An Act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act and to authorize certain payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund



Second reading (House), as of March 25, 2022

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

This enactment amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to authorize additional payments to the provinces and territories. It also authorizes payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the purpose of addressing transit shortfalls and needs and improving housing supply and affordability.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2022, No. 1Government Orders

June 3rd, 2022 / 10:30 a.m.
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Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise at report stage to discuss the changes that were made to the bill at committee and a further change that I am proposing in the House at report stage.

I think often, when we reflect on budget bills and we talk about omnibus budget bills, we think of the experiences Parliament has had under majority governments with omnibus budget bills, where we have seen quite a lot of changes to many acts rammed through without a lot of discussion or debate because the government had the majority in order to be able do that.

I think we actually saw quite a different process in this Parliament with the budget bill. This is reflected in the fact that the committee made significant changes to the disability tax credit, which would make it possible for people living with type 1 diabetes to not have to constantly reprove that they still have type 1 diabetes, that it is still expensive and that it is still time-consuming. We can take it for granted, based on what we know about the disease, that people living with type 1 diabetes are going to continue to need support, and they will continue to deserve the kind of support they get. When they are able to accomplish all of that administrative work, they should only have to do it once. The committee looked to make that the case, and I hope Parliament will soon too.

We saw the government introduce quite hastily some major changes to the employment insurance appeal board that did not reflect its commitments in 2018 and 2019 to stakeholders. After a long consultation process, the government was panned pretty widely within the stakeholder community. I think even the government was interested in pulling those provisions back. We have secured a commitment from the government to ensure it comes back in the fall with new legislation and that this is not the end of the story when it comes to the EI appeal board. It is in desperate need of appropriate reform. We were glad to see the government commit to bringing that legislation forward in the fall. We will certainly be here to remind it of that commitment and to press it to do that as promptly as possible in the fall.

We saw important reforms in the direction and control provisions for charitable organizations. These really needed to be undertaken to decolonize the charitable sector in Canada, facilitate its good work and ensure it can work with partners that may not have a charitable status but that are nevertheless doing good work. I think this shows not a blind trust but an earned trust on the part of the charitable sector in Canada for the very good work it has done, and done responsibly. I think we struck the right balance between ensuring that there is still the reasonable accountability that Canadians would expect of their charitable sector while ensuring that it has a freer hand to do work in a good way.

We saw the government also try to rush in some changes that had not been advertised with the express entry system. The express entry system allows for people outside of Canada to come into Canada on an expedited basis. The minister was asking for an incredible amount of discretion with a very low amount of accountability and transparency concerning how decisions would be made to classify people in the express entry system and get them into the country. Through working together with other parties at committee, we were very glad to see, and I have to give credit to the member for Vancouver East, who really did the legwork on this, a proper accountability regime that would require the government, in the legislation, to have a robust public consultation process. This is actually spelled out in the legislation and will not be left just to the government to decide what public consultation will mean. Written submissions would be required, so it would not just be the government having backroom conversations with some of its friends to decide who gets into the country, who does not and on what basis. There is going to be a proper process in place. I think that is very important.

On the theme of fiscal accountability for government, which is something I have tried to champion here in my time, there was some spending the government had proposed in Bill C-17, which was incorporated into the budget, with transit and housing money being sent to provinces. however, there was really no detail beyond that. We fought for an amendment that would require the government, after it has negotiated the terms and conditions with provinces, to make those public because we think that is appropriate. Canadians have a right to know how their public money is being spent and under what conditions it is being passed on to other governments, so that was also very important.

As the Conservative finance critic mentioned earlier, there was also an amendment he proposed to set the date for when the foreign homebuyer ban would come into effect, which was something I was glad to support, to give a little more certainty with that. We were also able to finally make a distinction in Canadian law, as a result of an amendment put forward by the Bloc finance critic, between cider and honey wine on the one hand and grape wine on the other, which is a distinction that has become that much more important in light of the recent arrangement with Australia following its challenge at the World Trade Organization.

I say all of this by way of trying to highlight the extent to which there was a good process with the bill. I think that the committee was able to have much more meaningful input than parliamentarians who had been in majority governments where we have seen similarly large budget bills and, in fact, sometimes larger budget bills that covered more subject areas. I think we were able to have quite a good process here at committee.

I will wrap up by talking about the luxury tax, which was something we did amend at committee. We have heard some very significant concerns on the structure the Liberal government has chosen for the luxury tax and the potential effects it could have, particularly on the manufacturing industry in aerospace here in Canada. These are concerns that New Democrats take very seriously, and I know that members of other parties take those concerns very seriously as well. What we proposed as a solution was to give the government more flexibility on the coming-into-force date so it could take the time it needs to talk to industry about these potential effects.

We still have a dearth of good economic information from government on what it expects the economic impact of the tax to be. It is something that a colleague of mine at the finance committee has proposed to look into more and ask for more information, and I fully support that request. I fully expect the government to be listening to that; taking that information seriously; generating that information, which is information I think it ought to have generated before designing the tax; and talking to industry. There is still time, and if we pass the amendment that I proposed here at report stage, there would be even more time, if the government needed it, to get the structure of the tax right.

There is no question from this side of the House that the wealthy in Canada have not been paying their fair share. A luxury tax is one way to ensure that people with the most resources in Canada are paying back into the programs we need in order to make sure that people have access to essential services on the basis of equity and not the ability to pay. It is important that we move ahead with the luxury tax, but we want to do that in the right way, and we want to create enough space for government to be able to do that in the right way. We beseech the government to listen, to think about the timetable and to develop a better proposal that would address some of the very legitimate concerns we have heard coming out of the industry. As I said, we are trying to pave the way to do that.

Now, there was some debate at committee about whether this or that was in order. The Chair of the committee, who had ruled the particular amendment out of order, had his ruling overturned unanimously. Nobody voted to sustain the ruling of the Chair. When it came to the House, I think there was a little bit of surprise that the issue resurfaced. However, I think that we have managed to change the wording of the amendment to respect the Speaker's ruling in that regard to be consistent with the ways and means motion that had been presented in advance of Bill C-19.

We now have a solve that would allow us to change those coming-into-force provisions to give the government the extra time it needs to work with industry to get the balance right on the luxury tax, which is why I am very happy to be rising today speaking to that amendment. It would have been, frankly, a travesty if a procedural hiccup, which was unforeseen and for which no warning was provided, would have such a serious consequence for an important strategic industry in Canada. I am glad that here on the floor of the House of Commons we are finding a way to avoid having our procedural eccentricities interfere with a major industry that provides a lot of good jobs for Canadians.

With that, I thank members for their attention throughout the speech, and I am happy to answer any questions they may have.

May 31st, 2022 / 12:20 p.m.
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Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Members may recall, in some discussions that happened around Bill C-17, that there was talk about the nature of the money that's being allocated for both housing and transit. I think some of the thinking there initially was that this was to help cover transit operating funds, and that does seem to largely be the purpose.

I think there's still a bit of mystery surrounding how exactly housing is meant to be tied to that funding. While I certainly support the federal government's providing financial support both to transit operators and for the purpose of housing, I think, just as a matter of good accounting, that it's important for Canadians to have an understanding of how that money will be spent, understanding that it's subject to negotiation with the provinces.

The proposal in this amendment is simply that the minister, within three months of making a payment, would essentially report to Parliament on the terms and conditions of that funding with a given province or territory, so that there is a record of the understanding that was reached between the federal government and the other government that money is being transferred to. That way, people have a sense of how their money is being spent.

That's the spirit of the amendment, Mr. Chair.

May 26th, 2022 / 12:45 p.m.
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Parliamentary Budget Officer, Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer

Yves Giroux

Thank you very much for having asked these two questions.

With respect to your first question, it's true that the tax on luxury goods will increase federal revenue, but unfortunately decrease provincial revenue, at least for provinces that have a sales tax on goods of this kind.

Your second question was about warnings. We haven't studied the parts or divisions that did not include financial provisions or that did not generate considerable expenditures.

However, we did note that division 6 of Part 5 is identical to what is in Bill C‑17. I'm talking here of the transfer of $2 billion to the provinces to reduce health care wait times. These two provisions have exactly the same goal; at least that's how I understand it. I believe that it is included because the government expects to have Bill C‑19 adopted before Bill C‑17. We believe that this deserves the attention of parliamentarians, to avoid duplication in the objectives and expenditures. We are, after all, talking about $2 billion.

May 19th, 2022 / 4:50 p.m.
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Senior Director, Policy and Government Relations, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Daniel Rubinstein

Chair, thanks very much. I appreciate the question.

You're right. This subsumes a piece that was in Bill C-17—a really critical piece of funding for our members' transit systems that continue to face shortfalls due to the pandemic. It's taking much longer than I think we'd all hoped to get back to the ridership levels we had ahead of the pandemic.

On this question of integrating transit and housing, we're seeing it across different types of interventions and programs. It's really critical that we do that right, that we think about how to develop our cities and transit-oriented development as a strategy, for example, linking housing and transit.

As it relates to this funding, the core intention here is to support transit systems and municipalities with those pandemic shortfalls. The way I read the intention from Finance Canada is to make sure that, as this funding is delivered, provinces and territories are working with their municipalities to talk about housing supply and about having an integrated vision to tackle that challenge. We welcome that.

As I said, it's work that we're doing with Infrastructure Canada on programs, with CMHC for sure, across both transit and housing, in an integrated fashion. We look forward to that work continuing.

May 19th, 2022 / 4:45 p.m.
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Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Thank you very much.

Mr. Rubinstein, Bill C-19 incorporates another government bill, Bill C-17, which has among other things, some money for housing and transit. I understand the need for ongoing operating support for public transit and certainly understand the need for public investment in housing.

I'm still trying to get a better sense of how the government intends to mix those two in this funding pot. I'm wondering if you're aware of any work or consultation that's gone on to better define for provinces and municipalities how those two important policy areas are meant to interact within this funding envelope.

March 30th, 2022 / 4:35 p.m.
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Kelly Masotti Vice-President, Advocacy, Canadian Cancer Society

Thank you, Stuart.

I want to acknowledge I am joining virtually from Ottawa, which is the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also shown us that substantial gaps persist in accessing palliative care, particularly at home or in the community. Caregivers for a loved one at home experienced a sharp increase in their duties, exacerbating the need for greater psychosocial, physical, and practical support for caregivers. As a member of the Quality End-of-life Care Coalition of Canada, we urge the government to continue to implement the framework and action plan on palliative care, including an office for palliative care to help coordinate aspects like data collection on palliative care, and to continue to invest in palliative care research.

Finally, we encourage the federal government to play a role in ensuring that Canadians are set up for success in making healthy and informed choices that make it easier to live smoke-free, keep a healthy weight, adopt a healthy diet, be physically active, be sun safe and reduce alcohol consumption. The federal government can play a strong leadership role in implementing policies and programs that will have an important population health impact.

We would also like to take the opportunity to thank the government for supporting the extension of the employment insurance sickness benefit. This extension of at least 26 weeks will change the lives of Canadians.

We look forward to continuing to work together to implement these very important recommendations for people living with cancer and living beyond cancer, including encouraging all parties to work together to pass Bill C-17 promptly, improvements to the delivery of palliative care, the implementation and the extension of the employment insurance sickness benefit and to see the clinical trials fund be implemented.

We thank you very much for your time today, and we look forward to your questions.

March 30th, 2022 / 4:30 p.m.
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Dr. Stuart Edmonds Executive Vice-President, Mission, Research and Advocacy, Canadian Cancer Society

I'm going to start, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to the members of the committee for the opportunity to present today.

My name is Dr. Stuart Edmonds. I am the executive vice-president of Mission, Research and Advocacy at the Canadian Cancer Society. With me today is Kelly Masotti, vice-president of advocacy.

With respect and gratitude I am joining you today from the traditional territory of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinabe, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat people, which is now home to many diverse first nations, Inuit and Métis people. I also acknowledge that Toronto is covered by Treaty No. 13 and the Mississaugas of the Credit.

Two in five Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetime. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada, accounting for 28% of all deaths.

Today, we will share with you how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the cancer experience of many people living in Canada, and their loved ones.

Multiple waves of COVID-19 have put a tremendous strain on Canada's health care system. To ensure that there was sufficient health system capacity during surges of COVID-19, hospitals across provinces and territories were directed to pause all their procedures deemed non-urgent, including cancer screening, diagnostics and surgeries. This has subsequently led to a growing backlog of delayed cancer screening, diagnostics and surgeries, which means people living with cancer are waiting longer to receive care.

We know that when cancer is found early, it's often easier to treat. Delays in screening and diagnosis may result in poorer patient outcomes, including an increased risk of death.

The impact of COVID-19 on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment will be felt for months and years to come. Studies are starting to be published on how COVID-19-related delays impact people living with cancer. A recent Ontario modelling study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal estimated that longer wait times for cancer surgery may lead to shorter long-term survival. This study highlights the importance of maintaining timely access to cancer surgery to prevent the harmful impacts of delayed care on people living with cancer, even during times when health resources are constrained.

In CCS-led surveys between July 2020 and March 2022, people with cancer reported having their cancer care appointments postponed or disrupted. Almost half the patients reported disruptions in the first wave of the pandemic, and while disruptions dropped over time, they have increased slightly since August 2021. In our last survey, one-fifth of respondents reported disruptions to their cancer care appointments.

For many patients there is a window of opportunity for treatment. Delays in appointments and treatment may lead to missed opportunities, and the cancer may have spread.

CCS-led surveys found that people living with cancer had higher rates of anxiety during the early stages of the pandemic. The sense of anxiety was higher among caregivers, with more than three-quarters of respondents stating they were more anxious than normal.

CCS continues to hear from people affected by cancer who say they are frustrated by a lack of access to their health care teams, and although this concern has lessened over the course of the pandemic, we're still supporting them through our support programs, and we're still hearing from people who feel forgotten.

We need federal leadership. CCS was pleased to see the introduction of BillC-17 on Friday, which would provide an additional $2 billion to address immediate pandemic-related health care system pressures, particularly the backlog of surgeries, medical procedures and diagnostics. We encourage all parties to work together and pass Bill C-17 promptly. Every moment matters as has been evident by the recent CMAJ paper. Cancer is not waiting, and neither should the government.

CCS also urges the federal government to continue to make necessary investments to expand the domestic capacity of vaccines, therapeutics and other life-saving medicines. We were pleased when the government launched the biomanufacturing and life sciences strategy last July, with a commitment of $2.2 billion expected to be allocated over seven years.

One of the strategy's key investments created a $250-million new funding stream, the clinical trials fund. CCS welcomes this funding and looks forward to the details on this development and implementation of this fund. These investments are critical to keep Canada at the forefront of new innovations in health care and provide really early opportunities for Canadians to access potential game-changing new therapies and diagnostics.

I now want to turn it over to my colleague, Kelly Masotti.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements ActRoutine Proceedings

March 25th, 2022 / 12:10 p.m.
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Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-17, An Act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act and to authorize certain payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

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