House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was jobs.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley (Nova Scotia)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I said no such thing. What the member is talking about is their plan to implement a 45-day work year, where someone can simply work for 45 days and then collect employment insurance benefits for the rest of the year. That is the NDP plan. That is not our plan. We want to to put measures in place to give people the training they need to take available jobs.

We have a problem in Canada right now. We have literally thousands of jobs available without employees with the proper training to take those jobs. When we look at the construction trades alone, over the next eight years, 300,000 new employees will be needed. Right now we are not going to be able to meet the demand that the industry will place upon Canada.

However, if we can reach into our workforce, give them the training they need to get these high-paying, high-wage jobs in the private sector, they will be much better off in the long run, as will all of Canada. This is why we have focused on tax cuts, training, and trade. Those are the keys to a successful future, not a 45-day work year.

Business of Supply June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, first, people have to accept that they are always better off working than they are collecting employment insurance benefits. If they accept that they are always better off when they have a job, we need to have a government program that supports people through training and employment.

Last year, people saw us make a landmark deal with the provinces across the country for the labour market agreement, a $500-million fund from the government coffers to support connecting people to jobs and ensuring that they have training.

We have changed that now. We have established what is called a Canada job grant. The Canada job grant allows employers to put some skin in the game, hire someone who does that training, and then the labour market agreement kicks some money in for that training. That allows the employee to train and get skills for a job they know is going to be there at the end of the training.

We are now negotiating with the provinces on a much larger fund, the labour market development agreement, which is a $2-billion fund in terms of training. One of the goals we share with the provinces is that we need to ensure we have access to people for training sooner after they lose their jobs, so they can more quickly get back to jobs.

This is why we are putting an emphasis on connecting people to available jobs and training. We also have to ensure that people who are currently on benefit apply and attempt to get work when they are collecting that benefit. They will be better off in the long run. Those are the priorities that our government has put in place.

Business of Supply June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I believe that if someone is working a seasonal job where they are forced to collect unemployment in the off-season, and then they have an opportunity for a full-time job, particularly if it is in the same community, it is much better for them to take full-time employment. There are many reasons for why that is, but I will give one right now.

When people are collecting unemployment insurance benefits, they are not contributing into the CPP. When they are working all year round, they are contributing into the CPP for 12 months a year. When they turn 65 and retire, they will have a much larger benefit. They will not be as reliant upon government, and they will be able to be more self-sustainable.

With any effort to get people to take full-time, full-year employment instead of seasonal employment, those people will be better off in the short term and they will be better off in the long term.

We do need to have workers in the seasonal industries in Atlantic Canada. This is why we need to work with employers, why we need to ensure we connect people who are currently unemployed. Most of these areas have higher than 10% employment, yet these seasonal industries are having a hard time in attracting workers. We need to ensure that these seasonal workers have the skills they need to apply for these jobs. The unemployed workers who are currently not working in the off-season have the skills they need to do those seasonal jobs as well. That is why we should be using the employment insurance premiums to help fund training that matches with jobs.

Business of Supply June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing how the opposition parties believe that when we invest in tax cuts so employers can hire more people, by lowering payroll taxes like CPP premiums and EI premiums, it somehow is government spending. That is not what it is.

We want to ensure we have a fund that meets the needs of people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. The changes we made in 2012, unlike what the opposition claims, had nothing to do with accessibility. We did not change one thing about accessing the program. In fact, if we look at recent figures from Service Canada, it shows that less than 1% of claimants actually lost their benefits due to turning down work.

We are now investing in connecting people to available jobs. There is the job alerts program. We are negotiating with the provinces to try to ensure our labour market development agreements actually get to people earlier, sooner after they lose their jobs, so we can get them back into the workplace as soon as possible.

Those are the things the EI fund is being used for, getting people back to work.

Business of Supply June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to respond to the motion brought forward by the member for Trois-Rivières regarding access to employment insurance.

Our government recognizes that EI is a vital resource for those who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. The opposition is trying to distract from its irresponsible scheme that would have people work simply for 45 days and then collect employment insurance for the rest of the year. The high-tax opposition's 45-day work year would cost $6 billion and be paid for by job-killing payroll taxes levied on workers and the businesses that employ them.

As members know, employment insurance is designed to provide temporary income support to help Canadians and their families withstand financial pressure when they lose their jobs. Our employment program also works by offering training and support to help unemployed Canadians return to work.

We know that Canadians want to get back to work as soon as possible. They want to earn a good living. They want to support their families and be productive members in their communities. To foster a strong, competitive workforce, our employment insurance program must succeed in helping them find a new job. What we are striving for is economic growth, while ensuring long-term prosperity for all Canadians.

I can assure members that the employment insurance situation of Canadians is a matter of great concern for this government. The result of this hard work has been clear. Since we introduced the economic action plan to respond to the global recession, Canada has recovered all the jobs that were lost during that period. We have one of the strongest job creation records in the G7 and one of the best in the developed world. We have created over 1.2 million net new jobs since the pit of the economic recession in 2009, 80% of those jobs are in the private sector. Of those jobs, 80% are full-time and 65% are in high wage industries.

However, the recovery has varied across the country and across segments of the population. By helping Canadians connect with available jobs and by putting a priority on skills and training, we are ensuring continued economic growth, job creation and long-term prosperity. The employment insurance program is an important part of this success. It plays a key role in helping Canadians stay attached to the labour market and return to work as quickly as possible.

With all due respect, I do not believe the members opposite know all that they need to when it comes to accessibility for employment insurance.

First, I want to put to rest the notion that only a small percentage of unemployed Canadians receive EI benefits. According to Statistics Canada's latest survey, in 2013, nearly nine out of ten recently unemployed Canadians who paid into the EI program and lost their job were eligible to receive EI benefits. That is not a small percentage; that is the vast majority. Further, of those people who were disqualified from EI in 2014, far less than 1%, it was because they failed to search for work or refused to accept suitable work.

Members should keep in mind that the entire unemployed population includes many people for whom the program was not designed and therefore does not work well. This includes people who did not work in the previous 12 months, people who quit their jobs to go back to school and people who quit their job without a good reason.

Another myth that I would like to address is that changes to the EI program in recent years have negatively affected eligibility rules. That is untrue. The reality is that changes that were introduced by our government have assisted unemployed Canadians in returning to work and have not restricted any access to EI benefits. It had nothing to do with accessibility.

Our government is committed to a program that is more reflective of and more responsive to local labour market conditions. When we designed the changes, we took into account the unique needs of the different regions and the different circumstances, including seasonal workers. We believe that working is always a better option than collecting employment insurance. We are committed to supporting workers and ensuring that EI enables a strong and competitive workforce for all Canadians in every region of the country from coast to coast.

To achieve this, over the last three years we have announced several targeted, common-sense changes to help Canadians in all regions of the country. These changes were not about restricting access to EI benefits, but rather supporting unemployed workers by giving them the tools that they needed to help them get back to work. As long as workers meet their obligation of seeking suitable employment, they will continue to meet their obligations and will then be eligible to receive their benefits.

We introduced ways to help Canadians connect with available jobs in their own communities. For example, the job alert system makes it easier for job seekers and employers to connect. More specifically, the job alert service has sent out 514 million alerts to over 775,000 since it was launched in January 2013, making it easier for job seekers and employers to connect. These numbers continue to grow each and every day.

We also clarified the long-standing responsibilities of EI claimants to look for work while they are receiving benefits. Some say the changes hurt claimants living in small communities by forcing them to travel great distances or worse, forcing them to move out of the community altogether. That is simply not true. No one ever has been and no one ever will be forced to move. Claimants are only expected to look for work within their communities. Moreover, personal circumstances are always taken into account, such as the availability of public transportation and access to child care. Those are things that are considered when evaluating each individual employment insurance claim.

However, let us not lose sight of the fact that the purpose of the EI program is to provide temporary income support to those who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, while they look for a job or they look to upgrade their skills. It was not, and is not, meant to be an income supplement for those who choose not to look for work for part of the year. However, for those Canadians who live in areas of higher unemployment, or areas where jobs simply do not exist outside seasonal or specialized industries, EI benefits will always continue to be there for them.

We have also implemented the variable best weeks approach to calculating EI benefits. We believe that claimants living in regions with similar labour market conditions should be treated similarly when they look for work. Before variable best weeks was implemented, there were two different methods for calculating this benefit rate. This meant that claimants with similar work patterns and similar labour market conditions would receive different benefit amounts just because they lived in different parts of Canada. Variable best weeks created a national benefit rate calculation based on the monthly unemployment rate within the claimant's EI region. Further, by making weekly benefit calculations with the regional unemployment rate, EI is more responsive to changes to labour market conditions.

In budget 2015, the Government of Canada proposed a $53-million investment to renew the working while on claim project parameters for another year. Working while on claim is designed to help unemployed Canadians get back to work in their local workforce as quickly as possible. The previous pilot project, which began in August 2012, encouraged EI claimants to accept available work while on EI. This working while on claim project reduces claimant's weekly EI benefits by 50% for each dollar earned while on claim, starting with the first dollar earned. Earnings beyond the threshold of 90% of the weekly insurable earnings used to calculate EI rate of benefits reduce weekly EI benefits dollar for dollar.

This 90% cap ensures that claimants cannot earn more while on claim than they were while they were working. The working while on claim project applies to claimants receiving regular, fishing, compassionate care, parental or parents of critically ill children's benefits, as well as self-employed persons receiving compassionate care, or parents of critically ill children.

Initiatives, like the working while on claim pilot project, help ensure the El program remains relevant for today's labour market. According to the 2013-14 employment insurance monitoring and assessment report, they will continue to be effective. The report demonstrates that the El program continues to support unemployed workers and their families as they transition back to work.

The report also reaffirms that eligibility for El remains high. Over 85% of individuals who have paid into the system and have lost their job do no fault of their own are eligible for El benefits. For example, in 2013-14, 1.33 million regular claims accounted for $10 billion in regular benefits.

The same year, there were more than 515,000 special claims, such as maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care, parents of critically ill children. These resulted in $4.7 billion in special benefits. The numbers do not lie. The El program is clearly a strong support for those who need it and strong support when people need it the most.

We know the employment situations of Canadians can change for any number of reasons. Some, like an employer going out of business, are difficult but understandable. Others, like dealing with a critically ill child or a friend or family member's serious illness, are less so.

Through the employment insurance program, compassionate care benefits provide financial assistance to people who have to be away from work temporarily to care a family member who is gravely ill, with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks. A recent parliamentary committee report on palliative and compassionate care showed that family caregivers provided a substantial amount of care, between 70% and 80% in fact. The report stated that family and friends were the invisible backbone of the Canadian health care system. As such, we want to ensure the program's parameters better reflect this reality. That is why in economic action plan 2015 we outlined our intention to invest an additional $37 million annually to ensure those caring for gravely ill family members would have the support they needed.

Here is what we are doing. We are extending the duration of the compassionate care benefit from the current six weeks to six months as of January 2016. We are also expanding the period of time during which claimants can receive these benefits. These benefits can be used to care for a parent, spouse, partner, child or sibling and extended family members.

We have not forgotten that no program can be successful if its benefits do not reach those who truly need them, which is why we continue to improve how we deliver EI benefits to Canadians. Service Canada monitors EI claims on an ongoing basis to ensure we provide the best possible service to Canadians who are in need of these benefits.

Our government has continued to make a range of improvements to ensure we can manage fluctuations in the volume of applications in a cost-effective manner. It is a challenging problem and one we are up to.

It is clear that the EI program continues to be there for those who have paid into the system and those who have lost their job through no fault of their own, including in areas where jobs simply do not exist outside of seasonal or specialized industries. We have spent years implementing changes to make this program more fair and flexible, while continuing to support Canadians when they need it most. We have done so to meet our commitment to a national program that is more reflective of our response to local labour market conditions.

These are responsible, necessary and sensitive efforts to help Canadians get back to work faster. It is good for government, good for the economy, good for employers, but most of all, good for Canadians and their families.

Business of Supply June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his speech on employment insurance.

We heard a lot of talk in Ontario about increasing CPP, which would increase payroll taxes and premiums for job creators and everyday workers.

Do the member and his party support an increase in EI premiums, which would be another increase in payroll taxes, and lead to a lot of people losing their jobs across Canada?

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act May 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as I said, so far 11 countries have ratified the agreement and 25 more are moving toward ratification. Canada is in this cohort of 25. We are working with our international partners to make sure we not only have this legislation in place moving forward, but we actually include as many countries as possible.

This is an international piece of legislation. It has to be ratified by many countries, 25 at least, to make it come into force, so we are working not only with the 11 countries that have already ratified but with other countries to encourage them to make sure we ratify this as quickly as possible.

We need at least 25 countries for it to come into force. We would be one of the next countries to ratify this, if all things go as planned, with the support of the opposition parties as well as this side of the House.

Things are progressing the way they should. International legislation sometimes takes longer than domestic legislation, simply because so many different parliaments have to use so many different regulations to pass this legislation. However, we are moving in the right direction. It is good legislation and we appreciate the opposition's support.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act May 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, that is a good question. As I said in my remarks, it would take 25 countries internationally to ratify this agreement to put it into force. Currently, 11 have done so. Canada is one of 25 other nations that are getting the legislation in place and moving toward ratification. As members can see, we are all moving together as an international global community to protect our fishing industry and our fishing environment.

As we ratify the agreement in Canada, we will continue to encourage our allies and our colleagues across the international community to put this measure in place. It would bring in international regulations that would have to be followed from one end of the globe to the other. We encourage all other nations to get on board, make sure we pass this legislation, and make sure we protect our industry and our environment.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act May 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be here today to add my support for amendments to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act. As we have heard the last time this bill was debated, members from both sides of the House recognized the importance of this bill moving forward. Unfortunately, the suggestion of my colleague, the member for Yukon, for a vote on this important bill was not supported by the opposition.

As a Nova Scotian, this issue is particularly important to the economy of my province and the economy of the riding I represent. It is certainly my hope that we will be able to pass this legislation quickly so that we can continue to focus on protecting fisheries at our ports with the new tools contained in this legislation.

The proposed changes we are discussing today would bring our already rigorous system in line with new international standards for combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as outlined in the port state measures agreement. As my colleague noted, in 2010, Canada signed this important agreement.

The agreement points the way towards practical, cost-effective solutions that will deter and stop illegal harvesting operations. It would do this by requiring some practical standards for ports around the world. For example, it spells out that vessels involved in illegal fishing activities would be refused entry into a port or the use of that port's services. It also sets minimum standards for information that vessels must provide to obtain entry into a port for the inspection of vessels and for the training of inspectors. Also, it allows for greater co-operation and exchange of information between jurisdictions.

It will require at least 25 ratifications for this agreement to enter into force. As my colleague mentioned, currently 11 members of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have taken this step. Some 20 others, including Canada, have indicated that they are moving towards ratification. In doing so, these measures would support the global fight against illegal fishing and would help us protect the livelihoods of our hard-working fish harvesters here at home in Canada.

Our government is committed to supporting the efforts of our hard-working fishermen. As part of economic action plan 2015, our government is increasing the lifetime capital gains exemption to $1 million for owners of fishing businesses. This means that fishers and their families would have more money in their pockets.

On the topic of supporting our fishers, I would like to take a moment to speak to the economic advantages of approving these proposed legislative changes.

Canada currently enjoys one of the most valuable commercial fishing industries on the planet. Around 85% of Canadian fish and seafood products are exported internationally, to the tune of over $4 billion annually in export value. We are a major global player in the international seafood market. In fact, Canada is the world's seventh largest exporter of fish and seafood products, and we believe that this is going to grow exponentially. Of course, in order to ensure that this industry continues to provide strong economic opportunities to future generations, we are devoted to responsible fish harvesting practices. We closely monitor fishing within our own waters as well as the activities of Canadian fish harvesters as they conduct their craft on international waters.

With the current Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, Canada already has the tools to carefully monitor and regulate activities by foreign fishing vessels in Canadian waters and in specific areas of the high seas, but what about fish harvesters who do not act responsibly? What about those who try to bend or break the rules? The economic impact of those operations is very serious.

A 2008 study estimated that illegal fish harvesters are potentially siphoning off up to $23 billion from the global economy each year. By refusing to follow the rules and regulations, illegal fish harvesters can reduce their own operating costs, selfishly. This puts legitimate fish harvesters in Canada and around the world at an economic disadvantage.

Fish are one of the most globally traded food commodities. When we consider the volume of Canadian exports each year, it is clear that illegal fishing in other parts of the world does great damage to our economy.

Members should consider for a moment the impact of illegal fishing on our trading relationship with Europe. Between 2010 and 2012, the European Union imported an average of $25 billion annually in fish and seafood. Canada's share of that total was $400 million annually. With the upcoming comprehensive economic trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, our industry stands to have unprecedented access to the European market for our fish and seafood products. That is good news for Canadian fish harvesters and processors. When this agreement comes into force, it will lift 96% of tariffs on Canadian fish and seafood products, and remaining tariffs would disappear over the next seven years. We want to protect these economic opportunities for our fish harvesters from the detrimental impacts on prices caused by illegally caught fish.

Of course, these rules and regulations are in place not just to protect the livelihoods of legitimate fish harvesters, but they are also meant to safeguard our marine resources for future generations. When illegal fish harvesters break the rules that ensure global fish stocks are sustainable, they damage the ecosystems that the fish depend upon. Therefore, for both economic and environmental reasons, we must join our international partners to take comprehensive action to stop these devastating illegal fishing activities. That is exactly what we would do with Bill S-3. We would strengthen our already rigorous system and support this global action to protect the world's fisheries.

For example, our existing legislation, the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act and its regulations, gives the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans the discretion to authorize foreign fishing vessels to enter Canadian fisheries waters and Canadian ports. In other words, the act prohibits foreign fishing vessels from entering Canadian fisheries waters unless they are already authorized to do so by the act, regulations, or other Canadian law. The act also prohibits any person or crew member aboard a foreign fishing vessel from fishing in Canadian waters without proper authorization.

It is important to stress that Canada's legislation already serves us well. We are among the world's leaders in responsible fishing. Nevertheless, there are a few areas where our legislation could be strengthened before Canada meets the requirements of a new standard approach. This approach is outlined in the port state measures agreement. Today's debate is not only about strengthening the Canadian approach to our port control measures; it is also about supporting a global effort to fight illegal fishing. These two goals go hand-in-hand to protect and support both our industry and our environment.

To that end, Bill S-3 proposes several important changes that would make it possible to share information among federal departments and with our trusted international partners. These amendments would also allow Canadian authorities to take enforcement action against foreign fishing vessels that are directed to our ports by their flag states for inspection and enforcement purposes. These changes would make it illegal to import fish and fish products that are sourced through these criminal activities and would prevent their entry into our market.

Together these changes would create the conditions to ratify the port state measures agreement, an important tool in the global arsenal to fight illegal fishing.

Canada's fish and seafood industry is a mainstay of economic life in coastal and inland communities around the country. My riding is a prime example of this. Currently, the fishing industry employs 80,000 Canadians in jobs nationwide, ranging from fishing wild stocks to aquaculture harvests. With our government's ambitious trade agenda, these industries would benefit directly and see Canada's world-class seafood products on dinner plates across the globe.

We are already seeing some of these improvements and advantages taking place in industries like the lobster industry in Nova Scotia. However, in this global context we must continue to support the fight against illegal fishing, for both economic and environmental reasons. To that end, I am urging all hon. members to support changes to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act to protect our industry and our environment, and to ensure that we continue to protect this vital industry and economic resource for Canada's economy.

Alzheimer's Disease and Other Forms of Dementia May 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak about Motion No. 575, introduced by the hon. member for Huron—Bruce.

As we heard from my colleague, this motion was put forward to call for further effort to prevent and reduce the impact of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias on Canadians as well as on their families and caregivers.

I could not agree more with the importance of taking further measures to support all Canadians who are living with Alzheimer's disease, so I am pleased to say that our government will be supporting this motion. We are working hard to make progress in fighting this disease and we are committed to taking the steps that my colleague has identified so that we can continue to work toward a cure and support Canadians until we find one.

As I said, we know the significance of this issue. In 2011 alone, it was estimated that 6% to 15% of seniors aged 65 or over were living with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. As our population ages, the number of Canadians who are living with dementia is expected to increase. The number is expected to double by 2031. Direct health sector costs linked to dementias are similarly expected to double over the next 20 years and are predicted to be as high as $16.6 billion in 2031. These additional costs, along with an aging population, will put additional pressures upon our health care system.

It is always helpful to remind people of what we are talking about when we discuss dementia. Dementia is the loss of mental functions as a result of the connections in the brain breaking down over time. The technical term for this is neurodegeneration.

There are many types of dementia, with Alzheimer's disease being the most common. Symptoms can include memory loss, impaired judgment and reasoning, and changes in behaviour, mood, and communication capacity. As dementia progresses, a person's ability to function diminishes and reaches a point where the patient can become totally incapacitated.

Dementia also impacts the families and caregivers of those living with dementia. In addition to the financial burden it imposes, dementia can be devastating to a family's emotional, social, and psychological well-being. All of us have heard of the struggles of families who are working hard to support loved ones who are stricken with this disease.

For the Canadians facing this incredible challenge, we recognize the importance of hope and the need for immediate action. That is why our government has been working to support research on this issue. Dementia has no known cure, and there are no known treatments to alter its progressive course. The current treatment of dementia is limited to the treatment of symptoms, such as the decline in memory, language, thinking ability, and motor skills, but there is no treatment that addresses the cause.

As indicated in this motion, we need to bring together international partners to combat this disease and come up with a cure. Dementia is a challenge that is not unique to our country. There is a growing worldwide recognition that dementia, and Alzheimer's disease in particular, is a key global health crisis in this century.

The World Health Organization estimates that dementia cases will double every 20 years. It estimates that there are currently 47 million people living with dementia and that by 2030 this number could be as high as 75 million people worldwide. The growing social and economic costs associated with dementia care could easily grow to an unsustainable level.

In response, the Government of Canada has worked with the international community to address the challenges posed by dementia.

Following the G8 dementia summit, Canada endorsed a declaration along with our G7 partners that consists of a dozen commitments to strengthen collaboration on dementia. These commitments include an increase in research funding and improving the quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers. Our Minister of Health has also committed to supporting research that will identify a cure or a disease-modifying therapy for dementia by 2025. That is our goal.

We have been working with the World Health Organization to maintain this momentum. Canada took part in the call to action by 80 countries on this issue, and we are working here at home. Motion No. 575 calls for the development of a pan-Canadian dementia strategy while respecting the jurisdiction of the provinces and the territories.

We are building on a strong track record. Last year, we launched the national dementia research and prevention plan. This plan brings together a significant number of federal investments and partnerships on research and prevention.

These investments form a cohesive effort to improve diagnosis, treatment, and care to help individuals living with this disease and help reduce the burden on families caring for loved one with dementia

The plan also supports healthy living investments and research that may help prevent or delay the early onset of dementia.

We are committed to facilitating collaboration in research on prevention, treatment, and a cure; assessing and sharing best practices; engaging our partners; and raising public awareness on this issue. By compiling current and ongoing research initiatives and aligning research priorities and strategies at the federal, provincial, and territorial levels as well as the international level, we are working with all partners to make the biggest positive impact possible.

Another important federal contribution is the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging, better known as the CCNA. This consortium is the primary avenue for coordinating research with the provinces and territories. It is led by the government through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research as part of the dementia research strategy, which is Canada's premier research hub on neurodegenerative diseases.

Research undertaken by the consortium is focused on improving primary prevention, secondary prevention, and quality of life for those stricken. The CCNA receives $31.5 million in funding over five years from the Government of Canada and a group of partners from the public and private sectors. Several provinces have also been engaged as partners in this research endeavour.

Our government is also providing up to $100 million over six years, from 2011 to 2017, to the Brain Canada Foundation to support the Canada brain research fund. This fund provides dollar-for-dollar matched funding to the Brain Canada Foundation to support Canadian neuroscience research and advance knowledge and treatment of brain disease and mental disorders, and these include dementia.

In regard to engagement to address dementia, the government is currently working with the Alzheimer Society of Canada to launch a new program called Dementia Friends Canada. This program will engage Canadians in understanding what it means to live with dementia and in taking action to support those affected within the community.

The burden of dementia on caregivers must not be overlooked, and for this reason our government provides a variety of supports to unpaid caregivers. These include financial credits and benefits, such as the family caregiver tax credit; income replacement through the employment insurance compassionate care benefit; and funding for research and community-based initiatives. It is clear that significant investment and coordination on dementia is taking place at the federal-provincial-territorial level as well as at the international level.

Many of the components are already in place for a national dementia plan and pave the way for future innovation and achievement.

Our government fully recognizes the impact that dementia has on Canadians who are living with this disease and on the caregivers who are providing them with support. We have invested in a range of partnerships and key initiatives related to dementia, research, and prevention to improve care and reduce the burden on families that are dealing with this disease.

I am pleased that my colleague from Huron—Bruce brought today's motion forward. I am also pleased that we are calling upon the government to take even further measures to address dementia and to continue working with the provinces to establish a national strategy on this issue. We recognize the scale of this challenge and the need for a thorough response. We will continue working to deliver to support all Canadians and meet this challenge head-on.

I want to thank my colleague for this motion. I am proud to say that our government will be supporting this motion.