Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)

Question No. 1672--
Mr.Tom Kmiec:
With regard to the Canada Infrastructure Bank: how many full-time equivalents were working at the bank as of April 18, 2018, in total and broken down by job title?
Hon. Amarjeet Sohi (Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to the Canada Infrastructure Bank, the CIB, as of April 18, 2018, there were approximately 17 personnel, of which four were full-time equivalents consisting of employees and contract workers, while approximately 13 were contractors and consultants. These are broken down by job title as follows: one interim chief investment officer, one office manager, one executive assistant, one administrative assistant, and 13 contractors and consultants with variable time commitments whose duties included legal services, media relations support, corporate governance and corporate planning, IT services, compensation, recruitment, and management.
The CIB also continues to be supported by a secretariat at Infrastructure Canada.

Question No. 1675--
Mr. Garnett Genuis:
With regard to the purchase of shares by the government in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), in the amount of US $199 million (approximately CAD $256 million) over five years: (a) what is the government’s anticipated rate of return on this investment; (b) what specific projects will the taxpayers’ dollars finance with this investment; and (c) what reassurances from the AIIB has the government received to ensure that Canadian tax dollars are only used for projects that have the highest environmental and labour standards?
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), our investments at multilateral development banks, or MDBs, serve multiple purposes, including promoting inclusive global economic growth, strengthening relations in the Asia-Pacific region, and promoting global opportunities for Canadian firms. While Canada and other shareholders typically choose to forgo dividends in order to increase the financial capacity of these institutions, the growth in retained earnings is consistent with a return that is in line with the long-term returns on investments at other MDBs and is above the Government of Canada’s cost of borrowing.
With regard to (b), the AIIB invests in a number of infrastructure projects across Asia and non-regional members. A list of approved and proposed projects is available on the AIIB website at https:// /projects/ approved/ index.html.
Capital subscriptions by individual members are not targeted at specific projects but instead are used to support the entire portfolio.
With regard to (c), the AIIB’s commitment to environmental and labour standards is laid out in the bank’s environmental and social framework. This environmental and social framework was approved by the AIIB board of directors and is considered on par with existing environmental, social, and governance policies at other MDBs. In addition, AIIB has put in place a compliance, effectiveness, and integrity, or CEI, unit, which independently reports to the board of directors.

Question No. 1678--
Mr. Kevin Waugh:
With regard to the claim by the Minister of Infrastructure, on April 19, 2018, that there are currently approximately 20,000 infrastructure projects underway: what are the details of each project, including (i) project name, (ii) description, (iii) amount of federal contribution, (iv) date when “shovels were in the ground”, (v) expected completion date, (vi) location, (vii) riding?
Hon. Amarjeet Sohi (Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the approximately 20,000 infrastructure projects under way reported by the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities on April 19, 2018, were determined based on an aggregated implementation dataset that Infrastructure Canada collects.
Infrastructure Canada provides Canadians with project-level details for thousands of Investing in Canada plan projects through the Investing in Canada plan project map at http://www. gmap-gcarte/index-eng. html. The full dataset for the map in Microsoft Excel format can be found at http:// /gmap-gcarte/ download-gmap-data- eng.html. The requested data corresponds to the following fields: “Amount allocated” can be found at column I, Federal Contribution ($), and “Project type” can be determined by examining columns C, Stream; D, Project Name; and E, Project Description. The government continues to provide data on as many projects as possible under the Investing in Canada plan through this dataset.
The government recently published “Investing in Canada: Canada’s Long Term Infrastructure Plan”, which can be found at http:// plan/about-invest-apropos -eng.html. The government releases project-level data through the Investing in Canada Plan project map and provides monthly updates through its results website, which can be found at https:// /privy-council/campaigns/ mandate-tracker-results- canadians.html.

Question No. 1681--
Mr. Matt Jeneroux:
With regard to the appointment process of the Chief Science Advisor: (a) how many candidates were initially considered before the final appointment of the current Chief Science Advisor; (b) how many candidates were considered in the final round of the decision making process before the appointment of the current Chief Science Advisor; (c) which departments, offices and individuals were involved in the selection process; and (d) how many candidates were suggested by BESC Ottawa Inc.?
Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth), Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), in response to the notice of appointment opportunity for the chief science advisor, 201 applications were received and considered.
With regard to (b), prior to the appointment of the current chief science advisor, 14 candidates were considered by the selection committee as part of the short list.
With regard to (c), representatives from the following offices were substantively involved in the selection process: the Privy Council Office; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; the Office of the Minister of Science; and the Prime Minister’s Office
With regard to (d), the involvement of Boyden Executive Search Canada Ottawa Inc., or BESC Ottawa Inc., in this selection process focused on screening applications that were received via the Governor in Council appointments website and determining candidate suitability based on the person’s application as it related to the educational, experience, and language proficiency requirements outlined in the notice of appointment opportunity. While BESC Ottawa Inc. did not suggest any candidates, following a firm-led recruitment process they identified 31 potential candidates following their review of the long list of applicants.

Question No. 1683--
Mr. Matt Jeneroux:
With regard to the Innovation superclusters initiative (ISI): (a) what are the name of the individuals who were ultimately responsible for selecting the winning applications; and (b) what is the complete list of individuals involved in the decision making process, including the role they played in the decision making process?
Hon. Navdeep Bains (Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, ISED, was presented with recommendations that went to cabinet for final decision. The minister's recommendations, including the maximum potential contribution, were made on a balance of considerations, informed by a rigorous assessment process.
The assessment process was administered by officials from ISED with the support of relevant federal organizations and validated by third party contractors and expert reviewers. Applications were considered against the assessment criteria outlined in the program and applicant guides. For example, assessments considered the ultimate benefit of the proposed activities to the supercluster region and to Canada, including the potential to create jobs. The assessment also considered superclusters’ plans to increase the representation of women and under-represented groups in supercluster activity and leadership, and help them succeed in skilled jobs in highly innovative industries, as well as intellectual property, IP, strategies that benefit Canada’s economic development.

Question No. 1684--
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice:
With regard to the environmental impacts of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) project on the least bittern habitat protected under the Species At Risk Act: (a) what studies have been done to assess the environmental impact on the least bittern habitat; (b) what measures have been or will be taken by the government to ensure that the construction of the REM will not destroy their habitat; and (c) how many Environment and Climate Change Canada employees worked to ensure that the construction of the REM complies with the Species at Risk Act?
Hon. Catherine McKenna (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the project was submitted for a provincial environmental assessment, and the impacts of the project on species at risk were assessed. The results of the consultations held by the Bureau des audiences publiques en environnement, BAPE, are available online at http:// sections/mandats/ Reseau electrique m%C3%A9tropolitain /index.htm, and the environmental assessment report from the Quebec Department of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, MDDELCC, is available at http:// www.mddelcc. evaluations/decret/ 2017/458-2017-rae.pdf. Members can also contact the Quebec Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks by email at services .clientele or by telephone at 418-644-6513 to find out more about the mechanisms for protecting species at risk.
With regard to (b), although the project is not subject to the federal environmental assessment regime, the federal departments that own Crown land located within the area of the planned project route must, under section 67 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, or CEAA 2012, assess whether the proposed project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects on their federal lands, and especially on species at risk. If so, they must identify effective mitigation measures to be used for managing environmental effects and must either completely prevent the environmental effects or reduce them and must carry out subsequent monitoring as set out in section 79 of the Species at Risk Act.
In addition, regarding the presence of the Least Bittern in the Marais des Sources area, officials held meetings with land managers to make them aware of their responsibilities and obligations under the Species at Risk Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, and the federal policy on wetland conservation.
With regard to (c), five analysts at the Environmental Enforcement Directorate of ECCC had to work on the REM project on an ad hoc basis. Specifically, on the aspects related to species at risk, wetlands, and migratory birds, one analyst was involved, with the support of two expert biologists and a geomatics technician from the Canadian Wildlife Service of ECCC.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)

Question No. 1230--
Mr. Garnett Genuis:
With regard to expenditures on private security firms in Myanmar: (a) which private security firms have been utilized in Myanmar since January 1, 2017; (b) what specific actions is the government taking to ensure that private security forces receiving government expenditures do not participate in violence against Rohingyas or other minorities; (c) is the government aware of any firms referred to in (a) participating in violence against Rohingyas or other minorities; and (d) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, what specific actions did the government take against such firms?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), since January 1, 2017, the Embassy of Canada to Myanmar in Yangon has utilized one private security firm, IDG Myanmar Co. Ltd.
With regard to (b), as part of the embassy’s due diligence process in contracting a security firm to provide a security guard for the embassy, market research is conducted to identify capable suppliers, which includes but is not limited to referrals from other embassies or international organizations, and online and local research. IDG has provided and provides security services in Myanmar including guarding services and security training to the UN, EU, the Norwegian Embassy, and the British Embassy. Positive recommendations have been received from the UN and the Norwegian Embassy. The contract award is based on predetermined evaluation criteria and methods of selection assessing several areas such as experience, capacity, capability, transition plan, and price. The contracted security firm, IDG Myanmar Co. Ltd, has provided effective, professional security services for the embassy since its opening in 2014.
Contract clauses used within Global Affairs Canada ensure that security providers must be in compliance with local law and that they abide by specific governance and ethics clauses including anti-terrorism and international sanctions. Canada may terminate this contract, or reduce or suspend any payments under it if the contractor fails to honour the provisions within these clauses. These contracts are also subject to the integrity provisions policy and directive.
IDG Myanmar Co. Ltd is part of the IDG group of international security companies, a member in good standing of the International Code of Conduct Association, ICoCA, for private security companies. ICoCA member companies must submit to ongoing and independent monitoring, auditing, and verification of conduct, including adherence to international human rights standards.
With regard to (c) and (d), we have no indication that IDG Myanmar Co. Ltd has participated in violence against the Rohingyas or other minorities.

Question No. 1231--
Mr. Guy Lauzon:
With regard to the decision to exclude Ottawa from the Innovation Superclusters Initiative: (a) why was Ottawa not included on the list of superclusters; and (b) what specific criteria did Ottawa fail to meet?
Hon. Navdeep Bains (Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), the selection of applications for the innovation superclusters initiative involves a two-phase process. In the first phase, which closed on July 24, 2017, applicants submitted letters of intent. The intake was very competitive, with the government receiving over 50 applications from interested applicants from all regions of Canada including British Columbia, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, the Atlantic, and the North and from across highly innovative industries such as clean technology, advanced manufacturing, digital technology, health/bio-sciences, clean resources, and agri-food, as well as infrastructure and transportation.
The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada announced a short list of nine proposals on October 12, 2017. These selected applicants have been invited to submit a full application by November 24, 2017. The application process is ongoing and a final decision has not been made.
Descriptions of the assessment criteria and process, reflecting key elements contributing to program outcomes, are published in the program guide. They are used to assess the potential of proposals to generate economic impact and industrial benefits for Canada, as well as other key elements such as the importance and relevance of the applicant’s proposed plans.
With regard to part (b), each letter of intent received was screened for eligibility. Eligible applications were assessed against selection criteria: vision and mission for supercluster, economic growth and industrial benefits, capabilities and assets, and budget and financial commitment.
The strongest proposals were those that best demonstrated a clearly defined and common vision for building a business-led cluster, setting their cluster apart by building on the best of its assets and making the cluster more than the sum of its parts; strong potential to accelerate economic growth and achieve industrial benefits in highly innovative industries; unique capabilities and potential to position Canada for global leadership in a particular field; scale and critical mass, bringing together a large number of interested organizations, and securing or demonstrating potential to secure financial commitment from the private sector.
Recognizing that there were many good proposals and interesting ideas presented beyond those that were shortlisted, all lead applicants on non-selected proposals received calls from program officials to discuss how Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and its portfolio partners might continue working together with proponents. The goal of these conversations has been to find new partnerships, programs, and avenues to maintain the applicants’ momentum and advance the issues of greatest interest to their member firms and organizations.

Question No. 1236--
Mr. Ron Liepert:
—With regard to the tweet by the Prime Minister on October 11, 2017, that “Let me be blunt: we are not going to tax anyone's employee discounts”: (a) are all employee discounts exempt from taxation; (b) if the answer to (a) is negative, what specific discounts are subject to taxation; and (c) have specific instructions been given to the Canada Revenue Agency not to tax employee discounts, and if so, what was the exact text of the instructions?
Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to parts (a) and (b), the Income Tax Act, ITA, states that, with certain exceptions, “the value of … benefits of any kind whatever received or enjoyed ... in respect of, in the course of, or by virtue of an office or employment” be included in income. To assist with the interpretation of the ITA, the CRA has a long-standing administrative policy that states that employee discounts on merchandise are generally not taxed, except in certain situations when a discount on merchandise is included in income. This policy is explained in T4130, “Employers’ Guide: Taxable Benefits and Allowances”, as follows:
If an employer sells merchandise to an employee at a discount, the benefit the employee gets from the discount is not usually taxable except in the following situations:
• The employer makes a special arrangement with an employee or a group of employees to buy merchandise at a discount.
• The employer makes an arrangement that allows an employee to buy merchandise (other than old or soiled merchandise) for less than the employer’s cost.
• The employer makes a reciprocal arrangement with one or more other employers so that employees of one employer can buy merchandise at a discount from another employer.
If an employer provides a subsidized meal to an employee, the CRA does not consider these meals a taxable benefit if the employee pays a reasonable charge. A reasonable charge is one that covers the cost of the food, its preparation, and service. Employees are also, in most cases, not taxed if they receive a meal when they work the occasional overtime shift.
With regard to part (c), on October 10, 2017, the Minister of National Revenue asked officials to clarify the wording of discounts on merchandise to ensure taxpayers are ?provided with clear and concise information in Folio S2-F3-C2, “Benefits and Allowances Received from Employment”. As a result, the CRA removed the folio from its website and is reviewing the folio’s wording regarding discounts on merchandise.
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