Question No. 734--Mr. Garnett Genuis
With regard to Canadian aid to Burma and the need to enforce the economic sanctions on Burmese military officials: (a) how is the funding from the Joint Peace Fund being allocated since the military coup in February 2021; (b) is any funding being directed to or through state or military-controlled channels, and, if so, what are the details, including the amounts; (c) what is the general breakdown of how Canadian aid dollars for Burma are being distributed and to whom; (d) does the government consider lobbying on behalf of the military regime in Burma a contravention of the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations; and (e) is the government investigating or did it investigate Ari Ben-Menashe of Dickens & Madson (Canada) Inc. for a possible contravention of the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations, and, if so, what is the status of the investigation?
ResponseHon. Karina Gould (Minister of International Development, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, the following reflects a consolidated response approved on behalf of Global Affairs Canada ministers.
In response to (a), the Joint Peace Fund, a multi-party trust fund managed by the United Nations Office for Project Services, UNOPS, was supporting two grants that brought together the civilian government and the Tatmadaw, the National Reconciliation and Peace Center, NRPC, and the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee, JMC, to support the peace process in Myanmar. These two grants have been suspended following the coup d’état. This decision was taken based on recommendations from the funding board, of which Canada is a member. New funding for civil society organizations will continue on a case-by-case basis based on the terms of reference for the fund.
In response to (b), Canada does not and will not provide direct funding to the Government of Myanmar.
In response to (c), under its initial comprehensive strategy to respond to the Rohingya crisis, Canada dedicated $300 million over three years, 2018-21, to alleviate the humanitarian crisis, support impacted host communities in Bangladesh, encourage positive political developments in Myanmar, ensure accountability for the crimes committed, and enhance international co-operation.
This has been achieved with the help of strong and trusted partners, ranging from multilateral to international, Canadian and local organizations, such as the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, the United Nations Office for Project Services, UNOPS, Inter Pares, Mennonite Economic Development Associates, MEDA, the International Development Research Centre, IDRC, and the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, BRAC.
As of March 31, 2021, Canada has spent the full amount of $300 million dedicated towards Canada’s strategy to respond to the Rohingya crisis.
Budget 2021 proposed that Canada dedicate $288 million over three years, 2021-24, to further respond to this humanitarian crisis, encourage positive political developments, ensure accountability for the crimes committed, and enhance international co-operation. This investment is part of Canada’s ongoing efforts to address the evolving crisis in Myanmar and the ongoing refugee crisis in Bangladesh.
In response to (d), Canada first imposed sanctions in relation to Myanmar under the special economic measures, Burma, regulations, on December 13, 2007, in order to respond to the gravity of the human rights and humanitarian situation in Myanmar, which threatened peace and security in the region.
On February 18, 2021, in response to the coup d’état in Myanmar perpetrated against the democratically elected National League for Democracy government on February 1, 2021, the regulations were amended to add nine additional individuals to the schedule in the regulations. These individuals, who are all senior officials in Myanmar’s military, were either directly involved in the coup as part of the National Defence and Security Council, or are members of the military regime’s new governing body, the State Administration Council. Most recently, on May 17, 2021, Canada announced additional sanctions against 16 individuals and 10 entities under the special economic measures, Burma, regulations in response to the military’s ongoing brutal repression of the people of Myanmar and their refusal to take steps to restore democracy. Canada will continue to review the need for further sanctions as appropriate.
Canada’s sanctions related to Myanmar consist of an arms embargo and a dealings ban on listed persons, including individuals and entities. With respect to the arms embargo, the regulations prohibit persons in Canada or Canadians outside Canada from exporting or importing arms and related material to or from Myanmar. It is also prohibited to communicate technical data, or provide or acquire financial or other services, in relation to military activities or to the provision, maintenance, or use of arms and related material.
With regard to the dealings ban, the regulations prohibit any person in Canada or Canadian outside Canada from engaging in any activity related to any property, wherever situated, held by or on behalf of a listed person, or from providing any financial or related service or entering into or facilitating any transaction in relation to such an activity. It is also prohibited to make any goods available to a listed person or provide any financial or related service to them or for their benefit.
In response to (e), contravening Canadian sanctions is a criminal offence. All persons in Canada and Canadians abroad must comply with Canada’s strict sanctions measures, including individuals and entities. Possible violations and offences related to Canada’s sanctions are investigated and enforced by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canada Border Services Agency.
Question No. 735--Mr. Paul Manly
With regard to the government’s acquisition of 88 advanced fighter aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force: (a) in what month are the successful bidder and aircraft expected to be chosen by the government; (b) in what month is a contract expected to be signed with the chosen bidder; (c) will the government conduct a revised cost analysis of the acquisition, and, if so, (i) when will the analysis be conducted, (ii) will the analysis be made public, and, if so, when; and (d) will the government sign the contract before the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s cost analysis of the acquisition is completed and made public?
ResponseMs. Anita Vandenbeld (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, as outlined in Canada’s defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”, a modern fighter aircraft fleet is essential for defending Canada and Canadian sovereignty and contributing to our NORAD and NATO commitments, now and in the future.
That is why on December 12, 2017, the government launched an open, fair and transparent competition to permanently replace Canada’s fighter fleet with 88 advanced fighter aircraft. This project will provide a modern fighter capability to the Royal Canadian Air Force, ensuring that it maintains the ability to meet complex and evolving threats.
This project will leverage Canadian capabilities while supporting the growth of Canada’s aerospace and defence industries for decades.
In response to parts (a) and (b), the Government of Canada is currently evaluating proposals for the future fighter capability project from the three eligible bidders. Selection of the successful bidder is anticipated in early 2022, at which time the Government of Canada will enter into discussions with the selected bidder to finalize the resulting contracts. A contract is expected to be awarded in late 2022.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the project timelines, with further impacts being possible. National Defence anticipates having more precise timelines at the completion of the proposal evaluation phase.
In response to parts (c)(i) and (c)(ii), the Government of Canada is currently evaluating the costs of acquisition of the future fighter capability project, as it is evaluating the proposals submitted by the bidders.
Contract values will be made public, once an evaluation of costs is completed and a decision is made on the acquisition of a replacement fighter aircraft fleet.
In response to part (d), the Government of Canada will sign the contract once the future fighter capability project solicitation process has been concluded and appropriate approvals have been granted by Treasury Board.
Question No. 736--Mr. Rob Morrison
With regard to the 2021 Census soundtrack: (a) who decided what songs would be included on the soundtrack and what criteria was used to decide which songs would be included; (b) how much is the government paying Spotify and YouTube for the services related to the playlist; (c) what are the details of how artists on the soundtrack are being remunerated for their songs, including the total amount being paid to artists for their songs being on the soundtrack; and (d) what are the costs incurred by the government to create and maintain the soundtrack website, broken down by line item?
ResponseHon. François-Philippe Champagne (Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), the songs included in the 2021 census soundtrack were curated by members of Statistics Canada’s census communications team as part of the engagement activities with Canadians for the 2021 census. Once initial lists were compiled, they were distributed internally to a larger group to validate that selections were reflective of the overarching aim of the project. Once the lists had been reviewed internally, they were approved by census communications senior management.
The selection criteria were as follows: performed by Canadian artists, both main artist and featured artists, where relevant; reflective of Canadian culture and diversity, which was accounted for by developing 11 unique playlists; could not focus on, or make reference to, controversial or derogatory subject matter; non-partisan in nature; clean versions of the original track, no explicit lyrics.
In response to (b), Statistics Canada has procured a six-month Spotify Premium subscription, at a cost of $9.99 per month, for a total of $59.94 plus applicable taxes. The Statistics Canada YouTube Music channel was already existent and Statistics Canada has not paid anything to use YouTube Music.
In response to (c), the Government of Canada does not directly compensate artists for their songs, since they are remunerated by Spotify and YouTube through their own contracts. Any songs that have already been uploaded to either platform are available to be included in public lists to listen to and share at no cost. It is a common practice on these platforms and thousands of users create and share their favorite playlists.
In response to (d), the Spotify subscription is $9.99 per month for six months, for a total of $59.94 plus applicable taxes. Regarding the internal labour costs, 30 hours were spent on coordinating the playlists, developing the web content, coordinating with internal teams, and performing maintenance operations. These services were performed at the rate of $25.68 per hour, for a total of $770.40.
The 2021 census soundtrack web page, available at https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2021/ref/soundtrack-bandesonore/index-eng.htm, accumulated 52,177 unique visitors since its launch on April 20, 2021.
Question No. 737--Mr. Rob Morrison
With regard to the Minister of Foreign Affairs' trip to the United Kingdom (UK) in early May 2021, and to the Prime Minister’s comments made on January 29, 2021, in relation to the hotel quarantine requirements for international travellers, that “travellers will then have to wait for up to three days at an approved hotel for their tests results at their own expense”: (a) did the minister and his entourage pay for their approved hotel quarantine rooms at their own expense; and (b) did the government cover or reimburse the costs of the rooms for the minister and his entourage during his trip to the UK, and, if so, what were the total costs related to the hotel stays that were paid for by the government, broken down by line item?
ResponseMr. Robert Oliphant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, the following reflects a consolidated response approved on behalf of Global Affairs Canada ministers.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs participated as the head of the Canadian delegation to the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting in London, United Kingdom, May 3-5, 2021. In addition to the minister, the Canadian delegation was comprised of the following: the G7 political director and assistant deputy minister, international security and political affairs; the director of communications, office of the minister of foreign affairs; the deputy director, G7/G20 summits division; and a protocol visits officer.
With regard to parts (a) and (b), the cost for official travel is covered by the international conference allotment managed by Global Affairs, per usual practice for Canadian representation at multilateral meetings.
The preparation of an accurate and comprehensive summary of expenses for participation of the Canadian delegation is in progress.
Once the related invoices and claims are finalized, travel expenses incurred by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the associate deputy minister and the director of communications will be publicly disclosed on the disclosure of travel and hospitality expenses website at www.international.gc.ca/gac-amc/publications/transparency-transparence/travel_hospitality-voyage_accueil.aspx?lang=eng.
Additionally, the department publishes expenditures for Canadian representation at international conferences and meetings and travel expenditures for Canadian representation at international conferences and meetings online annually, in Public Accounts at www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/recgen/cpc-pac/index-eng.html.
Question No. 738--Mr. Rob Morrison
With regard to the statement made by the Prime Minister in the House on May 4, 2021, that “victims of fraud will not be held responsible for the amounts paid to people who stole their identity” in relation to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) asking victims of identity theft to pay taxes on payments they never received: (a) what specific measures are in place to ensure that CRA does not ask identity theft victims to pay taxes on money they never received; (b) when and by what means was the directive outlined in the Prime Minister’s statement provided to CRA officials; and (c) what punitive measures are in place for CRA officials who ignore the directive and continue to ask victims to pay taxes on payments they never received?
ResponseHon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, the CRA recognizes that there is a significant financial and emotional impact for victims of identity theft and is doing its part to detect, address and prevent transactions associated with identity theft.
With regard to the premise of the above-noted question, it is important to note that the guiding principles of the CRA’s People First philosophy provide a framework for expected behaviours at all levels within the CRA. This includes helping people understand and meet their obligations and responsibilities, and ensuring its decisions are grounded in quality information, fairness, integrity and engagement.
With regard to part (a), as part of the identity protective services, IPS, the CRA will contact taxpayers by telephone in order to support them through the process. The CRA will verify the information on their account, and adjust the accounting as required. In addition, the CRA will ensure that proper protection and corrective actions are taken thereby returning the taxpayer to a seamless interaction with the CRA. If all requested information has been provided to the IPS program and the taxpayer still received a T4A, the taxpayer is encouraged to contact their dedicated officer in order to ensure that the matter is promptly corrected.
The CRA encourages taxpayers who receive a T4A or RL-1 slip from the CRA, for Canada emergency response benefit, CERB, payments which they did not claim, to contact the CRA as soon as possible.
The CRA is prioritizing the calls it receives concerning fraud and identity theft, ensuring that they are being answered as quickly as possible.
When a taxpayer calls the CRA’s individual tax enquiries, ITE, phone line to report a T4A slip that includes amounts for which they did not apply, including amounts relating to CERB, Canada emergency student benefit, CESB, Canada recovery benefit, CRB, Canada recovery caregiving benefit, CRCB, or Canada recovery sickness benefit, CRSB, ITE contact centre agents will triage the call depending on whether the taxpayer has already been identified as a potential victim of identity theft.
If the taxpayer needs to file their tax return before the T4A slip is corrected or deleted, the ITE agent will advise them to report the emergency or recovery benefit income that they actually received, if any, minus amounts they repaid in the same year. The agent will update the taxpayer’s file with a notepad entry to explain that the taxpayer will report a different amount than what is reported on their T4A slip to prevent the taxpayer from being asked for this same information at a later date.
Taxpayers who are confirmed victims of identity fraud will not be held responsible for any money paid out to scammers using their identity, including taxes on those amounts, and the CRA remains dedicated to resolving these incidents. Their T4A slip or RL-1 slip will be corrected as required. Once the issue has been resolved, an amended slip will be issued.
Should a discrepancy exist between the amounts reported by a taxpayer on their tax return, and the T4A slip on file, the CRA has ensured that its system will not automatically add this income to taxpayers’ accounts
The CRA has robust systems and tools in place to monitor, detect and investigate potential threats, and to neutralize threats when they occur. As scammers adapt their practices, the CRA adjusts to introduce new measures and controls to address suspicious activity.
Where appropriate, the CRA works with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, CAFC, financial institutions and local police. In many cases, the CRA will also provide the taxpayer with credit protection and monitoring services.
With regard to part (b), the CRA can confirm the position that taxpayers who are confirmed victims of identity fraud will not be held responsible for any money paid out to scammers, including taxes on those amounts, using their identity and the CRA remains dedicated to resolving these incidents. The CRA is responsible for ensuring that all income, deductions and credits an individual claims are accurately reported and substantiated.
With regard to part (c) the CRA has robust policies and procedures in place, as well as training and quality assurance functions, to ensure that CRA interactions with its clients are conducted consistently, accurately, and with empathy and respect.
Question No. 739--Mr. Larry Maguire
With regard to Canadian Armed Forces members operating in Iraq between December 2015 to present: (a) how many Canadian Armed Forces members were injured; (b) how many of these members were injured as a result of attacks; (c) what was the nature of each injury; (d) what was the cause of each injury; (e) how many of these injured members received a military decoration as a result of their injury, broken down by type of decoration; and (f) how many of these injured members were repatriated to Canada as a result of their injury?
ResponseMs. Anita Vandenbeld (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, the care and support of ill and injured military members and their families remains a priority for National Defence.
The Canadian Armed Forces is dedicated to ensuring that every ill and injured member receives high-quality care and support throughout their recovery, rehabilitation, return to duty in the Canadian Armed Forces or transition to civilian life.
This is why the Canadian Armed Forces provides health services across Canada and overseas to Canadian military personnel through the Canadian Forces health services group.
Additionally, Canadian Armed Forces offers a wide range of supports to assist ill and injured members and their families throughout the recovery process, including the Return to Duty program, Soldier On, and the operational stress injury social support program.
Through these efforts, the Canadian Armed Forces will continue to assist its ill or injured members both at home and abroad.
With regard to part (a), the Canadian Armed Forces uses the disease and injury surveillance system to capture the visits of deployed personnel to a Canadian Armed Forces medical facility. The Canadian Armed Forces searched this database and found that 744 Canadian Armed Forces members were injured in Iraq between December 2015 and May 31, 2021.
With regard to part (b), the disease and injury surveillance system provides a categorization of an injury based on the mechanism of injury, such as a battle-related injury. The system does not capture the exact nature of each injury.
A battle-related injury is defined as any injury occurring as a direct consequence of a hostile action which may include direct and indirect fire, bombs, gas attacks, mines, etc. Most battle-related injuries are caused as a consequence of a hostile action, rather than the hostile action itself. For example, a soldier injured by descending stairs into a shelter in response to a rocket attack has suffered a battle-related injury, but was not injured by the rocket itself. These injuries may be mild and fully recoverable, such as a cut or soft tissue injury, or may be severe and permanent.
The Canadian Armed Forces searched the disease and injury surveillance system and found that of the 744 injuries in Iraq between December 2015 and May 31, 2021, 47 were categorized as battle-related.
With regard to parts (c) and (d), a detailed analysis of the nature and exact cause of injury would require a manual search of members’ medical records.
Information contained in medical records cannot be released due to privacy concerns surrounding the potential to identify a member or disclose personal or health information about that member.
With regard to part (e), Canadian Armed Forces members who sustain wounds as a direct result of hostile action during operations in Iraq may be eligible for the Sacrifice Medal.
National Defence awarded two Sacrifice Medals to Canadian Armed Forces personnel as a result of injuries sustained while deployed on operations in Iraq between December 2015, and May 31, 2021.
The official description, eligibility criteria and history of the Sacrifice Medal is available online at www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/medals/medals-chart-index/sacrifice-medal-sm.html
With regard to part (f), information on the number of injured members in Iraq repatriated to Canada as a result of injury is not centrally tracked and would require a manual review of the medical, personnel and operational files related to the 744 medical injuries, which could not be completed in the allotted time.