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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was important.

Last in Parliament August 2020, as Liberal MP for Toronto Centre (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 57% of the vote.

Statements in the House

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, that would not have been simpler.

We looked at every option for getting money to people as quickly as possible. That is why we opted for the Canada emergency response benefit. We believe that is important because it enables us to get money to people when they need it. That is our approach for people going through tough times because of COVID-19. Our approach is working. Just a few days ago, over three million Canadians received the Canada emergency response benefit. We are going to maintain this approach.

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, I realize people want to know exactly what the eligibility criteria are. That is important.

Our first consideration is people who are in a difficult position because of COVID-19. That was our approach, and I think it is very important to keep going in that direction. We need to establish criteria that work. This situation is certainly very dynamic.

If we run into problems with this approach, we will have to make changes as quickly as possible. That is the situation right now. We will look at the challenges and keep making the right support available to people. If we need to make changes, we will.

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, these are important questions.

We are looking at the best way to consider dividends for the purposes of the Canada emergency response benefit. We have not reached a conclusion, but that is very important.

As far as the wage subsidy is concerned, that is a bit harder because the months just before March, in other words January and February, are considered for remuneration. That will make it tough to deal with dividends, since only two months are being taken into account.

Finally, the other question is a matter of legislation and regulations. We will consider using a regulatory change in every case, because we know that is the most efficient option. However, if we have to use legislation, then we will look into doing that.

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, that is a good question.

We took income into account, not stock options or vehicle allowances, for example. Tips are difficult to account for, since it is not easy for the employer to determine what tips an employee received a week ago, a month ago, or two months ago.

We will look into how we can deal with this situation. For the time being, only the income for which there is data is taken into consideration.

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, I would like to begin by thanking the member for his contribution to our consultations. He has been a great help.

We changed our approach to ensure that companies that operate on a seasonal basis could look at their income for this year after two months, to see whether it has dropped.

We will always consider other approaches if changes need to be made. For now, when it comes to companies that find themselves in a different situation, we think we have found a way to provide them with the assurance that they can compare their situation to last year or to previous months.

If other approaches need to be considered, we will be open to them.

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, we continue to go through the appropriate processes to consider projects. As we go through those, we will be providing transparency to the House and to Canadians.

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, I am sure the member knows that the wage subsidy we are putting forward today, and looking for unanimous consent, is critically important for the energy sector. In many energy sector projects, there is no ability to take people off jobs, which means those businesses were actually continuing to pay people. Allowing us to help them through this wage subsidy would be so important to those businesses.

Additionally we know that other forms of support, like credit, are critical for that sector and other sectors across the country, and that is something we have been working on. We are looking forward to talking more about that as those details are finalized.

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, the answer to that is unequivocally no. What we are seeing today, first of all, is that there is enormous support right now, today in this legislation, that would go to all sectors of the economy, including the energy sector. It is a $73-billion package that would provide wage subsidies to employees across the country, including those companies that are actually in the energy sector.

Of course, as all of us know, there are also many small businesses in the energy sector as well and those businesses have access to $40,000 of credit, 25% of which can be forgiven under certain terms. Additionally, we are looking at other things we can do for the energy sector and we are looking forward to talking about that in the future.

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, this is a dynamic challenge, one in which we are trying to make sure that we are supporting Canadians who are going through very difficult times. We recognize there are people whom we still need to consider how we can support. We believe that the supports we have put in place for small businesses, the supports we have put in place for people who are not working and the supports through wage subsidies would have a very important impact. However, we do know that we still need to consider whether there are additional things we can do and we are, in turn, considering those things today.

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, maybe I can explain where I see this right now.

If the business does in fact have a 30% revenue drop or more, it will be able to, with the legislation that we are passing today, have a wage subsidy for up to 75% of its workers' earnings. That is critically important. If, in fact, it is a small business, it will be able to additionally get a credit of up to $40,000, which, if paid back before December 31, 2022, will be forgiven at the rate of 25%. That is really critically important as well.

Those things we see as very important and for those organizations that do not use those benefits, they will be able to put themselves or their employees on the Canada emergency relief benefit.