Evidence of meeting #84 for Health in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was certainly.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Theresa Tam  Chief Public Health Officer, Public Health Agency of Canada
Simon Kennedy  Deputy Minister, Department of Health
Michel Perron  Executive Vice-President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Marlisa Tiedemann  Committee Researcher

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Chair, I have a point of order on that.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

You're going to take up the time of the minister, you know that, right? You're taking it from everybody.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

So be it, Mr. Chair. I have a point of order.

You interrupted my question three times when I was in my seven-minute time period, Mr. Chair. Now you have every right to tell me when I'm out of time, and you have every right to tell me that I'm nearing the end of my time. However, with respect, you have no right to try to censor me or cut off my preamble. I can use my seven minutes any way I like. I can speak for seven minutes if I want to. It is not for you to determine the length of any of our preambles or the timing of our question. It's a violation of my privilege as a parliamentarian and as a member of this committee.

With respect, Mr. Chair, we have five minutes, and you can ruthlessly cut us off at five minutes if that's your choice, although I would expect that you be consistent with everybody. But with respect, you cannot interrupt within the body of our time and tell us to ask a question at a certain point because you think the preamble is going on too long.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

You went nine minutes and 15 seconds on a seven-minute question.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Pardon me?

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

You went nine minutes and 15 seconds on a seven-minute question. I just asked you to submit your question, but when I raised the issue, you were a minute over. You made a point of saying that the minister is only here for an hour and that we should all get our questions in. However, you're taking up time now, and you took much more time than you were allowed.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Well, Mr. Chair, then you should have told me that I was out of time.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

I did tell you to put your question.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

That's not the same thing. I thought I was within my seven-minute time period—

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Well, you weren't.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

—and you were urging me to get to my question.

All I want to make clear, Mr. Chair, is that we all have our time period and we should have our ability within that time period to put whatever preamble we want. That's all I want to make clear with the committee.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

You were far beyond your time period, but let's carry on. The minister has to go at 4:30 p.m., and we've wasted enough time.

Ms. Gladu, you have five minutes.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'll be right to the second.

Thank you, Minister and staff, for being here today.

In budget 2016, there was $3 billion announced for home care. In 2017, that was expanded to $11 billion for home care, palliative care, and mental health care. My question for the minister is this. Can you tell me how much of that money has actually been spent, and can you give some examples of where it has gone, especially the palliative care part?

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

I am going to have to defer that, actually, to my staff, so my apologies.

Simon, would you be able to take that?

4:15 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Health

Simon Kennedy

I'm not sure, Minister, if I have the specific breakdown here. What I can say is that the $11 billion is over a 10-year period. The first-year payments have all been made to all jurisdictions. That was done in one of the two budget implementation acts. We're now in the final strokes of negotiating agreements to transfer the next tranche of money to every jurisdiction. We're hopeful to have some of those signed before the end of the year. The objective is to have all those signed before the end of March so that we can start flowing the payments for the second year as of April 1, which is a new fiscal year.

I can provide the details of the first year of money to the committee. They may be in my book, but I have to find them. I don't want to take up more time.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

That's okay. You can send it to us. That would be great.

My second question is about the remaining thalidomide victims. There are not very many but there are a number whose cases are outstanding. I know that I've talked to the minister about this before. Could you give an update on when we plan to have those resolved?

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Thank you so much, Ms. Gladu, for the question. You may or may not be aware, but last week I had the opportunity of meeting with one of the thalidomide survivors while she was in Ottawa. It certainly again provided me a good opportunity to hear about her situation and also the struggles that many survivors have to live with on a daily basis. The time that I spent with Ms. Sampson was very precious to me because she certainly shared with me her perspective and some of the needs that they have as well.

With respect to that, as you're aware, I'm sure, the thalidomide survivor contribution program is helping 122 Canadians at this point in time, and out of those 122 Canadians, 25 have been identified using the objective review process, so that was a step in the right direction. I recognize as well that the committee has put in place recommendations, because you've studied this at the committee level, and once again I'm looking forward to reviewing those recommendations.

Also, when I met with Ms. Sampson, I indicated to her that I personally want to look into this matter to see exactly what else can be done in order to effectively help individuals.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Another issue I wanted to bring forward was that there was a tainted-blood payout a number of years ago. The case was settled, and it came to my attention through some of the stakeholders that there's $65 million outstanding in the claim payments that are due to the people who were the successful claimants. I didn't know if that was on your radar screen so I thought I'd just put it out there.

If you know anything, let me know, and if you don't, then check it out and see what can be done.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

I can check it. I could ask my officials as well.

Are you aware...?

4:20 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Health

Simon Kennedy

Yes, we're aware of that. There are two different settlements that were reached with regard to the blood issue, and for one of the two settlements there is a question as to whether there is sufficiency in the funding. I think some of the debate has been whether or not there can be a transfer from one of the funds to the other. I think the simple explanation is that these are independent settlements that are governed by the courts and there's no legal authority. These are settlements that were made 20 years ago, that actually are governed by a court process, and they're separate so there's no way to move money from one to the other.

But I know that issue has been raised previously.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Yes, it would be nice to get that resolved for the claimants.

With respect to the opioid crisis, I saw the numbers as well today showing a 68% increase in the opioid deaths in Ontario, and we know that B.C. was on the front lines of this, and 16 Canadians a day are dying from this. I heard about the amount of money that the federal government is putting forward, the $6.2 million, and then some of the payments that went to the different provinces, but when I compare that with the $500 million that the government is spending to legalize marijuana, it just seems like those two are perhaps not in balance.

Minister, what are the actions being taken in the opioid crisis to prevent the drugs from coming into the country, to prevent the over-prescription of drugs, to make sure our first responders are well protected, and to invest in treatment to get people off drugs ultimately?

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

When we look at the situation that we're facing right now, absolutely, as indicated, we are certainly faced with a public health crisis when it comes to this situation. Again, when I heard the numbers this morning, it is devastating to see the number of lives lost in this situation.

We cannot minimize the actions that our government has taken to date with respect to regulatory changes and also the issue of Bill C-37. Once again, providing access to individuals to supervised consumption sites saves lives. We know that. Also, ensuring that naloxone products are readily available to individuals as well saves lives.

Also, with respect to the changes made with respect to providing provinces and territories with the opportunity to open overdose prevention sites, that was an announcement that I made, I believe, about two weeks ago. When we met with the health ministers at the meeting in October, some provinces had indicated that they thought it would be appropriate if the provinces had more powers. Again, they're closer to their constituents and they know what's going on on the ground. We took that back, and just two weeks ago we indicated that we were prepared to look at providing class exemptions to provinces if they choose to open overdose prevention sites.

There is a difference between an overdose-prevention site and a supervised consumption site. Sometimes we talk about these terms and people aren't aware of the difference. On the supervised consumption site, when they choose to apply, the municipalities or the areas will get in touch with Health Canada and then from there the licensing will go through that department. It can take a bit more time.

When it comes to overdose prevention sites, however, we can certainly go through those requests in a very timely fashion. Minister Hoskins got in touch with us yesterday, and just today we were able to approve a class exemption. From there, the Province of Ontario will be able to determine what services need to be put on the ground in order to provide services to the individuals in their community. At the end of the day—

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

We have to move along.

Mr. McKinnon, you have five minutes.

December 7th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Thank you, Chair.

There have been media reports that law enforcement is still unaware of the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, which became law in the spring, so that they've charged people with possession by accident, only to have the charges reversed. Everyone who assiduously hung on every word of my member's statement earlier in the House will know that today the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council released a wallet card and fact sheet funded by the the Law Foundation of Ontario. This information will be provided to people who use drugs; service providers and volunteer organizations serving people at risk of, experiencing, or witnessing an overdose emergency; and stakeholders in health, social services, government, and law enforcement across Ontario.

Minister, can you explain what efforts Health Canada is undertaking to promote the provisions of the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act more broadly across Canada, so that drug users and law enforcement are well informed?

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

First, I have to congratulate you on bringing this bill forward. If my memory serves me well, we had unanimous consent. It passed with flying colours. We certainly recognize that there's a need, so job well done.

Earlier on in the year, I was in Kelowna, British Columbia. I was visiting my first supervised consumption site. As I was there speaking to the nurses, I see a poster that talks about your bill exactly. We see that the word is getting out there and we certainly need to make more efforts to ensure that Canadians are aware of this legislation.

To answer your question, I can say that Health Canada is working with partners, not only law enforcement officers, to inform Canadians of this new legislation. We've done so by using social media, public spaces, and also web content. We certainly want to continue the work because it's a really important piece of legislation. As you've indicated, we truly want to make sure that there are no barriers for people to call 911, if it's about saving a life. At the end of the day, we will continue to make sure that our front-line service providers and Canadians at large are aware of the regulations.