Evidence of meeting #215 for Finance in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site.) The winning word was chair.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Maude Lavoie  Director General, Business Income Tax Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Trevor McGowan  Director General, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Charlene Davidson  Senior Project Leader, Financial Crimes Policy, Financial Systems Division, Financial Sector Policy, Department of Finance
Samuel Millar  Director General, Corporate Finance, Natural Resources and Environment, Economic Development and Corporate Finance, Department of Finance
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. David Gagnon
Darryl C. Patterson  Director, Corporate, Insolvency and Competition Policy Directorate, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Department of Industry
Tolga Yalkin  Director General, Consumer Product Safety Directorate, Department of Health
Colin Stacey  Acting Director General, Pilotage Act Review, Department of Transport
Sara Wiebe  Director General, Air Policy, Department of Transport
Joyce Henry  Director General, Office of Energy Efficiency, Energy Sector, Department of Natural Resources
André Baril  Senior Director, Refugee Affairs, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Michel Tremblay  Senior Vice-President, Policy and Innovation, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Ariane Gagné-Frégeau  Procedural Clerk
Karen Hall  Director General, Social Policy Directorate, Strategic and Service Policy Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development
Hugues Vaillancourt  Senior Director, Social Development Policy Division, Social Policy Directorate, Strategic and Service Policy Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Rachel Bendayan Liberal Outremont, QC

Yes, Mr. Chair.

I just wanted to reassure my colleague.

Not only does the government have plans, but it will also produce public reports.

First, based on Canada's Poverty Reduction Strategy, the government has already set reduction targets of 20% by 2020 and 50% by 2030. Canada's long-term target of reducing poverty by 50% by 2030 reflects the government's commitment to the first sustainable development objective of reducing by 50% the proportion of men, women and children living in poverty.

Finally, I would like to add that the strategy establishes a National Advisory Council on Poverty, which will report annually and publicly on the progress made in reducing poverty in Canada.

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

I take it you're speaking in opposition in outlining those points?

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Rachel Bendayan Liberal Outremont, QC

Yes. For all the reasons I mentioned, I am encouraging members to consider this amendment superfluous and already covered by the existing legislation.

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

All right.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

Next is amendment NDP-18.

Mr. Dusseault.

5:25 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The following should be added to section 5 of the Poverty Reduction Strategy, under clause 315 of the bill, which deals with development and implementation.

The amendment is worded as follows:

The strategy must provide for the collecting of information that is necessary to measure its effectiveness based on the ethnic origin of the persons living in poverty.

In other words, the point is to specify that we must take this reality into account. We must not forget that poverty often affects people from visible minorities. A little more information is needed to see if this strategy is working for this population group in Canada.

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Ms. Bendayan.

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Rachel Bendayan Liberal Outremont, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I thank my colleague for raising this point.

As with the previous amendment, the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy has already addressed this issue, so the amendment is not necessary.

We have established an official measure of poverty, the official poverty line in Canada, and the report establishes an indicator dashboard that will be available on Statistics Canada's website to track progress on many aspects of this strategy. The data will be distributed according to geographical and socio-demographic characteristics, including ethnic origin, as raised by my colleague.

More specifically, this will allow everyone to have data before aggregation, if available, in order to have a better understanding of poverty among different groups.

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Is there any further discussion?

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

Next is amendment NDP-19.

Mr. Dusseault.

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

In the same vein, Mr. Chair, this amendment is similar, but not identical, to the Green Party amendment we heard earlier. The purpose is to add to section 5 of the Poverty Reduction Strategy—which refers to development and implementation—under clause 315 of the bill, a paragraph 5.1, which reads as follows:

The minister must undertake to ensure that the implementation of the strategy respects Canada's international human rights obligations, including those under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

I would like to see clarification of the need to ensure that these international human rights obligations are implemented.

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Mr. Longfield.

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

This is the theme of supporting the United Nations sustainable development goal of reducing poverty by 50% by 2030.

As Ms. Bendayan has also said, we are tracking this and we're already actually at our 2020 goals two years ahead of schedule. We are looking at the measures that are being proposed. We're already doing a human rights-based approach to poverty reduction. We are also engaging people across the country who have lived experience.

This is an amendment to do something that we're already doing. It's redundant, so I won't be supporting it.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Next is amendment NDP-20.

Mr. Dusseault.

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

About the targets, I would remind you of what I said earlier: the government may lack ambition. The following paragraph proposed in the bill concerns the targets adopted by the government.

I also mentioned earlier the goals pursued on the international scene. Sustainable development objectives were also mentioned several times.

In the list of goals, goal number one is no poverty. For me no poverty means zero, none, eliminating. I think if we want to stick to the United Nations sustainable development goals, we need to look at eliminating poverty.

That's why I'm proposing that in the bill, on the targets, it read "the Government of Canada aspires are, at a minimum,". That's the core of the amendment, the goal is a minimum of the two goals that are set in the bill, which is (a) 20% below the level of poverty in 2015 by 2020, and (b) 50% below the level of poverty in 2015 by 2030. The target is a minimum. We should make clear in the bill that this is the minimum target and we need to go further than that. I remind everyone that the sustainable development goal is no poverty. That's in line with what we adhere to internationally. It would clarify that we're not satisfied when we reach that point. We need to go lower than that, and it's a minimum that we should do.

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Mr. Longfield.

May 27th, 2019 / 5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Thank you, Mr. Dusseault, for bringing in the sustainable development goals. Actually the wording in SDG one is “By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions.”

There are two things. Yes, it is by at least 50%, but as I said earlier, our goal of getting to our 2020 reductions was already met in 2018, so we hope that we're going to do better than 50%. But that is the international goal that we're aspiring to and that reflects our government's commitment to the first sustainable development goal from the United Nations. That's the target we're shooting for. Hopefully, we continue to do as well as we're doing right now by meeting 2020 targets in 2018, and hopefully by 2030 we'll be doing better than 50%.

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Okay, so you're speaking against the amendment, I take it?

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

That's correct.

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Mr. Dusseault.

5:35 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I understand the explanation, but I have difficulty understanding why the term “au moins” is used, which is the translation of “at least”.

The goal by 2030 is a reduction of “at least” 50%, but the government refuses to put exactly the same words in the proposed legislation. In the English version of the amendment, it reads “at a minimum”, and in the French version, “au moins”. Why don't we have a more accurate translation, which would be “at least”, in English? And yet, this objective is one of those set by the United Nations, an objective we have adopted.

I believe my amendment would deserve the government's support.

That being said, I hope that these goals will be taken more seriously—perhaps even ambitiously—than those we have set for ourselves in terms of reducing greenhouse gases. Clearly, we are far from achieving the targets in this regard.

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

We'll vote on NDP-20.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

Next is NDP-21. You'll get a break when we go to PV-5, Mr. Dusseault.

5:35 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

This amendment is intended to increase transparency. I have to resign myself to two things today: the words in the title will remain “poverty reduction” and the official poverty line will be the market basket measure.

What I am proposing here is more transparency and regularity in calculating the poverty line, which, as we said before, is the market basket measure. The bill provides for the official metric to be reviewed on a regular basis, but it gives no details as to the frequency.

Amendment NDP-21 proposes that the metric be reviewed annually so that it reflects the reality, year after year. The metric must genuinely reflect poverty and we must not allow it to be reviewed only on occasion. The bill should require the tool to be reviewed. This amendment gives more teeth to the provision on reviewing the metric.

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Mr. Sorbara.

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Chair, I thank my colleague for speaking to poverty reduction in Canada. We know we're well ahead in reducing poverty and we're well ahead in all measures that we've laid out, which is great to see. It's great to see again that it's put into legislation via the BIA, Bill C-97.

With regard to the member's amendment, the proposed poverty reduction act already commits to reviewing Canada's official poverty line on a regular basis as determined by Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada, at the end of February, pointed out that we have reduced poverty by 825,000 individuals since we were elected. Statistics Canada is obviously now well funded after the cuts from the prior government and is well placed to determine when a comprehensive review must be launched. Statistics Canada launched a comprehensive review in 2018 in addition to the comprehensive reviews and new updates related to the changing prices of goods and services in the basket. The basket will be undertaken by Statistics Canada.

Thank you, Chair.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

PV-5 is deemed moved. Is there anybody who wants to speak to PV-5?

Mr. Fragiskatos.

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

Chair, to support children's well-being and ensure that poverty is addressed early in life, the national advisory council on poverty will include a member with particular responsibilities for children's issues. This member will ensure that children's interests are taken into consideration as the council carries out its functions.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])