Interventions in the House of Commons
 
 
 
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View Yasmin Ratansi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Yasmin Ratansi Profile
2019-06-19 16:15 [p.29403]
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the pleasure of presenting a petition to the House today.
The petitioners call upon the House of Commons and the Government of Canada to amend the Cannabis Act to allow licensed and regulated pharmacies and pharmacists to sell and distribute cannabis for medical purposes.
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2018-12-10 20:38 [p.24666]
Madam Chair, I am very pleased to be here tonight to speak on this very important topic. The opioid crisis in Canada is killing more people than homicide, suicide and traffic accidents combined. We have heard the statistics and they are alarming: 8,000 Canadians have died from this crisis and 11 Canadians are dying each day. My feeling is that the actions the government has taken to date are not effective because the numbers continue to increase.
Canada is the number two opioid user. I grew up in a time when we got Tylenol and no one got opioids. We have look seriously at the solutions we need to put in place, so I am going to devote a lot of my time to discussing the kinds of solutions I think the government should be making. It is sad that in the fourth year of its mandate, the problem has continued. Yet the government knew about it from the beginning. It is clear it has absolutely no idea what to do about the problem, so I am going to make some helpful suggestions.
The first suggestion has to do with prevention. We need to prevent fentanyl and carfentanil from getting into the country. Although references were made to the Minister of Public Safety having a plan to increase resources, there is nothing specific. We see, on the other hand, that the United States has negotiated with China to make those substances controlled substances and to work together to prevent those drugs from leaving China and going to the North American continent. We need to do something similar. We need to step up inspection to make sure that these drugs do not come here in the first place.
We also need to work on education. I talk often with youth, who seem very unaware that trying opioids once could kill them because of the contamination we are seeing with fentanyl and carfentanil. In my riding of Sarnia—Lambton, there have been four deaths due to fentanyl-contaminated marijuana. Young people are not being informed about how dangerous it is to try these drugs even once. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons talked about the situation with the methamphetamine crisis. When I toured Winnipeg, I heard stories of people of all ages thinking they were purchasing a drug other than methamphetamine and then becoming addicted. It is so addictive, it is almost impossible to get off it.
There is an addiction problem across the country, and as we look at solutions, we need to make sure we are covering the gamut. The government, unfortunately, decided to legalize marijuana knowing from the experience of other jurisdictions that there would probably be a 32% increase in the number of people using it. That is what happened in Colorado. Addicts today either started with marijuana or prescription drugs. The health committee heard this in testimony, so we know that the number of people we can expect to become addicted has increased. Depending on the study we look at, 10% to 17% of people who consume marijuana will become addicted to it.
We really need to do something about prevention on the prescription drug side. I do not know how many people watching the debate at home know of kids, for example, having dental surgery and being prescribed 30 and 40 tablets of an opioid. This is totally unacceptable, and it is definitely being over-prescribed. There was a time when opioids were not prescribed at all for dental surgery, so we need to step back and look at prescription practices.
Some efforts have been made across the country to educate doctors so that they will not over-prescribe, but there is more to be done on that because people still have access to and become addicted to these drugs, and then get into an endless cycle of addiction. The government has done a reasonable job of working with first responders in the provinces and territories on naloxone, so that people can be saved from dying from fentanyl and carfentanil. We saw some early deaths there.
Another thing we need to do is to prevent the demand for all of these drugs. The way to do that is by education, but also getting people off of drugs. That is where the Liberal government has really failed. It has failed to put recovery in place. The health committee heard testimony from the Pine River Institute, the only recovery facility in Ontario for young people. There is a wait time of 18 months, which is not an uncommon story. We hear time and again in Ottawa that there are multiple safe injection sites, but no treatment beds are available and there is a six-month wait.
If an addict decides that his or her life has hit rock bottom and wants to get off drugs, he or she cannot get treatment across the country. This is a huge issue. I know that the government has been busy signing onto agreements with the provinces and talking about money that has yet to flow. However, it is year four, and thousands of Canadians are dying. We really have to ramp up the effort to get that put in place and look at other solutions.
Another solution we have not really implemented is looking at pharmacists. They could be the gatekeepers in this whole solution. They can see when someone is being prescribed a large amount of opioids or has a lot of repeats of prescriptions, and if they feel there may be a concern, they could raise a flag. I think there is something to be done there as well.
I have seen some interesting examples of success stories. I went to the two-day symposium on opioids the health minister talked about. There was an example from, I believe, the Blood reserve. At the start, 40% of the people on that reserve were addicted to opioids. There was a nurse practitioner there who took the training for Suboxone treatment to get people off drugs and put everyone who was addicted on the plan, and within a two-year period, they began to see the dosage reduced for many of them. The community came alongside and provided counselling for those who had mental health issues and needed counselling. It provided jobs and job training for those who needed to work. There were rides to school, etc. The results were astounding. There was a reduction in the crime rate of 58%. Emergency calls at the hospital were down about 50% as well. Half the women no longer had their children being removed by children's aid. School attendance was up 33%.
It is a great example of how to get people off drugs by using that program and educating nurse practitioners to do the Suboxone treatment, which is apparently better than methadone treatment, because it is not as hard on the system and on people's teeth. This is a solution that worked and has been proven to work. It should be leveraged across the country, because indigenous people are disproportionately suffering in the opioid crisis, and we need to do something.
We have a number of safe injection sites in Vancouver and Toronto. This is how the lives that are saved are tracked. When someone has to be treated with Suboxone, that counts as a life that has been saved, because the person was going to overdose. However, that same person may come back the next day and the next day and have that same thing happen again. Eventually, he or she will inject somewhere that is not safe and will die. Therefore, this is not the permanent and long-term solution we need. The solution we need is to keep people from getting addicted to drugs in the first place by educating them about the harms and by reducing the supply of drugs. Then we need to help people get treatment and detoxification, which is under provincial jurisdiction, and into recovery. We need a lot more recovery facilities. For them to recover, we are also going to need to up mental health support. This country has a huge gap in the mental health supports that are available and affordable. We need to do something there if we really want to see the crisis averted.
If I had more time, I would go into some of the solutions that have been put in place in other places in the world. I was in Switzerland to see what was done there. It has moved away from supervised injection sites and has trained all its GPs in how to do methadone and Suboxone treatment so that it could increase its treatment capability very quickly without putting bricks and mortar in the ground at great expense and over a huge period of time. That is an idea we should be considering as well. We have heard people talk about the Portugal model. I think there is a lot to learn there.
We have to have a sense of urgency about this crisis. We cannot wait another four years. We have to act. We have to get treatment capability. We have to prevent the drugs from coming into the country and provide education for all.
View Kate Young Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kate Young Profile
2018-10-04 14:07 [p.22226]
Mr. Speaker, small businesses make up 98% of Canadian businesses and employ over 10 million hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
One such small business is Turner Drug Store, an independent pharmacy located in my riding of London West, which recently celebrated its 80th anniversary. Jeffrey Robb, a pharmacist and the current owner, has worked at Turner Drug Store since 1974, when he was just 14 years old. This small business holds a special place in the hearts of many Londoners as it has provided pharmaceutical, vitamin and herbal remedies to the community for eight decades. Our government knows the fundamental role that small businesses play in our economy and we will continue to support their growth and success.
I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations to Turner Drug Store for reaching this astounding milestone.
View Kamal Khera Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kamal Khera Profile
2018-03-02 11:07 [p.17594]
Mr. Speaker, March is Pharmacist Awareness Month, and on this occasion, I would like to recognize the important role that pharmacists play in Canada's health care system by promoting safe and effective medication management, health promotion, and disease prevention.
As a registered nurse, I can say that every day pharmacists work closely with other health care professionals to empower patients by providing them with the information they need to get more involved in their care.
Let us also underline the key implication of our local pharmacists in helping to address the opioid crisis in our communities by providing advice to patients on the proper use of prescription drugs. They worked collaboratively with provinces and territories to support access to naloxone in communities from coast to coast to coast.
To all of them across Canada, we thank them for their dedication and commitment to keeping Canadians safe and healthy.
View Sheri Benson Profile
NDP (SK)
View Sheri Benson Profile
2017-10-23 14:02 [p.14386]
Mr. Speaker, at the Wîcihitowin Aboriginal Engagement Conference in Saskatoon, I had the honour of attending a presentation by Dr. Jaris Swidrovich. Jaris is a member of the Yellow Quill First Nation and the first self-identified indigenous doctor of pharmacy in Canada. However, after joining the profession, Jaris witnessed over and over again the systemic racism faced by indigenous people accessing these services.
Dr. Swidrovich decided to change the way pharmacists practise and were trained in Canada. He gave up a professional salary, took a teaching position at the University of Saskatchewan, and did just that. He created the indigenous learning outcomes for entry-to-practice for pharmacy programs in Canada. In 2017, his work was included as learning outcomes by the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada for first degree pharmacy programs.
Inspired by calls to action number 18 to 24 of the TRC, Dr. Swidrovich has taken on ending racism within the pharmacy profession as his personal call to action. Please join me in celebrating this exceptional show of leadership in my community.
View Raj Saini Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Raj Saini Profile
2017-09-25 13:59 [p.13454]
Mr. Speaker, today we celebrate World Pharmacists Day. This celebration has a particular significance in Canada this year as we celebrate 400 years of pharmacy in Canada, with the anniversary of Canada' first pharmacist, Louis Hébert, settling in Quebec in 1617. This year's theme for World Pharmacists Day is “From research to health care”, and today we celebrate the work of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists who recognize that taking care of patients means both developing and providing the medicines and education to tackle today's health challenges.
Pharmacists play an important role in health care delivery. They are a vital source of information and assistance in our neighbourhoods. They administer vaccines and help manage and prevent chronic disease. They often prescribe drugs for minor ailments.
Please join me in celebrating the hard work of Canada's pharmacists.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2016-10-28 14:08 [p.6302]
Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of Bill C-224, the good Samaritan drug overdose act. I thank the member for Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam for introducing this important piece of legislation.
In my riding of Edmonton West, similar to many parts of the country, we have seen a growing crisis with fentanyl and opioid use. According to the CBC, there have been 338 deaths from fentanyl overdoses in Alberta alone this year. If we think about that, it is equivalent to every member sitting in the House of Commons being wiped out since January. The numbers continue to rise, with no indication of its slowing down. It has become so bad that even the Alberta Health Services' web page cannot keep track of the number of fentanyl deaths. In Edmonton alone, there have been 102 overdose deaths since January. Even more deadly is the opioid W18, which is now showing up in Edmonton. Ironically, it was created at the U of A, but it is now hitting the streets. Recently, we have had a drug bust with enough W18 to wipe out half of the population if it were taken individually. Drugs like fentanyl and W18 are taking their toll on our cities and communities. Perhaps the most heartbreaking aspect of this crisis is that many untimely deaths could be prevented.
Dr. Charmaine Enns, chair of the Health Officers Council of British Columbia, has said, “Every year, psychoactive substances...are linked to greater than 47,000 deaths and many thousands more injuries and disabilities.... Sadly much of this carnage is preventable.”
I hope no Canadian is prevented from taking action when necessary because they fear the consequences of doing so. It is my hope that if anyone is ever in a situation in which they need to act to save someone's life, they can act without fear of repercussions, to spare a family the agony of losing a loved one, and to be able to act in the best interest of someone who needs help and in the best interests of their community. In a previous career, I experienced this first-hand. I was a young hotel manager, and as I was living closest to the hotel, I would often get the first call when there was an emergency. I received a phone call from a frantic night auditor at four in the morning. I went the hotel and found four people suffering from overdoses. One had died. When the police arrived, once the people were revived, they said they had seen their friend writhing and dying but did not contact anyone for fear of being arrested. This is something that is still happening today. Therefore, I support this bill by our member.
As elected officials and lawmakers, we are obligated to take action in areas in which there is a clear and present need. In the case of unreported overdoses, it is my belief that the good Samaritan drug overdose act would fill this legislative gap.
Combatting drug-related crime requires a collaborative approach between municipal, provincial, and federal partners. Together, we must ensure that our levels of governments send a strong message to drug traffickers, while not penalizing users who are at their most vulnerable and in an overdosed state. While this bill will not change the rates of drug-related crime, something that our party has consistently taken a tough, clear stance on, it may help encourage people to take action and call emergency professionals in life-and-death situations, potentially saving the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of Canadians from coast to coast.
As the member for Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam mentioned in committee, and as I think has been noted more than once throughout the debate on this bill, there is often a barrier to accessing help in the time needed to prevent a potentially fatal situation due to fear of the consequences or legal ramifications for the person making the call. While these findings are indicative of a separate, albeit related, issue facing Canadians, namely access to banned substances, it is important that our efforts to remain tough on crime and drugs do not come at a human cost. We as lawmakers truly believe that life is worth protecting, and we need to ensure that the Canadians who need help get it.
According to the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council, “Fear of arrest weighs heavily on this life or death decision. People legitimately fear the police showing up, being criminally charged for drug possession, and for mothers, having their children taken away.” By removing the possibility of criminal charges against those who call emergency professionals, we are encouraging people to take life-saving action. This is especially true now, with deadly fentanyl and W18 on the streets, where every moment's delay in receiving the miracle drug naloxone can literally lead to death.
On the issue of W18, this drug is reported to be 100 to 1,000 times more deadly than fentanyl. Oddly enough, it is just now being regulated as a controlled drug under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, and until recently could be manufactured freely. Like others in the House, I would encourage the government to work faster on this and other W series drugs.
I would also urge the government to take steps similar to the Government of Alberta to restrict access to the pill presses used to make illegal drugs. By limiting the purchase of pill presses, table machines, and pharmaceutical mixers to only pharmacists and licensed professionals, we would take the necessary steps as Canadians to protect our communities.
Now as to the bill, it is not, as some critics have said, condoning drug use. This would ensure that drug users and addicts, in some regard the victims of drug trafficking, are provided with support and assurance that their lives still have value, and that a person acting in the injured person's best interest would not be penalized for saving a life.
I am pleased to support the bill and hope my colleagues in the House will support the bill as well.
View Raj Saini Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Raj Saini Profile
2016-10-18 14:08 [p.5782]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the work and contribution of Canada's 40,000 pharmacists, who are leading the charge in innovative health care practices from coast to coast to coast.
Pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers in the country, and they are a vital point of contact between our health care system and the Canadian public.
As members of the House know, local pharmacies are critical to the health of any community and, as small business owners, are the backbone of the Canadian economy.
Throughout the country, pharmacists provide basic medical services including vaccines, exams, and pharmaceutical advice. Some pharmacists can even prescribe medication for common ailments. Pharmacists play a very important role in Canada's health care system.
I invite all members to join me in welcoming representatives of the Canadian Pharmacists Association to Ottawa today. Let us recognize them for the hard work they do in keeping all Canadians healthy.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2016-05-20 10:32 [p.3637]
Madam Speaker, I am honoured to participate in today's debate on such a core issue.
I would like to start by acknowledging the incredibly hard work and the non-partisan spirit of all of the members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. I want to thank the deputy chairs, the hon. member for Provencher and the hon. member for Victoria, as well as the members of the committee, the hon. members for St. Albert—Edmonton, Niagara Falls, West Nova, St. Catharines, York South—Weston,Mississauga—Erin Mills, and Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam for their ability to work together in harmony. Even when we had an area where many people fundamentally disagreed and held true to very solid convictions, views and beliefs, we were able to work together in a non-partisan way and agree on 16 amendments to the bill before us.
It is true that not every member of our committee got everything they wanted. In fact, most of us did not get most of what we wanted, but what we did have was harmonious and agreeable debate, which should be an example to all of us in the House as to how parliamentarians should conduct themselves.
I now will talk about the bill itself, why I strongly support the adoption of the bill, and I want to put this in context. We are at a point where the Supreme Court delay is June 6. I will not attribute fault to anyone as to how we got here, but we only have a very short time to pass the bill. The hon. member previously asked why we would not ask the court for another delay. The court made it very clear, when we got our last four months delay of their original deadline, that it expected us to move forward and adopt legislation by June 6.
It does not mean that we could not ask again, but all of us should know that where the court ever grants a delay a second time, which is extremely unusual, it relates to an absolute inability of Parliament to get a law through. Therefore, I would ask everyone to consider what situation will we be in if we have no law on June 6? We will have no safeguards in place.
The current court decision that requires judicial review of an application for medically assisted dying will expire on June 6. This will mean that no waiting period will be required. There will be no requirement for independent witnesses to somebody requesting medically assisted death. There will be no requirement of a second opinion by a physician or a nurse practitioner that somebody meets the qualification of grievous and/or irremediable illness.
I would ask all of my colleagues on that side of the House, certainly within the Conservative Party, to consider the situation we will be in if we have no bill. It will not be a pretty situation. We will have absolutely no safeguards to ensure that those requesting medical assistance in dying truly have a grievous and/or irremediable medical condition. It is very serious.
I also want to talk about why we are here. My NDP colleague referred to the Alberta Court of Appeal. That explains to me all the more why we need safeguards and a law in place by June 6. We had a decision where a psychological patient who was not terminally ill, who had a short consultation with a psychiatrist lasting less than five minutes to evaluate her competence, was able to request medical assistance in dying and had it affirmed by the Court of Appeal. It is not true to say, as my colleague did, that it said the law was invalid. It was not looking at the current proposed law. It was looking at, and trying to interpret, the Carter decision by the Supreme Court the same way we all are.
My view is, as parliamentarians, we need to tell the court what principles we want to put forward, what safeguards we want to put forward so courts will look at the will of Parliament as opposed to doing what all of us are now trying to do and guess what the Supreme Court meant in the Carter decision.
I also want to point out that we should act cautiously here. Canada will only be the ninth jurisdiction in the world to allow medical assistance in dying. In the vast majority of these jurisdictions, the only people who can avail themselves of medical assistance in dying are people who are near the end of life, people in the U.S. who have six months to live, or people in Colombia who are near death. Only three jurisdictions in the world, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, allow people to ask for their lives to be taken when they are not terminal.
The Supreme Court in Carter clearly contemplated a situation where we could not quite match section 7 and have section 7 compliance if we put in an end date. As a safeguard, we said that it had to be “reasonably foreseeable”. It is not perfect, but it is far better than having no requirement whatsoever that death be reasonably foreseeable.
In committee, we considered the things that were missing from the bill that we would have liked to have seen in it. By consensus, we added conscience rights for physicians, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists. We stated that under the bill nobody would be obliged to provide physician assistance in dying. In the preamble, we referred back to section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the freedom of religion and the freedom of conscience, to make it clear that we did not intend for anyone to be coerced into doing this.
We also added palliative care to the bill, which is important. I referred to this in my previous question.
We also inserted protections for people who might also be associated with the act, for example, social workers and therapists.
We required that death certificates include medical assistance in dying as being the reason for death as well as the primary cause of the disease that lead to that.
While everybody did not receive exactly what they wanted, we have a far better solution than what we otherwise might have had in this situation where we would have no legislation and no guidance to the courts on what Parliament truly wanted.
My NDP colleague talked about what happened in Quebec. I am a Quebec MP too. What happened in Quebec is completely different from what we are dealing with as federal legislators.
It took Quebec six years to reach a consensus on the medical side. However, our situation is different because a Supreme Court ruling tells us that a certain percentage of people have a constitutional right to suicide without state interference if they are in a particular physical condition. The federal government would be irresponsible if it did not meet the Supreme Court's deadline.
We do not have six years to craft this consensus. To be honest, I wish we had more time at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. We tried our best. We listened to over 40 witnesses. They told us many different things, because there are so many different views in Canadian society on this bill. We spent many hours on clause-by-clause. We considered over 100 amendments. We had three full days and nights of meetings. Had we had more time to work together as colleagues of all three parties to draft legislation like we were trying to do on the fly, we possibly could have done better. That does not mean, however, that after June 6 we cannot improve the bill.
One of the things we inserted in the bill was a requirement that the Minister of Health work on these studies, especially on advance directives, and this should start within six months.
We need to be cautious with respect to advance directives. There are only three countries that allow advance directives and two of them only allow them for somebody who is in an irreversible coma. The idea that we should suddenly allow medical directives in advance for dementia patients, without any proper review or safeguards or understanding of the issue, to me is faulty. We have the opportunity in the future to correct any flaws that we see now in the bill.
I will use my last 30 seconds to try to prevail upon my colleagues in the House. I am sure many of my colleagues wished the Supreme Court had never rendered the Carter decision, which would have left the House with more latitude, but we are where we are. There is going to be medically assisted dying in Canada after June 6. The only question is whether it will be with no safeguards, with doctors and nurse practitioners trying to interpret Carter, or will it be with the clear safeguards that we have in Bill C-14. For me, the clear safeguards in Bill C-14 are the far better choice.
View Bob Zimmer Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, absolutely, as I referred to, an amendment was put forward by one of our colleagues, with respect to proposed subsections (7.1) and (7.2). Some of these positions are not protected, as the member stated. We are talking about not just medical practitioners, but we are talking about pharmacists and any kind of health institution that would allow this act to be performed within it, faith-based health care providers.
It is a wide-open door as to who can be drawn into this situation. Without sufficient protections, I am deeply concerned that all of these groups will be wrapped up into this legislation and be forced to do something against their beliefs.
View Joël Godin Profile
CPC (QC)
View Joël Godin Profile
2016-05-02 23:40 [p.2732]
Mr. Speaker, I am probably one of the last to speak today, since it is almost midnight.
Since this is my first long speech, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 105,000 voters I represent. Not all 105,000 of my constituents voted for me, but more than 44% of the people of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier did. I thank them.
Members win election campaigns, but we never do so alone. It is a family affair. Family is important to me. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my wife, Isabelle, who happens to be here this week. She is not in the gallery because it is late, but I appreciate her being here in Ottawa. I also want to thank my children, who are currently asleep. Charles-Antoine and Ann-Frédérique participated in my election campaign and sacrificed quality time with their father during the campaign. I want to thank them.
Last year, 2015, was a very difficult year for me. Talking about it is very emotional for me. There was an election. The 338 MPs here campaigned, but unfortunately, as fate would have it, my father passed away right in the middle of the campaign, on August 19. Unfortunately, he will never see me here in the House. He would probably have been very proud. My mother died in May. Both of my parents died in the same year, in 2015. I had two loyal volunteers up there watching over me. Sadly, my mother died of cancer like so many Canadians. We all have our story. I am sharing mine today. My father and mother died in 2015, but the year ended on a high note because I was elected.
My mother was diagnosed with cancer two years before she died. That is why I am taking part in this evening's debate, because I supported my mother through her illness. She passed away on May 1, 2015. She lived through that agony, and I would call it agony, but she was serene. She had some good times in those two years. She enjoyed the gatherings we had during those last two years. I saw her smile. I saw her stay positive. I saw her become a fighter. Unfortunately, on May 1, at 6:50 p.m., I had the unfortunate experience of finding her in her hospital bed after she had died. She had just begun palliative care. Unfortunately, it happened just a few minutes before I entered the room. That is why this debate is so important to me. I supported her. She did not really have the opportunity to improve her condition, which deteriorated really quickly.
The principle behind Bill C-14 is to allow Canadians to die with dignity. What is the definition of “dignity”? Dignity can be described as the respect, consideration, or regard that someone or something deserves. Human dignity is the principle whereby no person should ever be treated as an object or as a means, but rather as an intrinsic entity.
Out of respect, I can say that my mother was treated with dignity. She was treated with respect throughout her agony. She was respected until the very end. The law did not exist. Is this law really necessary? The Supreme Court requires us to make a decision, pass a law, accept a law and enact it. However, what worries me about this law are the parameters. It is important to understand that we must allow people to have access to medical assistance in dying.
However, human nature being what it is, it is difficult to take rights away from people after implementing a law that is too broad in scope. I therefore invite parliamentarians and the committee that will be examining the bill to be thorough and restrictive.
Let us begin by talking about the definition of “reasonably foreseeable”. I would like to inform the House that according to my life expectancy, I will die in 2044 at the age of 79. That is reasonable and foreseeable. That means we have a problem. This term is not defined clearly enough. It is not specific enough. The definition is too broad.
The Supreme Court of Canada gave us the mandate to determine the criteria for defining grievous and irremediable medical conditions. Why are we afraid of using science to define these criteria? Science can determine whether someone is at the end of his or her life. We are afraid to use words like “terminal”. A word like that does not really leave room for interpretation. If science tells a person that his or her condition is terminal, then it means that it is terminal and that that person should expect to die in the near future.
I would encourage the people who will be assessing the legislation to be very specific. We need to restrict access to this procedure. In my opinion, the first criterion should be that access is limited to people who are, unfortunately, terminally ill. I want to emphasize that safeguards should be put in place to restrict access to medical assistance in dying. We need to set very strict and restrictive parameters.
Doctors are there to save lives. They need to abide by the Hippocratic oath. Nurse practitioners are also being added to the mix. When they went to school, they did not expect to have to take any action that would result in death. We are talking about professionals who want to treat people to help improve their health. Why are we asking them to do the opposite? Are we going to ask other groups who work in hospitals to engage in this type of intervention? The nursing associations that I consulted were very surprised to be given this new responsibility and be part of this debate.
Some argue that there are regions that do not have access to doctors. If there are no nurse practitioners, who are we going to ask? The bill provides for a 15-day waiting period. To my knowledge, in this very beautiful country of Canada, the second-largest in the world, we are never 15 days away from treatment by doctors. We must not hand over the responsibility of carrying this out to a professional body other than the medical profession.
Do my colleagues know that a person other than nurse practitioners and doctors can go around with the famous drug that ends life? Clause 4 of the bill clearly stipulates:
No pharmacist who dispenses a substance to a person other than a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner commits an offence under paragraph (1)(b) if the pharmacist dispenses the substance further to a prescription that is written by such a practitioner in providing medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.2.
That is dangerous. People will be able to walk the streets with a drug that kills. We must also protect our seniors. They are vulnerable people. Heirs, insurance policies, caregivers, and families can take advantage of seniors. Let us protect our seniors. Let us be restrictive and put safeguards in place to impose as many limits as possible.
There is a centre called Cité Joie in my riding. I can understand that people reach the point of exhaustion. The centre offers respite. I can tell you that I have seen people there with extraordinary smiles.
I cannot bear to no longer see such happiness. We have to support these people. We cannot give them that possibility. I have much to say. However, in closing, I would like to inform the House that I have not made up my mind about the final bill. I am asking the committee that will study it to put more restrictive provisions in the bill so that we can believe in life and we resort to the legislation only at the end of life.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)

Question No. 773--
Hon. Mark Eyking:
With regard to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) animal transportation inspection system, and review of the animal transport regulations under Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations: (a) what corrective actions are being taken in light of the apparent violations of the Health of Animals Regulations and CFIA inspectors’ apparent failure to respond to unacceptable treatment of animals, as recently suggested by images filmed at the Western Hog Exchange in Red Deer, Alberta (http://www.ctvnews.ca/w5/hidden-camera-investigation-reveals-abuse-in-canadian-pork-transportation-system-1.2049011); (b) what is the status of draft amendments or proposals to the animal transport regulations under the Health of Animals Regulations, Part XII, and what is the Agency’s timeframe for publishing those proposed changes in Part I of the Canada Gazette; and (c) what measures will the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food advise CFIA to take to ensure that Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) are dissuasive and specifically, is the Minister planning to significantly increase AMPs in order to ensure that they are dissuasive?
Response
Hon. Gerry Ritz (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the CFIA has taken immediate action with regard to the regulatory authority for which it is responsible upon learning of this situation.
To assess the state of compliance with humane transportation provisions of the Health of Animals Act, staff conducted humane transportation inspection blitzes. While the inspection team observed some minor health issues with transported animals, the district veterinarian concluded that the inspected loads were in compliance with the sections of the regulations that were assessed.
A team of subject matter specialists external to the region was tasked with conducting a review to determine whether federal rules were broken and if appropriate inspection actions were taken. The results of this review are pending and appropriate actions will be taken based on the review results.
To address any perceptions or concerns of regulatory capture, CFIA has increased inspector presence within the Western Hog Exchange barns. The increased inspection presence will continue until the results of this review are received and an action plan is in place.
CFIA management has met with inspection staff in the area to reinforce our values of courage, rigour and respect. The CFIA has also taken this opportunity to discuss with staff our ongoing expectation that animal welfare responsibilities be carried out in a compassionate and respectful manner.
With regard to (b), the CFIA is committed to updating Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations, which pertains to the transportation of animals, and continues to work on the proposed amendment. There have been ongoing consultations with Canadian stakeholders and the CFIA is currently assessing feedback received.
With regard to (c), the Government of Canada is taking significant measures to implement appropriate penalties in the agricultural sector. Among others, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food introduced Bill C-18, the agricultural growth act, which contains provisions that propose to amend the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act, AAAMP. In the bill, clauses 114 to 116 aim at increasing monetary penalties for businesses from $2,000, minor violation, $10,000, serious violation, and $15,000, very serious violation, to $5,000, $15,000 and $25,000 respectively.
The government believes that this updated regime of penalties included in Bill C-18 will be dissuasive and encourage compliance from regulated parties in the sector. Unfortunately, the Liberal agricultural critic introduced an amendment during the consideration of this bill at committee stage to water down this updated regime. A majority of members of Parliament disagreed with this amendment and defeated the attempt by the Liberal agricultural critic to significantly lessen the impact of this provision.

Question No. 777--
Hon. John McKay:
With respect to the Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Counsellor in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development: (a) is the Department currently conducting interviews to fill the role of CSR Counsellor within the office and, if so, (i) how many candidates have been interviewed by the Department, (ii) by what date does the Department expect to fill the role of CSR Counsellor; (b) how many staff are currently employed by the Department to administer the Office of the CSR Counsellor; and (c) including the cost of staff, office space rental, stationery and similar materials, hospitality, and any other expenses not mentioned above, what was the total cost of maintaining the Office of the CSR Counsellor during the period from October 2013 to October 2014?
Response
Hon. Ed Fast (Minister of International Trade, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), on November 14, 2014, the government officially launched the selection process to appoint a new extractive sector CSR counsellor. The process commenced through notifications on the Canada Gazette and Governor in Council websites.
No candidates have yet been interviewed, as potential candidates had until December 1, 2014, to submit their applications to the Privy Council Office, assistant secretary of the cabinet.
It is not possible to indicate a precise date for the completion of the selection process; however, in light of the announcement on November 14 of the updated CSR strategy, Doing Business the Canadian Way, the government is moving to staff this important post as soon as possible.
With regard to (b), administration of the CSR counsellor’s office consists of three positions: the CSR counsellor, a senior adviser, and an administrative assistant.
With regard to (c), the total operating cost of maintaining the CSR counsellor’s office from October 2013 to October 2014 was $181,600.

Question No. 781--
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux:
With regard to the Canadian Space Agency: (a) why was the photograph of Canadarm 2, previously posted to the Agency's Tumblr accounts at “http://canadian-space-agency.tumblr.com/post/76666430256/csa-astronaut-jeremy-hansen-canadarm2-looks” and “http://agence-spatiale-canadienne.tumblr.com/post/76666430181/jeremy-hansen-asronaute-de-lasc-canadarm2”, modified to add the Canada wordmark; (b) who made these modifications to the photograph; (c) who requested or directed that the modifications be made; (d) when was that request or direction issued; (e) why was the Tumblr posting removed; (f) who removed the Tumblr posting; (g) who requested or directed that the Tumblr posting be removed; and (h) why was that request or direction issued?
Response
Hon. James Moore (Minister of Industry, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the altered image was produced for an internal event celebrating the fifth anniversary of Canadarm2.
With regard to (b) to (d), in 2006, the Canadian Space Agency, CSA, employees made the modifications to the original photo, at their own initiative.
With regard to (e), as soon as the CSA was made aware of the situation, it took steps to remove the altered photo from its Tumblr account. The agency also contacted both Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CIC, and the Privy Council Office, PCO, to have the altered image replaced with the original photo already available on the CSA’s website. The correct image has now been posted.
With regard to (f) to (g), the CSA’s communications and public affairs directorate.
With regard to (h), the altered photo was intended to be used for an internal event in 2006. As soon as the CSA was made aware of its error, it took steps to replace the photo with the original image available on the CSA website, including replacing it on the Tumblr website.

Question No. 785--
Mr. Sean Casey:
With regard to the War Veterans Allowance (WVA) program: (a) how many Allied veterans have applied for the program since it was expanded in June 2009; (b) what are the criteria that Allied veterans must meet to be eligible for the WVA; (c) specifically, are Allied veterans required to be Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or living in Canada to be eligible; (d) how many applicants have been approved; (e) how many family members of Allied veterans have applied for the program since it was expanded in June 2009; (f) how many family members of Allied veterans have been approved to receive the benefit; (g) what is the total value of benefits approved for Allied veterans and their families since the WVA was expanded in June 2009; and (h) after submitting an application, what is the average wait-time for Allied veterans or their families to receive a benefit?
Response
Hon. Erin O'Toole (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), as of March 31, 2014, 2,356 Allied veterans have applied for the war veterans allowance program since it was expanded in June 2009.
With regard to (b), effective January 1, 2010, low-income Allied veterans of the Second World War and the Korean War who live in Canada have access to war veterans allowance and associated health benefits. These benefits include treatment benefits, the veterans independence program, long-term care as well as the assistance fund and funeral and burial assistance. To qualify for these benefits, Allied veterans must have served in a war zone during the Second World War or Korean War, lived in Canada prior to enlisting, or moved to Canada after the war and have lived here for at least 10 years and live in Canada now.
With regard to (c) Allied veterans do not have to be Canadian citizens or permanent residents as those terms are described in legislation administered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The War Veterans Allowance Act requires that an Allied veteran be a resident in Canada to apply for and receive the allowance.
With regard to (d) Of the 2,356 Allied veteran applications, 1,103 have been approved. This number does not include veterans’ survivors.
With regard to (e) As of March 31, 2014, 170 Allied veteran family members (survivors of veterans) have applied for the program since it was expanded in June 2009.
With regard to (f) Of the 170 applications by family members of Allied veterans, 66 have been approved to receive the benefit.
With regard to (g) As of March 31, 2014, the total expenditure for Allied veterans and their families, since the war veterans allowance program was expanded in June 2009, was $2.1 million.
With regard to (h) The average adjudication decision turnaround time for applicants is 47 days.

Question No. 791--
Mr. John Barlow:
With regard to the operations of the RCMP in and around the Town of High River, Alberta, between June 20, 2013, and July 12, 2013 (“the High River operations”): (a) what are the definitions of “illegally stored firearms”, “carelessly stored firearms” and “unsafe storage” as accepted and enforced by the RCMP, (i) are there any circumstances under which these definitions are expanded or altered in such a way that it impacts the extent to which the RCMP can enforce them, (ii) if (i) is answered affirmatively, did any of these circumstances occur in the context of the High River operations, and in what way were these definitions thus altered; (b) what statutes and regulations, as enforced by the RCMP, regulate the storage of legally owned firearms, of all classifications, (i) are there any circumstances under which these statutes and or regulations are expanded or altered in such a way that it impacts the extent to which the RCMP can enforce them, (ii) if (i) is answered affirmatively, did any of these circumstances occur in the context of the High River operations, and in what way were the statutes and regulations in question thus altered; (c) what specific sections of RCMP training, procedural manuals, or other documentation governed the procedures that led to the seizure of legally stored firearms located by RCMP in residences during the High River operations; (d) what prior examples of large scale door-to-door searches by the RCMP that included the seizure of firearms from multiple residences informed the procedure for the seizure of legally stored firearms that occurred in the context of the High River operations; (e) what information was recorded by the RCMP regarding the location in each residence of the firearms that were seized and or secured by the RCMP in the course of the door-to-door searches of residences during the High River operations, (i) where is this information being kept, (ii) who has access to it, (iii) what was the purpose of recording this information; (f) in how many instances were legally stored firearms located in residences by RCMP in the context of the High River operations and not seized or secured by the RCMP; (g) was any information recorded regarding legally stored firearms in residences which were not seized and or secured by the RCMP in the context of the High River operations and, if so, (i) what are the details of the information recorded, (ii) who (including name, rank, and detachment) authorized the recording; (h) under what statutory or procedural authority was the RCMP operating when the firearms which were seized or secured by the RCMP during the course of the door-to-door searches of residences in the context of the High River operations were queried in the Canadian Police Information Centre database; (i) how many times has the Canadian Police Information Centre database been accessed by any members of the RCMP regarding (i) any residents of the Town of High River, Alberta, (ii) any firearms-license holders residing in and around the town of High River, Alberta; (j) what was the purpose of querying, in the Canadian Police Information Centre database, the firearms which had been seized or secured by the RCMP in the context of the High River operations, (i) what are the names, ranks, positions, units and detachments of the officer or officers who authorized this procedure, (ii) what other seized items were queried in the Canadian Police Information Centre database, (iii) if no other seized items were checked against the Canadian Police Information Centre database, why not, (iv) in how many instances did this process result in the identification of stolen weapons, (v) in how many instances did this process result in the identification of persons in possession of firearms that they were prohibited from possessing; (k) was the Canadian Police Information Center database accessed by any member or members of the RCMP regarding any residences which were linked with federal firearms-license holders, in and around the Town of High River, Alberta and, if so, (i) what information was accessed, (ii) why was the information accessed, (iii) on what specific dates was the information accessed, (iv) what are the names, ranks, positions, units and detachments of the RCMP officers or officer who authorized this procedure; and (l) was the restricted-firearms registry accessed at any point between June 20, 2013, and July 12, 2013, by any members of the RCMP regarding any residents of the Town of High River, Alberta, or regarding any restricted or prohibited firearms registered to persons residing in and around the Town of High River, Alberta and, if so, (i) what information from the restricted-firearms registry was sought by the RCMP, (ii) what was the purpose of accessing the restricted firearms registry at this time, (iii) what was the number of restricted or prohibited firearms identified in the restricted-firearms registry as being registered in and around the Town of High River, Alberta, (iv) how many such firearms were eventually seized by the RCMP, (v) what are the names, ranks, positions, units and detachments of the officers or officer who authorized this procedure?
Response
Hon. Steven Blaney (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, in response to this question, the RCMP has provided the following assessment. There is an ongoing review of this matter by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
With regard to (a), the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code, and their supporting regulations, are used by the RCMP to determine storage requirements. With regard to (i), no. With regard to (ii), not applicable.
With regard to (b), there are two regulations that apply to the storage of firearms: the Storage, Display and Transportation of Firearms and Other Weapons by Businesses Regulations; and the Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations. With regard to (i), no. With regard to (ii), not applicable.
With regard to (c) to (e) and (h) to (l), there is an ongoing review of this matter by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
With regard to (f) and (g), the RCMP’s data collection system does not capture this information.

Question No. 792--
Mr. John Barlow:
With regard to the operations of the Canadian Armed Forces in and around the Town of High River, Alberta between June 20, 2013, and July 12, 2013: (a) what were the operational directives issued to the Canadian Armed Forces concerning their operations in conjunction with the RCMP, specifically with respect to (i) the door-to-door searches of residences, (ii) door-to-door searches of residences by forced entry, (iii) searches for any firearms in residences, (iv) collection of any firearms found while searching residences, (v) transportation of any firearms found while searching residences, (vi) recording of any information regarding firearms found while searching residences, (vii) recording of any information regarding residences in which firearms were located; (b) what operations were conducted by the Canadian Armed Forces in conjunction with the RCMP specifically with respect to (i) the door-to-door searches of residences, (ii) door-to-door searches of residences by forced entry, (iii) searches for any firearms in residences, (iv) collection of any firearms found while searching residences, (v) transportation of any firearms found while searching residences, (vi) recording of any information regarding firearms found while searching residences, (vii) recording of any information regarding residences in which firearms were located; (c) what requests were issued by the RCMP to the Canadian Armed Forces specifically with respect to (i) the door-to-door searches of residences, (ii) door-to-door searches of residences by forced entry, (iii) searches for any firearms in residences, (iv) collection of any firearms found while searching residences, (v) transportation of any firearms found while searching residences, (vi) recording of any information regarding firearms found while searching residences, (vii) recording of any information regarding residences in which firearms were located; (d) were any requests by the RCMP refused by the Canadian Armed Forces and, if so, (i) what was the content of each request by the RCMP that was refused by the Canadian Armed Forces, (ii) on what date was each request made, (iii) what were the reasons for the refusal of each request; (e) what requests were issued by any government entities, including, but not limited to municipal, provincial and federal governments, to the Canadian Armed Forces specifically with respect to (i) the door-to-door searches of residences, (ii) door-to-door searches of residences by forced entry, (iii) searches for any firearms in residences, (iv) collection of any firearms found while searching residences, (v) transportation of any firearms found while searching residences, (vi) recording of any information regarding firearms found while searching residences, (vii) recording of any information regarding residences in which firearms were located; and (f) was any request by any government entity refused by the Canadian Armed Forces and, if so, (i) what was the content of each request by any government entity that was refused by the Canadian Armed Forces, (ii) on what date was each request made, (iii) what were the reasons for the refusal of each request?
Response
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), in June 2013, the Canadian Armed Forces, CAF, provided support to Royal Canadian Mounted Police, RCMP, flood relief operations in High River, Alberta. The support was provided pursuant to subsection 273.6(1), Public Service, of the National Defence Act, following a request for assistance from the Minister of Public Safety, which was itself preceded by a request for assistance from the province of Alberta. The CAF was asked for humanitarian support, including transportation support in the effort to locate trapped or injured persons.
The CAF operation in the area was guided by a tasking order from the Chief of the Defence Staff and an operations order issued by the commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command. Concerning operations in conjunction with the RCMP, the operations order stated that CAF personnel would remain under military command at all times and would not engage in assistance to law enforcement agency operations. CAF support and capabilities were specifically directed to be in response to relief efforts for flooding.
With regard to (b), the basis for CAF involvement in the flood relief operations in Alberta was pursuant to the National Defence Act, subsection 273.6(1), Public Service, and not specifically for law enforcement assistance. Public Safety Canada has the lead responsibility for emergency response and CAF personnel were in continuous liaison with Public Safety Canada, as well as with provincial authorities and our other federal partners as part of relief efforts.
With regard to (c), the Department of National Defence and CAF, DND/CAF, did not find any records of official requests made by the RCMP to the CAF for law enforcement assistance.
With regard to (d), DND/CAF did not find any records of official requests made by the RCMP to the CAF for law enforcement assistance.
With regard to (e), these requests would have been made through the formal request for assistance, RFA, process between the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Public Safety. DND/CAF do not have any records of formal RFAs on assistance with law enforcement activities. On June 21, 2013, the Minister of Public Safety requested the following assistance: evacuation and safeguarding of at-risk persons; safeguarding of critical infrastructure from flooding; resupply of those areas isolated by flooding as requested by civil authorities; provision of engineering, logistic and humanitarian relief support to those communities that must shelter in place; and, assistance in informing the public of the need to avoid entry in to those areas evacuated, damaged or otherwise in need of control and surveillance in order to ensure the safety of emergency personnel and evacuees.
If informal requests for assistance were made to the local commanders, these low-level RFAs would have been handled at site unless there were larger operational concerns.
With regard to (f), as with part (e) these requests would have been made through the formal request for assistance process between the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Public Safety. DND/CAF do not have any records of formal RFAs on assistance with law enforcement activities.

Question No. 795--
Mr. Dennis Bevington:
With respect to the imprisonment in China of Canadian citizen Huseyin Celil; (a) has the government discussed the topic of his case with Chinese government officials; (b) if discussions have taken place, how were they conducted; (c) what questions did the government ask regarding his status and well-being; (d) what responses did the government receive from the Chinese government; (e) what were the government's follow-up actions based on these responses; (f) has the Canadian Consular services ever visited him in prison (either directly, or indirectly through a third party like Red Crescent or Red Cross); and (g) if the Canadian Consular Services has not visited him in prison, why not?
Response
Hon. Lynne Yelich (Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular), CPC):
Mr. Speaker, in processing parliamentary returns, the government applies the Privacy Act and the principles set out in the Access to Information Act. Information that constitutes personal information and information that could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the conduct of international affairs is not shared in accordance with the law.
With regard to (a), the Prime Minister of Canada and senior cabinet ministers have raised Mr. Celil’s case with their counterparts.
With regard to (c), the Government of Canada is actively engaged in Mr. Celil’s case. Senior-level officials have raised his case at every opportunity with the goal of ensuring that he is safe and that he is treated fairly and in accordance with local laws and international norms.
With regard to (e), the Government of Canada is very engaged. Senior officials continue to raise Mr. Celil’s case at every opportunity calling upon the Government of China to permit consular access to Mr. Celil. Canadian consular officials continue all efforts to pursue access to Mr. Celil.
With regard to (f), Canada remains deeply concerned at China’s refusal to recognize Mr. Celil’s Canadian citizenship or permit Canadian consular officials to visit him. Canadian officials continue to call upon the Government of China to permit consular access to Mr. Celil. China does not permit visits by the Red Cross to Chinese prisons.
With regard to (g), Canada remains deeply concerned at China’s refusal to recognize Mr. Celil’s Canadian citizenship or permit Canadian consular officials to visit him. Canadian officials continue to call upon the Government of China to permit consular access to Mr. Celil.

Question No. 800--
Mr. Rodger Cuzner:
With respect to fines and penalties issued or imposed for violations of the Do Not Call List since January 1, 2010: (a) what is the total number and dollar value of Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) that have been imposed; (b) what is the total number and dollar value of AMPs that have been paid to date; (c) what is the total number of negotiated settlements that have been reached to date; (d) what is the total number and dollar value of negotiated settlements that have been paid to date; (e) what is the number of companies that have refused to either pay an AMP or reach a negotiated settlement; (f) for Pecon Software Ltd., (i) did the company seek a review of the fine, (ii) what was the total dollar value of the fine after a review, if any, was completed, (iii) did the company request a negotiated settlement of the fine, (iv) was a negotiated settlement reached, (v) if a negotiated settlement was reached, what was its total value (vi) what is the total dollar value of the fine, if any, that has been paid to date, (vii) has the company refused to pay the fine or reach a negotiated settlement; and (g) for Avaneesh Software, (i) what was the finding of the Violation and Review Panel, (ii) what was the total dollar value of the fine after the review, if any, (iii) did the company request a negotiated settlement of the fine, (iv) was a negotiated settlement reached, (v) what was the total value of the negotiated settlement, if any, (vi) what is the total dollar value of the fine, if any, that has been paid to date, (vii) has the company refused to pay the fine or reach a negotiated settlement?
Response
Mr. Rick Dykstra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), since January 1, 2010, the CRTC has issued 86 administrative monetary penalties, AMPs, including negotiated settlements, for a value of $4,499,800.
With regard to (b), since January 1, 2010, the total number and dollar value of AMPs paid are 62 and $3,900,419 respectively.
With regard to (c), since January 1, 2010, the CRTC has entered into 31 negotiated settlements.
With regard to (d), since January 1, 2010, 28 negotiated settlements have been paid in full for a total of $ 3,423,400.
With regard to (e), since January 1, 2010, no companies have refused to either pay an AMP or reach a negotiated settlement.
With regard to (f), with respect to the fine of $495,000 to Pecon Software Ltd., the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, CRTC, issued a notice of violation on October 2, 2012. In order to comply with international service requirements, the CRTC filed the documents with the Indian Government’s Ministry of Law and Justice--central authority for extrajudicial service of documents. The CRTC cannot proceed with these matters legally until Pecon Software Ltd. has been legally served. According to the Convention on Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, the Indian central authority is required to provide the CRTC with an affidavit attesting to the fact that they have legally served the documents to Pecon Software Ltd.
The documents were received by the central authority in India on April 2, 2013. The CRTC is now working with the Indian Ministry of Law and Justice--central authority to serve the documents to Pecon Software Ltd. Once the Indian Ministry has attested to the fact that the documents have been served, Pecon Software Ltd. will have 30 days to pay the penalty or file representations with the CRTC.
With regard to (g), with respect to the fine of $12,000 to Avaneesh Software, the CRTC issued a notice of violation on October 2, 2012, and Avaneesh Software accepted the service of the notice and accompanying documents. Avaneesh Software has submitted representations as per section 72.07(2) of the Telecommunications Act and a violation and review panel will be held to determine if the violations set out in the notice of violation occurred and whether or not to uphold the administrative monetary penalty. The matter has yet to be reviewed.

Question No. 801--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
With respect to information in the government's possession concerning First Nation students on-reserve who participated in provincial standardized testing for numeracy and literacy: (a) what was the methodology used to determine the results; (b) what were the ages of the individuals tested; and (c) what were the numeracy and literacy results, broken down by reserve?
Response
Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, insofar as Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, AANDC, and its special operating agency, Indian Oil and Gas Canada, are concerned, the response is as follows:
With regard to (a), first nations schools on reserve covered by regional first nations organizations that receive funding under the first nation student success program, FNSSP, are required to administer to their students standardized tests that are identical to those used by the relevant provincial ministry of education to assess student outcomes. Regional first nations organizations are responsible for the collection, analysis and reporting to AANDC of data on student achievement.
With regard to (b), Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada does not gather information on the ages of the individuals who were tested.
With regard to (c), Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s 2013-2014 departmental performance report, DPR, sets out the percentages of male and female first nations students, broken down by region, who: attended an on-reserve school covered by a regional first nations organization that received funding under the first nation school success program; participated in provincial standardized testing; and met the provincially established standard associated with this testing.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada does not gather or break down information on literacy and numeracy results by reserve.

Question No. 802--
Mr. Jack Harris:
With regard to Canada’s combat mission in Iraq, known as Operation IMPACT: (a) what are the total estimated flying hours for the six-month mission, broken down by month, for each of the following, (i) CF-188 Hornets, (ii) CC-177 Globemaster, (iii) CC-130J Hercules, (iv) CP-140 Aurora, (v) CC-150T Polaris; (b) what are the total estimated costs per hour associated with the flying hours for each of these previously mentioned aircraft; and (c) what is the amount of any additional costs related to the deployment and sustainment of the air mission to Iraq, including the total estimated costs of the establishment of personnel in Kuwait, and all associated costs for the six-month period?
Response
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces, DND/CAF, provided an estimate of flying hours to the government to inform decision-making on the mission. However, this information cannot be provided at this time, as flying hours remain dynamic and evolve with the refinement of planning and operational assumptions, as well as the requirements of the coalition.
With regard to (a), (i), (iv), and (v) specifically, as of 25 November 2014, Air Task Force Iraq had conducted 111 sorties, including 72 sorties by CF-188 Hornet fighters; 21 sorties by CC-150T Polaris aerial refuelling aircraft, delivering some 976,000 pounds of fuel to coalition aircraft; and 23 reconnaissance missions by CP-140 Aurora aircraft.
With regard to (a), (ii), and (iii), as of 26 September 2014, CC-177 Globemaster and CC-130J Hercules aircraft had completed 25 flights, delivering more than 1,600,000 pounds of military supplies, consisting of small arms, ammunition, and equipment donated by contributing allies to Iraq.
Further information on the Royal Canadian Air Force’s activities as part of Operation Impact is available on DND/CAF’s website at http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/operations-abroad-current/op-impact.page.
With regard to (b), cost estimates are dynamic and evolve with the refinement of planning and operational requirements. Estimates are updated regularly to support planning efforts and decision-making, and therefore any estimate provided would be inaccurate.
With regard to (c), all elements, units, and organizations involved in Operation Impact are required to capture incremental costs and charge expenses related to their tasks in accordance with the published financial directives, and to report results through the Department of National Defence’s financial review process. The costs of a mission are available through the regular parliamentary process, including with the publication of the annual departmental performance report or 90 days following the end of the mission.

Question No. 803--
Mr. Jack Harris:
With regard to the Canadian Armed Forces’ advise and assist mission to Iraq announced on September 5, 2014: (a) what are the estimated total and incremental costs of the mission; (b) are there other personnel associated with this mission and, if so, how many; and (c) is this mission scheduled to end six months from October 7, 2014, the date the motion to initiate it was adopted by the House of Commons?
Response
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the costs of a mission are available through the regular parliamentary process, including with the publication of the annual departmental performance report, or 90 days following the end of the mission. Cost estimates are dynamic and evolve with the refinement of planning and operational requirements. Estimates are updated regularly to support planning efforts and decision-making, and therefore any estimate provided would be inaccurate.
With regard to (b), as announced by the Government of Canada, up to 69 personnel have been authorized for the advise and assist mission in Iraq.
With regard to (c), the Canadian Armed Forces’ advise and assist mission to Iraq is running on the same timelines as those indicated in the motion that was adopted by the House of Commons on the contribution of Canadian military assets to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, and terrorists allied with ISIL.

Question No. 809--
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre:
With regard to transactions respecting Leclerc penitentiary in Laval between the federal government and the Government of Quebec: (a) what was the total cost of the penitentiary transaction; (b) for how much was the kitchen equipment sold; (c) for how much was the laundry equipment sold; and (d) was the heating equipment including in the transaction, and if so, what are the details of the service contract for sharing the heating equipment with the rest of the complex, which includes other federal penitentiaries?
Response
Hon. Steven Blaney (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the transaction regarding the Leclerc Institution is not a real estate sale, but rather a lease for a period of ten years effective April 1, 2014, with a renewal option of five years.
In processing parliamentary returns, the government applies the principles set out in the Access to Information Act. As such, the details of the transaction are protected under these principles, as the information was obtained in confidence from the government of a province. In order to determine whether this information can be disclosed, consultations with the provincial government of Quebec are required, and these consultations cannot be completed within the timeframe provided.

Question No. 810--
Mr. Mathieu Ravignat:
With regard to Shared Services Canada: (a) what was the intention of the privatization of email services; and (b) what are the consequences of this privatization with respect to (i) public service jobs, (ii) the possible loss of these jobs, (iii) the reliability of email services for shared services employees, (iv) the confidentiality and security of these email services, (v) the savings or losses from these changes to email services?
Response
Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the email transformation initiative, ETI, will replace 63 different legacy email systems across 43 organizations, affecting over 375,000 employees, as part of a whole-of-government approach, consistent with the government’s strategy to create a secure, centralized, and modern information technology infrastructure. The decision to move to an enterprise-wide email solution was based upon meeting the Government of Canada’s stated requirements: increased security, providing value for money, and improving services to Canadians.
With regard to (b)(i) and (ii), the decision to move to an enterprise-wide email solution was based upon meeting the Government of Canada’s stated requirements: increased security, providing value for money, and improving services to Canadians.
When SSC was created in August 2011, there were approximately 360 public service employees supporting email services across 63 email systems. There are currently about 140 public service employees supporting the existing email legacy systems and working to implement a single modern, consolidated system for the Government of Canada.
As the consolidation project is implemented, some employees who had been working on legacy departmental email systems have already been re-assigned to other transformation activities within SSC or have accepted appointments to positions outside of SSC. Other employees will continue to work on supporting the existing email legacy systems until the transition to the modern, consolidated system is complete. They will then be assigned to other positions. SSC is committed to supporting employees throughout this transformation process, helping them build the skills they need to meet evolving government requirements. To do this, SSC has implemented a workforce management strategy that was designed at the outset of the ETI project and endorsed by SSC and bargaining agents.
With regard to (b)(iii), moving to a single, integrated email system will reduce the diversity, duplication, and complexity of email services; enhance access; and improve how public servants work to deliver programs to Canadian citizens and businesses. To ensure reliability and to help better manage, monitor, and protect the email system, state of the art anti-spam and anti-virus software will be used to inspect all emails entering the system. The email server will be hosted in secure facilities to ensure high availability and recoverability of data in accordance with government policies and procedures. The ETI project is being rolled out in a series of waves across the Government of Canada, beginning with SSC, to ensure that the solution works and that it is secure.
With regard to (b)(iv), increasing the security of email communication is a fundamental component of the new email service, which has up-to-date security features incorporated into its design, construction, and operation. SSC is committed to protecting the information and the confidentiality of data held by the Government of Canada.
For all services, including the new consolidated email system, SSC's security architecture is based upon an approach that uses a series of control measures to protect information. SSC will continue to work with its partners to ensure that equipment comes from trusted vendors and that services meet Government of Canada security standards.
With regard to (b)(v), beginning in 2015–16, the Government of Canada will achieve $50 million in annual savings through the standardization and consolidation of email services into one solution.

Question No. 815--
Hon. Scott Brison:
With respect to each expenditure contained in each budget or budget implementation bill since fiscal year 2006-2007, inclusively: (a) has the Department of Finance done an economic impact analysis of the expenditure; (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what is the date, name and file number of any record which constitutes part of that analysis; (c) has the Department of Finance relied on any economic impact analysis of any organization outside government on the expenditure or not; and (d) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, (i) which organizations analysed the measure, (ii) what is the date, name and file number of any record obtained from that organization which constitutes part of that analysis?
Response
Mr. Andrew Saxton (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the department conducts a broad analysis of every measure included in the budget and budget-related legislation on elements that include the following: proposed program design, program effectiveness, administrative issues, and general economic impacts. It is not the department’s practice to develop specific estimates of the job impact of each measure.
With regard to (b), in processing parliamentary returns, the government applies the Privacy Act and the principles set out in the Access to Information Act, and some information has been withheld on the grounds that the information is considered confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.
With regard to (c), when assessing proposals, the department considers analyses of outside organizations.
With regard to (d), in processing parliamentary returns, the government applies the Privacy Act and the principles set out in the Access to Information Act, and some information has been withheld on the grounds that the information is considered confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.

Question No. 819--
Ms. Peggy Nash:
With regard to Canada Post: (a) what are the details of the five-point turnaround plan to put Canada Post on track for financial sustainability by 2020; (b) what is the annual budget for advertising campaigns, broken down by (i) medium, (ii) region, (iii) product or service line, (iv) any additional internal categories used not included in this question; (c) what are the internal metrics for measuring success of any advertising outlined in (b); and (d) what is the cost of any advertising campaigns from (b) in (i) fiscal year 2012-2013, (ii) fiscal year 2013-2014, (iii) fiscal year-to-date 2014-2015?
Response
Hon. Lisa Raitt (Minister of Transport, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), Canada Post’s five-point action plan is available at: https://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/assets/pdf/aboutus/5_en.pdf
With regard to parts (b), (c), and (d), the requested information is financial and commercial in nature and has always been treated as confidential.

Question No. 822--
Mr. Philip Toone:
With regard to employment insurance benefits: (a) what are the amounts paid out for employment insurance benefits in Quebec from fiscal year 2010–2011 to the current fiscal year, broken down by (i) year, (ii) economic region, (iii) electoral district, (iv) regional county municipality (RCM) or the most detailed level available; (b) how many beneficiaries have there been in Quebec from fiscal year 2010–2011 to the current fiscal year, broken down by (i) year, (ii) economic region, (iii) electoral district, (iv) RCM or the most detailed level available; and (c) if the information requested in (a) and (b) is not available, why is that the case?
Response
Mr. Scott Armstrong (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the amount of employment insurance regular benefits paid, which is under part I of the Employment Insurance Act, and the number of employment insurance beneficiaries, meaning the number of new claims for which at least one dollar of employment insurance regular benefits was paid, are available by province and employment insurance economic region and by year until 2012–13. Annex 2.5 of the 2012-13 EI Monitoring and Assessment Report provides this information. The report is accessible via the following link: http://www.esdc.gc.ca/en/reports/ei/monitoring2013/index.page.
The employment insurance program is designed and administered based on 62 employment insurance regions. As a result, data by electoral district and regional county municipality, or RCM, are not available. As for the data in 2013–14, they will be available in the first quarter of 2015.

Question No. 823--
Ms. Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe:
With regard to the government's Temporary Public Policy Concerning Tibetans Living in the State of Arunachal Pradesh in India: (a) how much has been spent in research towards implementing this resettlement program; (b) what is the budget allocated to this program; (c) how many applications for permanent residence have been made under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for this program; and (d) how many applicants have been resettled?
Response
Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, insofar as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CIC, is concerned, with regard to (a) and (b), this public policy has been implemented within existing CIC reference levels and with existing staff. There have been no funds earmarked specifically for research.
With regard to (c), as of November 26, 2014, 517 applications for permanent residence have been made.
With regard to (d), as of November 26, 2014, 197 persons have been resettled.

Question No. 824--
Mr. Brian Masse:
With regard to construction undertaken during the period from fiscal year 2004-2005 to 2014-2015, inclusively: (a) how much has been spent on scaffolding throughout the Parliamentary Precinct including specific costs incurred for (i) the preparation of the building, (ii) construction, (iii) maintenance, (iv) the entire project; and (b) how much has been spent on scaffolding for the Paul Martin Building in Windsor, Ontario, including specific costs incurred for (i) the preparation of the building, (ii) construction, (iii) maintenance, (iv) the entire project?
Response
Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a) and (b), the information on scaffolding for the Parliamentary Precinct was obtained for multiple projects over multiple years, while the information on scaffolding for the Paul Martin Building is accounted for as a single project.
With regard to part (a), the scaffolding costs throughout the Parliamentary Precinct, including specific costs incurred, were, for (a)(i), $835,902.33; for (a)(ii), $18,757,302.86; for (a)(iii), $1,733,470.72; and for (a)(iv), $21,326,675.91.
With regard to part (b), scaffolding was installed on the Paul Martin Building in 2010. The specific costs listed in the question were, for (b)(i), nil, in that there were no preparation costs; for (b)(ii), $77,212.00; for (b)(iii), $407,931.90; and for (b)(iv), $538,750.15. The entire project cost $485,143.90, plus an encroachment fee for the use of the public sidewalk of $53,606.25, which was paid to the City of Windsor for the period July 2, 2014, to July 1, 2015, bringing the total cost to $538,750.15.

Question No. 825--
Hon. Hedy Fry:
With respect to the creation of the position of President of the Public Health Agency of Canada in Bill C-43, the Budget Implementation Act: (a) what are the names, positions, organizations or affiliations of all the stakeholders consulted leading up to the creation of this position; (b) what submissions, proposals or recommendations were made by stakeholders during the consultation process before the creation of this position; and (c) what are the dates, times, and locations of the meetings with those individuals or organizations consulted before the creation of this position?
Response
Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, changes to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s organizational structure are aimed at strengthening both its internal management and public health capacity. The division of responsibilities between the president and the chief public health officer will enhance the agency’s internal management and allow the chief public health officer to focus on the important public health needs of Canadians. The proposed position of president will bring the leadership of the agency in alignment with other health portfolio organizations; both the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research are led by presidents. These changes were proposed by the chief public health officer, Dr. Gregory Taylor, and recommended by both him and the president-designate, Ms. Krista Outhwaite.
As part of the legislative process, parliamentarians were briefed on the proposed changes. Bill C-43 was discussed and read in both the House of Commons and the Senate and examined in committees: the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology; the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance; the Senate National Finance Committee. Witnesses gave their opinions on the bill and it was subjected to clause-by-clause study based on the testimony.
The chief public health officer, Dr. Taylor, pointed out during his appearances that he supports this proposal as it will allow his position to focus on moving Canada forward on public health issues; providing excellent advice directly to the Minister of Health and to Canadians; collaborating with all partners, and interacting with multiple key players including the Canadian public.
At the same time, a dedicated Public Health Agency of Canada president will provide strategic policy and management leadership for a world-leading and strong public sector organization. The president, as deputy head, will become the agency’s accounting officer and will focus on many of the issues for which the CPHO was previously accountable, including finance, audit, evaluation, staffing, official languages, and access to information and privacy. These are all important functions, requiring the attention of an experienced public service leader.
The changes will allow the chief public health officer to dedicate more of his time to public health issues of importance to Canadians. This is also a model seen in many provinces across Canada, and internationally.

Question No. 829--
Hon. Judy Sgro:
With respect to Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s pause in processing visa applications from foreign nationals who have been physically present in a country designated by the World Health Organization as having widespread and intense transmission of the Ebola virus on Friday, October 31, 2014: (a) what are the names, positions, organizations or affiliations of all the stakeholders consulted leading up to this decision; (b) what submissions, proposals or recommendations were made by stakeholders during the consultation process; and (c) what are the dates, times, and locations of the meetings with those individuals or organizations consulted?
Response
Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, insofar as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CIC, is concerned, the Government of Canada has a duty to ensure that the security and safety of Canadians is paramount in determining the admissibility of foreign nationals. In rapidly evolving situations where the potential impact may be very significant, potentially resulting in loss of life, it is essential that the government take decisive action to protect the well-being of its citizens.
That is why on October 31, 2014, it announced precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of all Canadians. Under these new measures, visas for temporary residence will not be issued unless the officer is satisfied the applicant has not been in an Ebola-affected country within the three months prior to the finalization of an application. Discretion remains for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to grant entry where travel is essential and in Canadians’ interest.
CIC consulted with partners across government including those in the public safety and health portfolios. The Public Health Agency of Canada has significant experience and responsibility for public health and safety. This includes a consultative relationship with the World Health Organization, which was contacted upon development of these new measures. The government has advised various domestic and international stakeholders including government representatives from the affected countries, at the time of deployment.

Question No. 832--
Mr. Paul Dewar:
With regard to the Family Class sponsorships and Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) Regulation 117(9)(d): (a) how many Family Class sponsorships have been denied by visa officers based on this Regulation since its inception in 2003; (b) of the refused applications, (i) how many of the excluded family members were spouses, (ii) how many of the excluded family members were children, (iii) what is the gender breakdown of the sponsors; (c) how many sponsors have requested an exemption from this Regulation to allow their excluded family member to come to Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds under Section 25 of the IRPA; (d) how many requests for exemptions were granted; (e) of the exemptions that were granted, (i) how many of the excluded family members were spouses, (ii) how many of the excluded family members were children, (iii) what is the gender breakdown of the sponsors; (f) how many requests for exemptions were refused; and (g) of the exemptions that were refused, (i) how many of the excluded family members were spouses, (ii) how many of the excluded family members were children, (iii) what is the gender breakdown of the sponsors?
Response
Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, insofar as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CIC, is concerned, in response to question (a), a total of 1,200 family class applications have been refused based on the R117(9)(d) refusal ground, in persons, beginning in 2010. Prior to 2010, a different system was in use by the department, which did not allow for the consistent tracking and reporting of refusal grounds. Due to this, CIC can only report on the number of applications that were refused based on 117(9)(d) beginning in 2010 for those applications that were processed in the global case management system, GCMS.
In response to questions (b)(i) and (ii), CIC does not capture this level of detail sought for these questions in a systematic fashion and therefore cannot provide this information.
In response to question (b)(iii), of the 1,200 family class applicants refused with R117(9)(d), 333 were female sponsors and 594 were male sponsors.
In response to questions (c) to (g), CIC is not able to report on this type of information as it is not tracked systematically in the global case Management system, GCMS, and therefore CIC cannot provide the level of detail required.

Question No. 833--
Mr. Ryan Cleary:
With regard to the Department of National Defense and the policy stating that Members of Parliament only have permission to visit a regional base if it is within their constituency: (a) when did this policy become a formal departmental policy; (b) what were the reasons given for establishing this policy; and (c) how many requests have been denied?
Response
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, while the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces endeavour to maintain an open and accessible posture in order to connect with the Canadian public, this approach is balanced against the need to limit visits to military bases when such visits interfere with operational missions and critical security activities. A directive is currently in draft form awaiting publication in the defence administrative orders and directives. The departmental position is that the Canadian Armed Forces’ wings and bases are to support cabinet committee work, commissions, as well as their own members of Parliament and senators within capabilities. The draft directive reflects this position.
The Department of National Defence has no central tracking system regarding visits to military bases and therefore cannot report how many, if any, requests from members of Parliament to visit bases have been denied.

Question No. 834--
Mr. Ryan Cleary:
With regard to Transport Canada and tanker vessel traffic entering Placentia Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador: (a) where is the oil spill response equipment for Placentia Bay stored; (b) what is the oil spill capacity of the response equipment; (c) what is the response time if an oil spill should occur; and (d) is there personnel on-call to handle an oil spill?
Response
Hon. Lisa Raitt (Minister of Transport, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, in response to part (a), the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, its regulations and standards require potential polluters to maintain a minimum level of preparedness at all times. Prescribed oil handling facilities must have an arrangement with a certified response organization that would maintain a prescribed level of preparedness to respond to a spill on the polluter's behalf. Oil handling facilities must each have onsite plans, equipment, personnel, and training and exercise programs that allow them to deploy an immediate response in the event of an oil spill.
There are several caches of oil pollution countermeasures equipment in Placentia Bay. Oil handling facilities such as North Atlantic Refining Limited and Newfoundland Transshipment Limited have their own stockpile of spill response equipment equating to 150 tonnes as they are responsible for initially responding to their own spills.
Eastern Canada Response Corporation, the response organization responsible for responding to ship-source oil spills in this area, stores its pollution countermeasures equipment at its base in Donovan’s Industrial Park in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Canadian Coast Guard also stores its pollution countermeasures equipment at its base in Donovan’s Industrial Park in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador.
In response to part (b), Transport Canada is the lead agency responsible for Canada's marine oil spill preparedness and response regime. The regime was established in 1995 to enable industry to respond to its own oil spills of up to 10,000 tones within the prescribed time standards and operating environments, for Canadian waters south of 60 degrees north latitude. The regime is built upon a partnership between government and industry. It sets rigorous standards for response organizations and oil handling facilities, and establishes the requirements for national preparedness capacity.
In response to part (c), designated ports, each with a primary area of responsibility, are an important piece of Canada's marine oil spill response regime.. A designated port has higher volumes of oil transferred between the shore and a vessel than other ports. The associated higher risk requires more concentrated response capability. A designated port thus has advantages with respect to spill response time and capability. Holyrood and Come By Chance are two designated ports in Newfoundland and Labrador. The response time to deploy equipment at a designated port is six hours.
In response to part (d), under part 8 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, prescribed oil handling facilities and vessels must have arrangements with a response organization, in this case, Eastern Canada Response Corporation. As part of its response plan, Eastern Canada Response Corporation has response personnel available to respond to a spill when contracted by the polluter.
In addition, oil handling facilities have personnel, listed in their oil pollution emergency plans, who must be available to respond in the event of a spill.
The Canadian Coast Guard monitors the overall response to ensure that it is effective, timely, and appropriate to the incident. In the event that the polluter is unable to respond, unwilling to take action or unknown, the Canadian Coast Guard becomes the on-scene commander.

Question No. 835--
Mr. Ryan Cleary:
With regard to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the food fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador: (a) what communication occurred between the Minister's office and the Department regarding the extension of the food fishery in fall 2014 in Newfoundland and Labrador; and (b) what were the formal reasons given for the extension?
Response
Hon. Gail Shea (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), the communication between the department and the minister’s office regarding the extension of the recreational groundfish fishery in fall 2014, in Newfoundland and Labrador, included the drafting of a note regarding the decision to extend the fishery.
In response to (b), the formal reason for the extension was the result of poor weather during the second half of the fall fishing seasons, September 20 to September 28, which created safety concerns for recreational fishers. As a result the minister made the decision to extend the fishery by three days.

Question No. 836--
Hon. Irwin Cotler:
With regard to federal judicial appointments from 1993 to 2014 inclusive: (a) broken down by year, province, level of court, (i) how many judicial appointments were made, (ii) how many of those appointments were women, (iii) what percentage were women, (iv) how many indicated French as a first language, (v) what percentage indicated French as a first language, (vi) how many were visible minorities, (vii) what percentage were visible minorities, (viii) how many were Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis, (ix) what percentage were Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis; (b) broken down by year, how many persons were appointed to the following Judicial Appointments Advisory Committees or their predecessors, if any names changed, (i) Alberta, (ii) British Columbia, (iii) Manitoba, (iv), New Brunswick, (v) Newfoundland and Labrador, (vi) Northwest Territories, (vii) Nova Scotia, (viii) Nunavut, (ix) Ontario, East and North, (x) Ontario, Greater Toronto Area, (xi) Ontario, West and South, (xii) Prince Edward Island, (xiii) Quebec, East, (xiv) Quebec, West, (xv) Saskatchewan, (xvi) Yukon, (xvii) Tax Court of Canada; (c) for the persons named by the Justice Minister to the committees in (b), how many and what percentage were (i) women, (ii) Francophone, (iii) Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis, (iv) visible minorities, broken down by committee and year; (d) how many applications were received total, and of these, how many were from (i) women, (ii) Francophones, (iii) Aboriginals, First Nations, or Métis, (iv) visible minorities, broken down by year and Judicial Advisory Committee; (e) what percentage of applicants were appointed, broken down by (i) gender, (ii) first language, (iii) visible minority status, (iv) Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis status, broken down by year for all federal judicial appointments; (f) what was the ratio of men to women on the committee and the ratio of women to men in terms of appointments for each year, broken down by Judicial Advisory Committee; (g) in what ways were appointment demographics measured, tracked, and monitored; (h) were any targets, quotas, or principles set with respect to the diversity of those serving on the Advisory Committees; (i) were any targets, quotas, or principles set with respect to the diversity of those who received judicial appointments; (j) what specific efforts were made to ensure diversity on Judicial Advisory Committees; (k) what documents are available that substantiate the answer in (j) with reference, control, or access numbers; (l) what specific efforts were made to ensure diversity in federal judicial appointments; (m) what documents are available that substantiate the answer in (l) with reference, control, or access numbers; (n) what meetings did the Department or Minister have with regard to ensuring diversity on Judicial Advisory Committees, broken down by year; (o) what meetings did the Department or Minister have to ensure diversity among federal judicial appointees, broken down by year; (p) how many Supreme Court of Canada appointments were made, broken down by Prime Minister; (q) how many of the appointments in (p) were of women; (r) what efforts were made to ensure gender parity on the Supreme Court of Canada; (s) how many federal judicial appointments were made to the (i) Federal Court, (ii) Federal Court of Appeals, (iii) Tax Court of Canada or their predecessor bodies, broken down by year; (t) of the appointments in (s) how many were (i) women, (ii) Francophone, (iii) Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis, (iv) visible minorities; (u) of the candidates considered for each position filled in (s) how many were (i) women, (ii) Francophone, (iii) Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis, (iv) visible minorities; (v) are women statistically more likely to be appointed to some courts over others and, if so, what explains this difference; (w) are women statistically less likely to be appointed to some courts over others and, if so, what explains this difference; (x) in what ways does the likelihood of an Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis person receiving a federal judicial appointment vary; (y) in what ways does the likelihood of visible minority receiving a federal judicial appointment vary; (z) regarding the statistics needed to answer (x) and (y), have any quantities studies been completed by the government regarding any relationship between likelihood of appointment and demographic factors; (aa) have any studies been conducted on the demographics of individuals receiving federal judicial appointments; (bb) have any studies been conducted on the demographics panels, boards, and committees responsible for federal judicial appointments; (cc) regarding applications for judicial appointment, how do the percentage of applicants compare with general Canadian population as a whole, broken down by (i) year, (ii) gender, (iii) visible minority, (iv) Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis status; (dd) regarding federal judicial appointments, how do the percentage of appointees compare with the general Canadian population, broken down by (i) year, (ii) gender, (iii) visible minority, (iv) Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis status; (ee) regarding appointment to Federal Judicial Advisory Committees, how does the percentage of applicants compare with general Canadian population as a whole, broken down by (i) year, (ii) gender, (iii) visible minority, (iv) Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis status; (ff) for each appointment made within the period, what was the duration of time between the date the vacancy arose and the date of appointment, broken down by court; (gg) what policies, guidelines, or targets exist regarding the timeliness of filling vacancies on courts; (hh) for each appointment made within the period to a judicial advisory committee, what was the duration of time between the date the vacancy arose and the date of appointment, broken down by advisory committee; (ii) what policies, guidelines, or targets exist regarding the timeliness of filling vacancies on advisory committees; (jj) what was the average time between a vacancy arising and it being filled, broken down by (i) year, (ii) court; (kk) what accounts for variations in the delay between a judicial vacancy arising and its being filled; (ll) when multiple vacancies exist concurrently, in what order are appointments made; (mm) for each court to which federal judicial appointments are made, what is the vacancy percentage, broken down by (i) year, (ii) court; (nn) do any requirements exist regarding the deadline by which a vacancy must be filled, broken down by court; (oo) what are the consequences of judicial vacancies on courts to which federal judicial appointments are made; (pp) what studies has the government undertaken or completed with respect to the impact of judicial vacancies; (qq) what metrics, if any, has the government identified with respect to judicial vacancies, (i) how are these measured, (ii) how often, (iii) by whom, (iv) for what purpose, (v) with what reporting; (rr) what metrics, if any, has the government identified with respect to judicial appointments, (i) how are these measured, (ii) how often, (iii) by whom, (iv) for what purpose, (v) with what reporting; and (ss) in what ways have any of the federal judicial appointments processes changed over the period indicated?
Response
Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the information requested is not readily available and would require an extensive manual search of all records. It is therefore not feasible to produce a response within the time period allotted.

Question No. 837--
Mr. Peter Julian:
With respect to the evidence requested from the Department of Justice by the Costa Rican Attorney General, to which the latter referred in his statement of October 3, 2014: (a) does the Minister of Justice or his Department have any information regarding an amount of $200,000 sent to the Aria Foundation for Peace in 2008 and, if so, what are details, including the identity of the sender and the relationship between the sender and Infinito Gold, Ronald Mannix, the Norlien Foundation, and Coril Holdings Ltd.; and (b) did the Department of Justice answer the Costa Rican Attorney General's questions in the first request letter (#08-000011-033-PE) sent on Tuesday, December 10, 2013, as well as in the second request letter (#12-000124-621-PE) dated Tuesday, February 4, 2014, (i) if so, what answer was provided, (ii) if not, why not?
Response
Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, due to the confidentiality of state-to-state communications, the Department of Justice does not confirm nor deny any requests for legal assistance by other countries.

Question No. 839--
Mr. Ryan Cleary:
With regard to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard: has the Department done an assessment on the total cost to remove the oil from the Manolis L that sunk off the coast of Newfoundland in 1985?
Response
Hon. Gail Shea (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard remain committed to protecting our oceans from ship-sourced oil spills. The government has made this clear through the ongoing implementation of a world-class tanker safety system.
The Canadian Coast Guard has received some advice from international experts regarding how to best address the Manolis L situation since March 2013. Further analysis and data collection is required in order to make the most informed decision as part of the ongoing management plan for the Manolis L. The Canadian Coast Guard successfully completed a major operation on the Manolis L wreck in December 2014. This included the cleaning of the cofferdam, replacement with a new cofferdam and detailed inspection of the hull. Removal of oil collected in the cofferdam was within its capacity and samples will be sent to Environment Canada for analysis.
Surveillance of the area has detected no oil. The Canadian Coast Guard plans to return to the site of the Manolis L in the spring of 2015 to conduct the next oil removal from the cofferdam.
The Canadian Coast Guard, along with its federal partners, Transport Canada and Environment Canada, is continuing to monitor and manage the site. Should this situation change, the department will take the necessary action to mitigate the risk.

Question No. 844--
Ms. Joyce Murray:
With regard to Canadian military bases and stations both in Canada and abroad: since 2007, what are (a) the names and ridings of Members of Parliament who have visited any bases or stations; (b) the dates that the Members visited; (c) the name of the base or station that was visited; (d) the purpose of the visit; and (e) any costs associated with Member’s visit?
Response
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces, DND/CAF, do not have a centralized tracking and reporting mechanism for visits by members of Parliament to CAF bases and stations, whether in Canada or abroad. As such, DND/CAF is unable to provide the requested details in the available timeframe.

Question No. 845--
Ms. Mylène Freeman:
With respect to the implementation of Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in contraband tobacco): (a) what is the full itemized cost of implementing the bill; (b) what are the steps identified to implement the bill; (c) what is the timeline to implement the bill; (d) on the Mohawk territory of Kanehsatà:ke, whom does the government anticipate will enforce the law once implemented and, more specifically, does the government anticipate that it will be enforced by (i) the Sureté du Québec, (ii) the RCMP; (e) on the Mohawk territory of Kanehsatà:ke, what does the government project it will cost to enforce the law, once implemented; (f) how many residents of Kanehsatà:ke does the government project will potentially be affected; (g) how much contraband tobacco does the government expect to seize fromKanehsatà:ke; (h) how much revenue in Kanehsatà: ke will be affected; and (i) how does the government anticipate that residents of Kanehsatà:ke will be tried under the law, once implemented?
Response
Hon. Steven Blaney (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), it is not anticipated that there will be any new costs in implementing this bill.
With regard to (b), the act will come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council. On coming into force, it will provide a new tool for federal and provincial law enforcement to lay charges under the Criminal Code for the trafficking of high volumes--10,000 cigarettes or more or 10 kg or more of raw leaf or any other tobacco product--of contraband tobacco.
On the act’s coming into force, the RCMP will implement an internal communications process to inform front-line RCMP officers of the new legislation.
With regard to (c), the act will come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.
With regard to (d), the Criminal Code applies evenly across Canada. The new Criminal Code offence will provide both the RCMP and the Sureté du Québec with a new tool to address the problem of trafficking in contraband tobacco. The bill will also allow for concurrent jurisdiction, whereby the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and provincial attorneys general would share the authority to prosecute this new Criminal Code offence. It is not anticipated that there will be any new costs in implementing this bill.
With regard to (e), it is not anticipated that there will be any new costs in enforcing this bill.
With regard to (f), it is recognized that organized crime networks are exploiting first nation communities and the jurisdictional and political relationships between those communities, governments, and enforcement agencies.
The objective of Bill C-10 is to target organized crime groups operating in these communities and involved in the large-volume trafficking of contraband tobacco, as well as other forms of serious criminality, including trafficking in weapons and illicit drugs.
With regard to (g), Bill C-10 provides a new tool for federal and provincial law enforcement agencies to target organized crime groups involved in the contraband tobacco market.
The RCMP focuses its federal investigations on criminal networks conducting illegal operations in Canada, regardless of the illicit commodity. The outcome of potential seizures of contraband tobacco resulting from Bill C-10 is unknown.
With regard to (h), Bill C-10 establishes a new Criminal Code offence to help address the problem of trafficking in contraband tobacco. The bill is not intended to affect legitimate trade in tobacco products, but rather to target organized crime groups and their associates involved in the large-volume trafficking of contraband tobacco.
With regard to (i), under the bill, the maximum penalty for a first offence would be six months’ imprisonment on summary conviction and five years’ imprisonment if prosecuted on indictment. The decision to proceed by way of summary conviction, six months, or indictment, five years, is a matter of prosecutorial discretion.
The bill also establishes mandatory minimum penalties of imprisonment of six months to two years less a day on second and subsequent convictions.

Question No. 846--
Ms. Megan Leslie:
With respect to the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) Conference of the Parties in March of 2013: (a) why has the government placed reservations on all species added to Appendix I or II of the Wild Animal and Plant Trade regulations from the meeting of the Conference of the Parties rather than adding them to Schedule I of Canada’s Wild Animal and Plant Trade Regulations; and (b) does the government intend to lift these reservations and fulfil its commitment to CITES and, if so, what is the timeline in which the government intends on lifting the reservations on all species given increased protection?
Response
Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), Canada is supportive of all the CoP16 decisions and takes the commitments made at the CITES Conference of the Parties very seriously. Canada’s reservation on all the species listing decisions at the 16th meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties, CoP16, is temporary, undertaken for administrative and procedural reasons.
The reservation placed by Canada is done so that Canada is not in contravention of CITES obligations and with Canada’s treaty law policy and procedures.The convention, drafted in 1975, allows 90 days for countries to update their regulations. Canada, as with many other parties to the convention, is unable to meet the short timelines for making the necessary regulatory changes. In order to avoid being in contravention of treaty requirements, the Government of Canada placed a temporary reservation until such time as listing decisions of the Conference of the Parties can be reflected in its domestic regulations.
With regard to (b), yes, Canada fully intends to lift the temporary reservation.
Environment Canada is working diligently to complete the regulatory changes to schedule I of the wild animal and plant trade regulations to enable the listing changes agreed at the 16th Conference of Parties to be legally enforced in Canada by spring 2015. Once the regulatory changes are completed, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will proceed to obtain the necessary authorities and lift the temporary reservation.

Question No. 858--
Hon. John McCallum:
With regard to Public Works and the temporary flagpole erected between West Block of Parliament and the central lawn: (a) what is the date on which the temporary flagpole was initially installed; (b) on what dates was it relocated; (c) who carried out each relocation; and (d) what have been the costs associated with each relocation?
Response
Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), in the winter of 2011, the pole was temporarily moved outside the West Block construction area to replace the pole that was on the West Block prior to the start of the major rehabilitation project.
With regard to (b), during the summer of 2014, the construction area for the West Block rehabilitation project was expanded for health and safety reasons. The base and the pole in question were therefore relocated southeast of the West Block. The pole is there to ensure that the flag is present on the west side of the Hill and that the program whereby Canadian flags from Parliament Hill are given to Canadian citizens is continued for the duration of the rehabilitation work.
With regard to (c), in the winter of 2011, PWGSC and PCL Construction carried out the relocation. In the summer of 2014, PCP Construction carried out the relocation.
With regard to (d), in the winter of 2011, the total cost for the purchase of the pole and its installation was $25,000. Of that cost, $14,000 was used to purchase the flagpole, with a brushed aluminum finish; and $11,000 was used for the installation of the pole and the establishment of a safety perimeter. The pole in question is 15.25 metres high and meets the ceremonial standards for Parliament Hill.
In the summer of 2014, $2,000 was used to relocate the base, the flagpole, and the safety perimeter southeast of the West Block.
Note that the cost of these relocations was included in the budget approved for the West Block rehabilitation project.

Question No. 862--
Hon. Lawrence MacAulay:
With regard to the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Policy: (a) what progress has been made in reaching the goals of the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Policy; (b) has there been a performance review of the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Policy since its 2009 announcement, (i) if so, what are the findings of such a review, (ii) if not, why not, (iii) again if not, what justification is there for not respecting the five year deadline for an independent review; and (c) has the government formed a task force or advisory committee with the authority and resources to meet with stakeholders, review relevant information, and advise Fisheries and Oceans Canada of the measures needed to increase salmon populations on the Miramichi River, (i) if so, what are the details of the task force or advisory committee, (ii) if not, why not?
Response
Hon. Gail Shea (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the intent of the wild Atlantic salmon conservation policy is to provide a framework for decision-making and priority-setting. The progress of its goals is therefore measured in terms of plans, investments, and partnerships, some recent examples of which include the following: the establishment of the recreational fisheries conservation partnership program in 2013, and allocation of over $1 million to community groups for projects to rebuild and restore wild salmon habitat; support of 53 projects in 2014 under the Atlantic salmon endowment fund, and ongoing science activities to rigorously undertake counts of salmon returns, including the dedication of nearly 65,000 hours in 2013 alone for monitoring and enforcement activities; introduction of extra measures for salmon conservation in 2014, including reductions in allowable retention for recreational anglers; and advocacy for sustainable fishing at forums such as the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization.
With regard to (b), early planning to review of the wild Atlantic salmon conservation policy starting in 2015 has been initiated. The intention is to present a plan for discussion and feedback at the next meeting of the Atlantic salmon advisory committee, expected in the spring/summer of 2015.
With regard to (c), the creation of a ministerial advisory committee on Atlantic salmon to help determine the course of action to address low returns of Atlantic salmon on the east coast was announced on December 18, 2014. The committee, supported by officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, will focus on the following aspects: conservation and enforcement measures, predation, and a strategy to address international unsustainable fishing, and focused areas for advancing science.

Question No. 870--
Hon. Mauril Bélanger:
With regard to the Canadian observers sent by the government to monitor Tunisia’s recent presidential and legislative elections: (a) how many observers took part in the observation missions and what are their names; (b) with which organizations did the observers work; and (c) what selection process was used to choose the observers?
Response
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, as announced on October 26, following Tunisia’s legislative elections and again following the first and second rounds of the presidential election, Canada is pleased to have supported the deployment of both domestic and international election observers. These election observers served as a confidence building measure for the Tunisian population as they voted in their first democratic elections, and monitored and reported upon the conduct of the elections in line with national regulations and international election benchmarks and standards for democratic elections.
With regard to (a), the delegation included four Canadian observers for the legislative elections and nine for each round of the presidential elections.
For the legislative elections on October 26, 2014, the observers were Darrell Dexter, Elizabeth Weir, Eric Duhaime, and Sylvia Thomson.
For the first round of the presidential election on November 23, 2014, the observers were Les Campbell, Olivia Chow, Paul Hong, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, Michael Ferrabee, Mathieu Jacques, Greg Lyle, David McLaughlin, and Chris Yonke.
For the second round of the presidential election on December 21, 2014, the observers were Les Campbell, the Hon. Ken Dryden, Darrell Dexter, Paul Hong, Greg Lyle, John MacDonell, the Hon. William Paul Robert Norris, Nathan Rotman, and Chris Yonke.
With regard to (b), while a number of international organizations sent election observers to Tunisia, Canada’s funding was through the National Democratic Institute, NDI. The aforementioned Canadian observers formed a part of the NDI delegation.
With regard to (c), the recruitment, selection, and deployments of observers were done by the partner, NDI, who selected individuals through its global network of experts and partners. NDI draws upon current and former members of parliaments and other legislative bodies, current and former heads of state, current and former government officials, election commissioners, technical and legal experts, and civil society activists, among others.
Canada supports the tremendous progress that has been achieved in the pursuit of a free and democratic Tunisia and will continue to support Tunisia’s continued efforts to strengthen its democracy and build a prosperous and secure future for all Tunisians.

Question No. 871--
Mr. Scott Simms:
With respect to servers, including leased physical and virtual servers and cloud-based servers, owned, operated, shared, or otherwise used by the government for all platforms and protocols, broken down by department: (a) what operating system and kernel version is the server using, including, for all unix-variant systems, the output of "uname -a"; (b) in what datacenter is the server physically located; (c) who owns, provides, and operates the server; (d) what is the purpose of the server; (e) for each service provided by the server, what is the name, type, software used, protocol, and listening ports of the service; (f) what security compromises have been detected in each service provided by the server, broken down by (i) the nature of the security compromise (privilege escalation, rooting or rootkits, sniffed packets, compromised passwords, worms, viruses, trojans, lost data storage devices, unauthorised use of information by otherwise authorised users, etc.), (ii) the details of any information accessed without proper authority, damaged, or lost, (iii) the classification and designation of the compromise and the information compromised, (iv) measures taken to prevent further security compromises, (v) date the security compromise was detected, (vi) date the security compromise was believed or found to have taken place, (vii) date the security compromise was resolved; (g) of the security compromises identified in (f), what are the file numbers of any correspondence or government records related to any such security compromises, broken down by (i) relevant file numbers, (ii) correspondence or file type, (iii) subject, (iv) date, (v) purpose, (vi) origin, (vii) intended destination, other officials copied or involved; and (h) on what dates have any threat risk assessments been conducted that affected or involved the server or its surrounding infrastructure, stored data, use, or relevant department?
Response
Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, SSC was created on August 4, 2011, as a common service organization providing information technology, IT, infrastructure services to other federal government departments and agencies. Its mandate is to consolidate, standardize, transform, and deliver e-mail, data centre, and telecommunication services to 43 federal departments and agencies.
For security reasons, SSC does not share or discuss information related to Government of Canada servers.
SSC is accountable and responsible for IT infrastructure, systems, and services within its purview and for ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the information processed. SSC does not publish information that, if disclosed, could reasonably be expected to be used in a malicious fashion against Government of Canada IT infrastructure. This includes information relating to servers, data centre locations, cyberattacks, and current tactics, techniques, and processes used to defend Government of Canada IT infrastructure.

Question No. 872--
Mr. Pat Martin:
With regard to the government and the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB): (a) the 2011-12 Annual Report states that expenses were “offset by $177.3 million in government reimbursements”, what is meant by this statement; (b) what expenses were the reimbursements made for; (c) what government reimbursements were made in fiscal years 2012-2013 and 2013-2014; (d) what total government revenues were paid to the CWB in each fiscal year and crop year between 2011 and 2014; (e) what was the objective of these government revenues; (f) on which dates and in which amounts were the $349 million, pledged by the Minister of Agriculture in June 2012, transferred to the CWB; (g) what studies were conducted by the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food regarding the future of the CWB; (h) what public and private consultations were undertaken regarding the privatization of the CWB in 2012, 2013, and 2014, (i) who were those consultations with, (ii) on what dates; (i) what is the total outstanding amount owed to the government for credit sales undertaken by the CWB; (j) what foreign customers have outstanding credit sales; (k) what is the status of interest owed on outstanding credit sales; and (l) which body or government agency will receive the interest paid on credit sales?
Response
Hon. Gerry Ritz (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), in anticipation of the government’s funding of certain restructuring costs of the Canadian Wheat Board, CWB, through the Canadian Wheat Board transition cost program, CTP, the CWB notionally estimated $177.3 million in reimbursable costs as of July 31, 2012, accrued in their financial statements.
With regard to (b), the funding provided under the CTP was in relation to the following restructuring expenses that were incurred in the year ended July 31, 2012 and described in the CWB’s financial statements as follows: loss on property, plant and equipment; impairment loss on intangible assets; employee severance expense; and net expenses related to the curtailment of pension and post-employment benefit plans.
With regard to (c) and (d), see the Public Accounts of Canada.
With regard to (e), the purpose of these expenditures from the CTP was to reimburse the transaction costs of the CWB as it transitions to a voluntary grain marketing organization. By assisting with the transition costs, the CWB will be better positioned to be a viable marketing alternative for farmers in the open wheat and barley market.
With regard to (f), the amounts were transferred in fiscal years 2013-14 and 2014-15.
With regard to (g), the department has conducted an economic analysis of a June 2008 study by Informa Economics. The Informa study examined the potential impact on farmers of an open marketing system for wheat, durum, and barley in western Canada.
With regard to (h), since Bill C-18, the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, has received royal assent, consultations with stakeholders are ongoing.
With regards to (i), (j), (k), and (l), this information is protected under subparagraph 21.(1)(e)(3) of the Canadian Wheat Board (Interim Operations) Act.

Question No. 883--
Mr. Robert Chisholm:
With regard to Employment Insurance, has the government conducted any assessments or evaluations of the reforms implemented in 2012 and, if so, (i) what are their titles and dates, (ii) will the government make them public?
Response
Mr. Scott Armstrong (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regards to the employment insurance, EI, program, ESDC has not yet conducted any assessments or evaluations of the reforms implemented in 2012.
The EI program is evaluated through the employment insurance monitoring and assessment report on an annual basis. The most recent version of the report can be accessed at http://www.esdc.gc.ca/en/reports/ei/monitoring2013/index.page

Question No. 885--
Ms. Chrystia Freeland:
With regard to all written questions on the Order Paper, submitted to date during the 41st Parliament, which received returns in the House of Commons from the government: (a) on what date was each question, with instructions to answer, forwarded by the Privy Council Office (PCO) to all relevant departments and agencies; (b) on what date did each department or agency receive and process the incoming request; (c) on what date did each department or agency return their respective answer to PCO; and (d) how many days did each department or agency require to complete each request for answer?
Response
Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a) of the question, during the 41st Parliament, more than 2,300 written questions have been placed on the order paper. The Privy Council Office, or PCO, analyzes each question and, when required, provides guidance and instructions to organizations assigned to provide a response.
Each assignment or set of instructions is developed as a result of consultations with implicated organizations. This process is iterative in nature, and as a result, assignments and instructions are modified as necessary. The dates of these modifications are not tracked in PCO information systems. In order to compile a response, an extensive manual search of records would be required. This search cannot be completed in the timeframe allotted to respond to this question.
PCO strives to assign questions and provide instructions as soon as possible to ensure that organizations have the maximum amount of time possible to produce a response.
With regard to part (b), organizations assigned to respond to each question receive the assignment notice and instructions immediately following the assignment by PCO.
With regard to part (c), in order to compile a response, an extensive manual search of records for more than 2,300 written questions would be required. This search cannot be completed in the timeframe allotted to respond to this question. For all questions for which a response was requested within 45 calendar days, PCO encourages organizations to return their answers at least five business days prior to the deadline for responding to the question.
With regard to part (d), the date on which each written question was placed on the notice, as well as the date of the response, can be found in the Status of House Business section on the Parliament of Canada website. It should be noted that when a member of Parliament requests a response within 45 calendar days, the deadline for responding to the question is not established until the question is transferred to the order paper.
In the case of the 41st Parliament, 1st session, members are referred to: http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Pub=status&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=1&File=12.
In the case of the 41st Parliament, 2nd session, members are referred to: http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Pub=status&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=2&File=12.

Question No. 886--
Ms. Chrystia Freeland:
With regard to the log books for personal use of ministerial executive vehicles: for each fiscal year since 2011-2012, (a) what is the total number of entries for each executive vehicle; (b) what are the dates, time and length for each entry; (c) what is the trip description, if any, of each entry; (d) what is the identification, if available, of the family member or member of the household that was the driver for each entry; and (e) what is the total kilometres travelled for personal use?
Response
Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to parts (a) to (d) of the question, the Privy Council Office, or PCO, has no information in regard to logbooks for the personal use of ministerial executive vehicles for each fiscal year since 2011-12. When processing Parliamentary returns, the government applies the Privacy Act and the principles set out in the Access to Information Act. Information has been withheld that could compromise the security of government officials or family members.

Question No. 889--
Ms. Libby Davies:
With regard to Health Canada and drug shortages: (a) what is the compliance rate with the voluntary drug-shortage reporting recommendations; (b) what communications has the Department received from concerned health care providers, pharmacists, patients and caregivers related to drug shortages; and (c) what actions has the Department undertaken to respond to these concerns?
Response
Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the current voluntary drug shortage reporting system, which can be seen at www.drugshortages.ca, was launched by industry associations in March 2012 in response to calls from the Minister of Health. This industry-funded and administered reporting website enables drug manufacturers and importers to provide public notification of shortages and discontinuances. As of November 2014, over 1000 shortages and discontinuances have been publicly reported by drug companies on the website.
Timely, comprehensive, and reliable drug shortage information is critical to the health and safety of Canadians. Drug companies have been reminded on several occasions of the federal government’s expectation that they provide public notification of all drug shortages. Health Canada also publicly issues letters of non-compliance to drug companies that fail to provide notification of anticipated or actual drug shortages. These letters are posted publicly on Health Canada’s website as part of the department’s ongoing efforts to improve drug supplier transparency and accountability for drug shortages and discontinuances.
Health Canada’s efforts to address drug shortages, and to improve shortage notification in particular, benefits greatly from the direct involvement of key stakeholders, including health care providers, pharmacists, and patient groups. From May 2014 to July 2014, Health Canada led extensive consultations on the voluntary notification system and on whether a voluntary or mandatory notification approach would be appropriate and effective for Canadian patients and those who care for them. Direct input was received from the Canadian public and a broad range of stakeholders, including provinces and territories, patient and consumer advocates, health care professionals, regional health authorities, drug companies, group purchasing organizations, distributors, wholesalers, importers, and international counterparts. With consultations now complete, Health Canada is analyzing the findings and assessing options to improve drug shortage notification in Canada so that Canadians have access to the timely, comprehensive, and reliable information they need.
Health Canada co-chairs the multi-stakeholder steering committee on drug shortages, MSSC, with the Province of British Columbia. The MSSC brings together representatives from provincial and territorial governments, industry, group purchasing organizations, distributors, and health professional associations in support of a more rigorous and coordinated approach to drug shortages. This comprehensive and collaborative approach recognizes that all levels of government and all stakeholders across the health care system have important and distinct roles to play in response to drug shortages. Reflecting the input provided by health care providers, pharmacists, patients, and other key stakeholders, the MSSC has made considerable progress to date, including the enhanced coordination of actual shortages and the development of concrete tools such as the MSSC Protocol for the Notification and Communication of Drug Shortages and the MSSC Multi-Stakeholder Toolkit, announced in September 2013. The MSSC is building on this momentum while focusing on identifying underlying causes and the prevention of drug shortages
Health Canada will continue to work with all key stakeholders across the drug supply and health care system, including patient and caregiver groups, to advance concrete action on improving the communication, management, and prevention of drug shortages.
As has been consistently communicated, the government is open to a mandatory reporting system if needed, especially if it will benefit patients.

Question No. 891--
Hon. Stéphane Dion:
With regard to the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) advertisements: (a) how much money has been spent on these ads, broken down by (i) television, (ii) radio, (iii) internet; and (b) what are the internal tracking numbers of all documents, communications or briefing notes regarding the UCCB advertisements, broken down by (i) prior to the release of the ad, (ii) following the release of the ad?
Response
Mr. Andrew Saxton (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the UCCB component is part of a broader campaign that highlights various proposed benefits to help Canadian families keep money into their pockets, such as the new family tax cut, the doubling of the children’s fitness tax credit and the Increasing of the child care deduction. However, at this time the Department of Finance is not able to determine the final costs for the campaign, as all invoices have not yet been received, verified, and paid. All advertising costs will be published in the annual report on advertising, available at http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-eng.html.
With regard to (b)(i), prior to the release of the ad, the tracking number is ADV#1415-0040/ 1415 0167/1415-0176/1415-0208/1415-0200.
With regard to (b)(ii), following the release of the ad, the tracking number is not available.

Question No. 911--
Ms. Charmaine Borg:
With regard to property No. 06872 in the Directory of Federal Real Property, also known as the Old St-Maurice Firing Range: (a) has the Department of National Defence estimated the total cost of decontaminating site No. 00008471 in the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory; and (b) how much is the total cost of decontaminating the site identified in (a)?
Response
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the Department of National Defence has evaluated the cost for decontaminating site No. 00008471, located on property No. 06872.
With regard to (b), in processing Parliamentary returns, the government applies the principles set out in the Access to Information Act, and this information has been withheld on the grounds that the information is related to economic interests of Canada and of federal Institutions.

Question No. 915--
Mr. Marc Garneau:
With respect to Canada’s involvement in Iraq since September 2014: what are the direct costs, broken down by department or agency incurring the cost, which have been incurred, and are anticipated to be incurred by the end of the current fiscal year, relative to (a) the deployment of the Canadian Forces; (b) the deployment of Canadian F-18s; and (c) other costs?
Response
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, all elements, units, and organizations of the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces involved in Iraq are required to capture incremental costs and charge expenses related to their tasks in accordance with the published financial directives and to report results through the Department of National Defence’s financial review process.
The costs of a mission are available through the regular parliamentary process, including the publication of the annual departmental performance report or within 90 days following the end of the mission.
Cost estimates are dynamic and evolve with the refinement of planning and operational requirements. Estimates are updated regularly to support planning efforts and decision-making, and therefore any estimate provided would be inaccurate.

Question No. 919--
Ms. Judy Foote:
With respect to the Public Service Health Care Plan for pensioners: (a) how many plan members were or are members of (i) the federal public service, (ii) the RCMP, (iii) the Canadian Forces, (iv) the Veterans Affairs client group; and (b) what will the pensioner contribution rate be for single person supplementary coverage as of (i) April 1, 2014, (ii) April 1, 2015, (iii) April 1, 2016, (iv) April 1, 2017, (v) April 1, 2018?
Response
Hon. Tony Clement (President of the Treasury Board, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, in managing the federal benefit plans in a way that is affordable, sustainable, and fair for both plan members and Canadian taxpayers, the Government of Canada noted in Economic Action Plan 2013 that it would examine overall employee compensation and pensioner benefit with a view to aligning federal compensation with other public and private sector employers. The government worked with and consulted key stakeholders, including retiree representatives, with a resulting negotiated settlement reached with retiree representatives and federal public sector unions.
The government health care plan is a voluntary program that retirees can opt into. To have this choice is a privilege. The benefits of the plan are generous, with coverage included for hospital beds and therapeutic mattresses, hearing aids, psychological services, and $15,000 a year in nursing services. Retired employees may choose to join the government program or elect to join in any number of alternative benefit plans available to Canadians. It should be noted that the provision of health care benefits to retired workers is the exception in Canada, not the rule. Most public and private sector employers in Canada do not provide health care benefits to employees after retirement, as alternative plans are available.
Previously, the costs of the federal benefit plan were subsidized by Canadian taxpayers, with retirees paying 25% of the plan costs and Canadian taxpayers 75% of the costs. As a result of the negotiations, the costs of the voluntary supplemental plan will be split evenly between retirees and Canadian taxpayers. Canadian taxpayers should be aware of the health care benefits that they subsidize as part of the federal public servants’ retirement benefit package. It should be noted that this negotiated agreement does not apply to low-income pensioners, who will not be subject to the 50:50 cost-sharing measures.
With regard to (a), as of November 30, 2014, the following is the breakdown of Public Service Health Care Plan pensioner member participation: with regard to (a)(i), the federal public service, based on pensioners in receipt of a pension under the Public Service Superannuation Act: 205,843; with regard to (a)(ii), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, based on pensioners in receipt of a pension under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act): 16,171; with regard to (a)(iii), the Canadian Forces, based on pensioners in receipt of a pension under the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act: 80,469; with regard to (a)(iv), the Veterans Affairs client group: 2,179.
With regard to (b), the pensioner contribution rate for a single member with supplementary coverage can be found at: http://www.njc-cnm.gc.ca/directive/index.php?hl=1&lang=eng&merge=2&sid=87
An exception is that a new PSHCP pensioner supplementary relief rate will be introduced effective April 1, 2015, and will be available at the above-mentioned site on January 30, 2015. The new provision is only available to those pensioners enrolled in the PSHCP on or before March 31, 2015, and requires an application to be submitted to the pensioner’s respective pension office. Following receipt of an application, eligibility is contingent upon the pensioner being in receipt of a guaranteed income supplement, GIS, benefit or having a single or joint net income that is lower than the applicable GIS thresholds in effect on the date application is received.
The pensioner contribution rates for a single member approved for the supplementary relief provision effective April 1, 2015 will be available on January 30, 2015, at the above-mentioned site.
Contribution rates are calculated based on plan experience. As a result, the rates for (b)(iii), April 1, 2016, (b)(iv), April 1, 2017, and (b)(v), April 1, 2018, have not yet been determined. It is anticipated that the rates for April 1, 2016, will be established in early 2016. Similarly, it is anticipated that the rates for April 1, 2017, will be established in early 2017 and that the rates for April 1, 2018, will be established in early 2018.

Question No. 932--
Ms. Irene Mathyssen:
With regard to Employment and Social Development Canada: (a) what funding has been spent since January 2013, including the 2013 Budget and up to today, fulfilling the promise within the 2013 Speech from the Throne about providing seniors with access to information about government programs and services such as, but not limited to, Old Age Security, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the Allowance and the Allowance for a Survivor, Canada Pension Plan and, in each case, (i) what are the funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees provided, (ii) what is the monetary value of the funding, (iii) what is the location and organization or group given the funding, (iv) what is the specific purpose of the funding; (b) what oversight mechanism has been put in place to ensure funding in order to provide seniors increased access to information about the aforementioned programs; and (c) what detailed plans have been articulated in writing by the government to improve access to information about seniors’ programs for seniors who rely on door-to-door mail delivery, (i) what is the timeframe in which seniors will have increased information about seniors’ programs as a replacement for door-to-door delivery, (ii) what is the expected cost of any such plans, (iii) what input has the government received from seniors regarding their need to greater access to information on these programs?
Response
Mr. Scott Armstrong (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, ESDC is not in a position to respond to the question in a specific way within the time allotted. However, in general, ESDC is committed to providing seniors with information about government programs and services.
The department has implemented budget and Speech from the Throne commitments by taking a number of steps to improve seniors’ access to benefits. They include enhancing mobile services to better reach seniors where they live; ensuring clients have easier access to the information they need on the web, by phone, and in person through the Service Canada network; increasing the number of applications that are sent proactively to Canadians before they turn 65 of age; and reorganizing and rewriting the pension-related pages on the Service Canada website using a plain language perspective to better explain the retirement income system in Canada and improve access to the Canada pension plan, CPP, and the old age security, OAS, pensions and benefits.
Through inserts with tax slips for CPP or OAS benefits, we advise seniors on how to access information on the full range of benefits available to them. In 2013, we sent out 7.2 million tax inserts.
Between April 2013 and March 2014, Service Canada mobile outreach services delivered 1,774 information sessions to 22,490 senior citizens and caregivers, community groups, and service delivery partners across the country.
Service Canada also mails application forms for CPP and OAS benefits or the renewal of guaranteed income supplement, or GIS, and the allowances to many senior Canadians. In 2013-14, Service Canada mailed OAS application forms to approximately 250,000 individuals who recently turned 64 years old. A CPP retirement application was also included for individuals not yet in receipt of CPP Retirement benefits. An additional 10,000 CPP application forms were sent to individuals who recently turned 64 and were not in pay for CPP, but for whom an application for OAS had already been received. As well, 138,605 individuals received automatic enrolment letters instead of an application form. Most of these individuals will not need to apply for their OAS pension. Approximately 50,000 applications for the GIS and allowances were sent to individuals who may be eligible, based on Canada Revenue Agency income.
Service Canada has also introduced a landing page on the Internet devoted to content of particular interest to seniors at servicecanada.gc.ca. This page is continually updated with new information of interest to seniors.
In addition to the above, automatic enrolment of OAS beneficiaries using existing information on their CPP and Quebec pension plan began in April 2013 and was fully implemented in October 2013.
As of November 2014, Service Canada has sent automatic enrolment letters to notify individuals that they will be put into pay for their OAS benefit without having to apply. It is estimated that the first 130,000 of these individuals will have been put into pay at the age of 65 by the end of 2014-15.
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View Tony Clement Profile
CPC (ON)
View Tony Clement Profile
2015-01-26 15:34 [p.10627]
moved that the bill be read a third time and passed.
He said: It is always a pleasure to rise in the chamber to not only represent my department but also the people of Parry Sound—Muskoka. Our anniversary just came up for some of us. I am currently in my 10th year of representation at this point. I want to thank the people of Parry Sound—Muskoka for their confidence in me, but I want to talk about this legislation as well.
It is one of the first of its kind in the world. It will enshrine into law a rule that has been in place since April 2012 administratively in this government and it goes to our pledge to the people of Canada to continue to find ways to create new jobs, create growth, rebuild our economy, and create new opportunity. One of the ways we do that is by supporting small businesses in our communities and promoting small business growth throughout the country.
Our plan to reduce the administrative burden will of course help us achieve these objectives.
What would the bill do? Quite simply, when a new regulation that imposes an administrative burden is introduced, the law would require that another one be repealed. I think what we do is unprecedented in these kinds of operations around the world. Specifically, we monetize the value of the administrative burden and then declare that the monetary value be offset by other regulatory changes. I believe this enhances transparency and accountability. We further do so in an annual report that reports on the implementation.
However, it is important to note what the bill would not do. It would not compromise public health, public safety, or the efficient operation of the Canadian economy.
Some may ask why reducing red tape matters. Well, red tape gets in the way of jobs and growth and improving Canadians' lives. Complying with the information obligation of twelve of the most common federal, provincial, and municipal regulations in five sectors of the economy works out to a total cost of $1.1 billion per year for our small businesses. On average, the annual time per small business establishment to comply with legislative tax requirements was 15 hours, at an annual cost of $1,724 to these small businesses. This is a hidden tax that hits the little guy or gal hardest.
It is four years now since we launched the Red Tape Reduction Commission. We asked how red tape was killing jobs and we asked for recommendations on how to fix these problems. This commission went coast to coast. We had 15 round tables in 13 cities, with over 200 participants, along with online consultations and a dedicated website. We heard that Canadians needed one for one, and they needed what became known as the red tape reduction action plan.
We introduced this regulation as a pilot project in April 2012. It has reduced the administrative burden by $24 million and achieved a net reduction of 20 regulations.
To give an example, we changed the Corporations Returns Act to collect financial and ownership information on corporations doing business in Canada. Now only corporations with revenues of more than $200 million, assets of over $600 million, or foreign debt and equity over $1 million will have to report financial and ownership information. There are 32,000 businesses that will no longer be required to file this complex government return. This one change saves our small businesses $1.2 million per year.
Here is another example: Health Canada has reduced its red tape by amending regulations in order to allow regulated pharmacy technicians to oversee the transfer of prescriptions from one pharmacy to another, a task that was previously restricted to pharmacists. This enables pharmacists to focus more of their time on direct patient care and on running their business.
This initiative has cut red tape by $15 million a year.
We also changed amendments for Northwest Territories and Nunavut Mining Regulations. We have simplified the licensing, we have encouraged holders of mineral claims towards development, and we have modernized the tenure system in this regard, which has saved over $600,000. Examples of successes like these are going to save almost 100,000 hours of wading through red tape per year.
I should mention that I am here as the President of the Treasury Board. It is the Treasury Board that in fact enforces this rule, and we have indeed ensured compliance.
What are the next steps?
It is time to take this highly successful pilot project and enshrine it in law.
We committed to this, I should add, in our Speech to the Throne, and that is why the bill is here in the House.
What is the message that we are sending by supporting this bill? What are we saying about Canada? We are saying that Canada is open for business. We are saying that we are on the side of job creators, and we are saying that government is committed to protecting Canadian businesses and employees and to growing the economy.
I will read into the record, if I might, some commentary on this bill, starting with Laura Jones, who is the vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. She stated:
The federal government is showing tremendous leadership in implementing its ambitious red tape reforms. Wrestling with reducing red tape requires the ‘stick-to-itiveness’ and political leadership that we are seeing from Ottawa. It’s heartening that the messages that we are getting from the Prime Minister, [myself], and their colleagues that they are in this for the long haul.
Then there is Kevin Dancey, president and CEO of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, who stated:
We applaud the federal government's early accomplishments in reducing red tape barriers faced by Canadian entrepreneurs and business owners. The government's reiterated commitment to a sustained approach over the long-term is encouraging. A persistent approach is the remedy required to identify and develop solutions to effectively reduce the compliance burdens and associated costs faced by Canada's business community.
Also, there is Helen Long, president of the Canadian Health Food Association, who stated:
The government’s focus on the reduction of red tape has already made an important impact on our and many other industries.... CHFA and its members stand ready to support the government in its efforts to further reduce the red tape burden on Canadian business, and to allow them to focus on innovation and job creation instead of administration.
Finally, Carole Presseault, regulatory affairs, CGA Canada, stated:
These measures should give Canada’s small and medium businesses more time to focus on growth, innovation and job creation.
That is exactly the point. We want small businesses to focus on growth, jobs, and innovation in our economy.
I want to talk very briefly about the small business lens.
Introducing a small business lens to regulatory creation is part and parcel of this bill as well. Businesses that represent over 40% of Canada's private sector GDP and almost 50% of all jobs in the private sector have requested that when we look at regulation, we take the time to look at it from the point of view of the small business. How will the proposed regulation affect them and their ability to operate, innovate, and create new jobs?
Therefore, we have this is as part of the rules in our law as well. This will happen, this small business lens, when a regulatory change imposes over $1 million in annual nationwide costs and has an impact on at least one small business. That is the test.
Now, as a result, regulators will have to ask themselves if the information we are asking these small businesses for is already being collected by another government department. As a former small business owner myself, I can say that nothing drives one crazier than filling out a form in triplicate from one level of government or one government department and then, the next day, getting another form asking the same questions. We heard that from small businesses. I remember it well when I operated my own small business.
Therefore, we are demanding that regulators at Treasury Board know what is already being collected by another government department so that we do not have to overburden our small businesses, and we want this in the law if it is passed by this House.
Here is another question. Is there another way to regulate that would be less burdensome, rather than automatically saying, “We've got a problem.” We hear this all the time in Ottawa: “Folks, we've got a problem. We've got to solve a problem. How are we going to solve the problem?” The constant advice we get is, “Well, if we just pass this regulation, we would solve the problem.”
Maybe there is another way to solve the problem. Maybe there are other ways, if we use our noggins a bit, that we can solve the problem without overregulating our small businesses.
The third question is, are we communicating in plain language? I hear time and again from small businesses that understanding what government is asking of them is sometimes very difficult, so if there is going to be a burden, we want to let the burden be on the bureaucracy, on the regulators, to actually speak in plain language so that people can understand what they say.
This is part of a 20-point small business checklist that regulators would have to fill out and publish and have signed by the minister responsible as part of their package to Treasury Board before Treasury Board would consider whether this regulation was the right thing to do. Of course, this would mean greater transparency as well.
Very briefly, here are some other changes.
Service standards for 24 high-volume regulatory authorizations have been created, covering more than 60,000 transactions with businesses each year. There would be 32 departmental forward regulatory plans to let small businesses know what is coming around the corner. They would publish these forward plans so that small business has either the time to adapt or the time to react and say to government, “You know what? We understand what you're trying to do here. We agree that something has to be done, but maybe there's a better way to deal with it that doesn't involve, always, further regulating small businesses.”
Then there is the annual scorecard.
I released the first and second annual scorecard on the red tape reduction action plan so Canadians can see just how much progress we are making. The scorecard is independently vetted by a regulatory advisory committee.
In conclusion, let me put it this way: low taxes, less red tape, more growth, more prosperity, balanced budgets, safe streets and communities, and a belief that this is the best country in the world in which to live and in which to do business. That is our aspiration and that is our record, but we want to move forward as well.
View John Carmichael Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Carmichael Profile
2014-09-15 12:23 [p.7250]
Mr. Speaker, I stand to speak on the importance of the government's one-for-one rule. I want to thank the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture for sharing his time with me on this important legislation, which we are seeking to enshrine in law through this bill today.
For anyone not familiar with it, the one-for-one rule places strict controls on the growth of regulatory red tape on businesses. The one-for-one rule is part of a package of system-wide reforms to Canada's federal regulatory system that we promised to implement when we released our action plan in October 2012. Actually, the one-for-one rule came into effect earlier than our action plan; it came into effect on April 1, 2012.
As the President of the Treasury Board said when announcing the one-for-one legislation, this rule is helping to create the conditions for economic growth by increasing Canadian competitiveness and reducing roadblocks to business innovation. I would add that the legislation before us will make these conditions the law of the land.
I will take a moment to describe how the one-for-one rule came about. As members may recall, in economic action plan 2010, our government committed to reducing regulatory red tape in order to improve the ability of businesses and entrepreneurs to respond to emerging growth opportunities and create jobs. To do this, we created the Red Tape Reduction Commission, which was chaired by the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture.
The commission's mandate was twofold. First, it was to identify irritants to business that stem from federal regulatory requirements and review how those requirements are administered to reduce the compliance burden on businesses, especially small business. The focus, incidentally, was to be on irritants that have a clear detrimental effect to growth, competitiveness, and innovation. Second, it was to recommend options that address the irritants, and control and reduce the compliance burden on a long-term basis.
The commission held consultations with businesses and Canadians, both in person and online, to hear their concerns with excessive red tape and how it was hampering their business. Their very consultations took place in ridings and constituencies across this country, including one in my own constituency of Don Valley West.
As a result of these consultations, the commission recommended a combination of system-wide reforms and targeted actions. The one-for-one rule is one of the reforms that came out of that process. As I mentioned, it controls the cost of the administrative burden borne by businesses, particularly small businesses, and it does it in two ways. First, under the one-for-one rule, regulators have 24 months to offset any increase in the cost of the administrative burden resulting from a regulatory change with an equal cost reduction from existing regulations. Second, it requires that a regulation be taken off the books whenever a new regulation that adds an administrative burden cost is introduced. In this way, the rule controls both the cost of the administrative burden and the actual number of regulations that businesses have to deal with. It works.
During its first year of implementation, the one-for-one rule provided a successful system-wide control on regulatory red tape impacting businesses. What is more, as of June 16, 2014, under the one-for-one rule, the government had reduced administrative burden by over $20 million and achieved a net reduction of 19 regulations. We are confident that that trend towards savings will continue, and in fact it must continue.
Let me give a real-life example of the one-for-one rule in action. Last January, we announced a proposal to change the Food and Drug Regulations to allow regulated pharmacy technicians to oversee the transfer of prescriptions from one pharmacy to another, a task formerly restricted to pharmacists alone, and to complete associated paperwork. Pharmacists can now spend more time providing advice to and serving customers, and less time at their desks doing paperwork.
As a result, pharmacies across Canada will start to reduce their administrative burdens this year, resulting in annual savings of some $15 million by 2018.
Another reform we have made has lifted the threshold of corporations reporting financial and ownership information under the Corporations Returns Act. As a result, more than 32,000 businesses no longer need to file a complex government return. This change is expected to reduce the administrative burden by about $1.2 million a year.
The one-for-one rule and our other red tape reduction efforts are bearing fruit. They are increasing Canadian competitiveness, freeing businesses to innovate, invest, grow, and create jobs, and enhancing Canada's reputation as one of the best places in the world in which to do business and to invest.
In fact, in Bloomberg's most recent ranking of the best countries in the world for doing business, Canada placed second, just behind Hong Kong and ahead of the United States. By following through on our action plan commitments, our government is doing the hard work required to cement this reputation.
Our top priority is to create economic growth and jobs in Canada, and one of the most important ways we can do this is by maintaining high productivity.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2004, gross domestic product per person in Canada was almost 300% higher than in 1961, with labour productivity accounting for 80% of that remarkable increase.
It is a key responsibility of government to set the conditions in which this productivity can continue to grow. Every effort must be made to increase the competitiveness of our firms and enable them to compete for markets. That is why reforming our federal regulatory system with measures like the one-for-one rule is crucial. It is the way to create the right climate for small businesses to grow and succeed in Canada, particularly in a time of global economic uncertainty. It is the way forward.
What is more, it comes on top of a series of measures we have taken to help businesses thrive. We have gone from one of the highest marginal effective tax rates on business to among the lowest. We have lowered taxes 150 times since taking office, reducing taxes for Canadian businesses from 22% in 2007, to 15% in 2012.
As a result, Canada today has the confidence of the world's investors. We intend to keep that confidence level high with measures like this one-for-one rule legislation, which shows Canada is serious about competing with the rest of the world.
Enshrining the one-for-one rule in law shows how much we believe in Canadians. We know our people can compete with the best in the world when they are not stifled with unnecessary bureaucratic red tape.
That is why we are showing our faith in Canadians by giving the one-for-one rule the force of law, and that is why I am asking the hon. members of this House to vote for this legislation and vote for Canadians.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
View Joe Preston Profile
2014-01-31 11:54 [p.2423]
Mr. Speaker, small business owners in my riding have been telling me how happy they are that our government is standing up for them by legislating on the one-for-one rule.
I understand that the rule has been in place less formally for the past year. I hope that the parliamentary secretary can give us some examples of how the rule has worked for us in this past year.
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2014-01-31 11:54 [p.2423]
Mr. Speaker, it is a great question and I am happy to answer for the hon. member.
On this side of the House, we are proud to have heard and listened to the calls of Canadian business owners. Here is a concrete example of how we have helped. The one-for-one rule has resulted in allowing pharmacy technicians to transfer drugs to other pharmacies, a practice previously restricted only to pharmacists. This has enabled pharmacists to spend more time providing service and advice to customers while saving them $15 million.
Contrast that to the Liberal leader. It seems that the only drug transfers that he would make more effective are the ones sold by dangerous—
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)

Question No. 1229--
Mr. Ted Opitz:
With regard to passport services, what would it cost the government, on an annual basis, to provide free passport services to veterans as defined in subsection 2(1) of the War Veterans Allowance Act, their spouses or common-law partners and to members of the RCMP and their spouses or common-law partners?
Response
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, although Passport Canada is unable to estimate the financial impact of providing free passport services to veterans and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police together with their spouses or common-law partners, it is expected that the loss of revenue would be significant.
As a cost-recovery agency, Passport Canada does not receive an annual parliamentary appropriation and finances its operations entirely on the fees charged for passports and other travel documents. In effect, the Canadian passport program is funded by applicants, not taxpayers.
For this reason, lost revenues would need to be subsidized by means of an increase to the adult and child passport fees for other applications. In order to evaluate the precise impact of such a decision, Passport Canada would need to undertake an 18- to 24-month consultation process, in accordance with the User Fees Act.

Question No. 1231--
Mr. Ted Opitz:
With regard to the development of affordable housing for Canadians, what would it cost the government, on an annual basis, to exempt affordable rental and non-profit housing from the Goods and Services Tax?
Response
Hon. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, residential rents are already exempt under the GST, meaning that the GST is not charged on residential rents paid by tenants. The Tax Expenditures and Evaluations 2012 report indicates that the exemption for residential rent reduced government revenues by about $1.3 billion in 2012.
Qualifying non-profit organizations, or NPOs—i.e., non-profit organizations that receive at least 40% of their total revenue through government funding or charities—are entitled to recover 50% of the GST they pay in respect of certain types of housing. This situation occurs when more than 10% of the residential units in the housing complex are intended for certain groups, such as seniors, youths, students, individuals with a disability, individuals in distress or in need of assistance, or individuals whose eligibility for occupancy or rent amount is dependent on a means or income test.
When charities or qualifying NPOs submit rebate claims for GST paid to the Canada Revenue Agency, they are not required to provide any information on the purchases that gave rise to the rebate entitlement. They just claim a rebate for 50% of the GST they paid on eligible purchases. Therefore, data are not sufficiently detailed to provide for the determination of the portion of the existing rebate that relates to this type of housing. While the value of the total rebate for charities and qualifying NPOs is known and was $355 million in 2012, there is no way to know what portion is attributable to housing for the underprivileged.
Depending on how affordable rental or non-profit housing is defined, providing full GST relief could result in substantial additional fiscal cost to the Government of Canada.

Question No. 1233--
Mr. Randy Hoback:
With regard to the passport services set out in the schedule of the Passport Services Fees Regulations, what would it cost the government, on an annual basis, to charge those 65 years of age or more, 50% of the fee set out in column 2 for the services set out in column 1?
Response
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, Passport Canada estimates that charging those 65 years of age or more 50% of the fee for passport services could result in a loss of $225 million in revenue over a four year period. In the event of an increase in the proportion of Canadians over the age of 65 or an increase in demand from that portion of the population, this number could rise.
As a cost-recovery agency, Passport Canada does not receive an annual parliamentary appropriation and finances its operations entirely on the fees charged for passports and other travel documents. In effect, the Canadian passport program is funded by applicants, not taxpayers.
For this reason, lost revenues would need to be subsidized by means of an increase to the adult and child passport fees for other applications. In order to evaluate the precise impact of such a decision, Passport Canada would need to undertake an 18- to 24-month consultation process in accordance with the User Fees Act.

Question No. 1234--
Mr. Randy Hoback:
With regard to services provided for new Canadians, what would it cost the government, on annual basis, to reopen 19 local Citizen and Immigration Offices throughout Canada and reverse any reduction in staff at the central call centre?
Response
Mr. Rick Dykstra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the loss in savings would be $5.2 million annually, starting in 2014-15.
There are no reductions in the staff at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada call centre.

Question No. 1235--
Mr. Randy Hoback:
With regard to protected persons, refugee claimants and other individuals not eligible for provincial health insurance, what would it cost the government, on an annual basis, to reverse any changes to the Interim Federal Health Program that took effect on June 30, 2012?
Response
Mr. Rick Dykstra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with the changes to the interim federal health program, the government expects to save approximately $100 million over the next five years. If the changes were reversed, the government would lose these savings.

Question No. 1237--
Mrs. Kelly Block:
With regard to the Good and Services Tax, what would it cost the government, on an annual basis, to add to Part II of schedule VI of the Excise Tax Act, regarding zero-rated supplies, a supply of batteries purchased at a pharmacy or retail store that includes a pharmacy and is installed by a person employed by the pharmacy or is purchased from and installed by a medical practitioner, for a medical and assistive device described in Part II of schedule VI of the Excise Tax Act?
Response
Mrs. Shelly Glover (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, relief from the Goods and Services Tax, GST, is provided for certain medical devices that are specially designed to assist an individual. To ensure that the benefits of this relief are targeted to individuals in need of assistance, the approach has been to relieve only those items that are designed to be purchased and used by individuals with a chronic illness or disease or a disability. Parts, accessories or attachments that are specially designed for use with tax-free medical devices are also eligible for GST relief.
As part of this relief, batteries that are specially designed for use with a tax-free medical device are eligible to be acquired GST-free, as has been the case since the GST was established in 1991. General purpose batteries have many potential uses and are not considered to be specially designed parts, accessories or attachments for tax-free medical devices. As a result, general purpose batteries do not qualify for this GST relief.
There is no information of sufficient detail on use of general purpose batteries in medical and assistive devices and their costs. Accordingly, there are no data that would allow for reliably determining the cost to the government of zero-rating these goods.
Specifically, the Department of Finance does not have information on the types and numbers of batteries that would be purchased for use in medical devices. Further, the prices of batteries that can be used in medical devices can range from a few dollars for an AA battery to potentially hundreds of dollars for larger-capacity batteries similar to car batteries. As a result, there is no feasible way to estimate the cost of this proposal and its impact on the government’s fiscal framework.

Question No. 1241--
Mr. François Choquette:
With regard to the chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing and shale gas extraction: (a) what chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing and shale gas extraction in Canada or the United States that are being evaluated or will be evaluated by Environment Canada are not on the Domestic Substances List (DSL); (b) of the chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing and shale gas extraction in Canada or the United States that are being evaluated or will be evaluated by Environment Canada, which ones are substances subject to the provisions on significant new activities under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999; (c) what chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing and shale gas extraction in Canada or the United States that are being evaluated or will be evaluated by Environment Canada have been added or will be added to the DSL; and (d) are any of the chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing and shale gas extraction in Canada and/or the United States that are being evaluated or will be evaluated by Environment Canada identified as persistent organic pollutants under the Stockholm Convention of 2004 and, (i) if yes, what are they, (ii) what is Environment Canada doing to comply with the Stockholm Convention?
Response
Hon. Peter Kent (Minister of the Environment, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, petroleum drilling and production primarily falls under provincial jurisdiction, except on federal land. Environment Canada has the authority to regulate the environmental impacts of oil and gas development throughout Canada. Environment Canada’s role and authorities in relation to pollution prevention and habitat protection are provided for in a number of statutes, in particular the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, known as CEPA 1999, and the Fisheries Act.
Environment Canada has a number of initiatives under way toward gaining a better understanding of the substances used in hydraulic fracturing fluid and the potential environmental risks associated with the hydraulic fracturing process. At this time, the department is working with industry to confirm the identity of chemicals that are used in hydraulic fracturing in Canada. Once the department obtains this information, it will be in a better position to conduct detailed and targeted analyses based on the chemicals that have been reported. Results of these analyses will serve as a basis to determine whether further action is required from an environmental protection and/or human health perspective.
In the meantime, substances not on the domestic substances list continue to be subject to notification and assessment under the New Substance Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers) under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
Of the more than 17,000 new substances notifications received since 1994, approximately 30 notifications have been received for substances potentially used for hydraulic fracturing in Canada, although this potential use was not always specified in the information provided. None of these substances are identified as persistent organic pollutants. Canada is committed to upholding the Stockholm convention.
Of these approximately 30 notifications, there have been three substances that have had a ministerial condition imposed on them that restricts the manner in which the substance can be disposed of. Details may be found at http://canadagazette.gc.ca/archives/p1/2005/2005-02-26/html/notice-avis-eng.html, http://canadagazette.gc.ca/archives/p1/2006/2006-04-15/html/notice-avis-eng.html and http://canadagazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2008/2008-10-04/html/notice-avis-eng.html.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my seatmate, the member for Newmarket—Aurora.
I will begin my remarks on Bill C-38, the jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act, by reminding the House about the excellent progress we have seen as a result of the government's leadership on the economy in recent months.
We saw record levels of job growth in March and April. The latest figures show that we are continuing to build upon those important gains. I have to say that number because it is so important: 760,000 net new jobs since July 2009.
Because we know it is an important priority of Canadians, our government remains focused on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. A strong economy is central to ensuring that our country continues to thrive and also allows all levels of government to provide the services that Canadians rely upon.
We also understand the importance of a fair and equitable tax system. That is why the bill includes a number of important measures to improve on certain tax credits and other issues. Overall, these measures would improve access to some important tax programs, leaving more money in Canadians' pockets so they can spend according to their needs. We think that Canadians know best and that is why we are working to support them and their families.
Some of the important tax changes from Bill C-38 are meant to improve access to medical supplies. The medical expense tax credit would be expanded to include blood coagulation monitors and their disposable peripherals so that Canadians who require these devices can access them at lower costs.
The Excise Tax Act would also be amended to expand the list of HST exempt non-prescription drugs that are used to treat life-threatening diseases. Certain pharmacists' services would also be exempted from HST in order to support Canadians in accessing these important medical supports.
As stated by its past president, Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull, during the finance committee's study of the bill, the Canadian Medical Association feels that these were very positive measures. I am confident that Canadians will agree. I am happy to inform the House of these important steps to ensure the tax system better reflects the evolving nature of the health sector and, of course, health care needs of Canadians.
Recognizing the importance of savings to both individuals and to the overall economy, our government has further put in place measures to make it easier for Canadians with disabilities to access registered disability savings plans. Our Conservative government was proud to put in place this important savings tool in 2007 and committed to a thorough review last year. Based on feedback from over 200 individuals and organizations, we are now acting to ensure that the program continues to meet the needs of Canadians with severe disabilities and their families.
The jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act would introduce a temporary measure to allow certain family members to open an RDSP for an adult who is unable to enter into contracts. It is important that all disabled Canadians can access the benefits of this program. We are taking steps to ensure that those who might need the support of family members to sign up can do so.
As we heard from Vangelis Nikias of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities during his testimony at the finance committee, the RDSP has been a successful program for families. I am proud that the bill would ensure its continued success for many years to come.
Another important measure in the bill recognizes the good work done by Canada's charitable sector. One specific change would allow certain literacy organizations to claim a rebate on the GST paid on the acquisition of books that will be given away for free. Education and literacy are key to our knowledge-driven economy, so I am happy to see these measures included.
I would also like to note that some of these books affected would undoubtedly deal with financial issues. So, hopefully, this measure would build nicely on the fine work of my colleague, the member for Edmonton—Leduc, and his efforts on financial literacy with Motion No. 269.
Further measures would increase accountability and transparency for charities. We understand that charities do great work in our country and we encourage Canadians to donate generously. However, we also understand that, when Canadians donate to charities, they want to know that their donation is actually being used for its intended purpose. The measures announced in the budget would provide more education to charities to ensure they are operating within the law and more transparency for those Canadians who donate so generously. In order to protect these important donations, we have a duty to ensure that Canadian charities are operating in compliance with federal law.
As there may have been some attention to this measure, one thing should be clarified. The rules for charitable activity are long-standing and are not being changed. We are simply taking action so that Canadians can be sure that charities are using their resources appropriately.
In addition to ensuring that our tax benefits are accessible for Canadians in supporting the charitable sector, the bill also makes important improvements to support the fishing industry.
As far back as I can remember, there have been significant concerns regarding the regulatory and legislative focus that had our protection officers buried in mounds of paperwork that often had little or no impact on the protection of fish habitat. Having to arbitrate dock locations among cottagers or travel great distances to meet with municipalities regarding a drainage ditch was part of the regulatory requirements, all the while we continued to see a dwindling of salmon returns and significant concerns about this important resource. We believe that efforts should be focused on where they will be most effective.
I will give another example. Tobiano in my riding was an important development. All approvals were in place, including DFO approval, when it was determined that a minor modification to the marina location was required. The current legislation required that the entire approval process had to begin again. In this case it caused a very significant delay and likely had critical impact on the timing of the project and, ultimately, decisions by the capital investors. Again, a very minor change created a significant and undue negative impact.
The bill proposes to amend the Fisheries Act to more effectively manage those activities that pose the greatest threats to fish. The amendments provide additional clarity for the authorization of serious harm to fish and of deposits of deleterious substances. The amendments would allow the minister to enter into agreements with provinces and other bodies, provide for control and management of invasive species and, most important, clarify and expand the powers of inspectors. These are changes that would enhance our ability to focus and protect this most important resource.
In addition to the measures I have talked about already, I want to talk briefly about health care and health care transfers because this is something near and dear to my heart. Being involved in the health care sector in the nineties, I saw first-hand how much damage was done to the communities by those reckless Liberal cuts. We made a commitment that we would get back to balanced budgets without impacting transfers to the provinces. We have taken a very responsible approach. We understand that we all use the same health care system. We want a strong health care system and we want it to be there for our families when we need it.
For my province of B.C., the health transfer this year will reach over $4 billion for the first time. That represents an increase of over $1.2 billion since our government was first elected.
Across the country, health transfers have increased by over 40% since our government took office. This significant funding increase has gone a long way to help offset the damage done by the previous government. It also represents the highest level of funding the federal government has ever provided to support the provinces and territories in the delivery of health care. We are extremely proud of that accomplishment.
Going forward, our new funding formula will ensure that all provinces can continue to rely on strong and stable increases to health transfers and that these transfers will always keep pace with growth in the economy.
With so many positive measures in the budget bill, I am proud to have this opportunity to speak in support of it. I was also happy to have had the opportunity to take part in its thorough review at finance committee where we had an unprecedented amount of time to hear from expert witnesses and officials.
Whether its continued health transfer growth, support for our fisheries sector, more transparency for charities or increased access to tax benefits, I think most Canadians would agree that this bill does an excellent job of addressing their priorities. It is for this reason I will be happy to vote in support of the jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act.
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to discuss some of the provisions in Bill C-38, the jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act, and to explain why we must not let the New Democrats and the other opposition parties delay its passage.
As the Conservative government said very clearly, since 2006, our focus has been on the economy. As we have all noticed, we are on the right track in terms of jobs and growth. In many ways, Canada has done well despite the global uncertainty. For example, almost 760,000 jobs have been created since July 2009. That is the strongest job creation record in the G7.
The IMF and OECD both project that Canada will have among the strongest growth in the G7. For the fourth straight year, the World Economic Forum rated our banking system the world's best. Forbes magazine ranked Canada as the best place for businesses to grow and create jobs. Canada also has the best fiscal position in the G7 by far. Canada also has the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G7.
In the words of respected financial analyst and commentator, Camilla Sutton, of Scotiabank, “the long-term story for Canada on a relative basis is still a very, very good one. There's very few other places I'd rather be than Canada...when it comes to these uncertain times, Canada holds its own and shines”.
However, we all know that global economic recovery remains fragile, especially in Europe. That is why we are focused on jobs, the economy and implementing economic action plan 2012 through Bill C-38. As successful as our past has been, we must stay focused on the present and the future. The economy must remain at the forefront of our priorities. It is the right thing to do.
The well-being of Canadians depends on a healthy economy. The well-being of my constituents of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell depends on a healthy economy.
A strong economy makes it possible for all Canadians to benefit from growth and long-term prosperity. By making sensible and responsible decisions today, we will provide everyone with a better standard of living tomorrow.
That is the goal that the Conservative government has set for itself with this bill. And that is why it is so important to move forward with this bill today, and not allow the New Democrats and the other opposition parties to delay its passage with their stalling tactics.
In my remarks today, I would like to focus on a few of the measures in Bill C-38 that would help strengthen Canada's housing sector.
The housing sector is one of the most important pieces of our economy. In my riding, certain towns like Clarence-Rockland have seen tremendous growth. Local businesses are benefiting. The local economy is benefiting. For that to continue, there is a real need for new families to choose housing in these communities. We can all agree that the housing market requires ongoing stability and close monitoring.
For most Canadian families, the biggest investment we make in our lifetimes is the purchase of a home. Families will not buy if they think the housing market is unstable. Ensuring that such an investment is secure is the responsible thing to do. That is why our government regularly monitors housing finance risks and takes action when necessary.
For example, we have adjusted the rules for government-backed insured mortgages recently on multiple occasions. In addition, in June 2011, Parliament approved legislation to formalize arrangements with private mortgage insurers and Canada Mortgage and Housing, CMHC, in an effort to better manage risks arising from the mortgage insurance sector.
Now, as part of the Conservative government's ongoing efforts to strengthen the mortgage sector, we are proposing amendments in today's bill that will reinforce supervision of CMHC and guarantee that its commercial activities are managed with a view to promoting the stability of the financial system.
Specifically, the amendments include the following: an additional objective for CMHC of ensuring that its commercial activities promote and contribute to the stability of the financial system, including the housing market; legislative and regulatory powers given to the Minister of Finance in respect of CMHC's securitization programs; powers given to the Superintendent of Financial Institutions to review and monitor the safety and soundness of CMHC's commercial activities and to report to the CMHC board of directors and HRSDC; and the addition of the deputy minister of human resources and skills development and the deputy minister of finance as ex-officio members of CMHC's board of directors.
We believe these amendments would contribute to the long-term stability of the housing market and would benefit all Canadians. We have heard a great deal of positive reaction.
Louis Gagnon, a professor at Queen's University, stated:
I believe that the federal government's plan to bring CMHC under the direct supervision of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is long overdue.
OSFI is responsible for the oversight of insurance companies and it only makes sense to bring CMHC under its purview, since CMHC is the most systematically important insurance entity in the land and also the most vulnerable one.
This is what the respected Finn Poschmann, vice-president of the C.D. Howe Institute, said:
...the legislation will require at least annual inspections from OSFI, with reports to the board and the responsible ministers. Formalizing the requirement in legislation could do wonders for reporting and accountability, and will help the board and management reassure themselves that CMHC is carrying out its activities...“in a safe and sound manner … with due regard to its exposure to loss.” This is good....
Before concluding, I will turn my attention to the health sector where we are proposing changes to the tax treatment of certain health related goods and services. Health care is very important to the people of my riding, as it is to people across Canada. As a father of five children, I know very well how easily the costs add up when someone is affected by illness. The more our government can do to alleviate these costs during these stressful periods the better.
These changes will better reflect the changing nature of the health sector and will acknowledge the impact of the expenses related to health and disability that Canadians encounter for their own care or that of their loved ones.
For example, we are proposing to remove the GST from the professional services of pharmacists beyond those related to dispensing prescription drugs, which are already tax exempt.
We also propose to expand the list of health care professionals who can order certain medical and assistive devices that are zero rated under the GST. This reflects the increasing involvement of health care professionals, such as nurses, in giving orders for these devices. We also propose to expand the list of GST zero rated medical and assistive devices and the list of expenses an individual may claim for income tax purposes under the medical expense tax credit.
These measures represent a simple, thoughtful and appropriate way to ensure that our tax system remains fair and up to date.
I note that during the finance committee's study of today's act, the Canadian Medical Association voiced its support for the measures that I have just mentioned.
Today's act would accomplish a great deal for Canadians and it contains a host of other measures that deserve my colleagues' attention. As an example, today's act would take the first step toward making important improvements to the registered disability savings plan, or RDSP, by allowing spouses, common-law partners and parents to establish an RDSP for adult individuals who might not be able to enter into a contract themselves.
It has been my pleasure to highlight some of the key measures recently proposed by the Conservative government to keep the country on the path to growth and prosperity.
Now it is important that we work together and continue to co-operate for the good of Canada and Canadians. The measures in today's bill are necessary and will have lasting benefits.
View Candice Hoeppner Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Hoeppner Profile
2012-06-11 22:09 [p.9209]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate so much this opportunity to highlight some of the very important initiatives in the jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act, and to underline why we cannot let the NDP and the opposition more generally delay and defeat this important legislation.
Over the last few weeks we have seen the extreme left-wing ideology of the opposition members, not only in terms of their negative attitude toward such an important industry in Canada as our energy sector, but also most recently in the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition, as well as the leader of the third party, in their ridiculous idea of pumping millions and billions of dollars of good money after bad into Europe. Canadians are seeing the reality and the left-wing socialist ideology behind both opposition parties.
Let me begin by reassuring Canadians that unlike the NDP opposition, our Conservative government is focused on the economy, jobs and growth. While the opposition is looking at delay and conducting partisan games, we are focused on implementing economic policies that increase the prosperity and the well-being of Canadians.
Let me quote a recent Toronto Sun editorial for the benefit of the House. This is about what Canadians are saying about the NDP and the opposition delaying tactics. It states: “As Europe stands poised on the brink of a disastrous economic wildfire that could blacken the world, NDP leader['s] hypocrisy and self-obsession is in full flame....vowing to delay the passing of [the budget] by playing silly...with amendments and procedure.... This is nothing but grandstanding.... Right now, there is only one enemy in our fight to protect Canada from the repercussions of Europe's burning. And it's [the NDP leader].... This is inarguable.”
Indeed, since 2006, our government has supported the security and prosperity of Canadians and promoted business and investment to create jobs. When the global financial and economic crisis struck, these underlying strengths helped Canada to avoid a deep and long-lasting recession. Our government's sound fiscal position prior to the crisis provided the flexibility to launch the stimulus phase of Canada's economic action plan, which was timely, targeted and temporary in order to have maximum impact. This plan was one of the strongest responses to the global recession among the Group of Seven countries. The broad-based business tax reductions are reducing the costs of operating in Canada, making investment here more attractive, thereby encouraging firms to invest more in all sectors of the Canadian economy. This is increasing wages, creating jobs and raising the standard of living for Canadians. Along with our strong fiscal position, the solid banking system, and sound monetary policy, we believe that this approach to encouraging investment is the best way to improve the productivity of our businesses and indeed the prosperity of all Canadians.
However, we also have been clear. We believe that all Canadians should pay their fair share of taxes and not use loopholes to avoid their taxes. That is why our government has closed over 40 tax loopholes in recent years to improve the fairness and integrity of the tax system. The jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act takes further action on this front by modifying the penalty for making unreported tax shelter sales, to better match the penalty to the purported tax savings of the unreported tax shelter.
We understand that taxpayers willingly and honestly provide a portion of their hard-earned income to fund health care, social programs and other vital services that benefit all Canadians, demanding only in return that governments manage their tax dollars wisely and that their taxes be kept low. For our government, this is a solemn responsibility that we take very seriously. We understand fully that sustaining a voluntary tax system rests on the foundation of tax fairness.
In that context, and as part of the jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act, I would like to spotlight the improvements that we are making to enhancing transparency and accountability for charities. I think I can speak on behalf of my riding of Portage—Lisgar as one of the highest givers to charities. It is also one of the strongest Conservative ridings in the country, voting with a 76% plurality. It is quite interesting that in a very strong Conservative riding, Conservatives are willing to give back and willing to give to charity. They are not looking to the government and they are not looking to taxpayers to give to charities: they take out of their own pocketbooks. I would challenge socialists and NDPers to do the same thing.
Our government recognizes the invaluable role that charities play in communities across Canada. Canada has one of the largest charitable and non-profit sectors in the world, with more than 160,000 charities and non-profit organizations that help address some of the most daunting challenges that Canada faces.
Tax support for registered charities in Canada is considered to be among the most generous in the world, and that is important because there are so many great charities in Canada that do excellent work and they do that excellent work because of the generosity of Canadians.
Registered charities are exempt from tax on their income and may issue official donation receipts for gifts received. In turn, donors can use those receipts to reduce their taxes by claiming a charitable donation tax credit for individuals or charitable donations tax deduction for corporations.
In 2011, federal tax assistance for the charitable sector was nearly $3 billion. However, when Canadians give their hard-earned dollars to a charity they need to be confident that their donation is being put to good use.
Recently, concerns have been raised that some charities may not be respecting the rules regarding political activities. There have also been calls for greater public transparency related to the political activities of charities, including the extent to which they may be funded by foreign sources. Accordingly, to enhance charities' compliance with the rules with respect to political activities, economic action plan 2012 proposes that the CRA enhance its education and compliance activities with respect to political activities by charities. The plan also proposes to improve transparency by requiring charities to provide more information on their political activities, including the extent to which these are funded by foreign sources.
In addition, the plan proposes that the Income Tax Act be amended to restrict the extent to which charities may fund the political activities of other qualified donors, and again, an important aspect of our charitable donation system. Canadian taxpayers want to ensure that when they are giving these funds that they are not going toward political activity. It also proposes that new sanctions be introduced for charities that exceed the limit on political activities or that fail to provide the Canada Revenue Agency with complete and accurate information with respect to any aspect of their annual return.
These measures will help reassure Canadians that they can give with confidence knowing that donations of their hard-earned dollars are used to support legitimate charities.
Amazingly enough, even Toronto Star columnist, Thomas Walkom, who is no friend of our Conservative government, has voiced support for this provision. He said:
When [the] Prime Minister...says charities that engage in too much politicking should be denied tax subsidies, he’s right.
There’s no good reason why environmental groups that oppose oil pipelines should be able to finance their activities, in part, on the backs of the general taxpayer.
When passed, the jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act will take action to provide tax relief for numerous health care services, drugs and medical devices. This is good news for Canadians across the country. This will reflect the evolving nature of the health care sector and better meet the health care needs of Canadians.
Specifically, today's legislation before us seeks to exempt from the GST pharmacists' professional services, other than their prescription drug dispensing services, as well as expand the list of medical devices eligible for tax relief under the GST and income tax systems to include blood coagulation monitors.
In my time allotted today I have had the opportunity to touch on just a few of the very important tax measures that are in the jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act. I would encourage all members of the House to read the legislation and give it the support it deserves.
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
2007-11-02 13:31 [p.763]
moved that Bill C-378, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act and the Food and Drug Regulations (drug export restrictions), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
She said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity this afternoon to discuss with my colleagues from all parties Bill C-378, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act and the Food and Drug Regulations (drug export restrictions), although I wish that I did not have to do this bill again. It would have been very simple for the government to deal with this during the prorogation and actually make this bill unnecessary, but it still refused to act.
My bill is aimed at controlling the cross-border trade in prescription drugs and vaccines. The bill would amend the Food and Drugs Act to prohibit the export of drugs set out in schedules D and F to the Food and Drug Regulations, vaccines and prescription drugs, except as permitted under the regulations.
The bill would make it an offence under the Food and Drugs Act to export prescription drugs in prohibited circumstances. By amending the Food and Drugs Act, the legislation will protect Canadians.
My bill is constructed to protect the Canadian pharmaceutical supply from being bulk-exported south of the border. There is such a large price differential between American and Canadian pharmaceutical prices that there is great pressure on the U.S. at this time to import cheaper drugs from Canada.
With over 35 million members, AARP is the leading non-profit, non-partisan membership organization for people aged 50 and over in the United States. It wields an enormous amount of power and is at this time launching a very major communication initiative.
However, during my meeting with the organization in Washington in the spring, it was clear that its real intention was not to import pills from Canada but to import prices from Canada and to make Americans very angry that they were paying too much for brand name prescription drugs.
Let me put it plainly: Canada cannot become America's discount drug store. Canada needs to protect itself from the dramatic expansion of importation by the U.S. of drugs intended for our patients.
The prospect of the U.S. legalizing large-scale purchases from our domestic supply is real. In fact, every Democratic Party presidential candidate is in favour of importation legislation.
The threat to Canada's drug supply increased on January 10 of this year after some U.S. politicians stepped up their efforts to facilitate bulk imports of prescription drugs from Canada with the introduction of the pharmaceutical market access and drug safety act of 2007.
The legislation was introduced by Senators Dorgan and Snowe and Representatives Emanuel and Emerson, who are co-sponsoring the companion house legislation. The legislation, which has the backing of key U.S. Democrats and Republicans, would allow individuals to directly order medications from outside the U.S. It would allow U.S. licensed pharmacists and wholesalers to import FDA-approved medications from a number of countries, including Canada.
In May, senators both approved the measure and then voted to require U.S. health authorities to certify drug imports were safe. Since the U.S. federal drug administration already had made it clear that it would not provide certification, the bill was dead on arrival.
However, on Wednesday, the U.S. Senate adopted U.S. Senator David Vitter's drug reimportation amendment to the U.S. Senate labor, health and human services and education department appropriations bill. In addition to foot traffic, Vitter's amendments would also allow mail order and Internet importation for Canada.
Several steps remain in the U.S. Congress before such a bill is signed into law, but influential lawmakers are on the march on this issue. It is like a voodoo from a video game: it just will not be killed.
In addition, the House budget office has recently completed a budgetary impact analysis demonstrating the savings that would follow the adoption of importation legislation. The announcements will give additional incentives to pass legislation in the context of the budget negotiations.
Any of these measures pose an imminent and serious threat to the security and integrity of Canada's drug supply and a genuine threat to the health of Canadians. It may have been good short term politics, but it is terrible long term policy.
American seniors are rightfully outraged by the high prices of pharmaceuticals in their country, but outsourcing price controls is not a responsible approach. In Canada, we have addressed price control with the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, which regulates drug prices to ensure that the prices of patent-protected brand name drugs are not excessive.
Canada has regulated drug prices for the past 15 years. The United States does not have a similar control mechanism and the problem is exacerbated by U.S. drug companies spending millions of dollars every year to defend their higher prices.
Every year U.S. drug companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on political influence, including lobbying, campaign donations, and extensive ad campaigns to defend their high prices and fight against price control. The American drug industry employs over 600 lobbyists in Washington alone, more than one for every member of Congress. This system drives U.S. prices even higher.
Another important difference between the Canadian and American systems is the regulation of advertising.
Prescription drug advertising is one of the most controversial practices in the American pharmaceutical industry. During the first nine months of 2002, American pharmaceutical companies spent over $6 billion promoting their products to physicians and consumers. This kind of advertising drives prices up and is prohibited in nearly all other western countries.
In Canada, the therapeutic products directorate strictly regulates prescription drug advertising.
I would also like to discuss how drug importation legislation represents a threat to American patients by allowing relinquishment of necessary community-based medication monitoring and management at increasing risk for potential counterfeit drugs.
The incidence of counterfeit drugs is small, but is growing in developed nations. The recent tragic death of a British Columbia resident, determined by a coroner to have been caused by counterfeit medicine in her possession, serves as a reminder that North America is not immune from this global phenomenon.
The counterfeiting of medicines is an issue that threatens the quality and integrity of Canada's drug supply, a problem that will be greatly exacerbated if U.S. drug importation legislation is passed into law without a clear and effective Canadian prohibition on bulk drug exportation.
I was pleased to see the public safety committee's report, entitled “Counterfeit Goods in Canada--A Threat to Public Safety”, which included this recommendation:
--that the Government of Canada institute a campaign to raise awareness of counterfeit and pirated goods to make the public aware of the economic and social costs associated with this scourge, and emphasize the public health and safety hazards they represent. The campaign should also raise Canadians' awareness of the involvement of organized crime in the counterfeiting and piracy of goods.
Internationally, the WHO is very concerned about counterfeit drugs. The WHO has struck the international medical products anti-counterfeiting task force, tasked with increasing international collaboration to combat counterfeiting.
I would also like to point out that allowing bulk prescription drug imports would not significantly reduce U.S. prescription prices for very long.
Even a recent University of Texas study concluded, based on the worst case scenario, that Canada's stocks of prescription drugs would amount to about a 38-day supply for the United States, assuming all U.S. medications were Canadian sourced. Once U.S. demand depletes Canadian stocks, prices will almost certainly rise, narrowing or even possibly eliminating the difference between U.S. and Canadian pharmaceutical prices.
Some may argue that Canadians should just increase manufacturing of pharmaceuticals to meet the U.S. demand.
Canada's innovation-focused pharmaceutical industry develops, manufactures and distributes drugs designed to meet the needs of Canadian patients and the Canadian market. It bases its production on the size of the population and the incidence of the illness or condition to be treated.
Manufacturers produce sufficient prescription drugs to meet the expected national demand. Consequently, if one country imports its prescription drugs from another, it diminishes the exporting country's stock of drugs to meet the needs of patients in that country.
Labelling regulations also differ from country to country. As a result, prescription drugs produced for the American or South American markets cannot just be sent to Canada to meet an unexpected need.
Given the complexity of calculating annual estimates of the needs of Canadian patients, not to mention the management by drug companies of their inventory to respond to patients' needs, it is unrealistic to think that products manufactured for Canada could meet American demand.
Cross-border trade is not only detrimental from a public policy perspective, it is almost virtually impossible to do. I would like to underline again that Canada cannot meet the prescription drug needs of approximately 280 million Americans without putting our own supply at risk.
Take, for example, the events during the fall of 2005, when in November Roche Canada took the unprecedented step of suspending sales of Tamiflu to the Canadian market. There were reports that Internet pharmacies were busily filling foreign prescriptions at a significant profit. One B.C. pharmacy alone was reported filling 400 orders a day from the U.S. That is a significant number, when according to the Canadian Pharmacists Association only 4,000 Canadians received that drug that September. Another Internet pharmacy in Montreal issued news releases promoting to U.S. customers its Tamiflu stocks.
The Canadian Pharmacists Association reacted to the Tamiflu incident by saying that the government should have acted to protect the country's supply of the drug. Again, when supply gets siphoned off to the U.S., it is Canadians who come up short.
This situation is a perfect example of the types of scenarios Canadian patients will face if Canadian governments continue to allow drugs to be diverted to the U.S.
This is not an issue unique to North America. In April of this year the European Union passed resolution 31 stating:
Is concerned about the intention of the US Congress to authorise parallel imports of medicines from the EU Member States, that may create obstacles to the EU patients' supply and favour counterfeiting of medicines; asks the EU, therefore, to raise this issue at the forthcoming Summit;
I would also like to take the opportunity to commend my colleague, the member for Vancouver South, who in 2005, when he was health minister, anticipated this problem and put forward legislation, Bill C-28, in order to reach consensus in the House. Unfortunately, an election was called before the bill went forward.
Current Canadian policy is to use only reactive measures and seek to manage shortages once they have already occurred. This is not enough and it may well be too late.
The issue of bulk exports to other countries of medicines and vaccines destined to Canadians should be an issue of concern to all of us. It is of particular interest to the Canadian Pharmacists Association and the Ontario Pharmacists Association.
I believe the passage of Bill C-378 is essential to protect the supply and integrity of prescription drugs here in Canada and will send a strong message to our American colleagues of the futility of their shortsighted legislative initiative.
I urge all colleagues to support my private member's bill, Bill C-378, or to call upon the government to make it unnecessary.
View Steven Fletcher Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member's comments with interest. I note that her comments began by criticizing the current government. I find this very hypocritical because when the issue of drug exports from Canada to the United States was at its peak, it occurred under the previous Liberal government, a government in which the member was a minister.
The peak was in 2004 and the former minister of public health and the former health minister did nothing at that time. The peak flowed by and they continued to do nothing. The member mentioned that the Liberals brought forward a bill. Not only was it poorly worded and unnecessary, it just again showed how the Liberal Party was all talk and no action.
At the time, in 2004, it should also be noted that the Canadian dollar was in the 70¢ range. Today it closed at over $1.07. So a lot of the economic benefit has been eroded due to the increase in the Canadian dollar.
Moreover, the Internet pharmacy business has collapsed. As far as the U.S. regulations are concerned, the White House opposes the bill, Congress is dividing. It has little chance of passing and even if it does pass there is a poison pill within the bill.
Canadian drugs are not under threat today and it is really a lot less under threat than they were under the Liberal regime when the Liberals did nothing. If this member is so concerned about the issue, why did she not do something in the 13 years that she was in government in 2000 or 2001? Why is she raising it now?
It is just another example of Liberal hypocrisy. That is my question: why now and not then?
View Steven Fletcher Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to outline some of the key factors to consider with respect to cross-border drug sales.
First, let me just touch on some of the comments the member just made. The peak of the cross-border drug sales occurred many years before the bill to which the member referred was tabled. If the previous government had been really serious about dealing with the issue, it would have dealt with it at that time.
The political climate in the United States is actually quite contrary to what the member is suggesting because there is very little likelihood that the bill will actually pass.
Let me go into some other aspects. I hope to usefully inform the hon. members as to the current status of the issue, and how and to what extent this affects the interests of Canadians.
Let me begin by saying that the sale of Canadian prescription drugs to Americans is by no means a new practice. For years a limited number of Americans in border states have crossed into Canada to obtain prescription drugs from Canadian physicians, so that they could fill their prescriptions at lower Canadian prices. This activity is referred to as cross-border foot traffic.
Until recently, the number of individuals purchasing drugs from Canada was limited by the physical distance to the U.S. patient's place of residence and our clinics and pharmacies, not to speak of the need to cross the border. This foot traffic has been relatively stable at about $500 million a year.
In contrast to foot traffic, cross-border Internet pharmacy transactions are a relatively new phenomenon ushered in with the advent of Internet commerce.
The introduction of the use of the Internet to facilitate prescription drug sales significantly lessened the importance of the border as a barrier to sales. Internet pharmacy transactions went through an initial rapid growth and then a dramatic recent decline.
The sales volumes were small in 2001, at about $70 million, but grew tremendously to $840 million per year in 2004, when the Liberals were in power, at a growth rate of over 1,100%. Combined with border foot traffic, total sales to the U.S. amounted to approximately $1.35 billion in 2004.
The majority of the Internet pharmacy industry has been concentrated in the western provinces, particularly in Manitoba. In 2004, Manitoba accounted for nearly $400 million in annual Internet pharmacy sales representing close to half of the industry's business.
Other provinces with a strong industry presence have included Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. These four provinces have consistently combined to account for more than 95% of the Internet pharmacy activity.
As well, at its peak it has been estimated that the Internet pharmacy industry has been a source of employment for up to 4,500 people.
Internet pharmacy sales peaked in 2004 at a value of $840 million, but annual sales decreased by 25% from 2004 to 2005 and there was a further reduction of about 50% in 2006. Presumably there will be another huge reduction given the rapid appreciation of the Canadian dollar.
The drop in sales volume is due to many factors, including the introduction of a drug benefit for seniors under the U.S. medicare program. The decline in sales has been most pronounced in Manitoba, originally the largest volume Internet pharmacy province.
It is important to note that when the Internet drug sales to the U.S. were at their peak in 2004, there was no evidence of any impact on the Canadian supply.
It is not unreasonable to think that a three-quarter drop in sales would equate to a similar drop in the potential impact on the Canadian supply, but some members are suggesting that the risk to the Canadian supply is rising. This is very difficult to understand.
Cross-border drug sales, including both Internet and foot traffic sales, now amount to about $700 million per year. At the peak of the Internet sales, the total sales volume was $1.3 billion.
In the meantime, proposed U.S. legislation to legalize drug imports, bulk imports in particular, has the potential to impact on the volume of drug exports from Canada to the United States, but for reasons that I will explain in a moment, it is, I believe, highly unlikely that that situation will materialize.
In evaluating the risks for the Canadian supply, it is useful to have a good understanding of the underlying drivers of cross-border drug sales to the United States. The primary motivating factor is drug price differentials between the two countries.
For patented drugs, Canadian prices can range from 35% to 55% below those paid by Americans. This is in large part due to the fact that Canada has legislated the price of patented drugs. The federal Patented Medicines Prices Review Board was created in 1987 under the Brian Mulroney government through the Patent Act with the regulatory mandate of ensuring that patented drug prices in Canada are not excessive.
Combine our lower prices with those Americans who have only partial or no drug insurance and we have a market. There is also interest from smaller drug plans without significant negotiating power with drug manufacturers.
However, overall demand has been reduced dramatically in the last couple of years. This is primarily due to the introduction in the United States of Medicare Part D, which provides drug benefits for seniors and others, such as disabled Americans who previously were under-insured or uninsured.
State governments and many municipalities are also involved. Drug importation is effectively prohibited under U.S. federal law, with the exception of a 90 day personal import provision, but despite the legal considerations, the import option has received significant support from state and municipal governments. A number of states have considered, or in some cases, actually pursued some sort of state facilitated drug import program. That said, such activity seems to have also been moderated by the medicare drug benefit.
In the case of municipalities, the interest has been either on behalf of their own municipal employees or their residents at large. Many of these initiatives have been launched despite warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of possible contraventions of federal law.
Clearly, this level of interest in drug imports would not exist if Americans were not facing the twin problems of high drug prices and inadequate or non-existent drug coverage. However, I believe that any concern about impacts on the Canadian drug supply needs to be balanced with a calm and considered examination of the situation.
First, the Americans are looking at solving this issue domestically.
Second, a number of factors have combined to dramatically reduce the volume of Internet based cross-border drug sales, including Medicare Part D and the rising Canadian dollar.
Third, imports of prescription drugs via Internet pharmacies are officially not permitted in the United States and we have not seen the floodgates open as a result. In fact, there was a sharp decline in the last quarter of 2006 of 20% of cross-border shipments due to U.S. customs.
Fourth, despite recent changes in the makeup of the U.S. Congress, we are a long a way from a bill legalizing bulk imports being approved by the White House without such a bill including major impediments to actual imports in practice. In other words, the White House does not support the importation of drugs and therefore, the bill would have very little chance of passing.
The Canadian drug supply is safe. There is no danger in the short, medium or long term. This bill is not necessary and therefore, I do not support it.
View Marcel Lussier Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marcel Lussier Profile
2007-11-02 13:59 [p.767]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for St. Paul's for her speech. I understand that the purpose of the bill she introduced today is to make it possible to prohibit the export or sale of prescription drugs and medications set out in a schedule to the Food and Drugs Regulations. There are currently no drugs listed in the schedule.
The bill has two specific goals. The first is to establish the principle that exporting any drug listed in the schedule should be prohibited if such activity could compromise the supply of that drug in Canada. The bill's second goal is to make it illegal to export prescription drugs. Bill C-378 is a kind of insurance policy against bulk exportation of prescription drugs in case of shortages in Canada.
To better understand the issue, we need to look at the pricing mechanisms for prescription drugs. In the United States, the power to set prices for prescription drugs is in the hands of pharmaceutical corporations. They can price their products as they see fit. Under pressure from American lobbyists, the Bush administration allows the pharmaceutical industry complete freedom to set its prices.
In Canada, except in Quebec, the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, the PMPRB, which was established in 1987 in accordance with the Patent Act, sets maximum prices for medicines. The PMPRB is responsible for protecting the interests of Canadian consumers by ensuring that prices charged by manufacturers for patented medicines are not excessive.
Quebec has its own drug review process, the Conseil du médicament. The drug policy includes measures to ensure that Quebec is paying fair and reasonable prices for drugs.
It would be interesting to find out why the price difference is so big that Americans want to buy their medicines in Canada. Because prices in Canada are fixed by independent agencies, prices for identical products are often 30% to 60% lower here than in the United States.
It was pointed out earlier that the price of prescription drugs exported to and paid for by Americans fluctuates according to the value of the Canadian dollar. As the Canadian dollar rises, Canadian drugs become less profitable and attractive to Americans. Today the Canadian dollar was trading at $1.07 U.S., or 7% higher than its U.S. counterpart.
So how can we ensure the security of supply for Canada? Cross-border sales of pharmaceuticals to the United States have become an important source of trade for Canada. Since the Americans can take advantage of lower prices here than at home, they try to stock up in Canada. The potential is considerable, given that 37 million people aged 55 and older want to buy their pharmaceuticals here.
According to the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec, the on-line pharmaceutical market has reached over $1 billion a year in Canada. Although all Canadian pharmacies must obey Canadian laws, the legislation is not airtight everywhere. While on one hand, the federal government has the authority to legislate exports, on the other hand, the provinces and territories are responsible for regulating medical and pharmaceutical practices through, in Quebec, the Collège des médecins and the Ordre des pharmaciens.
Thus, trade is particularly lucrative in Manitoba, where the laws surrounding the sale of pharmaceuticals are more flexible. According to estimates by a company called Secor, in 2003, nearly 20% of pharmacists in that province worked mainly to sell to Americans. That was the infamous peak year that was mentioned earlier. Also according to the same source, the majority of pharmacists in Canada who sell to the United States happen to be in Manitoba.
The Canadian Pharmacists Association warned of the following:
Canada needs to protect itself from having our drug supply drained, which will occur if the US passes this legislation. The cross border drug trade does not appear to be on the agenda of the current [Conservative] government. We believe that acting only after US bills are passed and Canadians are experiencing drug shortages is not an adequate response on the part of the Canadian government. The government will have to act sooner or later – and sooner is preferred. An important first step would be to pass Bill 378.
In Canada, neither international trade obligations nor domestic law prohibit such exports. However, Quebec and the provinces must follow rules with respect to these export transactions. Someone can speak about Ontario, but I will limit myself to the situation in Quebec.
As in so many other areas, Quebec is way ahead in terms of monitoring sales of prescription drugs and has taken steps to prevent the online sale of prescription drugs to Americans.
Under the Pharmacy Act, a pharmacist can sell drugs only to patients who have prescriptions written by a person authorized under Quebec legislation or the legislation of a Canadian province that authorizes that person to prescribe that drug if that person practises in Quebec.
The Quebec Code of ethics of physicians stipulates that in order to write a prescription for a patient, a doctor must evaluate the patient, establish a diagnosis, formulate a treatment plan, provide information to the patient and obtain consent. Some Quebec doctors have already been struck from the Collège des médecins du Québec for illegally selling drugs on the Internet to Americans they never met. I have with me a newspaper article that mentions the name of four such doctors who were fined between $5,000 and $25,000, in addition to being banned from practising for six months for signing prescriptions for U.S. patients without meeting them. I was quite surprised to see the name of a doctor from my riding on that list of four doctors. They operated on the Internet at myprescription.com, which means that Internet pharmacies are right next door.
Physicians practising in Quebec are not allowed to countersign a prescription from another physician without complying with the requirements that apply to the prescription. A Quebec physician who countersigns a prescription from an American physician therefore risks being sued, not only in Quebec, but also in the United States.
In terms of online business, Quebec already has the necessary tools to protect pharmacies' supply and ensure that patients receive the appropriate medication for their condition and information on how to use it properly.
In conclusion, the Bloc Québécois supports Bill C-378 in principle. The bill answers concerns about the possible reduction in inventories of drugs meant for Canadians. Although there is no shortage at present, we need to look at preventive measures before such a situation occurs. By setting strict criteria to regulate bulk drug exports, Bill C-378 would prevent an unfortunate situation from arising.
The bill should reassure the pharmaceutical industry and prevent it from raising drug prices, as American companies were tempted to do in retaliation.
The bill does not place a total ban on drug exports. It provides for a mechanism based on known criteria that can be produced in evidence.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2007-11-02 14:17 [p.769]
Mr. Speaker, this bill is about one simple thing. It is about meeting the needs of Canadians who want to feel secure that their prescription drugs and vaccines are there for Canadians. Let me re-emphasize that. This bill talks about security of supply of drugs and vaccines for Canadians.
I will not get into a lot of the technical details of the bill. The member of Parliament for St. Paul's went to great lengths to explain some of the technical details of the bill, but I want to talk about it in layman's terms.
I congratulate the member for St. Paul's for bringing forward this bill. Previously she was a minister of public health and therefore she understands the needs of Canadians on the ground. She is a medical doctor and therefore she knows first hand how important it is that Canadians are able to get not just drugs, but the most recent drugs, the most effective drugs in terms of meeting Canadians' needs. This bill is about meeting Canadians' needs.
Bill C-378 is about Canada not becoming America's drugstore. By amending the Food and Drugs Act, this legislation would protect Canadians.
The bill would amend the Food and Drugs Act to prohibit the export of drugs set out in schedules D and F to the Food and Drugs Act regulations, which are vaccines and prescription drugs, except as permitted under the regulations.
The bill would make it an offence under the Food and Drugs Act to export prescription drugs in prohibited circumstances. The exporter would be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of up to $50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, and on conviction by indictment, to a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.
Simply put, this bill would push the Canadian government to stand up for Canadians. It is something the Conservative government very seldom does.
We heard in the House today that it is not standing up for a Canadian citizen who is facing execution in the United States. The excuse is that a democratic decision was made in the United States. Canadians have always stood up for human rights. That is why we are respected around the world. How can the government go to China and talk about human rights any more when it is allowing a Canadian citizen to be executed in the United States?
That may be a little different story from this particular drug and vaccine issue, but it is all about standing up for Canadians, and the Conservative government is failing to do it. In terms of opposing this bill, it is clearly not standing up for Canadians.
This bill would push the government to stand up for Canadians, rather than just allow the export of drugs that would enhance American health and ignore the need for Canadians to be absolutely sure that the necessary drugs are available for Canadians. The government is opposing that.
I was shocked when I listened to the Parliamentary Secretary for Health. He went on at great length to say that the White House is opposed to the importation of drugs and therefore, we really do not need to deal with it.
I know the Conservatives love George Bush and love to hug him, but if they would just look a little beyond him to the candidates for the next presidency, they would see that most of the candidates support the importation of Canadian drugs into the United States because the drugs are cheaper.
We can understand why those presidential candidates are doing that. It is because the American health care system does not work. Over 40 million people do not have access to health care. It would be a great cover for the Americans to import cheap Canadian drugs, even if it shorted Canadians in terms of their supply, to kind of cover up the failures of their own health care system.
There is no question that the new government would stand by idly and risk the drug supply for Canadians. This bill is basically challenging the government, the companion of George Bush, to actually stand up for Canadians for a change and protect their supply of drugs and vaccines.
I have to ask this question. How often do we need to have Canadians subsidizing the United States?
The United States is our great friend. I spend a fair amount of time down there and the U.S. is our greatest trading partner. However, I think every Canadian is bothered when they learn that we are exporting oil and gas to the United States, a great Canadian resource, and what it is being used for in the United States. It is a cheaper supply. It is subsidizing its industrial plants so they can compete against Canadian industrial plants with cheap Canadian energy.
Why do we always need to be more supportive of the United States economy than our own? Now the government is going to put Canadians at risk by not being proactive and supporting Bill C-378.
Some will argue, as they always do because they like to use the trade agreements as a great crutch, that this will violate the trade rules. I say to the Government of Canada that if the trade rules do not make sense for Canadians then they need to be challenged. If this bill means there needs be a challenge to the trade rules, then let us challenge the trade rules. That would only make sense because then we would be standing up for Canadians.
The parliamentary secretary raised a number of points. He basically said that there was no imminent drug shortage and that the United States Congress has not adopted legislation to legalize the bulk importation of drugs. That is true for the moment but why can we not be proactive?
The fact of the matter is that the government should be proactive by banning bulk exports to the United States rather than waiting until after shortages of prescription drugs and medications occur.
As a coalition of Canadian pharmacists, distributors and patients said in a letter to the health minister on January 12:
We believe it is incumbent on the Government of Canada to respond proactively to this threat, with actions driven by a commitment to prevent harm and protect the public interest.
Why will the Government of Canada not listen to Canadians, to pharmacists, to distributors and to patients and be proactive? These people are concerned. Instead, the parliamentary secretary takes his advice from the White House. That is unacceptable.
He also talked about the Internet pharmacy sales having decreased significantly in the past two years. We really cannot be sure of that. It is difficult to determine the extent of Internet sales to the United States because many of them are being made offshore.
The bottom line is this. This bill is all about protecting the security of the drug and vaccine supply and medications for Canadians. The Canadian government should be proactive in terms of supporting this bill, even if it means it needs to stand up to the United States in terms of its agenda and its wishes. The government should stand up for Canadians, be proactive and support this bill to ensure that protection is there.
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
2007-06-06 18:33 [p.10235]
Mr. Speaker, dealing with the first question, this bill is about bulk imports. The statistics the member was referring to are individual Internet sales. Those are going down, I hope, because of public education about the risk patients are putting themselves in by taking drugs that they have ordered over the Internet which may well be counterfeit.
We have a huge problem also with Internet pharmacies putting Canadian flags on the drugs and they are not actually Canadian companies. That is being lost in the data that is being collected. It is a very good sign that the Internet sales to individuals are going down.
I would also advise the member that this week in Quebec four physicians were disciplined by the College of Physicians and Surgeons. This idea that Canadian physicians would be paid $5 or $50 to co-sign a script is just bad medicine and an unethical practice.
Those two--
View Steven Fletcher Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this private member's bill. This is a very serious issue and the government takes the issue of security of supply of prescription drugs and the protection of the health of Canadians very seriously.
When, in late October, the member for St. Paul's introduced the bill, she mentioned concerns about the effect of the then recent and potentially future U.S. initiatives aimed at facilitating cross-border drug sales to the United States. These two initiatives were restricted to individual purchases rather than wholesale or bulk shipments.
As I will outline further, we have not seen any impact from these initiatives. In fact, total sales to the United States have declined.
The member referred specifically to a U.S. measure to allow Americans visiting Canada to return with up to a 90 day supply of prescription drugs for their own use. In other words, this provision affected personal physical imports only, so-called foot traffic.
Although the measure became law on October 4, 2006, it essentially endorsed the then current U.S. administration practice regarding personal imports.
Members should know that the value of foot traffic purchases of prescription drugs in Canada has remained constant in recent years.
There was another U.S. development last fall, also in October, but not specifically referred to by the member at that time.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency ended its approximately one year practice of selectively seizing individual prescription drug purchases sent by mail from Internet pharmacies in Canada. While such personal mail order imports continue to contravene U.S. law, they have been tolerated, enabling the Internet pharmacy business in the first place.
As with the measures for foot traffic, we have not noticed any increase in sales associated with this U.S. Customs decision. In fact, the latest information from Health Canada shows that Internet pharmacy sales to the U.S. dropped by an additional 20% in the last quarter of 2006, resulting in total 2006 annual sales of $211 million.
The overall sales have dropped by 75% from their peak of $850 million in 2004. Why the decline? Several factors are at play. These include: the introduction of the U.S. medicare act part D, which, for the first time, provides drug benefit coverage for millions of previously uninsured or underinsured seniors; actions by manufacturers to restrict the supply of drugs sold to Canadian pharmacies involved in cross-border drug sales; the higher Canadian dollar; and, U.S. residents pursuing imports from other countries have also contributed.
When Bill C-378 was introduced last October, the government's assessment of the situation was that the U.S. initiatives with respect to foot traffic and mail order seizures did not pose a threat to the Canadian drug supply. This assessment has been proven valid. In the case of foot traffic, that is because sales predate Internet commerce and have existed for about 20 years. They have never posed a concern with respect to Canada's drug supply and the volume of such sales has been stable in recent years at an estimated $500 million.
The halting by U.S. customs of selective seizures of drug imports did not really change anything either as such personal imports have already been tolerated for a number of years anyway.
The most recent statistics bear this out. Foot traffic remains stable and Internet pharmacy sales dropped by 50% in 2006 and likely have dropped significantly more due to the sharp appreciation of the Canadian dollar since the more recent statistics.
Over the past several years, officials with Health Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade have continuously monitored the value of cross-border drug sales to the United States and related developments in that country, including the U.S. measures in October. Let me assure the House that they will continue to do so.
In the meantime, the Americans face ongoing challenges posed by the world's highest priced prescription drugs, explaining their continued preoccupation with finding way to make drugs more affordable. That is why the idea of importing lower priced drugs from Canada and other countries continues to be a political issue in the United States.
Federal legislators and state and municipal governments continue to see imports as part of the solution. Individual Americans, especially those without drug coverage, are also looking to other countries for relief from high drug prices.
At the federal level, in previous sittings of the U.S. Congress, a number of bills have been proposed to legalize drug imports, including bulk imports, from Canada. These legislative proposals were not able to gain a lot of support or traction, primarily due to the Republican majority in Congress and opposition by the U.S. administration. This was the case despite the fact that some bills were sponsored by Republicans.
However, I should point out that while some individual Republicans have supported and even sponsored drug import legislation, the official Republican Party position remains steadfast in opposing drug imports and in accepting high U.S. prices.
As the members in this place know, the U.S. legislative environment has been affected somewhat by the Democratic win in both houses of Congress last November. In this context, it is important to note that legalizing drug importations from Canada and other countries has reportedly been among the legislative priorities for some leading Democrats.
As I just noted, some Republicans have supported drug importation. In January of this year, a bipartisan group of U.S. Congress and Senate lawmakers introduced a bill that would allow importation from other countries. The pharmaceutical market access and drug safety act of 2007 would legalize both bulk or wholesale, as well as individual retail imports, including transactions via Internet pharmacies.
A democratically controlled Congress does suggest a greater potential for U.S. legalization of bulk imports. However, the overall view of Congress is that the prospects of enactment of legislation giving a clear green light to drug imports is dim at best.
To illustrate the point, let us look at developments in the last few months. In the U.S., opposition to the legalization of drug imports remains strong in many quarters. The enactment of legislation to legalize drug imports, without provisions for major impediments to such imports, is unlikely. This is especially the case given the Bush administration's opposition to drug importation.
There is potential for legislative horse-trading after such a controversial bill is introduced in the U.S. Congress. The U.S. Senators “endorsed” drug importation in early May, but included a provision--and this is very important--to disallow such imports unless the Secretary of Health and Human Services first certifies that they “pose no additional risk to the public's health and safety”, and that they will significantly reduce costs to consumers.
Proponents of importation have labelled this amendment as a poison pill, and with good reason. All observers agree, including the bill's lead sponsor, Senator Dorgan, that it has effectively neutralized the bill's drug importation provisions. This is because the actualization of those provisions would now require U.S. administration support but the president, by virtue of his past opposition to drug importation, is not expected to offer that support.
Even if the provisions were to be put into force, the administrative burden included in the bill, which is 140 pages long, is so onerous that its implementation would be significantly slowed. Its extensive administration and oversight regime includes requirements for inspections of exporting facilities and multiple procedural requirements of both exporters and importers. This suggests that there would be very slow uptake in the provisions.
I could go on but the bottom line--
View Christiane Gagnon Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christiane Gagnon Profile
2007-06-06 18:46
Bill C-378 could be an answer to concerns about reductions in inventories of drugs designated for Canadians. It also seeks to restrict bulk exports of drugs. Although there is no shortage at present, this bill would establish preventive measures to avoid such a situation. Regulating drug exports would prevent an unfortunate situation from arising.
Bill C-378 seeks to restrict drug exports within the framework of NAFTA. According to this agreement, it is possible to limit exports to prevent a shortage. In the event of a shortage, the federal government could prohibit bulk exports of drugs in order to retain a sufficient inventory in Canada to safeguard public safety. Hence, the bill would give effect to these provisions.
Earlier I was saying that this bill could allay concerns about the possibility of reductions in drug inventories. However, the Bloc Québécois does have to raise one question. Although there seems to be a consensus on this issue, there are nevertheless some points to consider that are of particular interest to me. First, is there a risk of meddling in Quebec's jurisdiction if more powers are given to the federal minister? Second, does the Minister of Health not already have the authority to act in the event of an emergency? Third, it is not really clear that the United States would allow bulk importing given the power of the pharmaceutical lobby and President Bush's opposition to such a measure. Fourth, along the same lines, could the government act quickly if the United States decided to allow bulk importing? One might think that, under NAFTA and the WTO, there are already measures to protect against bulk purchasing of drugs, for example.
All these questions are apparently on the table and the introduction of this bill is certainly interesting. Nonetheless, as far as passing this bill is concerned, we are not there yet. In my opinion, we need more time since this evening's debate is the first one this House has held on this situation. We know that some sectors, including the Canadian Pharmacists Association, are worried about prescription drug inventories, which could be seriously jeopardized if such a situation prevailed. Apparently, if every American decided to buy drugs in Canada, after 38 days of making their purchases here, there would be no drug supplies left for Quebeckers and Canadians.
This is certainly a compelling matter and it requires us to look at this problem, which is currently not as much of an issue as it once was. We should perhaps qualify the dangerous situation we could find ourselves in. Why did the Americans want to buy their drugs here in Canada? Because the exchange rate was really good for the Americans. Since the value of the Canadian dollar has gone up, the Americans' appetite to buy in Canada is probably not as real today. That is my first observation.
The second observation is that there was a time when a lot of prescription drugs were being bought here in Canada. What is happening now is that the U.S. government implemented the medical insurance system called Medicare. This has slowed the Americans zeal to buy in Canada. Many people who were in a more vulnerable situation for purchasing drugs no longer do so here. The situation may not be as problematic as it was a year ago.
The volume of purchases has also declined. People came here to buy prescription drugs and they bought them through Internet pharmacies, which were a serious problem for some pharmacies that lost their pharmacists. Working for Internet pharmacies appealed to a lot of pharmacists. Small pharmacies began to lose their professional resources to lucrative positions with Internet pharmacies.
The situation in Quebec is perhaps a little different. I am not saying that nobody in the pharmaceutical industry is concerned, but in Quebec, we have set up some protection, and we know that Ontario has done the same. Western provinces are the ones trying to come to terms with Internet pharmacies. The provinces could just adopt legislation, but it is not up to me to tell other provinces what to do. I would rather talk about what Quebec has done to protect itself from various possible situations.
As in many other areas, Quebec is way ahead in terms of the sale and monitoring of prescription drugs. It has measures to prevent the online sale of prescriptions drugs to American clients. Under Quebec's Pharmacy Act, a pharmacist can sell prescription drugs only to patients whose prescriptions were written by a person authorized under Quebec law or the laws of another Canadian province to prescribe the drug if that person practices in Quebec. That makes it harder to do.
Furthermore, the Code of Ethics of Physicians states that in order to give a prescription to a patient, a physician in Quebec must have assessed the patient. If an American wants to buy prescription drugs online or in person, he must see a Quebec physician. A Quebec physician must assess the patient, make a diagnosis, develop a treatment plan, provide information and obtain consent.
I am rather concerned about that. It is all well and fine to buy drugs on the Internet or through other means, but one must also consider the quality of the product. Responsibility for a product can hardly be ensured when there is no medical prescription and the patient was never seen by a doctor. Many Americans should think about that too, because we cannot tell who is responsible for product quality and for providing the right treatment to the right patient.
In Quebec, efforts have been made to oversee a process with potentially serious consequences, since it is often difficult to undo things where people's health is concerned.
Already, the Collège des médecins du Québec has struck physicians off the roll for having illegally sold drugs on the Internet to Americans they had never even met. That is not a common occurrence, but it has happened. Nor are practising physicians in Quebec allowed to countersign a prescription from another physician without complying with the same requirements as for the prescription. A Quebec physician who countersigns a prescription from an American physician risks being sued, not only in Quebec, but also in the United States. Clearly, Quebec has tried to provide the best framework possible for all these transactions which could have a harmful effect on the health of individuals.
In terms of online business, Quebec already has the necessary tools to protect pharmacies' supply and ensure that patients receive the appropriate medication for their condition and information on how to use it. Some control is needed, and this bill might motivate the provinces to take action to increase protection and improve control. Physicians who did not comply with this procedure would risk prosecution. Harsh penalties have been applied, and some operations have even been shut down. Some practitioners were required to restrict their professional activities for 18 months and even pay fines for illegally running a business that was not approved.
This bill requires that we take a serious look at the situation. Hon. members will see from our questions how the Bloc Québécois receives Bill C-378 for the benefit of the public.
View Penny Priddy Profile
NDP (BC)
View Penny Priddy Profile
2007-06-06 18:57 [p.10238]
Mr. Speaker, I will follow up on the comments of my colleague who just spoke. This is indeed a bill that merits our attention. It is an issue that merits our attention. I think that in some ways we have had intermittent attention paid to it around Internet pharmacies, but perhaps not in the larger perspective of what drug exportation has the potential to mean.
In my understanding of the bill, and I will look to my Liberal colleague to be nodding or shaking her head if I misspeak, there is a concern that for Canadians, for the most part in some kind of emergency, drugs would not be available because we would have a shortage through bulk exportation or exportation in large amounts to the United States. The example that my Liberal colleague from St. Paul's used was around Tamiflu.
There are a couple of things that affect this. When the United States politicians introduced the pharmaceutical market access and drug safety act, and I believe it was in 2007, I think that efforts or initiatives were stepped up in order to be able to access bulk exports on an even greater basis, because that act appeared to be opening even further a door that was probably open anyway but was going to be open on a much more official kind of basis.
I live in the border city of Surrey. Our 400,000 people make us a city. I do not think that this bill is intended to stop the carload of senior citizens who drive up there from Bellingham to get their personal prescriptions filled. I think we have to be clear about how the bill is not intended to simply completely close down the gates to any kind of sharing or purchasing of drugs by American citizens.
We know that we are very fortunate in this country. Although our system could be better in that we could have a national drug plan, and we are working on it, that is for another day, We are able to have our prescriptions at prices that are more affordable for us than they are for many American citizens who indeed either cannot afford them or do not have coverage.
There are somewhere around 250 million Americans who do not have any medical coverage whatsoever and they are not going to be able to afford prescriptions anyway. While we have some people in those circumstances, it is much more severe in the United States. I do not think this bill is saying that those kinds of people would not be able to access any drugs at all from Canada.
However, I think there has been a dramatic expansion and there is a potential for a dramatic expansion of importation to the U.S. of drugs in large bulk amounts. That is perhaps a bit different from what we heard from another colleague. With the United States opening the door, and with manufacturers here who I am sure would be willing to sell in bulk amounts, I think that would be a dramatic expansion.
I do not think there is any question that the business of Internet pharmacies has decreased. I hope, as my Liberal colleague does, that it is because people perhaps have a greater understanding of what some of the risks might be and are able to access those drugs at home. This is not about the expansion or contraction of Internet pharmacies filling individual prescriptions, although those indeed are dropping.
There is an interesting question about this that I get asked all the time when this comes up. It has come up in B.C. a number of times as we see people coming in from the United States. People say that this will probably create jobs, so why can the manufacturers not put on more shifts and manufacture more drugs? It is perfect, they say, there is the solution.
However, the manufacture of drugs does not work in the same way that manufacturing tomato sauce works. Some of those drugs have ingredients that are perhaps more scarce in terms of their biological sources. Also, it takes time to manufacture additional amounts of drugs.
As well, many medications are time dated, so drug manufacturers cannot just create a warehouse or a storehouse full of medications that are ready to export when somebody asks for them. They may be out of date, and the manufacturers are not going to have the excess sitting on their shelves, excess that they have not been able to forecast. They do their business based on forecasting, which is primarily based on the needs of Canadian patients. That is where they develop their business plan. They develop it on what they see as the trend line in medications that are being used and approved in Canada.
There are two other things I want to mention. I have seen what happens in emergencies. Not every drug that would be bulk exported is a vaccine, and I understand that, but vaccines are part of that bulk export. When SARS hit Canada, I was at Home Depot one day and saw people pushing huge carts full of crates and crates of masks out of the store. By the way, those little paper masks would not have done any good anyway, as we discovered. As we probably know anyway, they not terribly effective, but people were hoarding them in case something happened.
In any kind of an emergency there is this human response to hoard: drugs, food, things that will protect us, water, or whatever it might be. I worry that in the case of that emergency where a vaccine is needed, and again, Tamiflu is the example that was used, there might be a health risk for Canadians. I want everybody to be healthy. I want Americans, Canadians and people around the world to be healthy, but we have a responsibility as legislators of this country and as people involved in health to ensure that there are the health resources necessary to meet the needs of Canadian citizens.
When we are talking about bulk exporting, I have another concern. My understanding is that regulators at the border have said that they have an opportunity to check only about 1% of what crosses the border. We all know that there are such things as counterfeit drugs. I do not think there are going to be people looking to see whether these are counterfeit drugs that are being shipped across the border or whether they are being shipped across the border in a box that says “Christmas presents for Aunt Millie”.
Mr. Speaker is telling me that I have one minute left. I look forward to further debate on this bill, but when we are looking at bulk exports, I do think that there are many risks involved and it is only responsible of the Government of Canada to look at this and ensure that Canadians are protected first.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Scott Brison Profile
2007-06-06 19:06 [p.10239]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise this evening to speak to this important legislation introduced by the hon. member for St. Paul's, who was absolutely the very best minister of public health in the history of Canada, and few would debate that.
I served in cabinet with the hon. member and she brought to the cabinet table a tremendous understanding of health and wellness issues. In fact, I remember her from time to time saying as a minister that we in Canada do not necessarily have a health care system, we have a sick care system.
We look after people only when they are sick. We do not do enough on wellness and preventative medicine, and helping keep people well. She brought a great sense of knowledge, practicality, and at the same time, vision to her role as minister of public health. I am very pleased to support her bill today.
The whole issue of bulk import of drugs into the United States is an extremely important one. In the U.S., the cost of drugs to Americans is a tremendously politically charged issue. It is one that is at the very centre of the health care debate in the U.S.
We all know the challenges that our own health care system here in Canada faces, but the U.S. health care system is under even more pressure because of the inefficiencies and ineffective nature of the private insurance system and some of the other challenges facing the U.S. system.
American legislators are debating, and have debated, the whole idea of allowing bulk import of drugs from Canada through Internet pharmacies. In fact, what they are doing is trying to achieve what we have achieved here in Canada in terms of our regulatory framework around drug pricing.
The more efficient approach for them to take, and the less intrusive approach in terms of the impact on our public policy and our citizens, would be for them to simply regulate their drugs with a similar approach to our approach here in Canada, which effectively assures Canadians good access to important and lifesaving pharmaceuticals at a more reasonable price.
Instead of that, the legislators like to say that they will not regulate drug prices in the United States of America, but instead of regulating them there they outsource the regulation to Canada. That sounds perfectly innocent to Canadians. It does not sound like a big deal until we consider what the impact will be on our own drug supplies here in Canada.
The goal of the drug pricing regime we have in Canada is to ensure that Canadians have access to the pharmaceuticals they need at a reasonable price. It was never intended to, and never designed to, provide Americans with drug prices at a low cost.
American politicians are saying they are against price regulations. It is kind of an ideological perspective, not unlike our colleagues opposite sometimes on certain issues if I may say that respectfully, and similarly wrong as well. The fact is what they are doing by outsourcing their drug pricing regime to Canada is actually jeopardizing the access for Canadians to the drugs they need at reasonable prices.
The question we have to ask ourselves is this. Why would multi-national pharmaceutical companies that invest billions of dollars into research and development continue to supply Canada to the same extent that they have in the past if in fact the products they were shipping to Canada were being used to effectively cannibalize the market in the U.S. and reduce their profits?
It stands to reason that in a market-based economy they will make a decision to the benefit of their shareholders that will effectively prevent Canadians from having access to the drugs that they need at the price they want.
It is important for us to do two things. First, we need to ban the export of pharmaceuticals to the U.S. Our pricing regime was never intended to create some artificial regulatory arbitrage between the two countries which have very clever entrepreneurs. I have a lot of respect for entrepreneurs as I, my dad and my grandfather were all entrepreneurs. However, whenever there is a difference in regulatory regimes there is a potential for some sort of arbitrage, and that, effectively, is what is going on here.
No value is being created by the bulk export. It is not a sustainable industry. It is one that has a nascent profitability but it is one that, while it provides some pure profitability, it does jeopardize the long term access Canadians have to the drugs they need at reasonable prices.
I think we need to make the point very clear with American legislators that they cannot simply continue to avoid the debate on issues like drug regulatory frameworks. We also need to point out to organizations like the American Association of Retired People and others, the equivalent of CARP here in Canada, that what they are pushing for is not even in the long term interest of Americans.
Not only is this dangerous for Canadians in terms of reducing our citizens' capacity to have the drugs they need, but in the long term it actually does jeopardize the security of the pharmaceutical supply chain to Americans.
First, we need to ban the export of drugs to Internet pharmacies to the U.S. and, second, we need to make it very clear to American legislators and perhaps to Americans directly that this type of short term band-aid solution could jeopardize the security of their supply chain for their pharmaceuticals in the long term. Therefore, it is a no win situation for citizens on both sides of the border.
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
2007-03-22 15:02 [p.7791]
Mr. Speaker, we have learned this week that a woman from British Columbia has died after taking pills she ordered from an Internet website labelled Canadian.
The Minister of Health has clearly failed in his duty to protect the lives of Canadians. Our drug supply is being threatened by counterfeit and contaminated drugs, and the upcoming U.S. legislation will make Canada America's drugstore.
How many more deaths will it take before the minister will act to protect the quality and supply of Canada's medicines?
View Nicole Demers Profile
BQ (QC)
View Nicole Demers Profile
2006-11-02 14:39 [p.4649]
Mr. Speaker, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has decided to no longer seize drugs from Canada ordered over the Internet by Americans. According to the Quebec Order of Pharmacists, this could very likely result in higher drug prices in Canada.
Does the Minister of Health intend to explain to his American counterpart that Canada does not wish to serve as a pharmacy for the United States?
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