My name is Orvie Dingwall, from the University of Manitoba Faculty Association.
Across Canada there has been a 5% reduction in government funding of post-secondary education. These costs have been transferred down to students by increasing their tuition and their fees. That's not okay. The average student debt at graduation is about $22,000. That's the same amount as a down payment on a house—well, here in Winnipeg, but maybe not in Vancouver.
We need to reduce this strain on students and make post-secondary education accessible. We need the federal government to develop and fund a national strategy for post-secondary education.
Undergraduate students at the University of Manitoba aren't graduating on time, because they can't get into the mandatory courses they need to graduate. Meanwhile, professors are reporting that their classrooms are so full that students are sitting on the floors. There is a higher ratio of professors to students than ever before, and about a third of faculty members are estimated to be on short-term contracts.
We need the federal government to invest in new faculty and new researcher positions.
Finally, post-secondary education institutions, including the University of Manitoba, have been striving to invest in education for indigenous students. But to do this right takes specialized resources, new indigenous approaches to education, and indigenous professors and researchers.
We need the federal government to substantially increase federal support for first nations, Inuit and Métis students.
My name is Maxine Meadows. I'm a registered dietician working with the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba.
During the 2017-18 school year, the council funded more than 259 school nutrition programs all across the province. These programs provided more than 28,000 students with consistent meals and snacks. The council is a member of the Coalition for Healthy School Food, a network of more than 40 groups, and a project of Food Secure Canada.
Today, approximately 20% of students across Canada will participate in a school food and nutrition program. These programs are largely volunteer based. They have multiple funders, including parents, schools, community groups, businesses, municipalities, territories and provinces.
We are asking your government to invest $360 million as part of a cost-shared program, with an estimated total of $1.8 billion. This request complements Senate motion 358, introduced by former senator Art Eggleton in June, which recommends federal funding for a nutrition program.
This investment will establish new programs and strengthen existing ones. Evidence shows that food programs available to all students have many health and learning benefits, create jobs and improve the local economy. Everyone wins, especially our kids.
My name is Selwyn Burrows. I go by Sel. I am also able to put the honorific “O.M.” after my name, which I'll mention later.
I'm here today to plead with you to increase the amount of money Canada is giving to international development.
I am a person who puts my time and money where my mouth is. O.M. stands for Order of Manitoba, and I was given that honour for my anti-poverty work in Winnipeg. I have also spent time in Central America—in Nicaragua and in Guatemala—working on anti-poverty programs.
In my youth, in the sixties, we believed that Canada would be at the forefront of international development aid. The 0.7% of our GDP, as we called it then—sorry if my terminology is out of date—was something we believed we could reach. To see our percentage going down is very concerning.
This is something that goes across all party lines. Whether you're a Mennonite farmer with the food banks or an inner city person donating, this is something of concern. It is doubly concerning when our government is increasing its military spending at the demands of that conservative president to the south of us. I'm particularly concerned that we should be increasing the amount of money we are donating to international development when we have the privilege of being in a wealthy country. I have seen the poverty that exists in poorer countries, and I know that most of you have as well. Please, let's set that 0.7% target.
Thank you very much.
My name is Leanne Shumka. I am here representing the Canadian Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, also known as CASFAA.
CASFAA represents many personnel across Canadian post-secondary institutions who are dedicated advocates in helping Canadian students achieve financial wellness and success.
To build Canada's economic growth and ensure our competitiveness, we believe that the following three recommendations can help ensure student success.
First, allow students an adequate time to establish stability before beginning the regime of student loan repayment. This can be achieved by reinstating the Canada student loan interest subsidy for the six months following the completion of studies.
Second, empower post-secondary students who acquire loans through the Canada student loans program with mandatory entrance and exit loan counselling.
Third, reduce the educational gaps between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians by providing a Canada student grant program for indigenous students.
CASFAA firmly believes that these measures will help to not only instill and develop financial literacy and awareness in our students but also position them to immediately engage in our economy when they have completed school.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Okay, I can start over.
I will start by introducing myself. I am Abdal Qeshta, Winnipeg regional coordinator at the United Nations Association in Canada.
UNAC recommends support for a body of work supporting the directives to cabinet on defence, foreign affairs, international development, environment, heritage and labour with an investment of $10 million per year over four years. UNAC will provide the following: dialogue, engagement and mobilization for policy research and innovation to provide input to defence, diplomacy, development, climate change, populism and exclusion.
Second, support and develop educational materials meeting sustainable development goals.
Third, engage with the UN agencies supporting Canada's UN—
Thank you. Good morning.
My name is Amy, and I am a high school student.
I am fortunate to have been raised in Canada, with access to health care, a good education and a safe community to grow up in. However, having recently attended a youth conference at the UN for children's human rights, I heard first-hand stories about how this is not the reality for millions of children around the world.
On the other hand, having visited developing regions with World Vision's youth program, I have seen the positive impact of Canada's investments abroad. Fewer communities are impoverished, and they are given the opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of their children. Canadians can and should be proud of this; however, there is still a lot to be done.
International assistance has a reputation of being about charity, but I believe it is more than that. It's about strengthening the global community, promoting basic rights and creating sustainable opportunities. Contributing to international assistance is not only good for the world, but it's equally beneficial for the Canadian economy and Canada's position as a leader in the world.
I am encouraged by the recent increases to international assistance; nevertheless, we need to be ambitious, because ambitious goals require ambitious financing. Therefore, I urge you to recommend annual long-term increases to international assistance in your report to Parliament on budget 2019.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you very much for hearing me.
I am the president of Telpay Incorporated, a bill payment service company that I started in 1985. I was also the founder of Comcheq Services Limited, a payroll service company that started in 1968. In both cases, these operations involved the processing of data, but also, rather uniquely at the time, they involved the distribution of the funds generated from that data.
The requirement of our doing so is that we must maintain those funds in a trust account. That's an inefficiency that is really quite significant, maybe even surprising. At least $2 billion of corporate working capital is tied up in those trust funds in various companies such as ours and payroll companies—$2 billion of working capital, free working capital that could be released with suitable changes in the payment system.
The Department of Finance has made some excellent advances in that regard. In fact, the change made in the month of September has opened up the opportunity to diminish greatly those trust funds, because the payments that are made today can be obtained today, and so there isn't that float that is really quite costly to business.
In terms of what you're trying to achieve, efficiency and steps toward the future of the payment industry could be dealt with by implementing the changes, which are really fairly simple, I believe. We'd like you to recommend that the Department of Finance look at these changes.
Thank you very much for this opportunity to meet with me today.
My name is LeeAnn Fishback. I am the president of the Canadian Network of Northern Research Operators, commonly referred to as the CNNRO.
The CNNRO is a diverse network of research support facilities in northern Canada, providing services to communities, academics, government, private and international scientific research sectors. As such, the CNNRO strives to be knowledgeable on CNNRO member facilities, ranging from long-established research institutes and observatories that are in communities, to seasonal field stations that might be tent camps and also automated remote monitoring installations that might be something like a weather station sitting on a glacier.
CNNRO facilities are widespread throughout the Canadian Arctic and subarctic, and they represent every major ecological region in Canada's north. They are responsive to research needs and priorities across the north.
As everyone here knows, the Canadian Arctic is a vast and diverse region which is economially and socially important to Canada. It is home to a significant number of indigenous people and other northern residents. It's a region that has many unresolved research questions, and it's undergoing significant and rapid change, which has impacts on society and the economy of the region.
There is considerable interest, both nationally and internationally, in obtaining long-term, consistent datasets of many variables across the Arctic and subarctic. This has been highlighted in many reports, including the third International Conference on Arctic Research Planning report, which is commonly known as ICARP III, under the auspices of the International Arctic Science Committee, of which Canada is a founding member. They recommended a robust, sustained, co-designed and participatory observing system relying on existing and new networks and infrastructure to improve our ability to predict local, regional and global processes.
In addition to these many grand plans, there are many small-scale research needs that are specific to the differing regions across the Arctic and across the peoples of the Arctic. These needs range in scale, and they also include a variety of subjects. They could be health, culture, social science, physical sciences, infrastructure, engineering or Arctic sovereignty.
The Canadian Arctic research community operates these significant number of fixed research facilities. Some of these facilities, such as the one where I work, the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, located in Churchill, Manitoba, have been in existence for many decades. We celebrated our 40th anniversary at the study centre last year.
Some are located in small communities and have new stations that have just been developed in the recent years. Some, such as the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Lab, commonly known as PEARL, are remote facilities that are far from any community and are located in the extreme high Arctic. These facilities have research foci across all kinds of different spectrums, and have come together as the Canadian Network of Northern Research Operators to advocate for field stations across the Arctic.
Maintaining these stations is a constant challenge. Many of them are remote facilities. It is difficult to maintain equipment when it's outside -40 Celsius and complete darkness. The difficulty of recruiting necessary skilled staff is a challenge, and the necessity of planning on long time scales is also important in accessing many of these stations, perhaps only once a year.
Funding these facilities under the current funding structure is problematic, because the orientation of most funding mechanisms is toward research that's conducted in southern Canada, often within a university environment, and on short time scales that aren't necessarily appropriate for the Arctic.
In 2009, the Government of Canada implemented a one-time Arctic research infrastructure fund in the amount of $85 million to expand and upgrade Arctic research infrastructure. That funding was much appreciated, and was well used at 10 stations across our network.
However, the issue of maintaining and operating these facilities was never addressed in that funding, and it's been a decade since that funding.
This has left an evident gap in Arctic research infrastructure. As a result, the full impact of the initial Arctic research infrastructure fund has yet to be fulfilled, and there is capacity in the current system facilities that cannot be utilized because of lack of funding.
The founding of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station, known as CHARS, and of Polar Knowledge Canada are welcome developments. They are members of CNNRO. These apply, however, only to a single locality around Cambridge Bay and don't necessarily facilitate the needs of the vast Arctic in its geographic scope.
To bridge this gap, the CNNRO makes two recommendations to this committee.
The government should institute a peer-reviewed Arctic research infrastructure support fund. This fund will help to ensure Canada's competitiveness in Arctic research and continue the significant work of the ARIF by supplying the support for maintaining and operating our current Arctic terrestrial research infrastructure.
The second recommendation is that the government provide funding on the order of $10 million per year for the Arctic research infrastructure support fund. This funding will allow the potential to be fully realized and permit CNNRO facilities to fully participate in and support national and international research in Canada's Arctic.
The theme of this budget is ensuring Canada's competitiveness. Canada has had a long and distinguished record in arctic research, and that is a practical necessity because of the fraction of our country that is arctic and subarctic, together with the northern society, culture, resources and land area.
We are seeing that Canada is steadily slipping in international reputation as other countries that don't have arctic, such as Korea, Japan, and China, ramp up their research and other activities in our Arctic.
The ARIF program would provide support for Arctic research infrastructure, permitting full operation of existing stations, and would foster the further development of research partnerships among academics, government and communities. This will continue to contribute to Canada's competitiveness in this area for the future and for all Canadians.
Thank you for your time this morning.
Thank you to the committee for having me here today and for allowing us to share our comments about the preparation for budget 2019.
The Canola Council of Canada is a value-chain organization that represents the whole canola industry in Canada. We represent the 43,000 canola farmers across the country, mostly in western Canada, but some in the Ontario and Peterborough area, Northumberland, and so on. We also represent the processors who take the seed and turn it into oil and meal for export markets, and canola oil and canola meal for animal feed; the seed companies that develop innovative seed technologies to provide to the producer to increase their production capabilities and fight diseases, and so on; and the exporters of raw seed. We work on behalf of the whole industry.
Canola is Canada's most valuable field crop, returning $9.9 billion to Canadian farmers. It has the largest acreage in western Canada, currently. We think that the canola industry is a real engine of economic growth in western Canada, in terms of production processing, grain handling and sales.
Innovation and competitiveness are essential to the success of the canola industry. Canola is a Canadian invention and is often the single-biggest income for Canadian farmers. Innovation has helped canola be competitive on the world stage. More than 90% of canola grown in Canada is exported around the globe. We're highly dependent on export markets and innovation.
Our industry has a strategic plan that we call “Keep it Coming 2025”, to increase production of canola from a current level of about 21.3 million tonnes last year to 26 million tonnes. There is certainly strong global demand for canola.
Our challenge is with our research work and so on, to ensure that we can grow more canola on every acre of land in western Canada. We have a goal of achieving that 26 million tonnes. We'll have more canola available for export markets.
To put this into perspective, if we achieve this plan, we would be adding $4.5 billion to Canadian canola exports. Every incremental bushel that we grow is going to be exported.
The Government of Canada has set a target, and we think it's an excellent target to set, of $75 billion of exports by 2025. It means an increase of about $20 billion in value of exports between now and 2025. If canola is successful in achieving that, we would contribute $4.5 billion to that target. Innovation is really critical to all of that.
We have four recommendations for the committee related to the 2019 budget.
The first I would like to speak to is corporate tax policies. Tax policies influence investment decisions throughout our value chain. For Canada to be an attractive place to invest in the canola industry, our corporate tax policies really need to be competitive with the U.S., with whom we compete within the oil market.
For example, as part of our Keep it Coming plan, we want to increase the amount of value-added processing and to turn this plan into investments that create jobs in processing plants. In that regard, the most important element is to match the accelerated capital cost allowance currently in place in the United States.
The processing industry in Canada has invested very significantly in recent decades to increase our processing capacity in western Canada. That allows us to take exports of raw seed, process it in Canada, and turn it into a higher value, differentiated product in international markets. We take a relatively low-value product and turn it into a higher value product. That's been very successful in the last decade in western Canada, and a key element of that is the investment climate and tax policies related to it.
The second is that enabling competitiveness in the canola industry also requires carbon pricing systems that keep us competitive. For example, Canada's canola processes are energy-intensive. As I mentioned, they are very much trade-exposed. A carbon pricing system needs to encourage greenhouse gas reductions while not impeding the competitiveness of the sector. The pricing system should be accessible and equitable for the entire industry.
When it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, canola can also make a unique contribution. This brings me to the third recommendation, which is implementing a clean fuel standard that is focused on liquid fuels by the end of 2019.
When canola is used as a biodiesel, it produces up to 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to regular fossil diesel. As liquid fuels are the largest segment of carbon fuel use, biofuel made from Canadian canola provides an excellent opportunity to significantly reduce greenhouse gases while spurring innovation and clean growth.
Finally, China is an important market where we see tremendous growth potential for the canola industries. We're eager to have a discussion with China about removing tariffs and non-tariff barriers that are a challenge to accessing that market. Our industry estimates that if we were able to eliminate tariffs on our products, that would support an additional 33,000 Canadian jobs and increase the value of our exports by $1.2 billion annually. We urge the government to engage at a very senior level with the government of China in negotiations to enhance trade.
In closing, remaining competitive and innovative is essential to our industry. These are our four recommendations: adjusting corporate tax policies to address the competitiveness gap with the United States; ensuring carbon pricing assistance that keeps our industry competitive; implementing a clean fuel standard that is focused on liquid fuels in 2019; and starting trade investments with China.
Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. It's a pleasure to be here.
On behalf of our members across rural Canada and our 267 offices, we wanted to tell you a little bit about what we contribute to the Canadian economy.
The main objectives of the community futures program are to help rural Canadians start or expand a business and to help strengthen our communities by diversifying their local economies. We work with our communities to assess local problems and plan and implement solutions. We deliver a range of business counselling and information services to SMEs and social enterprises. We provide access to capital when they can't access that capital from traditional sources. We support community-based projects and special initiatives.
There are currently 267 CF organizations serving close to 15 million Canadians across rural Canada in all 10 provinces as well as in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. We employ more than 1,300 professional staff who are guided by 3,375 local volunteers.
Established in 1985 as part of the Canadian jobs strategy, the community futures program is a model for socio-economic development that has received international acclaim and is often praised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
A 2017 OECD study recommended that the Government of Canada increase funding for the community futures program and assist community futures organizations in unblocking unused resources, with the aim of increasing the penetration of small business loans and business development services in remote and rural areas of Canada. The OECD has called the community futures program one of the most innovative and successful rural-oriented policies anywhere in the world and stated that its success is due in no small part to the fact that it is locally run and suited to local conditions.
I believe it is this ability for local volunteers to determine how federal funding can best be directed to meet local needs that has a led the CF program's well-documented record of success, which we have noted in our brief.
I myself have been volunteering with Community Futures for 20 years now, first in central Vancouver Island, in Nanaimo, then in our provincial organization, and then western and national organizations. The reason that I and thousands of other community volunteers continue to volunteer for Community Futures is that we want to make a difference. When we volunteer for this organization, that difference is very tangible. We get to see the businesses that have started in our communities go on to grow and prosper. We get to see these special projects and initiatives create the right ecosystems for which those businesses can thrive.
However, 10 years of frozen funding have now significantly eroded our ability to continue to effectively support those rural entrepreneurs and communities. There exists a gap of close to $100,000 between the resources required to provide our services and the funding that's provided by the federal government in many of the regions of the country.
CF organizations have adapted as best as they can by adopting new efficiencies and processes, but increased deficiencies can only hold off the impact of inflation for so long. Without additional resources, it's a matter of time until service delivery to rural Canadians suffers and the management of our more than $1.2 billion in federal assets is placed at risk. It isn't just the delivery of our existing services that are at risk, but also the underutilized capacity that's within our network to support other federal priorities.
CF organizations are strongly engaged in serving indigenous and women entrepreneurs, new Canadians, and entrepreneurs with disabilities. We have an extensive reach in rural Canada. We believe that our 267 CF organizations represent the federal government's second largest point of service network in rural Canada, second only to the post office. With appropriate resources, we could further advance the government's commitment to support indigenous entrepreneurship and could help ensure that rural Canadians enjoy the same access as their urban counterparts to initiatives like the women entrepreneurship strategy, the innovation superclusters initiative, and Connect to Innovate, just to name a few.
We're asking for three recommendations within our brief.
The first is that the government further leverage the Community Futures network of 267 locally directed organizations across rural Canada to support its overarching goal of ensuring a competitive Canadian economy.
The second is that the government provide additional annual resources of $42.35 million for five years to increase the ability of Community Futures organizations to support federal priorities and deliver the program services.
The third is that the government support the modernization of the terms and conditions of the CF program to better serve the needs of rural entrepreneurs and communities.
The program updates that we are requesting will allow our services to keep pace with modern entrepreneurial needs. Our requested additional investment of $42.35 million over the next five years will not only restore the service delivery capacity within the CF network, but we believe it will allow us to increase our lending, serve over 6,000 new clients, and create more than 4,000 new jobs while undertaking 1,600 new projects that will allow our CFOs to participate in a meaningful way in local community economic development.
In conclusion, the Community Futures program is a proven delivery network that has generated significant impacts and, if appropriately resourced, has the potential to generate many more while providing the federal government with a much-needed delivery mechanism to achieve their priorities in rural Canada. We are confident that the changes and supports that we're requesting will provide increased opportunities for all Canadians living in rural Canada to participate in the government's push to ensure Canada's competitiveness, and we hope that you agree.
Thanks for your time.
Thank you for the opportunity to present.
The Manitoba Federation of Labour, or MFL, is Manitoba's central labour body, chartered by the Canadian Labour Congress. It represents the interests of more than 100,000 unionized working people from every sector and every region of the province.
The MFL works to promote good jobs, fairness, and social and economic justice for all. The priorities outlined in the submission are informed by long-standing MFL policies, convention resolutions and emerging needs identified by our members.
As part of budget 2019, we recommend that the federal government prioritize health care services that families depend on, as well as look for opportunities for improvement as follows.
One, begin budgetary planning to implement a national, universal, single-payer pharmacare program in order to ensure universal access to prescription drugs, save Canadians money and improve health outcomes.
Two, commit to a long-term national health care funding arrangement with provinces and territories to reverse the cuts implemented by the Harper government and continued under this government.
Three, increase the federal government's share of health care spending while enforcing the principles of the Canada Health Act.
Four, work with provinces and territories on a national strategy for seniors care, including investments in public home care and community support services.
In order to address Canada's long and poor record of productivity growth, the federal government must put quality jobs at the heart of its agenda. Labour market and social policy should systemically restrict precarious work and the exploitation of vulnerable workers. We urge the federal government to take immediate action on pay equity to ensure that women are paid the same as men for the same work. Don't delay this until after the next election; women have already waited far too long for this fairness.
We'd like the government to prepare workers to adapt to technological change and emerging skills needs to ensure workers are able to meet the job requirements now and in the future, including making sure that Canada is the leader on implementing a right to continuous workplace training and lifelong learning.
We'd like the government to prioritize access to training opportunities for groups with fewer opportunities, including youth, low-skilled workers, workers with disabilities, newcomers to Canada and workers of colour. It should also expand vocational opportunities through apprenticeship and on-the-job experience, while recognizing the vital role of labour, employers and post-secondary educational institutions in partnering to deliver those opportunities.
Finally, it should mandate that employers hire and train apprentices on federally funded infrastructure projects, including utilizing community benefit agreements and project labour agreements to maximize local job and training opportunities.
To support working families, the federal government needs to invest in more supports for working families to ensure that life is affordable and that parents, especially women, have greater opportunities to get good jobs and contribute to our economy. We call on the federal government to transfer $1 billion in 2019-20 to provinces, territories and indigenous communities in order to establish universal, accessible, affordable, high-quality and fully-inclusive early learning and child care in Canada. Delivered by public or not-for-profit providers, this funding must come with a strings-attached approach to ensure universality and affordability.
We'd like to see reform to the EI system to better reflect the realities of working people, especially women, including reducing the number of qualifying hours to 360, measuring a week as 30 hours instead of 35 to reflect the average Canadian workweek, and reforming the EI sickness benefit to permit working while on claim, while expanding the number of weeks for sickness benefits to deal with episodic or long-term illness.
We'd like to see restoration of the more than $58 billion that's been withdrawn by government from the EI fund, and we'd like the government to end the use of EI funds for non-EI purposes. We'd like to see increased training supports for EI recipients, including targeted programs to help workers from equity-seeking groups to overcome barriers to employment, gain valuable, on-the-job experience and acquire training in high-demand occupations. We'd like to bring back the ability for workers to drop periods of low and zero earnings from the calculation of their CPP benefit and increase the CPP income replacement rate further, raise the ceiling on pensionable earnings, and further enhance the portion of employee contributions that are tax-deductible. These continued inequalities primarily impact women and the disabled.
Finally, on poverty reduction, too many Canadians live in poverty, especially women, indigenous people and children. The federal government's strategy to reduce poverty must include a comprehensive plan to eliminate poverty in Canada by raising the federal minimum wage to a living wage of $15 an hour, which sets the standard for provinces to follow; increasing the Canada social transfer to fund social assistance and support for people with disabilities; increasing the flat rate old age security benefit and indexing it to average wage growth; and reforming the federal insolvency regime in order to better protect workers' pensions and benefits in creditor protection and bankruptcy.
Thanks to the committee for the opportunity to present to you today.
The University of Manitoba plays an integral role in the competitiveness of Manitoba, generating $1.8 billion in economic activity annually, supporting more than 20,000 local jobs, and educating future leaders. We have close to 30,000 students, a community of more than 140,000 alumni in 137 countries, and over 95,000 alumni who continue to call Manitoba home. UM alumni are in leadership positions in companies and organizations in Manitoba and around the world, extending the university's economic impact locally and globally. We're also a member of the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities and of Universities Canada. We're in support of their submissions to this committee.
At the University of Manitoba, we're committed to inspiring minds through innovative and quality teaching; driving discovery and insight through excellence in research, scholarly work and other creative activities; creating pathways to indigenous achievement; building community that creates an outstanding learning and working environment; and forging connections to foster high-impact community engagement. These strategic priorities are reflected in our written submission and throughout our campus community.
Building on investments from the previous budget, which we support and welcome, the University of Manitoba is making recommendations that will further support our role in driving Canada's competitiveness, bringing more Canadians into the research ecosystem, and developing the talent our economy will depend on in this changing economic landscape. In our signature areas of research—infectious diseases, global population health, and Arctic system sciences—our researchers lead the way globally. Bolstered by the presence of the CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis, the national microbiology laboratory, and two national training programs in immunology and infectious disease, University of Manitoba researchers are internationally recognized for their leadership in immunity, inflammation and infectious disease research.
The university has also built a world-leading team of researchers in the areas of population and global health, with highly developed networks of international partnerships and collaborations, who are recognized for their excellence internationally by governments and by funders like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This group of researchers currently has under way field trials around the world that involve 800 million people, with applications internationally and of course at home in Canada.
The University of Manitoba is home to internationally renowned programs of research in Arctic science, climate change and its effects on Arctic sea ice. Major investments and partnerships in this area include the Amundsen research vessel, the sea ice environmental research facility, and soon the Churchill marine observatory, a unique research facility located in Churchill, Manitoba. With increasing international interest in the Arctic, it's important for Canada to be present there for many reasons, among them sovereignty protection, economic opportunities and responding to climate change.
Research enterprises such as these are possible thanks in part to commitments from the federal government. We appreciate the investments made in budget 2018, and we support continued investments in research, including through the research support fund to address the full cost of research. We encourage further investments in the fundamental science review proposal, first to increase annual scholarship and fellowship funding for graduate students, including for women, indigenous people, visible minorities and people with disabilities. We also recommend an expansion of undergraduate student research awards as a means to increase the number of students pursuing graduate studies.
Creating pathways to indigenous achievement is a strategic priority for the University of Manitoba, tied to the federal government's priority on competitiveness. With unique programs such as Ongomiizwin, the Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing; the Indigenous Business Education Partners; and the engineering access program, the university is proud to be leading reconciliation efforts.
This is absolutely critical in a province in which indigenous peoples will make up 18% of the population by 2026. We cannot talk about the future competitiveness of this province or country without addressing this fact. Therefore, we encourage further federal investments to support the success of our indigenous students, including new scholarships to support indigenous graduate students and post-doctoral fellows with a view to building a cohort of indigenous faculty; direct student financial support for first nations, Inuit and Métis learners; and support for enhanced institutional programs that promote indigenous students' success throughout the post-secondary education continuum.
The University of Manitoba is also home to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. This centre is the permanent national institution that emerged from the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. With a mandate in the areas of archives, education, research and community engagement, the NCTR is a leading voice in conversations about truth and reconciliation in this country. We recommend sustained financial support for the centre to ensure continued reconciliation efforts with Canada's indigenous peoples.
Finally, as a research-intensive university, we'd like to see continued investments in infrastructure to attract and retain talent that will drive discovery and the economy. We'd also like to see the dedication of specific funds to universities for infrastructure projects.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to present. Meegwetch.
Thank you, and good morning.
The University of Winnipeg is located in the heart of downtown Winnipeg on Treaty No. 1 land in the homeland of the Métis nation. Today, UWinnipeg is home to about 10,000 students, primarily undergraduates, with some graduate learners, and a further 4,000 in our professional and continuing education programs.
We are known for academic excellence, small class sizes and a focus on teaching. Our faculty perform research with impact and relevance both locally and globally—for example, on adapting to climate change and on how to better integrate refugee children into our school system.
I echo and support the remarks of my colleague from the University of Manitoba, Dr. David Barnard. We are both signatories of the Manitoba collaborative indigenous education blueprint, and in 2016, UWinnipeg introduced an indigenous course requirement for all undergraduate students in keeping with the calls to action outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's final report.
We also have unique graduate-level programs in indigenous governance and indigenous economic and social development, and a program that encourages indigenous students to pursue graduate studies, which we refer to as the indigenous summer scholars program. Our Access Education programs, which train indigenous teachers, have graduated 163 people who are now at the head of their classrooms.
I believe that Manitoba's and Canada's success depends upon the success of indigenous people. Manitoba is the epicentre of the indigenous comeback. Indigenous people in Manitoba are one of our fastest-growing and youngest demographic groups. Over the next decade, 20% of Manitoba's population will identify as indigenous, and in Canada the population of indigenous people will soon surpass 2.5 million, yet indigenous people are under-represented when it comes to post-secondary attainment.
Today close to 10% of UWinnipeg's student body identifies as indigenous, and this number is increasing, but it still significantly lags behind their proportion of the population. In Canada, only 11% of indigenous people aged 25 to 64 have a post-secondary degree, compared with 30% for non-indigenous people. It is clear that more must be done, and a commitment to indigenous success requires all of us, at all levels of society, to work together: academia, the private sector and government.
To enhance Canada's economic success, we need a systemic approach to create pathways to and through post-secondary education in partnership with indigenous people. We need to support indigenous children and encourage them to dream big about their futures, and we need to continue that support through post-secondary graduation and into meaningful employment.
The current piecemeal approach, a program here or an initiative there, is not working. Statistics Canada shows that the indigenous population is currently under-represented in the labour market. Why does this gap exist? One of the reasons is that fewer indigenous students complete their degree or post-secondary program compared to non-indigenous individuals. Many do not have a family history of post-secondary education, and many experience multiple barriers, including distance and culture conflict, as highlighted by a recent study conducted by Indspire.
The strong link between educational attainment and success in the labour market is well established, not to mention the link between education and health and social outcomes. We know that children are more likely to attend post-secondary if their parents attended, which means that education also has positive intergenerational effects.
In order to support indigenous people in accessing and completing post-secondary programs, Canada needs to develop a system of pathways, entrance and retention supports in collaboration with indigenous communities and post-secondary institutions. Current employment-focused training programs are not enough to close the gap. The Government of Canada, through Employment and Social Development Canada, has developed several programs that are specifically designed to support indigenous people with employment and training needs. These programs include the aboriginal skills and employment training strategy, which links indigenous individuals' training needs to labour market demand. While these programs have produced some success, they rely heavily on third party partnerships to deliver their programming and focus on work-ready skills, which means that indigenous people are potentially forgoing college- and university-level programs for quick training programs.
In budget 2018, the Government of Canada announced that ASETS would be replaced by the new indigenous skills and employment training program. While the specific details of the program have yet to be announced, if it operates similarly to ASETS, there will be a lost opportunity to create systemic change.
The degree to which quick training programs can address the underlying causes of the indigenous skills and education gap is limited. This is due, in part, to the over-reliance on a patchwork of programs. Many jobs in this category are vulnerable to technological disruption. Over the long term, quick training approaches are not a systemic solution to the underlying problem.
Post-secondary institutions have an important role to play in creating economically resilient graduates with higher earning potential over their lifetimes. Planning to attend post-secondary starts early. We know that children as young as in grades 3 and 4 start imagining what their futures will be like, and developing this university-bound identity is critical.
One aspect of the University of Winnipeg's approach to engaging children from diverse backgrounds is through the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre, a community partnership that provides educational opportunities through Winnipeg's indigenous inner city communities. The centre provides programming to over 20,000 community members per year, including after-school programs focusing on culturally appropriate activities and indigenous language programs in Cree and Ojibway.
Once at UWinnipeg, indigenous students have access to a range of academic, social and cultural supports that help them achieve academic success and facilitate an engagement with graduate school opportunities, meaningful employment and leadership roles.
UWinnipeg and many other universities across Canada also support the development of top-tier indigenous scholars and leaders through various programs designed to provide more intensive levels of support to honours-level and graduate students, including through transition programs, mentoring, and academic and financial support. The majority of these programs are funded by private donations or from university resources. We do receive some federal funds for these programs, but the funding is episodic, unpredictable, unconnected, and often channelled through third parties. More needs to be done.
A national strategy and a systemic approach is required. The university should be asked to table and should be supported, as we are providing a front-line support to indigenous students and helping them achieve their full potential.
What do we need? We need funding for indigenous student spaces, funding for indigenous language programs that also engage family members, funding for indigenous elders in residence, funding for indigenous research partnerships, focused programs to support the development of highly qualified indigenous professionals, and support for programs that are designed to engage indigenous children in developing university-bound identities.
Biofuels have been proven to be a really excellent opportunity to lower greenhouse gas emissions. We as an industry have developed.... Canola in Canada is in the mandate that we have for biodiesel in Canada currently. A lot of it gets processed elsewhere and then comes back into Canada and goes into that environment. We also sell to the European Union, which has a very advanced biofuels agenda.
We see it as a real opportunity, a win-win from the point of view of meeting those climate change goals for reducing GHG emissions and at the same time providing another stable marketing opportunity for the product. It's a small part of our industry. Most of our canola goes into the food market for oil, and it goes into animal feed, but it certainly represents an opportunity to grow.
There's been considerable work done in the liquid fuels portion of it. I know Environment Canada is also interested in gaseous fuels and other elements that can be put in place. The regime that they're talking about at Environment Canada is one that's about carbon intensity. If you have a product that reduces carbon more than another product, the marketplace would decide, based on pricing, to choose that commodity.
From a canola perspective, that is a good news thing, because, as I said in my brief, compared to petroleum-based diesel, the use of canola can reduce GHG emissions by 90%. We would have a considerable opportunity, if the regime were put in place on liquid fuels, to generate lower GHG emissions as well as to stimulate to the canola industry.
Okay. Thank you very much.
Community Futures has been near and dear to my heart as an entrepreneur for the past 30 years. Being very involved in the ones in my community, I have seen the difference it has made, particularly in rural communities, in bringing economic development to places where people didn't anticipate it happening.
We still have challenges. We have challenges around broadband and other things, but one of the things that has happened—and I want to get your thoughts on this—is that we're starting to see innovation hubs, makers' labs. It's happening in one of my communities. They have changed the landscape of the possibilities.
Are you familiar with those new innovation hubs coming directly out of the Community Futures program? As you mentioned, you could probably write a book about the work you've done as a volunteer over the last 20 years. In those rural communities we're seeing out-migration from the more urban areas, with a lot of the skilled people in business volunteering their time and mentoring, which has been a game-changer, frankly.
Can you talk a little about the potential of those innovation hubs and about how that mentoring is helping to transform the rural communities?
Thanks very much for your question.
The vice-chair for the Canadian Network of Northern Research Operators, Dr. Jim Drummond, is just returning from the PEARL station right now. They're getting ready for the winter season up there when a large amount of their work does occur. The PEARL station is a challenge because it's not located in a community, and it's a very difficult station to access during the wintertime.
As you mentioned, the program that funded it came to an end, and it's really been running on piecemeal funding. I understand some MPs were able to visit the PEARL station this summer, and there has been a push for sustained, direct funding for that particular station to continue to contribute to atmospheric chemistry measurements throughout the polar winter. This is on the order of about $1 million per year that has been requested to keep that station running.
The PEARL station was constructed in 1993 just when I very first started working in the Arctic. I remember visiting the site where they were going to construct PEARL.
The request we're looking for from the CNNRO is to provide that sustained support, not just for PEARL, which is a very valuable station, but to have a sustained fund available for some of these longer-term monitoring stations to be able to have access to so there isn't this last-minute push or trying to find resources to keep these very expensive infrastructures working.
The says good things about this, but, unfortunately, it has been three years now. We have yet to see the commitment.
Dr. LeeAnn Fishback: Yes.
Mr. Matt Jeneroux: I do want to turn to both Mr. Barnard and my good friend Annette Trimbee, former deputy minister of finance. I'm sure the former deputy minister of finance would actually have seen a number of these things over her career in Alberta.
I want to start with you, Mr. Barnard, on the research report funding from the Naylor report. We saw a good portion of the last budget funding the Naylor report, but it certainly did not address the research support fund as you indicated.
Can you give us an example of what's happening now? The research support fund keeps the lights on, the basic equipment, the maintenance, and so on and so forth. I imagine that's still happening. Your institution is still funding that. The lights are still on, but without the research support fund, how are you funding that now? If the research support fund were to be implemented, what would that mean to what you could fund with those funds?
I would assume some of it, perhaps all of it, is coming from undergraduate tuition right now. What would that mean, I guess, if the RSF were funded?
I'd like to move to Mr. Barnard and Ms. Trimbee.
My brother is an alumnus of the University of Manitoba. You both made a very eloquent case, particularly you, Mr. Barnard, about the importance of investing in reconciliation efforts, which means really moving to establish funding in a whole variety areas for indigenous peoples.
We've heard from a number of first nations chiefs and indigenous leaders and a couple of the regional grand chiefs as well. They've all stressed the importance of this budget being a sea change. What we really need to do is talk about multi-billion-dollar investments for access to education, health care, housing infrastructure and indigenous languages. All of those things need to be tackled. Rather than just having small amounts that are only symbolic, it's about really fundamentally changing how we approach the federal budget.
How important do you think it would be for us to put in place that sea change for the next budget, so that we're really investing in reconciliation efforts, including in the education sector?
Thanks to all of you for your very interesting presentations.
I think I have questions for everybody, but I'm going to focus on the University of Winnipeg, because what I'm hearing you say is music to my ears.
I'm one of the few MPs—I think there are only two—who are indigenous MPs living in indigenous communities, and I think I'm only one of two indigenous MPs who went to residential school. It was called a hostel program when I went there.
The whole reason I ran, to get into a position such as this, was to try to change the conditions that I see every day in our communities. I represent Northwest Territories, and I also see the need for us to move forward in getting our youth educated. I think it's crucial to moving out of some of the very difficult conditions that we live in. A lot of our leaders are saying that.
As we settle land claims, and as we make agreements with mines and everybody else and start to see revenues come in, we're seeing a lot of indigenous governments invest in post-secondary education. But we're starting to realize that it's not enough.
We need to start looking at a whole wraparound program that starts when the girls are pregnant, so that we can reduce the number of children being born with FAS and FAE. The numbers are staggering. We need to have programs that are going to help us make sure that the babies are fed healthy food: no more seeing babies with pop in their baby bottles. The toddler, also, has to be in a safe house, and a lot of people don't have that.
It goes on. As a child hits elementary, we know they're already getting addicted to drugs and alcohol. As they go into high school, the sexual abuse is rampant in our communities.
So many of our indigenous governments are saying that we need a blueprint. We need a path, a strategy, that starts when a mother is pregnant, and continues to the time that they enter university. Otherwise, the challenges are even more difficult.
Is that something you envision? You talked about an indigenous blueprint. That really caught my attention. I think that's what we're talking about in the Northwest Territories with indigenous governments.
I sat on a committee that studied suicide in our indigenous communities. There are many things that contribute to that. One of the things that came to the surface was cultural disconnect, with indigenous people, indigenous youth, not proud of who they are anymore.
Many students who have gone on to post-secondary who are graduating—some of them with very impressive degrees—are committing suicide. The ones who reported back and who we were able to talk to indicated that they've lost touch with who they are. They go to university. They lose their culture. They lose their language. They no longer can talk to their grandparents. They feel like they've failed.
Many of our indigenous governments are now saying that the young people have to live in two worlds. They have to live in the traditional world, where they know how to hunt and trap and all the skills of living on the land, and they also have to live in the modern-day society. I like to use the saying that the Tlicho people of my riding always use, that they have to be "strong like two people".
How important is that? Is that something the institutions can start looking at, ways of incorporating that into studies?
Thank you. We're over time.
Before I go to Mr. Kelly, Ms. Trimbee, on Mr. McLeod's questioning, you talked a fair bit about the programs for indigenous people, but in your earlier submission, you talked about the patchwork of programs. I think we see that in universities, colleges, skills training, provincial governments, federal government, indigenous groups, you name it, there's all kinds of programming out there. How can we restructure that somewhat so that there's more focus and maybe better utilization of the money that is spent by all levels of everything?
When you're dealing with indigenous issues, there are probably, as there is in agriculture, several departments putting money out there, but how do we focus it?
I think part of it is how programs are designed. I remember in my early days as a bureaucrat I moved to health and wellness and I had this health innovation fund, and it funded pilots. Then if the pilots were successful, the health authorities were to incorporate them into their funding.
I always thought it would be better to do it the other way around. The other way around would be to actually recognize when innovation happens and when the institutions are getting outcomes that are desirable. It's another approach to thinking about how you design programs and reward those institutions that are making progress.
The issue is that there are a lot of excellent examples of incredibly successful programs to attract indigenous youth to imagine a future in university. There are a lot of examples of good things happening in institutions, but they're not scalable and they're not sustainable because often the money is one shot.
I mentioned that we had the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre, and that is right behind the University of Winnipeg, on Ellice Avenue, in one of the statistically lowest socio-economic areas.
Our staff spend all of their time looking for pots of money and applying for one-time grants. They'll hire somebody, start a language program, and it will be oversubscribed, and then the next year there is no money.
Think through the design long term and reward innovators.
Again, I'm not asking for the peanut butter approach where everybody gets their two cents, but I think sometimes you need to make bigger bets.
Thank you very much for the question.
A lot of our facilities may not have some of those basic requirements as they may be located in an area where there is no road access, no port facility, or no airport. Basic infrastructure would very much help to be able to access facilities.
For example, in Churchill we haven't had a rail line for a year and a half now. They're in the process of fixing that rail line and hopefully we will have that rail link back soon. That will support projects like Mr. Barnard mentioned, the Churchill marine observatory. They're trying to get the construction materials in. These will help promote research facilities, and construction and operations to reduce some of those costs.
I think one other thing, as Mr. McLeod mentioned, would be in terms of increasing the capacity of indigenous communities to conduct research and to partner with the broader research community.
I'm sure that in Whitehorse you met with the Yukon College folks, who are working to establish a Yukon university, to actually have a university in the north.
I think these are all different ways that would help support Arctic research.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
To begin, I have a comment for Ms. Smitka. It is a comment, not a question.
Your sector does outstanding work for community development, just as the Community Futures Development Corporations, or CFDCs, and Business Development Centres, or BDCs, in Quebec do.
I am saying this to send a message to my colleagues at the table. If they are not already aware of the work of the BDCs and CFDCs, I encourage them to tour their own regions. They will find volunteers, both former business people and entrepreneurs, who are helping other entrepreneurs develop something in their own region.
That is what I wanted to say, Ms. Smitka. I commend you and fully support your request, which is entirely reasonable.
My questions pertain more to research. Ms. Fishback, Mr. Barnard and Ms. Trimbee, you talked about the importance of research, especially in the north. We have heard a lot about that here. Two of my colleagues, including Mr. McLeod, raised this issue. The link between the north and what Mr. Barnard and Ms. Trimbee are doing here is indigenous participation, not just indigenous students and indigenous communities, but also indigenous researchers.
Mr. Barnard and Ms. Trimbee, can you tell us about the role your institutions play? I hope the number of indigenous persons is growing at your universities and that they are doing research at all levels, from undergraduate to the doctoral level.
At the University of Manitoba, there's an increasing emphasis in research at the undergraduate level in all programs, and that applies to indigenous and non-indigenous students.
In a number of cases at the undergraduate level, we have put in place what we refer to as access programs. We specifically target indigenous students. The array of data that they present to make their case for entry may not be quite as strong. We allocate spaces for these students in programs like engineering, for example. The record has been that with some support during the programs, these people are amazingly successful.
Last year, both the gold medal winner and the third-place student in engineering had come in through the access program and done exceptionally well. I think there are two things at work there. One is getting students into the program, and the other is getting more research into the undergraduate programs.
At the graduate level, we've been very successful I think in hiring indigenous faculty, who themselves attract indigenous students. We've been increasing the number of indigenous faculty in each of the last several years. It's a specifically targeted budget envelope.
The third generic thing I would mention is our work in the north. I'm conscious of the time, so I'm hurrying. The very large amount of work that we do in the north is done collaboratively with indigenous people in the north. They work as partners with us, and so are heavily involved in that research.
In fact, we had had a very interesting publication done a few years ago, a very beautiful book, Two Ways of Knowing. It was a focus on two ways of knowing: what is found in the indigenous community and what's brought by the scientists who go there.
Thank you for inviting us here today to be with you.
I am John Peco. By day I'm the chief officer of this development at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. Previous to that I was the general manager of the Markham Fair in the northern suburb of the GTA in the Toronto area. I share that with you because I have this perspective of the needs of both very large fairs, the Canadian National Exhibition being the largest event in the country attracting in excess of 1.5 million people annually, and also the needs of a small fair like the Markham fair attracting about 70,000 people or so annually.
Today we're here to speak to you in our capacity as executives with the CAFE, the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions. We represent some 800 fairs, agricultural societies and exhibitions right across the country, from the very large to the very small. In our opinion fairs hold a very deep cultural, traditional and emotional connection to the people of their communities, and they embody a real sense of Canadian identity. At the same time, these events are significant economic drivers in the areas in which they're held. On average, in excess of $17.2 million in economic benefits are derived from our fairs nationally and in small communities. The average is in the magnitude of just under $1 million annually, and they have very significant impacts on the local economies.
There are several examples of fairs in our country that are older than our country itself. In Hants County, Nova Scotia, we have the Hants County Exhibition which is some 252 years of age. We have the Williamstown Fair in Ontario at 206 years of age, and in Quebec we have the Lachute fair at 193 years of age.
I share all this with you as context because we hope that you'll consider today recognizing Canadian fairs and exhibitions as cultural and heritage events, and amend the language of the Canadian heritage grants to specifically include fairs and exhibitions within that funding envelope. The government has been very supportive of festivals over the past number of years. We support that of course, but in many cases, fairs and exhibitions do not meet the strict criteria that's established to define a festival. We feel we have many cultural dimensions to our exhibitions and our fairs. It would be very common to see talent shows and food festivals and artisan showcases and many other examples of cultural activities within our events. We would urge the government to consider fairs and exhibitions as a vital heritage institution and to amend the language of the Canadian heritage grants accordingly.
Our secondary strength and the primary purpose of the majority of our members is to showcase agriculture to the public. As the government continues to try to build public trust in agriculture to ensure its competitiveness, we encourage the government to seek out our events and to collaborate with us. Our events see in excess of 35 million visitors across the country annually.
CAFE as a national organization has the expertise required to develop public trust. The majority of our members have a mandate to include agriculture in their programming through shows, competitions, displays and educational programming. We also have the knowledge of how to run a successful and engaging event for people of all ages and all demographics. This is certainly a unique pairing for others that few other festivals or other organizations can offer. This is why our secondary request is that the government allot $10 million over four years from the Canadian agricultural partnership, CAP, to support agricultural education, biosecurity and safety, animal welfare and community engagement projects at fairs and exhibitions across the country. Our members are willing to create and support a national framework of excellence under our leadership.
I will now turn over the microphone to my colleague Max.
Good morning, everyone. Like John, I bring a diverse background in the fairs and exhibitions business. I was born and raised in Calgary—an Alberta boy—and I live on a farm just outside of Calgary. I've spent my entire career in the fairs and exhibitions business in the Calgary area.
Throughout this presentation, we have been citing numbers—35 million visitors annually and so on. These numbers come from an economic impact study commissioned in 2008, the research going back almost 10 years. These numbers offered our organization strength, helping us and our stakeholders understand the role we play in Canadian society.
Therefore, our third recommendation is that the government provide funding in the amount of $1 million for an in-depth national survey of the economic and socio-economic impact of fairs and exhibitions across Canada. In 2008 it was reported that our events contribute $1 billion annually to the economy, and that fair-related spending supports 10,700 full-time jobs spanning many sectors. As mentioned above, we are confident that these numbers have increased but have no tangible proof or measurement ability to do so without a new study.
One of the main ways our events also contribute to the Canadian economy is by supporting and stimulating tourism. We, along with festivals and other events, have been able to drive attendance for decades from local, national and international visitors. These visitors stay in Canadian hotels, eat in Canadian restaurants and buy Canadian souvenirs and products. As a result, fairs and exhibitions alone generate $97 million in federal taxes annually.
To ensure that these events remain world class in an increasingly globally competitive marketplace, we recommend that the government establish a funding program in the amount of $20 million per year specifically dedicated to the growth of fairs, festivals and events with a capacity to generate touristic and economic activity. Through this funding, Canadian service providers would also be promoted, and an incentive program would be developed to hire Canadian providers, supporting them and therefore ensuring Canadian competitiveness in the entertainment and event marketplace.
Our final recommendation for your consideration is that the government provide exclusion for fairs, exhibitions and events in regard to sponsorship as it relates to Bill . Many local fairs and events rely heavily on the support from local businesses, sponsors and corporations to sustain their community-building activities. Bill may impact upon their industries and their ability to support our events. Hundreds of small communities and rural and remote fairs work very hard to continue their operations, despite at times some revenue declines and ongoing logistical challenges. Without the support of the private sector, these local communities will likely not be able to hold their fairs and exhibitions as they know them today.
CAFE is a service-based organization. We're a charitable organization. We want the further support through the above recommendations to allow our membership to be successful in the future.
Thank you very much for your time.
I'm Dr. Gerald Olin and I have been a chiropractor for over 20 years. I am currently the chair of the Canadian Chiropractic Association. I'm here on behalf of 9,000 chiropractors represented by the Canadian Chiropractic Association and the 10 provincial associations.
Today I wish to ask the federal government to add chiropractors to the list of authorized professionals who can determine eligibility for the disability tax credit.
Many Canadians suffering from osteoarthritis rely on chiropractors, who are regulated in all provinces and are extensively trained to assess, diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions, commonly referred to as MSK conditions. These are conditions like osteoarthritis, and back, neck and knee pain.
Chiropractors are often in the best position to recognize when a chronic MSK condition has reached the point of disability. We work closely with our patients over an extended period to manage symptoms and improve quality of life for these patients. To be managed effectively, chronic MSK conditions require a strong doctor-patient relationship.
Because chiropractors are not on the list of health care providers able to certify eligibility for the disability tax credit, some Canadians face barriers and delays. Chiropractors are uniquely trained health care professionals with a specialization in musculoskeletal health. This is our expertise.
Our main reason for seeking to be added to the list of authorized professionals who can determine eligibility for the disability tax credit is to better support our patients.
For example, many Canadians suffering from osteoarthritis rely on their chiropractors to assess, manage and reduce the impact of symptoms, including making it easier to keep performing their daily activities. Chiropractic care helps manage bone and joint pain. Treatment often includes personal care plans that provide rehabilitation recommendations, such as exercise programs, to help patients achieve their goals. However, we are not currently permitted under the Income Tax Act to fully assist our patients with osteoarthritis that has reached the disabling stage, as we cannot issue the disability tax credit certificate, despite our qualifications being comparable to other health professionals already listed in the Income Tax Act.
This creates a significant barrier for these disabled Canadians. In order to obtain a disability tax credit certificate, our patients are forced to make an unnecessary visit to another health care professional who may not know the patient's history. This may result in several visits with another health professional for the determination of the disability tax credit, adding more burden to the patient and additional cost to our health care system.
Unfortunately, despite aiding millions of Canadians, chiropractors are not authorized by the federal government to determine the level of their patient's disability to make them eligible for this disability tax credit. This is in contrast with chiropractors currently being recognized as assessors of disability under most provincial programs, including workers' compensation and motor vehicle accidents.
Many chiropractors also serve on appeal tribunals to assess disability and make appropriate recommendations. Personally, I have served as a reviewer of disability and return-to-work reports for the last 10 years with Manitoba Public Insurance.
The costs associated with this ask are minimal. We wish to minimize the burden on Canadians with significant MSK conditions who need to access the disability tax credit.
Chiropractors care deeply about their patients and their families, and want the opportunity to complete their role with patients who qualify and ask for access to the disability tax credit.
Our request is also supported by the Arthritis Society, Canada's voice for Canadians living with osteoarthritis, along with the Council of Canadians with Disabilities.
The primary beneficiaries of this change would be people with qualifying disabilities who currently have conditions, symptoms or limitations related to their disability being treated by their chiropractor. Secondary beneficiaries include caregivers, family and friends of those patients.
On behalf of Canadians and the patients we serve and represent, we ask the Standing Committee on Finance to support our recommendation to add chiropractors to the list of health care professionals authorized to certify eligibility for the disability tax credit.
Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you on behalf of Canadians with significant musculoskeletal conditions. I look forward to any questions you might have.
Thank you very much. We appreciate the opportunity to be here today.
My name is Don Leitch. I am Chair of the Board of Directors of Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the RWB. I'm also president and CEO of the Business Council of Manitoba. In that organization we regularly advocate the importance of Canada's being internationally competitive in all respects to ensure that our citizens have access to meaningful, productive employment.
The RWB school is one of Canada's leading professional arts training schools. For almost 50 years, this school has been inspiring talented students and providing them with the tools necessary for careers as professional dancers and dance teachers. Our artistic faculty members are committed to helping students realize their highest potential, cultivating in them the high levels of discipline, dedication and technical excellence required to succeed in today's demanding world of professional dance. We are thankful for the support of our partners in government, without whom we would not be able to do this important work.
I'm also speaking on behalf of the 36 professional arts training organizations supported by the Canada arts training fund.
I will talk about training.
It is the collective recommendation of these 36 professional organizations that the Government of Canada increase its investment in the training of professional artists to ensure Canada's international competitiveness in arts, culture, and entertainment.
In budget 2016, the Government of Canada committed to invest $1.9 billion in arts and culture, currently the biggest investment of any G7 country. We applaud that investment and believe it will strengthen Canadian cultural and creative industries and support our national institutions.
As part of that commitment, support for the Canada Council for the Arts will be doubled by 2021, from $180 million to $360 million. That is a game-changing investment and a major vote of confidence in those professional artists who have completed their training and are ready to create, produce, record, exhibit and tour their work.
However, the government's commitment overlooks the earliest part of the continuum, the specialized and focused training that artists receive in order to become professional. This training is not supported through the Canada Council but rather through the Canada arts training fund, the CATF. It's delivered by the Department of Canadian Heritage. As the CATF was not part of the current investment, an annual investment is required in order to keep pace with the growth of the Canada Council and to realize the full value of the investment that has been made.
In 2016-17, the CATF sat at $23 million, where it had been frozen since 2009. Our recommendation is for an additional $10-million annual investment. This investment would allow the Department of Canadian Heritage to increase support to existing training programs and fund new arts training organizations from indigenous and diverse communities.
With additional funding, professional arts training organizations will increase the opportunity for artists to receive training and make sure that training is relevant to the 21st century through the use of digital technology in creation, production and distribution; preparing artists to engage with audiences in new ways, including community-building activities that will strengthen our society through shared understanding of Canada's stories—and they are diverse stories; and providing opportunities to artists to develop the leadership skills valued by the creative economy whether in for-profit or not-for-profit organizations.
Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet school has proudly trained world-renowned artists such as RWB artistic director André Lewis, associate artistic director Tara Birtwhistle, principal dancers Jo-Ann Sundermeier and Sophia Lee, and prima ballerina and officer of the Order of Canada Evelyn Hart. Other RWB graduates are dancing on stages across the country and around the globe with such world-renowned companies as Ballet Zurich, Pina Bausch company, and Birmingham Royal Ballet.
More still are making their name as choreographers and arts leaders, such as Red Sky's Jera Wolfe and Opera Atelier's Marshall Pynkoski. These Canadian-trained artists share the gift of their talent and remind the world of Canada's exceptional contribution to the arts.
In closing, one has only to look at the success of the annual $62-million contribution to the Own the Podium program at Sports Canada to understand the impact of what investment today delivers in the future.
The artists who are in our schools now or who are auditioning this year and next, whose names will be known to you in the years to come, deserve this investment in their future.
It is our recommendation that the Government of Canada increase its investment in the Canada arts training fund in budget 2019 by $10 million to ensure Canada's competitiveness in arts, culture and entertainment. An investment in excellence produces excellence.
My name is Annetta Armstrong. I'm the Executive Director of the Indigenous Women's Healing Centre.
We operate three residential facilities in Winnipeg for urban indigenous women.
Our North Star Lodge is specifically a transition centre for indigenous women who are trying to start making some positive choices in addressing some of the tremendous systemic issues that urban indigenous women have to face.
A lot of young ladies who are coming to stay with us are trying to fight these systems and navigating through them. They're getting their kids back from care or trying to solidify their steady footing if they're struggling with addictions issues.
We also run a building called Memengwaa Place, which is a second-stage facility for women who have managed to get their kids out of care, who need some extra support so that they can live in our building and still have some case management and access to my staff as resources.
Our third facility is Eagle Women's Lodge. This is our newest building. It has three storeys. We are operating a Correctional Services of Canada CRF. It's essentially a halfway house for women who are coming out of the correctional system. We are also taking in women who are coming out of the provincial system.
I'm excited about our section 81 because we currently have an application in Ottawa to open a section 81 facility. Rumour has it that it's sitting on the desk of probably Treasury Board at this time. It's just a matter of time before it gets approved. For those of you who don't know why this is important, if a woman gets sentenced federally in Manitoba right now, there's nowhere for her to go. She has to be shipped out of province. This, I'm sure, is very costly. There are a lot of Manitoba women who are waiting in institutions across Canada, waiting to return home. My section 81 facility will allow minimum-security women to come home and finish their time in my building, with my staff, and get the proper resources, trauma counselling and services that they need. It will also repatriate these women back to their families and hopefully reunify them with their children before they're even done serving their sentence. I'm very excited about that.
My recommendations today are relevant to all kinds of systems that I and my ladies have to deal with on a daily basis.
The first recommendation is in regard to the MMIWG inquest. I firmly believe that inquest needs to continue to be supported in time and in monetary support. The issues that are coming to the table in the MMIWG inquiry are so big that we can't take the time away. They need to start figuring out what the solutions are and what these families need to do to move forward.
My second recommendation involves indigenous families and keeping them together. There needs to be significant investment on working with parents to keep their children out of care. Again, if necessary, wherever possible, children should be placed in culturally appropriate environments.
My third recommendation is that all funding agreements that the Government of Canada is working on with non-profits include a guaranteed living wage, with consideration given to actually providing competitive wages.
My fourth recommendation is as cited in the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that the Government of Canada ensure that indigenous healing lodges be a priority in housing indigenous offenders. I would just add that they be perhaps indigenous-led healing lodges, not led by Correctional Services of Canada.
My fifth recommendation is that the Government of Canada should immediately expand the resources to Housing First models, with priorities given to meet the special needs of women who are homeless. Homeless women mean homeless children. The issues that homeless women face are very different from those of homeless men.
My final recommendation is that the Government of Canada partner with 100 women centres across the country to establish social enterprise so that marginalized women have access to that training, employment and income.
In the spirit of true reconciliation, I think it's time we start to look at these issues and address them.
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you, members of the committee, for asking STARS to be part of your pre-budget consultation.
STARS, which stands for Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service, is a non-profit organization that provides critical care, ambulance and air rescue support for communities and isolated populations across the Prairies and eastern British Columbia. Our funding includes support from our provincial governments and generous donations from private individuals, service organizations and corporations. Our mandate is to provide life-saving care and level the playing field to ensure those living in rural and remote communities have the same access to care as Canadians living in urban centres.
To continue to deliver on this mandate, we must renew our fleet of helicopters as the current fleet is aging and increasingly more difficult to maintain and more costly to repair. I am here to request a one-time capital investment from the federal government to support the replacement of this essential equipment.
Access to care is an important principle of our Canadian health care system. STARS brings intensive care to western Canadians who cannot access it, and our professional teams do this with pride and distinction. Our model is a uniquely Canadian story, and it suits the particular needs of our region where communities and industries that support them are often isolated from emergency and essential public services. Whether you're a hockey player from Humboldt, a maternal patient from Cold Lake or an indigenous teenager from Sandy Bay First Nation in desperate need of critical care, STARS is a vital safety net for those who live, work and play outside of western Canada's most populated areas.
Flying an average of eight life-saving missions daily, STARS plays a crucial role in support of governments at the local and provincial levels, but our work is also vital to the success of the federal government in the following areas: supporting the needs of indigenous people—for example, over the last five years we've flown more than 1,000 missions to indigenous communities—providing emergency services where natural disasters such as wildfires threaten public safety and security; being a critical part of the support network for eight national parks; and partnering with Canada's military and RCMP to support emergency and security response.
We see a bright future for STARS. Our model is working very well, but our fleet of helicopters needs replacing. We've identified the nine new aircraft required to maintain our service. We are sharing because we are at a critical point, and we are asking for a one-time federal contribution of $117 million to acquire the equipment that will serve western Canadians for generations to come.
My appearance here today is a combination of two years of work with members of Parliament from all parties. To keep STARS in the sky, every year 44% of our funding comes from provincial governments, and the remaining 56% comes from philanthropic support. STARS is asking the federal government to support this one-time capital request.
As you consider our request, you may recall the events where STARS has provided some essential response: the RCMP shooting in Onanole, Manitoba; the Humboldt Broncos tragedy; the Fort McMurray fire; the shooting in La Loche; the Manitoba and Alberta floods; the RCMP shooting in Mayerthorpe; and the Pine Lake tornado.
These dramatic events stand out because they capture the hearts and minds of Canadians through heartbreaking stories of tragedy, national unity and community heroism. That is what we do every day at STARS. STARS has become a core of Canada's emergency preparedness and response across the Prairies. This one-time partnership will ensure we do not compromise the operational effectiveness of our mandate.
Thank you for your time.
My name is Allison Field, and I'm the director of government relations and communications for the Western Canadian Short Line Railway Association. Thanks so much for having us. We really appreciate being here.
Western Canada has 86% of the total field crop acreage in Canada. That gives you an idea of how much we produce here in terms of grain, and we're growing constantly. The grain we grow and the oil and propane resources we extract in western Canada need to move. As 2013-14 and this past year of 2016-17 indicated, our current transportation network can't manage the load. We need to start thinking more creatively as a nation to better use our transportation system so that we can be competitive on the world stage.
I'm not sure how familiar everyone is with short-line railways, so I'll just give you a little five-minute intro. I'll take you back to the 1990s. There was a lot of deregulation going on, and CN and CP decided to divest themselves of their less profitable lines. That left the western Canadian provinces in quite a bind. In Saskatchewan, for example, that meant losing 30% of our rail network. Farmers, small businesses and RMs were panicking. They decided they needed to do something, so they banded together and bought the short-line railways. They bought the short-line railways first and learned how to run the railways second, so that was quite the undertaking.
Now fast-forward 25 years. All of our 17 member short-lines are still viable enterprises. We have 70 businesses built on our lines. We employ over 200 people. We move about 20,000 cars a year. It's a really fantastic western Canadian success story in a lot of ways.
While I wish I were just here to brag, but not everything, unfortunately, is rainbows and unicorns. We used to move 40,000 cars a year. Our dream, or what we'd really like to do, is to become a very useful partner to the class 1s like the short-lines are in the U.S. In the U.S. they're used as feeder networks, really active feeder networks, to CN and CP, the main lines that are kind of like the superhighways to ports or to the U.S.
That's what we really want to be. To get there, we desperately need a large investment in infrastructure. When we took over those lines, you have to remember that CN and CP were getting rid of them. They hadn't been maintaining them like you would something you were going to be using for years and years. We didn't really know what we were taking on, because we weren't railroaders.
We've been band-aiding those lines for 25 years. Now we're getting to the point where it's preventing us from taking on new business. Our speeds are limited. Our train lengths are limited. Our train frequencies are limited. We have to stop work to do a lot of repairs. We're in a kind of catch-22 at the moment in terms of our infrastructure.
Then on the other side, access to government funding, although we do feel there has been effort made to support us, hasn't really been working out. For example, with the building Canada fund, short-lines were included in that in theory. That was great from the federal point of view, but we needed provincial support. We needed provincial support to make that application. Of course, that would mean competing with the provinces' other projects, so we didn't receive support anywhere and we couldn't access that fund.
For the RSIP, the railway safety improvement program for infrastructure, there were hundreds of approvals over the last two fiscals, and only three went to short-lines. They were for crossings, which we really appreciate, but we need more than just crossings help.
Finally, one short-line has been approved under the national trade corridors fund. That short-line is incredibly appreciative, but there are 56 short-lines across Canada, and we all need help.
Then with private financing, obviously they don't really want to fund us because we need a lot of capital money, but you can't use that for anything else other than rail. It's not like they can just repossess your house and sell it to someone else.
On the other hand, expenses are ballooning. Insurance rates after Lac-Mégantic went up significantly. There have been lots of regulations on safety, which is amazing, but the whole regulatory, red tape portion of it has required us to hire people and do a lot of extra administrative work. We just checked out how much more on average we've been spending over the last five years than we used to. Our 17 short-lines are all small businesses, small to maybe medium, and we're spending about $580,000 a year more now on overhead than we were before, based on insurance and regulatory things.
To properly serve our customers and current shippers and to attract new ones, and to provide competitive rates and services, we need some help. We don't want to be on long-term government assistance, but we need a short-term hand just to mitigate the effects of that aging infrastructure and increased regulatory burden.
Our first recommendation is that the government provide funding in the amount of $90 million in 2019-20, and $200 million over the following five years, for western Canadian short-line infrastructure improvements to enhance Canada's grain and oil transportation networks, facilitate export capacity and improve safety.
Second, we recommend that the government earmark funds for short-line railways within the new building Canada fund, the railway safety improvement program, the national trade corridors fund and other funds that come along.
Third, we recommend that the government amend the Safe and Accountable Rail Act to include short-line railways in the fund for railway accidents involving designated goods, because a big part of the reason our insurance went up is that we're not under that umbrella.
Fourth, we recommend that the government provide funding in the amount of $500,000 per year, for three years, for the Western Canadian Short Line Railway Association to develop a marketing department and a legislative department to further the competitiveness of both our short-lines and the small and medium-sized shippers on our lines.
We've gone to major corporations, starting in Alberta primarily, with huge support from oil and gas.
Part of that has been that we are part of their emergency net. Think about mining, such as potash in Saskatchewan, and big oil and gas camps. When they're that far removed from major centres, we're part of their emergency response.
In fact, it's an economic stimulus. They actually pay us to monitor their sites and their people. We have GPS coordinates showing where all their employees are working, for example. They have been a huge funder.
What we heard when we went out and started talking about the replacement of this fleet.... We've been flying this fleet for almost 34 years, and the planes are at their end of life. We think this is another 30-year investment. They said they'd be interested in helping if government helps.
It may seem like an unusual step, but we have precedents with the federal government. We're the first civilian organization in Canada to use something that's called night-vision goggles. The federal government funded that program for us. We're the first organization outside of the military to use them, because we're flying in complicated situations in the middle of the night in mountains and all that stuff.
During the G8 in 2002 we were asked to provide air support to the Kananaskis, and we couldn't because we didn't have enough aircraft. The federal government helped us fund a helicopter at that time. You may wonder what we are doing here. What we're trying to identify is that we touch many ministries but don't perfectly fit in any one.
Thank you for your question. I understand it.
I think from the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions' perspective, whenever we have an opportunity to take on a leadership role with our membership, it's about creating programs at the national level that we can disseminate down to each membership group in the provinces. On the idea of just having more access to pursue grants within the heritage sector, yes, if there are more people applying, obviously, I understand that question.
Ideally, we'd like to pursue that, because we do believe we have an important role in celebrating Canada and the heritage of Canada.
For the $20 million, we really don't have a national platform and a national voice around tourism. We rely on the good work of large fairs and small fairs to communicate opportunities to get Canadians out and enjoying fairs and festivals throughout Canada, but we don't really have a national program that speaks to one collective tourism industry.
We're not trying to take away from all the great work that Canada does internationally, or the provinces do at a provincial level, but we just feel we have an opportunity and a new place for us to play an important role in tourism overall in Canada.
Thank you for your question.
I have had the opportunity to go visit the Edmonton Institution for Women, which is of course in Edmonton, and there is fencing around it. The Edmonton Institution for Women has a max, medium and minimum security. I'm very impressed, actually, with the Corrections Canada model compared to the provincial models that I see here in Manitoba.
The medium-security women actually live in what looks like a neighbourhood, in houses, and from what I saw they were walking around on beautiful green grass and have mail keys. It's weird what sticks out. The maximum unit is quite different. The maximum unit is where the women kind of stay in their cells in hallways that are monitored by guards. The minimum security, they're more like dormitories. I believe the minimum security, if I remember correctly, in Edmonton isn't behind a fence.
In my experience with healing lodges and specifically to section 84, I've only been to two. One is for men in Manitoba, here in Crane River, and they live in cottages. Then there's a section 84 in downtown Edmonton for women. There is a locked facility but there are no bars. The women all have their own suites or apartments.
I think it varies. I can only speak to what I know that I'm going to offer, which is fully furnished apartments where each resident has the privacy of her own room, which will stay locked. Then she has access to a multitude of supports and counselling, and of course, reunification with her family and children.
Lastly, I'll turn to STARS.
I wasn't aware that the lottery didn't sell out this year, certainly, I'm sure, through no lack of effort on your part. I recognize and have heard that many civil society groups, service clubs and philanthropic groups in Calgary are really suffering. At still above 8% unemployment, there is a lot less appetite to buy lottery tickets. Thank you for getting that important point put on the record.
It did seem interesting to me, though, and I know provincial governments are under budgetary pressures, as all levels of government are, but over the decades, has there been a push toward STARS operations being integrated with the broader provincial health system, more similar to what happens in Ontario?
We have reviewed and conducted significant analysis. I'm sure every sector in the country has produced for this committee, if not this year, in other years, arguments about what the contribution to GDP is, based on econometric modelling.
The arts and culture sector, broadly defined, equalled about $54 billion in 2016. Those figures are from places generating data, such as the Conference Board of Canada, bank analyses and bank forecasters. That's extremely large and it rivals lots of other sectors. We know how preponderant the arts and culture sector is, particularly in the major centres. We recognize that in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and we do outreach.
That's a strong, vibrant cultural sector. It has direct and indirect spin-off benefits regularly in the economy. As Kate said earlier, we're producing some awfully fine, impressive talent, and increasingly we're watching them drain off to other countries where they can get better training and develop their careers.
We have trained people in Canada who are internationally renowned in terms of opera and dance. There are some inconsistencies. We'll put in more than $60 million a year to train a gymnast to perform on a mat, but we do very little for a dancer to perform on a floor. When you look at them, they're not too different, or whether they're an ice skater.
As Canadians, we all marvel at that and we take pride. It enhances our image internationally when we're more well rounded. We're not saying, and I, for one, certainly would not say, take it away from sports. I advocated previously for enhancing the “own the podium” program and how important it is. I'm saying that we have lagged in the arts and culture sector and it hasn't gotten the attention it needs, but it does produce a very significant contribution to GDP. We have attached to our paper some basic economic statistics and analysis.
My name is Gerald—Gerry, please—Jennings. I'm here representing the National Association of Federal Retirees, and I'll get right at it.
Canadian seniors are living longer than ever before and are on course to reach 25% of Canada's population by 2030. Defined pension benefits are the most effective means of achieving retirement income security. Retirees with defined pension plans are less likely to rely on government assistance, such as guaranteed income supplements.
A barrier to retirement security is House of Commons Bill , an act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985. Bill C-27 will enable defined benefit pension plans to be replaced by targeted benefit plans. Defined benefit pension plans invest in Canadian equities, real estate and infrastructure such as railways, bridges, airports, utilities and pipelines. Pension funds are uniquely poised to invest in Canada and Canada's Infrastructure Bank.
The National Association of Federal Retirees asks the government to withdraw Bill to ensure that Canadian retirees continue to contribute to our economy and economic growth and not become a burden upon it.