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Minutes of Proceedings

43rd Parliament, 2nd Session
Meeting 1
Friday, October 9, 2020, 1:06 p.m. to 3:32 p.m.
Webcast
Presiding
Ron McKinnon, Acting Chair (Liberal)

House of Commons
• Leif-Erik Aune, Procedural Clerk
 
Library of Parliament
• Dominique Montpetit, Analyst
• Karin Phillips, Analyst
Pursuant to Standing Order 106(2), the clerk of the committee presided over the election of a chair.

On motion of Michelle Rempel Garner, it was agreed, — That Ron McKinnon be elected Chair of the committee.

Ron McKinnon took the Chair.

Pursuant to Standing Order 106(2), the clerk of the committee presided over the election of vice-chairs.

On motion of Don Davies, it was agreed, — That Michelle Rempel Garner be elected First Vice-Chair of the committee.

On motion of Marcus Powlowski, it was agreed, — That Luc Thériault be elected Second Vice-Chair of the committee.

The committee proceeded to the consideration of matters related to committee business.

It was agreed, — That the following routine motions be adopted:

That the committee retain, as needed and at the discretion of the Chair, the services of one or more analysts from the Library of Parliament to assist it in its work.

That the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure be established and be composed of five members, namely the Chair and one member from each recognized party; and that the subcommittee work in a spirit of collaboration.

That the Chair be authorized to hold meetings to receive evidence and to have that evidence printed when a quorum is not present, provided that at least four members are present, including two members of the opposition and two members of the government, but when travelling outside the Parliamentary Precinct, that the meeting begin after 15 minutes, regardless of members present.

That the clerk of the committee be authorized to distribute documents to members of the committee only when the documents are available in both official languages, and that witnesses be advised accordingly.

That the clerk of the committee be authorized to make the necessary arrangements to provide working meals for the committee and its subcommittees.

That, if requested, reasonable travel, accommodation and living expenses be reimbursed to witnesses not exceeding two representatives per organization, provided that, in exceptional circumstances, payment for more representatives be made at the discretion of the Chair.

That, unless otherwise ordered, each committee member be allowed to have one staff member at an in camera meeting and that one additional person from each House officer’s office be allowed to be present.

That one copy of the transcript of each in camera meeting be kept in the committee clerk’s office for consultation by members of the Committee or by their staff.

That a 48 hours notice, interpreted as two nights, shall be required for any substantive motion to be considered by the committee, unless the substantive motion relates directly to business then under consideration, provided that (1) the notice be filed with the clerk of the committee no later than 4:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday, that (2) the motion be distributed to members in both official languages by the clerk on the same day the said notice was transmitted if it was received no later than the deadline hour, and that (3) notices received after the deadline hour or on non-business days be deemed to have been received during the next business day; and that when the committee is travelling outside the Parliamentary Precinct, no substantive motions may be moved.

That all requests to appear before the committee be distributed to the committee members.

That whenever a Minister appears before the committee, every effort be made to ensure that the meeting is televised.

That the committee may meet in camera only for the following purposes: (a) to consider a draft report; (b) to attend briefings concerning national security; (c) to consider lists of witnesses; (d) for any other reason, with the unanimous consent of the committee; That all votes taken in camera, with the exception of votes regarding the consideration of draft reports, be recorded in the Minutes of Proceedings, including how each member voted when recorded votes are requested; That any motion to sit in camera is debatable and amendable.

That in relation to Orders of Reference from the House respecting Bills: (a) the Clerk of the Committee shall, upon the committee receiving such an Order of Reference, write to each Member who is not a member of a caucus represented on the committee to invite those Members to file with the Clerk of the committee, in both official languages, any amendments to the Bill, which is the subject of the said Order, which they would suggest that the committee consider; (b) suggested amendments filed, pursuant to paragraph (a), at least 48 hours prior to the start of clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill to which the amendments relate shall be deemed to be proposed during the said consideration, provided that the committee may, by motion, vary this deadline in respect of a given Bill; and (c) during the clause-by-clause consideration of a Bill, the Chair shall allow a Member who filed suggested amendments, pursuant to paragraph (a), an opportunity to make brief representations in support of them.

Motion

Mike Kelloway moved, — That witnesses be given 10 minutes for their opening statement; that, at the discretion of the Chair, during the questioning of witnesses, there be allocated six minutes for the first questioner of each party as follows: First round: Conservative Party, Liberal Party, Bloc Québécois, New Democratic Party; for the second and subsequent rounds, the order and time for questioning be as follows: Conservative Party, five minutes, Liberal Party, five minutes, Conservative Party, five minutes, Liberal Party, five minutes, Bloc Québécois, two and a half minutes, New Democratic Party, two and a half minutes.

Amendment

Don Davies moved, — That the motion be amended by replacing the words “10 minutes for their opening statement; that, at the discretion of the Chair, ” with the words “up to 10 minutes for their opening statement at the discretion of the Chair; that, ”.

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Don Davies and it was agreed to.

The motion, as amended, read as follows:

That witnesses be given up to 10 minutes for their opening statement at the discretion of the Chair; that, during the questioning of witnesses, there be allocated six minutes for the first questioner of each party as follows: First round: Conservative Party, Liberal Party, Bloc Québécois, New Democratic Party; for the second and subsequent rounds, the order and time for questioning be as follows: Conservative Party, five minutes, Liberal Party, five minutes, Conservative Party, five minutes, Liberal Party, five minutes, Bloc Québécois, two and a half minutes, New Democratic Party, two and a half minutes.

Motion

Tony Van Bynen moved, — That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the Committee undertake a study, of no less than eight meetings, in order to (a) understand the impacts, including the gendered impacts, of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health and well-being of Canadians; (b) analyze the impacts on Indigenous peoples, racialized Canadians, and vulnerable populations in an effort to identify and address support gaps; (c) study the availability of mental health-promotion programs and supports for those experiencing new pandemic-related stress and anxiety and how those supports have been affected since the pandemic began; (d) study the effectiveness and availability of virtual mental health services; (e) analyze how the government can assist provinces and territories in alleviating potential new demands on their healthcare systems resulting from any increase in depression, psychological distress, substance use, PTSD and domestic violence; that the Committee report its findings and recommendations to the House no later than December 7, 2020 and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the Committee request that the government table a comprehensive response to the report.

Motion

Michelle Rempel Garner moved, — That the debate be now adjourned.

The question was put on the motion and it was agreed to on the following recorded division:

YEAS: John Barlow, Don Davies, Chris d'Entremont, Larry Maguire, Michelle Rempel Garner, Luc Thériault — 6;

NAYS: Darren Fisher, Mike Kelloway, Marcus Powlowski, Sonia Sidhu, Tony Van Bynen — 5.

Motion

Michelle Rempel Garner moved, — That, pursuant to standing order 108(2), the Standing Committee on Health commence a study on the emergency situation facing Canadians in light of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that this study evaluate, review and examine all issues relevant to this situation, including the following:

a) rapid and at home testing approvals and procurement process and schedule, and protocol for distribution;

b) vaccine development and approvals process, procurement schedules and protocol for distribution;

c) federal public health guidelines and the data being used to inform them for greater clarity on efficacy;

d) current long-term care facility COVID-19 protocols as it pertains solely to federal jurisdiction;

e) the availability of therapeutics and treatment devices for Canadians diagnosed with COVID-19;

f) the early warning system Global Public Health Information Network (GPHIN);

g) the government’s progress in evaluating pre or post arrival rapid testing for travellers;

h) the availability of paid sick leave for those in quarantine and voluntary isolation;

j) the adequacy of health transfer payments to the provinces in light of the COVID-19 crisis;

k) the impact of the government’s use of WHO advice in early 2020, decision to delay the closure of borders and delay in the recommendation of wearing of masks on the spread of COVID-19 in Canada;

l) the Public Health Agency of Canada’s communication strategy regarding COVID-19;

m) the development, efficacy and use of data related to the federal government’s COVID-19 Alert application;

n) the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health;

o) Canada’s level of preparedness to respond to another pandemic;

p) the availability of PPE in Canada and a review of Canada’s emergency stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment between 2015 and present;

q) the government’s contact tracing protocol, including options considered, technology, timelines and resources; and

r) the government’s consideration of and decision not to invoke the federal Emergencies Act, that this study begin no later than October 20, 2020, that the Committee table its findings in the House upon completion, that the government provide a response to these findings within 30 sitting days, and that evidence and documentation received by the Committee during its study of the Canadian response to the outbreak of the corona virus commenced during the 1st Session of the 43rd Parliament be taken into consideration by the Committee in the current study.

That in order to fully study this emergency situation:

(a) an order of the committee do issue for all memoranda, e-mails, documents, notes or other records from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office, the Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Office of the Minister of Health, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, concerning options, plans and preparations for the Global Public Health Integration Network, since January 1, 2018, provided that these documents, organized by department, shall be provided to the clerk of the committee within thirty days of the adoption of this motion;

(b) an order of the committee do issue for a record of all communications between the government and the World Health Organization in respect of options, plans or preparations for any future operation, or absence thereof, of the Global Public Health Integration Network, since January 1, 2018 provided that these documents, organized by department, shall be provided to the clerk of the committee within thirty days of the adoption of this motion;

(c) an order of the committee do issue for all memoranda, e-mails, documents, notes and other records from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office, the office of the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, the office of the Minister of Health, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, concerning plans, preparations, approvals and purchasing of testing products including tests, reagents, swabs, laboratory equipment and other material related to tests and testing applications used in the diagnosis of COVID-19, since March 19th, 2020, provided that these documents, organized by department, shall be provided to the clerk of the committee within thirty days of the adoption of this motion;

(d) an order of the committee do issue for all memoranda, e-mails, documents, notes and other records from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office, the office of the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, the office of the Minister of Health, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada concerning plans, preparations and purchasing of personal protective equipment including gowns, gloves, masks, respirators, visors and face shields since, March 19th, 2020, provided that these documents, organized by department, shall be provided to the clerk of the committee within thirty days of the adoption of this motion;

(e) an order of the committee do issue for all memoranda, emails, documents, notes and other records inclusive of correspondence with contracting firms and companies, from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office, the office of the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and the office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry concerning plans, preparations, article 1.3 designations, and purchasing of ventilators since March 19th, 2020, provided that these documents, organized by department, shall be provided to the clerk of the committee within thirty days of the adoption of this motion;

(f) that, to protect against the premature disclosure of national security matters, or personal privacy information, contained in the documents provided to the clerk prior to the release of the documents by the Clerk of the Committee, any potential redactions be undertaken by the Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, provided that the process for redactions begin the day after the documents have been provided to the clerk of the committee, and shall last no longer than seven days, unless granted an extension by unanimous vote of the committee, and (i) that redactions be limited to the protection of national security matters, or personal privacy information to the exclusion of all other reasons, and (ii) that in the event of a request for an extension the request be accompanied by the release of all documents for which redactions have already been completed, and (iii) that in the event of multiple requests for extension, all documents for which redactions have been completed since the last request for an extension must accompany any additional requests for extension, and (iv) no request for an extension may exceed seven days and all extensions shall be granted only by unanimous vote of the members of the committee; and

(g) seven days after all documents have been provided to the Clerk of the Committee or the deadlines for their production have elapsed, as the case may be, and the redaction process mentioned in subparagraph (b)(ii) has concluded, invite the Minister of Health, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry each to appear separately before the committee for at least three hours, provided that in respect of each of them who does not agree, within one week of the adoption of this motion, to accept this invitation for the length of time prescribed, the Chair shall be instructed to report to the House forthwith a recommendation that this committee be empowered to order his or her appearance from time to time.

At 1:59 p.m., the sitting was suspended.

At 2:01 p.m., the sitting resumed.

Motion

Mike Kelloway moved, — That the debate be now adjourned.

The question was put on the motion and it was negatived on the following recorded division:

YEAS: Darren Fisher, Mike Kelloway, Marcus Powlowski, Sonia Sidhu, Tony Van Bynen — 5;

NAYS: Don Davies, Chris d'Entremont, Larry Maguire, Michelle Rempel Garner, Luc Thériault, Karen Vecchio — 6.

RULING BY THE CHAIR

The Chair ruled the motion out of order at this time, pending the opportunity to review it.

Whereupon, Michelle Rempel Garner appealed the decision of the Chair.

The question: "Shall the decision of the Chair be sustained?" was put and the decision was overturned on the following recorded division:

YEAS: Darren Fisher, Mike Kelloway, Marcus Powlowski, Sonia Sidhu, Tony Van Bynen — 5;

NAYS: Don Davies, Chris d'Entremont, Larry Maguire, Michelle Rempel Garner, Luc Thériault, Karen Vecchio — 6.

Motion

Mike Kelloway moved, — That the committee do now adjourn.

The question was put on the motion and it was agreed to on the following recorded division:

YEAS: Darren Fisher, Mike Kelloway, Marcus Powlowski, Sonia Sidhu, Luc Thériault, Tony Van Bynen — 6;

NAYS: Don Davies, Chris d'Entremont, Larry Maguire, Michelle Rempel Garner, Karen Vecchio — 5.

At 3:32 p.m., the committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.



Jean-François Pagé
Clerk of the Committee