Madam Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 448, 451, 452 and 454.
Question No. 448—Mrs. Anna Roberts
With regard to companies that went bankrupt after receiving the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS): (a) how many companies that received CEWS have since gone bankrupt; (b) what is the total amount of CEWS funding received by the companies in (a); (c) how many of the companies in (a) owed back taxes to the Canada Revenue Agency when they were sent the CEWS payments; (d) what was the total amount of back taxes owed by such companies; (e) what are the names of the companies that owed back taxes; and (f) how much did each company in (e) owe when they were sent CEWS funding?Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, with respect to the above-noted question, what follows is the response from the CRA for the period April 26, 2020 to March 29, 2022, the date of the question.
In response to part (a), the term “employer” in this context includes, but is not limited to, the following per the CEWS eligibility criteria: corporations, partnerships, proprietorships, charities, non-profit organizations, etc.
Based on the information available to the CRA, of the 446,871 employers who received payments under the Canada emergency wage subsidy, CEWS, 750 employers, or 0.16%, have subsequently filed for bankruptcy proceedings.
In response to part (b), based on the information available to the CRA, of the $100.65 billion in subsidies approved under the Canada emergency wage subsidy, CEWS, the total amount of CEWS payments received by the employers identified in part (a) is $145,928,476, or 0.14%.
In response to part (c), eligible employers’ entitlement to this wage subsidy is based on a decline in their revenues and the salary or wages actually paid to employees. For the above-noted 750 employers in part (a), 352 owed back taxes to the CRA when they were sent the CEWS payments. The Canada emergency wage subsidy was a key measure to ensure that workers were able to count on a source of income through the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to part (d), the total amount of back taxes owed by the employers identified in part (c) was $25,926,888.04.
In response to parts (e) and (f), as the protection of the taxpayer information is of utmost importance, the confidentiality provisions of the acts administered by the CRA prevent the disclosure of taxpayer information related to specific cases.Question No. 451—Mr. Frank Caputo
With regard to the backlog of disability benefit claims at Veterans Affairs Canada: (a) what is the number of first applications where veterans are also waiting for a positive decision that will allow them access to delivery of health care treatment, as of March 29, 2022; and (b) where did the 16-week service standard related to the process for receiving disability benefits come from?Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, in response to part (a), as of March 31, 2022, the total number of pending disability benefit applications, i.e., first applications, reassessments and departmental reviews, was 30,825. Of this total, 11,619 were beyond the 16-week service standard.
Of the overall total, 23,181 were first applications pending for disability benefits, of which 10,956 were beyond the 16-week service standard.
In response to part (b), on September 15, 1995, Veterans Affairs Canada assumed the administration of disability pensions from the Canadian Pension Commission. The inherited turnaround time from the commission was 36 months.
Within approximately one year of assuming responsibility, Veterans Affairs Canada was able to reduce the service standard to 24 months based on improved performance.
Over time, the service standard decreased to reflect operational improvements: first to 18 months, then 12 months, then nine months, and eventually to six months or 24 weeks.
On April 1, 2011, Veterans Affairs Canada reduced the service standard from 24 to 16 weeks. The rationale was that veterans’ applications were better prepared than in the past and the process had been streamlined as part of transformation upgrades. At this time, Veterans Affairs Canada began calculating the service standard from the date the applicant provided all of the required information, i.e., a complete application.
In 2014-15, Veterans Affairs Canada further reduced the service standard to 12 weeks. This was done prior to the increase in applications from those who served in peacekeeping missions and Afghanistan. The performance against the 12-week service standard was 64%.
As the department was unable to achieve the 12-week service standard and was seeing a continued rise in applications, it reinstated the 16-week service standard in 2015-16.
The 16-week service standard applies to first applications and reassessments, while departmental reviews have a service standard of 12 weeks.Question No. 452—Mr. Frank Caputo
With regard to the backlog of applications at Veterans Affairs Canada: what are the average and median wait times of (i) first applications, (ii) second applications, (iii) "red-zoned" applications?Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, the following are the requested wait times for applications completed from April 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021. The wait times are measured in weeks from the service standard of 16 weeks start date to the decision date.
The average and median wait times for disability benefit applications are as follows. For first applications, the average was 41.9 weeks and the median was 26.1 weeks. For reassessments, the average was 9.9 weeks and the median was 5.7 weeks. For departmental reviews, the average was 26.2 weeks and the median was 15.6 weeks. For red zone applications, the average was 9.3 weeks and the median was two weeks. The disability benefits program does not have second applications, so the wait times for reassessments and departmental reviews have been provided.Question No. 454—Mr. Gérard Deltell
With regard to historical data sets available or previously available from Statistics Canada: what are the details of all data sets which have been dismantled, removed or have become unavailable for Canadians to access since January 1, 2016, including, for each, (i) the date the data set was dismantled, removed or became unavailable, (ii) what happened to the data set, (iii) the summary of the contents, including the topics contained in the data, (iv) the reason the data set was removed, (v) who authorized changing the availability of the data set, (vi) whether or not there still is a way for the public to access the data, and, if so, how?Hon. François-Philippe Champagne (Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, no dataset was removed since January 1, 2016. All data remain available on the Statistics Canada website. If a data table is dismantled, the data will be included in another publicly available dataset.
Madam Speaker, if the government's response to Questions Nos. 447, 449, 450, 453 and 455 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.
Is it the pleasure of the House that the foregoing questions be made orders for returns and that they be tabled immediately?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Question No. 447—Mr. Frank Caputo
With regard to the used F-18 fighter jets the government purchased from Australia: (a) what have been the total costs related to aircraft maintenance since the jets were acquired, broken down by (i) year, (ii) type of expense; (b) what are the projected costs to maintain the aircraft, broken down by fiscal year from present until 2032-33; (c) how much has been spent on improvements, either directly for or related to the jets, including (i) radar improvements, (ii) communications gear, (iii) equipment, (iv) other expenditures, broken down by fiscal year since the jets were acquired; and (d) what are the projected costs of improvements, either directly for or related to the jets, broken down by fiscal year and type of improvement, from the present fiscal year until 2032-33?
(Return tabled)Question No. 449—Mrs. Anna Roberts
With regard to the $5,000 First-Time Home Buyer's tax credit, broken down by fiscal year since 2018-19: (a) what is the total number of individuals who claimed the credit; and (b) what is the breakdown of (a) by province or territory?
(Return tabled)Question No. 450—Mr. Marty Morantz
With regard to the government's $173 million agreement with Medicago to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and the decision of the World Health Organization (WHO) not to accept the vaccine for emergency use: (a) was the government aware that Medicago being partially owned by a tobacco company would cause a problem related to WHO authorization prior to the agreement being signed, and, if so, why did the government still proceed with the agreement; (b) on what date did the government first become aware that Philip Morris' ownership stake in Medicago would become an issue with the WHO; (c) has any minister made a formal request or representation to the WHO related to the Covifenz vaccine issue, and, if so, what are the details, including, for each instance, the (i) date, (ii) name of the minister, (iii) summary of how requests or representations were made, (iv) title of the WHO official receiving requests or representations; (d) what is the breakdown by country of how the 20 million Covifenz vaccine doses under contract by the government are to be distributed; (e) how many of the doses in (d) have actually been distributed to date; (f) how many Covifenz doses had the government originally planned to be part of Canada's international COVAX commitment; and (g) has the government replaced the committed doses in (f) with another COVID-19 vaccine, and, if so, which one?
(Return tabled)Question No. 453—Mr. Gérard Deltell
With regard to Statistics Canada (StatCan) and the note at the bottom of its Consumer Price Index (CPI) report released in March 2022 mentioning changes to the way in which the average prices of 52 products sold in Canadian grocery stores are tracked and reported: (a) what specific changes is StatCan making; (b) on what dates are these changes being made; (c) which specific products are being removed from the list and which ones are being added; (d) will the historical reports still be available in a manner where the average prices can be compared to current prices, and, if not, why not; (e) what specific measures, if any, are being taken to ensure that Canadians can still compare the current CPI prices to those from prior years; (f) were these changes authorized or signed off by a minister or anyone in any government department, and, if so, what are the details, including, (i) the dates, (ii) who authorized or signed off on the changes; and (g) what measures will be in place to ensure that Canadians can compare the new CPI average prices with those prior to the current period of high inflation, rather than the current, already inflated prices?
(Return tabled)Question No. 455—Mr. Kelly McCauley
With regard to the public service pension plan: (a) what is the total value of the payments made to deceased pensioners, broken down by year since 2016; (b) of the payments in (a), what is the value of the amounts recovered to date from the estates of the deceased; (c) what is the percentage and value of the amounts not yet recovered in (a) which are expected to be (i) recovered, (ii) written-off; and (d) what are the details of the government's process for recovering pension plan payments made to deceased individuals?
Madam Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The House resumed consideration of the motion.
When we left this, the hon. member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay had four minutes in debate.
The hon. member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay.
Mr. Speaker, when we left off for question period, I was talking about how Canada is uniquely positioned to become a renewable energy superpower. During the natural resources committee's study on critical minerals, we learned that Canada is the only nation in the western hemisphere with all of the minerals and metals needed to produce the advanced batteries, electric motors and wind turbine generators that will be needed in the low-carbon economy. The International Energy Agency's net-zero energy scenario estimates that the global value for select critical minerals will grow substantially over the next two decades, reaching today's level for coal market value of about $400 billion U.S. by 2040.
The opportunity is there for Canada to both reach net zero and prosper, but we cannot continue down the path that Liberal and Conservative governments have chosen when it comes to spending money on the oil and gas sector. Canada currently spends more per capita on those subsidies than any other developed country. We cannot keep paying companies to clean up their own pollution.
New Democrats know that public funds are best spent supporting the transition to renewable energy and helping Canadians struggling with the high cost of living, rather than on profitable oil and gas companies. Instead of spending billions on new oil pipelines, we should be building hydrogen infrastructure for heavy transportation hubs, stronger provincial interties to distribute clean electricity across Canada, and electric vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing, and we should be training and employing workers now working in the oil and gas sector in these new opportunities. They are opportunities that will last into the future.
This is where the puck is going.
We need to stop providing those subsidies to oil and gas companies, which delay climate action, and instead spend that money on climate action. Increasingly, we need to spend money on climate adaptation, since the effects of global warming are locked in. We have to talk about the cost of climate inaction, and that cost is rising every year.
Right now, Canadian governments, businesses and citizens spend more than $5 billion annually to fix the destruction caused by increased fires and floods. That is predicted to rise to over $40 billion by 2050. At the moment, the federal government puts up just over $300 million of that cost. It is past time that we faced up to the rising costs of climate change.
We must realign the disaster mitigation and adaptation fund to spend more on adaptation, so that we protect communities from disaster rather than rebuild them after the fact. Last year, British Columbia communities such as Lytton, Princeton, Merritt and many more, were badly impacted by fire and floods. Small communities such as these do not have the monetary resources to rebuild under present funding formulas.
We must have a clear strategy for the future that faces the facts of climate change, both limiting the extent of future changes and dealing with the changes that have already taken place. Canada's future is very bright, but first we must invest in that future, not in the past.
Mr. Speaker, I have always heard the NDP picking up f