Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 853, 855 and 861 to 864.
Question No. 853—Mr. Adam Chambers
With regard to the Shared Equity Mortgage Providers (SEMP) Fund: (a) how much of the $100 million fund has been distributed to date; (b) how many applications for the SEMP Fund have been (i) received, (ii) approved, (iii) denied, (iv) received, but a decision is still pending; (c) how many new home units receiving SEMP funding (i) have been completed, (ii) are currently under construction; and (d) what is the breakdown of (c)(i) and (ii) by province or territory and by municipal area?Ms. Soraya Martinez Ferrada (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion (Housing), Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, in response to part (a), as of September 30, 2022, under the shared equity mortgage providers, or SEMP, $28.95 million has been committed to date, of which $5 million has been advanced.
In response to part (b), eight applications for SEMP have been received; seven have been approved with a signed letter of agreement, of those two are at the advanced status where we disbursed the funding; one has been denied; and zero are received but pending.
In response to part (c), the program offers to eligible proponents repayable loans from one of two possible funding streams. Preconstruction loans, or stream one, offers funding for preconstruction cost loans to commence new housing projects in which shared equity mortgages will be provided to homebuyers via SEMPs. Shared equity mortgages, or stream two, offers loans to SEMPs to fund shared equity mortgages that they provide directly to first-time homebuyers.
SEMP is not a construction financing program and as such we do not have a view on the stage of construction for projects supported by the program.
In response to part (d), our financial commitments to date under the SEMP program will support the creation of 1,018 new home ownership units, which are all located in Toronto, Ontario. Question No. 855—Mrs. Laila Goodridge
With regard to the government's response to the nationwide shortage of children's pain and fever medications, including children's Tylenol, Advil, Motrin and other medications: (a) when did Health Canada first become aware of the shortage; (b) does the government have any firm commitment or timelines from the manufacturers as to when the shortage will be resolved, and, if so, what are the details; (c) does the government foresee the current shortage as a one-time supply problem, or an ongoing issue for years to come; and (d) what is Health Canada's position with regard to substituting adult pain and fever medication when children's medication is not available?Mr. Adam van Koeverden (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and to the Minister of Sport, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, in response to part (a) of the question, addressing the shortage of pediatric and children’s analgesics, ibuprofen and acetaminophen, is a top priority for the government and Health Canada. The department shares the concerns of many parents and caregivers, understands how important these products are to treat fever and pain in infants and children, and is committed to doing its part to address the situation.
Addressing drug shortages is a multistakeholder responsibility. It requires collaborative action from manufacturers, distributors, health care system partners and professionals, provinces and territories, and the federal government. When a national drug shortage occurs, Health Canada works closely with these stakeholders to determine the details and status of the shortage, coordinate information sharing and identify mitigation strategies, which may include regulatory measures to accelerate resupply if possible.
Health Canada first became aware of supply concerns of pediatric and children’s analgesics in the spring of 2022. The department engaged the major manufacturers of these products, as well as the industry association Food, Health and Consumer Products of Canada, or FHCP, for information on these supply concerns. It was expected at that time that these products would face some intermittent and sporadic supply issues, but that stock-outs were not anticipated. The supply situation was expected to improve over the summer as manufacturers ramped up production. However, over the summer months, there was an unprecedented and unexpected demand for these products and companies were unable to produce enough to meet demand, causing a shortage.
With regard to part (b), since the shortage began, Health Canada has been in regular communication with manufacturers of these products, the provinces and territories, pharmacy associations, children’s hospitals, the Canadian Paediatric Society, associations representing consumers and retail companies. All stakeholders have been working together to increase supply and to help address demand. The Minister of Health has spoken to stakeholders to reiterate the urgent need to collaborate and mobilize to find immediate solutions to this shortage.
In response to the unprecedented demand, manufacturers have assured Health Canada that they have increased production, some producing at record levels, with additional work under way to further increase production. To supplement this increased supply, we have secured foreign supply of children’s acetaminophen that will be available for sale at retail and in community pharmacies in the coming weeks. The amount to be imported will increase supply available to consumers and will help address the immediate situation. Health Canada has also approved the importation of tens of thousands of units of children’s ibuprofen and infant acetaminophen for use in hospitals. The importation of ibuprofen has occurred and distribution has begun. Health Canada is working closely with manufacturers on proposals to also increase supply in retail settings.
The government is also working to help ease pressures created by the increased demand for these products. Health Canada is convening partners from across the retail landscape to promote strategies that preserve equitable access to these products and to communicate guidance on their safe use. The focus is on promoting the best possible use of Canada’s existing supply, while work continues to increase and stabilize supply.
While Health Canada works to bring an end to this shortage as soon as possible, it is also prioritizing public communication by providing information and advice to Canadians on what they can do and to discourage buying more medicine than is needed. This was done via a Departmental statement, a public advisory and a web page dedicated to the analgesic shortages. Health Canada has also convened stakeholders in the hospital and retail sectors to better understand pressure points of demand and develop strategies to support broader access.
In response to part (c), it is difficult at this time to forecast whether this will be an ongoing issue for years to come. The department will continue to actively engage key stakeholders to help mitigate the effects of this shortage as it does in managing all shortages of critical concern. All options remain on the table, and the department has been using the tools at its disposal, including approving the importation of foreign products to increase supply and working closely with companies authorized to supply the Canadian market to ramp up production, where possible. The department will continue to keep Canadians informed.
With regard to part (d), the practice of medicine is regulated by the provincial and territorial governments. Health Canada regulates the manufacturing of drugs, including over-the-counter pain and fever medication, under the Food and Drugs Act and the food and drug regulations. Health Canada advises parents and caregivers to speak with a health care professional in cases where they are unable to find pain and fever medications for their children. As with all medications, it is important that children are given the appropriate dose as directed to ensure the safe use of medication. Improper dosing of medication can result in serious harm. Parents and caregivers must always carefully read and understand the information on the product label especially when a new medication is given to a child. This information was communicated in a public advisory, in which Health Canada advised parents and caregivers not to use adult fever and pain medications in children under 12 years of age without consulting a health care professional, as there is a serious risk of overdosing, especially when administering acetaminophen, and a risk of liver injury in infants and children.Question No. 861—Mr. James Bezan
With regard to the statement during Oral Questions on April 7, 2022, by the former Minister of Public Services and Procurement that "With respect to Supermax, following allegations of forced labour from the supplier, we terminated all contracts with the supplier. In fact, as soon as we heard these allegations, we stopped shipments from entering Canada": (a) on what date was the government informed of the forced labour allegations; (b) on what date did the government terminate all contracts with Supermax Corporation Berhad and its subsidiaries, including Supermax Healthcare Canada; (c) on what date was the order made to stop all shipments from entering Canada and what form did the order take; (d) is the order in (c) still in place, and, if not, when did it end; (e) how many shipments have been stopped to date; (f) what are the details of all stopped shipments, including the (i) date it was stopped, (ii) inventory of shipment, including product description and volume; and (g) does the government currently have any contracts or arrangements in place with distributors providing Supermax products, and, if so, what are the details, including the (i) name of supplier or vendor, (ii) product they are supplying, (iii) contract value, (iv) date the contract was signed, (v) reasons why the government did not terminate the contract or agreement?Mr. Anthony Housefather (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, in response to part (a) of the question, on October 21, 2021, PSPC learned from media reports that the United States Customs and Border Protection had issued an order that prohibits imports from Supermax based on reasonable information that indicated the use of forced labour in the company's manufacturing operations in Malaysia.
In response to part (b), all active contracts for Supermax that were managed by PSPC had their shipments suspended on October 25, 2021, and were terminated on January 17, 2022.
In response to part (c), on October 25, 2021, PSPC communicated to Supermax Healthcare Canada that it remained concerned about the risk of forced labor and poor working conditions abroad, seeking an explanation in regard to the media reports of allegations of the use of forced labor. In light of this new allegation, PSPC requested Supermax Healthcare Canada suspend all future deliveries until Canada was satisfied that its contracted gloves were produced without forced labor.
In response to parts (d), (e) and (f), PSPC did not produce an order. PSPC asked Supermax Healthcare Canada to suspend all future deliveries until Canada was satisfied that its contracted gloves were produced without forced labor. On December 16, 2021, Supermax Healthcare Canada provided Canada a summary response to the findings of the first of four audit reports. This audit was conducted at the Malaysian sites by an independent firm. Canada reviewed the report and did not believe it had sufficient information to fully assess the matter. Rather than waiting for the full audit report, which was due in April 2022, on December 22, 2021, Canada and Supermax Healthcare Canada mutually agreed to proceed with a termination of contracts. Contracts were terminated on January 17, 2022.
In response to part (g), this information is not available in the acquisition information system. In order to be able to identify any contracts or arrangements in place with distributors providing Supermax products, a manual review of existing contracts would be required. This work could not be completed in the time allotted to respond to the question. Question No. 862—Mrs. Tracy Gray
With regard to the Canada Digital Adoption Program: (a) what is the number of businesses which have applied, as of October 5, 2022, to the (i) Grow Your Business Online stream, (ii) Boost Your Business Technology stream; (b) what is the total number of businesses which have received funding or assistance through each of the (i) Grow Your Business Online stream, (ii) Boost Your Business Technology stream; (c) what is the number of students hired, as of October 5, 2022, via the (i) Grow Your Business Online stream, (ii) Boost Your Business Technology stream, broken down by week since April 6, 2022; and (d) of the $ 47,122,734 value of the contracts allocated to Magnet to administer the Boost Your Business Technology stream for the 2022-23 fiscal year, what is the dollar amount that has so far been provided to Magnet, broken down by week since April 1, 2022?Mr. Arif Virani (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, regarding part (a)(i) of the question, as of September 30, 2022, 5,225 small businesses have applied for a grant to the grow your business online stream. Data is reported on a monthly basis and cannot be broken down by a specific day or week; therefore, the number of businesses that have applied is as of September 30.
Regarding part (a)(ii), as of October 5, 2022, 5,584 businesses have applied for the boost your business technology stream.
Regarding part (b)(i), as of September 30, 2022, 1,469 small businesses have received funding or signed a grant agreement through the grow your business online stream. Data is reported on a monthly basis and cannot be broken down by a specific day or week; therefore, the number of businesses that have applied is as of September 30.
Regarding part (b)(ii), as of October 5, 2022, 8,514 businesses completed the digital needs assessment tool, which provides them with an evaluation of their digital readiness and maturity and suggests areas of focus for their digital transformation. The Canada digital adoption program’s boost your business technology stream also provided grant funding to 501 businesses to cover the cost of retaining a digital advisory firm to create a tailor-made digital adoption plan for their business.
With regard to part (c)(i), as of September 30, 2022, 577 e-commerce advisers have been hired under the grow your business online stream. Data is reported on a monthly basis and cannot be broken down by a specific day or week; therefore, the number of businesses that have applied is as of September 30.
Regarding part (c)(ii), the time required for an SME to complete a tailored digital adoption plan with a digital adviser under the boost your business technology stream can take between four to six months. Due to this, only recently have there been requests for youth work placements. Additionally, the youth adviser component is an optional part of the program, as such not every business will request a youth placement. Magnet’s management fees are capped at 12%.
While no student hires have been concluded as of October 5, 2022, numerous businesses were active on the Magnet matching portal. One hundred requests from businesses had been made for youth work placements. Demand for boost your business technology work placements is increasing each month, reflecting the growing number of businesses that have completed digital adoption plans and become eligible for placement referral.
With regard to part (d), the first payment was made to Magnet on October 3, 2022, for $1,271,866.98.Question No. 863—Mr. Mike Lake
With regard to the commitment by the Prime Minister in the 2021 Liberal election platform to establish a Canada mental health transfer (CMHT): (a) why did the government not fulfill the commitment on page 75 of the platform indicating that the government would provide $250 million to the transfer in the 2021-22 fiscal year; and (b) will the government be providing $625 million to the transfer in the 2022-23 fiscal year as stated in the platform and, if not, why not?Mrs. Élisabeth Brière (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, supporting the mental health and substance use care needs of Canadians is a top priority for the government.
The government reaffirmed in budget 2022 its commitment to engaging with provinces and territories to inform the development of the Canada mental health transfer, or CMHT. When established, the CMHT will build on the significant investment of $5 billion over 10 years that is currently being provided to provinces and territories to expand access to mental health and addiction services, which represents $600 million per year until 2027. The CMHT will assist jurisdictions to expand the delivery of high-quality, accessible mental health services across Canada.
In support of this objective, the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions has also undertaken and continues to engage with a wide variety of partners, stakeholders and Canadians with lived or living experience through meetings and round tables to gather views to inform the development of the transfer, as well as a comprehensive and evidence-based mental health and substance use strategy.
At the November 7 to 8 health ministers’ meeting in Vancouver, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions engaged provinces and territories on critical issues to improve health care, including addressing health human resources challenges, health data and digital health, and integrated mental health and substance use services.
Canadians deserve better access to family health services as well as mental health and substance use services. The discussions at the health ministers’ meeting are going to inform health funding discussions going forward. Question No. 864—Mr. Eric Melillo
With regard to Bill C-19, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022 and other measures, which received Royal Assent on June 23, 2022, and which included amendments to the Special Economic Measures Act, allowing for the forfeiture of assets and property of sanctioned individuals and entities, by the government: (a) how many applications for forfeiture have been made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs since June 23, 2022; (b) what individuals or entities were the subject of such forfeiture applications; (c) from which countries did these individuals or entities originate; (d) what was the total value of assets and property that was the subject of such forfeiture applications; (e) have any court proceedings been initiated as a result of such forfeiture applications, and, if so, what are the details; and (f) have any individuals or governments been compensated with the assets seized under such forfeiture applications, and, if so, what are the details including who was compensated and how much was provided?Hon. Robert Oliphant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, the following reflects a consolidated response approved on behalf of Global Affairs Canada ministers.
In response to parts (a) to (f) of the question, Canada and its G7 and other allies jointly decided to take further steps to isolate Russia from the international financial system and impose consequences for its actions, including by establishing the Russian elites, proxies and oligarchs, or REPO, task force. Following the March 16, 2022, meeting of the REPO task force, G7 finance ministers released a joint statement outlining their commitment to take all available legal steps to find, restrain, freeze and, where appropriate, seize, confiscate or forfeit the assets of individuals and entities that have been sanctioned in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This commitment seeks to target the assets of key sanctioned Russian elites and proxies.
Canada moved rapidly and is the first country in the G7 to implement the REPO commitment, further demonstrating Canada’s leadership role in the response to Putin’s unjustified and illegal war in Ukraine. The budget implementation act, which received royal asset on June 23, 2022, established the new asset seizure and forfeiture authorities as part of Canada’s overall sanctions regime, through designated changes to the Special Economic Measures Act and the Justice for Victims of Foreign Corrupt Officials Act. These changes provide authorities to allow Canadian courts to order seized or restrained property in Canada that is owned, held or controlled by sanctioned individuals and entities to be forfeited to the Government of Canada. Funds resulting from asset forfeiture may be used to compensate victims of human rights abuses, restore international peace and security or rebuild affected states.
Since the enactment of these legislative changes, a whole-of-government effort has been under way to operationalize the new authorities and move forward with respect to the first potential seizure of assets.
At present, the government is actively engaged in identifying and analyzing potential target assets, including building solid evidentiary packages to support seizure and forfeiture orders. Such steps are crucial to the successful implementation of this new regime.
Mr. Speaker, if the government's responses to Questions Nos. 851, 852, 854 and 857 to 860 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.
The Speaker: Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Question No. 851—Mrs. Kelly Block
With regard to the Canada Border Services Agency's reduced hours of operation at land ports of entry, broken down by each port of entry: (a) what were the hours of operation in 2019; (b) what are the current hours of operation; and (c) on what date will each port of entry with reduced operating hours compared to 2019 have their hours restored to pre-pandemic levels?
(Return tabled)Question No. 852—Mrs. Kelly Block
With regard to polling conducted by the government since January 1, 2022: what are the details of each poll conducted by the government, including the (i) date conducted, (ii) subject matter, (iii) vendor having conducted the poll, (iv) type of poll (online, phone, etc.), (v) number of individuals polled, (vi) demographics of who was polled, (vii) questions asked, (viii) results?
(Return tabled)Question No. 854—Mr. Dave MacKenzie
With regard to overpayments made by the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP) since 2014, broken down by year: (a) what is the total value of overpayments made by the PSPP; (b) how many retirees received overpayments; (c) of the amount in (a), how much (i) has since been recovered, (ii) has since been forgiven, (iii) is still outstanding; and (d) what is the breakdown of (a) through (c) by department or agency of the recipient's last place of work and by employment levels (EX, AS, etc.), if known?
(Return tabled)Question No. 857—Mr. Stephen Ellis
With regard to Health Canada's position on the practice of repackaging single use medications to treat macular degeneration, since 2016: (a) does Health Canada allow the practice; (b) what risks does Health Canada recognize as existing with the practice; (c) has Health Canada studied the risks associated with the practice related to (i) sterility, (ii) cold chain protection, (iii) ultraviolet light protection, (iv) accurate dosing, (v) contamination, (vi) transportation issues, and, if so, what were the findings related to each risk; (d) has Health Canada or the Minister of Health received any warnings or correspondence indicating or suggesting that the practice is occurring in Canada, and, if so, what are the details, including the (i) date, (ii) author of the warning or correspondence, (iii) summary of warning or correspondence, (iv) recipient, (v) summary of response given by Health Canada or the Minister's office; and (e) for each warning or correspondence that was received in (d), what follow-up action was taken?
(Return tabled)Question No. 858—Mr. John Nater
With regard to Sport Canada: (a) what are the details of all gifts, including sports tickets, received by officials at Sport Canada since January 1, 2018, including for each the (i) date given (ii) description, (iii) quantity, (iv) value per unit, (v) total value, (vi) title of recipients; and (b) for all gifts that were tickets or included tickets, what are the details of the event, including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) description of event, (iii) location, (iv) sport, if applicable, (v) league or sports organization putting on the event, if applicable, (vi) recipient, (vii) quantity of tickets, (viii) total value of tickets?
(Return tabled)Question No. 859—Mr. Rob Morrison
With regard to contracts signed by the government since January 1, 2020, related to the Roxham Road border crossing: what are the details of all such contracts, including, for each, (i) the date, (ii) the vendor, (iii) the value, (iv) a description of goods or services, including volume, (v) whether the contract was awarded through a sole-sourced contract or competitive bid process?
(Return tabled)Question No. 860—Mr. Richard Bragdon
With regard to the government's decision not to list the whole of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist entity: has the government been lobbied or had any meetings with entities who advocated in favour of the IRGC being allowed to operate in Canada and advocated against the IRGC being listed as a terrorist entity since January 1, 2019, and, if so, what are the details of all such meetings, including, the (i) date, (ii) titles and organizations or who attended, from both the government and third party sides, (iii) location, (iv) summary of what happened at the meeting?
Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.
The Speaker: Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.