the lines, the choice of November 30 gives you an idea of when the current government anticipates the House to be back.

The bill creates a new hiring subsidy program for businesses restarting their activities. The hiring subsidy will be in effect from June 6 to November 20. It will be offered to businesses restarting their activities and hiring or rehiring employees. It could cover up to half of new salaries. Businesses will therefore be able to choose between the hiring subsidy and the wage subsidy, depending on which one benefits them most. These are measures that we support.

As I said in my question to the minister, division 5 of part 4 is a serious problem for us. This section involves the centralization of the securities commission, which infringes on Quebec's jurisdiction. With this division, the federal government is trying to strip Quebec of its financial sector.

Bill C-30 renews and significantly increases the budget of the Canadian Securities Regulation Regime Transition Office to expedite its work. The bill authorizes the government to make payments to the transition office of up to $119,500,000 or any greater amount that may be specified in an appropriation act. The transition office was established in July 2009 to create a single pan-Canadian securities regulator in Toronto.

There have been a number of setbacks before the Supreme Court, which deemed that securities were not under federal jurisdiction. However, Ottawa finally got the green light in 2018—remember it well—to interfere in this jurisdiction provided that it co-operate with the provinces and not act unilaterally. That is what is on paper, so that is the theory. However, as Yogi Berra said, “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”

If the federal government carried out its plan to establish a pan-Canadian securities regulator in Toronto, we would inevitably see a creep of regulation activities outside Quebec. This plan is just bad and must never see the light of day. This is more than just a dispute over jurisdictions or mere squabbling between Quebec and Ottawa or the federal government and the provinces. This is a battle between Bay Street and Quebec.

I would like to remind the House that everyone is against this in Quebec, including all political parties in the Quebec National Assembly, business communities, the financial sector and labour-sponsored funds. Seldom have we seen Quebec's business community come together as one to oppose a government initiative.

In addition to the Government of Quebec and the National Assembly, economic circles unanimously and vehemently oppose it, including the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, Finance Montréal, the International Financial Centre corporation, the Desjardins Group, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, as well as most Quebec businesses, like Air Transat, Transcontinental, Canam, Québecor, Metro, La Capitale, Cogeco, Molson, and the list goes on.

A strong Quebec Autorité des marchés financiers means a strong talent pool in support of the financial legal framework, a prerequisite to the sector's development.

When the Toronto Stock Exchange bought the Bourse de Montréal, the Commission des valeurs mobilières, the predecessor to the Autorité des marchés financiers, demanded before authorizing the sale that Montreal retain a stock exchange. We know that it specialized in derivatives, including the carbon exchange.

In Quebec, the financial sector represents 150,000 jobs with a contribution of more than $20 billion, or the equivalent of 6.3% of the GDP. Montreal is the 13th largest global financial centre with nearly 100,000 jobs.

The provisions in division 5 are an attack on our ability to keep our head offices and preserve our businesses. We are talking about the Quebec model. The Task Force on the Protection of Québec Businesses estimates that the 578 head offices in Quebec represent 50,000 jobs with a salary that is twice as high as the Quebec average in addition to 20,000 other jobs at specialized service providers such as accounting, legal, financial or computer services.

Quebec companies tend to favour Quebec suppliers, while foreign companies in Quebec rely more on globalized supply chains and all the impact that can have on our network of SMEs, in the regions in particular. We saw with the pandemic that globalized supply chains are fragile and make us entirely dependent on foreign supply.

Ultimately, businesses tend to concentrate their strategic activities, in particular research and development, where their headquarters are located. There is also a branch plant economy and a less innovative economy. These are threats to Quebec.

A strong financial hub is vital to the functioning of our headquarters and the preservation of our businesses. Keeping the sector's regulator in Quebec ensures that decision-makers are nearby, which in turn enables access to capital markets for businesses, an essential condition to support business investment and growth across Quebec.

The Bloc Québécois wants to eliminate division 5 of Bill C-30, by deleting the clause in question. This would be tantamount to cutting off funding for the centralization of Toronto's financial sector. We are sorry, but we will be standing in Bay Street's way.

I will move on to division 8 of part 4.

Division 8 enacts a new act, the retail payment activities act, which would govern all electronic transactions. It applies not only to online payment activities of federally regulated institutions but also to those of all businesses. Even provincial governments are subject to this law.

At this point, we have serious concerns about division 8. In our view, the activities described are essentially private in nature and fall under civil law. Why is Ottawa sticking its nose in? There is also the possibility that the federal legislation may not apply to a non-federally-regulated business in a province that has passed comparable legislation.

The Bloc Québécois and I find this all rather vague. Is this yet another encroachment by Ottawa into the area of financial consumer protection? We have questions. We are going to look into the matter and shed some light on it. Our constituents can count on us.

We all remember a mammoth bill introduced by former minister Morneau that removed the Bay Street financial sector from the Civil Code of Quebec. We managed to get the government to back down and we are ready to do it again, if needed.

I will now move on to division 22.

Here, Bill C-30 amends the Canada Labour Code in an effort to address the issue of contract flipping.

Unfortunately, this contract flipping is still happening in airports. It involves replacing one company with another less expensive one through competitive bidding. What does the new company do? It rehires the same workers to do the same job but with inferior working conditions and wages. That is unacceptable. It is straight out of another century. It is time for that to change.

We welcome that division of the bill. However, it seems that it refers only to pay and not to all of the social benefits and other benefits set out in the collective agreement. In fact, the collective agreement does not seem to be transferred. We will therefore continue to examine that division of the bill and possibly make some improvements.

Next, I want to talk about division 23, which increases minimum wage to $15 an hour. Obviously, we applaud that initiative. The Bloc Québécois is always in favour of improving the quality of life and working conditions of Quebeckers and Canadians. However, members need to be aware that only a minority of workers, or approximately 26,000 Canadians, will be able to get that wage increase, because the Canada Labour Code applies only to federally regulated sectors, so this measure is nothing too spectacular.

Division 25 provides for a payment to Quebec to offset the cost of aligning the Quebec parental insurance plan. For once, Quebec may not have to fight for its share of the funding allocated to a program it opted out of. We hope Ottawa will remember this way of doing things and do it more often. That would be nice sometimes instead of always wasting time haggling over money for social housing, roads and lots of other things, money that takes years to get transferred. We applaud what is being done here.

I will move on to division 32, which is about old age security, but before I talk about old age security, what do we have here in division 32? A $500 cheque for people 75 and over this summer, right before the election. People probably remember how Duplessis gave folks refrigerators so they would not forget which side to vote for. Well done, Liberals. Duplessis used to say that heaven was blue and hell was red. Unfortunately, the Liberals cannot appropriate that particular Duplessis slogan.

As I said earlier, division 32 will increase old age security by 10% for those aged 75 and over, not this summer, but in the summer of 2022. That is $63 more per month. I would remind the House that the Bloc Québécois is asking for an increase of $110 per month for all seniors aged 65 and over, starting immediately. This would bring Canada back in line with the OECD average. Canada would still lag far behind Europe.

On that topic, I would like to quote the economic analyst Gérald Fillion. In a very interesting article he wrote recently in response to the budget, he said, and I quote:

Two questions come to mind. First, why not increase old age security by 10% as of this year? Second, why do these measures apply only to seniors aged 75 and over? Why not those aged 65 and over?

Those are very legitimate questions that we too want to ask the government. The FADOQ network and seniors' groups in Quebec also spoke out against this approach. Gérald Fillion made a number of points. He noted that, in Canada, people's income drops precipitously when they retire. The technical term is net pension replacement rate, which was 50.7% of pre-retirement income in Canada in 2018. That translates into roughly half as much after retirement.

Across the OECD, that rate is seven percentage points higher. In the European Union, it is 63%. The figures are therefore 50%, 57% and 63%. These data are from a study of 49 countries, among which Canada ranks 32nd, well behind countries such as Italy, India, France and Denmark, and just slightly above the United States, where inequality is surging. That is not impressive. These statistics are alarming, so we must take action. Seniors were the first victims of the pandemic, and there was already inequality before the pandemic.

Gérald Fillion concluded his article by saying:

Considering Canada's poor showing in the OECD ranking, it would have made sense for the 10% increase to begin this year and apply as of age 65 and for this issue to be free from electioneering.

Improving old age security starting not this summer, but next summer, is what we are talking about. To reiterate our position, we are proposing $110 a month starting at age 65 to bring us in line with the OECD average. It is hardly a revolutionary proposal.

I will now move on to division 34, which deals with child care services. The government is giving itself the right to compensate a province that wishes to opt out of the federal early learning and child care program. That is obviously what Quebec would like to do.

However, the Bloc Québécois wants guarantees. This spending authority seems to be valid only for the current fiscal year and for a maximum transfer of $3 billion per province.

In the budget, but not the bill, there are different program objectives, and the budget also raises the possibility of an asymmetrical bilateral agreement with Quebec.

As everyone knows, the bill covers only this year. Is that until asymmetrical agreements are signed? Can the government finally guarantee that Quebec will receive full compensation every year, without conditions, for what it has been doing since 1997? That is what we want, and that is what we are asking for.

I would like to remind members that the new pan-Canadian child care program is another federal intrusion. Family policies and all associated programs are the exclusive jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces. It is clearly a good policy, a worthwhile, feminist policy, but it is still an intrusion.

I will now move on to divisions 35 and 36, which grant 12 additional weeks of the Canada recovery benefit, bringing us to September 25 of this year. The total number of weeks is now increased to 50, which is a good thing. For the first four additional weeks, recipients will receive $500 a week. For the other eight weeks, the maximum will be reduced to $300, starting July 18. This division also extends the Canada recovery caregiving benefit by four weeks to a maximum of 42 weeks, providing $500 a week in the event that caregiving options are not sufficiently available. The maximum number of weeks for which the benefit can be paid to people living at the same address is 42.

The bill contains several measures, including extending EI benefits, which may be prescribed by regulation and extended until November 20, if necessary; maintaining EI eligibility at 420 hours; and extending the maximum length of EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 26 weeks starting in the summer. I do not mean this summer, but the one following the election. This measure continues to penalize people who are fighting cancer, for example, and need more weeks of benefits. It does not take into account the order that the House gave the government to extend the benefit period to 50 weeks. Twenty-six weeks is better than 15, but that was not what the House voted for.

I remind members that the Bloc Québécois voted against the budget. Although we believe the budget contains some worthwhile measures, it overlooked the key issues, namely proper funding for health care and proper support for seniors.

The Bloc Québécois also denounces the government's decision to use the budget to set up infrastructure that would enable it to interfere in provincial jurisdictions. The budget provides for frameworks for mental health care, women's health and reproductive health. These are all the exclusive jurisdictions of Quebec and the provinces.

The budget also provides for a framework for extracting the minerals needed for the green transition. Furthermore, as I pointed out earlier, the government is once again talking about a Canadian securities regulator. The budget also talks about a federal office for recognizing foreign credentials, which is not a federal jurisdiction. There is also mention of a Canadian water agency and a federal framework for skills training. Whenever Quebec or the provinces do something good, Ottawa tries to latch on, even though it is not able to take care of its own jurisdictions.

This is all very troubling. All of these measures, frameworks and policies do not represent significant amounts in the budget, but they reflect the government's intention to set up the infrastructure to keep moving in this direction. We will be keeping an eye on the government, that is for sure. The government's vision is to control specific areas that, according to the Constitution, fall under provincial jurisdiction. The federal government has the power to spend, and that enables it to stick its nose into everybody's business, but as a result, we are becoming less and less of a federation with provincial autonomy and more and more of a centralized country where everything happens in Ottawa. The federal government could not care less about the provincial autonomy that Quebec holds so dear. The provinces are being starved. With health care costs rising and Ottawa refusing to co-operate, Quebec and the provinces have no more room to manoeuvre. If they want some breathing room, they need to turn to Ottawa, which will tell them how to do things. That is very troubling.

Madam Speaker, I see you indicating that my time is up. I will—

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

May 5th, 2021 / 5:35 p.m.
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Central Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Sean Fraser LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and to the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance

Madam Speaker, I would have to save an entire day to discuss some of the questions around jurisdiction. My question is about the government's fiscal policy in terms of the macroeconomic approach, which I know my colleague has serious expertise in.

At committee, we have heard the Governor of the Bank of Canada describe the monetary policy to be the effective lower bound of the interest rate the bank can offer. The chief economist of the International Monetary Fund has suggested that, for countries that have a central bank that has reached the effective lower bound of interest rates, public stimulus is not just economically sound but is the fiscally responsible thing to do.

Without getting into the specifics of 100 different measures he may agree or disagree with, from a macroeconomic policy point of view, I am curious whether he agrees it is essential to support the economy, and more importantly the people and businesses inside that economy, by ensuring we extend enough supports to ensure they can be on a life raft through this pandemic so they can contribute to the recovery on the back end.

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May 5th, 2021 / 5:40 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, I salute and thank the parliamentary secretary. We both sit on the finance committee, where we both work very hard.

This is a very interesting question. Economists welcomed the income support measures during the pandemic, and they are currently debating the need for a recovery plan.

The Bloc Québécois and I are in favour of a recovery plan, as long as it is used properly. It should not be used to put more money in the pockets of the government's friends. It should be used to boost the strong sectors of tomorrow's economy, for example, the green economy and strategic sectors such as aerospace.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

May 5th, 2021 / 5:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Madam Speaker, I listened intently to the member's speech, particularly the issues around the stock exchange. It was extremely interesting and something I am not as familiar with. The jurisdictional questions are always something he and I agree on, and I am happy he brought them up.

What are his opinions on the massive amounts of debt we are taking on? Are we getting anything for that in return?

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May 5th, 2021 / 5:40 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, I salute my colleague and thank him for his comments and questions.

Obviously, we have reached a record debt level, which is troubling. Every dollar borrowed must serve the economy well.

As I said before, there was some consensus on maintaining income for those who lost their jobs during the pandemic. The money used for the recovery must generate more savings than it costs.

I remind you that there were apparently a million cases of fraud in the Canada Revenue Agency's CERB program. That is troubling, and we need to investigate. If that is the case, the government failed miserably. A million cases of fraud is unacceptable.

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May 5th, 2021 / 5:40 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, I agree with my colleague that the finance committee certainly is going to have its work cut out for it. Tying into the last question on the size of the debt, I am very concerned that, as we have seen in the past, it is going to be small businesses and our vulnerable workers who have to shoulder this burden while very wealthy corporations and very wealthy individuals have been making out like bandits for this entire pandemic.

I know the member has spoken at great length in previous speeches about tax evasion, tax avoidance and the need for a wealth tax. Can he tell the House about maybe his disappointment that the budget did not really address those key areas? Going forward, the government needs to make sure those at the very top are in fact paying their fair share and that the burden is not unfairly falling on everyone else, as we have seen in the past.

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May 5th, 2021 / 5:40 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, and I sincerely salute all the work he does in the House for the well-being of ordinary Canadians.

Can Canada still afford to allow the wealthiest, multinationals and Bay Street banks to shelter their money to avoid paying income tax? Given the colossal amount the pandemic cost, can we still allow them that privilege? In my opinion, we cannot.

Everyone should contribute according to their means. I am thinking about the big Bay Street banks that earned more than $40 billion in 2020, that took advantage of the pandemic and that are protected by regulation. They should no longer be able to use tax havens to avoid paying income tax. The budget presented by the minister does some things, but does not go far enough. We will continue to put pressure on the government.

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May 5th, 2021 / 5:45 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, my colleague, whom I much admire and whom I work with on the Standing Committee on Finance, mentioned the whole issue of tax havens, the lack of a tax on wealth that other countries have put in place and the fact that there is no tax on pandemic-related profits, even though billionaires saw their wealth grow by $78 billion during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, we are seeing contradictions. The government made cuts to emergency programs. Students are being forced to pay back their loans during the pandemic, and of course there is nothing in the budget for people with disabilities, who will have to wait three years for bogus consultations.

I would like to ask my colleague whether he sees a contradiction in this situation, where the ultra-rich are not paying anything and ordinary Canadians are being forced to bear the entire burden of this pandemic.

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May 5th, 2021 / 5:45 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, the admiration is mutual. I appreciate how productively we work together at the Standing Committee on Finance.

He raised some super-important issues. As I was saying to a colleague who spoke earlier, this inequity has been around for decades. It is actually getting worse. The gap between rich and poor is widening.

My question is, given the economic and social costs of the pandemic, can society still afford to hand out gifts to the very rich?

I think the answer is clear. The answer is no, and this has to change now.

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May 5th, 2021 / 5:45 p.m.
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Bloc

Denis Trudel Bloc Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, I know my colleague is well acquainted with the housing crisis happening in Quebec right now. I think the housing crisis comes up pretty much every day.

There was an announcement today about $100 million for renovations in Montreal, but the Fédération des locataires d'habitations à loyer modique du Québec, which advocates for affordable housing, said that what the system needs is more like $400 million.

The rapid housing initiative, or RHI, which my colleague is familiar with, was launched in the fall. The government just injected $1.5 billion, but the Federation of Canadian Municipalities asked it to put $7 billion into the program. Ottawa clearly does not understand the gravity of the housing situation. All we ever see is a piecemeal approach.

Does my colleague agree that we need game-changing investments to deal with Quebec's current housing crisis?