House of Commons Hansard #146 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was inadmissibility.


The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-215, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (illness, injury or quarantine), as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.


The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

There being no motions at report stage, the House will now proceed, without debate, to the putting of the question on the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.


Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.


The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes that the motion be carried or carried on division or wishes to request a recorded division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.


Sherry Romanado Liberal Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne, QC

Mr. Speaker, I request that it be carried on division.

(Motion agreed to)

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.


The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

When shall the bill be read a third time? By leave, now?

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.

Some hon. members


Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.


The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Before the House proceeds to the debate at third reading, the Chair wishes to remind members that pursuant to the statement made on Tuesday, April 3 a royal recommendation is required for Bill C-215, an act to amend the Employment Insurance Act, illness, injury or quarantine, since the bill appropriates part of the public revenue.

Unless 24 hours' notice is given of such a royal recommendation at the conclusion of the debate on Bill C‑215, the question on the motion for third reading of the bill will not be put.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.


Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to deliver this third reading speech on my private member's bill, Bill C‑215, to amend the number of weeks of EI sickness benefits.

As lawmakers, the actions we take and the political decisions we make every day must be guided by practical and responsible ethics. Naturally, I wish to remind my Liberal colleagues and the Prime Minister of this duty, which is necessary to the well-being of our society, because Bill C‑215 is still awaiting a royal recommendation.

Bill C‑215 proposed to increase from 15 to 52 weeks the period for which Canadians eligible for EI sickness benefits are able to use extra weeks for their recovery or their convalescence, thereby providing a minimum amount of financial security in case of serious illness, such as cancer and other illnesses that require long recovery periods.

Since the latest reading, Bill C‑215 has gone to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, and all committee members voted in favour of the report on October 19.

Furthermore, all our hard work has resulted in a half win, given that, on November 25, the Liberal government announced a glimmer of hope for sick Canadians who can begin applying as of December 18, 2022.

They could receive up to 26 weeks of EI sickness benefits instead of 15. To say that 26 is better than 15 gives very little comfort to sick Canadians who are simply trying to survive, especially in these tough inflationary times. It is even worse when we consider that recovering from a serious illness takes about 38 to 40 weeks in many cases.

This is a good start, but it falls short. It does not do justice to the spirit of the outdated legislation, which is meant to respond to the real needs identified by experts. These experts wanted to see up to 52 weeks of benefits provided to sick people, who need almost a year for a full recovery.

As members know, this bill has been introduced many times to address the outdated legislation from 1971, and here we are with 2023 right around the corner. As I said earlier, this bill absolutely must have the support of the Liberal government to get royal recommendation and to proceed. So far, all signs point to the Liberal Party leaving 31,000 sick Canadians per year out in the cold, without a penny to recover and regain their health after the promised 26 weeks, as I would remind members.

I have to say that I am completely befuddled by the government's refusal to support this responsible and just bill for Canadians who do not have insurance.

However, the government has, to some degree, recognized this very serious need, and I am pleased with one thing: Increasing the maximum benefit to 26 weeks means that the bulk of the cost for this measure has been dealt with.

There are three keys words associated with Bill C-215: affordable, reasonable and shared.

According to a 2019 study, this is an affordable bill with a reasonable cost, which is shared by Canadians and Canadian employers. The Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed it in March 2022.

As I stated at second reading, the March 2022 study indicated that 151,000 Canadians a year need more than 15 weeks of sickness benefits for their convalescence. Should those 151,000 Canadians use all of their weeks, the cost would amount to $1.6 billion a year on average for the next five years.

When I was a witness at the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities on October 17 and 19, I had the opportunity to present my bill and again demonstrate its merits, which are indisputable to all except my Liberal colleagues and the Prime Minister, of course. During these hours of study at committee, several witnesses were given the opportunity to speak and deliver a touching testimony; some even shared their medical or bureaucratic expertise.

On October 19, the committee questioned Benoit Cadieux, director of special benefits and employment insurance policy at the Skills and Employment Branch of the Department of Employment and Social Development. According to Mr. Cadieux, the estimated cost in the next budget for shifting from 15 weeks to 26 weeks is $1 billion for the first year.

The legislative costing note for Bill C-215, prepared by the Parliamentary Budget Officer in March, shows that the bill, which seeks to increase the number of weeks of EI sickness benefits from 15 to 52, would cost $1.92 billion in the first year. The additional cost of increasing EI sickness benefits from 26 to 52 weeks would therefore be $92 million per year. Doing so would make it possible to help all those who need EI sickness benefits. That is a completely reasonable cost to protect the 31,000 Canadians who do not have insurance and who need more than 26 weeks to recover from a serious illness.

Everyone here who is in good health is unbelievably lucky, and this good health is too often taken for granted. For many, cancer is an experience they go through, but others are not lucky enough to recover quickly, especially if they have many other concerns on their plate. As we know, the medical aspect is just one part of living with cancer. Then there is life after treatment, which is a period of transition and adjustment that often brings challenges that are much more onerous than the patient was originally expecting.

Given the scope of the challenge facing Canadians and the tremendous resilience they have, we must absolutely support them through this experience, which involves precarious periods of great uncertainty. Many people have to rethink every aspect of their lives, and that takes a lot of courage. Many people have to rethink every aspect of their lives, and that takes a lot of courage.

Canadians need us. I hope that this third hour of debate will persuade the Liberal government to give them what they deserve, which is the right conditions for recovery while they await better financial support. Here in Canada, we are lucky to have a health care system that delivers hospital care to sick people for free. However, there can be many out-of-pocket and unforeseen expenses. As I have said in the House before, I had to deal with those challenges and unforeseen costs with my spouse. There is the travel to the treatment site, for example, along with parking, child care, nutritional supplements, vitamins and prescription drugs, as well as any equipment needed for recovery.

Even now, EI sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of financial support to individuals who cannot work for medical reasons, enabling them to collect 55% of their earnings. I think Canadians agree that even 26 weeks is not enough and that we can do better.

In closing, I will review all the reasons why my Bill C‑215 is a good bill. All parties and experts in the field agree that we must increase the number of weeks of EI sickness benefits from 15 to 50. This bill proposes to extend benefits to 52 weeks.

It is our duty as legislators to ensure that we have an adequate safety net for the most vulnerable. This measure affects 55% of the population, namely those who do not have group insurance and work primarily in the goods and services sector.

The EI program has rigorous monitoring and annual audit mechanisms to prevent mistakes, fraud and abuse. The medical certificate attests to the number of weeks required for the recovery of an applicant through the healing process. This is a promise that was made by the Conservative Party of Canada during the 2021 election campaign. This measure was voted on by members of our party and presented in the Conservative Party of Canada platform. Employees who have a private health plan must use up their weeks of sick leave before applying for EI sickness benefits. This measure is affordable and reasonable when we consider the cost to small and medium-sized businesses of private insurance plans offering the same benefits.

On December 18, the Liberal government will increase employment insurance sickness benefits to 26 weeks. This means that the Parliamentary Budget Officer's cost estimate would be greatly reduced and represent an additional $92 million a year for a maximum of 52 weeks of benefits. Our society can cover this. All we need is the political will on the Liberals' part. I sincerely hope, for all those who need it, that Bill C‑215 will receive a royal recommendation from the Prime Minister or the Minister of Finance and the support of all my colleagues in the House at third reading. This is a noble cause. It will make it possible for our loved ones to take care of themselves and to take the time they need to fully recover.

Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to wish you happy holidays. I also extend season's greetings to my colleagues and all Canadians, including the people living in the wonderful riding of Lévis—Lotbinière.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.


Bonita Zarrillo NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member so much for his advocacy. I enjoyed listening to testimony at the HUMA committee and appreciated the opportunity to have that testimony.

My question is about the comments the member made around retail workers. We know that right now, almost three million Canadians work in the retail and postal trades. I wonder if the member could expand a bit on why this bill is so important for those workers.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.


Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her very important question.

Unfortunately, retail workers are not lucky enough to have group insurance, to have insurance through their employer to cover a period after 15 weeks. These workers, who do not necessarily have the highest income in Canada, are hard hit when they get a serious illness and their 15 weeks run out. As of next year, they will have 26 weeks. They are not fortunate enough to have the income they need to fully convalesce and recover. That is really important, and it affects thousands of Canadians every year.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.


Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Lévis—Lotbinière for his speech.

My question is this. I am a member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. At the last meeting, for the umpteenth time, we invited witnesses, such as Marie‑Hélène Dubé, who in addition to battling her disease, is fighting to have the number of weeks of EI sickness benefits increased from 15 to 50. We also heard from Émilie Sansfaçon's father. Émilie had to battle against cancer, but she also struggled with financial issues because of the measly 15 weeks of EI sickness benefits. She was unable to continue fighting for either her life or the cause.

What does the member think it would take to really convince the Liberal government to take action so that, once and for all, we ensure accountability and justice for all those people who, like Ms. Dubé and Ms. Sansfaçon, are fighting to recover in dignity?

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:25 a.m.


Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her excellent question. As legislators in the House, we have all heard about Canadians in our respective ridings who needed more weeks of employment insurance sickness benefits.

That being said, there is one important thing that might convince the Liberal government. At the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, a senior official from the department told us that it would cost $1 billion to shift to 26 weeks of benefits. According to the parliamentary budget officer, to see this through, an additional $92 million would be needed for the first year, for a total of $1,092,000,000.

This is a small bridge to gap to be able to provide financial security to all Canadians who are sick. Without these 52 weeks, every year we are denying 31,000 Canadians the extra weeks of benefits that they need. It is worth the Liberal Party, the party in power, taking that into consideration.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:25 a.m.


Richard Lehoux Conservative Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague and thank him for introducing this very important bill.

My colleague from Lévis—Lotbinière had a life-changing experience in his day. I wonder if he could briefly share with us what this kind of support would have meant to him when he was facing a similar situation to the one that many other Canadians are currently going through.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:25 a.m.


Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague. He knows me well and he knows my story. In all humility, I can say that I might not be where I am today if my wife had not experienced what she did. I am here because society, our family and our friends gave us a lot. We did not receive any government support, but we had a lot of support from our loved ones to get through this major ordeal.

This is a way that I can, for the rest of my life, give back to society what it has given me. I know that this bill will help hundreds of thousands of families for generations to come. Modernizing sickness benefits in the Employment Insurance Act will have taken 50 years. We should not miss the boat for the next 50 years.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:25 a.m.


Heath MacDonald Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in this debate on Bill C-215, sponsored by the member for Lévis—Lotbinière. The bill is about amending the Employment Insurance Act in the areas of illness, injury and quarantine. This bill would modify existing legislation to extend EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 52 weeks.

I want to be clear from the outset: The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion opposes this bill, and the Government of Canada opposes this bill. I also want to be clear that Parliament has already approved an extension of EI sickness benefits to 26 weeks. These changes are being implemented as we speak, and as recently announced, they will be up and running beginning December 18. Additionally, the legislative changes related to this extension have already received royal assent. Therefore, I will be using my time today to explain our position and outline how our changes to Canada's EI program will help support Canadian workers.

Let there be no doubt that we recognize the financial challenges that Canadians suffering from long-term illness or injury and their families face. We know that EI sickness benefits are an important support for Canadians who need temporary leave from their job due to illness, injury or quarantine. These benefits allow individuals to take the time they need to rest and restore their health without having to worry about their financial situation.

While the current 15 weeks of entitlement are sufficient for most claimants to recover and return to work, approximately one-third of claimants exhaust the maximum entitlement of 15 weeks of benefits. This is why we are permanently extending the maximum duration of EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 26 weeks. This extension will provide an additional support to approximately 169,000 Canadian workers every year who require additional time to regain their health before returning to work.

In contrast, an extension of EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 52 weeks, as proposed in Bill C-215, would undermine the spirit and intent of the EI program, which is to keep workers connected to the labour force. Bill C-215 would incur an estimated incremental cost of over $2 billion per year, which would cost $1 billion more per year than the approved extension to 26 weeks.

I would like to turn to the issue of EI reform.

The current extension of sickness benefits is part of our broader strategy to modernize the EI program. The pandemic laid bare a number of faults with the EI program. It made us recognize that the current EI program needs to evolve so that it can better respond to changing labour markets and workforce needs. Canada needs a modern EI program that better meets the needs of workers and employers. The plan to modernize EI must take into account the realities of those who use it. That is why we have been consulting with Canadians on how to build a simpler, fairer and more flexible program.

In 2021, we embarked on a two-year consultation process on EI modernization. The consultation, which took place over two phases, is now complete. We are currently analyzing the input received from the various participants. Their insights are helping to guide us in designing a program that is more modern, resilient, accessible, adequate and financially viable.

Among other things, we heard that there is a need to reform the EI program to make it simpler, more responsive and more inclusive. The program must evolve to support all types of workers, including freelance and self-employed workers. With budget 2022, we confirmed our commitment to establishing an EI program with simpler and fairer rules for both workers and employers. Modernizing a program that serves millions of Canadians is a serious task, and we are taking the time to get it right.

I would like to thank the public servants who have worked tirelessly to provide Canadians with the benefits and services essential to their well-being. Increasing the maximum duration of these benefits and services from 15 weeks to 26 weeks will allow Canadians to focus on what is essential: their health.

We have a plan that promotes a healthy, resilient and inclusive labour market and that includes, of course, EI reform. Today, let us take note that every year, roughly 169,000 Canadians will benefit from the extension of EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 26 weeks.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:30 a.m.


Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am privileged once again to reiterate the importance of extending special EI sickness benefits to 52 weeks, as proposed in my colleague from Lévis—Lotbinière's Bill C‑215. I salute the Conservative Party for taking this stand.

This bill is the eleventh such bill introduced in the House in over a decade. The Bloc Québécois alone has introduced three of them, the most recent one being my colleague from Salaberry—Suroît's Bill C‑265, the Émilie Sansfaçon act.

I do not know what it will take to convince the Liberal government to really hear the unanimous voices of those who have stood up to say that sickness benefits must be increased to 50 weeks. When the party currently in power was on the opposition benches, it was in favour of the 50-weeks idea.

Perhaps it is time for that party to spend a little time on the other side. Perhaps that would serve as a salutary reminder that, back when the Liberal Party was an opposition party, Denis Coderre, the member for Bourassa at the time, introduced Bill C‑291, which would have increased sickness benefits to 50 weeks. The current Prime Minister was a strong advocate of the idea. How crazy is that? It boggles the mind.

However, research and studies on gravely ill workers should easily persuade us of the need for action, and non-partisan action. Sick workers have been waiting for 50 years to get an adequate number of weeks. It is about time this issue was addressed once and for all.

This was done and continues to be done in the case of the dying with dignity legislation. We should be guided in much the same way and be equally motivated when it comes to sick workers, so they can care for themselves with dignity.

There is only one thing left for the government to do today, and that is to give royal recommendation to this bill. It can and must do so. It has the power to improve things for all those workers whose only insurance is the EI system, an outdated system that requires urgent reform, despite the many broken promises.

I heard my colleague say in his 10-minute speech that this was part of an EI strategy. That is nonsense. What strategy? The system has not been reformed for 15 years. The Liberals promised to do so in 2019, in 2021 and again now, but nothing has been done.

Coluche said, “The doors of the future are open to those who know how to push them.” It is true that it takes courage, and although all too often this government has shown the opposite, let us hope that, in this case, reason and ambition will be able to convince it.

Let us remember that we have a minority government and that the opposition parties voted unanimously several times in favour of 50 weeks of sickness benefits. In 2019, the following Bloc Québécois motion was passed by a majority:

That the House call on the government to increase the special Employment Insurance sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 50 weeks in the upcoming budget in order to support people with serious illnesses, such as cancer.

In 2020, the Bloc Québécois introduced Bill C‑265, known as the Émilie Sansfaçon act. On June 15, 2021, Bill C‑265 was referred to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, which adopted it unanimously on June 17, 2021, and reported it back to the House. We should note that, in committee, Liberal MPs voted in favour of this bill. Unfortunately, it died on the Order Paper when an election was called.

On December 15, 2021, Bill C‑215 was introduced. On October 17, 2022, it was referred to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. This bill was once again adopted unanimously by the committee members on October 19, 2022.

Notably, all parties voted unanimously in favour of these motions. We are now at report stage. Parliamentary democracy demands that we act accordingly and consider the views of members. Hiding behind the fact that these are private member's bills that require a royal recommendation would indisputably be a power play by the government that is disrespectful and abusive of the will of the majority of elected members of the House who, on behalf of the people they represent, want this change. It would be undemocratic and cowardly. As my colleague from Lévis—Lotbinière said, let us hope that the Liberals do not hide behind the need for a royal recommendation.

The government will surely argue that it heard the request, which it did when it quietly announced on a Friday afternoon, away from the bright lights of the TV cameras, that the number of weeks of EI sickness benefits would be increased to 26 as of December 18, and only for new claimants. This announcement shows that the government did not listen. That is not what anyone has been asking for. The inter-union alliance made up of the FTQ, the CSN, the CSD and the CSQ, which represents over two million workers in Quebec, the Mouvement autonome et solidaire des sans-emploi, the Conseil national des chômeurs et chômeuses, the Conseil d'intervention pour l'accès des femmes au travail, Unifor and the Canadian Labour Congress were all calling for 50 weeks.

Nobody asked the government to stop halfway. This is a half-measure that solves nothing for seriously ill workers. With it, the government is abandoning thousands of them who will not be able to take the time they need to recover without worrying about their finances and hoping to be able to return to work. It shows a complete lack of compassion and humanity.

Are half-measures what the government is striving for in its social approach to illness? I hope not.

To save a few dollars in the short term, the government is prepared to let thousands of families slide into poverty, which will cost the community much more in the long run. Is that the government's economic approach? I should hope not.

Sick workers who pay into EI have a fair right to a maximum of 50 or 52 weeks of special sickness benefits. Remember, workers are the ones paying into EI. I just want to reiterate that employment insurance, in its current form, is not like winning the jackpot. It takes 600 hours to qualify, and eligible workers get only 55% of their earned income.

Currently, studies show that it can take up to 41 weeks for seriously ill workers to recover. The number of weeks of EI sickness benefits has been stuck at 15 for 50 years. It will increase to 26 weeks as of December 18, but that will not be enough. Given today's labour shortage, what workers want most is to have the time and means to get well and return to work. The current 15 weeks was not nearly enough, and the planned 26 weeks will not allow for that either.

Our society wants a strong social safety net and believes in its workers, so the Liberal government should logically give this bill a royal recommendation. It takes heart. Above all, it takes vision.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:40 a.m.


Bonita Zarrillo NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the employment insurance program is antiquated and needs reform. So much has changed in the five decades since EI was imagined. For example, when EI was first brought into this country, it was built to support men as the breadwinner, a discriminatory concept that has perpetuated gender discrimination and the gender wage gap in the workforce since its inception.

Here are the stats. From 1972, when EI was first brought in, to the present, the labour force participation rate for women has almost doubled, rising from only 45% in 1972 to 85% today. This compares to a slight decline for men, from 95% participation rate to 92% now. The EI system is just another example of the systems in this country that were not built for equity and inclusion.

During the recent HUMA testimony around this bill, we heard from Madame Marie-Hélène Dubé, who has been running the “15 weeks is not enough” campaign for years. She battled cancer three times between 2003 and 2008, receiving only 15 weeks of benefits per year. This year, she went through the same nightmare yet again, still receiving only 15 weeks of support in a year when costs have skyrocketed. I raise my hands to Madame Dubé, who has continued to fight for better even during the most difficult of times. As Marie-Hélène testified, setting the benefit period of EI sickness benefit at 26 weeks would let down the people who need it the most.

That is exactly what the government did. It let people down and it needs to be corrected. Extending the benefit period from 26 weeks to 52 weeks would change everything when it comes to treatment and recovery from illness or injury, and the Parliamentary Budget Officer has demonstrated that it is a viable change. We can pay for this, and Canadians agree it is a socially acceptable measure. It is shameful that, despite support from Canadians, the government has failed to extend EI sickness benefits beyond 26 weeks.

Opposition parties, along with the NDP, must continue to advocate for Canadians who suffer from an illness or injury. That should not have to happen. We need to make sure they have access to necessary employment insurance during their time of need. The NDP supports Bill C-215 as it strives toward giving Canadians more protection when accessing these essential benefits. The NDP has tabled similar private member's bills in previous Parliaments, including in February 2020 when my colleague from Elmwood—Transcona tabled Bill C-212.

The NDP is focused on making sure that people can receive much-needed income while they are recovering from an injury or illness, and Bill C-215 provides more protection than what exists today. It allows workers the time they need to recover, something that is absolutely necessary, postpandemic specifically, as labour shortages in health care have delayed and prolonged access, diagnoses and treatments, and as the realities of long COVID are becoming better understood.

I want to go back to the failings of only having 26 weeks of sickness benefits for women and diverse genders. The need for greater EI benefits disproportionately affects them, whether it is in their capacity as single parents or the fact that there is a gender wage gap in this country that does not afford them the opportunity to save at the same rates.

In addition, I know personally that it is more difficult for women to get private sickness insurance because of the rates of breast cancer in this country. If there is a history of cancer in one's family, that risk profile is a consideration in the insurance company's assessment of allowing benefits. With one in eight women in this country being attacked by breast cancer, the chances of having no family history of it are decreasing by the day. This leaves women uninsured and unprotected from financial risks of an illness they have no control over, which is just another reason why gender inequities in the EI system need to be fixed. There are so many examples of where women were left out of the initial EI design.

Before I go on, this inspired me to go and take a look at the employment numbers from 1972 to 2022. While data from 1972 was not available on the Statistics Canada's website, data from 1976 was. I can tell members that women have driven the growth of this economy over the last 50 years.

We have had an increase of almost 10 million employees since 1972, the majority of them women, the participation rate going from 44% to 88%. The majority of new workers in our economy are women.

I want to point out, by how we classify workers, that the health care and social science assistance category has increased by 1.8 million, almost two million workers. It is shameful that it is one of the largest-growing areas of our economy and we waited this long for child care.

I will go back to Mouvement Action-Chômage de Montréal, which invited legislators to correct the inequity of the act toward women who had received maternity, or parental benefits or their equivalent from a provincial parental insurance plan, and the current ruling around injustices for six women who lost their jobs while on, or just after, parental leave and had their EI claims rejected because they had not worked the minimum number of hours needed to qualify for benefits.

To add insult to injury, the government continues to fight the Social Security Tribunal ruling that sections of the Employment Insurance Act violated women's constitutional rights to equality under the law. Standing here, I do not know how the government can argue that. Why do women continually have to fight the government for equity injustice?

I asked in committee about gender inequities and if the gender lens was being applied in the current budgeting considerations for the government's movement to expand from 15 weeks. This is what came back, “Regarding the PBO’s $1.9 billion estimated ongoing cost of an extension to EI sickness benefits from 15 to 52 weeks, the PBO’s formula and budgeting did not segment potential beneficiaries by gender.” The discriminatory analysis continues.

In addition, a set of data that came back from the 2021 “Employment Insurance Monitoring and Assessment Report“ showed that a gender difference continued to exist between men and women in relation to EI sickness benefits, yet when analyzing that data for post-claim follow-up, this was the disclaimer on the data that came back, “A breakdown of the findings above by gender is not available.” That is unacceptable. We exist, we are here and we are at work.

The New Democrats acknowledge that the 26 weeks is a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough. Extending the framework from 26 weeks to 52 weeks is what is needed to accurately capture the needs of all people, allowing them to receive the necessary benefits during the recovery period. The government needs to do the right thing and do better for Canadians.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

11:50 a.m.


Richard Lehoux Conservative Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure and privilege of rising today to speak to Bill C-215, which was introduced by my very good friend and colleague, the member for Lévis—Lotbinière.

I want to start by thanking him for introducing this very important bill. He has shown a lot of initiative in continuing to exert pressure to get this bill passed. This bill is completely non-partisan, and I think that all members should support it in order to improve the lives of many Canadians across the country.

We have all heard so many stories about people in our ridings and especially in our personal lives who have been diagnosed with cancer or who have been seriously injured. These people do not have it easy. They are facing some very serious challenges. That is why it is so important to pass a bill like this one to help our most vulnerable constituents.

Take, for example, a roofer who breaks his back on the job and is unable to return to work for months, only to then be diagnosed with cancer. After his surgery, he cannot return to work for a long time. According to the current wording of the act, he is entitled to only 15 weeks of EI sickness benefits. If a person in such a situation is not yet ready to go back to work after 15 weeks and has not been authorized to do so by their doctor, they can end up in a very precarious situation.

I hardly need to remind my colleagues that not everyone has family members to share their financial burden, nor can everyone live off their savings for more than 15 weeks.

According to a study, this kind of problem affects over 151,000 people in Canada every year. That works out to about 450 people in every riding in this country, so it is a big problem. That is a staggering number. These people are our neighbours, our friends, even our family members. We live in a country with a great EI system, but the government has not yet taken steps to extend benefit periods for these kinds of serious and rare cases.

In our country, many vulnerable Canadians may one day fall ill. We need a compassionate system that allows for all possible situations. We need to create a real safety net that will make Canadians feel safe and, most importantly, let them know they have the time they need to get better and will not be forced to go back to work before they are fully healed.

At some point or other, 55% of Canadians will need EI. It is unavoidable, and that is the reason we need to review legislation such as the Employment Insurance Act and try to find ways to enhance it. Experts say that this law needs to be amended to change the current maximum of 15 weeks. We must listen to the experts and work with them to make these changes correctly. All parties need to be heard, and all options need to be considered.

Some members may be concerned about the possibility of fraud or abuse if we increase the number of weeks of sickness benefits. I want to assure my colleagues that this legislation is solid and includes many protection measures to avoid these types of problems. The EI system is extremely well monitored and audited as a whole to catch potential fraudsters. A doctor's note or certificate is still needed to receive EI payments. The timeline is recommended by health care professionals.

I firmly believe that we must trust our health care providers, who do such important work day after day, to diagnose illnesses and suggest an amount of sick leave for each individual that is fair and based on science. We need to trust our health care system to do things properly.

I would like to remind all members that one of the promises the Conservatives made in 2021 was to increase the EI sickness benefit limit beyond 15 weeks, and we plan to keep that promise with this bill.

The same bill was introduced in the past, but unfortunately it never received royal assent. I clearly remember that the Bloc Québécois and the NDP both supported our bill the last time it was introduced, and I sincerely hope that we can count on that support again this time. I sincerely hope that the NDP-Liberal coalition will see that this bill is a really good law and that it will help all Canadians.

I know that some members will still have doubts or questions about the bill. Are we going too far? What about Canadians who have private insurance?

Rest assured that there is nothing to be concerned about. First, Canadians do not want to be ill or to be confined to their homes. We know that, in most cases, they return to work as soon as they can.

Also, anyone who has private insurance must use up their weeks of private sick leave before applying for the federal program. In most cases, they will be able to return to work without ever having to use Service Canada's EI system. This bill will have no impact on our SMEs' private insurance systems. The federal program will simply be there as a safety net in certain extenuating circumstances.

This measure is affordable for the government and it is an entirely reasonable thing to do. Not only is it reasonable, but it is the fairest thing to do. Many Canadians pay into EI for their entire lives and never have to use it. Other Canadians are not so lucky and have to use this safety net to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table during one of the most difficult times in their lives.

I believe that our constituents, who have paid taxes and contributed to social programs their entire lives, deserve to be looked after when a crisis hits their families. They deserve to feel protected by the government and respected for all they have done for society.

As inflation and high interest rates continue to hit Canadians hard, we need to assure them that we are there for them when they really need us.

In closing, this bill seeks to give Canadians the dignity they deserve and the help they need when they need it most. As I mentioned earlier in my speech, we are talking about our neighbours, friends and sometimes even our family members. Misfortune or illness can befall anyone at any time. Long-term illnesses and major accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. All elected officials have a duty to amend any law that they think is inadequate. I think that is what this bill does.

I want to wish all of my constituents and all Canadians good luck, health and happiness this Christmas season. If anything bad does happen in their lives, I want them to know that the Conservative Party will support them by passing Bill C-215.

I am very proud to have had the opportunity to speak to this bill today. I would like to once again thank the member for Lévis—Lotbinière for his hard work on this file and for defending the interests of vulnerable Canadians across the country.

I truly hope that we can unanimously pass this bill quickly here in the House so that it can receive a royal recommendation. It is a bill that we can all be very proud of.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

December 12th, 2022 / noon


Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will start by thanking the member for Lévis—Lotbinière for his work on Bill C-215.

As the member of Parliament for the riding of Waterloo, I hear from many constituents when it comes to programs within our country, including unemployment insurance. It is a program that has been there to support workers when they are recovering from illness or injury, and it is important that they feel confident that they are supported.

It is nice to see that there is a Conservative member recognizing the importance of that system and strengthening that system. Oftentimes in this place, when we are voting or the government is advancing programs, that support is not always there from the official opposition. However, in this private member's bill, we have the ability to at least hear from a private member from the Conservative benches on his support to strengthen unemployment insurance.

As I was saying, when Canadians are recovering from illness or injury, they deserve to feel confident that they are supported and that their jobs are protected. That is why the government is taking action to improve employment insurance sickness benefits.

Just a few weeks ago, the hon. Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion announced that, as of December 18, we are permanently extending EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 26 weeks. This extension will provide approximately 169,000 Canadians per year with additional time and flexibility to recover so they can return to work after an illness, injury or quarantine.

Right now, more than ever, it really is important for programs such as unemployment insurance, which workers pay into and then receive the benefit, that people know the program is there for them. That is why the extension of EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 26 weeks is not the only improvement taking effect on December 18.

I am pleased to say we are also increasing the maximum length of unpaid medical leave available to federally regulated private sector workers from 17 weeks to 27 weeks. This change will ensure that workers in federally regulated industries have the right to take unpaid job-protected leave while receiving the extended EI sickness benefit.

We have seen very uncertain and challenging times. We know that, more than ever, we need to ensure there is a government that is not only listening and engaging but also responding to the very real needs of Canadians.

We saw the world go through a global health crisis. In Canada, it was important to have the government of the day respond to those needs. When individuals were worried about paying rent, buying food, etc., because the country, the world, was shut down, it was the government of the day that brought out the Canada emergency response benefit. We made sure that Canadians could have access to that benefit rather quickly. We knew they were anxious. It was a tough time, and they deserved a government that would be there for them.

What did the government do? Our government, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, stepped up. We also heard from businesses and the list goes on. Part of that conversation really was on unemployment insurance.

Small business owners or job creators are often not the ones who are paying into EI, because they are worried about their workers and the people they create jobs for. Therefore, when they needed access to that program, they were not eligible for it because they had not paid into it. However, our government listened. We made sure that we would find ways so that more people could benefit from this very important program that exists in Canada.

I should also mention in passing that, as of December 1, 2022, federally regulated private sector workers will also begin accumulating up to 10 days of paid sick leave per year. This is something we have been hearing for a long time. In the riding of Waterloo, many constituents contact me with a diversity of perspectives and opinions. This step was really important and one that I heard often.

We also extended working while on claim to include EI sickness and EI maternity benefits. That gives people more flexibility, so they can keep more of their benefits if they choose to gradually return to work. It is important to recognize that we do have a changing environment, and we do have opportunities. We need to ensure that there is some flexibility there.

As part of that flexibility, for members of Parliament, who have always needed to take their seats to ensure we continue to do the important work of the House, we have brought out a hybrid model. Members of Parliament are able to be in their ridings as well as do the work of the House of Commons and represent their constituents.

It is important that we adjust and improve the way benefits are delivered so that more people can benefit from them. These improvements are part of a broader plan to modernize Canada's EI system. Technically, we should be looking at all of our systems.

Our overarching goal is to build an EI program that is more fair, more flexible and more responsive to the needs of workers. To achieve that goal, we also asked for Canadians to help. In August 2021, we began a two-year consultation on EI reform to build an EI program that is more flexible, more fair and better suited to the needs of today's workers.

The best way to respond to what Canadians are asking for is to bring them into the conversation. That is something that has often been lacking. Members of Parliament will rise in this place, as it is really an honour and privilege to be here, and say they have the solution, but they have never spoken to constituents across the country. It is important that this consultation process is one that Canadians participate in. I am pleased to see we are doing it.

It is unfortunate that I have run out of time. I look forward to this conversation continuing. I hope to see more members recognize the importance of improving our systems and strengthening programs, such as employment insurance.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

12:05 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

The time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business is now expired, and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

Immigration and Refugee Protection ActGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario


Marco Mendicino LiberalMinister of Public Safety

moved that Bill S-8, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, to make consequential amendments to other Acts and to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, for almost 10 months, Canadians have watched in shock and horror at Russia's unjust, abhorrent and illegal invasion of Ukraine. On February 24, 2022, without provocation, Russian forces initiated this egregious step, which is a blatant violation of international law, the charter of the United Nations and the rules-based international order.

The attacks have caused widespread devastation of Ukrainian infrastructure and property, as well as unnecessary deaths of Ukrainians, including civilians.

These actions are a continuation and acceleration of the violent steps taken by Russia since early 2014 to undermine Ukrainian security, sovereignty and independence. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting those fleeing the destruction and devastation in Ukraine and to providing a safe haven for those fleeing their war-torn home country.

As we said since the beginning, whether it is military, political or economic support, Canada will continue to be there for Ukraine and hold Russia accountable. In the face of such brazen disregard for the international order, the Government of Canada has responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine through the use of economic measures, including sanctions, to send a clear and unequivocal message that the aggression displayed by the Russian regime will not be tolerated.

These measures apply pressure on the Russian leadership to end its senseless war, which has resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and caused indescribable suffering to the people of Ukraine. These measures are the latest example of Canada's unwavering commitment to Ukraine and its people.

Since the invasion of Ukraine commenced in February, the Government of Canada has imposed sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act on almost 1,200 individuals in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

Further targeted sanctions are planned in response to Russian aggression, demonstrating that Canada is a leader in the international effort to hold Russian leaders accountable for this violent and unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

More recently, the Government of Canada imposed additional sanctions under SEMA against Iranian officials in response to the Iranian regime's ongoing grave breaches of international peace and security and gross human rights violations. These breaches and violations include its systemic persecution of women and, in particular, the egregious actions committed by Iran's so-called morality police, which led to the death of Mahsa Amini while in their custody.

Targeted sanctions have been imposed against senior Iranian officials and prominent entities that directly implement repressive measures, violate human rights and spread the Iranian regime's propaganda and misinformation.

The legislative amendments we are introducing to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act would provide Canada with much needed abilities to better align government-imposed sanctions with authorities related to immigration enforcement and access to Canada. The IRPA defines when a person is inadmissible to Canada and establishes the applicable criteria for all foreign nationals and permanent residents who seek to enter or remain in Canada.

However, IRPA, as it stands, is incongruous with our inadmissibility regime. Its inadmissibility provisions do not clearly align with the basis for imposing the majority of SEMA sanctions issued against Russia and Iran.

Issuing sanctions against these countries on the grounds of a grave breach of international peace and security, which has resulted in the serious situation that we see today, does not automatically trigger inadmissibility. This means that most individuals sanctioned pursuant to SEMA may nevertheless have access to travel to, enter or remain in Canada if they are not otherwise deemed inadmissible.

This runs counter to Canada's policy objectives with respect to the measured application of sanctions and restrictions on foreign nationals who are part of the Russian or Iranian regimes or who are key supporters of those regimes.

Legislative amendments are required on an urgent basis to align the IRPA sanctions inadmissibility regime clearly with that of SEMA.

That is why I am here today to introduce Bill S-8, an act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which would, among other things, expressly align the IRPA with SEMA to ensure that all foreign nationals subject to sanctions under SEMA would be inadmissible to Canada.

If passed, the current inadmissibility grounds relating to sanctions would be expanded to ensure that foreign nationals subject to sanctions, for any reason under SEMA, would be inadmissible to Canada. This would include foreign nationals sanctioned not only in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Iran but also sanctioned individuals from Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and North Korea.

In addition, these amendments would also modernize the current sanction inadmissibility framework set out in IRPA.

Allow me to explain the importance of this legislation and why I am seeking to pass it into law.

The amendments of this bill would allow for all sanctions related to inadmissibility grounds to be treated in a cohesive and coherent manner; strengthen inadmissibility legislation that we already have in place rendering persons subject to sanctions inadmissible to Canada; ensure that the sanctions imposed by the Government of Canada would have direct consequences in terms of immigration and access to Canada; and allow Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada officials to deny temporary or permanent resident visas overseas and authorize Canada Border Services Agency officials to deny entry to and remove from Canada sanctioned individuals.

Once enforced, these amendments would apply to all foreign nationals who are subject to sanctions issued unilaterally by Canada and to their immediate family members. These changes would ensure that all Russian and Iranian officials sanctioned under SEMA, and their sanctioned supporters, are inadmissible to Canada.

Without the proposed amendments, those who are sanctioned in response to the situations in Ukraine and Iran are not necessarily inadmissible unless they have violated some other provision of IRPA. This proposed legislation would completely close that gap.

This approach also aligns with and builds on recent strong legislative activity.

For example, in the 2017 report by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, entitled “A Coherent and Effective Approach to Canada's Sanctions Regimes: Sergei Magnitsky and Beyond”, the committee recommended that the IRPA be amended to designate all individuals sanctioned under SEMA as inadmissible to Canada.

Subsequently, also in 2017, the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, also known as the Sergei Magnitsky law or Bill S-226, came into force. This act created two new inadmissibility grounds, which aligned with certain sanctions, provisions related to international human rights violations, and significant corruption. Subsequent amendments to the IRPR were also made, so that delegated CBSA officers, as opposed to the immigration division of the Immigration and Refugee Board, were empowered to issue removal orders directly at ports of entry for individuals inadmissible pursuant to the newly created sanctions inadmissibility provisions.

This ensured that these individuals would not have to be physically referred into Canada for admissibility hearings before the Immigration Division.

Finally, budget 2018 provided the CBSA with the necessary funding to work with Global Affairs Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to ensure that inadmissible sanctions cases are identified as early as possible in the travel continuum to prevent them from gaining access to our country.

These investments and the effective work of border management and immigration officials in Canada and abroad support the proposed legislative amendments that I am seeking your support for today.

Furthermore, while funding from budget 2018 ensured the proposed amendments were completed in a timely manner, the timeline of this proposal was adjusted to realign with border management and public safety priorities related to the necessary COVID-19 pandemic response. Nevertheless, proactive development of the amendments in Bill S-8 has enabled a timely legislative response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Iran's violent crackdown against civilian protesters.

Further to the work already done, there are additional complementary and coordinating amendments introduced in this bill, which are required to align inadmissibility provisions with the sanctions provisions while maintaining the integrity of both frameworks.

First, all the sanctions inadmissibility provisions will be treated in a cohesive and coherent manner. This includes, for instance, adding a temporal element to all the sanctions inadmissibility provisions, which means that a person is inadmissible only for as long as they remain on a sanctions list. In addition, as is the case today with IRPA, immediate family members of foreign nationals inadmissible for sanctions are also inadmissible. Similarly, existing provisions of IRPA with respect to immigration, detention and sanctioned individuals would apply to the new sanctioned grounds.

Second, further legislative amendments in this bill would ensure that the inadmissibility framework related to multilateral sanctions, such as sanctions issued in concert with the United Nations, would be expanded to include groups or non-state entities, as opposed to only when states are sanctioned, as is the case today. Currently, sanctions issued against groups and non-state entities, such as al Qaeda or ISIL, do not automatically trigger sanctions-related inadmissibility ground. The proposed amendments would further facilitate interdiction and enforcement for sanctions issued multilaterally.

Make no mistake, the proposed amendments would improve Canada's ability to identify and stop sanctioned foreign nationals before they can get to Canada. In the event that some do nevertheless arrive at our borders, delegated CBSA officers would have the authority to issue removal orders immediately at ports of entry for all those inadmissible for sanctions.

It is important to note that sanctions inadmissibility is the most efficient and effective mechanism to swiftly identify inadmissible persons as early as possible in the travel continuum and to deny their ability to acquire a visa to Canada.

While other inadmissibility provisions may be applicable to some sanctioned individuals, it should not be assumed that all sanctioned individuals are also inadmissible for other grounds. Moreover, other potentially relevant inadmissibility grounds, such as those relating to engaging in war crimes, require extensive investigation, case-by-case analysis, and hearings before the Immigration and Refugee Board before they can be applied and yield consequences. It is not expected to be the case that all individuals who are sanctioned can in fact also be found inadmissible for some other ground under IRPA.

Unless there is a clear and specific ground for inadmissibility in IRPA against given individuals, immigration and border officers do not have the discretion to deny access to Canada. These amendments are therefore vital to ensuring consistent alignment between inadmissibility and sanctions.

Bill S-8 will also support other inadmissibility and immigration enforcement measures being pursued with respect to Iran. Additional measures against the Iranian regime were announced on October 7. The Prime Minister announced that the Government of Canada would be seeking to designate the Iranian regime under IRPA. This means that in addition to the individual sanctions, the top 50% of the most senior echelons and the members of the Iranian regime most responsible for egregious serial human rights violations will be considered inadmissible to Canada once the regime has been designated, and indeed that has been done.

Other refinements are included in the proposed amendments in Bill S-8. For instance, we will correct an inconsistency with respect to refugee policy that was created through Bill S-226. The Sergei Magnitsky law rendered inadmissible foreign nationals ineligible to make a refugee claim. However, multilateral sanctions such as those issued under the United Nations Act do not have the same consequence in IRPA.

Similarly, the Refugee Convention itself does not identify sanctions in and of themselves as sufficient to warrant exclusion from refugee protection.

The proposed amendments in this bill would correct that asymmetry and ensure that foreign nationals are not ineligible to have a refugee claim referred to the refugee protection division of the Immigration and Refugee Board on account of being inadmissible solely due to sanctions in line with Canada's international obligations.

Given the measures in place to deny sanctioned individuals access to our borders, in the rare case in which an individual can apply for refugee protection in Canada, all foreign nationals inadmissible due to sanctions who are granted refugee or protected person status would not be eligible to become permanent residents while those sanctions are in place. This is a balanced yet firm approach.

In addition, should a person inadmissible due to sanctions be subject to removal proceedings, they would be eligible to apply for a preremoval risk assessment, ensuring a fair assessment of risks facing them upon removal from Canada.

In recognition of sanctions being a deliberate statement of government policy, further amendments are proposed to narrow the available pathways to overcome inadmissibility for sanctions within IRPA.

I believe that lifting of the sanction in and of itself is the mechanism by which the consequences of a sanction should be avoided. As such, the bill proposes to remove access to ministerial relief for individuals who are inadmissible for sanctions. Furthermore, individuals inadmissible for sanctions would not have access to an appeal of the inadmissibility decision before the immigration appeal division, nor may they make an application for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, under our proposed amendments. Any request for recourse related to sanctions ought to be made to the sanctions-issuing body.

For example, individuals inadmissible due to sanctions imposed by Canada could submit an application for delisting to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In addition, as with all decisions under IRPA, the federal court will continue to have jurisdiction to conduct judicial review of inadmissibility determinations on the basis of sanctions.

The bill also includes coordinating amendments to the Emergencies Act and the Citizenship Act to maintain and clarify existing authorities related to sanctions inadmissibility in those pieces of legislation.

Now more than ever, we must move to align the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act sanctions regime with the regime under the Special Economic Measures Act.

The senators have agreed to adopt the motion and, to quote Senator Omidvar, have marked this bill as “super urgent”. I urge members to review Bill S-8 with the same sense of urgency. The bill will provide Canada with much-needed authorities to better link government sanctions, as well as the authorities necessary for our immigration officials to deny access to Canada. It will also better enable us to contribute to concerted action with our international partners.

The bill we are introducing in the House today is a prudent and comprehensive approach that would allow our government to respond to the Russian and Iranian regimes' aggression with appropriate immigration consequences.

This legislation and these amendments would provide a clear and strong message that the Government of Canada's comprehensive sanctions framework has meaningful and direct consequences, not only from an economic perspective, but from an immigration and access to Canada perspective as well. Doing so would allow us to stand up for human rights both here and abroad.

Immigration and Refugee Protection ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.


Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, what I find interesting is that in May, in one month, the Senate went through all the stages. It went through report, committee and debate stages to bring the bill back to the House in May. We are now in the last couple of days of 2022, and the government must be out of its debt-inducing legislation. It has decided to finally bring the bill forward.

Can the minister finally tell us why it took so long to get the bill before the House?

Immigration and Refugee Protection ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.


Marco Mendicino Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I understand that my colleague from the Conservative Party is quite anxious to see this legislation passed into law. All he needs to do, along with his colleagues in the Conservative Party, is vote for it. I cannot wait to see that moment.

However, I also want to assure him and all members of the chamber that, even as this bill has made its way though the parliamentary process, we have acted decisively. We have delivered among the strongest sanctions against those offenders against human rights and those who are visiting upon women and other vulnerable individuals in Iran the absolutely most atrocious violations with brutal attacks and the murders of the likes of Mahsa Amini.

That is why, in addition to this legislation, we made sure we designated the entirety of the Iranian regime under IRPA so we could prevent those who are most responsible, the architects of these violations, from ever setting foot in Canada again.

Immigration and Refugee Protection ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.


Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy about this bill. Clearly, we need to pass it as soon as possible.

However, I do want assurances from the minister about something. Anyone deemed inadmissible on grounds of sanctions may request a review of the reasons for their removal. Generally, the people who are here, who belong to oligarchic families, who are subject to sanctions, are people with money. These are people who can activate every possible recourse and draw things out as long as possible. Has that been addressed?

I checked the legislative summary, but it was not clear. Are there concrete measures to prevent these people from using the money they stole from their people to draw out the process and avoid removal?