Evidence of meeting #110 for Finance in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was research.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Serge Buy  Chief Executive Officer, Agricultural Institute of Canada
Ken Block  President, Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs
Michael Dennis  President, Canadian Association of Optometrists
Laurie Clement  Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Association of Optometrists
Emil Lee  President, Canadian Association of Radiologists
Brenda Brouwer  President, Canadian Association for Graduate Studies
Charlotte Kiddell  National Deputy Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students
Glenn Priestley  Executive Director, Northern Air Transport Association
Tim Kennedy  Executive Director, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance
Kate McInturff  Senior Researcher, National Office, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Derek Nighbor  Chief Executive Officer, Forest Products Association of Canada
Brock Carlton  Chief Executive Officer, Federation of Canadian Municipalities
Bruce MacDonald  President and Chief Executive Officer, Imagine Canada
Brendan Marshall  Vice-President, Economic and Northern Affairs, Mining Association of Canada
Daniel Rubinstein  Acting Director, Policy and Research, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

5 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you for that.

Mr. Buy, you have a quick point.

5 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Agricultural Institute of Canada

Serge Buy

Clearly, 2.3 million jobs are supported by the agrifood sector, but it seems that the importance of the agrifood sector may not be as recognized as it should be, especially in an arena like this. I think that's of significant concern to the agrifood sector, that there is not enough recognition of the benefits of agriculture and agrifood to the Canadian economy.

The Dominic Barton report clearly identified that. I'm questioning whether or not this has translated into the halls of Parliament Hill, at this point, but hopefully some of the recommendations that were put in will make it through your process and move forward.

Thank you.

5:05 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

With that, we'll thank everyone for their testimony, and we will suspend for about five minutes for the last panel.

5:10 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

We'll reconvene and call the meeting to order.

For the record, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1), the committee is doing pre-budget consultations in advance of the 2018 budget.

Welcome to the panellists who have come forward this afternoon. This will make about 72 witnesses this week, I believe. I think some members, including me, are getting a little draggy.

In any event, we appreciate your appearing and making your remarks today, and we also appreciate the submissions that were sent in prior to mid-August. You can be assured that they will be considered as part of the consultations as well.

We'll start, then, with the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance. I understand that Mr. Kennedy, executive director, is only six months into the job. Welcome.

5:15 p.m.

Tim Kennedy Executive Director, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thanks, members of the committee. We will try to bring some energy to this end-of-the-day hearing.

Thanks for the opportunity to be here today. I am Tim Kennedy and am about six months into the job with the Aquaculture Industry Alliance. Unfortunately, one of my failings in this job already is that I'm missing a surname like my predecessor, whose name was Ruth Salmon. If any of you came across Ruth, she was a great lady. One member of Parliament has said I should be Tim Mussel, so maybe you can come up with a good name for me.

Members, global demand for seafood is rising very, very rapidly. Traditional seafood production is flat to declining, with pressure on the ocean's wild fish stocks as a significant global environmental challenge. Farming our oceans is a critical answer, now and into the future, to providing a sustainable source of healthy food for all of us. It already provides over 50% of the world's seafood supply. My strong and long-standing environmental interest is one of the reasons I started this job around six months ago.

Canada has the opportunity now to reclaim some leadership in global farmed seafood production. The industry is fascinating and has incredible potential.

I want to appeal to you all today. Don't just tolerate this sector, but embrace it with enthusiasm and seek to apply Canadian ingenuity to any challenges that we face. No country has the expanse of coastal geography that Canada has. Small coastal communities have talented people wanting work in well-paying jobs. People want to work with truly sustainable resources in a sustainable business. They also want to be in a sector that's innovative. Seafood farming answers all of these issues.

Dominic Barton identified our sector in his panel's recommendations this spring. He called for Canada to identify a growth target for us and to follow up with actions to make it happen: increased global market share for aquaculture to 0.6% from the current 0.2%, and exports by just under $3 billion.

Canada's production in aquaculture has been largely flat over 10 years. There are a few reasons for this. The first reason is the inability of governments to embrace and support the sector. The industry can always improve, but we have come a very, very long way. We continue to address any challenges and problems, but we need the encouragement and support of governments, the federal government in particular, to continue to invest and constantly improve.

Second, we lack a modern legal framework. We're governed under the 150-year-old Fisheries Act that's dedicated to conservation and management. We are a farming activity. The Fisheries Act does not mention the word “aquaculture”, except for once, in the French version only.

Third, we do not receive close to the same support that farmers in the country take for granted through innovation and business risk management programs.

Mr. Barton, joining many other experts over the years, recommends two things. He recommends that, first, Canada adopt a new Canadian aquaculture act to move this industry into the 21st century; and, second, that Canada provides integrated supportive program funding for this sector.

Our budget proposal that you've received answers the second of these recommendations. It's a request for an integrated $160-million funding program, over three years, that addresses major gaps that have caused our sector to fall behind the global competition. It's divided into six sections. Each priority identification needs close industry-government collaboration. The breakdown of the proposal is the following, again for a three-year period: science and innovation for $95 million; infrastructure for $20 million; fish health, $5 million; business risk programs, $20 million; skills, $15 million; and new species and broodstock at $5 million. I'll go through that quickly again, as I see some people writing: science and innovation, $95 million; infrastructure, $20 million; fish health, $5 million; business risk programs, $20 million; skills at $15 million; and new species and broodstock for $5 million.

All of these proposals are based on our desire and our knowledge that we need to get back into the international game and access resources that are enjoyed by our competitors and lead the world in sustainable seafood production.

Thank you for your attention, and I look forward to further discussion.

5:15 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you very much.

From the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, we have Ms. McInturff.

5:20 p.m.

Dr. Kate McInturff Senior Researcher, National Office, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

I'd like to thank the committee for inviting me to speak today.

Today men and women in Canada have equal levels of education, ambition, and capacity. However, they are treated differently within our economy and our society. Men and women work in different occupations, at different rates of pay, for different numbers of hours, and they perform different amounts of unpaid work in the home. Women, for the first time since we have been measuring, are now more likely than men to be victims of a violent crime.

We need policies that address those differences. If the 2018 federal budget is going to work for men and women, then it needs to invest in the following.

Invest equally in the sectors where men work and the sectors where women work. Invest in occupations where women earn a living wage. That includes, for example, home care workers, where the government is making a significant investment. Median income for home care workers, according to the last census, fell below the low-income measure—the poverty line—for the same year. The government needs to support part-time workers, 67% of whom are women; shift the balance of unpaid care work, because women are still putting in an extra 10 hours a week; and invest in direct funding for women's organizations.

I would be very happy to speak to all of these points in more detail, and I do as well in the written brief that I have submitted. I am going to focus my remarks right now on the last of these recommendations, which is funding women's organizations.

I'd like to speak personally for a moment. I'm in my third year of cancer treatment. I don't know how many more budgets I have to look forward to—I know this isn't the make-a-wish committee—but if I can convince you to take one action to make one change that has the power to change lives and indeed to save lives, while I still have energy to harass you, it is this: invest in women's organizations.

These organizations are in all of your communities. They are organizations like Anderson House in Prince Edward Island, a women's shelter that reaches over 450 families each year; Calacs Estrie, which supports survivors of sexual assault in the Sherbrooke region; and the Calgary Immigrant Women's Association, which has helped over 80,000 women find jobs and make new lives for themselves in Canada.

They are among the most underfunded organizations in the non-profit sector in Canada, yet the research is clear. They are the single most effective means to building better public policy and better lives for women.

To give you an example of what some of that research has shown us, when the Dutch government invested $100 million in a gender equality fund, their investments in local women's organizations reshaped public policy at the national level in 46 countries, influenced local governments in over 38 regions, and changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of women.

When our own government invested in women's funds abroad, they found, according to their own external evaluation, that the women's fund itself is the most successful mechanism we have found for empowering women.

In Canada, according to the federal government's own estimates, violence against women costs our economy $12 billion annually. That works out to about $415 per capita. It puts the economic impact of violence against women on a par with the economic cost of smoking and the use of illegal drugs, yet federal per capita spending on violence against women across departments and agencies, by my best estimate, is approximately $5 per capita.

If we look at the primary federal mechanism we have that provides direct funding to women's organizations as its primary mandate—that's the women's program that's part of Status of Women—their budget represents less than one one-hundredth of one per cent of total federal program spending. It has done so for the last decade. To put that another way, direct federal funding through the women's program clocks in at about a buck a woman.

Women's organizations know how to save lives. We aren't giving them the resources they need to do it. It's like our having a pill that's going to cure cancer and it costs $500, and we're giving everyone 50¢ and saying, “Good luck with that. Please report quarterly.”

Given the urgency of the work these organizations do, given the demonstrable benefit of their work to our communities and our lives, and given the sincerity and the commitment of the women who run them, I find it baffling that we are so unwilling to support them.

It has occurred to me that, after decades of neglect, perhaps fundamentally at some unconscious level we just don't trust women with money. So prove me wrong. Show Canadians that this is a government willing to support the organizations that are delivering dignity and security to women in their communities. Show Canadians that growth and productivity isn't just an abstraction but a means to put resources in the hands of those who want to help each other have a better life. Show Canadians that the future really is feminist.

Thank you.

5:25 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you very much, Kate.

From the Forest Products Association of Canada, we have Mr. Nighbor, CEO.

5:25 p.m.

Derek Nighbor Chief Executive Officer, Forest Products Association of Canada

Thank you, members of the committee and my colleagues, for being here today.

On behalf of my team at FPAC, I'd like to thank you for this opportunity.

Just to level set everyone, we are the voice of Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally, and increasingly of companies that are getting into the bioeconomy game and getting into power production as well. We generate $67 billion annually and represent 12% of Canada's manufacturing GDP. Our industry is one of Canada's largest employers, operating in some 600 forest-dependent communities across the country from coast to coast, and employing 230,000 Canadians. There is a 3:1 ratio in terms of indirect jobs for about one million Canadians.

One of the benefits of my job is that I travel the country and go to communities like Vernon, B.C.; Peace River, Alberta; Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec; and Kenora, Ontario. These are very well-paying jobs in communities that really need them.

Given that we operate primarily in rural and northern communities, we also work very closely with some 80% of indigenous peoples in Canada. We're one of the largest employers of indigenous peoples. We work with some 1,400 indigenous businesses across the country. My board has identified as a priority over the next few years to really increase our engagement and support with our indigenous government partners and communities.

To maintain our industry's strong position, our market position in the world, is important if we want to continue to maximize our contribution on economic growth for our workers, businesses, and communities, and continue to drive the environmental and recreational benefits that come with our actively and sustainably managed forests.

We have a number of recommendations in our pre-budget submissions, but understanding that I have only five minutes today, I'll hit on just two of them for the committee.

Number one is around the issue of trade and growing Canada's market access around the world. Trade is a big deal these days on a number of fronts—with TPP coming back onto the table, with our NAFTA negotiations, and with the pursuit of a free trade agreement with China—and we feel we have a real opportunity in terms of marketing the brand “Canada” because of the reputation of our industry has for being sustainable.

I want to give a shout-out to the international trade department and our trade commissioners around the world, who are critical to supporting our efforts to develop and expand new markets for wood, pulp, and paper, and, increasingly, biomaterials. We appreciate their work; it's very valuable to us.

Beyond quality, as I said, one of the key selling points of our products is sustainability. In a global study released last month by NEPCon with the support of the Forest Stewardship Council, Canada's forest management framework was again touted as one of the best in the world. This can be attributed to our strong legislative and regulatory regimes both federally and provincially; the fact that we have the most third-party certified forests in the world, which are independently audited and certified; and the way we manage for multiple values when we're planning a harvest, from species considerations to wetlands preservation to promoting watershed health, and mitigating carbon.

The second piece I want to touch on today is linked to our climate change opportunity. We're one of the few industries that were on board with the Kyoto Protocol many, many years ago, so we call ourselves “Canada's greenest workforce”. We agree with Minister Carr, who earlier today at a conference in town said that Canada can't achieve its climate change goals without its forest sector.

Last year, we launched our “30 by 30” climate change challenge, a plan to remove three megatonnes of carbon a year from our atmosphere by 2030. That's the equivalent of taking six million cars off the road. We're going to get there by delivering on a number of initiatives in our forests, at our mills, and along our supply chains, and through broadening the reach of the carbon-storing products that we make. We're going to start reporting on our progress on this goal in 2019.

Core to this effort is the plan to build more with wood and to assess and implement new approaches to maximizing the role of our forests in the fight against climate change.

On the building side, reThink Wood is a very successful initiative in the U.S. that has been established to support the expansion of building with wood to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and realize significant benefits for the environment and the economy. A modest investment of $600,000 in the Canadian edition of the reThink Wood program would allow us to leverage an existing $2.4 million program and support its expansion into Canada.

For folks around the table from B.C., the fires that have ravaged our forests have caused over one million hectares in loss already. We've seen the pine beetle sweep through B.C. into Alberta. We are seeing the real effects of climate change in our forests, so we're calling on the government to support us by assessing the mitigation and adaptation practices feasible in different regions across Canada. We have an opportunity to share delivery models and approaches from other jurisdictions that have successful mitigation practices.

In closing, the budget presents an opportunity for our sector, but even more importantly, we need your help between those budget cycles.

Our sector alone is currently caught in the middle of a number of trade disputes, softwood lumber being the most prominent. We're facing increased pressures from governments to manage for species at risk, and we're preparing for a host of new policies and programs related to carbon.

We're a sector that prides itself on our approach to delivering on both environmental and economic goals, and we will always support government efforts that are focused on balancing the environment and the economy.

As we look to the future, it's critical that cumulative impacts of well-intended government initiatives be closely evaluated. We look forward to working with the government in partnership.

Thanks for the opportunity. I will be happy to answer any questions later on.

5:30 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you, Derek.

Turning to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, we have Mr. Carlton and Mr. Rubinstein.

5:30 p.m.

Brock Carlton Chief Executive Officer, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I have with me Daniel Rubinstein, director of policy and research.

Thank you for inviting us to appear before you today to present our vision for building Canada by strengthening our cities and communities.

The FCM and its 2,000 members represent more than 90% of Canada's population from coast to coast to coast.

In budget 2018 we see an opportunity to boost Canada's productivity and quality of life by strengthening cities and communities nationwide.

You've heard FCM call last year's budget a “game-changer”. Why did we use that terminology? Because it confirmed new investments to spark growth in rural and northern communities nationwide. It outlined a plan to launch the next era of public transit to ease congestion and boost national productivity. It responded to FCM's call to fix the housing crisis and to support the families and workers Canada needs to thrive. In short, budget 2017 flowed from unprecedented engagement with local governments and recognized that community building is nation building.

Turning historic investments into historic outcomes now hinges on design decisions that have yet to be made. These decisions need to recognize that municipalities form the order of government closest to Canadians' lives. We manage 60% of the public infrastructure that supports Canada's productivity and quality of life. We know what needs to be done locally and what works. That's why we, FCM and our members, expect to be engaged throughout the integrated bilateral agreement negotiations with provinces and territories. These negotiations will shape the outcome of the 12-year federal infrastructure plan. I'll outline four key priorities municipalities bring to the table.

First, to move projects forward, FCM is recommending a 40-40-20 cost-sharing arrangement through the integrated bilateral agreements. Now that Ottawa has committed to a 40% share, federal leadership means making a strong case with the provinces. Achieving 40-40-20 nationwide could mark the difference between getting major projects off the ground and seeing them halted in their tracks by local fiscal limits.

Second, municipalities need more clarity and access when it comes to the green infrastructure fund. There is great uncertainty about how this fund will support municipal priorities from waste water to climate action. Municipalities influence half of Canada's GHG emissions, and many are already modelling green innovation that could be scaled up nationwide. This is an opportunity to start unlocking more than 50 megatonnes of potential GHG reductions while we build more climate-resilient communities. Scaling up local climate mitigation and adaption efforts will generate substantial growth and productivity gains as well.

Third, Canada needs to recognize the unique needs of remote, rural, and northern communities. This includes optimizing federal infrastructure investments for smaller communities with fund stacking and streamlined approvals.

Fourth, we go beyond the integrated bilateral agreements to talk about transforming housing, which needs to start now. Mayors in our biggest cities have been clear that we can't build tomorrow's Canada on top of a housing crisis. The government has responded by promising a national housing strategy, and getting this right now is critical. Without urgent funding for social housing repairs, thousands of families could see their homes shuttered, and this will require at least $615 million annually, according to our numbers. Simultaneously we need to grow Canada's affordable housing supply with new non-profit housing construction that leverages local innovation.

In short, FCM's priority is to ensure that new investments are designed to unlock local expertise to achieve transformational national outcomes. To achieve these transformational national outcomes, the federal government must continue deepening its partnership with local governments in the design of investing in Canada programs and the national housing strategy. In fact, to achieve transformative national outcomes, the federal government must continue to deepen its partnership with local governments wherever local expertise is vital, from the opioid crisis to expanding trade to safely legalizing cannabis.

FCM is looking to budget 2018 with a fresh lens. How can its commitments deepen the federal-municipal partnership to better serve Canadians? We all have a remarkable opportunity to shape Canada's future now.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

5:35 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you very much, Mr. Carleton.

Turning to Imagine Canada, we have Mr. MacDonald, president and CEO.

5:35 p.m.

Bruce MacDonald President and Chief Executive Officer, Imagine Canada

Thank you, Chair, and thanks to the committee members for the opportunity to be here.

I think everyone recognizes the impressive contributions that charitable and non-profit organizations make in Canadian communities and around the world. They provide services in response to real needs, and they contribute to the quality of life of all of us in areas as diverse as religious practice; education; health care and research; social services; environmental protection; the settlement of immigrants and refugees; support for seniors; community development; and the arts.

Canada's international reputation is also the result of efforts made beyond our borders in situations of emergency relief and development work.

All too often, though, the economic contributions of charities and non-profits are overlooked by governments, businesses, or, to be honest, the vast majority of Canadians. Little attention is paid to the role of our sector in economic programming and policy-making.

The best data we have available —and I'll come back to this point in a second—indicates that, as a whole, charities and non-profits employ more than two million Canadians and account for in excess of 8% of Canada's GDP. This activity is not regionally focused. Charities and non-profits operate in every community of every size in every part of Canada. We strongly believe that any discussion of productivity and economic growth, particularly if we're aiming for smart growth that is equitable and benefits all regions, needs to take charities and non-profits into consideration.

We have a long way to go to change the perception of this sector, but the fact that we're here today, when the committee has adopted very focused parameters for this year's pre-budget consultations, is very encouraging.

A moment ago, I mentioned data. For those of you who are veterans of this committee, you'll know that we've been raising this issue for several years. Much of the economic and employment data we have about charities and non-profits dates back to 2008 and even 2003. Since then, Statistics Canada has not collected or published economic and employment data about the sector. We simply cannot make good evidence-based policy decisions in the absence of current data. I liken this to the crisis facing the automobile sector in 2008. Can you imagine if the government's response to that situation had been based on sales, employment, and profit figures from the boom years of the 1990s?

We've had very productive meetings with the chief statistician and officials from other interested departments. There is a will to address the situation. We believe that a recommendation from this committee would go a long way towards ensuring that the necessary resources are made available.

As you can read in our letter to the committee, we believe that there are other areas of activity where immediate action could help the organizations boost their productivity and further capitalize on the economic potential.

Social finance, social innovation, and social enterprise are concepts that are getting traction around the world and here in Canada. We need to ensure that government investments in developing this space achieve their full potential, which means making sure that the current regulatory and administrative policies don't limit the ability of charities and non-profits to work with government toward common economic goals. We've endorsed recommendations made by the Canadian Community Economic Development Network and Philanthropic Foundations Canada that would remove existing barriers to charities and non-profits accessing some of the skills and capital investments they need in order to be full partners.

Finally, if we want to talk about productivity, this committee is trying to make recommendations relevant to the 21st century, the century in which we're trying to solve critical social problems, but our regulatory regime is derived from 19th-century interpretations of a 17th-century statute. This needs to change. The CRA, as the de facto regulator of charities, gets a lot of criticism, much of it unfair, as it seeks to enforce regulations and practices that are simply out of date. While the issue that triggered it was very specific, the expert panel making recommendations to the Minister of National Revenue on public policy and advocacy work by charities commented on the broader challenges posed by the antiquated regulatory system.

The government has made a number of commitments with regard to charity regulation. While some progress has been made, we are concerned that the commitment to broad legal and regulatory reform, which will take time and resources to get right, has not been prioritized. I cannot imagine that committee members would be silent in the face of 400-year-old regulations impacting the ability of any other sector to operate in today's economy, but this is exactly the case for today's charities. We believe that a statement by this committee would give a significant boost towards the government meeting its commitments in this area.

Thanks very much.

5:40 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you very much, Bruce.

Turning to the Mining Association of Canada, we have Mr. Marshall, vice-president, economic and northern affairs.


5:40 p.m.

Brendan Marshall Vice-President, Economic and Northern Affairs, Mining Association of Canada

Thank you very much for the opportunity to appear and participate in this important hearing.

Mining contributes approximately 3.5% to Canada's GDP. That was $56 billion in 2016. It directly employs 370,000 workers, and indirectly employs almost another 200,000. Proportionally, mining is the largest private sector employer of indigenous peoples nationally, and that's with employment poised to increase.

The government has contributed positively in recent years with policy development and investments supporting the growth of Canada's mining sector. These include exploration via the extension of the mineral exploration tax credit, northern infrastructure development with road investments in the Yukon and the NWT, and commitments to address challenges that shippers face in Canada's rail freight market.

Looking ahead, proposed investments also hold promise, including the infrastructure bank, the green infrastructure fund, and innovation cluster funding. Simultaneously, however, certain policy initiatives are causing uncertainty and affecting Canada's attractiveness as a destination for mineral investment. To ensure that the mining industry's contribution to Canada's economy remains robust, a competitive and predictable domestic investment and regulatory environment are key.

Ongoing reviews of federal environmental legislation will have critical implications for the future of Canada's mining industry. Most significant is the review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. It is critical that these reviews result in an effective, timely, and coordinated regulatory process, from the pre-environmental assessment to the post-EA permitting phase, with meaningful consultation. For example, inadequate capacity to support the transition of the 2012 amendments to the Fisheries Act cost our members delays and, in some cases, millions of dollars in additional consulting fees to interpret the new requirements. Ensuring that regulatory agencies and relevant departments have the requisite capacity to adequately perform and carry out their responsibilities is essential to this end.

Mining is northern Canada's largest private sector economic driver and indigenous employer. Enabling additional mining development in remote and northern Canada is inextricably linked to the government's indigenous reconciliation, climate change, and broader social and economic development policy objectives in the region. To date, infrastructure investment decisions that recognize northern challenges and opportunities through the trade and transportation corridor initiative and the investing in Canada plan have been welcome.

The next step is to recognize specific consideration for northern challenges and opportunities in the Canada infrastructure bank. Including a northern specific fund or allocation within the CIB is also supported by the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

On the climate change front, in addition to supporting a revenue-neutral price on carbon, MAC underscores the need for a climate change policy to ensure that the competitiveness of emissions-intensive and trade-exposed sectors be sensitive to changing economic and geographical realities and minimize compliance burden. Approaches that fail to address these concerns risk creating carbon leakage that will diminish Canadian competitiveness with no global net gain in greenhouse gas reduction. That's a lose-lose scenario. MAC also believes that the government has given itself important tools to support Canada's transition to a lower carbon economy. We welcome the commitment to invest $1.2 billion to support innovation in mining and other resource sectors.

The government's innovation superclusters initiative is timely. By harnessing the collaborative strength of Canada's mining ecosystem to accelerate significant and sustained innovation in energy, water, and land use, CLEER, a consortium of national and regional mining and supply companies and organizations, has the potential to support the sustainable growth of Canada's mining sector; enable the development, adoption, and export of clean energy and water technologies; and grow Canada's global-facing mining supply services sector.

On the tax front, MAC was pleased that this committee recognized that the reduction or elimination of several mining tax credits in budgets 2012 and 2013 reduced Canada's global mineral investment competitiveness.

What's more, Canada remains out of step with other jurisdictions in respect to other levies and rules. Consistent with our tax expenditure review submission, MAC recommends, one, that dividend withholding tax be phased out; two, that substantial shareholder exemption for corporate reorganization performed by Canadian or foreign groups be tax free; and three, that all mining tax payable should be deductible regardless of the year in which it is paid or whether it is deemed payable post-audit.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today, and I look forward to answering any questions you may have.

5:45 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you very much, Mr. Marshall.

I thank all the witnesses for their presentations.

Mr. Fergus, we'll begin the five-minute rounds with you.

5:45 p.m.


Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

I have two questions, and I think my colleague Mr. Sorbara will have at least one.

I would first like to address Dr. McInturff.

Madam McInturff, thank you very much for a particularly forceful presentation. I've long learned that investing in women always pays off. We see that in terms of what this government is trying to do on international development. It's very much that case. It's very important for us to take a look inward in terms of what our domestic spending priorities are, but your request will not fall on deaf ears.

My two questions are for the representatives from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Mr. Carlton, the federal government announced a contribution up to 40%. I guess your members are in favour of the municipalities' contributing 20%.

You would like the federal government to stand together with the municipalities to put pressure on the provinces, to ensure that the cost breakdown is 40%, 40% and 20%. Have I understood correctly?

Last week, you met with Minister Sohi. I heard that at least one province tried to use the federal infrastructure funds to invest in schools. Minister Sohi had to clearly reiterate that the money for green infrastructures and public transit should not be allocated to building schools. If I've understood correctly, you want to stand together with the federal government.

I'll now turn to you, Mr. MacDonald.

If I'm not mistaken, one of your suggestions is that the committee should support the idea that the federal government should collect evidence so that we can measure the impact and extent of your sector's contribution.

5:50 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Brock Carlton

I wouldn't say that the federal government and the municipalities should stand together against the provinces and territories. That said, I think we all share the same goal, which is to ensure that the funds allocated to infrastructure continue to be spent on local projects.

It's very important for us that 40-40-20 as a formula enables the municipalities to move to work in their projects, to fund their portion of the projects, with an appropriate and fair cost share from the other two orders of government. What is really important to understand, and to not forget, is that even at 20%, when you figure the full life-cycle cost of a project, municipalities are paying more than 50% of that full life-cycle cost.

So even at 40-40-20, municipalities are carrying a very big burden. However, we share common objectives about getting projects locally funded and built.

5:50 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Mr. MacDonald.

5:50 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Imagine Canada

Bruce MacDonald

I will answer in English. I've taken a French course, but I'm not bilingual yet.

The short answer is, yes, we are looking for support to be able to collect information, and our initial thoughts are in three areas: the economic contribution of the sector; the size and scope of the sector and financial resources; and, if we can, volunteer resources and contributions by the sector.

This has been a role traditionally played by the federal government, but as I mentioned, it has been quite some time since we've done that. To be honest with you, we're getting a bit nervous about quoting statistics that are approaching a decade old.

5:50 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Mr. Sorbara, we'll pull you in later. Mr. Fergus used up most of your time, so you'll have to negotiate.

5:50 p.m.

Francesco Sorbara

No worries.

5:50 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Mr. Kelly.

September 28th, 2017 / 5:50 p.m.


Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I'm going to continue with Mr. MacDonald.

Mr. MacDonald, you raised some interesting points in your presentation. You characterized the regulation of the non-profit and charitable sector as being hopelessly out of date, and I hope I am paraphrasing you correctly. You described the Canada Revenue Agency as the regulator of charities or, I guess, the de facto regulator of charities, there being no other agency. I presume by that you mean that the CRA regulates the financial contributions people make and the interaction between the charities and their donors through the exchange of the money. You then said that time and resources would be necessary for reform.

What type of time frame would meaningful reform take and what kinds of resources do you think would be necessary? Do you have specific asks for this budget to that end?

5:50 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Imagine Canada

Bruce MacDonald

You've paraphrased this wonderfully. The four heads of charity have come from 16th-century England in terms of the common law, and CRA takes its direction from the regulations set out in the Income Tax Act.

For this modernization to occur—and I feel as though I'm going to waffle a little bit on the answer, but I think it's an honest response—it depends on the approach that the government wants to take. First of all, we think it's important that there be a broad consultation with sector leaders around the kinds of change we want to see. The sector is so incredibly vast that we need to make sure there is some form of agreement around what that modernization would look like. That could go anywhere from a few hundred thousand dollars a year if the government's leading it to probably around $1.5 million to $2 million a year if it was going to be farmed out to an organization or a group of organizations like Imagine Canada to play a lead role in. Ideally, we're probably looking at one to two years to do this.