We are gathered here during a time of grave concern because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada and the entire world are going through a crisis that none of us anticipated.
Today, as members of Parliament, we are delivering a clear and unified message to Canadians that we will not let them down, we will not forget them and we will support them in this time of crisis.
Therefore, I believe that if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.
That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House:
(a) the application of Standing Orders 15, 17 and 56.1 be suspended for the current sitting;
(b) the government responses to petitions 431-00046 to 431-00123 be tabled immediately and that those to questions on the Order Paper numbered Q-260 to Q-308 and Q-310 to Q-368 be made into orders for return and that the said returns be tabled immediately;
(c) Tuesday, March 24, 2020, and this day shall not be considered as sitting days for the purposes of Standing Orders 34(1), 37(3), 51(1) and 110 and subsection 28(12) of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons;
(d) a bill in the name of the Minister of Finance, entitled A second Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19, be deemed to have been introduced and read a first time and ordered for consideration at second reading later this day;
(e) Statements by Ministers be taken up immediately following the adoption of this order and that a member of the Green Party also be permitted to reply to the statement;
(f) following the responses to the ministerial statement, the House shall resolve itself into a committee of the whole to consider matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic for a period not exceeding two hours and provided that, during the proceedings of the committee, (i) the Speaker may preside, (ii) the Chair may preside from the Speaker’s chair, (iii) the Chair shall call members in a fashion consistent with the proportions observed during Oral Questions, (iv) no member shall be recognized for more than five minutes at a time which may be used for posing questions to a minister of the Crown or a parliamentary secretary acting on behalf of the minister, (v) members may be permitted to split their time with one or more members by so indicating to the Chair; and at the conclusion of the time provided for the proceedings, or when no member rises to speak, whichever is earlier, the committee shall rise;
(g) when the committee of the whole rises, the House shall begin debate on the motion for second reading of the bill referred to in paragraph (d); a member of each recognized party and a member of the Green Party may speak to the said motion for not more than 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for questions and comments, provided that members may be permitted to split their time with another member; and, at the conclusion of the time provided for the debate or when no member rises to speak, whichever is earlier, all questions necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill shall be put without further debate or amendment, provided that, if a recorded division is requested, it shall not be deferred and that, if the bill is adopted at second reading, it shall be referred to a committee of the whole; deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage on division, and deemed read a third time and passed on division;
(h) when the bill referred to in paragraph (d) has been read the third time and passed, the House shall adjourn until Monday, April 20, 2020, provided that, for the purposes of any standing order, it shall be deemed adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28, and, for greater certainty, the provisions of paragraphs (m) to (p) of the order adopted on Friday, March 13, 2020, and subparagraph (f)(ii) and paragraphs (i) to (m) of the order adopted on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, remain in effect;
(i) during the period the House stands adjourned, the House may be recalled, under the provisions of Standing Order 28(3), to consider measures to address the economic impact of COVID-19 and the impacts on the lives of Canadians;
(j) if, during the period the House stands adjourned pursuant to this order, the Speaker receives a notice from the House leaders of all four recognized parties indicating that it is in the public interest that the House remain adjourned until a future date or until future notice is given to the Speaker, the House will remain adjourned accordingly, provided that, in the event of the Speaker being unable to act owing to illness or other cause, the Deputy Speaker or either of the Assistant Deputy Speakers shall act in the Speaker’s stead for all the purposes of this paragraph;
(k) during the period the House stands adjourned pursuant to this order, any return, report or other paper required to be laid before the House in accordance with any act of Parliament, or in pursuance of any order of this House, may be deposited with the Clerk of the House, on any Wednesday provided that committee reports presented pursuant to an order of this House may be deposited at any time; such return, report or other paper shall be deposited electronically and shall be deemed for all purposes to have been presented to or laid before the House;
(l) during the period the House stands adjourned pursuant to this order, the Standing Committee on Health, the Standing Committee on Finance, the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities and the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology may hold meetings for the sole purpose of receiving evidence related to the COVID-19 pandemic, provided that, at such meetings,
(i) committee members shall attend and witnesses shall participate via either videoconference or teleconference,
(ii) committee members attending by videoconference or teleconference shall be counted for the purposes of quorum,
(iii) proceedings shall be made available to the public via the House of Commons website,
(iv) notices of membership substitutions pursuant to Standing Order 114(2) may be filed with the clerk of each committee by email; and further provided that these committees (v) shall each meet at least once per week, unless the whips of all recognized parties agree not to hold a meeting, (vi) may each receive evidence which may otherwise exceed the committee’s mandate under Standing Order 108, (vii) shall meet within 48 hours of the receipt by email, by the clerk of the committee, of a request signed by any four members of the committee;
(m) the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be instructed to study ways in which members can fulfill their parliamentary duties while the House stands adjourned on account of public health concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the temporary modification of certain procedures, sittings in alternate locations and technological solutions including a virtual Parliament, provided that (i) during the period the House stands adjourned pursuant to this order, the provisions applying to committees enumerated in paragraph (l) shall also apply to the committee, however, the committee may consider motions related to the adoption of a draft report in relation to this study, (ii) the committee be instructed to present a report no later than May 15, 2020, (iii) any report which is adopted pursuant to subparagraph (ii) may be deposited electronically with the Clerk of the House and shall then be deemed to have been duly presented to the House on that date;
(n) in addition to receiving evidence, the committees enumerated in paragraphs (l) and (m) of this order, while meeting by videoconference or teleconference, may also consider motions requesting or scheduling specific witnesses and these motions shall be decided by way of a recorded vote;
(o) for the purposes of committee meetings convened under paragraphs (l) and (m), priority for the use of House resources shall be given, in the following order, to (i) meetings of the Standing Committee on Health, (ii) meetings of the Standing Committee on Finance, (iii) meetings which are specified by the agreement of the whips of all recognized parties, (iv) all other meetings, in the order in which the meetings were convened;
(p) the House call on the Auditor General of Canada to conduct an audit of (i) the spending undertaken pursuant to the Public Health Events of National Concern Payments Act, (ii) the exercise of the provisions of the Financial Administration Act, and the Borrowing Authority Act enacted by Part 8 of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, and that the Auditor General report his findings to the House no later than June 1, 2021;
(q) the House call upon the government to take such measures as are necessary to ensure that the Auditor General has sufficient resources to conduct the work he has been asked by the House to do, including the audits called for in this order and the orders adopted on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, and Friday, March 13, 2020;
(r) the government implement measures without delay to address gaps in the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), or other programs, existing or proposed, to address the needs of seasonal workers, those who have exhausted their EI benefits, students, owner/operators, those who continue to receive a modest income from part-time work, royalties, and honoraria, and that, in addition, the government work to ensure essential workers who receive low wages will receive additional income support during this time of crisis, and commit that those who have applied in good faith for and received benefits through CERB or other programs to support them through this crisis will not be unjustly penalized;
(s) the government implement, in the short-term, support measures for Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises, which will be partially non-refundable, with the primary objective of maintaining jobs and reducing debt related to fixed costs, while maintaining access to liquidity in the form of loans; and
(t) the House note that the measures included in An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act (special warrant), the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, and the bill referred to in paragraph (d) are for the purpose of dealing with the unique circumstances and the time period of the COVID-19 situation and recovery.