Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
Madam Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 1446, 1453, 1455 and 1456.
Question No. 1446—Mr. Eric Melillo
With regard to government subsidies for Volkswagen (VW) and the announcement in St. Thomas: (a) when was the timeline of decisions related to VW made and when were the offers sent or received; (b) did the government consider alternative companies to receive subsidies, and, if so, what (i) expressions of interest were received from other companies in this regard, (ii) monetary and non-monetary demands were received in each expression of interest; (c) what were the decision-making factors that the government weighed when making the VW commitment; (d) what additional non-monetary commitments were made to VW; and (e) has the government imposed any conditions on VW in relation to the sourcing of critical minerals and other raw materials from within Canada, and, if so, what are the conditions?Hon. François-Philippe Champagne (Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, with regard to parts (a) through (e), the government cannot release commercially sensitive details of the Volkswagen, PowerCo., project, including details concerning the negotiations, beyond what has already been made public. Additional information in response to the various parts of the question can be found below.
With regard to part (a), generally speaking, the government must complete several steps before it can fund a project. First, it conducts technical, financial and market due diligence of all projects for which applications were submitted. Once a project passes the due diligence assessment, officials engage with applicants to determine the conditions of agreed-on funding and create two key documents: a term sheet and a contribution agreement. Through these discussions, the government and the applicant agree upon a description of a project’s fundamental characteristics and identify expected commitments and benefits resulting from the project, such as job creation, research and development, R&D, and capital investments, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, IP preservation and employment targets related to gender, diversity and equity.
With respect to key milestones for PowerCo., Volkswagen announced on March 13, that it had chosen Canada as the location for its first overseas Gigafactory of its battery company PowerCo, SE. This news was shared on the Government of Canada’s web page: Canada and Ontario welcome historic investment from Volkswagen.
Following this announcement, on April 21, Volkswagen, PowerCo., Canada and the Province of Ontario released additional information about the project and the level of support agreed to secure this investment. More information on the PowerCo. project can be found on the web page: Volkswagen’s new electric vehicle battery plant will create thousands of new jobs.
With regard to part (b), before moving ahead with a project, the government conducts a project assessment covering key areas of consideration, such as the benefits the project can deliver in relation to the growth of Canadian firms, clusters and supply chains, while also evaluating the financial and market risk of proponents and their potential to meet demonstrable market demand.
To date, Canada has attracted 110 projects with $62.6 billion in total project expenditures. Of these 110 projects, 24 are in the auto and batteries sectors, and 21 are in the advanced manufacturing sectors. This information is publicly available on the web page: Projects: Strategic Innovation Fund.
With regard to part (c), decision-making factors are specific to agreements with PowerCo. They are subject to cabinet confidence, and the release of this information would negatively impact future negotiations. Overall, each project is assessed based on the Government of Canada’s priorities and the potential for the project to benefit the Canadian economy and Canadians at large. For example, under its business innovation and growth project segment, the strategic innovation fund, SIF, focuses on funding innovation projects that involve activities related to R&D and commercialization of innovative products, processes or services; support the expansion or material improvement of existing industrial or technological facilities; and support the establishment of new facilities or bring new ventures and production capabilities to Canada.
As indicated above, Canada also seeks commitments with respect to economic, public and innovation benefits when entering into a funding agreement with a company, such as job creation in Canada, R&D, capital investments, reduction of greenhouse gas, GHG, emissions, gender, diversity and equity targets, and preservation of intellectual property, IP, in Canada. Additional information can be found on the web page: Program Guide – Strategic Innovation Fund – D) What are eligible supported costs?
With respect to PowerCo., the decision to support both capital expenditures and production follows the government’s public commitment to facilitate the industrial transformation of the automotive sector to a net-zero future and take the actions needed to remain competitive.
With regard to part (e), as indicated, the government does stipulate expected commitments and benefits when negotiating funding agreements, including but not limited to job creation, R&D and capital investments, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, if applicable, IP preservation and targets related to gender, diversity and equity.Question No. 1453—Mrs. Stephanie Kusie
With regard to Employment Insurance sickness benefits, broken down by month since April 2020, and by province and territory: (a) how many claims have been received from individuals impacted by the long term effects of COVID-19; and (b) how many of the claims in (a) were granted?Mr. Irek Kusmierczyk (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, there is no requirement under the Employment Insurance Act to provide the nature of an illness in order to receive sickness benefits and Service Canada does not request this information. As such, this information/data is not available.Question No. 1455—Mr. Michael Barrett
With regard to the statement by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development on April 25, 2023, in the House that "The law dictates what is an essential service, and passports are not considered essential under the law.": what is the specific law and subsection which dictates that passports are not considered essential?Ms. Ya’ara Saks (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act defines an essential service as follows: “Definitions 4 (1) The following definitions apply in this Part:
Essential service means a service, facility or activity of the Government of Canada that is or will be, at any time, necessary for the safety or security of the public or a segment of the public.
Essential services agreement means an agreement between the employer and the bargaining agent for a bargaining unit that identifies: (a) the types of positions in the bargaining unit that are necessary for the employer to provide essential services; (b) the number of those positions that are necessary for that purpose; and (c) the specific positions that are necessary for that purpose.”
As such, essential services were identified, and an essential service agreement reached, with the applicable bargaining agents using the above noted Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act definition.
Essential services remain available for clients in the U.S. and abroad and domestic clients experiencing humanitarian and/or emergency situations defined as: passport clients at risk of financial hardship; passport clients who rely on travel as a source of employment, and their income security will be jeopardized; passport clients who must travel for medical reasons, or have had a death or illness in the family; and passport clients whose situation is deemed urgent on compassionate grounds.
Requests that do not meet the definition of humanitarian and/or emergency situations are not considered essential as they are not necessary for the safety or security of the public or a segment of the public.Question No. 1456—Mr. Adam Chambers
With regard to claims made by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development in the House related to child care: (a) what specific data and information was used to make the claim on November 16, 2022, that "Ontario has had 92 percent of licensed child care providers sign on"; (b) what specific data and information was used to make the claim on January 30, 2023, that "almost all of them have reduced fees by 50 percent" in reference to the provinces and territories; (c) what specific data and information was used to make the claim on February 6, 2023, that "an additional 20,000 child care spaces, which are going to be created in Alberta. That is in addition to the 42,500 that were already announced"; and (d) what is the list of providers that (i) have, (ii) have not, signed on in Ontario to support the claim in (a)?Ms. Ya’ara Saks (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), in budget 2021, the Government of Canada committed to providing provinces and territories with over $27 billion over five years to build a Canada-wide early learning and child care, ELCC, system. As part of this system, the Government of Canada negotiated a series of Canada-wide ELCC agreements with each of the provinces and territories, including an asymmetrical agreement with Quebec, that would provide federal funding to help provinces and territories work toward achieving the goals of the multilateral framework on ELCC within their jurisdictions.
The specific implementation of these ELCC agreements falls within the legislative authorities of the provinces and territories, in accordance with their own unique ELCC systems. In the case of Ontario, the provincial government offered licensed child care operators the choice to opt in to a series of provincially developed regulations in order to qualify for funding under Ontario’s Canada-wide system. The deadline for licensed child care operators in Ontario to opt in to this provincial system was originally September 1, 2022, later extended by the province to November 1, 2022.
Subsequent to the November 1 deadline, in the course of regular discussions between officials, Ontario’s Ministry of Education informed the Federal Secretariat on ELCC that an estimated 92% of licensed child care providers within the province had opted in to the provincial Canada-wide program. While it was this direct communication from the Government of Ontario that formed the basis of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development’s knowledge, it is worth noting that this 92% figure was also reported publicly by the Canadian Press on November 7, 2022, more than a week in advance of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development’s statement in the House. Since then, Ontario has also published its Early Years and Child Care Annual Report for 2022, which confirms that as of November 1, 2022, 92% of licensed providers had opted into the Canada-wide program.
With regard to part (b), as of January 30, 2023, four provinces and territories were delivering regulated child care for $10 a day or less within their jurisdictions. This included Nunavut, which achieved the milestone on December 1, 2022, Newfoundland and Labrador, which achieved the milestone on January 1, 2023, as well as Yukon and Quebec, both of which were already providing $10-a-day or less regulated child care prior to the signing of their Canada-wide agreements.
Of the remaining provinces and territories, only one had not achieved an average fee reduction of at least 50% by January 30, 2023. A list of fee reduction averages and their public announcement date as of January 30, 2023, is as follows: Manitoba: 30% reduction on average, February 3, 2022; Nova Scotia: 50% reduction on average, November 28, 2022; Prince Edward Island: 50% reduction on average, December 16, 2022; New Brunswick: 50% reduction on average, April 25, 2022; Ontario: 50% reduction on average, December 19, 2022; Alberta: 50% reduction on average, November 26, 2021; British Columbia: 50% reduction on average, December 2, 2022; Northwest Territories: 50% reduction on average, March 3, 2022; and Saskatchewan: 70% reduction on average, August 11, 2022.
While the methods used to achieve these fee reductions vary based on the unique characteristics of each province and territory’s ELCC system, such as fee caps, direct subsidies to parents or a combination of methods, the determination of reduction level is based on a comparison to fee levels in 2019, or 2020 for Ontario, in accordance with its agreement. In each case, provinces and territories provide data to the Federal Secretariat on ELCC in advance of each announcement.
With regard to part (c), on January 31, 2023, a week prior to the February 6 date cited in the written question, the governments of Canada and Alberta publicly announced the successful completion of a cost control framework and for-profit expansion plan for child care within the province of Alberta. The information can be found at the following web page https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2023/01/new-cost-control-framework-to-support-the-growth-of-22500-additional-quality-child-care-spaces-in-alberta.html.
This framework was designed to build upon the province’s existing, successful approach to working with the private sector to guide how federal funds would be used to support the development of an additional 22,500 new child care spaces among Alberta’s for-profit child care providers over the remainder of the Canada-wide ELCC agreement. In total, Alberta has now committed to the creation of a total of 68,700 new licensed child care spaces by the end of March 2026, which will greatly enhance the availability of affordable, high-quality child care spaces in the province. The framework was formalized as an amendment to the Canada-wide ELCC agreement with Alberta, and can be found at the following web page: https://www.canada.ca/en/early-learning-child-care-agreement/agreements-provinces-territories/alberta-canada-wide-2021/amendment.html#h2.03.
With regard to part (d), as ELCC is a matter of provincial and territorial jurisdiction, the Federal Secretariat on ELCC does not track data below the provincial or territorial level. A list denoting which of Ontario’s more than 5,500 child care centres and 139 licensed home child care agencies have opted in to the Canada-wide system would fall within the constitutional authority of Ontario’s Ministry of Education. Some of this information could also be available at the municipal level, for example, the City of Toronto provides on its website a list of licensed child care centres participating in the Canada-wide system, at the following web page: https://www.toronto.ca/data/children/dmc/a2z/a2za.html. This is likewise a matter of provincial and territorial jurisdiction.
Madam Speaker, if the government's response to Questions Nos. 1447 to 1452, 1454 and 1457 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès): Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Question No. 1447—Mrs. Kelly Block
With regard to the COVID-19 vaccine doses procured by the government: (a) how many doses purchased are known to have (i) been lost or stolen, (ii) expired, broken down by manufacturer; and (b) what are the details of each instance where doses were lost or stolen, including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) number of doses, (iii) manufacturer, (iv) location, (v) incident summary?
(Return tabled)Question No. 1448—Mr. Colin Carrie
With regard to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Health Canada (HC): (a) did PHAC or HC receive or become aware of documents related to Pfizer-BioNTech which were the subject of a court order requiring their release to the public starting around January 6, 2022; (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, (i) when did the government receive them, (ii) which department or agency reviewed them, (iii) what conclusions and recommendations were arrived at, (iv) was a risk versus benefit analysis conducted after the review, and, if so, what were the findings, (v) when did the review commence and finish; (c) did PHAC or HC receive or become aware of the document titled: “5.3.6 CUMULATIVE ANALYSIS OF POST-AUTHORIZATION ADVERSE EVENT REPORTS OF PF-07302048 (BNT162B2) RECEIVED THROUGH 28-FEB-2021”, and, if so, (i) on what date did PHAC or HC review the document, (ii) what were the conclusions and recommendations that resulted from the review of the document, (iii) when did the review commence and finish, (iv) which Canadian federal health agency was assigned to review this document and when; (d) what are PHAC’s and HC’s latest warnings or instructions to health care professionals who advise Canadians about the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine; (e) do the warnings or instructions in (d) consider the adverse events of special interest identified in the Pfizer study; and (f) will the government notify Canadians about the events in (d)?
(Return tabled)Question No. 1449—Mr. Dan Mazier
With regard to the Centre for Rural Economic Development: (a) where is the Centre for Rural Economic Development headquartered; (b) how many full time equivalents are employed by the Centre for Rural Economic Development; (c) what are the classifications and job titles of each employee in (b); (d) how many rural communities have contacted the Centre for Rural Economic Development, broken down by community and fiscal year; (e) how many issues raised with the Centre for Rural Economic Development were deemed (i) resolved, (ii) unresolved; (f) what was the total annual budget and the forecasted budget for each fiscal year between 2019-20 and 2025-26; (g) what is the annual spending, broken down by year and by standard object, from 2019-20 to 2022-23; (h) what is the amount of spending on internal services or overhead, broken down by year, between 2019-20 and 2022-23; and (i) what are the latest performance indicators and results?
(Return tabled)Question No. 1450—Mr. Dan Mazier
With regard to the connectivity (i.e. internet, cellular, broadband, etc.) funding announced by the government since November 4, 2015, broken down by company: (a) what is the total amount of money announced to date for Bell Canada, Telus Communications Inc., Rogers Communications Inc., and their subsidiaries, for connectivity under the (i) CRTC Broadband Fund, (ii) Strategic Innovation Fund, (iii) Universal Broadband Fund, (iv) Connect to Innovate program, (v) First Nation Infrastructure Fund, (vi) Canada Infrastructure Bank, (vii) Investing in Canada Plan; and (b) of the amounts in each subsection in (a), how much has been transferred?
(Return tabled)Question No. 1451—Mr. Dan Mazier
With regard to government funding for satellite internet service companies, since November 4, 2015: (a) what is the total amount of money that has been (i) announced for, (ii) transferred to, Kepler Communications Inc. or its subsidiaries, broken down by program; (b) what are the details of each funding announcement or transfer in (a), including the (i) date of the announcement, (ii) amount announced, (iii) project description, including the location, (iv) program, (v) date the funding was transferred, (vi) amount of the transfer; (c) what is the total amount of money that has been (i) announced for, (ii) transferred to, Starlink and its parent company Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), or any subsidiaries, broken down by program; and (d) what are the details of each funding announcement or transfer in (c), including the (i) date of the announcement, (ii) amount announced, (iii) project description, including the location, (iv) program, (v) date the funding was transferred, (vi) amount of the transfer?
(Return tabled)Question No. 1452—Mr. Damien C. Kurek
With regard to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): (a) how many businesses received loans under CEBA and were later deemed ineligible for the loans, broken down by province or territory; and (b) what mechanisms are available for businesses to (i) appeal or challenge a decision of ineligibility, (ii) provide information to demonstrate that a decision of ineligibility was made in error?
(Return tabled)Question No. 1454—Mr. Michael Barrett
With regard to the special rapporteur tasked with assessing the extent and impact of foreign interference in Canada's electoral processes: what are the details of all meetings the rapporteur has had related to foreign interference since March 15, 2023, including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) names and titles of each attendee, (iii) location?
(Return tabled)Question No. 1457—Mrs. Rachael Thomas
With regard to requests made by the government to Google since January 1, 2016, broken down by department, agency, or other government entity: what are the details of all requests, including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) title of who made the request, (iii) reason for the request, (iv) summary of the request, (v) title of who received the request, (vi) resulting action (request granted, denied, etc.)?
Madam Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès): Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
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