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Results: 1 - 15 of 36
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
2022-09-20 13:08 [p.7410]
Mr. Speaker, since the beginning of our mandate, the Prime Minister has made it clear many times that disability inclusion and accessibility are a key priority.
Since 2015, we have committed $1.1 billion in funding to ensure greater accessibility and supports for Canadians with disabilities, and we have made huge strides in breaking down barriers. This includes appointing Canada's first-ever cabinet minister responsible for persons with disabilities, passing and implementing the historic Accessible Canada Act and establishing Accessibility Standards Canada.
It also includes acceding to the Marrakesh Treaty, which makes the production and international transfer of accessible books for people with print disabilities easier, and the optional protocol of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, strengthening the protection of human rights for persons with disabilities in Canada.
In 2019, when the Accessibility Canada Act came into force, the government focused its efforts on identifying, preventing and helping remove barriers to accessibility. We are communicating to Canadians how we are shortchanging the economy and ourselves if we exclude people. We have removed barriers to employment, making buildings physically more accessible and making accessibility and inclusion part of the design and the delivery of our services and programs.
Then the pandemic hit.
It is clearly documented that the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected the health, social and economic well-being of those individuals living with disabilities. However, even before the pandemic, persons with disabilities suffered from long-standing inequities, and COVID made these inequities worse.
It is for this reason that we have taken a disability inclusive approach into our pandemic response by setting up a COVID-19 disability advisory group and providing a one-time payment to persons with disabilities.
In 2020, we committed to developing a disability inclusion action plan, the DIAP, and that work is being finalized. The DIAP is a blueprint for the change to make Canada more inclusive of persons with disabilities. It has four pillars: financial security, employment, accessible and inclusive communities, and a modern approach to disability.
At its core, the plan is simple, and that is to improve the lives of Canadians with disabilities. However, the work required to accomplish this, to make Canada inclusive, fair and free of physical, societal and attitudinal barriers, will be extensive.
The bill before us today represents bold action on the first pillar of the plan, namely that of reducing poverty and providing financial security to persons with disabilities. Consultations with Canadians on the disability inclusion action plan show that poverty and financial security of persons with disabilities are overwhelming priorities, and the proposed benefit, a cornerstone of the action plan, would help respond to these concerns.
We recognize that not all persons with disabilities are able to be gainfully employed and others are not able to work at all. The objective of the proposed benefit is to improve the financial security of individuals in these situations.
We are also taking action on the second pillar of the action plan, employment, which is critical to financial security of persons with disabilities.
Budget 2022 recently provided more than $270 million toward the employment strategy for persons with disabilities, and that strategy has three prongs: first, to help persons with disabilities gain jobs, advance in their careers or become entrepreneurs; second, to support employers as they develop inclusive workplaces; and third, to aid organizations and individuals who are helping persons with disabilities find employment.
Most recently, the minister launched a call for proposals under the opportunities fund for persons with disabilities to fund up to 180 projects that would help people find and keep jobs, and that is not all.
We have modernized and increased support for the enabling accessibility fund, or EAF. The EAF provides money for projects that make Canadian communities and workplaces more accessible for persons with disabilities. It aims to give persons with disabilities a greater chance to be a part of community activities and to get the services they need to find work.
The EAF provides money for three types of projects. First are youth-led projects of up to $10,000 that help persons with disabilities in their communities. Some supported activities have included the purchase of para hockey sleds, construction of raised gardens in community gardens and the creation of an accessible sensory room. Second are grants of up to $100,000 to fund infrastructure and construction projects and information communications technology projects that improve accessibility in communities or workplaces. The funds have supported building ramps, accessible doors, accessible washrooms, installing screen reader devices and hearing loop systems, and constructing a specially designed office. Third, there are also large contributions of up to $3 million to support larger projects. Last year, we added a simpler method for people to apply for funding to pay for single items such as accessible doors, accessible washrooms, ramps and the like.
I know that many of us in this House have had projects funded by the EAF in constituencies, and I know that the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and many of our colleagues have had a chance to visit these projects in our communities. We have heard first-hand how these investments have improved accessibility for Canadians with disabilities. In budget 2022, we proposed to make new investments in accessible books, including the creation of the new equitable access to reading program, which would enable people with print disabilities to better participate in our society and economy. This is all part of the work we are doing to include Canadians with disabilities in all aspects of everyday life.
In spite of the pandemic, we have also taken significant strides in implementing the Accessible Canada Act. The Accessible Canada Act regulations, published in December 2021, marked the first step in operationalizing the act. These regulations require over 5,000 federally regulated entities to publish plans indicating how they plan and intend to proactively identify, remove and prevent barriers to accessibility and to outline how they will report their progress as well as how they will establish feedback mechanisms by which persons with disabilities can provide input.
Most recently, we have appointed Stephanie Cadieux as the first-ever accessibility officer, and shortly after, Michael Gottheil was named as the first accessibility commissioner within the Canadian Human Rights Commission to enforce compliance with the Accessible Canada Act and its regulations.
With regard to standards, in 2019 we established Accessibility Standards Canada, whose board of directors is primarily comprised of persons with disabilities. It is working with disability communities, industry and other partners to create national accessible standards that aim to raise the bar in terms of the requirements and approaches to the seven priority areas that are set out in the act, namely transportation, employment, information and communication technologies or ICT, communications other than ICT, the built environment, the design and delivery of programs and services, and the procurement of goods and services and facilities. The accessibility standards are a critical part of a barrier-free Canada for persons with disabilities, because while they are norms, they are not the law and they have the power to drive widespread adoption of inclusive design.
Accessibility Standards Canada is looking at setting norms for plain language on forms and websites, how we shape our outdoor spaces from sidewalks to parks, emergency egress and how people with disabilities can get out of buildings in a hurry if needed, as well as removing physical barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from accessing the workplace—
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
2022-09-20 13:19 [p.7412]
Mr. Speaker, I certainly enjoyed working with the member opposite on the HUMA committee.
In terms of the criteria she is inquiring about, as we had said earlier, we are going to be developing the criteria through consultation, including with persons with disabilities. I think it was Napoleon who said, he who sits in the saddle best knows where it pinches. In this case I think we should be consulting with the people who are most affected. We certainly are engaged in the process of doing so.
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
2022-09-20 13:21 [p.7412]
Mr. Speaker, I also had the opportunity to work with the member opposite on the health committee, and I certainly appreciate his contributions in those areas as well.
In terms of accountability, with 30 years of banking experience, in my mind, of course accountability has to be critical. It is important that we set out expected outcomes and that people put together plans that measure against those expected outcomes. I fully expect the government will do so, and I am convinced we will develop a good plan and great criteria once we have finished consulting with people who have disabilities and the organizations that represent them. We will see what is important to the people who would be the beneficiaries of the program, and we will certainly set out to make sure we satisfy those needs.
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
2022-09-20 13:22 [p.7412]
Mr. Speaker, coming from Ontario, I understand what the member is referring to. I might add that, during the previous campaign, in the town of Newmarket there was one elected on that member's side all the way down in Newmarket, Ontario, so I thought it was great to see that. However, in terms of the experience of having these clawbacks, there have been extensive discussions with all of the ministers within the provincial areas, and this program is intended to be incremental, not substitutional. The negotiations will not go forward until the incremental portion is solidly part of the program.
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
2022-09-20 13:23 [p.7412]
Mr. Speaker, I think it is important we focus our resources on where the needs are most critical, and there needs to be a process to do so. In order to do that, there needs to be a needs-based testing program. I understand there is a critical need, and this program is intended to support people who have critical needs, such as people who are marginalized. People with disabilities certainly are highly represented in that area.
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
2022-06-17 11:00 [p.6898]
Madam Speaker, over the past year, our community of Newmarket—Aurora has lost two gentlemen whose impact on health care is immeasurable.
Art Craig passed on October 17, 2021, and Al Roeder passed on May 29, 2022. Both served our community in leadership positions with what is now the Southlake Regional Health Centre. Each served as president.
Al was a consummate professional, a health leader and in many ways a health pioneer. He was also, above all else, a gentleman, loved and respected by family, neighbours and former colleagues.
Art was a great supporter of arts and culture who believed in serving the community. He is remembered as a kind soul with a love of family and friends. The respect that he had from those who benefited from his support is exemplified with lifetime memberships in various organizations.
Our community, and specifically our hospital and health care, owe much to the leadership and the vision of both of these gentlemen.
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
2022-06-09 12:24 [p.6412]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-5, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which returns to the House after having been studied by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
Today, I propose to focus my remarks on the very important changes that the bill proposes to make to the conditional sentence regime in the Criminal Code. What we have seen consistently throughout the debate on this bill is that there remain some significant misunderstandings about the important function served by conditional sentence orders, or CSOs, in our society. In order to explain the importance of Bill C-5's amendments in this area, I would like to take a moment to speak about how and why CSOs came to be.
CSOs allow an offender to serve a term of imprisonment of less than two years in the community under strict conditions, including house arrest, curfew and court-mandated treatment for offences that are not punishable by a mandatory term of imprisonment. They were enacted by Parliament in 1996 in response to the well-documented problem of the over-incarceration of indigenous people. The aim of the CSO regime was to promote the protection of the public by seeking to separate the most serious offenders from the community, while providing that less serious offenders could remain in the community if they adhered to important conditions.
Amendments to the Criminal Code over the subsequent 15 years, however, significantly restricted the availability of CSOs. They were made unavailable for all offences punishable by maximum terms of imprisonment of 14 years or more, as well as some offences prosecuted by indictment and punishable by a maximum term of 10 years of imprisonment. The reform also introduced a list of ineligible offences to the CSO regime, including such offences as non-violent property crime.
It is uncontroversial at this point to acknowledge that systemic racism and discrimination in the criminal justice system have resulted in the overrepresentation of indigenous people, Black persons and members of marginalized communities in the criminal justice system. One only needs to look at the country's track record to see the pressing need for change. Indeed, recent data from the Office of the Correctional Investigator demonstrates that indigenous people make up 32% of the federal prison population despite accounting for less than 5% of the total population. Indigenous women, meanwhile, account for 48% of the population in women's prisons.
Members of the community who are overrepresented in the criminal justice system have long called for reform to address the systemic racism and discrimination they face at all stages, from their first contact with law enforcement through to sentencing. Indeed, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Parliamentary Black Caucus have specifically called on the government to revisit the restrictions placed on the conditional sentencing regime in the Criminal Code.
Bill C-5 would make more offences eligible for community-based sentences while maintaining the importance of public safety in all circumstances. Let me repeat that last statement, as this point is too frequently lost in discussions about the proposed amendments. Removing these restrictions on the availability of CSOs will not negatively impact public safety. This is because in order for a court to impose a CSO, it must first be satisfied that this sentence would not endanger the safety of the community. If the offender represents a danger to public safety, then the court is precluded from imposing a CSO.
In addition, a court must be satisfied that a sentence of less than two years is appropriate in the circumstances, and that the community-based sentence would be consistent with the purpose and principles of sentencing set out in the Criminal Code. That is the law, and the proposed amendments would not change that.
Moreover, the amendments proposed in Bill C-5 would not indiscriminately render all offences eligible for the CSOs. Currently, all offences that carry mandatory minimum prison sentences in the Criminal Code are ineligible for a conditional sentence, and that would not change. Similarly, all offences that are linked to terrorism or organized crime, for which the maximum penalty is 10 years of imprisonment or more when prosecuted by way of indictment, are ineligible for a CSO. This too will not change. The bill would also render the offences of torture, attempted murder and advocating genocide ineligible for a CSO.
The evidence shows us that allowing low-risk offenders who do not jeopardize public safety to serve their sentence in the community under strict conditions is more effective at reducing criminality than institutional incarceration. This is because serving a sentence that maintains an offender's access to employment, family, community and health-related support systems allows them to avoid the stigma and trauma of a prison sentence and provides them with a prosocial alternative to criminal offending once their sentence is complete. Indeed, evidence gathered after the original enactment of CSOs supports this finding.
Within the first few years of the implementation of CSOs, recidivism rates declined and incarceration rates decreased by 13%. During the bill's study at the justice committee, the committee heard from experts and stakeholders in the field of criminal justice in Canada. Many of these witnesses, including the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, the HIV Legal Network, Dr. Julie Desrosiers of the faculty of law at Université Laval, the Criminal Lawyers' Association and the Canadian Bar Association, indicated that these reforms to the CSO regime represented a step in the right direction. I could not agree more. I firmly believe that these amendments strike the right balance between providing alternatives to incarceration where appropriate, while maintaining and prioritizing public safety where serious offending is at issue.
This legislation is an important component of the government's ongoing efforts to reduce the overrepresentation of indigenous people, Black persons and members of marginalized communities in our criminal justice system, and would afford more opportunities for rehabilitation in appropriate cases. I urge all members to support these important reforms.
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
2022-06-06 14:10 [p.6131]
Mr. Speaker, this month, Roadhouse & Rose Funeral Home, on Main Street South in Newmarket, is celebrating 180 years of business. Locally owned and operated since 1842, Roadhouse & Rose holds the title of the oldest business in Newmarket, and the third-oldest funeral home in Ontario. A staple in our community, Roadhouse & Rose has been an established business since before Confederation and has watched Newmarket grow from a population of just 600 to now 88,000.
I want to acknowledge Glenn, Jackie and Wes Playter for their many years of service. Not only have they provided our community with professional and compassionate service during our darkest hours, but they have been important community partners supporting many initiatives that make Newmarket even better.
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
2022-06-06 16:51 [p.6158]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to contribute to the debate on Bill C-19, the budget implementation bill, and to highlight some of the measures in budget 2022 that would build on the workforce that Canada needs.
The past two years have created an enormous stress on our economy, but workers in Canada have shown remarkable resilience. We have seen Canadians pivot to working from home while juggling child care. We have seen them restructure entire businesses to manufacture personal protective equipment, and we have witnessed the strength of Canadians who headed to their frontline jobs in the middle of a lockdown.
The determination and ingenuity of Canada’s workforce has kept our economy moving during an unprecedented and challenging time. Since the start of the pandemic, the federal government has introduced significant economic supports to help them through. Those investments worked. Canada’s economy has recovered 115% of the jobs lost at the outset of the pandemic.
Job creation is remarkably strong, and even our hardest-hit sectors are starting to get back up and running. However, this strong recovery is posing its own challenges, as some businesses are struggling to find workers. At the same time, we know that a strong and prosperous economy requires a diverse, talented and consistently growing workforce. However, too many Canadians are facing barriers to finding meaningful and well-paid work. This includes women with young children, new graduates, newcomers, Black and racialized Canadians, indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities.
With budget 2022, our government is proposing important measures that will help address those issues and meet the needs of our workers, businesses and the Canadian economy so we can keep growing stronger for years to come.
Structural shifts in the global economy will require some workers in some sectors across Canada to develop new skills and adjust the way they work. The transition to a new career can be a difficult and stressful time. As our economy changes, Canada’s jobs and skills plan must be tailored to the needs of those workers to help them to meet the needs of growing businesses and different sectors.
In recent years, the federal government has made significant investments to give Canadians the skills they need to succeed in an evolving economy and connect workers to jobs. The measures in Bill C-19, the budget implementation bill, would build on these past investments. These measures include working with provincial and territorial partners on improving how skills training could be provided.
Canada is growing, and that means that more homes, roads and important infrastructure projects will need to be built. Skilled trades workers are essential to Canada’s success, and we need them to be able to get to the job site, no matter where it is.
Our government is aware that workers in the construction trades often travel to take on temporary jobs, frequently in rural and remote communities, but their associated expenses do not always qualify for existing tax relief. We are looking to bridge this gap. Improving labour mobility for workers in the construction trades can help to address labour shortages and ensure that important projects, such as housing, can be completed across the country.
That is why Bill C-19, the budget implementation bill is proposing to introduce a labour mobility deduction. This measure would provide tax recognition of up to $4,000 per year in eligible travel and temporary relocation expenses to eligible tradespeople and apprentices. This measure would apply to the 2022 and subsequent taxation years. We believe that this action, in addition to several other measures proposed in budget 2022, would help address barriers to mobility for tradespeople so they can take on additional important projects and complete them.
We also know that immigration is vital to meeting our labour market needs and supporting our economy, our communities and our national identity. Canada has long been a country that is diverse and welcoming to everyone. Throughout the pandemic, many newcomers have been on the front lines working in key sectors such as health care, transportation, the service sector and manufacturing. Without them, Canada's economy would not have overcome the challenges of the last two years.
In the decades to come, our economy will continue to rely on the talents of people from all over the world, just as we have in the past decade. Our future economic growth will be bolstered by immigration, and Canada will remain a leader in welcoming newcomers fleeing violence and persecution. Therefore, in budget 2022, we are proposing investments to enhance our capacity to meet immigration demands for our growing economy to create opportunities for all newcomers and to maintain Canada's world-class immigration system.
Canada welcomed more than 405,000 new permanent residents in 2021, and that is more than any other year in Canadian history. To meet the demands of our growing economy, the federal government's 2022-24 immigration levels plan, tabled in February 2022, sets an even higher target of 451,000 permanent residents by 2024, the majority of whom will be skilled workers who will help address the persistent labour shortages. This higher target, along with the government's 2021 economic and fiscal update investments to resolve backlogs in processing, and the new investments proposed in this budget, will help make our immigration system more responsive to Canada's economic needs and humanitarian commitments.
The immigration levels plan helps reunite families with their loved ones and allows us to continue to benefit from the talents of those already in Canada by granting permanent status to temporary residents, including essential workers and international students. As announced in budget 2021, our government also intends to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to improve Canada's ability to select applicants who match its changing and diverse economic and labour force needs. These people will be from among a growing pool of candidates seeking to become permanent residents through the express entry system, and we will make sure that we help them choose Canada, to get here and to contribute to our economy and our society.
By taking action to improve labour and mobility, and to attract the best and the brightest from around the world to meet Canada's labour needs, Bill C-19 will be a key part of implementing these measures in budget 2022. I encourage my fellow parliamentarians to support this bill.
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
2022-06-06 17:00 [p.6159]
Madam Speaker, I am proud to say that I am part of the HUMA committee, and part of our investigations, discussions and recommendations to the government for the housing accelerator program addresses exactly the point that the member opposite is raising.
We understand how urgent, important and critical appropriate housing is. With a wide variety of mixed housing and a wide variety of support for housing, I am confident, as we go through the recommendations of the committee and the government's deliberation, that the $4-billion housing accelerator program will be a big part of our solution.
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
2022-06-06 17:02 [p.6160]
Madam Speaker, in terms of engaging, if many people in the workforce decide to and are willing and able to continue to work after retirement, that is a good suggestion. In fact, I have retired twice now, and I am still part of the workforce.
With respect to tax incentives, I am sure that they would be given due consideration as the recommendations come forward.
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
2022-06-06 17:04 [p.6160]
Madam Speaker, I agree with the member that temporary foreign workers are a critical component of the success of many of our businesses. I also agree that the Canadian standards and values of being fair to workers is an important value that we need to continue and support. Programs that take us in that direction, in my mind, would certainly be welcome, and I appreciate the benefit of his perspective.
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
2022-06-02 14:52 [p.6033]
Mr. Speaker, we know that working-age persons with disabilities in Canada are twice as likely to live in poverty as those without disabilities. This is unacceptable. That is why this government is taking historic measures to build a disability inclusive Canada.
This morning, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion tabled legislation for the Canada disability benefit. Can the minister please share with us how this will help lift Canadians with disabilities out of poverty?
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, in 1993, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed that on May 15 of every year we observe International Day of Families. Families are the cornerstone of our society, shaping our country, our communities and our homes. As someone who comes from a family of 15, I always value family above anything else.
My wife, my children and my grandchildren are the greatest treasures in my life. They support me through my happiest times and pick me up when I am down. I would like to thank my family for the strength and support they have always provided.
To my friends and my colleagues in the House, let us spend today and every day celebrating, supporting and protecting the family unit. Treasures of the heart cannot be stolen.
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Tony Van Bynen Profile
2022-05-12 15:11 [p.5239]
Mr. Speaker, our Liberal government restored the age of eligibility for old age security back to 65 from 67. Our government knows that the older seniors get, the more financial difficulties they have. Could the Minister of Seniors please update the House on the work that the government will do to enhance the financial security for older seniors in my riding of Newmarket—Aurora and in Canada?
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