Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to my private member's bill, Bill C-227, an act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act, regarding community benefits.
Community benefits are defined as the benefits obtained by a community, above and beyond the infrastructure project itself. These include but are not limited to local job creation, paid training, affordable housing, green space, or any other benefit identified by the community itself.
My colleagues have brought forward some concerns regarding the bill in today's debate, and previously. I would like to address some of them.
It is, in fact, a myth that the bill would increase red tape and increase costs for small- and medium-sized businesses. It is not true. In fact, Bill C-227 would speed up the approval process, thereby, saving money for small and medium-sized businesses. When communities have been consulted on the kinds of benefits that they would like from an infrastructure project and can see those benefits being obtained from an infrastructure project, they are more likely to support the development process and speed up the approval process for new development.
It is also a myth that business groups and other organizations oppose Bill C-227. In fact, the Toronto board of trade, the Vancouver board of trade, the Montreal board of trade, and many other organizations have come out strongly for community benefit agreements as a good way, as a good economic policy, to tackle youth unemployment and to deal with the issue of including marginalized groups that are not included in the construction industry.
It is also a complete myth that Bill C-227 did not receive adequate consultation. The fact is that I have consulted extensively on the bill all across the country. The groups that I have spoken with include, but are not limited to, the United Way, the Toronto Community Benefits Network, the Atkinson Foundation, the Mowat Centre, Canada's Building Trades Union, the Canadian Labour Congress, the Carpenters' Union, the Province of Ontario, the City of Vancouver, and many others.
The Mowat Centre and the Atkinson Foundation have jointly published numerous studies that have stressed the importance of community benefit agreements for local economic growth. I have consulted all levels of government in the provinces across Canada. Having said that, my consultation process is ongoing. I have already planned many meetings across the country to ensure that I continue to consult widely on Bill C-227.
The bill is modelled on Ontario legislation, Bill C-6. The beauty of that is that we are able to now understand what has worked and what is not working with the Ontario legislation. As such, for example, Bill C-227 would address the concern about implementation and measurement of outcomes. It would do so in two ways.
First, the bill would empower the Minister of Public Services and Procurement to demand from contractors to demonstrate what they think the community benefits would be from an infrastructure project, and to demand an assessment after the completion of the project, to see whether those benefits were indeed delivered. Second, it would also require the minister to report back to Parliament once a year to show how the community benefited from various select building and repair projects.
Community benefit agreements are also in line with our government's priorities, including procurement modernization and social infrastructure promotion.
I am asking my colleagues from all sides of the House to support the bill, Bill C-227. Help me to enable communities all across Canada to benefit from building and repair projects.
I was elected to Parliament to represent York South—Weston, to push and propose legislation that would benefit my constituents. Bill C-227 would do exactly that, by dramatically improving the economic local impact that infrastructure has in local communities across Canada.
This would help York South—Weston and many other communities across this great country.