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Results: 1 - 15 of 69
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2021-04-13 14:06 [p.5507]
Mr. Speaker, April is Oral Health Month and from April 4-10, in recognition of National Dental Hygienist Week, I would like to recognize someone very dear to me. As a restorative dental hygienist, my wife, Homeira, is one of the countless frontline health workers who has bravely served Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For over 25 years, she has been passionate about her profession and the patients that she is taking care of. In June 2020, when health care restrictions were relaxed, Homeira quickly gowned up and was one of the first people back in the office. She persevered through every lockdown to support her colleagues and to attend to her patients' complex oral health needs.
I am so proud of Homeira and grateful to her and to all frontline workers across Canada who have worked tirelessly through the pandemic despite the grave risk. Let us take a moment to acknowledge all the dental hygienists who play an important role in taking care of our oral health.
I send my love to Homeira.
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2021-04-12 11:18 [p.5381]
Madam Speaker, first, my thanks to the member for Calgary Confederation for bringing this issue back to the attention of Canadians and the House. We will also be recognizing National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week, which will take place from April 18 to 24 this year.
This is a timely discussion, as this upcoming event raises awareness about the critical need for more donors across the country and encourages Canadians to register their decision and talk to their loved ones about organ donation. This topic hits close to home for me as my family and I are all registered organ and tissue donors. I believe more Canadians should at least consider this option as we see rising numbers of people added to wait lists each year.
According to the latest data from the Canadian Organ Replacement Register, in 2019 a total of 3,014 organ transplant procedures were performed in Canada, which is an increase of about 42% since 2010. Despite this good news, the national data shows that approximately 4,400 people in Canada are waiting for organ transplants, and more than 1,600 people are added to the list each year. Sadly, due to this, an estimated 250 people die each year while waiting for a transplant. As our population ages, the need for organ and tissue donations keeps increasing.
The Government of Canada recognizes the value of organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Since 2018, the government has supported an initiative called the organ donation and transplantation collaborative, led by Health Canada. The collaborative’s goal is to achieve organ donation improvements that result in better patient outcomes and increase the number and quality of successful transplantations.
The government recognizes that too many Canadians are on organ wait lists. We are committed to improving the organ and tissue donation and transplantation system. Alongside the provinces, territories and key stakeholders, we are establishing leading practices, strengthening professional education and raising awareness to improve organ and tissue donation. The Government of Canada continues to work collaboratively with organizations such as Canadian Blood Services, as well as with the provinces and territories, to encourage public participation and increase organ donation rates across Canada.
Additionally, I am proud to say that in the 2019 budget, the government allocated $36.5 million to develop a pan-Canadian data and performance system for organ donation and transplantation.
I would like to briefly note that my colleague, the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge, suggested certain amendments at the committee stage to make Bill C-210 easier for the CRA to implement. While these were not adopted, I believe it is important to review and discuss the intentions behind the amendments. I want to emphasize that we all want the objectives of Bill C-210 to become a reality sooner rather than later. At any moment anyone in this room or their loved one could be in need of an organ. I sincerely hope that it will be there when they need it. Therefore, I want to take a moment to address some concerns regarding the implementation of this bill.
The current legislation, which has the CRA directly collecting organ and donor consent on behalf of the provinces and territories, could potentially cause significant roadblocks and time-consuming delays. For the CRA to implement Bill C-210 in time for the tax filing season next year, we need the quick engagement and support of the provinces and territories.
We have spoken in the past about the need for efficient implementation of this bill. The member for Vaughan—Woodbridge proposed an amendment that would have the CRA collect and share the personal information of individuals wishing to become organ and tissue donors with their respective provinces and territories. The provinces and territories, in turn, would obtain consent from Canadians to share this information and store it in a database. Although this amendment was defeated, I still emphasize the critical role of the provinces and territories in the administration of this bill as the maintenance of donor information is legally within their jurisdiction.
Additionally, the legal requirements of donor eligibility and informed consent are very complex and vary greatly by jurisdiction in Canada, so the bill would have different applications for each province and territory. This is why my colleague, the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge, proposed a separate sheet for organ donation that could be inserted into T1 income tax packages. This sheet was modelled on the insert page for the Ontario Trillium benefit, which is inserted into the tax packages of Ontario residents and then provided directly to the Province of Ontario.
Despite these concerns, I want to reiterate that the CRA will continue to respect the role that the provinces and territories play in organ and tissue donation, ensuring that Canadians' personal information is handled securely. I believe strongly that this collaboration between the CRA and the provincial and territorial governments is essential to delivering real, positive change to Canadians. In fact, I believe that having a pan-Canadian data system in place would support decision-making and improve patient care. It would also help create better records, which could be used for both monitoring and forecasting purposes.
Despite the concerns about the manner of implementation, rest assured that the Government of Canada will fully support Bill C-210. The CRA will continue to work with all parties to make the member for Calgary Confederation's objective a reality, which would make the dream of saving the lives of thousands of Canadians a reality. It is only by working together that we will continue to improve organ and tissue donation progress, along with the transplantation system, and ensure that Canadians have timely and effective access to care.
I encourage all members in the House to vote in support of this bill once again.
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2021-03-26 10:19 [p.5345]
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Kings—Hants.
I am happy today to discuss Bill C-19, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act (COVID-19 response), tabled last December. This is an important piece of legislation that would create more accessible voting options for all Canadians. More precisely, I will outline the ways in which this bill seeks to temporarily enhance mail-in voting for electors should a general election be required during the pandemic.
We have seen during this pandemic how important accessibility is. We have even taken accessibility measures in the House, through the use of Zoom video conferencing and voting by app. Mail-in voting is a safe and accessible option for all Canadians. According to research conducted by Elections Canada, it is expected that up to five million electors would choose to vote by mail for an election during the pandemic. In comparison, approximately 50,000 electors opted for this during the 2019 federal election. This is only 1% of the turnout that could be expected during a pandemic.
Jurisdictions inside and outside of Canada that have had elections during the pandemic have witnessed a steep increase in the use of mail-in ballots. Many electors, particularly those who are most vulnerable, choose to vote in this manner because it is safe and secure. The existing federal mail-in vote system is no different, and nothing in Bill C-19 would change that.
At the same time, we need to be prepared for an expected surge in mail-in ballots, which is why Bill C-19 includes new mail-in vote measures. These measures would strengthen the current mail-in vote system by facilitating the use of this voting method for all Canadians, thereby ensuring the health and safety of electors who feel more comfortable voting from home.
In my riding of Richmond Hill, we have a large population of seniors who would greatly benefit from an expansion of mail-in voting measures. I facilitated a community council in Richmond Hill that specifically targeted advocating for seniors. One of the major concerns I have constantly heard regards engagement. The pandemic has isolated our seniors from their communities, their social circles and the government. Expanding mail-in balloting and making the process simple would ensure that our seniors do not become more disenfranchised.
Bill C-19 would temporarily establish four new mail-in vote measures: First, electors would be able to register online; second, mail-in ballot boxes would be installed at polling stations; third, electors would be able to use an identification number in lieu of a copy of their ID when registering; and fourth, electors would still have the option of voting in person even after registering for mail-in voting.
The first measure would enable electors to apply online to register to vote by mail, thereby allowing them to avoid in-person voting. This would be a critical option for those electors with significant health concerns. In addition, while online registration would provide electors with the opportunity to participate in the election process from their homes, individuals without access to the Internet would still be able to register to vote by mail. For those who are not comfortable registering online, the option to register by mail would still be available. In this way, we would not be limiting options for electors, but expanding them with an option to register for mail-in voting.
Bill C-19 would also see mail reception boxes installed at all polling stations. This measure would recognize that some electors who register to vote by mail may be too busy to return their ballot kits by mail. To support limited in-person contact, we would be providing electors with a secure and convenient means to deposit their ballots.
The third measure would provide electors with the opportunity to use an identification number instead of their ID to establish proof of identity and residence when registering to vote by mail. This measure would make it easier for electors to register to vote by mail-in ballot, especially our most vulnerable who face significant health risks.
I would note that this, like all elements of Bill C-19, is a temporary measure in which electors must consent to the use of this data when registering with an identification number. To protect against voter fraud, Elections Canada is required to hold relevant data on electors.
Lastly, with Bill C-19, electors would still have the option of voting in person even if they had already registered to vote by mail. Electors who chose to do so would have to return their mail-in ballot kits after registration or sign a declaration stating that they had not already voted by mail-in ballot. We want to help ensure the integrity of the vote this way.
Canada's federal voting system is robust, with measures already in place to safeguard electoral integrity against fraud. Elections Canada has a long history of experience administering the mail-in voting system, with extensive integrity measures and safeguards. There is no evidence to suggest that the current system enables widespread voter fraud or poses concerns for ballot security.
It is responsible to assume that an expected increase in mail-in voting may trigger the need for the chief electoral officer to adapt provisions of the Canada Elections Act during the pandemic. As such, the proposed increased section 17 authorities would allow the CEO to respond accordingly should new challenges or circumstances arise. Taken together, these measures seek to address our unprecedented times by providing extensive opportunities for Canadians to vote. We are building on a mail-in voting system that is expected to see a surge in use.
I would encourage hon. members to support this legislation and send it to committee, as mail-in voting will experience an unprecedented surge that we need to proactively address. The sooner this bill goes to committee, the sooner we will be able to do a substantive review of it, send it to the other place for approval and implement these measures before any election may be called during the pandemic.
The measures outlined in this legislation aim to do so with strength and efficiency and will support electors voting from the comfort of their homes. These measures are imperative in assuring that we do not put vulnerable Canadians at risk while also limiting large election crowds in public spaces such as schools, community centres and religious spaces, where voting booths are usually located.
In closing, in such challenging times, Bill C-19 provides ways to ensure that citizens can safely and widely participate in the electoral process.
I thank all members and urge them to support this bill and send it to committee.
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2021-03-26 10:29 [p.5347]
Madam Speaker, it is important for us to look at the bill in a substantive way. I believe that Elections Canada has already received input and done extensive consultation, and it is well on its way to making sure that procedures are put in place to ensure that we have an open, democratic and safe election.
There is a legislative piece that we are following, but there is also a preparation piece. With the committee recommendations, and Elections Canada itself doing a lot of consultation, it would be in a position to parallel the process and make sure that if an election was called during the pandemic, we would be able to hold a democratic and safe election.
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2021-03-26 10:30 [p.5347]
Madam Speaker, the most important thing is that our government's focus has remained, from the beginning, on making sure that we are keeping Canadians safe and that we are making sure they have the supports they need.
Our focus remains on making sure that we do that. As we look forward to the budget on April 19, our focus remains on Canadians' safety and on making sure that they have the support they need.
On the other hand, we all have to be ready for an election. That is the nature of a minority Parliament. We are doing our part. As the government, we are making sure that our focus remains on people, on Canadians, on their safety, and on making sure that they have support.
As elected members in a minority Parliament, our job is to be ready. The government is ready, and we have to be ready. Being ready is good.
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2021-03-26 10:32 [p.5347]
Madam Speaker, all the work that was done at the committee is not lost. The sooner we get this bill to the committee, the sooner we can take all of that into account.
Second, the reason we are proposing to extend it over three days is safety. We want to make sure that Canadians have an opportunity to effectively participate in a democratic process while we keep them safe. That is all it is.
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2021-03-22 11:58 [p.5012]
Madam Speaker, I am delighted to stand in the House for the second hour of debate on Motion No. 36.
I first introduced the motion about a year ago. Since then, we have experienced a global pandemic and a global protest for racial justice. We all watched as millions across the world marched peacefully to protest anti-Black racism and raise awareness of systemic discrimination and inequalities embedded in our institutions.
Witnessing these events and participating in the movement, I realize how imperative this motion is and how important it is for our government to take the necessary steps to address the systemic racism in our institutions and society.
The motion to have the House formally recognize August 1 as emancipation day would be a stepping stone in our effort toward building a more just and equitable society. Naturally, the next question we must ask ourselves is how we can move forward from here.
Through the three principles of acknowledgement, empowerment and engagement, we can progress forward and make a significant impact in the lives of Black Canadians. The acknowledgement principle is what we can accomplish with the motion. Recognizing the history of emancipation day includes recognizing the remnant of slavery and the multi-generational impact of slave trade.
Acknowledgement also includes formalizing Black history in our curriculum and through public awareness. With this motion, we could empower our schools and educators to develop lesson plans that highlight Black history in Canada.
From coast to coast to coast, Black Canadians have made and continue to make an immense contribution and it is vital we acknowledge them. This is an essential milestone for improving education awareness into issues of race and injustice.
The next step and principle on our path to justice is empowerment. By providing opportunities advocating for community and educating our society, we can empower equity-deserving communities. Empowerment includes eliminating obstacles that deter Black Canadians from stepping into their own power, seeing their own potential and contributing meaningfully to all aspects of society.
The third and last principle is engagement. This includes removing socio-economic barriers Black Canadians face, investing in education, funding innovation, creating affordable housing and providing safe child care spaces. We must also re-evaluate our criminal justice system. We must question the reasoning behind the high percentage of Black Canadians in our institutional system and why high recidivism rates exist. Only then can we create policies that address these issues.
As we strive to create an inclusive multicultural society, we cannot ignore this part of our past and its generational impact on our fellow Canadians. As Canadians, it is our collective responsibility to create a multicultural inclusive society informed by and sensitive to the experiences of different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.
As a first generation immigrant, I immediately connected with the underlying tone of racism and injustice experienced by the Black community. Though I can never understand the struggle that a Black person faces in our world, I can empathize and I can be a fierce ally. As an elected official, I have a platform where I can help amplify the voices of Black Canadians.
After the events of the past summer, it is evident how important a systematic approach is, an approach that addresses all aspects of our society. As an advocate for mental health, I also see an opportunity to advocate for those who feel an intense burden dealing with systemic racism on a daily basis. Emancipation day is a celebration of survival, human rights, equality, culture and resilience. Recognizing it would not only acknowledge the harms caused by slavery but also pave a path toward justice.
Motion No. 36 is only the first step. By empowering the principles of acknowledgement, empowerment and engagement, we can move toward progress and through equity.
I want to thank Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard for bringing this initiative forward in the Senate as well as all community groups and advocates who have advised me, educated me and helped me promote this motion. This is a testament to their work, activism and persistence. I hope to join them all in an emancipation day celebration this summer.
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2021-03-12 11:10 [p.4971]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this House virtually to speak to Nowruz. On Saturday, March 20 at 5:37 a.m., those of Persian, Kurdish, Turkish, Azari, Baluch, Afghan and Pakistani descent in my riding of Richmond Hill, across Canada and the world, will be welcoming spring, joining at the haft-seen table and celebrating the new year of the Persian calendar.
Next Tuesday night at the Chaharshanbe Suri fire festival before Nowruz, many families will participate in the practice of jumping of the fire chanting, [Member spoke in Farsi]. As we jump over the fire and light the candles at our haft-seen tables, we hope that the light and reviving of the nature will take away all the darkness and sorrow of the past year and bring forth lightness, hope, health and prosperity.
[Member spoke in Farsi]
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2021-02-26 11:50 [p.4610]
Madam Speaker, my private member's motion, Motion No. 36, calls for the House to designate August 1 as emancipation day, acknowledging the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. One of the key pillars of my motion is education on Black Canadian history and recognizing the contributions of Black Canadians to our society.
Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth update the House on the efforts being taken to address anti-Black racism?
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2021-02-19 15:04 [p.4332]
Madam Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking the member for Sydney—Victoria for introducing this motion and for his consistent advocacy on this topic. If adopted, this motion would launch a committee study on the creation of an environmentally conscious labelling regime on all products available to Canadians.
Before I begin discussing why I support this motion, I would like to speak on a topic that is of utmost important to me, many of my constituents in Richmond Hill and many Canadians.
Climate change is a serious concern that presents a great threat to our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren. The rise of greenhouse gas emissions from humans into the earth's atmosphere has led to an increased concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, ultimately affecting the earth's climate and the way we live as humans.
The effects of climate change are already being seen today. Global surface temperatures have been on the rise since the 1990s, leading to extreme weather conditions such as droughts, floods and high temperatures, affecting our agriculture industry, forests, glaciers and wildlife.
As a father of two, I constantly think about the impacts of climate change and hope I personally can reduce my carbon footprint as well as my family's carbon footprint to create a better environment for my future grandchildren. I am looking forward to having grandchildren at some point.
Many Canadians, especially in my riding of Richmond Hill, feel the same way I do. The main question for us is, what can we do to ensure that the future is safe, not only for our children but our grandchildren? This motion makes it a lot easier for parents like me to be able to answer questions like that.
The heart of this motion is designed to support the Canadian consumer who wants and deserves to know the environmental impact of the product they are purchasing, allowing them to make informed decisions that impact their families.
We also know that many Canadian industries and businesses have already started selling sustainably produced and locally grown products, and have seen the benefits to the environment and to their bottom lines. Our government can work to bring consumer interests and the specific needs of Canadian businesses together by creating a clear metric that assesses the environmental impact of the products we are buying.
Two weeks ago, I held the first meeting of my community environmental council. This council is a space where constituents from Richmond Hill are able to have a forum to discuss their priorities and feedback for our government that are related specifically to the environment. These individuals are diverse in their ages, backgrounds and life experiences, but they all have one thing in common: their passion for the environment and the future we are leaving to the next generation.
In this meeting, I realized how universal my own values are. Canadians are concerned about climate change and saving our environment. We are introducing clear environmental labelling with an accessible grading system. Consumers will have the power to know the effects on the environment of the products they consume and can make the conscious decision to shop sustainably.
Canadians would be informed on the waste created and the greenhouse gas emitted from the products they use and would be able to clearly identify the products that are more sustainable. Industries will then have the opportunity to reflect on these practices and make sustainable changes to their products as well. A standardized system across Canada will ensure that the information is accurate, science-based and transparent.
Currently, large corporations have the means and resources to be able to invest in PR that advertises their sustainable practices. This often hurts our small local producers, who are not able to invest in such advertising. A consistent metric on all product labels will ensure that companies with large budgets will not have the advantage and that consumers can judge products accurately. This will drive a green shift in the market, and businesses will be inclined to adhere to more sustainable practices.
We know that Canadians are concerned about the future, and I know that given the choice, Canadians will make the right decision. Informative labelling on Canadian products is not new, and statistically there are positive effects. Nutritional labelling has been mandatory in Canada since 2017, giving Canadians the power to base their decisions to buy food on the food's nutritional values.
It is a simple and effective way of informing consumers of the ingredients of the products they consume. Researchers from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine have found that the standardized nutritional information on products reduces consumer purchases of unhealthy choices by about 13%. This system could be very similar to how products are graded based on several indicators of sustainability, including but not limited to, greenhouse gas emissions, water and energy usage, waste creation, chemicals in the products, recyclability and durability. We can safely assume that when the grade is clearly outlined on the front, a consumer will be more likely to make the sustainable choice.
The Canada Environmental Protection Act already requires authorities to label products, for example, for containing mercury. We have also seen labelling requirements under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, the Pest Control Products Act, and the Food and Drugs Act. Canadians are already comfortable with reading labels on products.
I imagine a scenario where a conscious consumer is deciding between two different brands of the same product. They want to make a decision that will result in a lower carbon footprint, and with this they would have an accessible way of easily knowing which is less impactful on our environment. I also imagine that this would help our local Canadian producers and manufacturers. Lower emissions of greenhouse gases from a faster and more sustainable transportation method would make for a higher grade and help promote our local businesses.
By passing this motion, sending it to the committee and engaging in this study, we will have already established Canada as committed to climate action and providing a better future for our next generation. By investing in equal labelling regimes, it would be a step in Canada's transition into a circular economy that would encourage businesses to take responsibility for the products they sell to Canadians, including for their recycling potential.
In closing, we have already begun this transition through the Canada-wide strategy on zero plastic waste, which endorses a shift toward extended producer responsibility for the recycling of plastic products. I imagine that we will be much closer to a green-tech economy through this initiative as well. I hope that this motion passes and that we continue on our path to saving our environment and ensuring a sustainable future for the next generation. I support this motion moving to the committee for study. I am part of the industry committee, and I look forward to receiving this motion at the committee to be able to study it.
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2021-02-16 14:00 [p.4126]
Madam Speaker, last Friday, February 12, many East Asian communities in my riding of Richmond Hill and Markham celebrated the lunar new year and the beginning of the symbolic Year of the Ox. The ox is known to symbolize positive traits such as hard work, reliability, persistence and honesty. The new year symbolizes a change and a chance to start fresh and connect with loved ones safely. Many organizations in my riding, such as the New Canadian Community Centre, Canada Confederation of Fujian Associations and RedMaple Sunset Glow Cultural Association, have demonstrated the qualities of the ox in the past year through community service and donations.
I want to thank these organizations for their continued advocacy, service and commitment to their community. I wish everyone celebrating a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Ox gung hei fat choy, xin nian kuai le.
Happy lunar new year.
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2021-01-28 14:01 [p.3709]
Madam Speaker, COVID-19 has further highlighted many challenges that continue to impact our mental health and wellness. The CMHA found that 87% of Canadians do not have access to mental health supports and, in total, 1.6 million Canadians' needs will go unmet each year.
We as a nation must work toward building capacity and improving access to mental health services, as well as addressing the socio-economic determinants of health. This highlights the need for a strategic and focused investment that is supported by research. Adopting wellness practices such as daily exercise, healthy eating, sufficient sleep, strong relationships and helping others is beneficial to maintaining our mental wellness.
I want to commend the community organizations that are working to address mental illness and wellness. We must recognize there is no health without mental health. On special days like today, we raise awareness regarding mental health and well-being in Canada. However, the conversation must not stop when today ends.
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2021-01-26 16:03 [p.3557]
Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to contribute to the debate on this important bill. Bill C-14 would implement several important measures from the fall economic statement which highlighted the additional steps our government is taking to support Canadians and Canadian businesses during the second wave of the pandemic.
This bill, in seven parts, would provide much needed economic support for Canadians. The measures include increasing our supports for families with young children, helping students, investing in mental health resources and improving the long-term care system. It also makes important adjustments to the Borrowing Authority Act, the regional relief and recovery fund and the Canada emergency rent subsidy.
In addition to those measures, it proposes to deploy a three-year stimulus package to jump-start our recovery and provide the fiscal support that the Canadian economy needs to operate at a full capacity. Today, I would like to address these important measures and how they will truly support Canadians and Canadian businesses.
We know that many families with young children have been struggling trying to find affordable child care during the pandemic. For these families, we are introducing a temporary support of up to $1,200 for each child under the age of six. This support will be provided to low- and middle-income families who are entitled to the Canada child benefit. This would benefit more than 10,000 families in my riding of Richmond Hill.
We will also help the students in our country. During this time, we have heard from many students who are burdened by student debt and are struggling to find work. We are committed to ensuring that this pandemic does not derail their futures. The bill would eliminate interest on the repayment of the federal portion of the Canada student loan and the Canada apprentice loan for 2021-22. This measure will bring $329.4 million in relief to up to 1.4 million Canadians. This, on average, will amount to $235 of interest potentially saved for each student. This money can be used to buy textbooks, computers and other necessary resources for our nation's students.
As mentioned earlier, our government has a plan to help our nation's most vulnerable. The COVID-19 outbreak in long-term care homes has been tragic and completely unacceptable. The pandemic has further highlighted the need for significant improvements in the standard and care of our most vulnerable. Bill C-14 will invest in a safe long-term care fund to help provinces and territories protect people in long-term care and support infection prevention and control. We are committing up to $1 billion in support to ensure that every resident in our long-term care system is supported.
The COVID-19 Emergency Response Act passed on March 25, 2020. It permitted the government to borrow to fund its response to the extraordinary circumstances from April 1 until September 30, 2020. These borrowings are exempt from the overall borrowing limit set out in the act. A separate external borrowing report was tabled in Parliament on October 22, 2020. It provides details of the amounts borrowed.
The proposed measures in Bill C-14 would increase the maximum borrowing amount from $1.168 trillion to $1.831 trillion to cover projected borrowing until March 2024 and will include external borrowing made as a result of COVID-19. The new limit will allow the government to continue to support Canadians and businesses in my riding of Richmond Hill through the pandemic. As well, it will allow for a necessary investment once the pandemic is over to power a robust, sustained recovery in job growth to March 2024.
The action the government has taken and plans to take will help Canada come roaring back from the COVID-19 recession and prevent the long-term economic scarring that would weaken our post-pandemic recovery. The bill before us would also authorize payments to be made to Canada's six regional development agencies for the regional relief and recovery fund.
The government announced the $962-million regional relief and recovery fund on April 17 to help support those businesses unable to access other pandemic support programs. It provides this significant funding through Canada's regional development agencies. The government expanded the fund on October 2, bringing the total support to more than $1.5 billion.
In the COVID-19 context, the regional development agencies are playing a vital role in helping to bridge small and medium-sized businesses to better times. To date, the regional relief and recovery fund has protected over 102,000 jobs and supported over 14,700 businesses, including 8,500 clients in rural areas and 5,100 women-owned businesses.
As a next step, the fall economic statement proposed a top-up of $500 million on a cash basis to regional development agencies and the Community Futures Network of Canada, bringing the total funding to over $2 billion in this fund.
Finally, the bill proposes to amend the Income Tax Act to allow for the Canada emergency rent subsidy to recognize a rent payment as a qualifying rent expense when it comes due rather than only when it is paid, provided certain conditions are met. We are still in a situation in which not all small businesses have the cash flow to pay their rent on the first of the month, with a reimbursement to come later. The new rent subsidy provides simple and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. It is provided directly to the tenants while also providing support to property owners.
In addition, under the lockdown support program, organizations that must shut their doors or significantly restrict their activities under a public health order are eligible for a 25% top-up in addition to the base rent subsidy of up to 65% until December 19, 2020. This means hard-hit businesses in my riding of Richmond Hill that have had to shut their doors because of provincial lockdowns are eligible to receive up to 90% support for rent and mortgage interest.
To provide greater certainty to businesses and other organizations, the fall economic statement proposes to extend the current subsidy rent for an additional three periods. This means that a maximum base subsidy rate of up to 65% and an additional 25% for lockdown support would be available until March 13, 2021. The government will put in place regulations to effect this extension.
These are important changes to the program and are pieces of legislation that will allow the government to continue to provide direct support to Canadians so that they can pay their rent and mortgage and feed their families. It also provides scalable support to businesses to help bridge them through the crisis and keep Canadians healthy, safe and solvent.
In closing, better days are coming. The government has a plan to get through the pandemic and the recession and to recover strongly. We will do whatever it takes to support Canadians and get the economy firmly back on track.
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Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2021-01-26 16:13 [p.3559]
Madam Speaker, I agree that we need to make sure there are vaccines available, as Canadians need them. We have made sure there will be 1.1 million vaccines available in the spring, and by the end of September there are going to be vaccines available to all Canadians who want to be vaccinated. With a total of six million vaccines being available by the end of spring, we feel that we are well on our path to recovery.
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Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2021-01-26 16:14 [p.3559]
Madam Speaker, we were made aware of the concerns that Canadians had. The government took the necessary steps to inform Canadians early in December, especially the ones who received the CERB, and provided needed alternatives to processes to make sure that their taxes would be filed properly and that no undue hardship would be put on them.
I recommend that Canadians reach out to the CRA and their members of Parliament to work with them to make sure they truly understand those measures.
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