Canada Disability Benefit Act

An Act to reduce poverty and to support the financial security of persons with disabilities by establishing the Canada disability benefit and making a consequential amendment to the Income Tax Act

Sponsor

Carla Qualtrough  Liberal

Status

Second reading (House), as of June 2, 2022

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-22.

Elsewhere

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.

Order Respecting the Business of the House and its CommitteesGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2022 / 7:05 p.m.
See context

Ajax Ontario

Liberal

Mark Holland LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, beginning on Friday, June 24, 2022, and ending on Friday, June 23, 2023:

(a) members may participate in proceedings of the House either in person or by videoconference, provided that members participating remotely be in Canada;

(b) members who participate remotely in a sitting of the House be counted for the purpose of quorum;

(c) provisions in the Standing Orders to the need for members to rise or to be in their place, as well as any reference to the chair, the table or the chamber shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the virtual and hybrid nature of the proceedings;

(d) the application of Standing Order 17 shall be suspended;

(e) in Standing Orders 26(2), 53(4), 56.1(3), and 56.2(2), the reference to the number of members required to rise be replaced with the word “five”;

(f) the application of Standing Order 62 shall be suspended for any member participating remotely;

(g) documents may be laid before the House or presented to the House electronically, provided that:

(i) documents deposited pursuant to Standing Order 32(1) shall be deposited with the Clerk of the House electronically,

(ii) documents shall be transmitted to the clerk by members prior to their intervention,

(iii) any petition presented pursuant to Standing Order 36(5) may be filed with the clerk electronically,

(iv) responses to questions on the Order Paper deposited pursuant to Standing Order 39 may be tabled electronically;

(h) should the House resolve itself in a committee of the whole, the Chair may preside from the Speaker’s chair;

(i) when a question that could lead to a recorded division is put to the House, in lieu of calling for the yeas and nays, one representative of a recognized party can rise to request a recorded vote or to indicate that the motion is adopted on division, provided that a request for a recorded division has precedence;

(j) when a recorded division is requested in respect of a debatable motion, or a motion to concur in a bill at report stage on a Friday, including any division arising as a consequence of the application of Standing Order 78, but excluding any division in relation to the budget debate, pursuant to Standing Order 84, or the business of supply occurring on the last supply day of a period, other than as provided in Standing Orders 81(17) and 81(18)(b), or arising as a consequence of an order made pursuant to Standing Order 57,

(i) before 2:00 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, it shall stand deferred until the conclusion of Oral Questions at that day’s sitting, or

(ii) after 2:00 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, or at any time on a Friday, it shall stand deferred until the conclusion of Oral Questions at the next sitting day that is not a Friday,

provided that any extension of time pursuant to Standing Order 45(7.1) shall not exceed 90 minutes;

(k) if a motion for the previous question under Standing Order 61 is adopted without a recorded division, the vote on the main question may be deferred under the provisions of paragraph (j), however if a recorded division is requested on the previous question, and such division is deferred and the previous question subsequently adopted, the vote on the original question shall not be deferred;

(l) when a recorded division, which would have ordinarily been deemed deferred to immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business on a Wednesday governed by this order, is requested, the said division is deemed to have been deferred until the conclusion of Oral Questions on the same Wednesday, provided that such recorded divisions be taken after the other recorded divisions deferred at that time;

(m) for greater certainty, this order shall not limit the application of Standing Order 45(7);

(n) when a recorded division is to be held, the bells to call in the members shall be sounded for not more than 30 minutes, except recorded divisions deferred to the conclusion of Oral Questions, when the bells shall be sounded for not more than 15 minutes;

(o) recorded divisions shall take place in the usual way for members participating in person or by electronic means through the House of Commons electronic voting application for all other members, provided that:

(i) electronic votes shall be cast from within Canada using the member’s House-managed mobile device and the member’s personal House of Commons account, and that each vote require visual identity validation,

(ii) the period allowed for voting electronically on a motion shall be 10 minutes, to begin after the Chair has read the motion to the House, and members voting electronically may change their vote until the electronic voting period has closed,

(iii) in the event a member casts their vote both in person and electronically, a vote cast in person take precedence,

(iv) any member unable to vote via the electronic voting system during the 10-minute period due to technical issues may connect to the virtual sitting to indicate to the Chair their voting intention by the House videoconferencing system,

(v) following any concern, identified by the electronic voting system, which is raised by a House officer of a recognized party regarding the visual identity of a member using the electronic voting system, the member in question shall respond immediately to confirm their vote, either in person or by the House videoconferencing system, failing which the vote shall not be recorded,

(vi) the whip of each recognized party have access to a tool to confirm the visual identity of each member voting by electronic means, and that the votes of members voting by electronic means be made available to the public during the period allowed for the vote,

(vii) the process for votes in committees of the whole take place in a manner similar to the process for votes during sittings of the House with the exception of the requirement to call in the members,

(viii) any question to be resolved by secret ballot be excluded from this order,

(ix) during the taking of a recorded division on a private members’ business, when the sponsor of the item is the first to vote and present at the beginning of the vote, the member be called first, whether participating in person or remotely;

(p) during meetings of standing, standing joint, special, special joint, except the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency, and legislative committees and the Liaison Committee, as well as their subcommittees, where applicable, members may participate either in person or by videoconference, and provided that priority use of House resources for meetings shall be established by an agreement of the whips and, for virtual or hybrid meetings, the following provisions shall apply:

(i) members who participate remotely shall be counted for the purpose of quorum,

(ii) except for those decided unanimously or on division, all questions shall be decided by a recorded vote,

(iii) when more than one motion is proposed for the election of a chair or a vice-chair of a committee, any motion received after the initial one shall be taken as a notice of motion and such motions shall be put to the committee seriatim until one is adopted,

(iv) public proceedings shall be made available to the public via the House of Commons website,

(v) in camera proceedings may be conducted in a manner that takes into account the potential risks to confidentiality inherent in meetings with remote participants,

(vi) notices of membership substitutions pursuant to Standing Order 114(2) and requests pursuant to Standing Order 106(4) may be filed with the clerk of each committee by email; and

(q) notwithstanding the order adopted on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, regarding the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency, until the committee ceases to exist and where applicable,

(i) the committee shall hold meetings in person only should this be necessary to consider any matter referred to it pursuant to subsection 61(2) of the act,

(ii) members who participate remotely shall be counted for the purpose of quorum,

(iii) except for those decided unanimously or on division, all questions shall be decided by a recorded vote,

(iv) in camera proceedings may be conducted in a manner that takes into account the potential risks to confidentiality inherent in meetings with remote participants,

(v) when more than one motion is proposed for the election of the House vice-chairs, any motion received after the initial one shall be taken as a notice of motion and such motions shall be put to the committee seriatim until one is adopted;

that a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint Their Honours that this House has passed this order; and

that the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be instructed to undertake a study on hybrid proceedings and the aforementioned changes to the Standing Orders and the usual practice of the House.

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise on this motion and talk about the extension of hybrid provisions for one year and the opportunity for the procedure and House affairs committee members to study the issue of either the use or the non-use of those provisions as they deem through their process and their recommendations thereafter.

I will take us back for a moment to March 2020. As the whole business of the pandemic was unfolding, it was about a week before this House shut down when I had a conversation with the House administration at that time asking what the pandemic plan was and what we had on the books. Of course, those who wrote it had put something together, but it became apparent very quickly upon looking at it that the intersection of what was planned with what happened in real life meant that the plan, frankly, was not of much use.

We then began a process, and I want to thank members from all parties, reflecting back on those early days in March 2020, as we attempted to find a way for Canada's Parliament to continue to do its business and to make sure that, notwithstanding the fact that we had this incredible public health emergency that sent people to their homes, Canadians knew that the seat of their democracy continued to function, continued to get bills passed and continued to put supports out there for them.

Before I talk about some of those supports, I want to take a moment to thank the House administration and officials who worked with us to create these tools and innovations to allow our democracy to continue to function. In an incredibly short period of time, an ability was developed to participate and vote virtually. This eventually led to a voting app and other refinements that have enabled members, whether or not they are sick, whether or not they are unable to be at the House for medical or other reasons, to continue to participate in the proceedings of the House and to make sure they are not disenfranchised and their constituents continue to be represented.

Members would remember that Canadians and businesses were reeling in those early days of COVID, and some three million jobs were lost. There was a real state of folks not knowing where things were going to go. Small businesses were left unable to serve their customers and wondering what their future would be. It was specifically because of the provisions we put in place, which all parties worked on with the House administration, that we were able to still get those supports adopted and make historic support available to make sure that businesses and individuals did not fall through the cracks.

Now we see the economy roaring back, and 115% of jobs lost during the pandemic have come back, compared to below 100% for the United States. We see us being a world leader in economic growth, number two in the G7 and trending towards being number one next year. It is absolutely evident that the supports that were put in place to make sure that Canadians did not fall through the cracks were what got us there.

When we think of the bravery of people opening a small business, taking a chance and putting themselves out in the world, putting their shingle out and hoping to survive, there are a lot of things they have to prepare for, such as the possibility that their product may not be as popular as they had hoped, or the long hours that they, and the people they employ, will have to put in to try to make the business successful. Of course, it is not reasonable for folks to expect that a global pandemic will be the thing that shuts them down. It was, in fact, those hybrid provisions that enabled people to get that work done.

The pandemic continues, but before I talk about the continuing pandemic, I will take a moment to talk about all the things that we got done, and not just those historic supports.

As the pandemic came and went, as we thought it was over last November and we thought that things might be returning to a sense of normalcy but we got hit by omicron, the flexibility of Parliament meant that we were able to continue to get the job of the nation done. We can take a look at how much Parliament was able to accomplish from January to June: 14 bills, not including supply, were presented, and we introduced seven bills in the Senate on a range of important issues. Many of the bills that we are passing now or that have just passed through the House are going to the Senate, and it is our hope and expectation, particularly with the great work that was just done on Bill C-28, that the Senate will be able to get that done as well before it rises for the summer. This was all done using the hybrid provisions.

Let us take a look at some of those bills.

Bill C-19 is critical to grow our economy, foster clean technology, strengthen our health care system and make life more affordable for Canadians in areas such as housing and child care.

Bill C-18 would make sure that media and journalists in Canadian digital news receive fair compensation for their work in an incredibly challenged digital environment.

Bill C-11 would require online streaming services to contribute to the creation and availability of Canadian stories and music to better support Canadian artists.

Bill C-21 would protect Canadians from the dangers of firearms in our communities, making sure that we freeze the market on handguns, attack smuggling at the border and implement red flag provisions to address domestic violence.

Bill C-22 was brought forward to reduce poverty among persons with disabilities in Canada and is part of a broader strategy that has seen more than one million Canadians lifted out of poverty. That is particularly remarkable when we think that it was this government that set the first targets ever for poverty reduction. After we set those goals, we have been exceeding them every step of the way, and Bill C-22 is a big part of that strategy.

Bill C-28, which I talked about a minute ago, deals with the extreme intoxication defence. It is a great example of Parliament in a hybrid environment being able to work collaboratively to ensure that we close an important loophole to make sure that the extreme intoxication defence is not used when murder has been committed.

These are just some of the bills that we have been able to put forward, and we have been able to do so in a way that empowered all members of Parliament to be able to participate, whether they had COVID or not.

To give members a sense of the challenges, not only was all of this done using the hybrid system and during the middle of a pandemic, but it was done while dealing with obstruction. We saw all the times the Conservatives obstructed government legislation. In fact, 17 times over the past 14 weeks, the Conservatives used obstruction tactics, using concurrence motions and other tactics to block and obstruct, in many cases, legislation that was supported by three out of the four official parties here. They took the opportunity to obstruct, yet despite that, we have been able to make great progress.

The Conservatives support Bill C-14, yet we ended up spending a night because they were moving motions to hear their own speakers. At the MAID committee looking at medical assistance in dying, where there was incredibly sensitive testimony, witnesses were not able to testify because of the tactics and games that were happening here in this place. However, despite all that, in a hybrid environment we have been able to move forward.

Let us look at last week. Last week there were five members of the Liberal caucus who had COVID, and one of these people was the Prime Minister. I do not know how many members there were in other caucuses, but all were still able to participate in these proceedings. Every day, unfortunately, thousands of Canadians across the country continue to get COVID. Sadly, many of them are in hospitals and, even more tragically, many of them are dying. This pandemic is still very much a reality.

What we have seen over the last two years is that every time we try to start a parliamentary session, we spend weeks debating whether we should or should not continue using the hybrid system. Parliament deserves stability. People are still getting COVID. They have the right to be able to participate in this place, and as has been demonstrated by the incredible amount of work we have been able to get done during the pandemic, from historic supports in the deepest, darkest time of the pandemic to the more recent times dealing with a whole range of legislation that is absolutely critical to Canadians, these provisions allow us to continue to do the work of this nation in extraordinary times.

I do not think we should be in a position such that every time we start Parliament, we continue to have this debate. Canadians need predictability, as we do not know where this pandemic or public health circumstances are going. Canadians need predictability until the House of Commons, through a committee process, can evaluate the utility and usefulness of the provisions outside of a pandemic reality to see if they should be extended or used. We need to have a proper, thorough debate in that venue, hearing from witnesses, hearing from parliamentarians, taking a look at what was accomplished and at what could be done better or differently.

We are already seeing big improvements in everything, from the services that are being delivered to interpretation. I look forward to PROC's work to see whether or not these provisions have utility, but until then, this measure would give us the stability for PROC to do its report and for Parliament to continue to function in incredibly challenging times.

That is why I think it is only prudent to pass this measure now. It is so that Parliament will have the stability to do its work, so Canadians will know this work will not be interrupted, and so we can focus instead on the business of the nation.

Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

June 22nd, 2022 / 3:15 p.m.
See context

Delta B.C.

Liberal

Carla Qualtrough LiberalMinister of Employment

Mr. Speaker, since 2015, we have done so much as a government to help persons with disabilities, and I was honoured to reintroduce Bill C-22 in the House several weeks ago. We are working with the disability community to ensure that their needs and wants are reflected in the bill and that we lift as many people out of poverty as we can with the new Canada disability benefit.

We are about to release our first-ever disability inclusion action plan. Financial security is a key pillar of that plan, as is employment. We are going to make sure we get this done.

Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

June 17th, 2022 / noon
See context

Windsor—Tecumseh Ontario

Liberal

Irek Kusmierczyk LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment

Madam Speaker, since 2015, we have taken historic steps toward building a barrier-free Canada. In addition to the $112 million from budget 2021, with budget 2022 we are investing nearly $300 million in disability inclusion, including an employment strategy for persons with disabilities and funding to support the creation of materials for persons with print disabilities.

Moving forward, we are committed to implementing the disability inclusion action plan, which would establish a robust employment strategy and enhance eligibility for government disability programs and benefits, and to introducing the Canada disability benefit act to address poverty among Canadians with disabilities. We all benefit when everyone participates equally in society.

Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

June 13th, 2022 / 3:05 p.m.
See context

Green

Mike Morrice Green Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians with disabilities continue to disproportionately live in poverty across the country. Earlier this month, the government finally reintroduced the Canada disability benefit, but it has not allocated any time to debate it, nor has it introduced any emergency supports.

We have been here before. The same bill was introduced last June and died when the election was called within months. We now have eight sitting days left before we rise for the summer, while those living in legislative poverty will not get any break.

Will the governing party demonstrate that it is not playing games with the disability community and prioritize Bill C-22?

Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No. 1Government Orders

June 8th, 2022 / 7:45 p.m.
See context

Green

Mike Morrice Green Kitchener Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise again on Bill C-19, the budget implementation act, this time at third reading. I would like to start with what I appreciate, specifically about the work that was done at committee. If Canadians and neighbours in my community watch only question period, they might wonder whether anyone here gets anything done at all. The fact is that there are plenty of opportunities at committee for parliamentarians from all sides to come together to improve legislation. That is really important to highlight.

First, I want to point out one really critical amendment that was unanimously passed, which would ensure that all Canadians living with type 1 diabetes, of whom there are over 300,000 across the country, will now be able to access the disability tax credit. This is going to help ease the financial burden caused by unavoidable and necessary life-saving expenses.

The original bill had the foreign homebuyers ban, but there was no date set for when it would come into force. It was left up to the governing party's discretion. Through committee, there is now a hard date set. It is longer out than I would prefer, all the way out to January 1, 2023, but it is an improvement at least to have a date within the legislation. As I have said before, in my community, the extent to which all levels of government work to address the skyrocketing cost of housing will define us over the coming years.

I wish there was more in the budget implementation act, and certainly we need more. Investments like those in co-op housing in the budget, for deeply affordable and dignified housing, are a step in the right direction. Having a date in place for when this foreign homebuyers ban will come into force is an improvement.

That being said, these tweaks are insufficient, given the moment we are in. I would like to take this opportunity to share five significant and urgent priorities of my neighbours that are still missed by Bill C-19 and are the reasons why I cannot support it.

First, when it comes to the climate crisis, no doubt this is our last chance at a livable planet. The most recent report from the IPCC defines it as “an atlas of human suffering”. We know that if we want even a 50% chance of staying below a 1.5°C increase in global average temperatures, which, as scientists from the IPCC tell us, is required if we want to hold on to the possibility of a livable future for our kids and grandkids, and if we are to do our fair share, that means 86% of Canada's proven fossil fuel reserves need to remain unextracted. The UN Secretary-General went on to say that “the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels. Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness.”

Of course, I was disappointed that in Bill C-19 and in the budget there is nothing for a prosperous transition for workers, which we so desperately need when it comes to retraining and career support, when it comes to pension bridging, and when it comes to compensation. In the budget, instead, what we saw was $7.1 billion between now and 2030 for a new subsidy in the form of a tax credit for carbon capture and storage. A recent study of this technology from the Netherlands found that in 32 out of 40 projects they looked at worldwide that implemented carbon capture and storage, emissions actually went up. It is one of the reasons why 400 academics penned a letter to our Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance saying this is a false climate solution.

Unfortunately, the only time climate is even mentioned in Bill C-19 is when it speaks about the fact that an annual climate incentive is now going to be received by Canadians once a quarter, certainly not the kind of change that reflects the moment we are in, that reflects the crisis we are in, and that reflects the urgency of action required to meet this moment.

The second priority that continues to be missed is with respect to addressing the disproportionate number of Canadians with disabilities who are living in poverty across the country. We know that back in 2020, the governing party first promised the Canada disability benefit, a guaranteed livable income for every Canadian with a disability across the country, which would lift up, or it could if done well, 1.5 million Canadians with disabilities across the country.

We already know that 89% of Canadians support the Canada disability benefit. They are way ahead of parliamentarians here. However, we also need to recognize that emergency funds are required to address the very real, direct and urgent needs of Canadians with disabilities who are living in poverty across the country. Both in the budget and in this budget implementation act, there is no mention of emergency funds. There is no mention of the Canada disability benefit. It was, instead, introduced as Bill C-22. The same as last year, though, all of the major decisions on eligibility and the amounts are left to regulation.

It is going to be really critical for all of us to continue to put the prioritization, the urgency and the advocacy behind ensuring that we get support to Canadians with disabilities across the country, the Canadians who need it the most. We already know that it has support. In fact, 103 parliamentarians from all parties have now asked not only to bring it forward in the legislation that has now been done through Bill C-22, which I am glad to see, but to fast-track it and ensure that the experiences of Canadians with disabilities are heard every step of the way.

The third priority I want to mention tonight is with respect to mental health. In the budget, the only real mention was with respect to a wellness portal. So many parliamentarians in this place recognize, as is so important to do, that mental health is health. If that is the case, we need to be looking at organizations like the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health and their calls for legislation that would put in place a framework for the Canadian federal government to collaborate with and support provinces and territories and bring about parity in mental health support and funding. That is not in Bill C-19. As I mentioned, it was only tangentially mentioned in the budget. I will continue to advocate and encourage the governing party to meet the moment when it comes to addressing mental health.

Just last week, I spoke about the need to honour promises made when it comes to long-term care. This is because so many neighbours of mine have shared their stories, whether they are caregivers who are not in a position to deliver the care that is necessary or those who have a parent waiting in a hospital bed for months on end, hoping that their parent might one day have a spot in long-term care. We have to recognize the wait-lists. The research I saw last summer said that there were 52,000 people on a wait-list. We still have not seen this promised safe long-term care act. It was mentioned in the confidence and supply agreement between the NDP and the Liberal Party, and I continue to encourage the urgency to be placed on that legislation being moving forward, given that it is not in Bill C-19. In fact, long-term care is mentioned in the budget only once, as it relates to funding that was promised back in 2021.

In closing, the last critical priority that is urgent and needs sufficient prioritization in this place relates to addressing indigenous reconciliation, specifically following through on the 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. According to the Yellowhead Institute's most recent report on the calls to action, only 11 of 94 have been completed to date. In my view, that is another significant gap. If we are not doing enough to move sufficiently quickly to follow through on all of the promises made, to follow through on all 94 calls to action, this is another critical moment to do so.

Canada Disability Benefit ActRoutine Proceedings

June 2nd, 2022 / 10:15 a.m.
See context

Delta B.C.

Liberal