Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 623 and 626 to 628.
Question No. 623--Ms. Marilyn Gladu
With regard to contracts entered into between the Leaders’ Debates Commission and the GreenPAC Future Fund since January 1, 2019: (a) what are the details of all contracts including (i) the date signed, (ii) the original contract value, (iii) the final contract value, if different than the original value, (iv) the start and end date, (v) the specific goods or services provided, (vi) whether the contract was sole-sourced or competitively bid; and (b) in the interest of neutrality, does the Leader’s Debates Commission have a policy against entering into contracts with registered third parties, and, if so, why was such a policy not applied when awarding the contracts in (a)?Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, with regard to contracts entered into between the Leaders’ Debates Commission, or LDC, and the GreenPAC Future Fund since January 1, 2019, the response from LDC is as follows. The response to (a) is as follows: (i) October 3, 2019; (ii) $26,500; (iii) $26,500; (iv) October 3, 2019 – March 31, 2020; (v) The contractor provided services to contribute to the LDC’s evaluation of the leaders’ debates organized by the commission, and to the commission’s report to Parliament. In particular, the contractor was mandated to design, implement and distribute surveys for local debate organizers and for local debate attendees. These surveys included questions relating to respondents' views on the local debates, as well as the national leaders' debates; (vi) sole-sourced.
In response to (b), the commission does not have a policy against entering into contracts with registered third parties. The fact that an organization has a contractual arrangement with the commission for specific deliverables does not impede its ability to register under the Canada Elections Act. The contractor was required to adhere to the Government of Canada’s definition of non-partisan communications in the carrying out of the contract deliverables.
The commission’s decision-making is guided by the pursuit of public interest and by the principles of independence, impartiality, transparency, creditability, democratic citizenship, civic education, inclusion and cost-effectiveness.Question No. 626--Mr. Mark Strahl
With regard to the implementation of amendments to the Canada Labour Code adopted by the adoption of Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, and broken down by department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity: (a) has an harassment policy compliant with the Canada Labour Code, as it applied on January 1, 2021, and the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations been developed and, if so, on what date; and (b) if the response in (a) is negative, or if the date in (a) is after January 1, 2021, why was the deadline not met?Mr. Greg Fergus (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and to the Minister of Digital Government, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, TBS released the new “Directive on the Prevention and Resolution of Workplace Harassment and Violence”, available at https://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=32671, in December 2020 in line with recent changes to the Canada Labour Code that apply to all federally regulated workplaces. The comprehensive directive requires organizations to better prevent and respond to harassment, and to provide support to those affected by harassment and violence in the federal public service. It also requires organizations to investigate, record and report all complaints of harassment and violence within their organizations.
As heads of their organizations, deputy ministers are responsible for the safety and well-being of their employees, including developing targeted policies on workplace harassment and violence that meet the standards set out in the Treasury Board directive, and that respond to Canada Labour Code regulations. Deputy ministers also implement these policies within their organizations, in line with their operational contexts.
TBS has been working with organizations to support the updating of each organization’s policies on workplace harassment and violence to meet those requirements outlined in the new Treasury Board directive and to respond to recent changes to the Canada Labour Code. Many organizations are reporting that they have implemented key elements of this new directive in their organizations, including updating their departmental policies and processes to receive new complaints and identifying new training for employees. Question No. 627--Ms. Rachael Harder
With regard to consultations by the Department of Canadian Heritage and reports that the government refused to give media outlets copies of consultation reports related to Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts: (a) why did the government refuse to give media outlets copies of the consultation reports; (b) who made the decision in (a), and how is that in keeping with the Prime Minister's promise of an "open and transparent" government; and (c) what are the details of all consultations the government made with stakeholders or the public related to the proposals in Bill C-10, including the (i) date, (ii) type of consultation (phone, request for written feedback, etc.), (iii) individual or organization consulted, (iv) summary of comments or feedback?Ms. Julie Dabrusin (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), as of April 16, 2021, Canadian Heritage has not received any media requests for consultation reports.
With regard to part (b), as of April 16, 2021, Canadian Heritage has not received any media requests for consultation reports.
With regard to part (c), Canadian Heritage consults with a wide range of stakeholders when developing policies and legislation. With respect to Bill C-10, the government completed broad consultations to inform the development of the proposed bill.
In the autumn of 2016, Canadian Heritage consulted with stakeholders across the country on supporting Canadian content in the digital era. The results from those consultations can be found at www.canada.ca/en/services/culture/consultations.html
In October of 2017, the Governor in Council requested that the CRTC create a report on the future of distribution models for broadcasting. The CRTC’s notice of consultation can be found at https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2017/2017-359.htm and the final report titled “Harnessing Change” can be found at https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/s15/
In 2018, the government appointed the broadcasting and telecommunications legislative review panel to study Canada’s communications legislation. The panel extensively consulted Canadians and over 2,000 parties submitted their views. Further information on the panel and its final report can be found at www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/110.nsf/eng/home
Following the publication of the panel’s report in January 2020, the minister and the department engaged with many stakeholders on the panel’s recommendations through various mechanisms, such as individual stakeholder meetings and roundtables.
Stakeholder engagement included creative industry associations, such as the Canadian Media Producers Association, CMPA, Association québécoise de la production médiatique, AQPM, Writers Guild of Canada, Coalition pour la diversité des expressions culturelles and the Motion Picture Association of Canada. It included large Canadian broadcasters and media groups, such as Quebecor, Bell Media, Rogers Media, Corus, Shaw and CBC/Radio-Canada. It included independent Canadian radio and television broadcasters, such as OutTV, Knowledge Network, Zoomer Media and CHEK TV. It included indigenous media organizations, such as APTN and Indigenous Screen Office. It included global media and technology companies, such as Netflix, Google/YouTube, Facebook and Amazon. It included funding organizations, such as Canada Media Fund and Creative BC. It included provinces and territories, and the Government of the United States of America.Question No. 628--Mr. David Sweet
With regard to the official position of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada that 37 percent of rural households in Canada have access to 50/10 megabits per second (Mbps) internet speeds: what is the actual proportion of rural households that do not have access to the 50/10 Mbps speeds that are claimed to be provided?Ms. Gudie Hutchings (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is making significant investments to ensure that all Canadians have access to the Internet speeds they need, no matter where they live in Canada.
In the past, broadband funding programs have targeted Internet speeds of 5/1 Mbps, which are the speeds necessary for single users and basic Internet usage. In 2019, 91.7% of rural residents had access to these speeds. However, demand for data and speeds has changed over time, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s, CRTC, current definition of broadband Internet is 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload as this is the speed that allows multiple users to undertake more data-intensive applications, such as streaming, at the same time. In 2019, only 37% of rural households had access to 50/10 Mbps unlimited. However by 2020, 50/10 Mbps was available to 45.6% of the population in rural areas. This was an improvement of nearly 10% in one year. This was achieved through a commitment to improve broadband from the federal government as well as the provinces, territories, Internet service providers and other partners.
The government recognizes that there is more work to be done to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas. Budget 2021 provides an additional $1 billion over six years, starting in 2021-22, to the universal broadband fund, UBF, bringing the fund to $2.75 billion to support a more rapid rollout of broadband projects. This is the largest investment in broadband in Canada’s history. The government’s investments will connect 98% of Canadians across the country to high-speed Internet by 2026, with the goal of connecting all Canadians by 2030. Recognizing the need for accelerated connectivity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UBF also accepted applications under a rapid response stream, RRS. RRS allocates $150 million to shovel-ready projects that will connect many rural and remote Canadians by the end of 2021. Announcements of successful recipients for the rapid response stream of the UBF are already under way. As of May 20, 2021, nearly $47 million in funding has been announced to connect over 30,000 households through RRS. The government has also announced an agreement with the province of Quebec to connect up to 150,000 households by the end of 2022. This agreement, known as Operation High Speed, is made possible through a shared investment of $826 million.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, ISED, and CRTC work collaboratively to actively maintain coverage maps and databases that provide a comprehensive understanding of the availability of telecommunications networks across Canada. In recent years, ISED and the CRTC have made significant improvements in the granularity of the broadband coverage information that is made available to the public. For example, household coverage data is now displayed along 250-metre road segments. These searchable maps and the underlying data for download can be found online at the National Broadband Internet Service Availability Map. Should discrepancies be noted, users should first contact the Internet service provider in question for initial verification. Once done, and if the information does appear to be inadequate, users can contact ISED for more information on next steps.
In addition, there are various tools available to Canadians that provide the ability to test their home Internet connections to ensure that they are getting what they are paying for. However, certain factors such as distance to the test server and strength of the in-home Wi-Fi signal, if connecting wirelessly, can impact these test results. The CRTC is currently undertaking a study on the performance of broadband sold to Canadians. More information is available at https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/rp200601/rp200601.htm.
Canadians who are concerned that they are not getting the Internet speeds that they pay for can bring their concerns to the attention of the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services, CCTS. This independent organization has been established to provide consumers and small businesses with recourse when they are unable to resolve disagreements with their telecommunications service providers. For more information concerning the CCTS, including how to file a complaint, Canadians can visit the CCTS website at www.ccts-cprst.ca or call toll-free at 1-888-221-1687.
Mr. Speaker, if the government's response to Questions Nos. 622, 624 and 625 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Question No. 622--Mr. Marty Morantz
With regard to expenditures on consulting by the government since January 1, 2016, broken down by year and by department, agency or other government entity: (a) what was the total amount spent on (i) training consultants (code 0446), (ii) information technology and telecommunications consultants (code 0473), (iii) management consulting (code 0491), (iv) other types of consultants or consulting, broken down by type and object code; and (b) for each response in (a), what is the total value of the expenditures that were awarded (i) competitively, (ii) sole-sourced?
(Return tabled)Question No. 624--Mr. Mark Strahl
With regard to government statistics on telecommunications, including Statistics Canada: (a) what is the total and mean GDP impact arising from rural communities and remote indigenous communities’ broadband connectivity, broken down by per capita and per community; and (b) what percentage of the spectrum from the (i) AWS-1, (ii) AWS-3, (iii) 600 MHz bands, that have been auctioned off to telecommunications providers remains unused (A) overall, (B) in urban and suburban areas, (C) in rural areas?
(Return tabled)Question No. 625--Mr. Mark Strahl
With regard to amendments to the Canada Labour Code that expand the application of the Code to cover ministerial staff and their employer, adopted in Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, and broken down by minister’s office, including the Office of the Prime Minister: (a) has each minister’s office developed a harassment policy compliant with the Canada Labour Code, as it applied on January 1, 2021, and the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations; (b) on what date was each policy listed in (a) adopted; (c) if the response in (a) is negative, or if the response in (b) is a date after January 1, 2021, why was the deadline not met; (d) does each minister’s office have (i) a health and safety representative, (ii) a work place health and safety committee, and, if so, who are they, identified by title; (e) has a work place assessment, required by section 5 of the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations, been conducted in each minister’s office and, if so, on what date; (f) have work place risk factors been identified in each minister’s office and, if so, (i) on what date, (ii) what risk factors were identified; (g) if the answer in (f) is negative, why have they not been identified; (h) has each minister, including the Prime Minister, taken the employer training required by subsection 12(6) of the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations and, if so, on what date; (i) if the response in (h) is negative, is the minister or Prime Minister currently scheduled to take the training and, if so, on what date; (j) who is the “designated recipient”, appointed under section 14 of the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations, for each minister’s office, including the Prime Minister’s office; and (k) has a list of persons who may act as investigators been developed or identified under paragraph 27(1)(a) of the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations for each minister’s office, including the Prime Minister’s office, and, if so, who is on the list?
Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.
Some hon. members: Agreed.