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Results: 1 - 13 of 13
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)

Question No. 425--
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
With regard to government purchases of personal protective equipment (PPE): (a) how many units of PPE did the government have in Canada by November 30, 2019, broken down by type of equipment, and how much PPE was purchased in this month; (b) how many units of PPE did the government have in Canada by December 31, 2019, broken down by type of equipment, and how much PPE was purchased in this month; (c) how many units of PPE did the government have in Canada by January 31, 2020, broken down by type of equipment, and how much PPE was purchased in this month; (d) how many units of PPE did the government have in Canada by February 29, 2020, broken down by type of equipment, and how much PPE was purchased in this month; and (e) how many units of PPE did the government have in Canada by March 31, 2020, broken down by type of equipment, and how much PPE was purchased in this month?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 426--
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
With regard to additional funding for agencies tasked with Canadian border management, broken down by source of funds and fiscal mechanism (i.e. business of supply, emergency payment from fiscal framework, new legislation): (a) how much went to each border management agency throughout December 2019, broken down by (i) source of funds, (ii) amount of funds, (iii) purpose of funds; (b) how much went to each border management agency throughout January 2020, broken down by (i) source of funds, (ii) amount of funds, (iii) purpose of funds; (c) how much went to each border management agency throughout February 2020, broken down by (i) source of funds, (ii) amount of funds, (iii) purpose of funds; and (d) how much went to each border management agency throughout March 2020, broken down by (i) source of funds, (ii) amount of funds, (iii) purpose of funds?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 427--
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
With regard to the Canada Emergency Care Benefit: (a) how many people have received payments from both Employment and Social Development Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency; (b) of those cases in (a), how much was paid out in double payments; and (c) how much will need to be recovered due to double payments?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 428--
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
With regard to meetings or briefings at the deputy minister, minister, and cabinet level for Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Global Affairs Canada, the Privy Council Office, Public Safety Canada, and all agencies therein, between November 30, 2019, and March 31, 2020: what were the details of all meetings held referencing the Hubei province in China, the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemics, and emergency preparedness measures, including (i) the department holding the meeting, (ii) the date of meeting, (iii) officials in attendance, (iv) the topic of the meeting or agenda?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 429--
Mr. John Nater:
With regard to inmates released early from federal correctional institutions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic: (a) what is the total number of inmates who were released early; (b) what is the breakdown of (a) by (i) institution, (ii) length of sentence; and (c) how many of the inmates released early were serving sentences related to (i) murder or manslaughter, (ii) sex offences, (iii) other violent crimes?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 430--
Mr. James Bezan:
With regard to COVID-19: (a) what is the first date on which Canadian Armed Forces MEDINT or CFINTCOM became aware of a new novel coronavirus in China; (b) what is the first date on which the Minister of National Defence was briefed or received a briefing note regarding a new novel coronavirus in China; and (c) what is the first date on which the Minister of National Defence shared information concerning a new novel coronavirus in China with the Prime Minister’s Office and/or the Privy Council Office?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 431--
Mr. James Bezan:
With regard to personal protective equipment: (a) how many C4 protective masks and canisters have been issued to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel since January 1, 2020; (b) how many C4 protective masks and canisters are in stockpile; and (c) what are the types and quantities of all personal protective equipment for infectious diseases available for CAF/Department of National Defence personnel and in stockpile?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 432--
Mr. James Bezan:
With regard to the Mobile Tactical Vehicle Light, Mobile Tactical Vehicle Engineer, Mobile Tactical Vehicle Recovery, and Mobile Tactical Vehicle Fitter: (a) how many of these mobile tactical vehicles have been identified as surplus; (b) how many mobile tactical vehicles have been or are in the process of being decommissioned; (c) how many of these mobile tactical vehicles have been given to museums or sold to private owners; (d) how many of these mobile tactical vehicles remain in service; and (e) by which date does the Canadian Armed Forces/Department of National Defence plan to have the entire fleet of these mobile tactical vehicles removed from service?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 433--
Mr. James Bezan:
With regard to Role 2 and Role 3 hospitals and air transportation: (a) how many Role 2 and Role 3 hospitals are currently available in Canada; (b) how many Role 2 and Role 3 hospitals are planned for the next six months; and (c) how many aircraft capable of transporting people with infectious disease does the Canadian Armed Forces/Department of National Defence intend to acquire and by which date?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 434--
Mr. Pat Kelly:
With respect to the Bank of Canada’s participation in Canada’s economic response to the coronavirus pandemic, between March 1, 2020, and the tabling of the reply to this question: (a) what is the dollar value of securities purchased under the Government of Canada Bond Purchase Program; (b) what is the dollar value of securities purchased under the Canada Mortgage Bond Purchase Program; (c) what is the dollar value of purchases under the Banker’s Acceptance Purchase Facility; (d) what is the dollar value of assets purchased under the Provincial Money Market Purchase Program, by province and in aggregate, respectively; (e) what is the dollar value of purchases under the Provincial Bond Purchase Program; (f) what is the dollar value of purchases under the Corporate Bond Purchase Program; (g) what is the dollar value of purchases under the Commercial Paper Purchase Program; (h) what is the dollar value of purchases under the Contingent Term Repo Facility; (i) what is the projected dollar value for total purchases during the life of each program in (a) to (h); (j) what is the dollar value of new currency created to date to fund the measures taken in (a) to (h); (k) what is the projected dollar value of new currency to be created to fund the measures taken in (a) to (h) during the life of each program; (l) what, if any, effects on inflation by the creation of currency in (j) does the Bank of Canada project for (i) 2020, (ii) 2021, (iii) 2022; and (m) what, if any, adjustments to the Bank of Canada’s prime rate does it anticipate needing to counteract any inflation projected in (l)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 435--
Mr. Pat Kelly:
With respect to the Bank of Canada’s participation in Canada’s economic response to the coronavirus pandemic: (a) when does the Bank of Canada project divesting itself of assets purchased under each of the Government of Canada Bond Purchase Program, the Canada Mortgage Bond Purchase Program, the Banker’s Acceptance Purchase Facility, the Provincial Money Market Purchase Program, the Commercial Paper Purchase Program, and the Contingent Term Repo Facility; and (b) what gain or loss does the Bank of Canada project realizing upon the sale of assets purchased under each of the programs in (a) respectively?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 436--
Mr. Pat Kelly:
With respect to the doubling of the carbon tax on April 1, 2020: (a) by how much will the increased tax raise the cost of producing oil and natural gas respectively nationwide; (b) by how much will the increased tax raise the cost of producing oil and natural gas respectively for each energy producing province; (c) by how much have national revenues declined due to the drop in the price of crude oil since January 1, 2020; (d) in order for national revenues to recover to levels immediately pre-dating the drop in the price of oil in (c), and given the increased cost of production in (a), what does the price of crude oil need to be; (e) what effect does the increase in cost of production in (a) have on the ability of Canadian energy producers to compete with foreign producers at current world prices for crude oil; and (f) how many Canadian energy producers does the government forecast will be unable to compete with foreign energy producers at the prevailing price of crude oil due to the increased cost of production in (a)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 437--
Mrs. Cheryl Gallant:
With regard to government grants, contributions and contracts since January  1, 2016, what are the details of all grants, contributions or contracts given to World Wildlife Fund Canada or its international affiliates, broken down by: (a) date issued; (b) description of services provided; (c) authorizer; (d) timeframe for services; (e) original contribution value; (f) final contribution value (if different); (g) location services will be provided; and (h) reference and file number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 438--
Mrs. Cheryl Gallant:
With regard to the budget measure contained in Bill C-44 (42nd Parliament, budget 2017) exempting fees under the Food and Drugs Act from the new rules contained in the Service Fees Act: (a) how many times has the Minister of Health given a ministerial order to increase fees; and (b) what are the details of each increase, broken down by date of ministerial order, including (i) amount of the increase for each drug, device, food or cosmetic, by percentage and absolute dollar value, (ii) amount of the fee, (iii) manner or criteria used for determining the amount, (iv) circumstances in which the fee will be payable, (v)rationale for the fee, (vi) specific factors taken into account in determining the amount of the fee, (vii) performance standard that will apply in respect of the fee?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 439--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
With regard to temporary resident permits specific to victims of human trafficking, since November 4, 2015: (a) how many applications have been received; (b) how many temporary resident permits have been issued; (c) how many temporary resident permits were denied; (d) in (a) to (c), what is the breakdown by (i) year, (ii) month, (iii) gender, (iv) source country; (e) for permits in (b), what is the breakdown based on ministerial instructions 1(1), 1(2) and 2; and (f) what is the average wait time for an individual who applies for a temporary resident permits specific to victims of human trafficking?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 440--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
With regard to federal funding to combat human trafficking since November 4, 2015: (a) what is the total amount, broken down by (i) department or agency, (ii) initiative, (iii) amount; (b) what process was used to determine which department or agency would receive this funding; (c) what criteria or process was used to determine how much funding was allocated to each department or agency; and (d) what is the itemized list of funding programs to combat human trafficking, including (i) title of program, (ii) recipient organization or name, (iii) date of expenditure, (iv) amount, (vi) description of goods or services provided, including quantity, if applicable, (vi) file number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 441--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
With regard to the additional $75 million National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking announced on September 4, 2019: (a) what departments and agencies are receiving this new funding, broken down by initiative and organization; (b) what are the details of all funding provided to date, including the (i) name, (ii) project description, (iii) amount, (iv) date of the announcement, (v) duration of the project or program funded by the announcement; (c) what process was used to determine which department or agency would receive this funding; (d) what criteria or process was used to determine how much funding was allocated to each department or agency; and (e) what projects are slated to receive federal funding in the 2020-21 fiscal year?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 442--
Mr. Kerry Diotte:
With regard to the functioning of the public service and government officials since March 16, 2020: (a) how many employees or full time equivalents (FTEs) have been (i) hired, (ii) reassigned in relation to the COVID-19 response; (b) how many FTEs have been (i) working from a government building, (ii) telecommuting or working from home during the pandemic; and (c) how many FTEs have been (i) laid off or terminated, (ii) placed on leave, broken down by type of leave?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 443--
Mr. Michael Barrett:
With regard to construction and renovations at the Prime Minister’s country residence and surrounding property at Harrington Lake: (a) what are the details of each new building or other structure constructed, or in the process of being constructed, at the property since November 4, 2015, including (i) date construction began, (ii) projected or actual completion date, (iii) square footage, (iv) physical description of the structure, (v) purpose of the structure, (vi) estimated cost; and (b) what are the details of all renovations which began at the property since November 4, 2015, including (i) start date, (ii) projected or actual completion date, (iii) structure, (iv) project description, (v) estimated cost?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 444--
Mrs. Marilène Gill:
With regard to evaluating the stock status of all of Canada’s fisheries resources since 2000: (a) has the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) used indicators to evaluate the various stocks and, if so, what is the breakdown of indicators by (i) species, (ii) province, (iii) area, (iv) sub-area, (v) year; (b) if the answer to (a) is negative, what does the DFO use as a basis for (i) evaluating stocks, (ii) making decisions on fisheries management; (c) has the DFO assessed the quality of its estimates for all of the various stocks and, if so, what is the breakdown of this qualitative assessment by (i) species, (ii) province, (iii) area, (iv) sub-area, (v) year; (d) if the answer to (c) is negative, (i) are there plans to carry out this assessment, (ii) why is this type of assessment not conducted; (e) has the DFO put together an action plan to increase the number of indicators used for evaluating various stocks and, if so, what are the names, measures taken or considered, and conclusions, broken down by (i) species, (ii) province, (iii) area, (iv) sub-area, (v) year; (f) if the answer to (e) is negative, (i) is this type of action plan being considered, (ii) why is there no action plan on this issue; (g) has the DFO expended funds to increase the number of indicators for evaluating the various stocks and, if so, what is the spending breakdown by (i) species, (ii) province, (iii) area, (iv) sub-area, (v) year; (h) if the answer to (g) is negative, (i) are there plans for this type of expenditure, (ii) why is there a lack of spending on this issue; (i) has the DFO begun to “rapidly develop or update the biological knowledge essential for the sustainable management” of lobsters in areas 15, 16, 17 and 18, as recommended in Science Advisory Report 2019/059, and, if so, what is the breakdown of measures taken by (i) area, (ii) sub-area, (iii) year; (j) if the answer to (i) is negative, (i) are there plans to do so, (ii) why have no measures been taken; (k) can the DFO explain why the confidence limit has increased to 95% in the past 10 years regarding the evaluation of the estimated biomass of stock in NAFO 4T and, if so, what is the explanation; and (l) if the answer to (k) is negative, why is the DFO unable to explain this increase?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 445--
Mrs. Marilène Gill:
With regard to the peer review process coordinated by the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO): (a) exactly how is the peer review process carried out; (b) is participation in science advisory meetings by invitation only and, if so, (i) why is this the case, (ii) how are peers selected, (iii) who is responsible for peer selection or, if not, what is the procedure for participating in meetings; (c) in advance of a science advisory meeting, do all peers receive (i) the preliminary study and, if so, how long do they have to review it or, if not, what are the reasons for this decision, (ii) the data for this study and, if so, how long do they have to review it or, if not, what are the reasons behind this decision; (d) is it possible for an individual or a group to express their views (i) without having been invited and, if so, what is the procedure to follow or, if not, what are the reasons for this decision, (ii) without attending the science advisory meetings despite having been invited and, if so, what is the procedure to follow or, if not, what are the reasons for this decision, (iii) without attending the science advisory meetings and without having been invited and, if so, what is the procedure to follow or, if not, what are the reasons for this decision; (e) is it possible to attend meetings as an observer and, if so, (i) what is the procedure to follow, (ii) is an invitation required or, if not, what are the reasons for this decision; (f) for each of the DFO peer review processes coordinated by the CSAS, what is the breakdown for each meeting since 2010 by number of representatives affiliated with (i) DFO, (ii) the federal government excluding DFO, (iii) the Government of Quebec, (iv) the Government of British Columbia, (v) the Government of Alberta, (vi) the Government of Prince Edward Island, (vii) the Government of Manitoba, (viii) the Government of New Brunswick, (ix) the Government of Nova Scotia, (x) the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, (xi) the Government of Ontario, (xii) the Government of Saskatchewan, (xiii) the Government of Nunavut, (xiv) the Government of Yukon, (xv) the Government of Northwest Territories, (xvi) band councils, (xvii) a Quebec university, (xviii) a Canadian university, (xix) an American university, (xx) the non-Indigenous fishing industry, (xxi) the Indigenous fishing industry, (xxii) an Indigenous group not affiliated with the fishing industry, (xxiii) an environmental group, (xxiv) a wildlife protection group, (xxv) another group; (g) how is consensus defined in the DFO peer review processes coordinated by the CSAS; (h) are stakeholders selected in order to encourage a lack of opposition to the conclusions put forward by the DFO; (i) do the procedures for the peer review process encourage a lack of opposition to the conclusions put forward by the DFO; and (j) does the methodology for the peer review process encourage a lack of opposition to the conclusions put forward by the DFO?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 446--
Mrs. Marilène Gill:
With regard to recreational fishing managed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) since 2000: (a) what is the total amount of revenue generated by the DFO from the sale of recreational licences, broken down by (i) year, (ii) federal entity, (iii) fishing area, (iv) sub-area, (v) species; (b) what is the total amount of spending by the DFO to support recreational fishing, broken down by (i) year, (ii) federal entity, (iii) fishing area, (iv) sub-area, (v) species; (c) what measures are being taken to ensure compliance with recreational fishing regulations, broken down by (i) year, (ii) federal entity, (iii) fishing area, (iv) sub-area, (v) species; (d) what is the average number of fishery officers dedicated specifically to overseeing recreational fishing, broken down by (i) year, (ii) federal entity, (iii) fishing area, (iv) sub-area, (v) species; (e) what technological tools are used to ensure compliance with recreational fishing regulations, broken down by (i) year, (ii) federal entity, (iii) fishing area, (iv) sub-area, (v) species; (f) what is the number of tickets issued by the DFO using technological tools, broken down by (i) year, (ii) federal entity, (iii) fishing area, (iv) sub-area, (v) technological tool; (g) what is the total amount of all tickets issued by the DFO using technological tools, broken down by (i) year, (ii) federal entity, (iii) fishing area, (iv) sub-area, (v) technological tool; and (h) what is the total amount of all recreational fishing tickets issued by the DFO, broken down by (i) year, (ii) federal entity, (iii) fishing area, (iv) sub-area, (v) species?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 447--
Mrs. Cheryl Gallant:
With regard to deputy ministers’ committees of the Privy Council Office, for fiscal years 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20, broken down by individual committee: (a) what are the names and qualifications of each member; (b) what is the renumeration provided to members for service on committees, broken down by member; and (c) what are the expenses claimed by members while performing committee business, broken down by member?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 448--
Mrs. Cheryl Gallant:
With regard to regional development agencies (RDAs) and the April 17, 2020, announcement of “$675 million to give financing support to small and medium-sized businesses that are unable to access the government’s existing COVID-19 support measures, through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies”: (a) how much of the $675 million will each of the six RDAs be allocated; (b) for each RDA, how will the funds be made available to businesses, broken down by program; (c) for each answer in (b), what are the details for each program, broken down by (i) funding type, (ii) criteria for qualification, (iii) maximum allowable funding per applicant, (iv) application deadlines, (v) number of applicants received, (vi) number of approved applicants; and (d) for each applicant in (c), what are the details of the applicant, broken down by (i) name, (ii) location, (iii) North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code, (iv) amount applied for, (v) amount approved, (vi) project status, (vii) federal electoral district?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 449--
Mr. Peter Julian:
With regard to business support measures in response to COVID-19 and audits by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance, since March 11, 2020: (a) how many audits has the CRA conducted to ensure that businesses do not practise tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance, broken down by the number of businesses; and (b) of the businesses that have been audited by the CRA in (a), how many have benefited from support measures and how many have been denied support measures because of tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 450--
Mr. Peter Julian:
With regard to the efforts of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to combat tax evasion and abusive tax planning since March 1, 2016: (a) how many businesses have been identified by the CRA’s computer systems, broken down by (i) businesses linked to tax evasion, (ii) businesses linked to fraud or fraud indicators, (iii) businesses linked to abusive tax planning; (b) of the businesses identified in (a), how many applied for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS); and (c) of the applications for the CEWS in (b), how many were approved, and how many were denied because of tax evasion and abusive tax planning practices?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 451--
Mr. Kenny Chiu:
With regard to the government’s response to the arbitrary arrests of Martin Lee and other pro-democracy leaders in Hong Kong: (a) has the Canadian government objected to these arrests and, if so, what specific action has been taken to voice the objection; (b) what specific assurances, if any, has the government received that Canadian citizens in Hong Kong not be subject to arrest or harm in relation to the pro-democracy movement; and (c) how is Canada monitoring and ensuring that Hong Kong’s Basic Law is being upheld, including the rights, protections, and privileges it grants to democratic advocacy?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 452--
Mr. James Cumming:
With regard to vehicles purchased by the government for the 2018 G7 summit: (a) how many vehicles were purchased; (b) at the time of purchase, what was the market value of each individual vehicle purchased; (c) how many of the vehicles in (a) were put up for sale by the government; (d) of the vehicles in (c), how many were sold; (e) what was the individual selling price for each vehicle sold; and (f) of the vehicles in (c), how many (i) remain, (ii) are still for sale, including the individual selling price, (iii) are being used by the government, (iv) are in storage?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 453--
Mr. Dave Epp:
With regard to the changes to the Canadian Surface Combatants (CSC) design and associated increase to the cost per ship and delay of the construction start time: (a) how many ships are specifically contracted for in the first phase of the contract with Irving Shipbuilding; (b) what is the most recent cost estimate for the first three ships as provided to the Assistant Deputy Minister (Material) and the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN); (c) what are the specific design changes being considered that are expected to increase the size, capacity, speed, and weight of the Type T26 frigate from the original United Kingdom design; (d) who proposed each change and who approved the change(s) as being essential to the operations for the RCN; (e) what is the rationale given for each design change contemplated in terms of the risks to schedule and budget; (f) what, if any, are the specific concerns or issues related to costs, speed, size, weight and crewing of the T26 frigate design that have been identified by the Department of National Defence, third party advisors and any technical experts; (g) what are the current state of operations and technical requirements for the CSC; (h) what is the schedule for each (i) design change, (ii) contract approval, (iii) independent report from third party advisors, including the schedule for draft reports; (i) what is the cost for spares for each of the CSC; and (j) what is the cost of infrastructure upgrades for the CSC fleet?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 454--
Mr. Dave Epp:
With regard to the Arctic Off-Shore Patrol Ships (AOPS): (a) what are the operational requirements established by the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) for the two additional ships; (b) will the two AOPS for the CCG require redesign or changes, and, if so, what will be the specific changes; (c) what will be the specific cost for the changes; (d) when and in what reports did the CCG first identify the need for AOPS; (e) has the CCG identified any risks or challenges in operating the two AOPS, and, if so, what are those risks; and (f) what will be the total estimated costs of the two AOPS to CCG?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 455--
Mr. Dave Epp:
With regard to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN): (a) which surface platform in the RCN is deemed a warship and why has it obtained such a designation; (b) will the Joint Support Ship be a warship; (c) which specific characteristics will enable to Joint Support Ship to be a warship; (d) what are the RCN's definitions of interim operational capability (IOC) and full operational capability (FOC); (e) when will the first Joint Support Ship (JSS 1) achieve IOC and FOC; (f) when will the second Joint Support Ship (JSS 2) achieve FOC; and (g) what is the most recent cost projection identified to Assistant Deputy Minister (Material) for (i) JSS 1, (ii) JSS 2?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 456--
Mr. Dave Epp:
With regard to Canada's submarine fleet: (a) what was the total number of days at sea for each submarine in (i) 2018, (ii) 2019; (b) what was the total spent to repair each submarine in (i) 2018, (ii) 2019; (c) what is the estimated total cost of the current submarine maintenance plan to the submarines in (i) 2018, (ii) 2019, (iii) 2020, (iv) 2021; and (d) what are the projected future costs of maintenance of the submarine fleet until end of life?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 457--
Mr. Martin Shields:
With regard to the replacement of Canada's polar class icebreakers: (a) what is the (i) expected date of their replacement, (ii) roles for these new vessels, (iii) budget or cost for their replacement; and (b) what are the details relating to operating older icebreakers (such as the Louis S. St-Laurent and Terry Fox), including (i) expected years they will have to continue to operate before replacements are built, (ii) total sea days for each vessel in 2017, 2018, and 2019, (iii) total cost of maintenance in 2017, 2018, 2019 for each polar class vessel, (iv) planned maintenance cost of the vessels for each of the next five years, (v) total crews required to operate?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 458--
Mr. Martin Shields:
With regard to the government's plans to build 16 multipurpose vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard: (a) what are the technical operational requirements for each vessel; (b) for each contract awarded in relation to the vessels, what is the (i) expected budget, (ii) schedule, (iii) vendor, (iv) work description; and (c) for each vessel, what is the (i) total number of crew expected, (ii) expected delivery date, (iii) risks to cost or budget identified in the planning for these ships?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 459--
Mr. Martin Shields:
With regard to the government's profit policy relating to shipbuilding: (a) what risks has government evaluated related to guaranteed contracts for the (i) Arctic Off­Shore Patrol Ships (AOPS), (ii) Canadian Surface Combatants (CSC), (iii) Halifax class frigates, and what were the results of each evaluation; (b) what is the profit range offered to Irving Shipbuilding Inc. for its work on the (i) AOPS, (ii) CSC, (iii) Halifax class frigates; (c) what is the total profit offered for guaranteed work under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, broken down by each "cost plus" contract; and (d) what are the details of any third party review of Canada's profit policy related to the (i) AOPS, (ii) CSC?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 460--
Mr. Peter Julian:
With regard to the Canada Revenue Agency’s investigations into overseas tax evasion and the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers scandals: (a) how many of the companies currently under investigation have requested government assistance under the COVID-19 emergency measures; and (b) of the requests for assistance from the companies in (a), how many were (i) granted, (ii) denied?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 461--
Mr. Peter Julian:
With regard to the efforts of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to fight tax evasion: (a) how many corporate groups, with one or more subsidiaries in one of the top 10 jurisdictions of the Financial Secrecy Index or the Corporate Tax Haven Index, has the CRA identified; (b) how many corporate groups that were implicated in financial or tax scandals or that received what would be considered illegal state aid has the CRA identified; (c) how many corporate groups have filled out a full report for each country, in keeping with the standard outlined by the Global Reporting Initiative; (d) how many corporate groups in (a), (b) and (c) have received or applied for federal government assistance; and (e) for the cases in (d), how many applications have been rejected by the government?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 462--
Mr. Pat Kelly:
With regard to tax year 2020: (a) what are the projections for tax revenue to be assessed on taxable benefits paid to Canadians under each emergency measure proposed; (b) what are the low-end projections for each emergency measure, broken down by measure; (c) what are the high-end projections for each emergency measure, broken down by measure; and (d) what are the estimates or scenario-planning numbers of people applying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit that fall within each tax bracket in Canada, broken down by each 2019 federal income tax bracket?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 463--
Mr. Greg McLean:
With regard to departmental defences against Canadian International Trade Tribunal rulings: how much has been spent on legal fees, broken down by (i) department, (ii) expense, (iii) case, (iv) internal legal resources, (v) external legal resources?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 464--
Mr. Greg McLean:
With regard to the government's campaign for a United Nations Security Council seat in 2021: how much has been spent on hospitality-related expenses, broken down by (i) date, (ii) item or service?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 465--
Mr. Brad Vis:
With regard to the response from Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) to COVID-19 outbreaks in its facilities, specifically the Mission Medium Institution in British Columbia and the Port Cartier Institution in Quebec: (a) what protocols and procedures were enacted, and when, in the Port-Cartier Institution once COVID-19 was detected; (b) what protocols and procedures were enacted, and when, in the Mission Medium Institution in British Columbia once COVID-19 was detected; (c) are there standard pandemic protocols and procedures that are synchronized across the national CSC organization; (d) if the answer to (c) is negative, why; (e) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, what are the differences between CSC’s response in the Port Cartier Institute when compared to CSC’s response in the Mission Medium Institution; (f) at the Mission Medium Institution, on what date was Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provided to staff, and what type of PPE was distributed; (g) at the Mission Medium Institution, on what date was PPE provided to inmates, and what type of PPE was distributed; (h) at the Port Cartier Institution, on what date was Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provided to staff, and what type of PPE was distributed; and (i) at the Port Cartier Institution, on what date was PPE provided to inmates, and what type of PPE was distributed?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 466--
Mr. Brad Vis:
With regard to the $305 million Indigenous Community Support Fund (ICSF) contained within the federal government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, of which British Columbia First Nations were allocated $39,567,000 and British Columbia Métis were allocated $3,750,000: (a) how much funding was provided to each Indigenous band within or bordering Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, including Cook's Ferry, Skatin Nations, Douglas, Spuzzum, Ts'kw'aylaxw First Nation, Samahquam, Sts'ailes, Bridge River, Tsal'alh, Ashcroft, Boston Bar First Nation, Skawahlook First Nation, Sq'éwlets, Bonaparte, Nicomen, Leq' a: mel First Nation, Union Bar First Nation, Kanaka Bar, Siska, Oregon Jack Creek, Boothroyd, Xaxli'p, T'it'q'et, Matsqui, Shackan, Skuppah, Seabird Island, Chawathil, Yale First Nation, Cayoose Creek, Lytton, High Bar, and Stswecem'c Xgat'tem; (b) which existing agreements are being used to transfer those funds, broken down by band; (c) what reporting requirements are in place, broken down by band and by contribution agreement; (d) how are bands required to communicate to their members how emergency funds were spent; and (e) how are bands required to report to Indigenous Services Canada their receipts or a record of how funds were spent or disbursed to support band members?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 467--
Mr. Todd Doherty:
With regard to government stockpiles of personal protective equipment (PPE): (a) what was the specific volume of PPE supplies in the stockpile as of February 1, 2020, broken down by item; (b) how many supplies of PPE were, destroyed, disposed of, or otherwise removed from the stockpile between January 1, 2016 to March 1, 2020; (c) what are the details of all instances in (b), including the (i) date, (ii) number of items removed, broken down by type of item, (iii) reason for removal; and (d) what are the details of each time items were added to the stockpile between January 1, 2016 to March 1, 2020, including the (i) date, (ii) items added, (iii) volume, (iv) financial value?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 468--
Mr. James Cumming:
With regard to personal protective equipment (PPE) purchased since January 1, 2020: (a) how many items of PPE have been purchased; (b) what was the price of each item at the time of purchase, broken down by (i) date of purchase, (ii) item, (iii) the total amount of each type of PPE per transaction?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 469--
Mr. James Cumming:
With regard to contaminated swabs and faulty or rejected N95 masks purchased by Public Services and Procurement Canada: (a) which suppliers provided these items; and (b) since January 1, 2016, what other purchases have been made by the government from these suppliers broken down by (i) date of purchase, (ii) item or service purchased, (iii) number of units of item or service purchased per transaction?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 470--
Mr. James Cumming:
With regard to procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) since January 1, 2020: (a) how many Advance Contract Award Notices (ACANs) relating to PPE have been posted; (b) for the ACANs in (a), (i) how many bidders were there for each notice, (ii) who were the bidders for each notice; and (c) who won each contract?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 471--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With regard to preparation and response to COVID-19: (a) which provinces and territories have signed the Multi-Lateral Information Sharing Agreement (MLISA), and on what dates were each of their signatures provided; (b) which provinces and territories have declined to sign the MLISA, on what dates were each of their refusals provided, and what objections did each raise to signing; (c) which provinces and territories have withdrawn from the MLISA since signing it, and on what dates were their withdrawals effective; (d) is the MLISA currently in force, and, if not, why not; (e) which provinces and territories have signed the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Memorandum of Understanding on the Sharing of Information During a Public Health Emergency (Sharing MOU), and on what dates were each of their signatures provided; (f) which provinces and territories have declined to sign the Sharing MOU, and on what dates were their refusals provided; (g) which provinces and territories have withdrawn from the Sharing MOU since signing it, and on what dates were their withdrawals effective; (h) is the Sharing MOU currently in force, and, if not, why not; (i) which provinces and territories are using the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) COVID-19 Case Report Form; (j) what percentage of known COVID-19 cases in Canada were reported to the PHAC using its COVID-19 Case Report Form versus other means; (k) when the PHAC’s COVID-19 Case Report Form instructs to "report cases electronically using secure methods or fax”, which secure methods does the PHAC utilize, and which methods are used, broken down by provinces and territories; (l) what percentage of known COVID-19 cases reported to the PHAC were reported using fax or paper; (m) how many full-time equivalents does the PHAC employ or have on contract to enter COVID-19 case reports received by fax or paper into electronic means; (n) what is the shortest, longest, and average delay that the PHAC experiences when a COVID-19 case report is received by fax or paper before it is entered into electronic means; (o) what is the reason for the discrepancy between the total number of cases of COVID-19 reported by the Government of Canada on its “Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update” website, and the smaller number of cases with specific epidemiological data on the website entitled “Detailed confirmed cases of coronavirus disease”; (p) what are the factors that contribute to the delay between the reporting of the “episode date” of a COVID-19 case and the “date [the] case was last updated”, with reference to the data referred to in (o); (q) which provinces and territories have objected to the public disclosure of their detailed COVID-19 case data, as on the “Detailed confirmed cases of coronavirus disease” website, and for each province and territory, what are the details or summary of their objection; (r) why, in developing its COVID-19 Case Report Form, did the PHAC choose not to collect the ethnicity or race of individuals, as done in other jurisdictions; (s) why has the government never used its powers under section 15 of the Public Health Agency of Canada Act to better collect and analyze COVID-19 case data held by the provinces; (t) why has the PHAC not yet published an epidemiological model of COVID-19 that includes a scientifically detailed public disclosure of the modelling methodology, computer code, and input parameters; (u) what are the reasons that the PHAC does not publish a daily COVID-19 model that includes up-to-date estimates of the effective reproductive number (R), such as that produced by Norway, in its model of May 8, 2020; (v) what is the value, duration, objectives and deliverables of the contract issued by the Government of Canada to Blue Dot for the modelling of COVID-19, announced by the Prime Minister on March 23, 2020; (w) which other individuals or companies has the Government of Canada contracted for the modelling of COVID-19, and, for each contract, what is the (i) value, (ii) duration, (iii) objectives, (iv) deliverables; (x) do any of the contracts for COVID-19 limit the freedom of the contractors to disclose the information, methodology, or findings of their models as confidential, and, if so, which contracts are so affected, and what are the terms of the confidentiality; (y) what is the total amount of federal spending on the Panorama public health and vaccination data system since its launch; (z) which provinces and territories utilize Panorama’s disease outbreak management and communicable disease case management modules for reporting COVID-19 information to the federal government; (aa) to what extent does the federal government have access to COVID-19 outbreak and case data contained within the Panorama system and what are the reasons for the lack of access to data, if any; (bb) what steps has the federal government taken to ensure that, when data exists, it will have access to COVID-19 vaccination data contained within the Panorama system; (cc) to what extent does the Panorama system meet the data collection and reporting goals of the federal government’s report entitled “Learning from SARS – Renewal of Public Health in Canada”; and (dd) has an audit of the Panorama system been completed and, if so, what are the details of the audit’s findings, including when it was done, by whom it was conducted, and the standards by which it was measured?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 475--
Mr. John Barlow:
With regard to farm income loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic: (a) has Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada or Farm Credit Canada conducted an analysis on projected farm income loss as a result of the pandemic; and (b) what is the projected loss, broken down by agricultural sector?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 476--
Mr. John Nater:
With regard to physical distancing and other safety measures for ministerial vehicles and chauffeurs during the COVID-19 pandemic: (a) what specific measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of drivers, including whether (i) ministers are required to wear masks in the vehicles, (ii) there is an occupancy limit to the vehicles, (iii) specific seats within the vehicles may not be used, (iv) there is a prohibition on others, including ministerial exempt staff, riding in the vehicles, (v) any other measures have been made to limit close physical contact between drivers and ministers; (b) on what date was each measure listed in (a), (i) put into place, (ii) amended, (iii) rescinded; and (c) have any ministers required their drivers to drive outside of the National Capital Region since March 13, 2020, and, if so, what are the details of each trip, including (i) date of trip, (ii) destination, (iii) purpose of trip, (iv) number of occupants in the vehicle, (v) whether a minister was in the vehicle, (vi) specific safety precautions taken?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 477--
Mr. Matthew Green:
With regard to the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF), since the creation of the program: (a) how many businesses have applied for the LEEFF; (b) how many businesses have been eligible; (c) how many applications from businesses have been denied; (d) of the applications that were denied, how many were from (i) businesses convicted of tax evasion, (ii) businesses convicted of abusive tax avoidance, (iii) companies that have subsidiaries in tax havens; (e) have applications from companies under investigation in connection with the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers been accepted; and (f) what is the current total cost of the LEEFF’s expenses, broken down by economic sector?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 478--
Ms. Rachel Blaney:
With regard to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and tax havens: (a) what is the CRA's definition of tax haven; and (b) which jurisdictions have been identified as tax havens according to the CRA's definition?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 479--
Ms. Rachel Blaney:
With regard to the activities of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) under Part XVI of the Income Tax Act since November 2015, broken down by fiscal year and natural person, trust and corporation: (a) how many audits have been conducted; (b) how many notices of assessment have been issued by the CRA; and (c) what is the total amount recovered to date by the CRA?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 480--
Ms. Rachel Blaney:
With regards to Veterans Affairs Canada, broken down by year for the most recent ten fiscal years for which data is available: (a) what was the number of disability benefit applications received; (b) of the applications in (a), how many were (i) rejected (ii) approved (iii) appealed (iv) rejected upon appeal (v) approved upon appeal; (c) what was the average wait time for a decision; (d) what was the median wait time for a decision; (e) what was the ratio of veteran to Case Manager at the end of each fiscal year; (f) what was the number of applications awaiting a decision at the end of each fiscal year; and (g) what was the number of veterans awaiting a decision at the end of each fiscal year?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 481--
Ms. Rachel Blaney:
With regard to Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC): (a) during the most recent fiscal year for which data is available, broken down by month and by VAC offices, including nationally, what was the total number of overtime hours worked, further broken down by job title, including National 1st Level Appeals Officer, National 2nd Level Appeals Officer, Case Manager, Veterans Service Agent and Disability Adjudicator; (b) during the most recent fiscal year for which data is available, broken down by month and by VAC offices, including nationally, what was the average number of overtime hours worked, further broken down by (i) job title, including National 1st Level Appeals Officer, National 2nd Level Appeals Officer, Case Manager, Veterans Service Agent and Disability Adjudicator, (ii) directorate; (c) during the most recent fiscal year for which data is available, broken down by month and by VAC offices, including nationally, what was the total cost of overtime, further broken down by (i) job title, including National 1st Level Appeals Officer, National 2nd Level Appeals Officer, Case Manager, Veterans Service Agent and Disability Adjudicator, (ii) directorate; (d) during the most recent fiscal year for which data is available, broken down by month and by VAC offices, including nationally, what was the total number of disability benefit claims, further broken down by (i) new claims, (ii) claims awaiting a decision, (iii) approved claims, (iv) denied claims, (v) appealed claims; (e) during the most recent fiscal year for which data is available, broken down by month and by VAC offices, including nationally, how many new disability benefit claims were transferred to a different Veterans Affairs Canada office than that which conducted the intake; (f) during the most recent fiscal year for which data is available, broken down by month and by VAC offices, including nationally, what was the number of (i) Case Managers, (ii) Veterans Service Agents; (g) during the most recent fiscal year for which data is available, broken down by month and by VAC offices, including nationally, excluding standard vacation and paid sick leave, how many Case Managers took a leave of absence, and what was the average length of a leave of absence; (h) during the most recent fiscal year for which data is available, broken down by month and by VAC offices, including nationally, accounting for all leaves of absence, excluding standard vacation and paid sick leave, how many full-time equivalent Case Managers were present and working, and what was the Case Manager to veteran ratio; (i) during the most recent fiscal year for which data is available, broken down by month and by VAC offices, including nationally, how many veterans were disengaged from their Case Manager; (j) during the most recent fiscal year for which data is available, broken down by month and by VAC offices, including nationally, what was the highest number of cases assigned to an individual Case Manager; (k) during the most recent fiscal year for which data is available, broken down by month and by VAC offices, including nationally, how many veterans were on a waitlist for a Case Manager; (l) during the most recent fiscal year for which data is available, broken down by month and by VAC offices, including nationally, for work usually done by regularly employed Case Managers and Veteran Service Agents, (i) how many contracts were awarded, (ii) what was the duration of each contract, (iii) what was the value of each contract; (m) during the most recent fiscal year for which data is available, broken down by VAC offices, what were the service standard results; (n) what is the mechanism for tracking the transfer of cases between Case Managers when a Case Manager takes a leave of absence, excluding standard vacation and paid sick leave; (o) what is the department’s current method for calculating the Case Manager to veteran ratio; (p) what are the department’s quality assurance measures for Case Managers and how do they change based on the number of cases a Case Manager has at that time; (q) during the last five fiscal year for which data is available, broken down by month, how many individuals were hired by the department; (r) how many of the individuals in (q) remained employed after their 12-month probation period came to an end; (s) of the individuals in (q) who did not remain employed beyond the probation period, how many did not have their contracts extended by the department; (t) does the department track the reasons for which employees are not kept beyond the probation period, and, if so, respecting the privacy of individual employees, what are the reasons for which employees were not kept beyond the probation period; (u) for the individuals in (q) who chose not to remain at any time throughout the 12 months, were exit interviews conducted, and, if so, respecting the privacy of individual employees, what were the reasons, broken down by VAC offices; (v) during the last five fiscal years for which data is available, broken down by month, how many Canadian Armed Forces service veterans were hired by the department; (w) of the veterans in (v), how many remained employed after their 12-month probation period came to an end; (x) of the veterans in (v) who are no longer employed by the department, (i) how many did not have their employment contracts extended by the department, (ii) how many were rejected on probation; (y) if the department track the reasons for which employees are not kept beyond the probation period, respecting the privacy of individual veteran employees, what are the reasons for which veteran employees are not kept beyond the probation period; (z) for the veterans in (v) who chose not to remain at any time throughout the 12 months, were exit interviews conducted, and, if so, respecting the privacy of individual veteran employees, what were the reasons for their leaving, broken down by VAC offices; (aa) during the last five fiscal year for which data is available, broken down by month, how many employees have quit their jobs at VAC; and (bb) for the employees in (aa) who quit their job, were exit interviews conducted, and, if so, respecting the privacy of individual employees, what were the reasons, broken down by VAC offices?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 482--
Mr. Alistair MacGregor:
With regard to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and tax havens: Does the CRA consider the Cayman Islands and Barbados to be tax havens?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 483--
Mr. Alistair MacGregor:
With regard to tax information exchange agreement signed between Canada and Cayman Islands, since entry into force of the agreement and broken down by fiscal year: (a) how many times has the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) obtained information from Cayman Islands; (b) how many times has the CRA released information to Cayman Islands; (c) how much tax examinations abroad was conducted by CRA in Cayman Islands; (d) how many CRA enquiries have been denied by the Cayman Islands; (e) how many audits have been conducted by the CRA; (f) how many notices of assessment have been issued by the CRA; and (g) what is the total amount recovered by the CRA?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 484--
Mr. Alistair MacGregor:
With regard to amendments to the Canada Grain Regulations (SOR/2020-63), enacted through the passage of Bill C-4, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, which amended the Canada Grain Act through an expedited process, bypassing the normal Canada Gazette I posting and public comment period, and were posted on Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 154, Number 9: (a) what are the details of all meetings, round tables, teleconference calls, town halls, and other means of consultation, in regard to grain, held during CUSMA/NAFTA 2.0 negotiations, including the (i) dates, (ii) locations, (iii) agendas, (iv) minutes, (v) attendee and invitee lists, including government officials and agriculture sector stakeholders, and their organizational affiliations; (b) for the meetings referred to in (a), what are the details of (i) published notices, (ii) reports, including where and when they were published; (c) what are the details of all stakeholder views expressed during these consultations, including minority positions, which were communicated to inform the Government of Canada negotiating position, along with the names and positions of the officials to whom these stakeholder views were communicated; (d) what are the details of all engagement activities with grain sector stakeholders following the CUSMA announcement where the impacts of the agreement, potential legislative and regulatory amendments, and implementation plans were discussed, as well as the reports flowing from these engagement activities that informed the drafting of Bill C-4 amendments to the Canada Grain Act, including the (i) dates, (ii) locations, (iii) agendas, (iv) minutes, (v) attendees, including from the Canada Grain Commission and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada officials and agriculture sector stakeholders, and their organizational affiliations; (e) who made the decision to have “minimal” consultation on the regulatory changes and an explanation of their rationale for the decision when, as the regulatory analysis document says, the amendments are consequential; and (f) what is the definition of the industry referred to when “industry-led” is used in regard to integrating the Delivery Declaration Form and its implementation into the existing grain delivery structure, particularly whether farmers are included among the leadership of the industry?
Response
(Return tabled)
8555-431-425 Personal protective equipment8555-431-426 Additional funding for agen ...8555-431-427 Canada Emergency Care Benefit8555-431-428 Government meetings8555-431-429 Early releases from federal ...8555-431-430 COVID-198555-431-431 Personal protective equipment8555-431-432 Mobile tactical vehicles8555-431-433 Role 2 and Role 3 hospitals8555-431-434 Bank of Canada8555-431-435 Bank of Canada ...Show all topics
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-07-08 14:10 [p.2556]
Mr. Speaker, since our government last provided an economic report, COVID-19 has spread swiftly across the globe. It brought a new disease to our headlines, our dinner-table conversations and eventually our shores.
From the beginning, we have followed the guidance of public health officials. Governments across Canada have put lockdown measures in place to slow the spread of the virus and ensure that our health care systems could deal with the scale of the challenge that we faced. Businesses closed. Schools closed. People stayed home. Our daily lives became unrecognizable.
Many of us stopped going to work. Many others had to face this new reality without a job, and with the endless worries that brings. Many others had to go to work on the front lines, where work took on new risks and new meaning.
We went months without seeing our friends and relatives in a time of great fear and concern. We looked for new ways to gather, to connect and to mark the milestones in our lives. We spent a lot of time on video calls. Most importantly, we took the time to take care of one another.
The nature of this crisis is completely unprecedented. It is a public health crisis and an economic crisis. Our collective decision as Canadians to put each other's health above all else has meant we have flattened the curve faster than many other countries. Our average daily new cases have declined by about 80% from their peak in late April. Canadians' efforts saved thousands of lives. However, Canadians also made great sacrifices to get here. Millions of Canadians lost their jobs, lost hours or lost wages. Businesses of all sizes are still facing uncertainty.
Through rapid and broad support, our government has been able to protect millions of jobs, provide emergency income support to families and help keep businesses afloat during the worst of the storm. This support is helping Canadians get back on their feet and has prevented serious long-term damage.
This pandemic is not over and we cannot let up on our commitment to one another. I want to take a moment to salute the work of the Department of Health and Dr. Tam during this crisis.
Today, our government is presenting an economic and fiscal snapshot. This document provides Canadians and parliamentarians with a picture of where our economy is right now. It is transparent about what we know and what we do not know. Forecasts are always uncertain, so with this snapshot we are providing our best prediction of the economic situation in Canada to the end of the current fiscal year: to March 31, 2021. Trying to predict further would be potentially misleading.
The possibility of further outbreaks looms on the horizon, and accurate long-term forecasting is impossible in such a volatile environment. I know Canadians understand how hard it is to make predictions right now.
I will tell the House what we know. We know that the unemployment rate went from historic lows in January to historic highs in May. We know that low-wage workers, young people and immigrants bore the brunt of employment losses in March and April and that, while some jobs returned in May, the sectors many women work in have been slower to rebound. We know that many women are shouldering the burden of unpaid care work at home, looking after children and providing care for sick relatives. The lack of child care services could delay women’s return to work.
We also know that vulnerable groups have been hit harder by this pandemic and are continuing to face challenges. This crisis has exposed and amplified many inequalities in Canada. I am thinking about Canadians who work to get by on low income, the people who process and prepare our food, temporary foreign workers, our seniors in long-term care.
We know that energy workers faced a double hit after the shock to global commodity prices, and that employment in mining and oil and gas support services has fallen by over 15%. We know businesses are still facing challenges. The Canada emergency wage subsidy is helping impacted businesses protect jobs and remain poised to rebound. We encourage businesses to take advantage of the program and hire more workers.
We know the best economic policy continues to be containing the spread of the virus. If we can keep the transmission rate steadily declining, we can help ensure a stable and steady economic recovery. If we do not, the gains of our sacrifices these past four months will be lost. Around the world we have seen what happens when reopenings are rushed.
Our government has understood, from the moment this pandemic began, that it was our role to step in to support Canadians and stabilize the economy. The COVID-19 economic response plan is the most substantial peacetime investment in Canada’s history, representing more than $212 billion in direct support and nearly 14% of GDP in total support.
Let me share some numbers. About three million Canadian workers have had their jobs supported through the Canada emergency wage subsidy, and that number continues to grow. Over eight million Canadians were able to pay for groceries and rent because of the Canada emergency response benefit. Over 680,000 small businesses have received interest-free loans thanks to the Canada emergency business account. Fifteen million low- and modest-income Canadians have received a special GST credit top-up. This week, 6.7 million seniors who receive the old age security pension will receive a supplementary payment.
We have also invested in community organizations that provide services to the most vulnerable, including more than 500 women’s shelters that address the immediate needs of women and children fleeing violence.
The Prime Minister’s leadership has shown all of Canada that their government would put workers first and be there for our most vulnerable. If there is a resurgence, we are ready to do more.
Faced with the most profound downturn since the Great Depression, our government acted to support the economy. Every investment we made was in response to COVID-19 and was time-limited. From income support for Canadians to loans for Canadian businesses and non-profits of all sizes, we worked to make sure our programs left no one behind, and we did it fast. We were guided by three principles: speed, scale and simplicity. I think we delivered on all three.
Some will criticize us on the cost of action. They will point to the size of our deficit in 2021. It is a testament to the shock COVID-19 has had on our economy. However, our government knew that the cost of inaction would have been far greater. Those who would have us do less ignore that without government action millions of jobs would have been lost, putting the burden of debt onto families and jeopardizing Canada's resilience. At a time when Canadian workers and families are facing significant hardship, austerity and tightening one's belt is not the answer.
Our fiscal discipline in the years leading up to this, combined with Canadians' hard work and entrepreneurial spirit, meant that Canada was resilient and ready to face this challenge. With a crisis of this magnitude, someone was going to have to shoulder the costs. The federal government was uniquely placed to take on this responsibility.
Over the past quarter century, provincial debt has outpaced federal debt by $225 billion. Household debt-to-disposable income has increased to over 175%, close to a record high. To date, nearly $9 out of $10 in COVID-19-related direct support delivered to Canadians and Canadian businesses is financed by the federal government.
We took on this role because it was the right thing to do. Thanks to our rapid and substantial investments, unemployment will be lower, consumer spending will be higher and our economy will recover sooner than it would have had we done nothing.
If we had not stepped in with the Canada emergency wage subsidy, millions of jobs could have been lost forever during the worst of the storm. Without the Canada emergency response benefit, Canadians would not have been able to cover their daily expenses.
Our investments have meant that Canadians and Canadian businesses, instead of drowning in debt and closing up shop, will be better positioned to get back at it.
We came into this crisis on strong footing, with a net debt-to-GDP ratio considerably lower than all of our G7 partners.
Even after our historic investments, Canada will continue to hold this low-debt advantage. This, combined with historically low interest rates, gave us the balance sheet to deploy our fiscal firepower to support Canadians.
If we think back to the 1990s when Canada's debt needed to be reined in, interest rates were high and public debt was extremely expensive. At that time, our public debt charges were close to 6% of gross domestic product. Now, Canada's debt charges are only around 1% of GDP, and even after all the investments we have made to support Canadians, the cost of servicing our debt is expected to go lower this year. In fact, our total public debt charges for 2020 will actually be $4 billion lower than forecast last fall.
However, we, collectively, will have to face up to our borrowing and ensure that it is sustainable for future generations. Canada's debt structure is prudent. It is spread out over the long term, and it compares well with our G7 peers. We will continue to make sure this is the case in the months and years to come as we move toward recovery, and as we deal with the aftermath of this unprecedented event.
Throughout this crisis, under the Prime Minister’s leadership, we have been working in coordination with provincial and territorial governments to protect Canadians at a level we have never seen before.
Since March, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have hosted 15 first ministers meetings. I have personally taken part in 14 meetings with provincial finance ministers.
We have accomplished a lot together, procuring hundreds of millions of pieces of personal protective equipment, making sure that health care workers have a secure supply. We have helped give essential workers a well-deserved raise. It was clear to all of us that our collective actions were going to get us through this crisis.
Canadians want to get back to work, but they want to do it safely. That is why we are working with provinces and territories on a safe restart agreement worth more than $14 billion.
We are proposing to invest in a safe, sufficient and adequate supply of child care, so that parents, especially mothers, do not have to choose between going to work and ensuring their children are taken care of. We also want to build capacity to test and trace and continue to provide world-class health care to Canadians.
These discussions will be critical to the well-being of Canadians.
The road to economic recovery will be long and uncertain. Going forward, anything we do must be about growth, resilience and creating opportunity for those who are most impacted by this crisis. We need to invest in an economy that is greener and more diverse: an economy that creates opportunity for young people, low-income Canadians, people with disabilities and women, and that supports our most vulnerable, including LGBTQ2 communities, indigenous peoples, black Canadians and other racialized people in our country.
This pandemic has identified clear gaps, and it is giving us a chance to reset. We witnessed the ways in which people were falling through the cracks, particularly those who live in long-term care. Many of them are our parents and our grandparents who built this country. We need to do better by them. In the coming months, we will need to come to these problems with dedication, with compassion and with ingenuity.
Eighty years ago, Canada faced some of the worst days of the Second World War, and the government faced monumental and difficult choices. In this House, like today, there were those who criticized the government for not doing enough, and others who said it went too far. However, despite the criticisms of the debate, the resolve of Canadians to fearlessly face the emergency of their time never wavered.
Today, as we evaluate the details of our measures and the scale of their reach, I want to tell this House that we left no stone unturned, and every decision we made was guided by our belief that the well-being of Canadians had to come above all else. We have worked to lay out an economic response plan that is comprehensive, that is ambitious, and that serves those who need help the most. We have done so in the belief that Canadians would be able to fight the spread of this virus and come roaring back. We have done this to build a bridge to a safer place, from which we can build a stronger and more resilient future, just like in the Second World War.
I know that Canadians have what it takes to come together for the greater good. I have seen it in health care workers, 80% of them women and many of them immigrants, who day in and day out put their own health at risk to help others. I have seen it in the businesses that have retooled to build ventilators, masks, gowns and more. I have seen it in the women and men of the armed forces, who have served by caring for our most vulnerable in our long-term care homes. I have seen it in the millions of small donations, small acts of kindness, and the big and small sacrifices Canadians have made to fight this virus.
I want to take this moment to send a message to those who have lost loved ones during this time. All of Canada shares in their pain.
Canadians are resourceful. Canadians are resilient. Together, we will get through this and build a better, fairer and stronger Canada.
View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
NDP (ON)
View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
2020-05-13 16:16 [p.2295]
Mr. Speaker, before I speak to the bill, I have sad news to announce to the House.
During National Nursing Week in London, my hometown and a town that I represent, Brian Beattie, a registered nurse who worked in a retirement village, died of COVID-19. He was the first registered nurse in Ontario to die of COVID-19. Brian is remembered as a dedicated nurse who loved his job and considered the residents in his care like his other family. My thoughts and deepest condolences go out to Brian's family and friends.
I want to sincerely thank front-line health care workers, who literally put their lives on the line to take care of others and take care of our families.
It is often hard to switch gears in these circumstances, but today I am pleased to speak to Bill C-16, an act to amend the Canadian Dairy Commission Act. The New Democrats are relieved to see this legislation finally come forward and are happy to support it.
I want to acknowledge the great work done by my colleague, the MP for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, the NDP's agricultural critic. He could not be here today, as he lives fairly far away, but his work on behalf of farmers across the country is greatly appreciated, despite his absence.
The New Democrats believe that increasing the buyback limit that dairy processors have with the Canadian Dairy Commission from $300 million to $500 million, allowing this Crown corporation to purchase more surplus butter and cheese and helping processors with cash flow issues until the market stabilizes again will provide some help to dairy farmers and processors so they can weather the COVID-19 pandemic. These actions are ones we have pushed for. We know they will start to help the sector at this unprecedented time of need.
Because of the losses in liquid milk sales to restaurants and other retail sectors due to COVID-19 shutdowns in the sector, producers and processors need assistance. Of course, this help is late. I have heard from a lot of farming families in the area that surrounds my riding who have been worried for months. The uncertainty and stress caused by this pandemic have had a detrimental impact on everyone, especially farmers, so I am glad that we are here today to support this plan.
Before I get into truly addressing some details regarding this legislation and the supports that are much needed for our agricultural sector and dairy sector, I will speak to some of the key issues that women working in the agricultural sector sometimes face, issues that have been long-standing but exacerbated by this pandemic.
According to the United Nations, “With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, even the limited gains made in the past decades are at risk of being rolled back.” The Canadian Human Rights Commission has echoed this statement, saying, “These disproportionate impacts could have long-term and far reaching consequences.” As the Canadian Women's Foundation notes, “The pandemic circumstances intensify inequalities related to gender, and other factors, such as economic status, race, culture, language, and other intersecting elements of our identities.”
The lack of access to services is felt by women nationwide, but rural women or women living in smaller towns are especially hit hard by the issue of the provision of services, simply because of their location or gender. Rural women have to travel long distances to get the help they need. We know women have felt the impact of this pandemic at disproportionate rates, and when they work in the agricultural sector, they often live in rural and remote areas. Their access to services is therefore dramatically reduced.
This is why the announcement last week that Greyhound is suspending its bus service operations has raised many flags with women's organizations, as the ridership of these services is 60% women and Greyhound is used by many trying to get to work. I will continue to call on the government to help people in my riding of London—Fanshawe and others across southwestern Ontario who rely on the inner-city bus industry. Travel, of course, is a necessity of life in rural Canada, and every community in Canada should be able to count on reliable transit to connect people to their jobs, health care services, schools and family members.
Connectivity in person during this time is obviously limited, which for so many has put a great deal of emphasis on virtual connectivity. Again, this pandemic has exacerbated many of the failures within our infrastructure for farmers and people living in rural and remote areas across this country. There are issues that consecutive governments have ignored for far too long.
Women, and in particular women living in rural Canada, too often feel isolated, and this is compounded by their inability to access or afford a stable Internet connection or cellphone service. It is so important to physically distance right now, but social isolation must be avoided. I have heard from so many women who say they miss their families and their grandkids, the hugs and support they provide.
In particular, I want to address the needs of women who need access to supports from government programs for mental health support and domestic violence hotlines. Those are just some examples. If they do not have that connectivity to online supports, they are left in further, more devastating isolation.
The New Democrats' vision of Canada is one of equality, balance and fairness, a country where women's organizations have stable funding so that women can access the support and advocacy they need, and where women have the tools that they need to access those services in their communities, whether urban, suburban, rural or remote.
Shelters across Canada have faced large expenses trying to adapt themselves to meet public health physical distancing requirements and to alter programs to deal with the new reality of a COVID-impacted world. However, without the necessary core funding that many shelters and organizations need, these supports cannot exist. Core funding has not been provided by the federal government for too many years, and these organizations cannot use the project-based funding to deal with this crisis situation. Too many fundraising events have been cancelled due to COVID, so another source of income for community-based support services that women need has been cut.
This, of course, is a serious financial crisis for the not-for-profit and charitable sectors. This crisis began long before COVID-19, and if things do not change it is one that will continue well past this pandemic.
I want to specifically highlight some of the stresses that are put on rural women and women who work in Canada's agricultural industry. Women are leaders in this sector, but I do not believe the government has done a good enough job of closing the pay equity gap and ensuring that women have access to affordable child care and to education. I know that although the number of women is slowly growing in the agricultural sector, many barriers still exist. A significant barrier to most people farming, especially to women, is the large costs associated: the cost of farmland, the cost of equipment, the labour challenges. This pandemic, again, has only exacerbated the difficulties that farmers in the dairy industry face.
Before I became an MP, I was a parliamentary staffer and had the great honour of working with the past international trade critic, Tracey Ramsey. Because of this incredible work, I was able to meet and work with amazing people in our agricultural sector, including in the dairy sector. Many people know that in the renegotiated NAFTA, Canada threw our dairy farmers under the bus to appease the U.S. The U.S. has now gained 3.59% access to our dairy market on top of the concessions that were in the other two Conservative-negotiated, Liberal-signed trade deals, the CPTPP and CETA, that bring the total loss to 8.4% of market share. That translates into 800 million litres of milk that will be permanently removed from our farms. I cannot imagine any other sector from which any government would dare cut almost 10% of our market share.
These are hard-working families across the country who take so much pride in producing top-quality milk for our communities. I do not know how much more dairy farmers can bear. Once again, I come to the point that because of decisions by consecutive Conservative and Liberal governments that have hurt our supply-managed dairy industry, this sector has been weakened. It is less resilient from the effects of this pandemic. Like so many other systems that I mentioned before that women, farmers and all Canadians rely upon, we need to reinforce social programs and these market protections, which protect people and protect Canadians.
Canadian farmers have benefited from the supply-managed system since the early 1970s. The system sets the prices and creates stability for dairy, egg and poultry producers. Supply management has proven to be an effective model that equalizes the benefits of dairy production across consumers, farmers and processors, and it stabilizes the industry against price shocks or over supply. During the negotiations of CUSMA, the Liberal government, every day, repeated its rhetoric that it would preserve and protect our supply-managed sectors, but protecting it meant not allowing pieces of it to be negotiated away.
There are three pillars of supply management: import control, pricing mechanisms, and production. In production, we have the quota system in Canada. We make sure that we are only making as much as the market demands. What is being thrown away in every single trade agreement signed by the current government is the pillar of import control.
Another key concern in allowing American milk into the Canadian market is that this product contains bovine growth hormone, created by Monsanto and used by American dairy farmers to increase milk production. There are no studies on the effect of this hormone on human health. I am so relieved when I buy milk and I see the little blue cow on the package, knowing that I am supporting Canadian dairy farmers and knowing that my milk is healthy and safe. I know what is in it, and therein lies the extraordinary value of our dairy sector and why we need to fight to protect it.
To add even more insult to injury, after selling out our dairy farmers in CUSMA, the government still has not provided the financial compensation it promised to support those same farmers. Ironically, this would not be necessary if the Liberals had actually protected supply management like they said they would, and we would not have had a surplus of American milk flooding Canadian borders, leading to the current Canadian supply glut, necessitating the recent dumping of 30 million litres of liquid milk.
Also causing harm to dairy farmers is the Canada Day start for the new NAFTA, which is only a few more weeks away, when those market concessions will hit our sector hard. This is another reason it was so vital that the NDP and my colleague, the MP for Elmwood—Transcona, negotiated with this government on future trade deals being negotiated in a far more consultative and transparent way. We pushed for Parliament to be able, for the first time ever, to view future trade deals in advance of ratification, instead of merely voting yea or nay after the deal is done. That is needed to preserve our food sovereignty and systems like supply management. It is to protect our farmers for future generations and to ensure that should we have these crises or emergencies in the future, we would be able and stable enough to withstand it.
Overall, the other measures announced for farmers by this government are not enough to offset the losses Canadian farmers collectively have suffered, nor will they ensure a strong food security system for Canadians. No one in Canada should be worried about where their next meal will come from. Canada's national food policy needs to improve food security by linking producers to the communities worried about having enough affordable food.
I live in an incredible area rich in agricultural land. However, farmers are facing significant challenges in southwestern Ontario. As the farm belt gears up for the growing season, the landscape has been radically changed by the COVID-19 virus and the lockdowns and security precautions that it has brought. The closure of the food service industries, with dine-in restaurant doors shut, has forced food producers and processors to adjust to a high demand for retail and direct-to-consumer products. The processing of food is incredibly different for home consumption than from food service, which is causing some significant challenges in our system. Again, although they have been delayed, I am glad we are passing these supports today.
With businesses and restaurants closed during the pandemic, the government has finally accepted the NDP's call for the government to buy surplus food to support food producers and help local organizations enhance food security for people in our communities. Canada is a privileged country because of its agricultural diversity, but it still faces many challenges concerning food. In 1976, Canada signed onto the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which includes a right to food. Yet, more than 40 years later, too many Canadians are still having difficulty putting food on their tables. It is well past time for the federal government to live up to its obligations and ensure access to safe, affordable and healthy food.
Farmers have been waiting for weeks for this emergency support, and while New Democrats welcome the bill in front us today that would increase the Dairy Commission's credit line, this should have been done weeks ago, and there is still a great amount to do. Instead of investing more to help our agricultural producers during this crisis, the government again has let farmers fall through the cracks. So many are not eligible for support programs. After everything this government has done to dairy farmers, this is the least it can do to support them during this pandemic. Instead of investing more to help our agricultural producers during this crisis, the government is letting them down. Many are still not eligible for support programs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed many failings in our systems and social programs. Cracks have been created over many years, and people are falling through those cracks because of the government's consistent cutting and gutting. The undermining of the supports provided by these programs has cost us a great deal now.
The question remains, will we continue down a road where we are shortsighted? Will we look only to what will benefit a small group in a short term, or will we now repair the damage done by the cutbacks and decide to further build and strengthen the programs we have? Will we ensure fairness, balance and equality within sectors, including our agricultural sector? Will we value the work of farmers in every sector? Will we value the sourcing of local food? Will we fall back from the belief that globalization and a neoliberal agenda are inevitable or supreme and realize that it is actually through social stability, the strengthening of people and the foundations they stand upon, that will make us thrive?
Now is a good time to start to ask these hard questions and to talk about our lives post-COVID. I know what my answer is, and I am willing to do the work involved to achieve something better for everyone.
Before I officially conclude, I want to briefly take this opportunity to recognize a very important anniversary.
Fifty years ago, almost to the day, members of the Vancouver Women's Caucus travelled to Ottawa with the Abortion Caravan. In 1970, members of the Abortion Caravan marched on Parliament Hill in opposition to the 1969 amendments to the Criminal Code. However, this women's organization knew then that a lack of fair and equal access to proper reproductive rights was putting women's health in danger.
The Abortion Caravan arrived in Ottawa on Mother's Day weekend in 1970, a convoy of Canadian women, over 500 strong, arrived here with coat hangers and a black coffin in tow to demand the legalization of unrestricted access to abortion services for all Canadian women.
On May 11, 1970, approximately three dozen women entered the House of Commons, taking their seats in the various galleries circling the chamber. Once seated, the women quietly chained themselves to their seats, listening intently as NDP MP Andrew Brewin asked Minister of Justice John Turner if he would consider reviewing the abortion law. Turner tried to dismiss the matter, but just before 3 p.m., one of the women rose from her seat in the gallery and began reciting the Abortion Caravan's prepared speech, interrupting debate on the floor of the House of Commons. As parliamentary guards approached the woman, a second woman stood up in another area of the gallery and continued to give the speech. One by one, the women rose from their seats, adding their voices to the call for safe and equal access to reproductive rights.
The Abortion Caravan brought national attention to this issue. Sadly, women today are still forced to fight for access to health care options. Specifically on this 50th anniversary, I think about those brave women who were part of that caravan and built that movement to ensure that women of my generation have the freedom of choice.
I also think of the women in Fredericton today and the fact that the so-called feminist federal government still has done nothing to ensure that the women's clinic in Fredericton is properly and fairly funded to do what is needed to protect the rights women are supposed to have under the Canada Health Act.
Like those women 50 years ago, and like MP Brewin, New Democrats will continue to fight for safe and fair reproductive rights. In recognition of this 50th anniversary, I believe that if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: “That the House recognize this week marks the 50th anniversary of the Abortion Caravan, commemorates the caravan's important contribution to modernizing Canada's reproductive rights laws and calls upon the government to take further action to increase access to abortion services, including by enforcing the Canada Health Act and ensuring that Clinic 554 in Fredericton is properly and fairly funded.”
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
moved:
That the House call on the government to change its proposed tax cuts by targeting benefits to those who earn less than $90,000 per year, and use those savings to invest in priorities that give real help to Canadians, including dental coverage for uninsured families making less than $90,000 per year.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with someone who truly inspires me, the hon. member for Burnaby South. He will take the floor in the second part of my intervention.
What the NDP is offering today is an opportunity for all members of Parliament to get together to provide support for the one-third of Canadians who do not have access to basic dental care.
What we said in the motion, and what Parliament will be directing the government to do if it is adopted, is to cap the tax changes at $90,000 a year and to provide basic dental care to all those who are uninsured and earning less than $90,000 a year in this country.
I must say at the outset that Canadians already support this policy. A recent poll just last year indicates that 86% of Canadians support dental care for all those who are uninsured in this country. At the same time, other countries like the United Kingdom and the European Union have 100% dental coverage. Basic dental care is covered in those countries. Six million Canadians, when we put aside young people who have the opportunity to access provincial plans, are impacted by this lack of dental coverage.
That means that millions of Canadians will be affected by the motion being moved by the NDP today. Millions of Canadians will be able to access dental care once this motion has been adopted.
Let us hear some of the stories of Canadians who do not have access to basic dental care in this country. I would like to quote from a constituent, Jonathan, a man who works for minimum wage and who talked to me about the importance of having dental coverage in this country.
Jonathan works at minimum wage and cannot afford to get the basic cleaning that he needs as part of basic dental care. That means that because of bacteria in his mouth, he is often in pain. He tried to save up enough money to access the basic dental care that he needed, but then his car broke down. He needed it for work, so he had to make the tough choice between having transportation or getting his basic dental needs met. He simply could not do both.
He has tried borrowing money, but that has not worked either, because it puts him in a debt cycle that he simply cannot afford. He has looked into dental plans, as his family has, but they found that the cost was simply prohibitive.
In this country, half of Canadian families are $200 away from insolvency in any given month. Jonathan and his family are among them. A difference of $100 or $200 a month means the difference between managing to put food on the table, managing to keep a roof over their heads, and managing to pay the bills without going too much further in debt. They simply cannot afford the cost of a dental plan.
Canadian families are the most indebted of any families in the industrialized world, and we have the highest family debt loads in our country's history right now. The reality of Jonathan is a reality that many other people face across the length and breadth of this country.
One thing I should mention about Jonathan is that in addition to the pain, in addition to the struggles of trying to find resources to pay for basic dental care, he also says that he feels ashamed of himself, that because of his broken teeth and because he is in such pain, he simply is not able to smile. The adoption of the motion today would mean that Jonathan, like six million other Canadians, would get their smile back. That is extremely important.
I would like to talk about Elsie. Elsie is not her real name. She did not want me to use her real name because she works for a big corporation that makes a lot of profit and has been held just shy of the number of hours needed to access the company's dental plan. She works in the food and hospitality sector. Her teeth are literally rotting away, but because there is no basic dental care, she is unable to access the dental care that she desperately needs.
I will also talk about what I saw at the University of Montreal a few years ago. The dental clinic at the University of Montreal offers free dental care provided by students of the faculty of dental medicine who are studying to be dentists.
Fortunately, thanks to the University of Montreal, dental care is being provided, but there is a waiting list. People are lining up to get access and many of them are in pain because of the lack of basic dental care in this country.
That is the problem whether we are talking about Jonathan, Elsie or everyone else lining up to get care, not just at the University of Montreal, but all across the country. When there are free dental clinics, people are there because they are desperately trying to get badly needed dental care.
I recently had a meeting with working representatives from British Columbia, workers such as David Black, who is one of my bosses, a constituent of mine in New Westminster—Burnaby, as well as representatives from correctional workers, commercial workers and a teacher. They were all there in my office, and I mentioned that the NDP was bringing forward this motion. They said it was wonderful and that it could make a real difference in this country, and then they asked me what kind of dental plan members of Parliament had. I had to tell them that members of Parliament have granted themselves a good, effective dental plan that covers all of those basic needs.
Now those working people, who are here today, are saying through me to all members of Parliament that if dental coverage and dental plans are good enough for members of Parliament, they should be good enough for all Canadians across the length and breadth of this land.
In terms of cost, people may be wondering how much this dental plan will cost. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has already informed us that it will cost $800 million a year. The cost will be higher the first year, of course, because there are needs that will have to be met, but it should come to about $800 million, or rather $814 million, the first year.
If we take these amounts and compare them to the federal budget as a whole, we can see that they are not that high. Considering all the tax changes that the government wants to implement, this is something that would pay for itself.
Why is that? It is because we already know from emergency room physicians across this country that tens of millions of dollars every year go into last-minute care that is provided in emergency rooms by doctors who are not qualified. People who are desperately seeking dental care go into emergency rooms, and they are given pills or painkillers to get them through the following few days.
Emergency room doctors tell us that we need to have basic dental care in this country and that the absence of basis dental care is costing our health care system over $150 million a year. We are already paying the costs of this emergency care, as well as the costs for all of the people like Jonathan and Elsie who cannot even go to work because of the pain they are experiencing. The six million Canadians who do not have dental care are an incredible charge on our economy and our quality of life, without even considering the impacts on each of them.
Of course it makes sense to cap the tax changes and make sure we are taking care of basic dental care for all Canadians. This is a no-brainer. Members of Parliament need to get behind this idea. We need to make sure every Canadian has access to basic dental care in this country.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, I have a supplementary question. The member stated that he felt that providing dental care would not really help Canadians. I would suggest to him that if he talks to people, he will find that there are literally millions of Canadians who do not have basic dental care now. In reality, that is causing a crisis in emergency rooms because they cannot handle all of the people coming for dental emergencies.
Does the member understand that it does not make a lot of sense to spend $150 million getting inappropriate health care in emergency rooms when basic dental care will make sure those people are taken care of?
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michael Cooper Profile
2020-02-25 11:59 [p.1487]
Madam Speaker, I simply reiterate that I am not convinced that a one-size-fits-all national plan is the answer in the same way I am not convinced that a one-size-fits-all national pharmacare program is the answer.
If there ever was an opportunity to move forward with a program like that, the Liberal government is making it all the more difficult with its out-of-control spending and massive deficits and massive debt, which I hope the NDP, like us, would encourage it to rein in.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2020-02-25 12:30 [p.1492]
Madam Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me to have an opportunity to speak to the motion before the House. The motion calls upon the government to reallocate a portion of the resources that will be spent on a tax cut for what is called the middle class to people who really need it and do not have dental care.
It is my pleasure to do this because this is a historic occasion. It is not very often that members of the House of Commons have the opportunity to pass a resolution that would benefit millions of Canadians now and in future generations. This is the first step in ensuring greater equality in this country, an equality about something that is extremely important to individuals.
Dental care is pretty basic for people who can afford it. Their income allows them to pay for the services of a dentist to get their teeth cleaned, annual inspections, X-rays, if needed, and whatever else goes with that.
Madam Speaker, I am sharing my time with the hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford. I am very happy to do that and I look forward to his speech as well.
He, along with me and other members of our caucus, are very much in favour of ensuring that everybody in Canada has access to quality dental care. It should already be a part of our health care system. In fact, in 1964, it was part of the design of medicare to include dental care, but during the negotiations and when it was passed, dental care was left out.
What we have is a gap. When someone breaks his or her wrist, the person can go to a hospital or a doctor and have a cast put on. The person can get the physiotherapy at the hospital that is needed. The person can be looked after. However, when people have a cavity or they break a tooth or they need work done to ensure their oral health, they have to pay for it. Why is that? There was a failure to follow through on the promise and hope of a general health care system that would include dental care. Of course, pharmacare was also part of the original design.
I go back to generations ago to the great leader, the first leader of the national NDP when it was formed, Tommy Douglas. He campaigned for many decades to ensure there was greater equality in obtaining health care for people in this country. That is exactly what this motion is aimed at as well.
We joined the campaign. We put this forward as an idea that we would want to put in place. We campaigned on it. We let it be known. People were very interested for reasons that were fairly obvious to me, knowing as I do, and I am sure hon. members know that when we talk about the middle class in this country, that is a pretty vague notion. I do not think the minister is able to tell us who is included in that.
We do know that the people who do not have and cannot afford dental care know who they are and they do not think they are in the middle class. They know they are not in a position to have what others have and are entitled to. This motion would give all those people the right to dental care just the same as everybody else.
This motion comes about because of the Liberal government's plan, and it promised this, of having a middle-class tax cut. What do the Liberals mean by that? We do not know, but we do know the plan the Liberals put forward is going to cost in excess of $6 billion per year once it is fully in place. That $6 billion is a lot of money. It is essentially taxpayers' money that is now being collected which the government proposes to spend out of general revenues to give a tax cut to certain people.
That tax cut would go to people who earn up to $130,000 per year. The maximum benefit is $347 per year, I believe. That would go to the people who are in the upper income bracket. The lower we go down on the scale, the less the benefit is. When one gets down below $40,000, I think the benefit is about zero.
Who is this benefiting? Is this benefiting people who do not have an income to pay the kind of tax that would benefit from this? Is it going to people who do not need it?
The Liberals can say they are going to have a middle-class tax cut, and they will fulfill their promise, but this is a Parliament that is supposed to work together. We could make a significant improvement to this plan by saying that the Liberals could do their tax cut but we should ask why they are giving it to people who are already making $90,000 or more a year. That $300, or $340 maximum, is not going to change their lives. They might like to have $300; who would not? However, I question whether they need it in the same sense as people who are in a situation where they cannot afford dental care, and do not have access to it. It could change their lives.
I say that because dental care is extremely important to one's health and well-being. Not only is it important to one's health and well-being, but if we think of children growing up who do not have access to dental care, it affects their well-being, their health, their digestion, and their social standing.
Everybody in this House knows there is a big divide in this country. There is a divide between people who have good teeth and people who do not have access to the care that is required to make sure they have proper oral health. That is not fair. It is a great inequality. It is one of the most unequal aspects of health care in Canada, because most dental care is not covered by public health insurance. Some emergency care is. Someone may have an abscess in a tooth, because the person has not had the opportunity to go to a dentist to have proper dental care, or to have cavities filled and the person is forced to wait and endure the pain that comes with that. The person will go to a hospital emergency room and have an emergency extraction which costs the health care system several hundred dollars, but the person no longer has a tooth. Then the person is affected by that for the rest of his or her life.
That is the reality. That is unfair and it is unnecessary. It is an inequality that can be fixed. We, in this House of Commons, have an opportunity today to pass a resolution that would allow that to change. We do not need to give a $300 tax break to someone making $125,000 a year. However, we do need to ensure that everybody has fair access to health care.
During the campaign, we announced our platform and we announced that program in particular. People were coming up to me in the streets. They had heard about this and wanted to know more. They thought it was great. I do not want to try to paint too weird a picture, but people asked me to look at their teeth and asked whether I thought they could get a job with the way their teeth looked. That is the reality. People know they are excluded from employment and certain social activities. It affects their lives in many ways.
I remember an older gentleman in his seventies was almost crying, telling me how he had had cancer and as a result had serious problems with his teeth. He had to get a couple of teeth replaced or refilled. He had some done that he thought were paid for by the province, but they were not. He had to pay for that himself. He said that he had to wait two years to save up enough money to fix his other teeth. That was terrible. He was not interested in voting or in participating. I told him that the way to change things was by voting for something he wants and needs. I hope he did. I did not check with him afterwards.
We are here now, and we have this opportunity to do this. I am calling on all members. This is a real historic opportunity for members on all sides of the House to say that this is something we could do collaboratively that would change the lives of millions of people in this country.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, it is a great honour again to stand in the House and speak on behalf of my wonderful constituents of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford.
I am going into my fifth year as a member of the House and during my time here, I have known nothing but a Liberal government. I did work for a previous member of Parliament during the time the Conservatives were in power.
Over the last numbers of years, I have watched the Liberal government make a number of choices. I will start with what it calls a middle-class tax cut, which in fact sent the lion's share of the benefits to people making six-figure incomes. I remember at the time telling Liberal MPs in this place that they gave themselves the maximum tax cut and that people who earned the median income, which is just over $40,000 per year, would receive nothing. That is just a correction for the record.
We also have the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action, and the Liberals have only implemented a handful of those 94 calls to action. This is a government that chose to spend billions of dollars of taxpayer money to buy the TMX pipeline. It has inadequate climate targets. It is waffling on pharmacare. Today we are getting lukewarm support for what the NDP is proposing for dental care.
Governing is about choices. I think back to the words of the late Jack Layton, when he said that we could not just be a party of opposition, that we had to be a party of proposition. That is exactly what today's motion would do. It is the NDP bringing forward a motion to the House, which would have real and tangible benefits for many Canadians suffering from a lack of care.
If we go back to the throne speech, there was a cursory mention of dental care, as follows:
The Government is open to new ideas from all Parliamentarians, stakeholders, public servants, and Canadians—ideas like universal dental care are worth exploring, and I encourage Parliament to look into this.
We are looking into this. We took the words of the Governor General, and we are doing precisely that. In fact, regarding the proposal for dental care, a poll was done last year by IPSOS. It showed that around 86% of Canadians would support providing publicly funded dental care to those without insurance coverage. Eighty-six per cent is a pretty comfortable majority of Canadians. I know that no matter what side of the political spectrum one represents, constituents in every riding of the country need dental care. They are suffering because of poor oral health.
Our proposal is very simple. One of the first things the Liberal government proclaimed it would do was with regard to taxes. The Liberals want to essentially take the basic personal amount and raise it in stages, so the amount of income a person would not pay taxes on would rise to the first $15,000 by the year 2023. This would then slowly slope off to the cut-off income of $150,000 a year.
People who are earning six figures are going to receive most of the benefit. The NDP proposes that we take that proposal but instead limit it to people who earn $90,000 a year or less, in other words, to people who actually need it.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer has estimated that if the proposed Liberal tax change comes into effect with the income going up to $150,000, it will cost the Canadian treasury $6.2 billion by the year 2024-25 after the full impact has kicked in. I remind all hon. members that tax changes actually cost money. If we are just giving a rather small benefit to the people who do not need it, then what measurable benefit are we giving Canadian society?
Meanwhile, a huge number of Canadians do not have any dental coverage. They do not have that oral health. We have a real opportunity here to take something, shift it slightly so there still is a tax change, but use the resultant savings to invest in a national dental care plan and get people the help they require.
For my constituents back home, I want to read into the record our motion of today. It says:
That the House call on the government to change its proposed tax cuts by targeting benefits to those who earn less than $90,000 per year, and use those savings to invest in priorities that give real help to Canadians, including dental coverage for uninsured families making less than $90,000 per year.
We need to look at some of the statistics to understand why this proposal is so important. We know that emergency room visits due to dental emergencies cost taxpayers at least $155 million annually. According to Statistics Canada, in 2018, 35.4% of Canadians reported they had no dental insurance, and 22.4% of Canadians, which is roughly 6.8 million people, avoided visiting dental professionals due to the cost.
We know the health literature studies have linked poor oral health to serious health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, dementia, respiratory infections, diabetic complications, renal disease complications, premature birth and low birth weight.
We can look at where we can make those targeted investments in society that will have real impact. Yes, the upfront costs will be quite expensive, because we are going to have to bring a large portion of the population up to a standard of care. However, those costs will start to go down over time. We will see the results in savings in our medical system when we do not have to spend the money to deal with much more complicated health problems down the line.
This is a real opportunity for us to come together and make a difference in this place. I ask members to look at the situation in their own ridings, at what so many of their constituents are facing and to make a real difference by passing this motion. We have a choice before us. Are we going to spend our limited time in this place to give money to people who do not need it or are we going to make that investment to ensure Canadians are getting the help they need?
I have been listening to the debate today and members who spoke previously brought together a lot of personal stories, of meeting constituents, residents in their communities who had to cover their mouth because they were embarrassed by the state of their teeth or had further complications going down the line, which had led to multiple hospital visits.
In many ways, oral health is still very much a class issue. People who have means, who have income, have good teeth. People who do not have that source of income usually have poor oral health. This is an opportunity to give people another rung on social mobility, to give them the ability to go forward, to have confidence in seeking a new job, to be more open, to really participate in society.
Our dental care plan as members of Parliament is very generous. In fact, we have so much privilege in this place. We command an amazing salary. We have incredible health and dental benefits. Why do we feel comfortable as parliamentarians to give ourselves that coverage, yet we balk at the cost of giving it to our constituents?
Can we honestly make that argument to the public when in our constituencies, that we as a members of Parliament deserve dental care but they do not have. I do not think many of us can. If members are going to make that argument, I would think twice about sitting in this place, because constituents might have better ideas.
I know my time is coming to a close, but I will end by imploring all of my colleagues, no matter which political party, to seriously look at this proposal, look at the good it will do for the people of Canada and take this moment to come together in this minority Parliament, pass the motion and get our country onto a path where we can cover people for dental care, which will have a very real and measurable impact in their lives.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-02-25 13:29 [p.1500]
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time today with the member for Timmins—James Bay.
I would like to thank my NDP colleagues for using the first opposition day to urge the government to work collaboratively for working-class Canadians.
In this minority Parliament, the Liberals have a choice. They can provide a tax break to people who are making more than $90,000 a year or they can offer dental coverage to families making less than $90,0000 annually. In fact, if I were the Liberals, I would be jumping at the chance to support an opportunity to work so well for Canadians. What we have been able to provide here is an opportunity for the Liberals to see what they could accomplish instead of giving a few more dollars to people who do not actually need the money.
We know right now that we are leaving millions of Canadians behind. They cannot afford to go to the dentist. We know that this is causing incredible stress on our emergency rooms. We are spending $155 million annually on dental-related emergencies. These are preventive things. This is money we would not have to be spending if we had dental care for people who need it.
By providing access to oral health, we would also ensure that we are preventing other serious health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, respiratory infections, diabetic complications, renal disease complications and premature birth and low birth weight.
We need to start protecting all Canadians, particularly those who are most vulnerable. I have spent a great deal of time in my riding of Edmonton Strathcona, which is a very diverse riding. There are large number of students in my riding, and there is a large diversity in socio-economic status. I have spent a lot of time on doorsteps talking to people, and I am unbelievably surprised by the incredible support for a dental program in this country.
What is interesting to me is that it is not just those people who would benefit from a dental program who are so supportive of it. It is, in fact, Canadians of all economic backgrounds, whether they can afford their own dental care or not, who recognize that we have an obligation to make sure all people within our community are taken of.
I spoke to a constituent of mine, a young father who lived in a lovely home and clearly had a level of income that is quite comfortable. He had two daughters. He spoke to me at length about his support for medicare, pharmacare, mental health care and dental care. I said to him that he obviously had the money to take his kids to the dentist and asked him why he was worried about dental care. His response to me, which is something every person in this House needs to acknowledge, was that his children's well-being and his well-being depend on his community and country doing well. He was worried about the kids at his daughters' school and their ability to access dental care.
If Canadians like this young father can be generous and understand the obligation we have to represent Canadians and do what is best for Canada, I really find it problematic that there are people in this House who do not recognize it. We know that across Canada there is incredible support for a dental program, and the majority of Canadians who have elected us to represent them in this House have asked for and supported dental care. What right do we have to not support that? What right do we have to not support dental care when the people who put us in this building to represent them have said that they want dental care?
It is also really important, and people have brought this up before, that we talk a bit about how the Liberals say that there is no money for things that they do not want to put money into while there is always, always money for the things they think are important. This is not the first time that members will hear this, but Loblaws does not need Canadian taxpayer dollars. Mastercard does not Canadian taxpayer dollars. The ones who do need it are young families who cannot afford their dental care and university students and families who are struggling to make ends meet in my province, where 19,000 people were laid off in January. Those people need support. They need support to be able to access dental care.
A budget is coming out in our province today, and it is not going to get better there. There are people hurting in Alberta, and this is a concrete thing that I and all members can fight for on behalf of our constituents.
I would also like to take a moment to offer to my Conservative colleagues the thought that millions of Canadians do not have dental care, but the biggest benefits from the Liberal tax cuts go to the wealthy. Conservatives talk a lot about standing up for working Canadians, so I can only assume that they will be supporting our plan to cap the cut for the wealthiest and invest those savings in a dental care plan that will benefit millions of hard-working Canadians.
I am so proud to be a New Democrat, to represent Edmonton Strathcona and to have a proposal that would immediately help 4.3 million people and save our health care system tens of millions of dollars each year. It is time we started delivering on the needs of everyday Canadians and it is time we started investing in Canadians and their needs. Dental care is health care. Canadians should not have to choose between taking care of their teeth and taking care of their health.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-02-25 16:04 [p.1526]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to speak to our motion with respect to dental care. It is amazing what I have seen over the years. There is always an excuse not to help children with health care and people who need some type of assistance.
At the end of the day, this is a matter of political will. We can listen to all the different excuses such as not enough money being there, but there is money for the submarines that do not work right. There is money for planes that have not been delivered, and with overrun costs.
I will give a classic example of something that just came to its anniversary. The money we borrowed for a new tax on Canadians. The HST was brought in and we gave money to the Provinces of British Columbia and Ontario to enter into the program. We had the economic analysis on the cost on the of borrowing over 10 years. Ontario received $4.6 billion and British Columbia received $1.6 billion to British Columbia. It is now over $7.1 billion in cost.
When we are talking about the dental care for Canadians, we are also talking about the savings we would have for so many people who do not have the necessary coverage. We are also talking about the improvement in our economy by having a healthier workforce. Those are not immeasurable in the economics being applied here today, but they are tangible at the end of the day for the Canadian economy.
There is no doubt that when looking at dental care, it is one of the most underestimated investments when it comes to health care. There are several factors that help people with their dental care. It is not even just about cleaning and an avoidance of pain. We also deal with other health problems, such as respiratory conditions, cardiovascular disease, dementia, infections, diabetic complications, renal disease complications, premature birth and low birth weight. These are all related to poor dental care.
We can always find an excuse not to start something and the motion speaks to that. It is specifically about making a budgetary choice in this Parliament. It is very much isolated to the moment with respect to economics and its accountability for the public.
We are asking the the House to call on the government to change its proposed tax cuts by targeting benefits to those who earn less than $90,000 per year and use those savings to invest in priorities that give real help to Canadians, including dental coverage for uninsured families making less than $90,000 per year.
Millions of Canadians will now be able to afford some type of basic dental coverage. When we did the work in the partnership and outreach for this motion, statistics indicated that 35.4% of Canadians reported that they had no dental insurance.
There are people in our neighbourhoods who are unable to get coverage. A significant portion of the population do not have any insurance whatsoever. What money they use on oral hygiene and health care is at the expense of rent, food or investment in education.
It is important to note that those people are also most likely to be under-employed, unemployed or work part-time. It is so hard for this chamber to wrap itself around the fact that we want a simple choice to start a significant program that would at least touch the worst of the worst in Canada. It is amazing we can always find a reason not to do it, but we can find a reason to buy a pipeline and buy submarines that do not work right. We can find all kinds of reasons for pet projects and corporations, including Mastercard and Loblaws. We always hear the explanation of why it is possible and why it has to be done.
However, when it comes to protecting kids, when it comes to providing a basic coverage for them and their families that are the worst off, there is always a reason not to do it.
This is what is disappointing. With all the problems we face right now in the country, one of the most civilized countries on the planet, we cannot help some of the people in our constituencies when it comes to oral hygiene and dental problems. Is it too big of a problem for us to fix? Is it that we cannot do it and we will have to leave it up to another Parliament? Maybe it will find the wisdom. Can we not find the small amount of money in the budget to reallocate toward this proposal?
I talked about the HST and the continued legacy of debt and deficit. We continue to finance that deficit to bring a tax on ourselves. What I have not said is that we are still not in a surplus. We are still paying interest on that debt. There was no problem finding the money for that.
However, to pay for this, there is a problem. I do not understand it. I think most Canadians are on board with this. I think most Canadians understand the vulnerabilities. When we look at the numbers, it also affects women. For a government that says it is dealing with some of the systemic problems in relation to women and society, again, this is another missed opportunity. The statistics show that 24.1% of women are more likely than men, 20%, to report costs as a barrier. People are saying they are not taking care of themselves because of that. It is an issue of finance. Canadians aged 18 to 34, 28%, were the age group most likely to report costs as a barrier for dental care.
We are at a time when we have burdened our youth with expenses from post-secondary education that are historic. We are passing on a legacy of debt to them, as well as a legacy of other issues for them to deal with. They also have some of the highest rates of unemployment and under-employment. There is also the fact that many of the jobs they enter into do not have benefit packages.
We are saying that we give up, that we cannot do it, that it is too complicated for us and that we cannot figure it out. There is no consensus here. Nobody else can offer an amendment? There could have been an amendment to this to make it work. That is fine. We are open to that. An amendment could have happened here. However, the government is saying no, that it cannot do that, that it is too complicated and too hard. The government just cannot be bothered and that is sad.
Those young people are our future. One would think we would have the common sense to actually be preventative. One of the reasons we talk about this in a prevention model is that there is also another $155 million approximately for people to go to hospital emergency rooms to have their teeth taken take care of. However, we do not know the true costs because people do not even do it.
I do not know a Canadian out there right now who would not like to have an emergency room that is not cluttered with mental health issues and other types of unnecessary appointments. People have to go to emergency rooms because they are desperate and have nowhere else to go. I do not know anyone out there who would not agree that these cases do not need to be there when there are other emergencies.
That would be one of the better things that could streamline our system. How much money are we losing and tying up because people cannot get the proper basic coverage for their dental care?
For many mental health issues, we do not provide actual supports out there. People end up going to the hospital because they have no other options or they go to a clinic, if they are really desperate. We pay for that. That does not make any sense.
Again, I would argue the economic value of this for employers who are looking to invest in Canada. This is significant because it takes this off their books and puts it toward a workforce that is healthy, stronger, more competitive and productive. That is good for all Canadians, because those people then pay taxes.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-02-25 16:56 [p.1534]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a specific question around rural and remote communities that might face additional challenges with people who cannot plan for appropriate dental care and who then run into emergencies. How difficult it is for them to deal with that when they may not have a clinic or an emergency room available to them?
I spoke earlier in this chamber about the waste of $155 million for people having to go to emergency rooms for emergency dental care, and how it was completely wasteful. However, when we look at rural and remote communities, there are probably additional challenges for people to even get to those locations.
I would like to hear the member's comments about that. If we had a planned, scheduled activity of dental care, even a basic one, people would more appropriately be able to stay in their community, leading to stable employment and to their being stronger contributors to the economy, as opposed to dealing with emergency situations.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, this is a really important question.
I have to say, as a member of Parliament who represents more rural and remote communities, one of the biggest challenges is making sure that, when we look at our legislation and look at our actions, we are actually thinking of the realities on the ground.
In my riding, which is basically half of Vancouver Island and a large part of the mainland as well, there are communities like Kingcome right now that are under evacuation because the water is not clean. It is an indigenous community. They have had to be emergency evacuated. The reality for them is to buy a couple of boats or take a helicopter to get out of that community. If someone there needs emergency dental care, the barriers are profound.
I think about some of the communities that are accessible only by boat. It can take a long ferry ride to get to the services people need. These are the challenges.
When I look at motions like this, it is about making sure that people in our country who have the least have the most access, and that it is easy and affordable for them. There are other challenges that they face in our country. Across the whole country there are a lot of rural and remote communities. We need to make it more accessible for them.
We need to look at every decision we make in this place from that lens, because it is often those communities that have built our economy.
View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
NDP (ON)
View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
2020-02-25 17:46 [p.1542]
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
I am proud to support the motion, as it would help the majority of people in my riding. What will not help that majority is the current Liberal tax cut.
The PBO found that the Liberal tax proposal will cost $6.9 billion annually when it is fully implemented. The largest benefits would go to individuals making at least $113,000, who would get $325 per year. This would not help the majority of people who live in my riding.
In London—Fanshawe, the average income for an individual in 2015 was a little over $30,000. The average household income was just under $60,000. This cut would not benefit those people. Also 47% of people throughout Canada would not benefit from this tax cut.
This is typical Liberal policy that the government has put forward. I can look to the previous choices the Liberal government has made. There was $14 billion in corporate tax cuts announced in the 2018 fall economic statement. In June 2019, the PBO stated that Canadian corporations may be avoiding up to $25 billion a year in federal income taxes. The Liberal government could go after this. The Conservatives have been talking about increasing the government's coffers. The Liberals could do this, but they refuse.
From CRA's own records, we see that the wealthy and corporations hold at least 9% of Canada's total financial wealth offshore, resulting in an annual loss of at least $8 billion in government revenues. What is evident is the Liberals' determination to give the wealthiest Canadians even more of a share of that wealth.
It is clear that this Liberal plan would not help my constituents. However, what would help them is dental care coverage. Statistically, we know that every dollar spent by a government on a social program is worth five times that much to the economy. The dental program that we are proposing would save households $1,200 per year.
Canadians spend approximately $12 billion a year on dental services overall. Some of this is recovered through insurance, but a great deal comes out of people's pockets. In fact, six million Canadians avoid going to the dentist or receiving care because the cost is so prohibitive. Besides tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss, a person's oral health is linked to other illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Inflammation seems to be associated with these diseases because bacteria flourish in plaque.
Publicly funded dental care programs need to be universal and provide essential care to those most in need, including children in low-income families, seniors living in institutional care, people with disabilities, the homeless, refugees and immigrants, indigenous people and those on social assistance.
All provinces and territories pay for an in-hospital dental surgery and some have prevention programs for children. Also, a number of ad hoc and charitable programs provide dental care to the poor. Many of them run out of Canada's 10 schools of dentistry, but these programs are a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed.
Canada has one of the lowest rates of publicly funded dental care in the world. According to a report by the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, it is only 6% of total spending. Even the U.S. has a higher public share, at 7.9%. Many European countries include dental care in their universal health programs. In Finland, for example, 79% of dental care is publicly funded.
The cost to the health care system overall is significant as well. Imagine a patient with an untreated tooth infection. At the low end, a trip to the hospital ER for dental pain costs the health care system $124. If the person needs to be hospitalized, that cost jumps to over $7,000 per visit. This is hard to justify considering this could have been treated earlier at a fraction of the cost if the infected tooth had been removed. It is only logical.
Many people without dental health coverage live with pain and discomfort to the point that they end up in the emergency room to have a tooth pulled or, worse, end up dealing with other illnesses linked to their poor oral health. What are the costs to our health care system to admit people to the hospital for something more severe when they could have been proactively visiting their dentist? Canadians take sick leave, which costs the Canadian economy about $16.6 billion annually. We could create a healthier Canadian economy with healthier Canadians.
These are just the health aspects, but what about the social aspects? Oral pain, missing teeth or oral infection can influence the way a person speaks, eats and socializes. These problems can reduce a person's quality of life by affecting their physical, mental and social well-being. People with bad teeth can be stigmatized, both in social settings and in finding employment.
In many conversations about the need for a universal dental care program, our leader, the member for Burnaby South, has spoken specifically about a woman he met on the campaign trail who was missing several teeth. She was embarrassed to speak to him. She told him that she found it difficult to find a job that paid more than minimum wage and that she would love to advance in her field, but felt her oral health and appearance were a hindrance.
I can tell members that when I am in my constituency and when I was on those doorsteps, I ran into this situation all the time. So often I engaged with folks in London who faced that exact same problem. Too often we treat the idea of dental care as a choice, and if a parent or an individual cannot afford care for themselves or their family, they are judged, but the problem lies in our system of care, or, to be more realistic, the lack of that system.
Dental care cannot continue to be treated as an unnecessary cosmetic procedure, privately funded and only for the lucky few, and excluded from medicare. Health care must take a full body approach. We cannot have a society in which only the rich are allowed to have good teeth and good health. That is not the Canada I want.
We know that the Liberals have no trouble working for the richest. They recently spent public money on big, profitable, well-connected companies like Loblaws and Mastercard and on subsidies to the oil and gas sector, but now it is time to show up for the working class, for families who need that change.
New Democrats have a solution. Instead of spending $6 billion of federal revenue on something that excludes 47% of Canadians, a huge majority of people in my riding, and only gives marginal amounts to those who earn under $90,000, an investment of $1.6 billion of that program can help everyone. This program would give immediate help to 4.3 million people and save our health care system tens of millions of dollars every year. That is why I am proud to support this motion.
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