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View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-03-24 12:06 [p.2067]
Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you suspend until later today, to the call of the Chair, after consultation with the House leaders.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-03-24 18:25 [p.2067]
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
That the House continue to sit beyond the ordinary hour of daily adjournment and that, following the adoption of this order, the sitting be suspended to the call of the Chair after consultation with the House Leaders.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 3:14 [p.2068]
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1), I have the honour to table a notice of a ways and means motion to introduce an act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19.
Pursuant to Standing Order 83(2), I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-03-25 3:15 [p.2068]
Mr. Speaker, we are in an unprecedented crisis that is affecting all Canadians. It is therefore our duty to work together to quickly provide emergency aid. That is why you will find that there have been discussions among the parties and that there is unanimous consent for the following motion:
That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House:
(a) the application of Standing Orders 17, 36(8)(b), 39(5)(b) and 56.1 be suspended for the current sitting, provided that the responses to petitions and questions on the Order Paper otherwise due shall be tabled at the next sitting of the House;
(b) ways and means motion No. 4, notice of which was laid upon the table earlier this day, be concurred in, that a bill based thereon in the name of the Minister of Finance, entitled An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19, be deemed to have been introduced and read a first time and ordered for consideration at second reading later this day;
(c) following the adoption of this order, the House shall resolve itself into a committee of the whole to consider matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic for a period not exceeding one hour and provided that the Chair may preside from the Speaker's chair; that during the proceedings of the committee, the Chair shall call members in a fashion consistent with the proportions observed during Oral Questions; no member shall be recognized for more than five minutes which may be used for posing questions to a minister of the Crown or a parliamentary secretary acting on behalf of the minister; members may be permitted to split their time with one or more members by so indicating to the Chair; and at the conclusion of the time provided for the proceedings, or when no member rises to speak, whichever is earlier, the committee shall rise;
(d) when the committee of the whole rises, the House shall begin debate on the motion for second reading of the bill referred to in paragraph (b), a member of each recognized party and a member of the Green Party may speak to the said motion for not more than 10 minutes, followed by five minutes for questions and comments; provided that members may be permitted to split their time with another member; and, at the conclusion of the time provided for the debate or when no member rises to speak, whichever is earlier, all questions necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill shall be put without further debate or amendment provided that, if a recorded division is requested, it shall not be deferred and that, if the bill is adopted at second reading, it shall be deemed referred to a committee of the whole; deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage, deemed read a third time and passed;
(e) when the bill referred to in paragraph (b) has been read the third time and passed, the House shall adjourn until Monday, April 20, 2020, provided that, for the purposes of any Standing Order, it shall be deemed adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28, and, for greater certainty, the provisions of paragraphs (m) to (p) of the order adopted on Friday, March 13, 2020, remain in effect;
(f) if, during the period the House stands adjourned pursuant to this order, the Speaker receives a notice from the House leaders of all four recognized parties indicating that it is in the public interest that the House remain adjourned until a future date or until future notice is given to the Speaker, the House will remain adjourned accordingly, provided that (i) in the event of the Speaker being unable to act owing to illness or other cause, the Deputy Speaker or either of the Assistant Deputy Speakers shall act in the Speaker's stead for all the purposes of this paragraph, (ii) in the event the House remains adjourned beyond April 20, 2020, pursuant to this paragraph, the words “May 1” and “May 31” in Standing Order 81(4)(a) shall be deemed to read “May 27” and “June 15”, respectively;
(g) during the period the House stands adjourned pursuant to this order, the House may be recalled, under the provisions of Standing Order 28(3), to consider measures to address the economic impact of COVID-19 and the impacts on the lives of Canadians;
(h) during the period the House stands adjourned pursuant to this order, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Health and the Chair of the Standing Committee on Finance shall each convene a meeting of their respective committee (i) at least once per week, unless the whips of all four recognized parties agree to not hold a meeting, and (ii) within 48 hours of the receipt by email, by the clerk of the committee, of a request signed by any four members of the committee, that during such meetings, committee members shall attend and witnesses shall participate via either videoconferencing or teleconferencing, that the committees meet for the sole purpose of receiving evidence concerning matters related to the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, provided that, for greater certainty, each committee may receive evidence which may otherwise exceed the committee's mandate under Standing Order 108(2), all such meetings shall be made available to the public via the House of Commons website, and notices of membership substitutions pursuant to Standing Order 114(2) may be filed with the clerk of each committee by email;
(i) starting the week of March 30, 2020, the Minister of Finance or his delegate shall provide the Standing Committee on Finance with a bi-weekly report on all actions undertaken pursuant to parts 3, 8 and 19 of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act and shall appear before the committee to discuss the report, provided that, until April 20, 2020, or any date to which the adjournment period is extended pursuant to paragraph f), if committee is not satisfied with how the government is exercising its powers under the Act, it may adopt a motion during a meeting by videoconference or teleconference to report this to the House by depositing a report with the Clerk of the House which shall be deemed to have been duly presented to the House on that day;
(j) upon the presentation of any report pursuant to paragraph i), the Speaker shall recall the House to consider a motion to take note of the report of the committee which shall be deemed to be proposed and have precedence over all other business that day, provided that proceedings shall expire when debate thereon has concluded or at the ordinary hour of daily adjournment and that at least 48 hours' notice shall be given for any sitting held pursuant to this paragraph;
(k) the Standing Committee on Finance be instructed to commence a review of the provisions and operation of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act within 6 months of the day on which the Act receives royal assent and to report its findings to the House no later than March 31, 2021, provided that the report may be deposited with the Clerk of the House when the House stands adjourned and it shall be deemed to have been duly presented to the House on that day;
(l) within 30 sitting days of the resumption of regular sittings of the House pursuant to paragraph e) or f) of this order, the government table a comprehensive report of all activities undertaken pursuant to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act and that this report be permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Finance; and
(m) the House call upon the government to provide regular updates to representatives of opposition parties on its management of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a bi-weekly conference call between the finance critics of recognized parties and the Minister of Finance.
That concludes the motion, and that is our government's emergency response to help Canadians. We will get through this difficult time together.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 3:29 [p.2069]
Mr. Chair, the place I would like to start, of course, is to recognize the nature and the scale of the challenges we are facing today. I want to acknowledge that even with the enormous challenges that Canadians are facing and the significant issues our economy is facing, we still do not know and cannot know the depth and duration of the challenge we are facing. How we must protect ourselves is by ensuring that we, together in this House, have the capacity to deal with this on behalf of Canadians.
In that regard, I am obviously pleased that we are moving forward with the legislation proposed today. It will allow us, with the oversight of this House as appropriate, to come forward and make sure that we can protect Canadians in the short term through health measures that are of critical importance, in the medium term as we think about how we deal with our economic challenges, and more importantly, prepare ourselves for opportunity to come out of this challenge in a way that will show the strength of Canadians and Canada for today and for tomorrow.
We have put forward measures here today that we believe are going to enable us to support Canadians and also support Canadian businesses. We think that is the way we should be moving ourselves forward. We have put forward measures that will provide every Canadian who is finding himself or herself away from work because of sickness, quarantine, supporting an elderly parent, supporting their children who might be away from school due to sickness or just because they are away from school, or importantly, if they are away from work because they cannot actually be at work or their employer has asked them to—
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 3:32 [p.2070]
Madam Chair, first of all, to continue where I left off, our measure would ensure that every Canadian who is off work for any reason, which means they are not going to be able to have the income that they previously had if they had income the year before, will be able to get a wage subsidy. That, of course, will be very important in allowing them to deal with the challenge that they are facing. This would not only provide the employee with support, but would also ensure that the firm they work for is able to have that kind of support through those funds. That we see as critically important. It would allow those firms to have the people off work who need to be off work and the ones who are at work not at work.
With respect to anything to do with the Bank of Canada, I think it is important to note that the Bank of Canada is independent of government and will remain so under this government.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 3:35 [p.2070]
Madam Chair, that is a very important question. We know that access to these funds is very important to all Canadians who are struggling because of COVID-19. That is why we came up with a simple and rapid solution to ensure that people receive this money over the next two or three weeks. We are aiming for the first week of April. This is very important to them, and very important to our economy.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 3:37 [p.2071]
Madam Chair, we continue to come up with ways to ensure that our small and medium-sized business owners are in good shape.
To be eligible, individuals must have earned $5,000 or more in the past 12 months and find themselves with no income as a result of COVID-19. Those are the conditions. A small business owner therefore has the same access to benefits as anyone else. That is very important.
Of course, we will continue to think of ways to ensure that all Canadians are able to deal with this difficult situation.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 3:38 [p.2071]
Madam Chair, we know the situation is changing rapidly. We therefore need more information. We will make an announcement when we are ready. It will be in the next few days, certainly. I know this is very important. We are working on getting the exact numbers very soon.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 3:40 [p.2071]
Madam Chair, we are ensuring that all Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 are in a situation where they can face up to this challenge.
The announcements we have made with this legislation allow us to create a benefit for everyone who has been in a situation where they previously earned revenue of $5,000 or more in the past 12 months, and because of sickness, because of quarantine, because they need to stay home to protect themselves and their family because their employer has asked them to stay home, and they are not receiving revenue as a result. Those people will have access to the benefit. That we think is critically important. I can assure the member that in that way we have in fact taken his very legitimate question and come up with a solution.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 3:42 [p.2071]
Madam Chair, in a time of challenge like we are facing, we recognize that Canadians in many different situations are facing extreme challenges which we have never seen before. We recognize that indigenous peoples, first nations, the Inuit nation and the Métis nation are indeed facing real challenges, especially when they live in places that are remote or unable to access appropriate health care. When we came out with our measures, we recognized this. We recognized it by putting more than $300 million into our package. We also recognized that we need to work together to consider the specific situations that people are facing in particular parts of our country.
We will be doing that right now, over the course of the next number of days. I would invite the member opposite if he has suggestions to get them to me and we will most certainly consider them.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 3:44 [p.2071]
Madam Chair, this situation is moving quickly. I appreciate that all of the members in this chamber have not in any way had the opportunity to fully understand what it is we are trying to achieve.
We are, in fact, delivering a wage subsidy directly to Canadians. What we are doing is making sure those Canadians who are furloughed from their employment, meaning they are not separated from their employment but they are off work and not able to get income from their employment, whether it be because they are at home or whether it be because they are sick, in those situations they will be getting the emergency benefit that we are proposing.
In that way, we can ensure the wage subsidy is not only that amount, but for employees who stay at work, it is the additional 10%.
View Carla Qualtrough Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Carla Qualtrough Profile
2020-03-25 3:45 [p.2072]
Madam Chair, we have intentionally created this new benefit separate from the EI system so that we can continue to process claims that were filed before March 15, and we can continue to process claims for other benefits, like maternity and parental benefits, since March 15. Any claim that has been filed since March 15 will be channelled into this new Canada emergency response benefit, and any EI claim that is filed between now and when this new application for this benefit arises will be also channelled into the new benefit.
I can assure members that we have redirected every single possible resource to Service Canada. I do not have the exact number, but I think it is about 1,300 people who have been redirected to work on processing these claims and answering these questions. We have had an enormous volume of EI claims. We have had an enormous number of questions to Service Canada. We are doing our utmost to answer them and respond as quickly as possible.
View Carla Qualtrough Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Carla Qualtrough Profile
2020-03-25 3:46 [p.2072]
Madam Chair, any EI entitlement that a worker currently has will not in any way be impacted by the new Canada emergency response benefit. Whatever someone is entitled to now he or she will be entitled to after the 16 weeks.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 3:47 [p.2072]
Madam Chair, the intent behind this new benefit is to deal with the crisis we are facing. We have created a new benefit, and the idea behind the new benefit is with respect to anyone who has received revenue of $5,000 or more in the last 12 months and anyone who has found themselves in a situation where their income has gone down to nothing as a result of COVID-19. That is the attestation we are asking the individual to make. We would then adjudicate that claim on a simple form that would allow us to move forward to get the individual the money as rapidly as possible through the Canada Revenue Agency, which is the system that is the largest and most robust that the government has.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 3:48 [p.2072]
Madam Chair, as I said, the criteria are as I laid them out. We also need to recognize that in a time of extreme challenge, a time in which we are working to make sure we protect Canadians facing challenges as a result of this coronavirus, we need to move fast and we need to find a way to get revenue and sources of income to people as rapidly as possible.
We are working to make sure all the details are deliberated on and delivered as soon as humanly possible.
View Carla Qualtrough Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Carla Qualtrough Profile
2020-03-25 3:49 [p.2072]
Madam Chair, given the member's fact pattern, if that individual met the eligibility of 15 years of age, earned $5,000 in the past year and was a resident of Canada, I believe, to the best of my knowledge, yes.
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, we are working with the whole of government in reaching out to all of the 10 critical infrastructure sectors in this country to ensure continuity of supply and services throughout the country. It is being very carefully monitored and we are working diligently to ensure all critical infrastructure sectors will be maintained.
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, I am pleased to advise members that I am in contact with our provincial and territorial partners several times each week. We have been working very closely with them, listening to their concerns and responding to any requests they may have. We have the ability, through the Emergency Management Act, to provide resources to a province should it be necessary.
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, based on the advice we have received from our public health officials, all persons entering Canada are, first of all, asked with respect to their symptoms whether they have a headache, fever or any other symptoms of COVID-19. If they do, they are immediately directed to a public health referral to receive further inquiry and treatment, if necessary.
Every person entering Canada from an international destination, the United States or anywhere else in the world, is also advised to enter into a 14-day period of self-isolation. As they enter, people are required to acknowledge that they have been asked about symptoms and to acknowledge that they have been given the advice to pursue 14 days of isolation.
View Patty Hajdu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, this is something that we are quite aware of. We know that all kinds of violence increase when people are under stress. We also know that issues around substance use and mental health are exacerbated when people are under tremendous stress.
That is why we are working with my colleague, the Minister for Women and Gender Equality, to ensure that we have partnerships in place to support people who are vulnerable in these circumstances.
I will also say that we are working very diligently on a mental health act that would be available to all Canadians in the days to come. This is an all-hands-on-deck moment, and we want to thank all the organizations that are working so hard to protect the safety of both women and children.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Chair, under international law, when a ship arrives at a port, the people who work onboard the ship have access to the port for a very short period of time. We are abiding by that at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation, but we have a duty to comply with international law.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Chair, I thank the member for the great collaboration. What we are doing is probably the largest repatriation effort in Canada's history, in peacetime at least.
I want to say that no one is going to be left behind. We are doing, as the member said, the largest repatriation. We are helping people to come home.
For those who will not be able to come home, we will provide consular services, wherever they might be. We have already worked with our missions to identify what we can do, and we will continue to help Canadians wherever they might be.
View Patty Hajdu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, in fact, procurement of medical devices, including personal protective equipment, testing kits and a number of other items that are in desperate need all around the globe, is a major preoccupation of mine. Certainly my department, in partnership with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, is looking at domestic manufacturing of many of these items. I am very encouraged by the volume of manufacturers and suppliers who have stepped up to be part of a Canadian solution in this time of immense need.
View Patty Hajdu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, the organizations that have offered to support the manufacturing of medical devices and other kinds of things that we need in Canada for this unprecedented public health crisis recognize that this is about making sure that Canadians have what they need and that Canadian health care workers have what they need.
I want to thank all of the manufacturers who have been so incredibly prompt to ensure that we know about their abilities and plans. We will be working with them very closely to help accelerate access to those products.
View Patty Hajdu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, the federal-provincial-territorial partnership is one of the ways that we make sure that equipment is distributed according to need and population size. Those conversations are ongoing. There are working groups at every level of government on this issue of procurement and distributing these items in a way that actually meets the need of the community at the present time. We will continue that work with our partners to make sure that, as we see this pandemic evolve in Canada, we have resources in the right spot at the right time.
View Patty Hajdu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, the short answer is yes. We are working very closely with the identified manufacturers who have come forward to date to ensure that the product they are manufacturing meets the specifications of the practitioners who will be using it. We will continue that work to make sure that what they design is what Canada needs.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:01 [p.2074]
Madam Chair, the member opposite points out an enormous challenge that we are facing in Alberta.
I would say that there are three things facing Alberta at the same time, particularly for the energy sector. We have a situation where we have the lowest prices that we have seen in a long time because of the OPEC challenges that are going on, we have equity markets around the world that are in turmoil, and on top of that, obviously, we have COVID-19. This is a real challenge.
We are working right now to think about how we can ensure that the oil and gas sector, the energy sector, has adequate access to financing so that it can bridge through this period. Of course, the measure we are putting in place will allow every worker who is off work as a result of this situation to get the benefit so they can face up to supporting their families in a challenging time.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:02 [p.2074]
Madam Chair, we are in an emergency setting. We know that we must deal with the challenges facing people across the country. However, yes, we have significant challenges in Alberta that we must deal with on an emergency basis, and that is exactly the approach we are taking.
When I talk about ensuring that we can support the energy sector with the kind of opportunities that will allow it to bridge through this difficult time, we are doing that literally as we speak. We continue to work on this, and I will have more to say in the very near term about how we can support that sector and, importantly, the workers who are recognizing that they do not currently have potential opportunities and who need opportunities for the future.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:03 [p.2075]
Madam Chair, we are doing everything we can to make sure that our economy is resilient in a time of challenge. I think it is important to recognize that as we look to putting money into the economy and into people's hands, we need to make sure that we are doing things in a way that makes sense. We are adding government resources into the economy where appropriate.
I think what everyone in the House knows and what we need to continue to remind Canadians of is that the approach we have taken toward the pricing of carbon means that while people do put some money into those carbon prices, they do get that money back, meaning that that money actually stays in the economy.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:04 [p.2075]
Madam Chair, we recognize that sectors across Canada are facing challenges as a result of COVID-19. That is the why, with respect to the Crown corporations, we have changed the policy so that we can actually remove the limits. That will mean that Farm Credit Canada has more access to capital so they can put that out to work in the agricultural sector, which we know will be very important. We will be working with them to make sure that they have that access to capital immediately.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:05 [p.2075]
Madam Chair, the conditions that we are laying out are very simple. If someone has been in a position where, over the last 12 months, they have earned $5,000 or more, and if they find themselves with no income as a result of COVID-19 because they are at home, or perhaps, for example, their business does not have any revenue, they will be able to go forward and get that benefit. That means that an individual who runs a business that has no revenue now, but did have revenue before, will be able to apply for that benefit.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:06 [p.2075]
Madam Chair, we are obviously making sure as we move forward with our plan with the business credit availability program that access to those funds is on a commercial basis. That is the way the BDC works. We will be working to make sure that happens while supporting credit guarantees behind it to ensure that the credit actually gets out to the market.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:07 [p.2075]
Madam Chair, there are a number of ways.
First, of course, we are helping by supporting employees so that small businesses can actually have their employees off, if they have employees. That is critically important.
Second, we are helping with a wage subsidy for any employees who stay.
Third, we have also said that we are going to defer any taxes owing up until August 31, which is important.
We are supporting small businesses in multiple ways and we remain open to considering things that we might need to do in the future to ensure that we have businesses that are able to bridge this gap.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:08 [p.2075]
Madam Chair, again, the conditions under which people would be able to get the new Canada emergency response program aid are that they need to satisfy just two simple conditions. They need to have had $5,000 of income in the last 12 months and they need to find themselves in a position where their income has gone to nothing as a result of COVID-19. Those are the conditions. It will be available to Canadians across the country.
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, that is a really important question.
In our response to COVID-19, one of the things that our government has prioritized is to make sure that we are there for our vulnerable populations. This means that we are proposing to invest $157.5 million in flexible funding, in the federal anti-homelessness response, which will go to help directly 58 communities to ensure that our vulnerable populations, especially the homeless population, are taken care of in this difficult time.
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, again that is a very important question.
We are making sure that we fund those vulnerable populations and work with communities across the country that are setting tables, to make sure that there is coordination to ensure that Meals on Wheels and other important programs for seniors continue.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:11 [p.2076]
Madam Chair, we are obviously in unprecedented times. We are dealing with this emergency immediately, and that is why we have moved forward with this plan.
We will be coming forward with some details about when we can move forward on an economic and fiscal plan. In a very dynamic economic situation, we want to carefully make sure that we have the appropriate information to make those plans. We are looking forward to doing that when the House resumes.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:11 [p.2076]
Madam Chair, it is absolutely the case that a number of our provinces are facing significant challenges immediately. I would say that all provinces are facing challenges because of the reduction in income that they are going to see. We have done numerous things to help. We have been working together with the Bank of Canada to make sure there is access in the capital markets for provincial debts. That will help them to fund their finances during a difficult time.
Of course, we are working more directly with provinces. One of the advantages of the bill we have put forward is that it would enable us to continue to do so.
View Patty Hajdu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, I know that my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, is working on this problem as we speak. Canada's food supply is integral to the health of Canadians and we are doing everything we can to ensure that the food supply chain remains strong and viable.
View Patty Hajdu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, in fact, that is exactly what we are doing. We are studying a number of models that have been successful. Of course, their epidemiological curve is different from ours and their outbreak scenario is different from ours, but nonetheless, there are many ideas that are being shared across the globe.
Obviously, this is the first pandemic of this size in over 100 years, and with the lack of a vaccine or other treatments that reduce severity, social distancing and other kinds of methods around tracking the disease are all we have at this point.
View Patty Hajdu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, in fact, we have conducted well over 120,000 tests to date. I would note that it is more than the United States has done in total. In addition to that, we have fast-tracked approval for new testing kits in Canada that will make a variety of options in terms of testing more plentiful across the country. We are working with our provincial and territorial partners to make sure that we have a strategy that makes sense for our country.
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, that is a really important question.
We have been consulting with the non-profit and charitable sectors to hear their concerns around how they are able to remain resilient and bounce back from the challenge of COVID-19. As we look at assisting them, we have to make sure that we are guided by the expertise on the ground and also make sure that we increase the impact of every dollar that we invest.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:17 [p.2077]
Madam Chair, this is an important question.
We want to assure Canadians that we are creating this benefit with the goal of making sure that the people who are directly impacted by COVID-19 are supported. Again, whether someone is a travel agent, or whether someone is in a small business or in any form of the gig economy, if they have had $5,000 of income over the past 12 months and if they do not have any income as a result of COVID-19 and their income goes away, they will, in fact, be able to go forward and get that benefit to support themselves based on this new situation. We are ensuring that this is the case. We will continue to make sure that we consider other issues as we move forward to protect Canadians.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:18 [p.2077]
Madam Chair, one of the measures that we put forward is an increase in the GST low-income credit.
This increase in the GST low-income credit helps a very large number of seniors who are challenged, some 80% to 85% of individual seniors and 40% to 45% of seniors who are in a couple. This will have a significant impact on helping them through this challenging time. Recognizing that their sources of income, such as the old age security and the guaranteed income supplement, stay along with their situations, they are not experiencing a decline in revenue, and the large majority will experience an advantage through the one-time GST low-income tax credit that we are doing in the month of May.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:20 [p.2077]
Madam Chair, we need to look at both categories: the people who have mortgages and also the people who are renting.
For those people who have mortgages, the reason we worked together with the CMHC to create the appropriate capacity for the banking sector to defer mortgages was that we recognized this was exactly the challenge. I know that the banks are experiencing large volumes, and that is a challenge we are all facing, but I also know that they will be able to defer mortgages.
With respect to rents, we continue to work on this challenge. Of course, one of the main features of our emergency benefit is to get money into people's hands as rapidly as possible. Additionally, not having to pay taxes now means they can defer those if they have them so that they can have more access to funding.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:22 [p.2078]
Madam Chair, we know that COVID-19 is creating serious difficulties for some industries. Of course, the aerospace industry will bring in less revenue and face significant challenges.
We will work with the various sectors to ensure that they have access to the funds needed during this crisis. That will certainly be the case for the aerospace industry.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:24 [p.2078]
Madam Chair, we know that the agricultural sector is very important and that it will face significant challenges as a result of COVID-19. That is why we have changed the eligibility criteria for mortgages and loans with Farm Credit Canada. We will continue to work with farmers. Of course, if there are things we need to do to make sure everyone is in good shape, we will consider every option.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:25 [p.2078]
Madam Chair, that is an important question. We determined that it was crucial to have a simple application process so that people could get money as quickly as possible. That is why we chose two eligibility criteria for the benefits: having earned $5,000 in the previous 12 months and having zero income.
I know that there are other support measures for low-income people, including increasing the Canada child benefit and improving the GST/HST tax credit. We will also be allowing everyone, both businesses and individuals, to defer paying their taxes until August 31.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:26 [p.2078]
Madam Chair, absolutely, our goal is to make the process very simple and effective so that those who are really struggling can get the money as quickly as possible. We have found an effective solution. In the next two or three weeks, but ideally in the next two weeks, those who are without income because of COVID-19 will have money.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:27 [p.2078]
Madam Chair, I will be very clear. We are working every day to make sure that the many people who are struggling will have access to the money. We are working every day to set a date. As soon as we have an exact date, I will announce it.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:28 [p.2078]
Madam Chair, if the member wants to send me the question, someone on my team will be able to answer directly.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:28 [p.2079]
Madam Chair, the situation right now requires us to take emergency measures and that is what we are looking at today. We will certainly have to take other measures to address the challenges that will arise in the coming weeks and months.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Chair, in a crisis like this, we must ensure that our economy and food are secure and that Canadians remain healthy.
I will work with my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, to ensure that foreign workers' home countries allow them to leave, so that they can come help Canadian farmers.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:30 [p.2079]
Mr. Chair, we decided to implement measures that will help people immediately and that will benefit the people who have no income because of COVID-19. We will certainly look at different approaches. For now, we think that we found an approach that works, given our current challenges, namely getting money quickly.
We will look at different ideas in the coming days.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:32 [p.2079]
moved that Bill C-13, An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:32 [p.2079]
Mr. Speaker, COVID-19 is a challenge unlike any other we have ever faced. Canadians are worried about their health and the health of their loved ones. I understand what people are going through in one sense. Two of my own loved ones are facing this disease right now: one of my sisters who lives in Europe and a godson in the United States. They are both doing well and I know they will get through this, but it is a reminder once again of how this disease is impacting so many people.
We are all in this together. Canadians are worried about the economic impacts as well, keeping a roof over their heads and putting food on their tables. While we do not yet know the full economic impacts, I want to tell Canadians that our government is prepared to do whatever it takes to mitigate the impacts.
Last week, our government announced significant economic measures to support Canadians and ensure that no one is left behind. With the bill introduced today in Parliament, we are taking the next steps to implement our plan to protect Canadians and the Canadian economy during this period of uncertainty.
This legislation aims to provide timely support to Canadians and to make sure that we all have the tools necessary to support them, as well as businesses, as things continue to rapidly evolve in these very uncertain times.
I would like to outline how this will help Canadians worried about their health and their ability to pay their bills.
Canadians' health is our top priority. The bill gives me and the Minister of Health the power to request funds to support the federal government's efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19.
This legislation proposes to provide one-time funding of $500 million through the Canada health transfer for provinces and territories to ensure that our health care systems across the country have the resources they need.
My colleague, the Minister of Health, has been in constant communication with her colleagues. We are in this together. We must continue to work together. This means ensuring that our health care systems have the funds they need to treat patients and continue to deliver world-class care.
We also know that many Canadians do not have access to benefits when they are sick. No Canadian should have to choose between buying groceries and taking care of his or her health. It is not good for that person or for our communities.
We are proposing the new Canada emergency response benefit. It is a simpler and more accessible version of the previous two benefits, the emergency care benefit and emergency support benefit. We want to ensure that all Canadians who cannot work because of COVID-19 and who do not have access to paid leave or other income support get the support they need in a simple and rapid way.
This approach supports any Canadian who finds themself in a situation in which they lose all of their income due to COVID-19, and supports every Canadian business by protecting every employee. It is a wage subsidy delivered directly to people.
Canadian workers who are sick, self-isolating or quarantined, looking after a sick family member or who have been furloughed or terminated because of COVID-19 would be eligible. This includes workers who are still employed but are not receiving income because of work disruptions related to COVID-19. This would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times and make sure that they can quickly resume operations when the time is right. It would also support working parents who have to stay home with their children without pay because schools and day cares are closed.
For workers eligible for employment insurance sickness benefits, we are also proposing to waive the requirement for claimants to provide a medical certificate.
For low and modest-income Canadians, we are proposing a special top-up through the GST credit by early May. This would double maximum GST credit payment amounts. On average, for those benefiting, this measure would put almost $400 more in the pockets of single individuals and $600 for couples.
For families with children, our government has proposed a temporary increase to the Canada child benefit. Parents will receive an additional $300 per child, starting in May.
Our government is proposing a six-month moratorium on Canada student loan repayments, with no interest, for those now making payments. This will give nearly one million Canadians an additional $160 a month for this entire period.
Canadians who owe personal income taxes and Canadian businesses that owe corporate income tax will not be required to pay it until August 31. This would free up $55 billion and keep that money circulating in the economy.
We need to help our businesses weather the storm, keep Canadians employed and make sure Canada's economy remains strong and stable.
On top of our direct support to people, which would benefit every business that must furlough employees to maintain operations, this legislation proposes a wage subsidy for small organizations for them to help Canadians working.
We also understand that businesses may require more liquidity during this time, so we are leveraging the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada to work with private sector lenders to coordinate financing solutions for Canadian businesses. They are highly capitalized and well positioned to respond.
With this legislation, we would be making amendments that would give us the necessary flexibility to help businesses, through EDC and BDC. These changes would also allow BDC to provide more financial support to Canadian businesses and give EDC the flexibility to deliver financial and credit insurance support to affected Canadian companies. This important legislation would provide these two institutions with additional resources to respond to the needs of businesses as necessary.
We know that access to financing is crucial right now for businesses across the country.
On top of these changes, the government has implemented the business credit availability program. Through this program, the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada will work closely with private industry to coordinate financing solutions for Canadian businesses.
This program will be particularly helpful to businesses in sectors facing serious short-term challenges, such as the tourism and the oil and gas sectors.
Through this program, Crown corporations will make more than $10 billion in additional support available to businesses of all sizes that are struggling with credit.
The Canada Account is an important tool that can support Canadian companies with financing and guarantees. With the potential economic impact of COVID-19, there could be an increased demand for Canada Account financing. We are proposing to strengthen our ability to act through the Canada Account.
We also recognize that farmers and the agri-food sector will need access to financing. We are proposing to strengthen Farm Credit Canada to support the sector during these times.
The government is also taking action to help the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation increase liquidity in the financial sector by providing stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders to support continued lending to Canadian businesses and individuals. This work is absolutely critical. To this end, the government is launching an insured mortgage purchase program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through CMHC.
The proposed actions announced today represent direct support to Canadians and Canadian businesses to help protect jobs and to ensure that Canadians have the money they need during this challenging time.
I should point out that Canada is in a very good position to make these investments. Canada has the strongest record in the G7 and has the financial capacity to support its economy throughout this difficult period.
By working together, we can face up to this global health and economic crisis from a position of strength, give confidence to markets and help Canadians receive the support they need to weather the crisis.
I am asking my hon. colleagues from all parties to support this legislation. There can be no delay. I am confident that all parliamentarians will rise to the occasion. Canadians are counting on us.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:43 [p.2081]
Mr. Speaker, this is a very important question. We are trying to make sure that we support small businesses through this very challenging time. We know that many if not most small businesses are employers. They may be sole proprietors, but they may be employers. That is why we are delivering a wage subsidy directly to their employees if they are unable to work as a result of COVID-19. We know that this will support their ability to maintain that employment as we come out of this. That is critically important. The employees who keep working will have a 10% wage subsidy. Of course, we are making sure that they do not have to pay pay their taxes until August 31.
We remain open to considering additional measures, because this is a very dynamic situation. That is something we continue to work on to make sure that we are supporting people during this challenging time.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:44 [p.2081]
Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear that any employees of these small businesses that do not have revenue as a result of COVID-19 will be getting direct support, which is a wage subsidy directly delivered to the employee. For the employees who are still there, of course that is also important.
We are trying to ensure that this is something that employers have the capacity to manage through. That is the reason we have been working so hard to make sure that the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada have access to capital and can deliver that access through the business credit availability program and the current banking relationship that the small businesses have.
We know these measures, in tandem, will support people through a difficult time. We are going to continue to think about ways we can support Canadians, the people who are off work and businesses, through this challenging time.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I want to echo the sentiment that these are very trying times, and it is very reassuring to see this House come together and to see all parties working collaboratively together.
There is no doubt that right now, out there, there is a lot of anxiety and worry. The minister has mentioned a number of individual items that he is proposing in this legislation.
I would like to ask him more broadly what his message is to people out there, such as small business owners or individuals who are feeling that anxiety right now. What is the message he wants to deliver to them from the government?
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:46 [p.2081]
Mr. Speaker, first and foremost the message I want to get out to Canadian businesses is that we have a strong and resilient country. We have a tremendous starting point: Our health system is strong, our financial situation is strong and we have a banking system that is literally the best in the world. These are important assets as we face this challenging time.
The reason it is so important to have a strong financial position as a country is that in a difficult time, such as the one we are facing right now, it means we have the capacity to act and to continue to act, because that financial capacity allows us to face today's challenges and the continuing challenges that we will have to face together. Therefore, we have put forward measures that are very significant. They include $55 billion in tax deferrals, direct support to individuals, and support to businesses. We will continue to think about additional measures we can take as we face this situation. We do not know the severity of the situation and we do not know the duration, and that is why we are maintaining our ability to address a dynamic situation with dynamic measures.
We know our approach will get us through this time. It will help Canadians bridge this time to a better future.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the co-operation that we are seeing throughout the House truly is remarkable.
I would suggest, perhaps in contrast to some of the comments from the Leader of the Opposition, that we saw the government bring forward a plan. It was a plan that the government thought was in the best interests of Canadians. I realize that the opposition had some issues with some aspects of that plan. They made their concerns known, and I think that was really important. What we should take from this is that in a time like this, even with the circumstances that we are in, democracy works. The opposition can do its job and push back on the government, but we can come to a compromise and move forward. I do appreciate that.
Earlier on in the debate today, the Leader of the Opposition questioned the 10% subsidy that was going to be given to small business employers specifically. He suggested that maybe that should be increased slightly. Can he expand on that and suggest where he sees that going?
View Greg Fergus Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Greg Fergus Profile
2020-03-25 5:11 [p.2085]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his speech. I think that we share many values.
As members from Quebec, we acknowledge the work of all health care professionals and those who are working hard to keep Quebeckers and Canadians safe.
The member spoke about the importance of putting health ahead of economic interests. I agree with him because this pandemic is a serious problem throughout the world.
I would like to give him the opportunity to elaborate on the importance of the well-being of Quebec, Canada and the entire world.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I echo the comments of the leader of the NDP that Canadians have risen to the occasion. I have dealt with a lot of worried and anxious Canadians about the times they face, and it is always concerning to see that. However, one of the other things I have seen is Canadians coming together and being Canadian in a way that, quite frankly, I feel I have not seen in a very long time. It is very inspiring to see that. It gives me great hope, and I know that we will come out of this on the other end stronger than when we went into it.
The leader of the NDP brought up the basic income guarantee in his speech. I am wondering if he can comment as to whether he thinks that we would have been better prepared going into this crisis if we had had a basic income guarantee in place.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member in particular on her 10-hour car ride with two young children in the car. Being in a family with three children, I know how trying that can be. I congratulate her on that.
On the topic of children, I think that quite often in this discussion about what is going on with this crisis, we are neglecting to focus on what children might be going through. I am curious as to what her message is to children, as a parliamentarian and a leader in her community, and as to her message to parents who have to deal with children who might be experiencing more anxiety now as a result of all this.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 5:51 [p.2092]
moved that Bill C-13, an act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19, be read the second time and referred to a committee of the whole.
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
I understand that there is an agreement between the parties to have some brief statements.
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
I thank the member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands on a point of order.
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
Does the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands have the unanimous consent of the House?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-03-13 10:17 [p.2063]
Madam Speaker, I rise in the House today in extraordinary circumstances.
I would like to sincerely and warmly thank all the parties in the House for working with us at such an important time.
I can assure Canadians that the priority of the government and all members of the House is to ensure the health and safety of every Canadian. That is why we are moving the following motion:
That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, following the adoption of this order, the House shall stand adjourned until Monday, April 20, 2020, provided that:
(a) the House shall be deemed to have adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28;
(b) for the supply period ending on March 26, 2020, the eighth allotted day shall be the final allotted day;
(c) the order for the deferred recorded division on the opposition motion standing in the name of the member for Vancouver Kingsway, considered on March 12, 2020, be discharged and the motion be deemed adopted on division;
(d) the motions to concur in Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2020, and interim supply for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2021, be deemed adopted on division and the appropriation bills based thereon be deemed to have been introduced and read a first time, deemed read a second time and referred to a committee of the whole on division, deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage on division, deemed read a third time and passed on division;
(e) there shall be 10 allotted days in the supply period ending on June 23, 2020;
(f) a bill in the name of the Minister of Finance, entitled An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act (special warrant), be deemed to have been introduced and read a first time, deemed read a second time and referred to a committee of the whole on division, deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage on division, deemed read a third time and passed on division;
(g) currently scheduled committee meetings shall be cancelled;
(h) the order of the day designated for Monday, March 30, 2020, for the consideration of the budget presentation, shall be undesignated;
(i) if, during the period the House stands adjourned, the Speaker receives a notice from the House leaders of all four recognized parties indicating that it is in the public interest that the House remain adjourned until a future date or until future notice is given to the Speaker, the House will remain adjourned accordingly;
(j) Bill C-4, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, be deemed read a third time and passed;
(k) during the period the House stands adjourned, the House may be recalled, under the provisions of Standing Order 28(3), to consider measures to address the economic impact of COVID-19 and the impacts on the lives of Canadians;
(l) the government’s responses to petitions 431-00042 to 431-00045 be tabled immediately and questions on the Order Paper numbered Q-245 to Q-259 be made into orders for returns and that the said returns be tabled immediately;
(m) the government provide regular updates to representatives of the opposition parties;
(n) any special warrant issued under the Financial Administration Act may be deposited with the Clerk of the House during the period the House is adjourned;
(o) any special warrant issued under the Financial Administration Act and deposited with the Clerk of the House shall be referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and the committee shall meet to consider any warrants referred to it within 20 sitting days; and
(p) the House call on the Auditor General of Canada to immediately conduct an audit of the special warrants issued under the Financial Administration Act and that the Auditor General of Canada report his findings to the House no later than June 1, 2021.
Madam Speaker, this decision was taken to help keep all Canadians safe and healthy. We made this decision together, with all the parties, and we did not make it lightly.
Our action today demonstrates that we take this challenge seriously. I want to thank all of the health care workers and professionals.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all health care professionals, who are going through tough times at work as they help us through this crisis.
To Canadians, workers and families; to children concerned for their parents; to sisters and brothers concerned for loved ones and friends, we are all united. We will face this together, and we will get through this together.
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)

Question No. 245--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the electoral district of Skeena—Bulkley Valley, between the fiscal year 2005-06 and the current year: what are all the federal infrastructure investments, including direct transfers to municipalities, regional district associations or First Nations, national parks, highways, etc., broken down by fiscal year?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 246--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the Canada Infrastructure Bank: (a) what is the complete list of infrastructure projects financed by the bank since June 1, 2018; (b) for each project in (a), what are the details, including the (i) amount of federal financing, (ii) location of project, (iii) scheduled completion date of project, (iv) project description; and (c) what are the details of projects currently proposed for the bank, including the (i) proposed date of commencement, (ii) location of project, (iii) proposed federal financing, (iv) project description?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 247--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan: (a) what is the total amount of approved funding; (b) what is the complete list of approved projects; and (c) for each project in (b), what are the details, including the (i) value of approved project, (ii) total amount of federal financing, (iii) location of project, (iv) project description, (v) scheduled completion date?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 248--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan: (a) what is the total amount of allocated funding not yet spent; (b) what is the complete list of proposed projects not yet assigned federal funding or assigned funding, but not yet commenced construction; and (c) for each project in (b), what are the details, including the (i) value of proposed project, (ii) total amount of federal financing, (iii) location of project, (iv) project description, (v) proposed completion date?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 249--
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs:
With regard to the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Expansion Project: (a) what are the revenues generated by the Trans Mountain Pipeline, broken down by quarter, since the pipeline was purchased by the government; (b) what are the operating expenses less loan interest payments to run the Trans Mountain Pipeline, broken down by quarter, since the pipeline was purchased by the federal government; (c) what are the interest payments on the loan used to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline, broken down by quarter, since the pipeline was purchased by the government; (d) what is the profit or loss, broken down by quarter, on the Trans Mountain Pipeline since the pipeline was purchased by the government; (e) are the revenues generated by the Trans Mountain Pipeline covering the annual operating and interest payments on the loans the government used to buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Expansion; (f) on what date is the pipeline scheduled to be completed, including the month and year; (g) on what date is the pipeline scheduled to enter service, including the month and year; (h) what is the current estimated cost of construction for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project; (i) on what date was the Minister of Finance, or his office, advised in writing or verbally, by officials from either the Department of Finance or a Crown corporation or a government contractor that the estimated cost of construction for the expansion was more than $7.4 billion; and (j) on what date did the government become aware that the cost of completing the Trans Mountain Expansion Project was estimated to be greater than $7.4 billion?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 250--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
With regard to the Department of Finance and the Advisory Council on Economic Growth: (a) when and where were each of the council’s meetings held; (b) when were each of the council’s (i) in-person meetings, (ii) phone or video-conference sessions with stakeholders; (c) how much funding was allocated for (i) salaries, (ii) expenses, (iii) council operations, (iv) any other categories of funding not captured by the preceding; (d) how much was spent on (i) salaries, (ii) expenses, (iii) council operations, (iv) any other category of funding not captured by the preceding; and (e) for each of the recommendations in the council’s three reports, (i) what was the recommendation; (ii) which department or departments were tasked with actions following up on the recommendation, (iii) which team or teams within the department or departments were tasked with follow-up actions, (iv) was the action tasked further analysis of or implementation of the recommendation (e.g. feasibility studies or reports), (v) what actions were taken by these teams to implement or further analyze the recommendations?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 251--
Mr. John Brassard:
With regard to government aircraft travelling between Canada and Costa Rica between December 15, 2019, and January 10, 2020: what are the details of the legs of each flight to and from Costa Rica, including the (i) type of aircraft, (ii) date, (iii) place of departure, (iv) place of arrival, (v) number of passengers, excluding RCMP protective detail, (vi) name of passengers, excluding RCMP protective detail, (vii) purpose of flight, (viii) food, beverage, and other catering costs?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 252--
Mr. Eric Melillo:
With regard to the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario (FedNor), since November 4, 2015: (a) what are the details of funding delivered by FedNor in fiscal year (i) 2015-16, (ii) 2016-17, (iii) 2017-18, (iv) 2018-19, (v) 2019-20; (b) for each instances in (a), what are the details, broken down by (i) program or funding stream, (ii) recipient, (iii) address of recipient, including the full address, city and postal code, (iv) mailing address of recipient, including the full address, city and postal code; and (c) for each instances in (b), what was the (i) total funding requested, (ii) total funding granted, (iii) description of project funded, (iv) status of project?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 253--
Mr. Glen Motz:
With regard to government statistics related to crimes committed with firearms: (a) how many homicides have been committed in Canada with an AR-15 rifle; (b) how many armed robberies have been committed in Canada where the weapon used was an AR-15 rifle; (c) how many crimes of any sort have been committed in Canada where an AR-15 rifle was present; (d) if the answer to (c) is more than 0, what is the nature of the crime that was committed; (e) how many individuals who have received a Possession and Acquisition License have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010; (f) how many individuals who have not received a Possession and Acquisition License have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter; (g) for individuals referred to in (e) and (f), how many of these incidents involved a firearm, broken down by year since 2010; (h) how many individuals who have been released on bail and are awaiting trial have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010; (i) how many individuals who have been released from prison on conditional release have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010; (j) how many individuals who have been found to have entered Canada illegally have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010; and (k) how many individuals who have been previously convicted of an organized crime related offence have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 254--
Mr. Kyle Seeback:
With regard to deportation orders issued or in effect by the government since January 1, 2016: (a) what is the total number of orders issued, broken down by year; (b) what was the total number of deportation orders where the deportation was still pending as of (i) January 1, 2016, (ii) January 1, 2017, (iii) January 1, 2018, (iv) January 1, 2019, (v) January 1, 2020; (c) what was the total number of individuals deported, broken down by year; (d) what was the total number of individuals under the age of 18 deported, broken down by year; and (e) how many parents, guardians or adult family members of individuals in (d) were deported, broken down by year?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 255--
Mr. Kyle Seeback:
With regard to the Budget 2019 commitment of $1.7 billion for new funding for rural broadband infrastructure: (a) how much of that funding is projected to be spent for broadband projects in the riding of Dufferin—Caledon, broken down by project; (b) what is the breakdown of the $1.7 billion, by project; (c) what are the details of all projects in (b), including the (i) name, (ii) description, (iii) amount of federal contribution, (iv) projected completion date, (v) number of users impacted; and (d) how much of the $1.7 billion has actually been delivered to date, broken down by individual project?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 256--
Mr. Kyle Seeback:
With regard to government support programs for agriculture industries impacted by changes in trade with China: (a) in 2019, what is the total amount of government funding provided to the (i) soybean industry, (ii) canola industry, (iii) beef industry; (b) what is the breakdown of all funding in (a), by (i) program, (ii) province; (c) in 2020, what is the projected total amount of government funding to the (i) soybean industry, (ii) canola industry, (iii) beef industry; and (d) what is the breakdown of (c), by (i) program, (ii) province?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 257--
Mr. Doug Shipley:
With regard to the government’s policy on firearms: which specific makes and models of weapons that are currently available on the legal market does the government consider to be “military-style assault weapons”?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 258--
Mr. John Brassard:
With regard to the awarding of the South West Asia Service Medal (SWASM), the General Campaign Star (GCS), the General Service Medal (GSM) and the South West Asia Service ribbon by the Minister of National Defence for service in Afghanistan: (a) how many have been awarded to date, broken down by award; (b) how many requests for the SWASM have yet to be fulfilled; and (c) what are years of service in which the (i) SWASM, (ii) GSM, (iii) GCS, (iv) South West Asia Service ribbon, are eligible to be awarded, broken down by award?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 259--
Mr. Blake Richards:
With regard to the January 15, 2020, Twitter post of the National Capital Commission Rideau Canal Skateway, under the Twitter handle @NCC_Skateway, entitled “Ice Ice Maybe”: (a) what was the total video production cost involved in the planning, production, editing and posting of the video, broken down by (i) work hours of public servants used, (ii) types of expenditure; (b) what are the names and titles of any persons within the government and the National Capital Commission who were involved with the production, planning, editing and posting of the video, including any ministers or ministerial exempt staff that were involved; (c) was any overtime pay granted to public servants as a result of this video, and, if so, what were the details, broken down by (i) the names and titles of managers who signed off, (ii) the total amount and cost of overtime used; (d) what are the details of all documentation on the planning, production, editing and posting of the video, including any scripts, contracts or briefing notes; (e) what are the names and titles of all persons who signed off on and had knowledge of the production of this video; (f) was any paid advertising used to promote the video on Twitter, and, if so, what were the cost and targeting metrics used; (g) were outside services procured in the production of this video, and, if so, what was the name of the company or the persons used and the total cost of any outside contracts, including the (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) vendor, (iv) summary of goods or services provided; (h) was an outside contract procured, and was there an open request for proposals or was it a sole-sourced contract; and (i) was a music licence sought for the use of the musical likeness of the song “Ice Ice Baby” by the artist Vanilla Ice, and, if so, what were the cost and terms of the licence?
Response
(Return tabled)
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
Pursuant to an order made earlier today, the House stands adjourned until Monday, April 20, 2020 at 11 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 28(2) and 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 10:25 a.m.)
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I have the honour, pursuant to section 38 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, to lay upon the table the case report of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner in the matter of an investigation into a disclosure of wrongdoing.
This report is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Pursuant to subsection 79.2(2) of the Parliament of Canada Act, it is my duty to present to the House a report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer entitled “The Government's Expenditure Plan and Main Estimates for 2020-21”.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Pursuant to section 15(3) of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, it is my duty to lay upon the table the list of all sponsored travel by members for the year 2019 with a supplement that is provided by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-03-12 10:05 [p.1975]
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to subsections 21(6) and 21(5) of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, two reports.
The first is the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians annual report for 2019.
The second is the special report on the collection, use, retention and dissemination of information on Canadians.
Pursuant to paragraph 21(7)(b) of the act, I request that the reports be referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to subsection 94(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the annual report to Parliament on immigration, 2019.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-03-12 10:06 [p.1975]
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to one petition. This response will be tabled in an electronic format.
View Maryam Monsef Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, bonjour, aaniin, as-salaam alaikum to my hon. colleagues.
The great women feminists in my life, the Angelas, the Farrahs, the Lynns and my own mother, remind me that women hold up more than half the sky. A large part of that sky is above Canada. I stand here before the House on this traditional Algonquin territory as the Minister of Women and Gender Equality.
I am fully aware that my role intersects with so many of the concerns that face all of us today, such as economic development, climate change and reconciliation. Youth, seniors and those in between, in rural communities and in larger centres, are concerned with addressing and preventing gender-based violence, including domestic and sexual assaults; supporting LGBTQ2 services and equality-seeking organizations; making progress on housing and addressing homelessness; improving economic security; and representation, because representation matters.
On International Women's Day I, like so many of my colleagues, was back in my riding. In Peterborough—Kawartha I walked with Rosemary Ganley, who was in Beijing in 1995 and helped shape the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most comprehensive blueprint for gender equality.
I also walked with my 10-year-old and three-year-old nieces, Leila and Ellia. I know when they get a little older they are going to look me in the eye and ask, “What did you do while you were in power to make things better for all of us?” I want to be able to tell them that I did everything I could. I know that all my colleagues want to be able to tell the little people in their lives the same thing.
I am confident that I will be able to have a good answer for them because, first and foremost, we have an incredible team, and some of them are here with me today, who wake up every day thinking about the very same outcome. I am also part of a movement that existed long before any of us got here, a movement that will continue long after we are gone.
On International Women's Day, we have an opportunity in this House to come together across party lines and talk about why it is important to hold up those who hold up more than half the sky. The French call this day, la Journée internationale de lutte féministe pour les droits des femmes, personnes trans et non-binaire, which in English is the international day of the feminist struggle for women, trans and non-binary people's rights.
For me, here in Canada, March 8 brings opportunities to connect with amazing feminists who believe in equality for all women, men, non-binary individuals and transpeople. It reminds all of us that no one can make progress alone. Feminists across the country and around the world have taught me there is no universal woman. That is the beauty of International Women's Day. It gives us a chance to connect to our own community and to connect to women's experiences across the country as we galvanize around the work we have accomplished and the work we still have to do.
As a Canadian, I am deeply proud of our spectacular country. We are unique because of our diversity and our diversity is our strength. I am proud to be a feminist in a movement that has incorporated its shared experiences of women, including those of women who are indigenous to these lands and those of immigrants from all corners of the world.
There are women who trace their ancestry to formerly enslaved Africans who fled north for freedom, women who trace their legacy to settlers who arrived here from Europe and women who continue to arrive here as refugees, seeking safety from war and political strife. They all have stories to share. We all have stories to share.
Canada is remarkable because we strive to share these stories and to learn from them. The leadership from women from all these realities has shaped and will continue to shape this great country we all call home.
A more difficult reality to face is that the making of our nation has resulted in specific oppressions and violence against particular groups of women, especially indigenous women and girls. These are wrongs we are working to make right. Making this right includes acting on the recommendations from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which I and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and all of our government are committed to addressing and responding to.
We will always take our lead from feminists and leaders across this country. Because we are working with them, our plan is working, and we are well equipped for the work ahead. We all know that these problems are multi-generational and, while they cannot all be eradicated in just four years, we are determined to continue to face them head-on.
In the months to come, I will once again be relying on meaningful conversations with feminists and equality seekers from across the country to develop Canada's first national action plan for addressing gender-based violence and to develop Canada's first federal gender equality plan.
Having grown up in family of strong-willed women, I do not expect we will always agree, but I am counting on the support of my colleagues and of Canadians to ensure our approach is intersectional, trauma-informed and culturally sensitive. We want to ensure that when we invest $100 million in women's organizations, which will be the single largest investment in grassroots organizations in Canada's history, we are empowering every single community across this country to become resilient and strong.
Our government will work with all willing partners to make the most of this momentum forward because, as our first openly feminist Prime Minister says, doing this work is not just the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do. Our future and our economy depend on it.
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to table a petition signed by my constituents. The petition calls on the Government of Canada to condemn the national register of Indian citizens and national population register in India, and any excessive use of force by its police. It also asks the government to demand the withdrawal of India's Citizenship Amendment Act, national register of Indian citizens and national population register.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-03-12 10:35 [p.1980]
Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
View Gagan Sikand Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, historically our Liberal government did implement universal health care, with input through provincial NDP, and it is one of the cornerstones of our country. However, I would be remiss if I did not ask this question on behalf of my riding.
I represent a high concentration of pharmaceutical companies, colloquially known as Pill Hill, and they want us to strike a balance as we move forward. Their concern is that if we move too quickly, we are going to end up with a subpar health care system, because we are going to stymie innovation.
My position is, of course, that we want full pharmacare, but we want to strike that balance. I would like to know if my colleague could speak to that.
View Darren Fisher Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, I am certainly pleased to stand today to address the motion from the hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway. I congratulate him on his speech and I thank him for his work on the health committee.
The government is committed to implementing a national universal pharmacare program that ensures that all Canadians have access to the prescription drugs that they need. This is our goal, as clearly stated in the 43rd Speech from the Throne. It is a goal that we have been working towards for some time. While we are now closer than ever, it is important that we continue our measured, considered approach to implementation. We need to get this right.
This morning I will explain the steps the government is taking to make prescription drugs more accessible and affordable for Canadians. I will also explain why these actions are key to the implementation of a national pharmacare program.
Canadians should not have to choose between buying groceries and paying for medication, but for many people, paying for prescription drugs is a heavy burden and for others it is completely out of reach. Surveys show that more than seven million Canadians are either entirely uninsured or under-insured.
This means that many of these Canadians cannot afford to fill their prescriptions. They simply do without the medication they need. If their health absolutely depends on taking these drugs, they may forgo necessities, such as food and heat, so that they can pay for their prescriptions. We can no longer afford to do nothing. We cannot afford to wait.
That is why we asked Dr. Eric Hoskins and a panel of eminent Canadians to provide the government with a blueprint for a national pharmacare program. After hearing from many thousands of Canadians, the council found a consensus of opinion that everyone in Canada should have access to prescription drugs based on their need and not on their ability to pay.
The government shares this view. With national pharmacare on the horizon, addressing the affordability of drugs is imperative.
How do we do that? The first step is to update specific parts of our regulatory regime and bring them into line with the rest of the world.
Let me begin with a few words about the evolving use of pharmaceuticals in Canada and the associated increasing costs, costs that impact everyone.
Pharmaceuticals are important to the health of Canadians and a vital part of Canada's health care system. Drugs help cure or manage previously debilitating or fatal diseases, allowing Canadians to live longer and healthier lives. Diseases that were deadly 100 years ago, such as tetanus, diphtheria, polio and many others, can now be prevented by vaccination. An HIV diagnosis was a death sentence at one time. New drugs offer innovative treatments for diseases like arthritis, hepatitis C and many types of cancer.
All this innovation comes at a cost. It is part of the reason that Canadians are paying higher prices for prescription drugs than they should. Patented drug prices in Canada are the third-highest in the world, behind only the United States and Switzerland. Canadian prices are, on average, almost 25% more than the OECD median for the same patented drugs. As a result, the private and public drug plans that cover the majority of Canadians are rapidly becoming unsustainable.
Let me give an example. Diabetes affects an estimated 3.4 million Canadians and is one of the leading causes of death in Canada. Canada spends nearly $600 million annually on new oral anti-diabetic drugs. The two top-selling oral anti-diabetic drugs cost Canadian public drug plans close to $1,000 per year per patient, twice as much as in France. Imagine the savings if Canada paid France's prices for these drugs. That is a lot of money. It is money that could be used to cover the cost of drugs for people with limited or no insurance coverage.
A second example is a drug used to treat a rare soft-bone disease. This disease used to be almost always fatal, but this drug changed the prognosis. However, it is one of the most expensive drugs in Canada, costing more than $1 million per year per patient, depending on the required dosage. Unfortunately, this high price resulted in difficult decisions and delayed access to the drug for many Canadians.
If Canada paid lower prices for all drugs, there would be more money available in drug plans to provide better coverage or to provide coverage to those without insurance.
Even outside the area of rare diseases, pharmaceutical costs keep going up. Drugs are now the second-largest category of spending in health care, and biologics and other specialty drugs account for an increasing share of these total drug costs. This rate of growth in drug costs is unsustainable, and it is hurting Canadians every single day.
As a trend toward higher-cost specialty drugs continues, we cannot continue to pay higher-than-average prices for drugs. What could we do? The answer is not to spend more. We already spend more per capita on pharmaceuticals than nearly every country in the world. We need a solution to bring fair prices and sustainable drug costs for Canada.
Part of the problem was that Canada's approach to patented drug price regulations was outdated. Our previous pricing regulations were established in the 1980s. We have more than 100 different public drug plans and thousands of private drug plans, which means that drug coverage is provided by a patchwork of payers.
It was well past time to bring these regulations into the 21st century. Canada needed a modernized approach to regulating patented drug prices, one that would provide long-term sustainability and protect Canadians from excessive prices. That is why last summer the government modernized the patented medicines regulations to provide the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, or PMPRB, with the tools and information it needs to protect Canadians from excessive prices for patented medicines.
I want everyone to remember that Canada pays the third-highest costs in the world. As a comparison, we pay double what France pays on some drugs.
We will now benchmark prices against countries that are similar to Canada economically and similar from a consumer protection standpoint. Previously, the price ceilings for patented drugs in Canada were set by comparing our prices against prices in seven predetermined countries: France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The list of countries has now been updated by removing the United States and Switzerland and adding Australia, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain, for a total of 11 countries as comparables.
We then wanted the PMPRB to see the actual prices being paid in Canada, not just the list prices being published by pharmaceutical companies. When the PMPRB was created, the market prices of drugs matched the list prices. Over time, as a result of the significant confidential discounts and rebates negotiated by third party payers, actual prices paid in the market became significantly lower than list prices. Without access to this information, the PMPRB was left to regulate domestic price ceilings based on inflated list prices.
With the modernized regulations, patentees will be required to report Canadian price information as the net of all adjustments, such as rebates and discounts, so that the PMPRB is informed of the actual market prices being paid in Canada.
Finally, we wanted to consider the value that a drug offers and its overall affordability. Most other countries with national pharmacare programs already do this. When setting a price, we need to consider three things. First is the value for money: Does the drug offer a therapeutic benefit that justifies its cost? Next is the size of the market: How many people will benefit from the drug? Last is to consider Canada's GDP and GDP per capita: Can we afford to pay for the drug?
These changes will provide the PMPRB with the tools it needs to protect Canadians from excessive drug prices and bring us in line with the policies and practices of most other developed countries. This was a critical step toward improving the affordability and accessibility of prescription drugs. Taken together, we anticipate that these regulatory changes will save roughly $13 billion over the next 10 years. That is a significant saving for Canadians.
From those savings, public and private drug plans will have greater capacity to improve benefits for plan members or to consider new therapies not currently covered. All Canadians, including those with drug plans and those paying out of pocket, will benefit from lower prices for prescription drugs.
Modernizing pricing regulations complements the work already under way at Health Canada to streamline the regulatory review process for drugs by enabling priority drugs to reach the market more quickly. It supports the work already taking place under the pan-Canadian pharmaceutical alliance to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs. As a member of this alliance, the Government of Canada is able to combine its buying power with that of the public plans in the provinces and territories.
It is estimated that the alliance saves public drug plans more than $2 billion a year. Successful negotiations result in more affordable prescription drug prices for public plans and lower generic drug prices for all players.
Before we can implement a national pharmacare program in Canada, we have to address the rising cost of drugs in the country by taking the steps I have outlined. Doing so will improve the viability of a national pharmacare program. National pharmacare, in and of itself, would be another step that could help us control drug prices.
I am confident that this government is on the right path. We are now exploring options as we move forward with a national pharmacare plan, and we are making significant investments.
Budget 2019 earmarked $1 billion over two years beginning in 2022, with up to $500 million ongoing to help Canadians with rare diseases access the drugs they need. This is very important. This is an investment that must be made.
Budget 2019 also proposed $35 million over four years to support the creation of the Canadian drug agency, an important step toward a national pharmacare program. We have pledged to work with provinces, territories and stakeholders on the creation of the Canada drug agency. This agency could use its negotiating power to achieve better prescription drug prices on behalf of Canadians. Negotiating better prices could help lower the cost of prescription drugs for Canadians by up to $3 billion over the long term.
I appreciate the opportunity to discuss some of the important work we are doing to prepare for the implementation of a national pharmacare program. Part of this effort involves addressing the affordability of prescription drugs, an essential building block for pharmacare. To do that, we have brought our regulatory approach to pharmaceutical pricing in line with approaches that are used in the rest of the world. The actions we have taken to improve the system will help to bring down the prices of prescription drugs.
I would very much like to thank the hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway for his motion. I am pleased to say that we are moving forward steadily. Each of the actions I have described today is helping to pave the way for an effective pharmacare program.
From bringing down prescription prices to improving the management of these drugs in our health care system, we are taking the time necessary to get this right, keeping in mind that the provinces and territories will have a key role to play in determining how pharmacare will take shape.
Pharmaceuticals are an important part of Canada's health care system. That is why federal, provincial and territorial ministers of health have made affordability, accessibility and appropriate use of prescription drugs a shared responsibility.
The updates we have made to the patented medicines regulations, when taken together with the Patent Act, will provide the PMPRB with the tools to protect Canadians consumers from excessive patented drug prices.
All of these measures are important steps in our plan to prepare for the implementation of a national pharmacare program. It is critical that the government work closely with the provinces and territories, as they play a key role in the development of a drug agency, the strategy for high-cost drugs and for rare diseases. Together we are making progress toward a more efficient and effective system.
Based on these initiatives and others I have outlined today, it is clear that we are in fact moving forward with the recommendations from the Hoskins report. I am pleased to support today's motion and urge other hon. members in the House to do so as well.
We must continue to collaborate with the provinces and territories. Our government looks forward to continuing these discussions while taking the critical next step to implement national universal pharmacare.
View Darren Fisher Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, a lot of work has already happened in the last couple of years. A lot of collaboration has already begun and there are a lot of positive steps.
As we move forward on implementing national pharmacare, we have to continue to collaborate with the provinces and territories. I believe there is a meeting very soon, this spring in fact. Our government looks forward to continuing these discussions while taking critical next steps to implement national pharmacare.
View Darren Fisher Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious issue. We need to do some serious work on a rare diseases strategy for Canadians. It is very important. As it pertains specifically to Trikafta, the company has not submitted an application to market this product in Canada.
However, working toward the rare diseases strategy, budget 2019 put forward a billion dollars over two years and $500 million each year ongoing to come up with a way to solve this issue so Canadians have access and affordability.
I spoke about the fact that we paid the third-highest prices. Why is Canada paying the third-highest prices for pharmaceuticals in the world? Why is it twice as much as some countries? Why are we paying 25% more than OECD countries on average? We need to find a balance between affordability and accessibility so all Canadians can be safe and healthy.
View Darren Fisher Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
I want to congratulate Quebec on doing a great job with moving toward national pharmacare. Quebec has one of the models for our country.
As the member said, Canadians do pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, the third-highest behind the United States. We already have done more than any government in a generation to lower drug prices. We have new rules on patented drugs that will save Canadians over $13 billion. We joined the pan-Canadian pharmaceutical alliance. Now we are taking the next critical steps to implement national pharmacare. We will not rest until Canadians can get and afford the medications they need.
View Ken Hardie Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Ken Hardie Profile
2020-03-12 11:28 [p.1988]
Mr. Speaker, we have heard in the past that the patchwork quilt of programs available to people cover perhaps as many as 60% of Canadians. However, as has been pointed out, this leads to inefficiencies and higher prices. One concern that many would have is whether a move to a single-payer public system to cover the costs of pharmaceuticals would involve a shift of costs from private companies, which currently contribute through their individual plans, to the government.
View Darren Fisher Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, I would not want to presuppose an outcome or what may or may not come to be when so much of the responsibility, so much of partnership with the federal government will be the provinces and territories. It is so important to not try to foist upon provinces and territories what the federal government wants, but to work closely with the provinces and territories to determine what is best for them and for Canadians to ensure access and affordability for all Canadians.
View Darren Fisher Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, this is a very sensitive and serious issue in Canada. We spoke earlier about Trikafta and how there had been no application for its approval in Canada yet. I know there are other issues.
For serious or life-threatening conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, there is the special access program. It does work and it has worked. However, we would not necessarily put specifics on what the $1 billion looks like until we form a partnership with the provinces and territories in order to move forward.
The $1 billion over two years and the $500 million ongoing each year is to ensure we can solve these problems the member has spoken about in the House before, which, frankly, are very serious and affect me personally.
I appreciate the comments of the member and the questions he has asked. We know we have to work on a rare diseases strategy. We have put the money in budget 2019 and in future budgets. We will continue to do the absolute most we can for Canadians.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-03-12 11:42 [p.1991]
Mr. Speaker, for the first time we have a Prime Minister who understands the issues and challenges that many Canadians have with trying to decide between medication and food. Issues of poverty are very real and tangible.
Our caucus has long been advocating to ensure that medications are affordable and will be there for individuals who need them. For the very first time we have a Prime Minister who has really taken this issue head on to meet the needs of Canadians who require these types of medications. The cost of pharmaceuticals is too high.
I am wondering if my Conservative colleague across the way could give his thoughts in regard to the individuals who find this so difficult and are choosing between medication, food and often proper shelter because of the cost of their medications. Would he not agree that this issue has to be dealt with?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-03-12 11:59 [p.1993]
Mr. Speaker, let me attempt to restore some faith in my colleague across the way. Colleagues want to make reference to Liberal promises over many years.
Let me remind my colleague: The Prime Minister made a commitment to Canada's middle class to reduce taxes. That was done. We made a commitment to increase GIS for our seniors who were most in need. That was done. We made a commitment to increase the Canada child benefit. That was done. We have made a commitment to ensure that medications are going to be there for those Canadians who need it. I will assure the member across the way that this commitment too will be done.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-03-12 12:15 [p.1995]
Madam Speaker, Canada is a great nation with many different partners. We have provincial governments. The Saskatchewan government played a critical role in terms of the health care system we have today. In many ways, it played a leadership role to ultimately having a national health care system from which the residents of Quebec, Manitoba, Atlantic Canada and B.C. have all benefited.
Quebec has played a very important role on the issue of pharmacare. Like Saskatchewan, Quebec has an opportunity to play a strong leadership role, so the residents of Quebec possibly have a more enhanced program. Would my colleague not agree that given the leadership that Quebec has demonstrated in the past, it can actually play a strong national leadership role in ensuring that Canadians from coast to coast to coast, including people in Quebec, could possibly have a better program? After all, are we not here to serve first the constituents we represent?
View Gagan Sikand Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, earlier today I was speaking on behalf of my riding. As I mentioned, I have an area colloquially known as Pill Hill. That area was established in 1995 after the referendum. Many companies from Quebec came to our riding.
Since then, they re-established counterparts, probably even a larger footprint back in Quebec. From what I have heard from my riding, they want to strike a balance as we go forward. I was just wondering if my hon. colleague could speak to the counterparts in Quebec, the business case and perhaps what they want going forward.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-03-12 12:42 [p.1999]
Madam Speaker, the member was here when we heard the Bloc talking about the pharmacare program in the province of Quebec. Much as Saskatchewan played a very important role in our having a strong national presence on a national health care program, I think that Quebec could play a very important leadership role in terms of a national pharmacare program.
Would my colleague not agree that in order to have any form of national pharmacare program, it is absolutely critical that we work with provincial jurisdictions, given the important role that they play in health care?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-03-12 12:58 [p.2001]
Madam Speaker, I listened to my friend's passion on the issue. The government under the leadership of the current Prime Minister has taken significant steps toward a national pharmacare program where people will be able to get prescribed medicines that they so badly need.
I could not help but reflect on another era when we had a Liberal minority government, when there was the Kelowna Accord and a child accord to enhance day care. Because the NDP did not support the Liberals when it came to budget time, the Liberals were defeated and it virtually killed those very important accords.
What would my colleague's advice be to her colleagues if, in fact, we see an incorporation in some fashion for pharmacare continuing to move forward, in regard to the upcoming budget?
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-03-12 13:04 [p.2002]
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Bonavista—Burin—Trinity.
Today's motion is about pharmacare. Perhaps I will lead with my conclusion. I will be supporting this motion. I will be supporting it because quite frankly I am sick of knocking on the doors of seniors who tell me they have to split their medication because they cannot afford it, not only putting themselves in a difficult financial position but reducing the effectiveness of the medicine they have been prescribed.
Most of the people I talk to at home, and I dare say most Canadians, are happy with their own coverage right now. However, the golden thread that runs through the social fabric of Canada is that as Canadians, we care as much about our neighbours as we do about ourselves. It is incredibly frustrating for me to know that one in five Canadian households report that a family member is not taking his or her medication because he or she cannot afford it. I am sure that the 36 million Canadians who do not suffer from this problem are disappointed to know that one million Canadians cut back on their food or home heating because they cannot afford the cost of their pills. When my neighbours cannot afford the cost of their medication, it decreases the quality of my life to know I live in a society that does not adequately take care of its vulnerable.
One of the greatest frustrations I have as a federal member of Parliament is that the number one issue for my constituents is their health care system, whether that is access to a family doctor, the quality of mental health services, in-home care for their aging parents or a lack of access to quality medications. They sometimes end up at my office, despite the fact that health care is primarily a provincial responsibility under our Constitution. It is cold comfort for the people who bring these kinds of concerns to my office for me to say that I have to wash my hands of it because it is a provincial responsibility. What they are looking for is help in often desperate circumstances.
Despite the fact that there is this constitutional division of power, there are concrete things the federal government can do, such as transfer more money to the provincial health care systems, invest in research, invest to ensure we can do something to combat the family doctor shortage, or, yes, implement a national pharmacare program to ensure people have access to the medications they have been prescribed so they can be healthy, regardless of the financial circumstances they may have been born into through no fault of their own.
There are two categories of problems I see with the lack of access to an adequate national pharmacare system.
First is the lack of access to medication because of issues surrounding affordability. I find this to be a real problem. It discriminates against our seniors on the basis of their age, because they do have increased health care concerns as they get older. It discriminates against people who are living in poverty, because they cannot afford to access drugs.
It is heartbreaking to knock on a door that is answered by a child who has not had enough to eat that day and then to sit down with his or her parents, who explain the child has been prescribed medication to which they do not have access. It also discriminates against people who have an underlying health condition that may not be the subject of coverage through private or public insurance plans. In fact, of the people who report they cannot afford their medication, 38% have access to a private insurance plan and 21% have access to public coverage that does not cover their needs.
Second, in addition to the lack of access is an issue around the lack of systemic savings that we are not benefiting from because we have not been moving forward.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, a colleague of mine from Nova Scotia, quite eloquently has described the fact that Canada is the third most expensive country in the world when it comes to the costs of medication, ranking only behind the United States and Switzerland.
We are so proud of our public health care system and the universality of it. No matter where people come from or who their parents are, they will be taken care of when they fall ill. The same is not true, and a lot of Canadians do not appreciate this, when it comes to access to the medications they need, which are often to sustain life or remain healthy.
Part of the reason this is the case in Canada is that we have a very serious patchwork of provincial and territorial programs and over 100,000 private sector health care plans in Canada. We do not necessarily benefit from the opportunity that presents itself when we can negotiate bulk purchases of medications. Some efforts have yielded success by partnering with various provinces. However, if we adopt the Costco model and buy in greater volume, we can reduce the price per unit and extend access to people who currently cannot afford their medication.
I have seen estimates in excess of $4 billion of systemic savings that come not only from a reduced cost in the price of medication, but also fewer visits to emergency rooms, fewer hospitalizations and more seniors being taken care of in their homes because they can afford access to the medication they need to be well.
We all can appreciate that there is a problem with access to medication in Canada. Over the past few years we have been working toward solving this problem.
Just a few years ago, we appointed an advisory committee, led by Dr. Eric Hoskins, the former minister of health for the Province of Ontario. That effort led to a report that identified the path forward to a national pharmacare program. The committee flagged that it would not happen overnight, but there were certain things that needed to happen to bring down the cost of drugs so we could benefit from the systemic savings that would accrue once we implemented those steps.
One of the very first steps we thankfully moved forward with in the last federal budget, with a $35-million investment, was the creation of the Canada drug agency. This body would be able to assess the effectiveness of drugs that could be proposed to enter into the Canadian system. It would provide an opportunity to negotiate better prices because of the purchase of increased volume that could be administered through the provincial public health care systems. The creation of a national formulary would allow us to ensure we would have consistent coverage, regardless of which community of province in Canada one may live.
In addition to the creation of the Canada drug agency, we have created a national strategy for high-cost drugs and rare diseases. This is important. Quite a few Canadians live with a condition that, despite the fact they may have coverage, do not have access to the medication because of its exorbitant cost or their insurance policy may not provide coverage for their particular condition or its required medication. We have earmarked $500 million annually for this approach.
It is simply not fair that the circumstances of people's birth means they would not be entitled to benefit from the medication that could keep them alive. There are still problems in Canada. Tragic cases pop up in every corner of our country each week. However, by moving forward with this rare disease strategy, we will be able to help some of the most vulnerable Canadians.
In addition to the creation of a drug agency and rare disease strategy, we have also moved forward with changes to patented medicine regulations, changes that will save billions of dollars to our health care system. One of these changes adds additional factors that need to be considered so the cost of drugs reflect the benefits to public health care system in which they can enter. Some of the regulations will require better reporting to ensure our regulations reflect the actual cost of medication.
Perhaps most important, from my perspective, is we have changed the comparator basket of countries we look at to set drug prices for Canada by removing the United States and Switzerland, the two most expensive countries in the world, and added other comparator countries with similar economies, such as the Netherlands and Japan, which will lead to a systemic reduction in the cost of medication in our country and, most important, for Canadians who need that help.
Health care is front of mind for people back home, whether it is access to a family doctor, the fact that their parents cannot find a place in a long-term care facility or the underserved mental health services in their communities. I hear about these things non-stop because people recognize there are problems. Whether they live with those problems or not, they are equally concerned for the people who live in their communities who do not have access to life-saving services and, importantly, life-saving medication.
There is something we can do. We can implement a national pharmacare program to ensure that no matter where people live, no matter where they were born or their parents' economic situation, they will not be denied access to medication because of their financial circumstances.
It is Canada in the 21st century. Canadians expect that they and their neighbours will have access to the medications they need to be well. By implementing a national pharmacare program, we can turn that dream into a reality for the millions of Canadians who go without the medicines they so desperately need.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-03-12 13:14 [p.2004]
Madam Speaker, there is a lot to unpack in that question, but I will do my best to address it.
In addition to my frustrations with the shortcomings of the provincial health care system, there are other issues squarely within the federal purview that I care deeply about, notably the fight against climate change and solving income inequality in Canada, which in turn will actually have benefits for our provincial health care systems.
That being said, there are items within the federal purview that allow us to demonstrate leadership and assist the provinces in delivering the quality of care our citizens so desperately need.
In terms of the question regarding the increases to the quality of the financial transfers, I will note that we actually did land on a 10-year health accord that has seen the federal transfer go up. On top of that, we have created additional investments. My province of Nova Scotia has $288 million additional dollars for in-home care for seniors and to improve mental health services.
I would be happy to go over the role I see for the federal government to improve health care services with the hon. member at his leisure.
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