House of Commons Hansard #19 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-2.

Topics

Personal Protective EquipmentOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Personal Protective EquipmentOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

They are doing it right now while I am trying to make a point of order. This is my point.

All I am trying to say is that there was a reaction. They are suggesting there was not and there was. If they did not hear it or if you, Mr. Speaker, did not hear it, that is one thing, but I am trying to note it for you. I certainly do not appreciate that the House leader of the opposition accused me of lying when I got up and spoke earlier and told you what had happened.

Personal Protective EquipmentOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I will speak to that for a second, and then we will see if there is still a point of order.

When we ask for a reaction, I need a clear yea or nay, and at this point there are nays. I wanted to hear something then and I did not hear anything. Therefore, it was passed. That is the ruling.

The hon. member for Perth—Wellington has a point of order.

Personal Protective EquipmentOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member for Kingston and the Islands owes an apology to this House. It has long been the practice in the House that decisions of the Chair are not challenged. Members cannot challenge the decisions of the Speaker and that is exactly what the member for Kingston and the Islands was doing. He should apologize.

Personal Protective EquipmentOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I believe he was just trying to clarify what happened. It was not what I heard or what anyone else heard, so we will leave it at that and move on, if that is okay.

On a point of order, the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.

Personal Protective EquipmentOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I certainly was not challenging your ruling. I was trying to let you know what my observations in the House were.

Personal Protective EquipmentOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Let us leave it at that and move on.

Introduction of Private Members' Bills—Speaker's RulingPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. member for Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston brought forward a point of order this morning, and it was a good one.

I want to make a statement regarding the length of explanations made by members during the rubric Introduction of Private Members' Bills during Routine Proceedings. After points of order raised earlier today by the members for Kingston and the Islands and Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, I undertook to return to the House on this matter.

When introducing a private member's bill, a member is permitted to give an explanation outlining the purpose of the bill. The explanation must be succinct and not enter into debate.

For the benefit of members, footnote 80 in House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, at page 1130, states, “A succinct explanation has traditionally been interpreted to mean 30 to 60 seconds.” The Chair wants to remind members to keep their explanations within that time frame. I want all members to remember this, and I appreciate their co-operation.

I know there is excitement in wanting to move on, but before continuing, I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and all the best in the new year.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, it seems likely that we will all soon be returning to our ridings to continue to work very hard on behalf of all Canadians and our constituents.

This gives me the opportunity to thank everybody who works for the best democratic system in the world, our parliamentary system. Let me be clear: We cannot fight issues without the support of everybody here, especially those who work for the House of Commons.

From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank those who allow us to have the privilege of debating issues in the House. The debate may get fierce at times, but that is the beauty of parliamentary democracy in Canada, and we will always fight to preserve it.

I thank all my colleagues on both sides of the House for the privilege of sitting here and having exciting debates. I also thank all the people in our ridings who help us stay in direct contact with our constituents. I want to acknowledge Isabelle and Éric, who are doing such a great job in my constituency office.

Now, as tradition would have it, I will ask my ministerial counterpart what the parliamentary agenda will be for the next few hours and perhaps the next few days.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:25 p.m.

Ajax Ontario

Liberal

Mark Holland LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. opposition colleague for his comments. I absolutely join him in thanking everyone who works here.

It is an extraordinarily difficult thing, particularly during a pandemic, to provide the support we have seen. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Clerk of the House, Mr. Charles Robert, his wonderful team of clerks, every branch of service in the administration of the House of Commons, including the Parliamentary Protective Service, and the pages, who help us so much in our work, particularly during these challenging times.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to wish you and your family, and indeed all members, a very merry Christmas, happy holiday and happy new year. I hope that all members are able to spend time with their families and are both safe and healthy in these very challenging times.

I think we have demonstrated over the last four weeks, with my hon. counterparts from the Conservatives, the Bloc Québécois and the New Democrats, a wonderful spirit of co-operation. We have been able to get a lot done on behalf of Canadians. I want to thank them, and through them I thank their caucuses for a very productive last four weeks.

This afternoon, we will continue our work on Bill C-2, an act to provide further support in response to COVID-19, and Bill C-3, which would provide workers in federally regulated sectors with 10 days of paid sick leave and make it an offence to intimidate or prevent patients from seeking care.

I will advise that in February, the government will propose a take-note debate on Saskatchewan's proposed constitutional amendment. I would also like to table, in both official languages, an amendment to Bill C-3, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canada Labour Code.

Finally, there have been discussions among the parties, and I believe if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion. I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order, special order or usual practice of the House, Bill C-2, An Act to provide further support in response to COVID-19, as amended, be deemed concurred in at the report stage, that the motion for third reading of the bill be deemed moved and seconded and that the House proceed immediately to a recorded division on the motion for third reading.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those opposed to the hon. minister moving the motion will please say nay. It is agreed.

The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)

An Act to Provide Further Support in Response to COVID-19Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

moved that Bill C-2, An Act to provide further support in response to COVID-19, be read the third time and passed.

An Act to Provide Further Support in Response to COVID-19Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The House will now proceed to the taking of the recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C‑2.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was passed on the following division:)

Vote #18

An Act to Provide Further Support in Response to COVID-19Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Ajax Ontario

Liberal

Mark Holland LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order, special order or usual practice of the House, Bill C-3, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canada Labour Code be disposed of as follows:

1. the bill, as amended, be deemed to have been concurred at the report stage with the further amendments contained in the document tabled earlier today;

2. the bill be immediately considered at third reading stage;

3. when the bill is taken up at third reading stage, a member of each recognized party be allowed to speak for not more than 10 minutes each followed by five minutes for questions and comments and, at the conclusion of the time provided for debate or when no member rises to speak, whichever is earlier, the bill shall be deemed read a third time and passed;

4. the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel be authorized to make any technical changes or corrections to the bill as may be necessary to give effect to this motion; and

5. after the completion of proceedings on the bill, the House shall stand adjourned until Monday, January 31, 2022, provided that, for the purposes of any Standing Order, it shall be deemed to have been adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28 and be deemed to have sat on Friday, December 17, 2021.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those opposed to the hon. minister moving the motion will please say nay.

The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Accordingly, pursuant to order made earlier today, the House will now proceed to the third reading stage of Bill C-3.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan LiberalMinister of Labour

moved that Bill C-3, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canada Labour Code, be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I am deeply grateful for the leadership shown in the House today. All parties supported Bill C-3 at second reading; all parties supported Bill C-3 at committee, and all parties are now supporting the passage of Bill C-3 with reasoned amendments from the opposition.

I want to recognize my opposition critics: the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka, the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie and the member for Thérèse-De Blainville. We worked with urgency and with openness.

I want to thank the members of HUMA for taking up this bill with the swiftness it deserved and giving it due and reasoned consideration.

I also want to recognize the House leaders, as well as the Minister of Justice, for their work.

I want to recognize all the officials who worked diligently on this legislation.

The pandemic has shown us that many workers do not have paid sick leave.

No one should have to choose between staying home when they are sick or being able to afford rent and groceries.

We are proposing amendments to the Canada Labour Code to provide all federally regulated private sector workers with 10 days of paid sick leave.

We are working with the provinces, territories and other interested stakeholders to develop with an action plan to legislate sick leave across the country.

Approximately 955,000 employees, approximately 6% of all Canadian employees, are working for 18,500 employers in federally regulated industries. In 2019, about 582,700 employees, representing 63.3% of all employees employed in federally regulated industries, had access to fewer than 10 days of paid sick leave to treat a personal illness or injury. Statistics from 2019 show that Canadian workers took an average of eight-and-a-half days of leave for illness and issues related to a disability.

As a government, we moved quickly and urgently on this bill, and parliamentarians of all parties and in both chambers have done the same. The last two years have shown us the cost of what further inaction would be: people forced to choose between going into work sick and risk spreading the virus to others and being able to afford groceries or rent, productivity loss, quarantine, shutdowns, lockdowns. The cost of inaction is too great. However, beyond the current pandemic, Bill C-3 would put in place an enduring protection for workers in our country.

I will speak briefly to the amendments, both those made at HUMA and those made today in the House. No medical certificate would be required for five days or less of paid sick leave. Requiring a medical certificate for each day of paid sick leave taken would have been too much of a barrier to access. I heard that from the House and Senate committees undertaking this bill.

An Ipsos poll that was taken just before the pandemic shows that 82% of Canadians would rather go to work sick than obtain a medical certificate. Workers would earn 10 days of paid sick leave throughout the year, but would have three days after the first 30 days of continuous work. This is something we heard again at committee, both in the House and Senate, and we deemed it important to provide.

Finally, anyone experiencing the loss of an immediate family member can feel shock and grief in addition to having their well-being and effectiveness at work impacted. Bill C-3 now includes 10 days of leave for the loss of an immediate family member. The loss of a child is devastating. It is a devastation no one should know. There is an amendment to Bill C-3 to provide eight weeks of leave for parents who are confronted with this unspeakable tragedy. Our government took steps to ensure that when workers experienced such a tragic event, there would be supports now in place.

There is a lot more work to do. We must continue to move not only with speed, but with accuracy to implement this legislation. This has to be done right, but it has to be done quickly. The pandemic is relentless, but so are Canadians and the members of the House. We will engage urgently with stakeholders to do the necessary work to ensure workers in Canada have access to paid sick leave as soon as possible.

As has been the case with workers and their issues throughout Canada's history, no one has been as effective as, or shone a clearer light on the importance of this topic than, organized labour and Canada's unions. I want to specifically thank those groups, whether provincial labour federations, individual members of a local, or national union leaders, for the work they did to make this idea a reality.

I would also touch on the proposed Criminal Code offences and those amendments that would target intimidation and obstruction of health service workers. It was made clear that it is not an offence for people to attend or approach a health care facility simply to communicate information and to do so peacefully. We have all seen the necessity of those Criminal Code amendments.

I will close with two observations. One came very early on in my time as the labour minister when meeting with front-line workers. Someone asked that we stop calling them heroes and start treating them like human beings.

The other is a quote from Jim Stanford, the economist who wrote in The Globe and Mail earlier this month. He states:

It would be reckless and short-sighted to return to a pre-COVID “normal” that compelled sick workers to show up, regardless of the risk to others.

Today, members of the House said they unanimously agreed. The government and the House met the moment. This legislation will be a permanent support for workers and will help us fight, and finish the fight, against this pandemic.

I thank all the members of the House who supported this legislation and all those who have worked so hard to find a reasonable and honourable way forward. The message they have sent to Canadian workers and Canadians in general about how seriously we take the fight against the pandemic was written in their vote, which was unanimous.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Aitchison Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Madam Speaker, I was not intending to ask a question. I was happy to stand and applaud the minister's lovely speech. Obviously, I am very pleased at the result here and that we worked so well together, so I will give him the opportunity to say a few more words about the importance of getting this done, particularly as my colleague's private member's bill with respect to bereavement leave was included in it. I was fearful it would never see the light of day as a private member's bill, so I am particularly honoured that the minister and government saw fit to work with us to make it a reality. For that I thank them.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Madam Speaker, I am delighted to add that there was incredible co-operation shown in the House on this issue, and I want to personally thank the hon. member and my critics in general. We have come a long way. We have shown the House at its best. We have shown it to be trained on a mission and willing to make the compromises necessary in order to get this bill passed. However, I think the fact that it passed unanimously through the House is a clear sign not only of the seriousness of the issue and the concern parliamentarians have for the workers of this country, but also that when we want to, and when we are able to find that path forward, we will find it and will do good work here.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the minister. I recognize this is a very unusual way to pass a private member's bill in a government bill. I was just telling my colleagues I could not find another example of this having been done in such a manner. I also want to say to the member for Central Nova that he is forgiven for drawing me as number 293 in the private member's bill draw as we were able to do this.

There are a few members in the caucus who I want to recognize very quickly. Like me, they are parents who lost kids as well, the member for Bay of Quinte, the member for Dufferin—Caledon, the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman and the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley. If I missed anyone, forgive me and come talk to me afterwards. As well, the Minister of Immigration lost a child, actually during the last Parliament, I believe. Then a former member, James Cumming lost his son, Garrett G-man Cumming, who passed away of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

I also want to recognize and thank the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent, our House leader, the Bloc House leader, the hon. member for La Prairie, the government House leader, the House leaders of the other parties and independent members who agreed to this unanimous consent motion.

My colleagues know that bereavement leave for parents who have lost a child is very important to me. I lived through such a tragic event just before the Conservative Party convention in Halifax. It was really hard for my family and hard on my marriage at the time.

I hope that this law will serve as a model for the provinces. Once passed, it will only apply to federally regulated workers who fall under the Canada Labour Code. I hope that the provinces will be inspired by all these ideas and will include them in their own labour codes.

In addition, mothers and fathers will finally be equal. Over the past few decades, we have often talked about mothers who went through this. We must also think of the fathers who experienced this tragic loss. It is also just as important for children who lose a sister or a brother.

I also want to mention a few things. I returned to the House, it was about October 15, for the Infant Loss Awareness Day, to do a Standing Order 31 statement. I got really kind notes. I want to recognize Bill Morneau, the minister of finance at the time. He sent me a really kind note. He is the father of several very well-accomplished ladies. I want to recognize him for the note. I have actually kept the note. I want to recognize the current Minister of Labour. He sent me a very kind note; I still have it in my desk. I hope it is okay I mention this. I kept that note since that time. I cannot say enough thanks to the House leaders for having done this.

I am speaking simply to the amendment. I have a Yiddish proverb, as I always do. I cannot help myself.

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

Frankly, if anyone had told me back in 2015 that I would be tabling a private member's bill twice on bereavement leave for parents, moms and dads, I would have asked, “Why would I ever do such a thing? I am a fiscal guy. I love equalization. I love talking about numbers, foreign affairs issues, those types of things. Bereavement leave, miscarriage leave, Canada Labour Code leave is not what I would call in my bailiwick. It is not in my wheelhouse.” I made it my wheelhouse to try to get something done.

This is a beautiful Christmas gift to parents across Canada, and to myself as well. I want to say thank you. It is nice to know, and speaking as an optimist, a very cynical optimist, that politicians can come together sometimes and improve a government bill like this.

I wish you all a merry Christmas. Joyeux Noël à tous. Happy new year.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

December 16th, 2021 / 4:30 p.m.

Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, with respect to the bill we are about to pass, I would like to begin by commending the Minister of Labour, who, as part of his new portfolio, had to lead a file pertaining to amendments to the Canada Labour Code, in order to strengthen workers' rights. Federally regulated employees, 58% of whom had no sick leave, will be able to access a bank of 10 paid sick days. This is an important step forward in the area of labour law.

The crisis we are going through has revealed how significant and important the presence of workers from all sectors is. All workers definitely contribute to our social and economic fortitude, and they deserve better working conditions.

Yesterday at the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, I said that 10 days of sick leave should not be viewed solely as an expense.

Given the labour shortage, employers sometimes fear that they will have to carry a burden. However, the fact that employees seeking stability within their businesses can have benefits like paid sick leave can also be beneficial for employers. It helps attract and retain workers.

Salary is important to a worker, but having the right to annual leave and sick leave counts for a lot, too. We have taken a step forward. I would say to the minister that we have more work to do. There are still many things we need to strengthen in the Canada Labour Code.

In my first debate, I talked about the fact that the government had committed in its budget to raising the minimum wage for federally regulated employees. I think we should move forward on that. We have some great work ahead of us.

Workers can be thankful for the step we have taken, and I commend the work that was done in committee at the two meetings yesterday.

I think that we got the guarantees we were looking for with respect to strengthening the Criminal Code. Labour organizations told us how important this was, especially within the health care sector, since this measure is designed for them. Health care professionals and patients have experienced intimidation or have been prevented from doing their jobs. The act of intimidating a worker or impeding them from doing their job will now be considered an aggravating factor during sentencing.

However, the right to protest and picket is a very important right guaranteed by the Constitution, and many workers have used these methods to gain more rights. While I respect the right to protest, I think that we managed to provide additional protections for health care workers and for patients. We hope to never have reason for this provision of the Criminal Code to be enforced.

At the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, we, along with our Conservative colleagues, had the opportunity to discuss the bereavement leave measure. This is not talked about as much, but we did strengthen the bill by proposing a leave for parents who lose a child under the age of 18. The death of a child has a huge impact on a family and especially on women. This measure is another step forward.

I want to acknowledge the efforts to make improvements in this area, as we see in the report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities that was tabled yesterday in the House.

I think we can leave for the holidays with a sense of mission accomplished. I would not call this a giant leap for humanity, but it is a step toward a better quality of life for all workers.

Here is one more new year's wish: I wish for plenty of improvements to labour legislation.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Brenda Shanahan Liberal Châteauguay—Lacolle, QC

Madam Speaker, I was not planning to speak today, but I would like to after all. I listened to my colleagues' wonderful speeches, including the one by my colleague opposite. I believe that what we are doing today is very important.

I lost my daughter at birth 30 years ago. She was stillborn. I do not want to talk about that event specifically, but I do want to talk about what happened at work, where people had a hard time understanding what I was going through. That was 30 years ago, of course.

I would like to ask my colleague how Bill C‑3 will change the workplace experience for the men and women dealing with this kind of situation. Why is this bill important for them?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, my thoughts are with the member for what she went through.

We know these are very difficult things to experience. It will make a real difference in the workplace to know that a person in this situation will not have to worry about the time off they will be granted. They will able to take the time they need to grieve and will not have worry about losing their job because of it. The employment relationship will remain intact, and they will have time to take care of themselves.