Committee
Consult the new user guides
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the new user guides
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 1 - 15 of 210
View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you.
I think it's important to highlight this whole issue of corporate greed for the money that the government's leaving on the table for corporations and loopholes like the $30 billion that's being squirrelled away. To know that this is actually legal in Canada....
Meanwhile, the CRA is putting resources into executing a Canadian child benefit clawback from families who accessed CERB, often under duress, with encouragement from the current government to take it and deal with it later, knowing that the ones most affected right now are single parents with multiple children and knowing that the cost during the pandemic increased significantly in having to feed kids not just one time a day but 24 hours a day.
I think it's safe to say that for the money delivered to families in a time of crisis and under unclear rules, the onus shouldn't be placed on families that are already struggling. When you take that and couple it with high inflation right now, in trying to gouge back, the government isn't going to get this money back.
I'm wondering, David, if the CCPA would agree that the government's resources are better spent on closing loopholes corporations are availing themselves of, rather than going after single moms for a meagre amount of money and going after low-income families and single parents with multiple kids.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Tunis, for those comments.
If I understood Monsieur Garon's question, I think it's an important question because it speaks to the confidence that Canadians have. We know that it's been a difficult time in some cases with respect to trust. What we are concerned with doing around this table is trying to help build confidence in those recommendations. I took him to be asking essentially whether Health Canada has access to evidence and data that the World Health Organization is not using or whether Health Canada has the same data but different criteria for what we count as sufficient to be able to make a recommendation. We do have a curious situation in which the WHO is saying there's not enough data to make a recommendation, and we have our own national advisory council, which has done very good work throughout the pandemic, saying that they're satisfied that they do have enough evidence to make a recommendation.
Can you please help us understand the difference—whether that's a difference in the data at your disposal or it's a difference in the criteria you're using to assess the adequacy of the evidence—in terms of why we have apparently competing proclamations?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you very much for that answer. I think that was quite helpful.
What I'm hearing is that Canadian organizations are paying attention to what other international bodies are doing, but also have specific, if not privileged, information relevant to the Canadian context. When Canadians are asking themselves which body they should go to first for the best advice for themselves and their families, it's the organizations based here in Canada that have experts who are paying attention to all of the many types of statements being made on the international stage, and then adding that Canadian-specific information to issue in particular recommendations for Canadians. I thank you very much for making that case clearly.
Of course, public trust factors into that. We want people to have the maximum amount of trust in our Canadian institutions they can. One thing coming out of the SARS experience was an emphasis on the need for an independent evaluation of how the Canadian government and Canadian officials performed in that context. That's something that hasn't happened yet here in Canada in respect of the COVID-19 experience.
I'm wondering if you can speak to the importance of having a public inquiry, independent advice, not necessarily because the findings are going to be different than Health Canada's own internal processes, but because I think it helps Canadians enjoy more confidence in those findings when they know they're coming from an independent source. Could you speak to the value of that independent investigation and give some thought or express some views about the timing of such an investigation? I think that would be welcome.
Thank you.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you very much.
I think for most people, when they think about their experience of the pandemic, there's the personal side in cases where they may have a friend or family member or themselves who got very ill and all the anxiety and worry that come with that. We talked a fair bit about vaccination already, which is of course the best way to try to prevent similar instances in the future.
The other thing I think is part and parcel of people's experience of the pandemic, even if they didn't get sick with COVID themselves, was just the extreme strain that it put on hospitals. They may have experienced that in the case of a loved one. They may have experienced it in their own case, requiring health services for something that was unrelated to COVID but where the treatment and the availability of health resources were severely impacted as a result of the level of infection and just how difficult it was for the health system.
In this moment of, relatively speaking, apparent calm, I'm wondering what we can be doing in order to try to strengthen health systems and shore up our hospitals in the event that we do see another wave or something else that comes along that requires a significant amount of health resources.
I know that provinces, of course, are responsible for that direct delivery, but in health human resources, for instance, we're going to need to train more people. Having 10 different provincial strategies that are competing and might incorporate poaching, for instance, as part of their strategy will not be helpful. Some kind of national collaboration and co-operation might help there.
I'm wondering if you could point to other areas where co-operation among provinces and with the federal government might help us develop a faster response or to be ready more quickly for events that may be coming down the line.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you very much. I'm glad to be back.
I wanted to follow up on questions about the CRA, particularly the expenditures in regard to recovery and the diminishing return you outlined in your report.
There's one thing I've been trying to get to the bottom of. I don't know if it's represented in some of the numbers in your report or if this would be in addition to them. I'm wondering if you're in a position to be able to provide any comment on the investment that the government is making, including some money in this bill, to go after people who applied in good faith for the CERB when they were told to, who don't have much income themselves, who are already living below the poverty line, and whom the government seems intent on pursuing for that money.
I'm wondering how good an investment you think it is to chase the poor for money that they don't have, how likely government is to recoup that money and if you're aware of any data. We've asked government directly. I would say that we haven't had an adequate answer on how many people they believe owe the government money under this program, how many people are below the poverty line, how much debt they think they're owed or how much they actually expect to recover.
I'm wondering if you're in a position to be able to provide any commentary on that as well in terms of what data is available, and how it might help us understand the return on investment, so to speak, although I don't think that's the appropriate term when we're talking about people who are already in financial distress.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Ms. Pohlmann, I know that you've already mentioned the Canada emergency business account loans and the need for a bit of an extension on the payment period, and then, I think, you talked also about extending or expanding the forgivable portion of those loans. I wonder if you might share with the committee why you think that's important and what difference it would make, and to whom.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Do you have a sense at all of what extending the repayment deadline or increasing the amount of the loan that is forgivable is likely to mean for government in terms of how much of that money it actually gets back? Do you have a sense of how many businesses that took a CEBA loan are potentially facing bankruptcy if they don't see some wiggle room on that financial obligation?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Could I just get someone to confirm the date the Canada emergency sickness benefit and the Canada recovery caregiving benefit are coming to an end? I imagine somebody from ESDC has that date ready at hand.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you.
When it comes to the large employer emergency financing program, I'm wondering what the date of expiration for that program is.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
In that case I'm wondering whether there even is a date. I'm noticing that when it comes to larger companies—I think they have to have a revenue of at least $300 million in order to qualify for the large employer financing program—there doesn't seem to be a date, or at least I'm not aware of one, whereas the workers' support measures are coming to an end on May 7. I just wonder how it is that the government can believe, on the one hand, that the pandemic is over with respect to workers and how it can believe that it continues with respect to large companies. Surely, if one no longer requires support it would stand to reason that the others no longer require support.
Maybe there's somebody who's a little bit more familiar with the details of the large employer financing program who could explain why it is the pandemic continues for well-resourced companies but not for workers.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
I would happily accept a follow-up in writing for the committee on that question.
I'm also curious to know from ESDC how many people have been accessing the Canada emergency sickness benefit and the caregiving benefit in 2022. Again, if they'd like to follow up in writing with the committee, I'd be happy to receive that information in writing.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you very much.
Minister, I want to follow up on a question having to do with the GIS clawbacks. I understand there is a small part of this bill that is meant to make some tweaks to help ensure that seniors aren't penalized for having availed themselves of pandemic benefits.
However, there isn't anything similar for working-age families who rely on the Canada child benefit, who have also experienced clawbacks of the CCB as a result of having taken CERB or other kinds of pandemic income support. I want to ask what your government's plan is to address those folks.
I've had meetings with parents who have been affected by that CCB clawback. One thing that's come out loud and clear from that group is that, unlike some of the seniors who were quite prepared to come forward and tell their stories, there are a lot of recipients of the Canada child benefit who are worried about telling their story. They're worried about the stigma and shame that can come with being a working-aged person who's been facing difficult circumstances and now having to ask for help. They've expressed concern about people their kids go to school with hearing about them and being made fun of on the playground if their parents are telling stories of hardship publicly. It's made it harder to make the issue a political issue for the government, because they haven't been willing to come forward and tell their stories. However, their suffering is no less real.
I'm asking you what the government's plan is to address families who have been affected by the Canada child benefit clawback.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Do you want to jump in again before my time is over?
Campaign 2000 has done excellent work in advocating for a low-income repayment amnesty on CERB. I think one of the really important points on this file—I think there are some obvious moral arguments, but I think from a financial point of view, the question is how much does the government think it's owed for CERB repayments and how much does it actually anticipate collecting from low-income folks who are being asked to repay this money, and how much in resources does it anticipate spending in order to chase that money that it may well not get back? I appreciate that you may not be in a position to answer that right at the moment, but I would appreciate a written response with those three components for the committee. So what is the outstanding debt for CERB and CRB repayments as the department sees it; how much does it actually expect to get back and over what time period, and how much does it anticipate having to spend in terms of staff time and resources in order to chase that money? I think with those answers, we can get a sense of the value of a CERB low-income repayment amnesty, which certainly needs a better title. I think this is a really live question in terms of how much in government resources is going to be spent over the next five, ten, fifteen or twenty-five years in order to recover a relatively small amount of money that's not going to make a big difference in the life of the government or in the government books but that is going to have huge consequences for the people who are being asked to pay that money back. I would ask for a follow-up in writing on that.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
One of the things I appreciate about this chair is that he always saves the best for last.
We've talked about a number of different factors today, whether it's COVID, the war or climate change that has had an impact on inflation. We've talked about some domestic causes such as perhaps price-gouging in the corporate sector, which I think has been well documented by folks at Canadians for Tax Fairness and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. There's clearly a lot of conjecture, and we've heard some of it today, about the role of government on fiscal policy and inflation and perhaps some calls that were made at the Bank of Canada on the monetary policy question and “what if” scenarios that have come up.
If we rewind to any time prior to October 2021, a big part of that narrative from certain folks in Parliament was that pandemic benefits, particularly CERB and the CRB, were driving inflation. I mean, let's be honest: The largest share of government spending through the pandemic was on direct income support to Canadians. That's what we're talking about when we talk about fiscal policy. I think it was implicit, clearly, and sometimes explicit that the line of that argument was to say that if pandemic income supports were removed from the equation, you would see a slowing down of inflation now.
The pandemic benefit programs were all but completely cancelled at the end of October 2021. The programs that were put in place in this Parliament were quite a lot less. They were harder to access. They delivered less benefit to Canadians through the omicron lockdown than their predecessors did in previous waves, yet inflation spiked and has been doing so ever since the elimination of the benefit. I'm certainly not implying any kind of causal or even correlative link between the elimination of those programs and inflation, but it seems pretty clear to me that pandemic benefit income support was not a significant driver of inflation or we would have seen some kind of relief in inflation, had those programs not been there.
There are still people who are in significant distress, not because of lockdowns explicitly, but I think of people in the travel and tourism industry, specifically independent travel advisers. I think of people in arts and culture who, while venues are open, just haven't seen the same number of people coming back. In some cases they have, but in others they haven't.
I wonder if you have some reflections with hindsight on pandemic benefit programs and some thoughts about where there might be a need for ongoing support within certain important aspects of our economy like travel and tourism that we want to see come back. In a tight labour market, we don't want to see all those people convert to another area of the economy, because those are skills and expertise that won't be available to Canadian businesses as those industries rebound, which hasn't yet happened to the extent that we might like to see but is no doubt coming.
I wonder if you might provide some reflections on that for the committee.
Results: 1 - 15 of 210 | Page: 1 of 14

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>|
Export As: XML CSV RSS

For more data options, please see Open Data