This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

Evidence of meeting #59 for Finance in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was change.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Ted Cook  Senior Legislative Chief, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Sean Keenan  Director, Personal Income Tax Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Brian McCauley  Assistant Commissioner, Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch, Canada Revenue Agency
Pierre Mercille  Senior Legislative Chief, Sales Tax Division, GST Legislation, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Lucia Di Primio  Chief, Excise Policy, Sales Tax Division, Excise Act, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Gordon Boissonneault  Senior Advisor, Economic Analysis and Forecasting Division, Demand and Labour Analysis, Economic and Fiscal Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Jane Pearse  Director, Financial Institutions Division, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Annie Hardy  Chief, Financial Institutions Division, Structural Issues, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Ling Wang  Chief, Financial Institutions Division, Housing Finance Review, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

You have one minute.

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

With regard to the other measures, you provided the cost of two of the measures, the mining tax credit and the RDSP. Would you provide an itemized list of the costs to us for the other measures, or are they all too insignificant?

3:55 p.m.

Senior Legislative Chief, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Ted Cook

Sorry, I'm not sure—

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

There are a number of tax reduction measures in part 1. You responded to Ms. Nash's question about two of them, the mining tax credit and the RDSP. What about the other ones?

3:55 p.m.

Senior Legislative Chief, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Ted Cook

The medical expense tax credit is recorded in the table provided in the supplementary information as being less than $1 million.

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Do you expect the medical to be less than $1 million?

3:55 p.m.

Senior Legislative Chief, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Ted Cook

The change from adding blood coagulation monitors to the list of eligible expenses is expected to be less than that.

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

That's fine.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Thank you, Mr. Brison.

I just want to clarify one point with Mr. McCauley.

We've had this issue before, and CRA has been very explicit about it. I think it's important to note, because there is often a lot of discussion in the media and elsewhere on the government's actions or inactions with respect to the charitable sector and certain charities. I want to emphasize your answers, Mr. McCauley, in terms of there being no political direction given whatsoever. And if there were, CRA officials would frankly disregard it. They themselves would make the decision with respect to any auditing or oversight of charities with respect to the law.

I want you to answer that very clearly, for the committee's sake.

3:55 p.m.

Assistant Commissioner, Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch, Canada Revenue Agency

Brian McCauley

That's the way we've done business since forever, regardless of the government, and that's the way we'll continue to do business. There is no political direction, and that's absolutely essential to the integrity of the system.

4 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

When there are statements made about the government, political people, or members of Parliament targeting charities, the fact is that CRA is independent. It exercises its own independent oversight, analysis, and judgment with respect to the charitable sector.

4 p.m.

Assistant Commissioner, Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch, Canada Revenue Agency

Brian McCauley

We act in a manner that's consistent with the Income Tax Act and the policy direction the Government of Canada provides to us. And those are public, yes.

4 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Thank you for that clarification.

I have Monsieur Caron, s'il vous plaît.

May 16th, 2012 / 4 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I would like some clarification on the first part, which pertains to grains, so that we are sure about the scope of the clause. The idea is to maintain an advance payments program for farmers who, until now, were under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Wheat Board. Is that correct?

4 p.m.

Senior Legislative Chief, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Ted Cook

With respect to the first clause, it has to do with a change as a result of the ultimate dissolution or commercialization of the Canadian Wheat Board. It takes a current measure that applies in respect of grain producers who produce in western Canada, essentially, and makes it available to all farmers of listed grains in Canada. Essentially what it does is take out a reference to an area designated by the Canada Wheat Board and replaces it with all of Canada. The measure also, in the first clause of the bill, adds a reference to canola.

4 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

I would like to know why canola was not included before and why this was overlooked.

4 p.m.

Senior Legislative Chief, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Ted Cook

My understanding is that it may have been perhaps an oversight in drafting. My understanding of canola is that it's sort of a version of rapeseed. When the measure was first drafted, it was thought that rapeseed would be inclusive. Just to be clear, we've added a reference to canola.

4 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

I have another series of questions about the registered disability savings plan.

Five changes were announced in budget 2012. I read this bill and it does not seem as though these five changes have been included. Did you include the five changes that were announced in budget 2012?

4 p.m.

Senior Legislative Chief, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Ted Cook

That is correct. In fact, this morning I was working on the other four. They're in preparation. But this is the only one included in this particular bill.

4 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Okay.

So there will be another bill that will include the other four changes. Is that correct?

4 p.m.

Senior Legislative Chief, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Ted Cook

Well, usually the way we approach the distinction generally between budget implementation measures is that it will depend on how important it is to have a measure come into effect quickly. This is a measure that will come into effect on royal assent, and it was felt that it was important to get this measure in as quickly as possible. It will also depend on the complexity of the drafting for various measures and the desirability of consultation on drafting of measures. Those are the reasons why the first one was included.

4 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

The Office des personnes handicapées du Québec has expressed concern about the regulation of the temporary measure included in Bill C-38 because it could allow a person other than the beneficiary to have access to and use of the money in a registered disability savings plan. Are stricter regulations planned or does the government not see a need for that since the proposed measure is temporary?

4 p.m.

Director, Personal Income Tax Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Sean Keenan

An RDSP must be established only to be for the benefit of the beneficiary. So RDSP issuers, which are in general the major financial institutions, do what they can to ensure that when withdrawals are made from an RDSP, the payments go only to the beneficiary or in respect of their legal representative.

As a temporary measure allowing certain qualified family members, the scope is limited to parents and spouses or common-law partners, generally on the basis that those individuals would have the best interests of the beneficiary in mind. So a broader scope might have opened up possibility that yes, indeed, a priori, there might be some uncertainty about whether they had the best interests of the beneficiary in mind. But the expectation is that parents and spouses would have the best interests of the beneficiary in mind.

4 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

May I...?

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Do you have a little one?