Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to stand in the 44th Parliament to once again represent the great people of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook. That is in Nova Scotia, of course. I want to thank them for electing me for a third time and giving me the privilege of continuing to represent them, speak on their behalf and advocate for them and all of the communities in my riding.
I also want to thank the volunteers in my riding who came out to support the democratic process and do the work that is so important in delivering the message of Canadians during an election. What we were committed to is how to deliver that. That is really important.
Finally, I want to thank my family, because we all know that when one of us is running, the whole family is in it together. It is a challenge, but it is an enjoyable experience and I would do it again, maybe.
I am very pleased to speak to the motion we are debating today, to bring back a hybrid Parliament, and in particular to speak on social topics such as our working and private lives.
More and more studies are showing that a flexible work environment has a lot of advantages. For example, it can reduce stress and increase satisfaction at work, on top of increasing productivity, which is a very important consideration.
Canadians continue to develop this work-life balance. I think COVID-19 has shown that people can be very productive and successful in this type of system.
A recent survey of Canada conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reported that decision-makers should look at implementing policies that would help Canada achieve a resilient and healthy post-pandemic society.
That is also why we promised during the election campaign to amend the Canada Labour Code with certain very important principles in mind. We want to strengthen the code's provisions to better support women who must be temporarily assigned to other duties during their pregnancy, include mental health in workplace health and safety standards, require employers to take preventive measures against stress and the risk of workplace injury, provide all federally regulated workers with 10 days of paid sick leave and work with federally regulated employers and groups representing workers to develop a policy on the right to disconnect, which would let workers disconnect without having to worry about their job security.
Since March 2020, the pandemic has forced us to change how we work and, to a certain extent, to reinvent work. An unprecedented number of Canadian employers have had to adapt and be more flexible over the past 20 months. Accordingly, telework and virtual schooling have led to huge changes with many positive effects. Virtual schooling has existed for quite some time and the pandemic has done much to advance this essential virtual programming.
Despite the many benefits of teleworking, the closure of schools and school day care centres caused additional stress for many parents. That is why our government strongly believes in the right to disconnect. We are doing everything we can to manage the pandemic and accept that a return to normal will require a healthy work-life balance.
The House of Commons Administration also demonstrated tremendous creativity and adaptability. It did an outstanding job delivering a hybrid parliament in such a short time. For 150 years, we had no other way to vote than to be physically present in the House. Suddenly, thanks to the exceptional work of the House of Commons Administration, we managed to do it, and we will be able to use this system for years to come. That is what it means to learn and to make the most of a difficult situation.
The motion we are debating today is very similar to the one we discussed in the last Parliament. Yes, the vaccination rate has increased, the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for children aged 5 to 11 and the third dose is available. However, the situation is still precarious, and the number of cases is increasing because of the season, as we are going into winter. We are already seeing those numbers go up across Canada, and that is why we need to find ways to make this work.
It is extremely important that we be able to work. Whether it is from this building or elsewhere, we must be able to work. Whether we vote here in the House or elsewhere, we must be able to vote and represent our constituents. If we find ourselves at home an extra day to participate in an important activity in our community, that is even better for our constituents. That is our job; we have done it before and we will continue to do it in the future.