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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was support.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Liberal MP for King—Vaughan (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2021, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Seniors December 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, given this is the first time I have had the chance to stand and speak in the 43rd Parliament, I want to thank the people of King—Vaughan for electing me again to represent them here in the House. I also want to thank the Prime Minister for giving me the opportunity to serve a very important demographic in our country, our seniors, as Minister of Seniors.

I want to assure the member that our government has been working on behalf of seniors since the first day it was elected. As members are aware from our platform, we will be looking at increasing the OAS and at how we will do that. We committed to do that in our platform. We will be working forward on a 10% increase at age 75. That is what we promised in our platform.

The Environment June 17th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, some people in my riding are questioning why we need to declare a climate emergency.

While climate impacts are being felt around the globe, in my riding, we are seeing impacts, with irregular weather, hotter summers, invasive species killing our trees, and affecting our health, for instance with Lyme disease and the West Nile virus.

However, there are those who are questioning the need to declare this a climate emergency. Can the Minister of Environment and Climate Change please share with the House the purpose of declaring a climate emergency?

Government Priorities June 12th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that to grow a business one must first invest in the business, invest in the people, invest in equipment and invest for the future. Companies do not cut their way to prosperity; they grow it.

Our government knows this. With long-term, sustainable plans, we are funding green infrastructure, tackling climate change, investing in public transit, protecting the environment and helping families with the Canada child benefit and the middle income tax cut, to put more money in the pockets of Canadians. We are making life more affordable and investing to set the stage for a vibrant, successful and green future.

While Premier Ford makes provincial cuts and wages war on labour and middle-class Ontarians, we need a federal government with the right vision and plan to continue to build a more prosperous tomorrow. Now more than ever, we need to invest in Canadians, support business and protect our environment.

Our plan is working and the future of Canada is bright.

Taxation June 7th, 2019

Madam Speaker, let me say that unlike the previous government, fighting tax evasion and bringing fairness to the tax system is a huge priority for this government.

Since we took office, the CRA has completed twice as many offshore non-compliance audits in three years than it did in 10 years under the Conservatives. The CRA has opened 50 criminal investigations relating to tax evasion. With our historic investments of over $1 billion, our government is giving the agency the resources it needs to do its work, and we are starting to see results.

We are committed to ensuring tax fairness, and we are delivering results.

Canada Revenue Agency June 7th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I want to remind Canadians that our government is firmly committed to supporting Canadians, ensuring that the benefits and credits they are entitled to are coming to them. Those are the improvements that we have been making in the CRA.

I also want to remind the member about the 1.5% reduction in the federal tax rate that is benefiting the majority of Canadians and the increases to the Canada child benefit that we made tax free, which helps nine out of 10 families.

The improvements that we have been making for Canadians have benefited them. The majority of families are $2,000 better off than they were under the previous government.

Canada Revenue Agency June 7th, 2019

Madam Speaker, our government is firmly committed to fighting tax evaders. Out-of-court settlements are reached through a fully independent process within the Canada Revenue Agency in collaboration with the Department of Justice. This is to ensure the integrity of our tax system.

While we understand that settlements can be used appropriately in certain circumstances, the minister has directed the CRA to review its processes to allow for greater transparency on the reasons why a settlement is reached.

Tax fairness is a fundamental pillar of our system. Canadians have seen improvements through the recent tax filing season, helping to ensure Canadians get the benefits and credits to which they are entitled. We are delivering—

Intergovernmental Affairs May 16th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I will need to be clear again, because I think it was missed. We absolutely support a single tax return for Quebeckers, but only if it is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency. We have been incredibly clear on that point.

Last week, a symposium organized by academics from the Université de Sherbrooke took place, and after a whole day of discussion, invited experts came to a strong conclusion: The issue is far more complex than has been proposed by the Conservatives. Actually, they concluded that if Quebec's aim in this proposal was to save money, the advantage for Quebeckers would be to have one single tax return administered by the CRA, like all other provinces in Canada.

While we disagree on which organization would be best to administer the federal tax in Quebec, we remain committed to working with the Government of Quebec to simplify the tax-filing process for residents of Quebec. Relations between the CRA and Revenu Québec are strong, and we have a long history of collaboration that allows us to share good practices for the benefit of taxpayers in Quebec and the rest of the country.

Intergovernmental Affairs May 16th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, for the second night in a row, I am here to speak to the Conservatives' empty promise to implement a single tax return for the Province of Quebec that would be administered by Revenu Québec.

Last night, I shared the facts that identify why this proposal does not make sense. Also, let us not forget the potential impact it would have for Canadian taxpayers across the country. As explained many times, we strongly disagree with the Conservatives' proposal to have the Province of Quebec administer the federal tax system for Quebeckers.

Currently, the federal government, nine provinces and three territories have harmonized their definition of income and have a single tax return administrated by the federal government. This is the simplification and the savings Quebec is looking for. However, Quebec has different definitions, different rules and different exemptions. Therefore, to have a single tax return in Quebec, a choice has to be made: either Quebec adopts Canada's tax framework, or Canada and nine provinces and three territories have to change and adopt Quebec's way of doing things. We have yet to hear which of these two options the Conservatives prefer.

As in 2015, in leading up to October the Conservatives will have one set of promises for Quebec and another for the rest of Canada. We all know that this promise of a single tax return is empty. The Conservatives know they have no intention of keeping it, and Quebeckers will see right through it.

On this side of the House, we have been absolutely clear that we support a single tax return for Quebeckers, but only if it is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency, just like it is across the country. Knowing that the Government of Quebec has a different point of view, we chose to be honest with Quebeckers. Instead of making empty promises, we chose to work with the Province of Quebec to make the filing of tax returns as simple as possible.

The Canada Revenue Agency and Revenu Québec have a long history of close collaboration, of sharing best practices in tax and benefit administration on an ongoing basis. That is why our government has met with representatives from the Government of Quebec to discuss ways to make tax filing easier for Quebec residents. That is also why we have collaborated on initiatives such as the volunteer program.

This income tax assistance volunteer program provides assistance to people who are unable to complete their income tax returns themselves and who cannot afford the services of a professional. This great program is jointly administered by the Canada Revenue Agency and Revenu Québec, with the collaboration of hundreds of community organizations and thousands of volunteers. Each year the program's volunteers provide tens of thousands of people with assistance to ensure that Quebeckers receive the credits and benefits to which they are entitled.

The CRA is also committed to administering a tax system that is fair for all taxpayers from coast to coast. Tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance is a complex, global issue, and it requires global solutions to track down people and businesses who engage in elaborate tax schemes.

Let us not forget the importance of the Canada's international partnerships and the international agreements and tax treaties that fall under federal jurisdiction. Collaborating with international partners is essential to tracking down people and businesses that are avoiding and evading paying taxes.

Work with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, for example, has led to the common reporting standard initiative. The common reporting standard allows the automated exchange of information with other countries. With these agreements, Canada and almost 100 other countries exchange financial account information. A province would have no jurisdiction to navigate these partnerships, to take advantage of these international agreements, or to have access to the information they provide.

We see that the CRA and Revenu Québec have similar goals: to ensure a fair tax system and to ensure that Canadians receive the credits and benefits to which they are entitled. We will continue working together to do just that.

Fairness for All Canadian Taxpayers Act May 16th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by thanking the member from the other place, who initiated this bill, for his efforts to bring attention to Canada's tax gap through Bill S-243, and the member for Calgary Rocky Ridge, who sponsored this bill so that we can have a healthy debate on it in this House.

Our government agrees that when the tax gap information is publicly available, it demonstrates a commitment to transparency and helps to identify opportunities to make a fairer tax system for all Canadians. Bill S-243 has put a spotlight on the importance of understanding Canada's tax gap. We thank the senator for that.

The Minister of National Revenue has been very clear about her commitment to fighting tax evasion and to measuring the tax gap, helping to shine a spotlight on the cost of tax evasion.

I find it a bit rich to hear the Conservative opposition members speak in support of the bill. They seem to have completely erased from their memory the Harper government's attacks on the PBO and the utter refusal to consider studying the tax gap. As a matter of fact, I would like to draw the attention of members to what the former vice-chair of the public accounts committee and Conservative MP for Don Valley West, John Carmichael, said in 2014, when talking about the tax gap. He decided to explain to the opposition the mechanics of measuring the tax gap in order “to explain why deriving such an estimate would be overly complex, inefficient, and a total waste of time.” He followed this statement by saying that studying the tax gap was “nonsensical”.

Let us talk about something that is nonsensical: the Conservatives pretending to care about measuring the tax gap and wanting more transparency for Canadians. We have 10 years of Harper's track record on tax evasion to know that studying the tax gap is no priority for that side of the House. Unlike my colleagues on the other side, I am very proud of my government's track record on this issue.

While we agree with the spirit of this bill, due to the requirements and importance of protecting the confidentiality of taxpayers' information, and our concerns related to the proposed legislative vehicle in this bill, our government cannot support it.

This bill asks to change the Parliamentary Budget Officer's model of access to information by compelling the Minister of National Revenue to provide data to the PBO through amendments to the Canada Revenue Agency Act. This act is not the right legislative vehicle to change the PBO's model of access to information. lt would pose concerns for the confidentiality of taxpayer information. The current report to the PBO is issued in a format that protects taxpayers' information. This bill would also create an unnecessary administrative burden for the CRA, as the tax gap is already being reported on.

Allow me to elaborate. To start, Bill S-243 would require the Minister of National Revenue to collect, compile, analyze and abstract statistics on the tax gap every three years and to publish them in the annual report to Parliament of the Canada Revenue Agency. The CRA already publishes research and estimates on various components of the tax gap and has a strong public commitment to continue to do so. Therefore, adding a legislative requirement to collect, compile, analyze and abstract statistics on the tax gap in the CRA's annual departmental results report is unnecessary.

The CRA already has a dedicated team in place to study the tax gap. Through the work of this team, the CRA has published four reports pertaining to the tax gap. Unlike the allegations of the member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques in his speech, the government took immediate action. In June 2016, the CRA published a conceptual study on tax gap estimation. At the same time, it published the tax gap estimates for the goods and services harmonized sales tax. In June 2017, the CRA published tax gap estimates on domestic reporting and payment non-compliance by individuals. In June 2018, it published a report on tax gap estimates on offshore non-compliance by individuals on the international scale. In June 2019, the CRA will release its fifth report on the tax gap, which will provide information about corporate income tax non-compliance.

These reports are published on the website. They describe the methodology the CRA used to estimate the tax gap. They also provide information on the CRA's compliance efforts to reduce these gaps. Collectively, these reports provide the basis for a more comprehensive tax gap estimate.

Therefore, yes, we agree that the tax gap is important to measure. That is why it is already being done.

I would now like to bring to members' attention the requirement in the bill for the CRA to provide the PBO with the data collected and compiled on the tax gap as well as any additional data the PBO considers relevant to conducting a further analysis of the tax gap.

Members may know that the CRA already provides the PBO with information on this tax gap, and it is in a format that does not compromise taxpayer confidentiality. This bill simply does not amend the appropriate act. In fact, these proposed changes run the risk of creating confusion about the PBO's existing legislated access to information. Indeed, amending a departmental statute such as the Canada Revenue Agency Act would not broaden access to taxpayer data or information. This bill should require significant and consequential amendments to legislation directly related to providing taxpayer data, such as section 241 of the Income Tax Act or section 295 of the Excise Tax Act to make such a change, but it does not.

What this would not change, however, is the CRA's commitment to continue to work closely with the PBO, the Privacy Commissioner and Statistics Canada to determine how best to share the relevant information necessary for the work of the PBO while also protecting the confidentiality of taxpayers' information.

Last, I would like to touch on the stipulation in Bill S-243 that would require the CRA to provide in its departmental results report a detailed list of all convictions for tax evasion, including a separate list for overseas tax evasion. Similar to the commitment to reporting the tax gap, the CRA has already been providing this information at since 2017. The available information identifies individuals, corporations and trusts convicted in the courts for tax evasion or for failing to file income tax returns. It includes convictions that have links to money and assets located offshore.

The CRA's departmental performance report already includes information about convictions. The CRA also offers a service that notifies subscribers about enforcement activities. Given these efforts, it is clear that the CRA already provides significant information about its enforcement activities, just like what is being requested in Bill S-243.

Once again, I thank the member from the other place who initiated this bill for his commitment to ensuring that Canadians have greater access to information about non-compliance. Our government will continue to report on the tax gap to ensure that taxpayer information is and stays confidential and will continue to remain transparent in our fight against tax evasion. That is what we have been doing for the past three and a half years and that is what we will continue to do.

Intergovernmental Relations May 15th, 2019

Madam Speaker, let me assure the House that the Government of Canada is firmly committed to working closely with Quebec to reduce the administrative burden on Quebec taxpayers so all Canadians receive the best services. Canadians across the country deserve services that are accessible and fair. This is the work we have been doing, and will continue to do, for Canadians.