Evidence of meeting #4 for COVID-19 Pandemic in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was crisis.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

1 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll go back to Mr. Jeneroux.

1 p.m.

Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

How many of these applications have received a response from the government?

1 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

The majority of the applicants through the Buyandsell web page have received a response.

1 p.m.

Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

With the tools currently in place, is the government confident that Canada can manufacture enough PPE to supply our front-line and essential service workers?

1 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Of course, Mr. Chair, as I am sure the member is aware, personal protective equipment is in hot demand all across the world as countries prepare for and manage their respective outbreaks. Here at the Government of Canada, the member is well aware that we have both a procurement process and a domestic production process. We are, we believe, turning a corner. We have—

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. Jeneroux.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

Has the minister heard from patient groups that the PMPRB regulatory changes will negatively affect drug supply?

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

In fact, Mr. Chair, there are some members of Canadian society who have concerns with the PMPRB and there are others who do not.

Thank you.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

Has the minister heard from patient groups, though, on the PMPRB regulatory changes?

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Obviously, my department and my office are in regular conversations with patient groups. We stand committed to ensuring that patients who suffer with a variety of conditions get the support and treatment they deserve.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

With COVID-19 currently threatening Canada's drug supply, will the government delay the PMPRB regulatory changes scheduled to come into force July 1?

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, I think the honourable member knows that our government has been committed to ensuring that medication is available to Canadians and that the cost of medication does not stand in the way of Canadians getting the medication they deserve and need to treat their illnesses. We'll continue that important work.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

Again, Mr. Chair, will the scheduled July 1 date be rescheduled or delayed?

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, our government will always remain committed to the work that we started in our mandate, and that has been supported by Canadians, to ensure that the cost of medication is not something that makes medication inaccessible to Canadians.

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll now to go Ms. Shin.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Nelly Shin Conservative Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Many of the communities look to ethnic media for information about their local cultural community, and use articles written through the unique lens of their ethnic Canadian identity. They are struggling to survive because of revenue loss caused by the pandemic.

Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage be including ethnic media outlets to receive part of the $500 million in funding for cultural sectors? If so, how much, and which companies will benefit?

1:05 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Chair, in fact we've already been investing in these media in more than 12 languages in Canada—more than 900 newspapers and 500 radio and TV stations across the country.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Nelly Shin Conservative Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

In doing so, have they been part of the $30-million ad buyout? If so, will the minister provide my office with a public report that identifies which ethnic media companies were included, and how much was spent with each?

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Chair, the answer to the first question is “yes”. The answer to the second question is that we're still compiling that list, but we'll be happy to share it with them.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Nelly Shin Conservative Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Thank you so much.

Forest fire season is approaching in British Columbia. A wildfire in the midst of stringent social distancing measures would require a unique plan to ensure a safe evacuation. What would be the minister's emergency evacuation plan for forested urban ridings if a fire disaster were to take place?

May 6th, 2020 / 1:05 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Chair, let me assure the member opposite that our emergency preparedness work with provinces and territories is ongoing. In light of the COVID pandemic, a number of additional measures are being taken, but we are prepared to respond to any request for assistance that we receive from any of our provincial jurisdictions.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Nelly Shin Conservative Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Thank you.

The village of Belcarra in my riding is a densely forested area. If a forest fire were to start, it could potentially consume the entire riding. Currently, Belcarra has access to only one hour's worth of water to put out a forest fire. There are only two narrow roads for evacuation from Belcarra. So far, Belcarra has been safe because of luck and good providence. The limited water supply issue must be resolved, especially during this pandemic with its added complications.

Over a month ago, the Mayor of Belcarra put forward an application to seek government support to build a water reservoir in the village. Will the Minister of Infrastructure return my request for a phone or Zoom call and discuss this urgent need for infrastructure support with the mayor of Belcarra?

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Chair, a very important part of our work in emergency preparedness is making investments in communities right across the country to reduce and mitigate the impact that wildfires and flooding can have in all of our communities. There is certainly consideration going on, and investments through our infrastructure spending, to invest in communities when those requests come in. When they come in, they will be assessed appropriately and responded to as necessary.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Nelly Shin Conservative Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

In response to that, Mr. Chair, I would just like to ask for a commitment soon on when that time would be, because there is urgency in this.

Moving to my next question, many business owners in my constituency are struggling through the pandemic and feel left behind, because they hire contract workers and don't meet CEBA's $20,000 payroll requirement. Other business owners don't qualify for CEBA, because they've been paying themselves through dividends, and dividends don't count towards payroll.

Will the Minister of Finance extend CEBA qualifications to include these business owners so that they too can have a chance at saving their businesses?

1:10 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mona Fortier LiberalMinister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance

Mr. Chair, our government has been working around the clock to develop those programs. CEBA is one that is helping many businesses. I know that more than 535,000 businesses have already applied for CEBA. We're continuing to look at how we can help those businesses who fall in the cracks, and we will continue to do so.