House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was communities.

Topics

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 12 petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

National Perinatal Mental Health Strategy ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-306, An Act respecting the development of a national perinatal mental health strategy.

Mr. Speaker, today I am honoured to introduce the national perinatal mental health strategy act. I would like to thank the hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona for seconding this legislation and her tireless advocacy in support of perinatal mental health. This bill is a result of the vision of a bright, young woman from my riding, Mila Micovic, from Gladstone Secondary. Mila was one of two winners of my 2020 “Create your Canada” contest held in high schools across Vancouver Kingsway.

In Canada, 20% of women and 10% of men suffer from perinatal mental illness and rates during COVID have doubled. Addressing the psychosocial needs of families to enhance mental and parental health disparities is a major public health issue. This legislation would require the Minister of Health to develop a national strategy to support perinatal mental health across Canada. The strategy must include measures to provide universal access to perinatal mental health screening and effective treatment services, combat stigma, promote awareness, improve training, support research and address the social determinants of perinatal mental health.

I call on all parliamentarians to help all parents and their families by supporting this vital initiative.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada Labour CodeRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-307, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (bereavement leave).

Mr. Speaker, I am tabling this piece of legislation, thanks to my colleague from Manitoba for seconding it. It is very simple. It would provide eight weeks of unpaid leave under the Canada Labour Code for parents who lose a child under 18, as well as for parents who lose a child over 18, where they qualified for the caregiver tax credit as a dependent person with a disability. It would also apply to those who experience a stillbirth after 20 weeks or a child up to the age of 18. It would use the definition that the provinces have standardized across all provinces in Canada.

In Canada, the current bereavement system does not apply to dads and moms. Quite a few of my colleagues have suffered the loss of a child. I have suffered the loss of a child. The member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley also did not too long ago, as well as the member for Edmonton Centre, the member for Flamborough—Glanbrook and the member for Calgary Signal Hill. I am sure if we canvass the chamber, we will find many members who have experienced this loss in their lives.

The system that currently exists is deeply unfair to fathers and mothers who have suffered the loss of a child. The bereavement system in Canada needs to be fair, simple and compassionate.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

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

That a take-note debate, on the subject of members not seeking re-election to the 44th Parliament be held, pursuant to Standing Order 53.1, on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, and that, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House:

(a) no member may speak for longer than 10 minutes and the speeches not be subject to a question and comment period, provided that members rising to speak may indicate to the Chair that they will be dividing his or her time with another member, and

(b) no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair.

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those opposed to the hon. member 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)

Victims Bill of RightsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal Humber River—Black Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to rise in this virtual House to present petition e-3319, with well over 4,000 signatures in a very short time.

The petition calls on the government to amend the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights and establish a committee to review the bill further.

I want to recognize the hard work and advocacy of Jennifer Neville-Lake, who initiated this particular petition, as well as Louise Russo, who has worked for years and years on the issue of victims of crime and changes.

The Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, in her 2020 progress report, indicated that the objectives set out in the act have not been met and that the act falls far short of delivering the real rights it promised. As well, the Department of Justice, in its 2019 report, found that victims often feel revictimized, and acknowledged in the report that major changes are needed to support the rights of victims, survivors and their families.

I want to recognize all of those who signed this petition. My thoughts and prayers are with all of the families who have clearly suffered immensely, and hope we can see positive change in the future in regard to the lives of the victims of crime.

Travel AdvisersPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Michael Kram Conservative Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have three very important petitions to present, all of which have been signed by independent travel advisers in Regina and the surrounding area.

The pandemic has hit few sectors harder than the air travel sector, and that includes the important role played by independent travel advisers. These petitions call on the government to address their concerns in several different ways.

The first petition calls on the House of Commons to ensure that any financial assistance to airlines and their subsidiary travel companies will be conditional on the protection of travel adviser commissions and to ensure any commissions that have already been clawed back will be repaid in a timely manner.

The second petition calls for sector-specific funding for independent travel advisers and the extension of the qualifications of the regional relief and recovery fund in urban areas to include sole proprietors.

Finally, the third petition calls for the extension of the Canada recovery benefit for independent travel advisers to six months past the lifting of all travel advisories and to maintain the CRB at the current amount for this sector.

I am very pleased to have the opportunity to present these three petitions this morning.

Universal Basic IncomePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to present petition e-2555, signed by over 1,000 Canadians from coast to coast.

These Canadians call on the federal government to put in place a basic income for all Canadians. These Canadians also note that we already have in place a universal basic income that goes to seniors, the old age security. They note as well with COVID we have seen the kind of economic devastation that comes from not having in place a basic income threshold.

These citizens of Canada call on the House of Commons to extend on a permanent basis a new all-age security that is fixed annually at the dollar amount that exceeds the poverty income level. It would make a big difference in Canada.

Military Service MedalPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Chandra Arya Liberal Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of thousands of Canadians, it is my honour to present this petition initiated by David Palmer.

The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal recognized veterans serving 547 consecutive days between September 3, 1939 to March 31, 1947. Now there is no such medal.

The petition calls upon the Government of Canada to create a new medal to honour and include Canadian veterans who honourably served our nation, completing 547 days of uninterrupted honourable duty between September 2, 1945 to the present, by issuing a new and inclusive Canadian military service medal to recognize their service.

The creation of a military service medal would bring recognition, inclusiveness and remembrance for all veterans.

Okavango DeltaPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to present petition e-3256. It is signed by nearly 900 Canadians who are calling for the House of Commons to act and ensure action in the case of an unprecedented threat to the Okavango Delta region in Africa. This region is on the border of Namibia and Botswana.

A Canadian company based in Vancouver called ReconAfrica has permits to explore over six million acres for oil and gas. The petitioners note it is of particular important to the San people, the indigenous people of the region. It is a UNESCO world heritage site because of the extraordinary biodiversity found within the region, particularly on the Botswana side of the border.

The petitioners call for the House of Commons to ensure adequate funding to the new office of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, to ensure a full investigation. There are many allegations of abuse for the people of the delta. The concern extends to the disruptive oil and gas activity, which includes potential fracking. The petition is urgent.

I would note for members as a side note, not in the petition, but the Canadian business pages of The Globe and Mail this weekend had a big exposé on this issue. This petition obviously predates that media coverage but this being an e-petition, it will be the one time that I am able to present it on behalf of the petitioners.

I hope the Speaker will accept that I have tried to summarize a much longer petition on a very urgent matter, so that we ensure that Canadian companies overseas do not violate the human rights of the San people, nor the extraordinary biodiversity of this region.

Forest IndustryPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Green

Jenica Atwin Green Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise and present petition 432-01021. It is concerning all of our responsibility to address the climate crisis and to think about the generations to come.

Considering the last protected intact old-growth valley on Southern Vancouver Island, Fairy Creek, is slated for logging, along with the upper Walbran Valley and other remaining pockets of old growth, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada call upon the government to work with the provinces and first nations to immediately halt logging of endangered old-growth ecosystems; fund the long-term protection of old-growth ecosystems as a priority for Canada's climate action plan and reconciliation with indigenous peoples; support value-added forestry initiatives in partnership with first nations to ensure Canada's forestry industry is sustainable, and based on the harvesting of second- and third-growth forests; ban the export of raw logs and maximize resource use for local jobs; and ban the use of whole trees for wood pellet biofuel production.

Volunteer FirefightersPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, as we know, volunteer firefighters account for 83% of Canada's total firefighting essential first responders. I am honoured to table this petition on behalf of petitioners from Parksville, Qualicum and Coombs in my riding.

Petitioners cite that 8,000 essential search and rescue volunteers respond to thousands of incidents every year. The tax code of Canada currently allows volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers to claim a $3,000 tax credit if 200 volunteer hours are completed in a calendar year. This works out to a mere $450 per year, which we allow these essential volunteers to keep of their own income from their regular jobs and small businesses. That is about $2.25 an hour. If they volunteer more than 200 hours, which many do, this tax credit becomes even less. Obviously, these volunteers not only put their lives on the line and give their time, training and efforts to Canadians, but they also allow cities and municipalities to keep property taxes lower than if paid services were required.

They are calling on the Government of Canada to support private members' bill, Bill C-264, and increase the tax exemption from $3,000 to $10,000 for line 31220 in the tax code to help our essential volunteer firefighters and volunteer search and rescue people across Canada.

Canadian Armed Forces VeteransPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased and proud to present petition e-3217. On this, the 30th anniversary of the Persian Gulf War, the liberation of Kuwait, we recognize the contributions of Canadian Armed Forces veterans by sponsoring petition e-3217 to reclassify the mission from “special duty service” to “wartime service”. In doing so, the Government of Canada can care for our proud, injured equally and commemorate the active service of our proud Canadian veterans.

On a personal note, I want to thank all those who serve and who have served our country. On behalf of a grateful nation, I thank them.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 623 and 626 to 628.

Question No.623Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

With regard to contracts entered into between the Leaders’ Debates Commission and the GreenPAC Future Fund since January 1, 2019: (a) what are the details of all contracts including (i) the date signed, (ii) the original contract value, (iii) the final contract value, if different than the original value, (iv) the start and end date, (v) the specific goods or services provided, (vi) whether the contract was sole-sourced or competitively bid; and (b) in the interest of neutrality, does the Leader’s Debates Commission have a policy against entering into contracts with registered third parties, and, if so, why was such a policy not applied when awarding the contracts in (a)?

Question No.623Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, with regard to contracts entered into between the Leaders’ Debates Commission, or LDC, and the GreenPAC Future Fund since January 1, 2019, the response from LDC is as follows. The response to (a) is as follows: (i) October 3, 2019; (ii) $26,500; (iii) $26,500; (iv) October 3, 2019 – March 31, 2020; (v) The contractor provided services to contribute to the LDC’s evaluation of the leaders’ debates organized by the commission, and to the commission’s report to Parliament. In particular, the contractor was mandated to design, implement and distribute surveys for local debate organizers and for local debate attendees. These surveys included questions relating to respondents' views on the local debates, as well as the national leaders' debates; (vi) sole-sourced.

In response to (b), the commission does not have a policy against entering into contracts with registered third parties. The fact that an organization has a contractual arrangement with the commission for specific deliverables does not impede its ability to register under the Canada Elections Act. The contractor was required to adhere to the Government of Canada’s definition of non-partisan communications in the carrying out of the contract deliverables.

The commission’s decision-making is guided by the pursuit of public interest and by the principles of independence, impartiality, transparency, creditability, democratic citizenship, civic education, inclusion and cost-effectiveness.

Question No.626Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

With regard to the implementation of amendments to the Canada Labour Code adopted by the adoption of Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, and broken down by department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity: (a) has an harassment policy compliant with the Canada Labour Code, as it applied on January 1, 2021, and the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations been developed and, if so, on what date; and (b) if the response in (a) is negative, or if the date in (a) is after January 1, 2021, why was the deadline not met?

Question No.626Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Greg Fergus LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and to the Minister of Digital Government

Mr. Speaker, TBS released the new “Directive on the Prevention and Resolution of Workplace Harassment and Violence”, available at https://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=32671, in December 2020 in line with recent changes to the Canada Labour Code that apply to all federally regulated workplaces. The comprehensive directive requires organizations to better prevent and respond to harassment, and to provide support to those affected by harassment and violence in the federal public service. It also requires organizations to investigate, record and report all complaints of harassment and violence within their organizations.

As heads of their organizations, deputy ministers are responsible for the safety and well-being of their employees, including developing targeted policies on workplace harassment and violence that meet the standards set out in the Treasury Board directive, and that respond to Canada Labour Code regulations. Deputy ministers also implement these policies within their organizations, in line with their operational contexts.

TBS has been working with organizations to support the updating of each organization’s policies on workplace harassment and violence to meet those requirements outlined in the new Treasury Board directive and to respond to recent changes to the Canada Labour Code. Many organizations are reporting that they have implemented key elements of this new directive in their organizations, including updating their departmental policies and processes to receive new complaints and identifying new training for employees.

Question No.627Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

With regard to consultations by the Department of Canadian Heritage and reports that the government refused to give media outlets copies of consultation reports related to Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts: (a) why did the government refuse to give media outlets copies of the consultation reports; (b) who made the decision in (a), and how is that in keeping with the Prime Minister's promise of an "open and transparent" government; and (c) what are the details of all consultations the government made with stakeholders or the public related to the proposals in Bill C-10, including the (i) date, (ii) type of consultation (phone, request for written feedback, etc.), (iii) individual or organization consulted, (iv) summary of comments or feedback?

Question No.627Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Toronto—Danforth Ontario

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), as of April 16, 2021, Canadian Heritage has not received any media requests for consultation reports.

With regard to part (b), as of April 16, 2021, Canadian Heritage has not received any media requests for consultation reports.

With regard to part (c), Canadian Heritage consults with a wide range of stakeholders when developing policies and legislation. With respect to Bill C-10, the government completed broad consultations to inform the development of the proposed bill.

In the autumn of 2016, Canadian Heritage consulted with stakeholders across the country on supporting Canadian content in the digital era. The results from those consultations can be found at www.canada.ca/en/services/culture/consultations.html

In October of 2017, the Governor in Council requested that the CRTC create a report on the future of distribution models for broadcasting. The CRTC’s notice of consultation can be found at https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2017/2017-359.htm and the final report titled “Harnessing Change” can be found at https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/s15/

In 2018, the government appointed the broadcasting and telecommunications legislative review panel to study Canada’s communications legislation. The panel extensively consulted Canadians and over 2,000 parties submitted their views. Further information on the panel and its final report can be found at www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/110.nsf/eng/home

Following the publication of the panel’s report in January 2020, the minister and the department engaged with many stakeholders on the panel’s recommendations through various mechanisms, such as individual stakeholder meetings and roundtables.

Stakeholder engagement included creative industry associations, such as the Canadian Media Producers Association, CMPA, Association québécoise de la production médiatique, AQPM, Writers Guild of Canada, Coalition pour la diversité des expressions culturelles and the Motion Picture Association of Canada. It included large Canadian broadcasters and media groups, such as Quebecor, Bell Media, Rogers Media, Corus, Shaw and CBC/Radio-Canada. It included independent Canadian radio and television broadcasters, such as OutTV, Knowledge Network, Zoomer Media and CHEK TV. It included indigenous media organizations, such as APTN and Indigenous Screen Office. It included global media and technology companies, such as Netflix, Google/YouTube, Facebook and Amazon. It included funding organizations, such as Canada Media Fund and Creative BC. It included provinces and territories, and the Government of the United States of America.

Question No.628Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Flamborough—Glanbrook, ON

With regard to the official position of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada that 37 percent of rural households in Canada have access to 50/10 megabits per second (Mbps) internet speeds: what is the actual proportion of rural households that do not have access to the 50/10 Mbps speeds that are claimed to be provided?

Question No.628Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Long Range Mountains Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Gudie Hutchings LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is making significant investments to ensure that all Canadians have access to the Internet speeds they need, no matter where they live in Canada.

In the past, broadband funding programs have targeted Internet speeds of 5/1 Mbps, which are the speeds necessary for single users and basic Internet usage. In 2019, 91.7% of rural residents had access to these speeds. However, demand for data and speeds has changed over time, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s, CRTC, current definition of broadband Internet is 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload as this is the speed that allows multiple users to undertake more data-intensive applications, such as streaming, at the same time. In 2019, only 37% of rural households had access to 50/10 Mbps unlimited. However by 2020, 50/10 Mbps was available to 45.6% of the population in rural areas. This was an improvement of nearly 10% in one year. This was achieved through a commitment to improve broadband from the federal government as well as the provinces, territories, Internet service providers and other partners.

The government recognizes that there is more work to be done to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas. Budget 2021 provides an additional $1 billion over six years, starting in 2021-22, to the universal broadband fund, UBF, bringing the fund to $2.75 billion to support a more rapid rollout of broadband projects. This is the largest investment in broadband in Canada’s history. The government’s investments will connect 98% of Canadians across the country to high-speed Internet by 2026, with the goal of connecting all Canadians by 2030. Recognizing the need for accelerated connectivity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UBF also accepted applications under a rapid response stream, RRS. RRS allocates $150 million to shovel-ready projects that will connect many rural and remote Canadians by the end of 2021. Announcements of successful recipients for the rapid response stream of the UBF are already under way. As of May 20, 2021, nearly $47 million in funding has been announced to connect over 30,000 households through RRS. The government has also announced an agreement with the province of Quebec to connect up to 150,000 households by the end of 2022. This agreement, known as Operation High Speed, is made possible through a shared investment of $826 million.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, ISED, and CRTC work collaboratively to actively maintain coverage maps and databases that provide a comprehensive understanding of the availability of telecommunications networks across Canada. In recent years, ISED and the CRTC have made significant improvements in the granularity of the broadband coverage information that is made available to the public. For example, household coverage data is now displayed along 250-metre road segments. These searchable maps and the underlying data for download can be found online at the National Broadband Internet Service Availability Map. Should discrepancies be noted, users should first contact the Internet service provider in question for initial verification. Once done, and if the information does appear to be inadequate, users can contact ISED for more information on next steps.

In addition, there are various tools available to Canadians that provide the ability to test their home Internet connections to ensure that they are getting what they are paying for. However, certain factors such as distance to the test server and strength of the in-home Wi-Fi signal, if connecting wirelessly, can impact these test results. The CRTC is currently undertaking a study on the performance of broadband sold to Canadians. More information is available at https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/rp200601/rp200601.htm.

Canadians who are concerned that they are not getting the Internet speeds that they pay for can bring their concerns to the attention of the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services, CCTS. This independent organization has been established to provide consumers and small businesses with recourse when they are unable to resolve disagreements with their telecommunications service providers. For more information concerning the CCTS, including how to file a complaint, Canadians can visit the CCTS website at www.ccts-cprst.ca or call toll-free at 1-888-221-1687.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if the government's response to Questions Nos. 622, 624 and 625 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Is it agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.