COVID-19 Response Measures Act

An Act relating to certain measures in response to COVID-19

Sponsor

Carla Qualtrough  Liberal

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 enacts the Canada Recovery Benefits Act to authorize the payment of the Canada recovery benefit, the Canada recovery sickness benefit and the Canada recovery caregiving benefit to support Canada’s economic recovery in response to COVID-19. It also makes consequential amendments to the Income Tax Act and the Income Tax Regulations.

Part 2 amends the Canada Labour Code to, among other things,

(a) amend the reasons for which an employee is entitled to take leave related to COVID-19, and the number of weeks of that leave that an employee may take for each of those reasons; and

(b) give the Governor in Council the power, until September 25, 2021, to make regulations in certain circumstances to provide that any requirements or conditions, set out in certain provisions of Part III of that Act, respecting certificates issued by a health care practitioner do not apply and to provide for alternative requirements and conditions.

This Part also makes related amendments to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act to ensure that employees may continue to take leave related to COVID-19 until September 25, 2021. Finally, it makes related amendments to regulations and contains coordinating amendments.

Part 3 amends the Public Health Events of National Concern Payments Act to limit, as of October 1, 2020, the payments that may be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund under that Act to those in respect of specified measures related to COVID-19, up to specified amounts. It also postpones the repeal of that Act until December 31, 2020.

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

Sept. 30, 2020 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-4, An Act relating to certain measures in response to COVID-19

COVID-19 Response Measures ActGovernment Orders

September 29th, 2020 / 9:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Carla Qualtrough Liberal Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to participate in the debate on Bill C-4, An Act relating to certain measures in response to COVID-19.

Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge that we are gathered this evening on unceded Algonquin territory.

Bill C-4 has three parts. Part 1 creates three benefits to support Canada's economic recovery in response to COVID-19 and makes consequential amendments to the Income Tax Act and regulations, part 2 amends the Canada Labour Code to extend worker protections corresponding to these benefits, and part 3 amends the Public Health Events of National Concern Payments Act to provide ongoing financial support to Canadians.

I will focus my comments on part 1 of Bill C-4.

During my term as employment minister, I have seen the unemployment rate go from the lowest in recorded history in January of 2020 to the highest. That, of course, means I have been presented with a big challenge in this role of serving Canadians. As employment minister, I am required to ensure that workers are supported in times of job loss and job transition. I also work to ensure that workers are well prepared for the job opportunities of the future.

I know the pandemic has had a devastating impact on individuals and families and that every lost job jeopardizes a household's financial security. That is why our priority has been supporting workers and their families ever since the pandemic started.

We created the Canada emergency response benefit, or CERB, during the time in the pandemic when we were telling people to stay home in order to flatten the curve and keep Canadians safe. We knew we are asking a lot from working Canadians, and that is why we worked tirelessly to get the CERB out of the gate in record time.

I want to take a moment to thank the incredible public servants in my department of ESDC and the Canada Revenue Agency, who worked day and night to ensure our systems could deliver the CERB effectively and efficiently for Canadians and their families.

We swiftly followed the CERB with the Canada emergency student benefit, or CESB, for students facing uncertain or non-existent job prospects over the summer.

It was clear from the beginning that the pandemic was disproportionately impacting some Canadians, including women, seniors and persons with disabilities. That is why we also provided extra support for families with children, a one-time $300 payment per child, in May and an increase to the maximum yearly Canada child benefit to keep up with the cost of living. This is in addition to the one-time payment for seniors and, coming this fall, the one-time payment for persons with disabilities. We stepped up and took action.

We also created thousands of jobs and training opportunities for youth and ensured that the not-for-profit sector received support so organizations could continue to help their communities.

To provide certainty and continuity, we recently extended the CERB by an additional four weeks, from 24 to 28 weeks. For Canadian families that rely on the CERB, our government supported them as they figured out what was happening with school and day care for their kids. In addition to this extension, we made changes to the EI program so more people could access EI benefits.

Since March 15, almost nine million people have received the CERB, helping millions of Canadians and their families avoid catastrophic household income loss, while at the same time helping to keep our economy afloat. While many Canadians have returned to the labour market, either through the Canada emergency wage subsidy or as a result of regions and sectors safely reopening throughout the summer months, we know that we need to continue to be vigilant and nimble in our efforts to support people as we continue to work together to stop the spread of the virus.

We are still in a crisis situation. We estimate that millions of Canadians still need some level of income support. People are still living in uncertain times, and our government will continue to be there for them. The new benefits in this bill are an important investment in workers and families.

This legislation reflects our vision laid out in the Speech from the Throne last week. We have a plan for a stronger and more resilient Canada. It is a plan that puts the health of Canadians at the core of government decision-making. It is a plan for equality of opportunity. It is clear and simple and leaves no one behind.

This legislation makes good on this promise. If you have lost your job, we have your back. If you cannot work because you are sick with COVID-19, we have your back. If you have to stay home to take care of a loved one for reasons related to COVID-19, we have your back.

We are here tonight to debate legislation that would create a suite of three new benefits: the Canada recovery benefit, the Canada recovery sickness benefit and the Canada recovery caregiving benefit.

Before diving into these new benefits, I would like to say a few words about the employment insurance program and the recent measures put in place to help Canadians.

There is no denying that this pandemic has highlighted the tremendous need for a modernized EI program in Canada. I have spoken about this before. It is vital that we create an employment insurance system that reflects how Canadians work and that is flexible in its ability to respond to major changes in the Canadian labour market.

Despite the imminent need to reform EI, this program is the best tool we have right now and it surpasses any new system that could possibly be brought in quickly during a pandemic. That is why in August our government announced temporary changes to the EI program that would allow more Canadians to access it this fall once the CERB ended. These changes, which have already been made through regulations, will help millions of Canadians meet the eligibility criteria in three ways.

First, with these changes, people can qualify for EI with as few as 120 hours of work. To do this, we are providing all EI claimants with a one-time credit of insurable hours; that is 300 hours for regular benefit claimants and 480 hours for special benefit claimants. This credit will boost people's insurable hours and help them qualify for EI benefits. Furthermore, the hours credit is available for one year and is retroactive to March 15.

This is of the utmost importance for women who, as we all know, have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The credit of 480 insurable hours means that any woman who has had a baby since March 15 can retroactively apply for EI maternity benefits if she did not previously have enough hours to qualify prior to these new measures. This is really important. This also includes expectant mothers who received the CERB over the course of the last 28 weeks. They will now be able to transition seamlessly into EI to access their maternity and parental leave benefits.

The second way we are helping people to meet EI eligibility requirements is by setting a national unemployment rate of 13.1% across all regions of the country. This is providing a uniform requirement of 420 hours for people to qualify for EI. This adjustment will help boost the number of weeks people can receive benefits, thus providing the support Canadians need and expect.

I also want to assure Canadians in EI regions with a higher rate than 13.1% that their benefit entitlement will be based on the higher of either 13.1% or their regional rate.

The third measure we are undertaking with the EI system is to freeze the EI premium rate for two years, which will help both employees and employers.

Our changes are allowing more Canadians to access employment insurance and its associated tools and resources, like working while on claim, training, work sharing and supplemental unemployment benefit plans. All these things connect people to the workforce and provide incentives to work.

That said, many workers are still not eligible for employment insurance, even after these changes. Examples include self-employed workers, workers in the entertainment industry and workers with dependants who are forced to stay home because of school or day care closures.

That is why our government is proposing to introduce a suite of three new benefits via the legislation we have before us now. As I mentioned earlier, they are the Canada recovery benefit, the Canada recovery sickness benefit and the Canada recovery caregiving benefit.

The Canada recovery benefit will support workers who have stopped working or who had their income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19 and who are not eligible for EI. It will provide Canadians with $500 per week for up to 26 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

As with EI, workers must be actively looking for work. They must place no undue restrictions on their availability to work and must not decline a reasonable job offer. Just like the EI system, this new benefit will allow people to earn income from employment and/or self-employment while still receiving the benefit. We have designed a process modelled after EI's working while on claim.

Individuals who have a net income greater than $38,000 in 2020 or 2021 will be required to repay the benefit at a rate of 50¢ for every dollar earned above the threshold up to the full amount of the Canada recovery benefit received.

Our objective is to ensure that it is always in a person's interest to work when it is reasonable for he or she to do so. The Canada recovery benefit aims to accomplish just that. It balances the need for income support, while incentivizing work, and ensures that we continue to target Canadians who need the support the most.

The new recovery benefits will be subject to rigorous checks from the outset to ensure that they are paid only to those who are eligible. Unlike the CERB, the benefits will be retroactive and will be taxed at the source.

The second benefit is the Canada recovery sickness benefit. It will provide $500 per week for up to two weeks if workers are ill, are susceptible to becoming ill or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19.

We want Canadians to stay calm if they are sick or maybe sick. We also want Canadians to not have to choose between making this choice and paying their bills. We want the choice to be immediate at symptom onset or advice and for Canadians to err on the side of caution. We do not want Canadians to wait for a confirmed diagnosis or a doctor's note. As much as this benefit is about the individual health of workers, it is vital to Canada's successful economic recovery. We have to ensure that workers do not go to work if they have COVID-19, or are at a high risk of contracting COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of the virus. It is in all our best interests that workplaces are safe and healthy.

Finally, while schools, day cares and day program facilities are working to safely reopen according to public health guidelines, we know that closures can and will happen. This is where the third benefit, the Canada recovery caregiving benefit, comes in. It will provide $500 per week per household for up to 26 weeks for workers who cannot work for more than 50% of the time because they have to care for a loved one due to a school, day care or day program closure.

The benefit will also be available to workers forced to stay home because a person in their care is deemed by a health care professional to be at high risk or has lost access to their usual caregiver because of COVID-19.

Finally, the benefit would support workers who have care responsibilities for a child or family member who is sick, in quarantine or at high risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19.

In order to ensure that federally regulated employees have access to job protected leave, the proposed amendments to the Canada Labour Code in part 2 of the legislation ensure access for these employees to the Canada recovery sickness and the Canada recovery caregiver benefits.

Taken together, these measures will help Canadians to safely bridge the gap between the major lockdown we had last spring and a cautious reopening of the economy this fall and winter.

In closing, I want to acknowledge the government's determination to build a stronger workforce and create jobs.

As is laid out in the throne speech, we have a unique opportunity to unlock the full potential of every Canadian. We cannot afford to leave anyone behind. Our plan is about fortifying the jobs we have, filling the jobs that are available and developing strategies to create new jobs with appropriately skilled workers.

At the core of these commitments will be the largest investment in Canadian history in training for workers. As a first step, the bill outlines an investment of $1.5 billion to the provinces and territories to support on-the-ground training services for Canadians. This initial investment will be done through the existing workforce development agreements and labour market development agreements.

We are digging in to ensure we continue to support Canadians, because we are still in a crisis. If we want to get to the point where we build back better, we first need to ensure that the foundation to do so is solid. I encourage my hon. colleagues to support this legislation to help provide that much needed solid foundation for Canadians.

I want to conclude by thanking all our front-line workers who are fearlessly looking after our health and safety in these unprecedented times. I also want to thank all the parents, teachers, teaching assistants, child care workers and support staff who make it possible for our students to return to school this fall.

As a mother of four with two still in elementary school, I know they are going above and beyond every day to keep our kids safe. We all need to stay vigilant and keep up the efforts we have been doing to stop the spread of COVID-19. I know it is not easy, but we are in this together.

COVID-19 Response Measures ActGovernment Orders

September 29th, 2020 / 9:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me first acknowledge that the minister is the only member of the Liberal front bench with the spine to have acknowledged that the government dropped the ball on the WE scandal. I appreciate her direct answers to direct questions through the COVID crisis.

Earlier today, the minister conceded she has not had the time to consult with provincial governments because of the last-minute desperate inclusion of the NDP forced two-week paid sick leave benefit into the Canada recovery benefit. I am wondering now, given that small businesses are concerned this may in fact work against their ability to get workers back to safe workplaces, if she will consult with those governments and respect their concerns with regard to this groundbreaking change to the Canada Labour Code.

COVID-19 Response Measures ActGovernment Orders

September 29th, 2020 / 9:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Carla Qualtrough Liberal Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, in fact, earlier I stated that I had spoken with my provincial and territorial employment counterparts about this legislation, including the sickness benefits. As well, it has been part of the discussions between the first ministers and the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister with respect to the safe restart agreement. The two-week sick leave was laid out very clearly in that agreement. We are making good on that promise.

Sick leave has been a part of our fundamental COVID-19 response since the very beginning. It was eligibility criteria for the CERB. It is something I signalled a month ago was going to be part of this legislation, and we remain committed to absolutely providing two weeks of sick leave for workers.

COVID-19 Response Measures ActGovernment Orders

September 29th, 2020 / 9:50 p.m.
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Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for her speech.

She has a very important portfolio when it comes to employment. She talked a lot about adjustments to employment insurance. As long as we are reviewing the program, why not do it properly?

I have an example. Shortly before the lockdown, the Bloc Québécois moved a motion adopted by a majority of members of Parliament that sought to extend employment insurance sickness benefits to 50 weeks. Why not take advantage of this opportunity to include that provision in the bill instead of turning a deaf ear?

COVID-19 Response Measures ActGovernment Orders

September 29th, 2020 / 9:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Carla Qualtrough Liberal Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the changes being made to the CERB are outside the EI program.

That was out of necessity to be able to give Canadians this benefit quickly. The EI measures we have announced are temporary measures in place for a year. Our government is committed to increasing EI sickness leave from 15 weeks to 26 weeks, and of course we are happy to continue to have the conversation with other parties in this House about even further increasing that.

COVID-19 Response Measures ActGovernment Orders

September 29th, 2020 / 9:55 p.m.
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NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to recognize the minister's approach and salute her work in being willing to collaborate with other partners. She and I have done a lot of work over the last number of months since the pandemic began, but of course, that does not mean we have always agreed on everything.

The minister will know it is the NDP's position that Canadians should be entitled to 10 paid sick days on a permanent basis and that we believe the federal government could provide leadership by legislating that first in federal jurisdiction. That is not represented in the legislation we are debating tonight because the government gave a hard no on legislating those permanent sick days.

I wonder if the minister could provide the justification for that to Canadians. I asked some other Liberal members here today and never received an answer to the question. I am hoping she can put on the record for Canadians why it is that the Liberal government opposes 10 permanent paid sick days for Canadians.

COVID-19 Response Measures ActGovernment Orders

September 29th, 2020 / 9:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Carla Qualtrough Liberal Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have enjoyed working with my colleague on a number of these important measures to make them even better for Canadians.

This legislation is about temporary measures to help Canadians get through a pandemic crisis. It is not about discarding an important conversation of what should be permanent in the future. It is about putting in place two weeks of paid sick leave for workers who have COVID-19-related sickness or isolation. It does not preclude any conversation in the future about making anything we are talking about on EI or these measures permanent.

COVID-19 Response Measures ActGovernment Orders

September 29th, 2020 / 9:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier I heard the minister say that the Canada recovery benefit does not disincentivize work, but rather incentivizes it. Some small business owners have concerns about the Canada emergency response benefit. As we transition into the new recovery benefits, can the minister explain the flexibilities of the new benefits in relation to CERB and how the recovery benefits would further incentivize people to work?

COVID-19 Response Measures ActGovernment Orders

September 29th, 2020 / 9:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Carla Qualtrough Liberal Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have done our very best to model all the disincentives to work that are in the EI system. In this legislation, workers have to be available to work. They have to be actively seeking work. They have to take job offers when it is reasonable to do so. Workers, unlike with the CERB, they had to be resident; they have to be resident and present in Canada. They have to not have quit their job. They have to be seeking work. They have to not place any undue restrictions on their availability to work. They have to not have failed to return to work if it was reasonable to do so. They cannot have refused a reasonable job offer.

That is a significant improvement in terms of focusing Canadians on getting back to work.

COVID-19 Response Measures ActGovernment Orders

September 29th, 2020 / 9:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Jeremy Patzer Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, I can already hear the questions coming in on one topic here, and that is in the repayment section. Simply put, I am wondering what was used to determine the $5,000 floor and the $38,000 ceiling for when people would have to start repaying money that they received from CERB.

COVID-19 Response Measures ActGovernment Orders

September 29th, 2020 / 9:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the minister's being here. When it came to the SUB plans for EI, the minister denied those SUB plans. When it came to helping people who were looking for work-share, her department and her office did not deliver on that. When it came to dealing with the disincentives on the CERB with having an EI working while on claim, Conservatives brought forward the back-to-work bonus and the Liberals ignored it for months. When it came to parents who were looking for their benefits, particularly single moms for their EI benefits for maternity leave, the minister made promises months ago and did not deliver.

The minister says a lot in this place. She says a lot at committee. She does not always deliver, and when she does, it is quite late into the process.

She has talked today about supporting Canadians with the benefits. She did not mention that the $500 a week for the CRB actually will be less than that because the government is going to be taking at source. Will she come clean with Canadians in letting them know that there is going to be less money coming to them through this benefit program, or is this going to be more marketing that is not true when Canadians go to pay their bills?

COVID-19 Response Measures ActGovernment Orders

September 29th, 2020 / 10 p.m.
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Liberal

Carla Qualtrough Liberal Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, there was a lot in that question, so let me unpack it a bit.

First, I just made clear in my speech that in fact the $500 a week would be taxed and deducted at source. We made that decision to help Canadians as they enter the next tax payment season.

Quite frankly, the reason we have designed this new benefit system is to address a lot of the concerns the member has brought forward and we have talked about over and over again. The CRB and the sickness and caregiving benefits are modelled after the EI system.

There is a “working while on claim”-like process. People on EI will be able to access their SUB plans. We have created giving people a credit of insurable hours retroactive to March 15 for parents, for maternity, for women.

We needed to ensure the EI system could be ready to ingest the three million people we expect it to be ingesting over this week. We were not prepared to have failure as an option. It took as long as it took, and I am very proud of how hard people worked to get it ready.

COVID-19 Response Measures ActGovernment Orders

September 29th, 2020 / 10 p.m.
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Conservative

Gary Vidal Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time tonight with the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.

In 2019, my pitch to voters in northern Saskatchewan was that I would take my experience as an accountant, a multi-term mayor and a Crown corporation chair to Ottawa and represent the people of northern Saskatchewan to the best of my ability. In my relatively short time of service I have said to many of those around me that if I had run my business like the current government governs, I would have been bankrupt a long time ago. If I had shown the same contempt for my elected council as the Liberal government has for the elected members of this House, I would have had a mutiny and would definitely not have survived multiple terms as mayor.

Over the past several months the Liberals have shown a pattern of leaving things until the midnight hour and then essentially holding Parliament hostage to get their legislation passed. We have seen four examples of this: one in March, two in April and one in July. When I wrote this, little did I know how true the midnight hour comment would be as we see this literally playing out tonight.

Here we are on September 29 and the government is looking for approval for over $50 billion in spending with very limited time to either scrutinize it or for us to offer suggestions for ways to improve it. Each time this happened the line always was, “We must do this quickly or else.” Each time it meant there was no time for scrutiny and we should just trust the Liberals as they know what is best for Canadians and they do not need feedback from Canada's elected representatives in this House because they have got this.

Announcing these proposed measures the day after shutting down Parliament and then waiting until after the CERB ended to introduce the legislation seems a little suspicious to me. We definitely do not need any committee work on this; after all, committees are a bit of a thorn in the side of the Prime Minister, are they not? I do not know if members see a pattern here, but I do.

There is a second pattern here that is not just about this but about timing as well. There is a pattern where a lack of oversight and transparency is desired by the government, and it goes back further than the pandemic. In my very first experience as an MP, I was asked to participate in a committee of the whole proceeding on December 9, 2019, when we were asked to scrutinize over $4.9 million in a mere four hours. My first reaction was, “Seriously?” In my role as the mayor of my little city, we spent many hours and even days scrutinizing spending and I can assure members we were not dealing with numbers of this magnitude.

Let me fast forward a bit. I will never forget at the beginning of the pandemic when the government attempted to give itself unfettered powers to December 31, 2021, by slipping these powers into the very first emergency legislation. Members can call me naive if they would like, but I could not believe that any elected official would have the nerve to try and pull off something like this. I asked myself over and over in the days following who was crass enough to think that this was somehow a good idea and that it would fly.

The Liberals clearly have an issue with any kind of openness and transparency. As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. May I be so bold as to suggest that a bit more scrutiny may have actually prevented some of the scandals we are seeing. May I be so bold as to suggest that a little more consultation up front and a better parliamentary process might have led to, for example, indigenous businesses being included in the original business supports, like CEWS and CEBA, instead of being added only as an afterthought when they were left out of the original legislation. This is the relationship the Prime Minister likes to repeatedly say is the most important one to his government. If that is in fact so, why did it take weeks of pressure and lobbying to have indigenous-owned limited partnerships included in CEWS? Why did it take months for indigenous businesses to have access to a version of CEBA when a little consultation would have clearly identified that the original version would not work for them as they do not utilize traditional banks.

The same point could be made about many small businesses and farmers as well. A little consultation would have easily determined that there was going to be a significant problem preventing many of them from accessing CEBA. This literally took months to resolve, leaving many fearing for their ability to survive.

Yesterday, my colleague, the member for Thornhill, shared some very wise words in his speech. I think they are worth repeating, so I will quote one paragraph. He said:

The COVID crisis is not just a health crisis. COVID has taken a terrible toll on our Canadian economy, as it has on economies around the world. Canada today has the highest unemployment rate in the G7, despite having almost the highest spending in the G7. With the amendment to Bill...[C-4], now before us today, Canada's deficit and debt would soar to historic record new levels.

Yesterday, I asked the people of my riding a question on social media. I asked what I should say to the government when I had an opportunity to speak today. Their number one answer was, “What is the plan for all the spending?” They then added that when someone takes out a loan, the lender wants to know how it will be paid back, along with other criteria. It is an interesting concept, that of a plan. What a novel concept. The answer I am giving my constituents is that I do not believe there is a plan. There is no plan to ever balance the budget, let alone repay any of the debt incurred.

Former Saskatchewan NDP finance minister Janice MacKinnon co-chairs the C.D. Howe Institute's Fiscal and Tax Working Group with former Liberal finance minister John Manley. In a recent report, they urged the federal government to set limits on spending and ensure that when spending is approved, it is truly necessary and contributes to Canada's longer-term productivity. That sounds like a plan.

In a recent Globe and Mail article, economics reporter David Parkinson shared some very interesting thoughts with us. He talked about the misery that was the second quarter of 2020. He talked about the lost quarter. He then referenced an 11.5% plunge in gross domestic product, which is the worst quarter-to-quarter decline ever.

Millions of Canadians are out of work, more than double the pre-pandemic unemployment rate. However, in the midst of all this, Canadians' incomes actually grew. Details contained in the last quarterly gross domestic product report revealed that household disposable income in Canada surged by 11% in the second quarter. That obviously led to the question of where this surprising income explosion came from. It certainly was not wages, because they tumbled by almost 9%. The answer is that federal government crisis income supports more than filled that income hole.

The employment compensation in our country was reduced by $21 billion, but disposable income went up by $54 billion in government transfers. That is astounding. This tells us that the government response has gone way beyond the goal of simply replacing lost income.

Let me be really clear: Some will take my comments to mean that I do not believe that some of the extraordinary emergency funding was needed, and continues to be needed to support Canadians in their time of need. Nothing could be further from the truth. Any compassionate and just society has a moral obligation to help people in a time of need.

However, I am a little bit dismayed by the lack of transparency and accountability displayed by the government. I am dismayed by the unacceptable snub of Parliament, and by the time lost during the unnecessary shutdown for all to consider debate and more reasonably determine some outcomes. I am dismayed by the constant rush to ram legislation through the House when in fact the rush is simply one of partisan, self-serving survival.

Finally, I am dismayed by the lack of a plan. What is the plan for our future that I can take back and share with the residents of Northern Saskatchewan?

COVID-19 Response Measures ActGovernment Orders

September 29th, 2020 / 10:10 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there is a plan. That is one of the reasons why the session was prorogued. A document called the throne speech was released on September 23. There are 32 pages on the English side that detail a plan, not only for days, but weeks, months and possibly years into the future.

More and more we get Conservatives standing up expressing their reservations in terms of the government spending too much. The question must be asked of many of those Conservatives because that is the contrast between the Liberals and the Conservative Party. We believe we need to support Canadians in a time of need, whether they are seniors—

COVID-19 Response Measures ActGovernment Orders

September 29th, 2020 / 10:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

To the member across the way asking with whose money, we are talking about tax dollars and a deficit. I can tell members that today we need to invest and support Canadians, their health and their well-being. Our economy dictates that the government gets engaged.

Does the member agree that if the Government of Canada did not engage to the degree it has and work with the different provinces and other stakeholders, the impact on our country would be far more devastating?