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Previous Sittings
Previous Sittings

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 44th Parliament
Volume 153, Issue 69

Monday, October 17, 2022
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


Monday, October 17, 2022

The Senate met at 6 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.



The Late John Crosbie Perlin, C.M., C.V.O., O.N.L.

Hon. Fabian Manning: Honourable senators, today I’m pleased to present Chapter 64 of “Telling Our Story.”

On Sunday, October 9, 2022, Newfoundland and Labrador lost one of our province’s greatest humanitarians. John Crosbie Perlin passed away peacefully at his home in St. John’s at the age of 88 years.

Mr. Perlin had a long and outstanding career serving the people of his own province and throughout Canada. For many years he was the Director of Cultural Affairs for Newfoundland and Labrador, appointed to that position by our very first premier, Joseph R. Smallwood. His responsibilities included the management of all the province’s arts and culture centres while at the same time developing and showcasing the province’s cultural community to the world.

He was arguably our province’s foremost expert on the Royal Family and the monarchy, having served as the Canadian Secretary to Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the only Newfoundlander and Labradorian ever to do so. He served as an adviser to many of our province’s Lieutenant Governors and coordinated and oversaw many royal visits to the province. One of his last public acts was to offer commentary on the passing of The Queen.

On a personal note, I was fortunate to be in John’s company on several occasions, but I fondly remember our interaction in 2009 as we waited for then Prince Charles and his wife Camilla to arrive at the airport in St. John’s. At that time, I was asked to represent the federal government to officially welcome the royal couple on their arrival to Canada.

As we waited for the plane to arrive, John gave me the Royal Family 101 protocol lesson on what to do and say and, more importantly, on what not to do and say. In a lighthearted way, I said to John, “Do you think the Prince would mind if I called him Charlie?” John quickly replied, “The Prince may not mind, but if you do that, I expect they will have to carry me out of here in an ambulance.” I decided to follow John’s advice, and everything worked out quite well.

John Perlin was so much more than an expert on all things royal. He was heavily involved in many different aspects of our community. He served with distinction on numerous boards of charitable and non-profit organizations, such as the National President for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, President of Wildlife Habitat Canada, Vice-Chair of the Salvation Army Territorial Advisory Board, Chair of the Salvation Army’s Advisory Board in St. John’s, Chair of the Community Sector Council Newfoundland and Labrador, Chair of the Rising Tide Theatre and as Chairman Emeritus of the Quidi Vidi Rennies River Development Foundation, having served as its founding chair for more than 20 years. The foundation operates the Fluvarium, which means “windows on a stream.” It is a beautiful public centre dedicated to environmental education, and John remained actively involved with the foundation until his passing.

John was also an active member of the Canadiana Fund, whose purpose is to enhance our country’s official residences through public donations of furnishings, paintings and objets d’art, or the funds to purchase such. There were many other organizations that John gave freely of his time and talent, all in an effort to preserve, protect and enhance what we have been given. If you walked on one of the trails surrounding the city of St. John’s, visited an arts centre or took in one of our many theatre productions, you have benefitted from John Perlin’s community involvement.

John’s dedication to public service and community involvement was heavily influenced by his parents, Albert Perlin, a legendary journalist, editor and commentator, and Vera Crosbie Perlin, a social activist for children long before “social activist” was a term used in our society. For their years of service, John Perlin and both his mother and father received the Order of Canada. I am not aware of any other family who has been the recipient of this honour.

Along with the Order of Canada, John also received the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador and was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order. John also received an honorary doctor of laws from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador.

While he epitomized duty and public service with an unequalled passion, John is fondly remembered and beloved by numerous people for his kindness, friendship, mentoring and support he gave to others. His professional accomplishments are many, and I hope I have done justice to them here today, but it is John’s warmth and decency that far surpasses the multitude of accomplishments he had. In a world where you can be anything you want to be, John Perlin chose to be kind, generous, authentic and unique.

I ask all senators to join with me today in sending our sincere sympathies and condolences to John’s family and friends. He has left an incredible legacy to our province and country, one that we can all be proud of.

May he rest in peace.

Arctic UAV

Hon. Larry W. Smith: Honourable senators, just before the break I had the privilege and honour of visiting Iqaluit with my colleagues Senator Downe and Senator Black. In addition to attending National Day for Truth and Reconciliation marches, we met with community members, elders and business leaders and took part in the Arctic Sovereignty and Security Summit organized graciously by Senator Patterson. The only thing more inspiring than the rugged beauty of the vast tundra was the passion, determination and pride of the Inuit people themselves.

In particular, I would like to highlight the work of Kirt Ejesiak, who operates Arctic UAV, a 100% Indigenous-owned business specializing in aerial photography, video surveillance and data mapping using remotely piloted aircraft systems.

Located on the shores of Baffin Bay inside a former Hudson’s Bay trading post, we were in awe of the equipment Kirt and his team had invested in and were testing and operating in the harsh and often unforgiving northern climate. This included using drone technology to map major mine sites, study the effects of shipping on marine migration and detect thermal hot spots at waste sites, just to name a few.

Like many young Inuit leaders, Kirt’s knowledge of the land on which he grew up, coupled with his desire for creating a better Nunavut, was evident in our discussions with him. Kirt was bursting with ideas and practical solutions to many challenges facing communities in Nunavut by underscoring that policies for the North must be developed in the North and by the North.

As an example, Kirt and his team have proven to be nimble, retaining the expertise needed to respond to the issue of Arctic surveillance, a critical area of focus for policy-makers today.

Honourable senators, please join me in recognizing Kirt and Arctic UAV for the extraordinary work they do in Nunavut and across the North.

Thank you.

International Metropolis Conference

Hon. Tony Loffreda: Honourable senators, I rise to draw your attention to the 25th International Metropolis Conference held in Berlin last month.

I was honoured to attend in a personal capacity this forum that reunited experts, policy-makers and business leaders to discuss issues related to migration, mobility, integration and inclusion.

Our very own Senator Omidvar was a keynote speaker. I was proud to join her for various events and workshops, and I must admit she was welcomed like a rock star in Germany. When Senator Omidvar spoke, people listened. Her expertise is second to none, and Canada is lucky to have her in the Senate.

For me, the conference was an opportunity to immerse myself more fully in matters of migration and integration. There are two things I took away from the conference. One was that Canada has a lot to share with our international counterparts in terms of best practices. Our immigration system is not perfect, but it’s still the envy of the world and we should be proud.


Two, the global competition to attract immigrants is on. Canada is in a good position because we’ve always been an attractive destination with successful integration policies. However, we need to accelerate; otherwise we risk losing ground to other nations.


Canada’s prosperity will depend heavily on increased immigration. We need new Canadians to fill current and future labour shortages.

Immigration already accounts for almost 100% of Canada’s workforce growth.


As our population ages and retires, this pool of talent will be front and centre as we grow our economy. Right now, about 6 in 10 immigrants are selected for their positive economic impact.

Inflation and labour shortages are top of mind these days, and there is a correlation between the two. Immigrants can help address these shortfalls. As the Century Initiative recently reported, “Growing our population through immigration contributes to a larger GDP” and could also increase GDP per capita if we adequately leverage the talent and skills of immigrants.

Honourable senators, “business as usual” is no longer acceptable. Our meetings in Berlin confirmed the urgency for Canada to do better and faster.

As the Century Initiative reminds us:

Canada is ranked as the world’s most accepting country towards immigrants, its policies to integrate migrants are considered among the best in the world, and immigration has widespread public and political support.

We must capitalize on this stellar reputation. Our economic prosperity literally relies on it. Thank you.

Vladimir Kara-Murza

Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond: Honourable senators, in April I rose to express solidarity with jailed Russian opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza. After courageously returning to Russia, despite two assassination attempts, he was arrested under new laws criminalizing dissent.

Recently, he was charged with high treason for opposing the war against Ukraine.

Yet, Mr. Kara-Murza’s criticism of the Putin regime reflects the truth. This is evident by the overwhelming United Nations vote last week to condemn Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of occupied regions in Ukraine. The truth cannot be a crime.

Let us reaffirm that we stand with Mr. Kara-Murza — a star of hope in the Russian sky. This week, we are honoured to host in our capital his wife, Evgenia Kara-Murza, the project manager of the Free Russia Foundation. We are also honoured to host two of his advocates: the Honourable Irwin Cotler, appointed as the Special Envoy of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Community of Democracies in the Case of Vladimir Kara-Murza; and Bill Browder, head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign.

They thank us for our Magnitsky Law and call for more sanctions against oligarchs who are often proxies of Putin to hide his wealth, and also to ban Russian officials involved in Mr. Kara-Murza’s persecution.

On October 10, on her husband’s behalf, Evgenia Kara-Murza accepted the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize in Strasbourg, awarded by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In a statement read by his wife, he dedicated the prize to the many thousands of Russians jailed for speaking out against the war who choose not to remain “. . . silent in the face of this atrocity, even at the cost of personal freedom.” He added in the statement read by his wife:

. . . I look forward to . . . when a peaceful, democratic and Putin-free Russia returns to this Assembly and to this Council; and when we can finally start building that whole, free and peaceful Europe we all want to see. Even today, in the darkest of hours, I firmly believe that time will come.

Senators, let’s stand with the Kara-Murzas, the advocates working with them and all those in Russia who dare to speak against Putin’s war crimes. Thank you, meegwetch.



The Senate

Notice of Motion to Call Upon the Prime Minister to Advise the Governor General to Revoke the Honorific Style and Title of “Honourable” from Former Senator Don Meredith

Hon. Josée Verner: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That, in light of the reports of the Senate Ethics Officer dated March 9, 2017, and June 28, 2019, concerning the breaches by former Senator Don Meredith of the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators as well as the statement made in the Senate on June 25, 2020, by the chair of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration expressing regrets to the victims of Mr. Meredith’s misconduct, the Senate call upon the Prime Minister to advise Her Excellency the Governor General to take the necessary steps to revoke the honorific style and title of “Honourable” from former senator Don Meredith.



Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Work Permit Processing Backlog

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Leader, I trust that you had a great Thanksgiving and are in good spirits and will answer some questions today.

Leader, a recent article in The Globe and Mail reported that, due to a backlog created by federal government policy decisions, thousands of highly skilled immigrants are being forced to return to their home countries as their work permits expire. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a steep drop in the number of immigrants being granted permanent residency in Canada, and your government introduced measures to supposedly reverse this trend, except the opposite happened, leader.

Canada’s immigration bureaucracy wasn’t able to keep up with the influx of applications, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, or IRCC, imposed a year-long pause on new applications from people who already lived and worked in Canada. Now thousands of immigrants with Canadian work experience are waiting in limbo and may very well have to leave Canada if their work permits expire before they get their invitation to apply to become permanent residents — for many, this is happening very soon.

Leader, why isn’t your government doing everything in its power to clear the backlog and fix the mess that it created?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. I hope as well that everybody had a nice Thanksgiving.

Yes, I’m happy to answer your question. The answer is that the government is doing everything they can. Immigration clearly plays a key role in combatting our labour shortage, and I’m advised that the government is prioritizing its work permit processing for in-demand occupations — over 394,000 new work permits from January to August this year, which is more than double the number of work permits processed during the same period last year. That’s important and good news for our economy.

The government is also taking measures to reduce wait times, and I’m assured that the government will be doing even more to tackle the backlog in the short term while making our system more sustainable in the long term.

Senator Plett: Leader, this mess just points to yet another government failure in ensuring the smooth functioning of basic government services. Not only are our passport offices in a shambles, your government can’t even keep immigrant workers in Canada amidst a severe labour shortage.


Leader, we are talking about highly skilled individuals with Canadian work experience who could help fill these shortages, grow our economy and strengthen our communities. It isn’t like these shortages — or this backlog, for that matter — were created overnight.

What exactly has your government been doing?

Senator Gold: Thank you for your question. One of the things that this government is doing is continuing to attract skilled immigrants from around the world. The government, notwithstanding the pandemic, was able to make over half a million decisions and welcomed over 405,000 new permanent residents in 2021 — the greatest number of newcomers in one year in Canadian history.

In addition, the government is prioritizing workers in specialized essential occupations such as health care, and is investing over $3.5 million to support the labour market integration of internationally trained nurses by providing employment support and work experience, as well as improving the foreign credential recognition processes.

The government continues to work toward a more integrated, modern and centralized work environment in order to help speed up the application process globally.


Cost of Fuel

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the government leader. Canadians who use natural gas or electricity to heat their homes can expect their bills to rise between 50% to 100%, on average, this winter. Some consumers could see their bills rise by as much as 300%. While the war in Europe and seasonal demand are two of the factors driving up costs, so, too, are inflation and increases in the federal carbon tax.

Leader, with respect to the latter, will the government ensure Canadians will be warm this winter and freeze their tax hike?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. As I have said many times, as is well known to the chamber and to all Canadians, putting a price on pollution is a central component of any rational, efficient and effective plan to tackle climate change, and it is one of the elements in this government’s plan to do so.

As we know, and we’ve said many times in this chamber, the tax on pollution to those provinces that do not have a credible plan of their own results in money being returned, in large measure, to those families who have to pay it. Under the plan that’s in place, the majority of families in those jurisdictions where the federal price on pollution is present will actually receive more money than they pay.

The answer to your question is, no, the government does not have plans to cancel or freeze its price on pollution.

Senator Martin: While Canadians will struggle to heat their homes, the impact of rising fuel costs and, by extension, food prices in Indigenous communities will be staggering. Food prices in remote Indigenous communities are already up to 2.5 times higher than the national average, and rising fuel prices will compound inflation’s toll on Indigenous families. While the minister monitors the situation, Indigenous families will have to get by with less food and heat this winter.

Senator Gold, what plans does the government have to address the increased pressure facing Indigenous communities this winter?

Senator Gold: Thank you for your question and for underlining the real impact the increase in prices generally is having on all Canadians, especially those in more vulnerable situations, whether Indigenous or remote communities, those who rely upon the provision of basic necessities by boat or by long chains of supply.

The government has a suite of measures to help Canadians through this, including major investments with Indigenous communities and Indigenous partners. Included in these measures, of course, are measures that we’ll be debating later today and, indeed, which will also form part of a bill that we expect to receive later this month dealing with affordability issues.

The Canadian government is committed to, and engaged in, helping Canadians get through this difficult period.



Cybersex Trafficking

Hon. Julie Miville-Dechêne: Senator Gold, the French Senate just tabled a shocking report revealing that 17% of Pornhub’s viewers are children. This is the first time such an estimate has been made. Moreover, a quarter of the world’s internet bandwidth is used to view pornography.

What does the government intend to do to limit children’s exposure to these crude, sometimes violent and traumatizing images?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question and for highlighting the issue, the problem and the challenge, as you have done a number of times, much to your credit.

As I have noted several times, certain sections of the Criminal Code prohibit several aspects of this shocking practice. You have also introduced a private bill that we are considering.

That said, the federal government has a limited number of tools at its disposal to enact legislation governing everything that happens or appears on the internet.

However, I will ask the government for a progress update on this.

Strengthening Laws to Fight Sexual Exploitation

Hon. Julie Miville-Dechêne: Thank you, Senator Gold. I have another question that might help you with your research.

The government is working on a bill about the harms. You know there have been consultations, in which I participated. Will this bill crack down on children’s unlimited, free access to pornography? I would remind you that, around the world, online pornography is now beginning to be seen as a real public health crisis.

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question. If I am not mistaken, the process involving the bill you mentioned has not been completed or made public. As soon as the information is made public, we can share it, but for now I am unfortunately unable to answer your question about the content of the bill.


Canada Emergency Response Benefit

Hon. Claude Carignan: Leader, we just learned that some federal employees illegally received CERB payments. They were not entitled to the benefit since they were employed by the federal government. Can you tell us how many employees are involved, how much in total they received illegally, what measures your government took or plans to take to recover this money and what disciplinary action was taken against these employees?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question. I will have to look into it. I will come back to you with a response as soon as possible.

Senator Carignan: When you give your response, I have something to ask of you. In an access to information request, journalists were told, following the first two requests submitted in May, that the federal agency had indicated there were no documents that would answer their questions about the number of employees or sanctions regarding the employees. Thanks to further investigation and another email, the journalists later obtained a copy of an internal email that referred to 44 employees who had been dismissed.

This reminded me of an answer I got from the government about the number of spaces or the number of employees on telework, when I was told that those figures were unavailable. Will you be able to give us the exact information or, once again, will you hide behind claims that the document, or the information, isn’t available, when it does in fact exist in an office somewhere, in an internal memo?

Senator Gold: As I already said, I will do my best to try to get an answer and come back to the chamber with that information as soon as I have it.


Canada’s Inflation Rate

Hon. Leo Housakos: My question is for the government leader in the Senate.

Government leader, Canadians from coast to coast to coast are facing unjust inflation rates in this country. More than ever before, we see cell bills, energy costs, rents and food costs climbing to an extent where middle-class Canadians are being devastated. We see the housing bubble. Recently, I read an article about how Vancouver and Toronto are among the five cities facing the biggest housing bubble in the world. Imagine housing costs higher than in New York, London or Tokyo. All of this because of a government that has been irresponsible in dealing with the economy. We have had as recently as a year ago the Governor of the Bank of Canada, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance saying that the big problem facing Canadians is stagnation, not inflation. Boy, did they get this wrong.


I have been asking my question for a number of weeks. Who is going to be held responsible for this devastating result? Don’t tell me it’s a worldwide phenomenon, because France, Austria, Japan, Saudi Arabia and India are all nations who are performing better than Canada when it comes to inflation.

Who is responsible for this? Who will take responsibility for this catastrophe?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. The government takes responsibility for the strong economic growth in this country. It takes responsibility for the fact that our gross domestic product, or GDP, growth remains strong. Recently, our AAA rating was affirmed by S&P Global Ratings with a stable outlook.

The government also takes responsibility and credit — to the extent that credit and blame are two sides of the coin; you’re looking for blame. The recent Parliamentary Budget Officer’s Economic and Fiscal Outlook states:

. . . For the current fiscal year 2022-23, PBO projects the deficit to decline to $25.8 billion (0.9 per cent of GDP) under status quo policy. . . . the budgetary deficit is projected to decline further . . .

Canada came into this crisis with the lowest net debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7. In fact, Canada has increased its relative advantage through this pandemic.

I think Canadians should be pleased that the government has steered our economy through this, notwithstanding the very true and disturbing fact that the cost of living is imposing significant strains on households across this country. That’s why the government is responding with the targeted measures that I mentioned earlier and that we’ll be debating in this chamber.

Senator Housakos: Government leader, the only reason Canada still has a half-decent debt-to-GDP ratio in the world is because your government inherited the best GDP-to-debt ratio in the world in 2015, which has been constantly going down over the last seven years.

Furthermore, the other things you are champions of are setting record-high debts and deficits in this country and, while doing all that, running up inflation that is devastating middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join it.

My other question for you is linked to this inflation problem we have. Energy costs are scheduled to skyrocket this winter. Again, you’re going to say I’m looking to hold somebody responsible. No, I am trying to figure out the reasons for this so maybe your government can change course.

The Chancellor of Germany was here in Canada recently. He called on Canada to provide more liquefied natural gas, or LNG, and more clean, Canadian energy to Europeans in this time of need. Canada doesn’t have the infrastructure or capacity to do that today.

The question is, in large part, because your government has been very irresponsible and lacking balance in dealing with our energy sector and the environment thanks to policies like Bill C-69 and Bill C-48 that your government passed.

Will you acknowledge that your lack of balance in dealing with the energy sector and the environment has led to the catastrophe of higher energy prices that are around the corner, coupled with the inflation from this government?

Senator Gold: Thank you for the question. No, I do not acknowledge that. With all respect, Senator Housakos, that’s just a distortion of economic reality and a distortion of the facts.

This government has pursued a balanced policy, trying to steer a proper and sustainable course forward in terms of sustainable development of our energy sector and protection of our environment.

I will remind the honourable senator that some of the difficulties, especially with exporting natural gas to our European allies — a subject, by the way, which Minister Freeland addressed eloquently in her speech in Washington — were decisions made by our province in Quebec and other provinces who, rightly or wrongly, have felt it unacceptable for pipelines to be built in their jurisdictions.

That said, I am encouraged with developments in New Brunswick where there are discussions. The government is engaged with the proponents of a LNG receiving terminal in New Brunswick by the Spanish energy company Repsol. This government is committed to do what it can to help its allies. It is committed to doing what it can to provide a sustainable and dynamic energy sector.

I simply do not accept the basic premise of your question, as I have tried to explain.

Public Safety

Removal Orders

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Leader, keeping on the subject of government failures, your government has recently faced questions over its failure to account for missing foreign criminals set for deportation. As of December of last year, leader, the Canada Border Services Agency, or CBSA, says the whereabouts are unknown for 29,719 people facing removal from Canada, including 469 who are facing deportation for criminality or criminal convictions in Canada.

Many planned deportations were put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic. CBSA has not said how many offenders it has lost track of who were facing deportation for criminal activity during the pandemic. I have raised this question previously, leader, with Trudeau government ministers. Hopefully, enough time has passed that your government will finally be able to give us an answer today. So let’s see, leader.

Can you provide us with the number of foreign criminals set for deportation who went missing during the pandemic that still remain unaccounted for?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. Keeping Canadians safe is the responsibility of every government, this government included.

The government knows that the situation of missing foreign criminals facing deportation is completely unacceptable. I’m assured that the government is working closely with CBSA to address and remedy the situation.

The government is committed and will continue to be tough on crime, putting the safety of Canadians first.

Senator Plett: The answer to my question was obviously no. It wouldn’t have taken that much time to say that. No, you don’t know how many.

Leader, your government’s lax approach to this is truly alarming. We’re talking about foreign criminals who are currently missing in our country with a high chance of reoffending, some of whom have already been convicted of multiple sexual offences. It isn’t enough for your government to simply say that it’s taking this seriously. Your actions clearly do not reflect that.

An Auditor General’s report on immigration removals from 2020 flagged serious concerns that the border agency had lost track of a large number of these individuals, sometimes for years. Even high-priority cases were stalled or inactive.

Leader, when will these dangerous individuals be removed from Canada? It is the safety of Canadians that is at stake here. Are we right in that?

Senator Gold: The safety of Canadians is at stake and a priority. As I said, the government is working with the CBSA to address this situation.

Canadian Heritage

Funding Approval

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Senator Gold, earlier this month, the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion, Ahmed Hussen, told Parliament that he had been alerted to the anti-Semitic tweets of Laith Marouf, a consultant hired by your government, a month before he even acknowledged the situation publicly. MP Hussen characterized the delay as a matter of procedure, saying it took time to consult with the legal department to cut off funding for Mr. Marouf.

Leader, even if that were the case and the minister had to wait for legal approval to cancel the funding, this still does not justify the timeline of your government’s silence on this issue. Surely your government doesn’t need weeks to put together a statement.

Leader, I would like an honest answer here, please. Why did your government wait an entire month until mounting media reports and public pressure forced you to finally say something?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Well, thank you. Part of the answer to your question was actually provided by you. It does take time to make sure that the decision to terminate funding is done properly and legally.


The government agrees that there was a failure here, that the vetting process in the Department of Canadian Heritage failed in this case. When the government was alerted of this concern this summer by one of its members, member of Parliament Anthony Housefather, the government immediately investigated the matter and identified this failure in due course. It did its due diligence and acted quickly to ensure that this failure was addressed by terminating the funding and pausing the consideration of applications until a new vetting process could be in place.

The government is pleased that the Canadian Heritage Committee is looking at this issue. It’s important to have public accountability on this, and the government aims to ensure that it never happens again. That is why Minister Hussen will be appearing before the committee to publicly answer questions on this from MPs.

Senator Plett: Well, of course, my question was why it took as long to come out with a statement. So I don’t know where I partly provided that answer.

Senator Gold, according to an article in the National Post:

More than half a million dollars has been paid out by Trudeau-led Canadian governments between 2016 and 2021 to an organization fronted by Laith Marouf, a serial dispenser of hatred towards Jews and Israel, among others.

While I understand your government tasked itself with cutting off funding following the scandal of Mr. Marouf’s tweets, the fact is that department heads in your government were involved in approving the programs and funding in question.

Leader, this reflects serious shortcomings in your government’s vetting procedures. I’m sure you will agree that Canadians deserve better, Senator Gold.

What were the vetting processes, if any, that your government undertook before hiring Mr. Marouf? I’m sure you have to agree that it is truly concerning that your government missed something as serious as this multiple times.

Senator Gold: The government acknowledges that the vetting process failed. It failed the system, and most importantly, it failed Canadians. It failed those, like myself, members of a community who are the targets of vile hatred year in, year out, far disproportionate to our representation in the community.

Again, the minister will appear before a committee seized with the issue to look into it, and we look forward to the results of those committee hearings.


Audit Delays—Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Government leader, 99.8% of businesses are small- and medium-sized businesses, or SMEs. SMEs drive Canada’s economy by employing 88.3% of Canada’s private labour force and accounting for more than half of the nation’s GDP.

Healthy SMEs are vital in any post-pandemic recovery plan, yet at this critical time, the Canada Revenue Agency is putting undue stress on businesses by taking almost a year on average to complete audits.

What is the government doing to address the delays at the CRA?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): I really don’t know specifically what the government may be doing with regard to CRA delays on audits. Thank you for the question, and I will certainly look into it. I won’t take up time to underline and agree with you how important small business is for the economy, not only post-pandemic but 12 months a year, year in, year out.

Senator Martin: More than half of Canada’s businesses, 55.3%, have fewer than four employees. Many are family-owned and -operated. While these families struggle to keep their doors open, they are also dealing with rising costs due to inflation and tax increases. Now they must wait for a year on average to have their CRA small business audits completed. This is causing unnecessary stress for owners of small businesses across Canada. If resources are a problem at the agency, what plans does the government have to address this?

So this is a really dire issue, senator.

Senator Gold: Thank you. Let me, in answering this question, provide a little bit more clarity on your first question. I apologize that I didn’t do it on the spot.

First of all, the CRA employees are highly experienced professionals, and they are proud of the service they provide to Canadians year-round. The government continues to invest in the improvement of CRA services and the government is looking forward to positive results. I’m assured from the CRA perspective that they are working diligently to put people first and provide high-quality services in a timely fashion.

Natural Resources

Oil and Gas Industry

Hon. Leo Housakos: My question again is for the government leader in the Senate, and again it has to do with energy and heating costs in this country, which are rising at astronomical speed right now, and Canadians, of course, in this vast, beautiful, cold country of ours need to heat their homes as the winter comes around.

It’s a very simple question, government leader. Why is it that in a country like Canada, where we’re sitting on an abundance of oil and gas, in our province of Quebec and in Atlantic Canada, 50% of the oil is being imported from foreign sources? Explain that to me.

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): I would be happy to explain — thank you for your question — the fact that there is — currently the oil that we receive by rail from the West is insufficient to meet Canadians’ needs. Despite the important legislative and jurisdictional powers of the federal government in these matters, with regard to energy and the environment, these are shared jurisdictions with the provinces, so it is not simply possible for any federal government by fiat in Canadian federalism to dictate what pipelines perhaps could be built across Quebec’s territory to help fuel and heat the homes of Canadians, whether in Quebec or in Atlantic Canada. Until such time as we are able to be completely self-sufficient in each and every region, without the requirement of traversing provincial borders or requiring provincial consent, we’re stuck with the situation where we are doing the best we can to provide the energy that Canadians need to run their businesses and heat their homes.

Answers to Order Paper Questions Tabled

Intergovernmental Affairs—Interprovincial Trade

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 58, dated November 23, 2021, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Plett, regarding interprovincial trade — Intergovernmental Affairs.

Treasury Board—Interprovincial Trade

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 58, dated November 23, 2021, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Plett, regarding interprovincial trade — Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

National Defence—Royal Canadian Air Force

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 84, dated November 23, 2021, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Plett, regarding the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Veterans Affairs—Repairs to Gravesites and Grave Markers

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 146, dated March 30, 2022, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Housakos, regarding Veterans Affairs Canada — Repairs to gravesites and grave markers.

Public Services and Procurement—Occupancy Rate of Federal Buildings

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 170, dated June 23, 2022, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Carignan, P.C., regarding the occupancy rate of federal buildings.


Delayed Answers to Oral Questions

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the answers to the following oral questions:

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on April 5, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Boisvenu, concerning police services.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on June 15, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Coyle, concerning the Summit of the Americas.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on June 15, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Wells, concerning Hans Island.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on June 20, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Duncan, concerning prompt payment of federal government construction work — Department of Finance Canada.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on June 20, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Duncan, concerning prompt payment of federal government construction work — Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Police Services

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu on April 5, 2022)

Public Safety Canada (PS)

The April 2020 mass casualty in Nova Scotia took the lives of 22 people, and forever impacted families and communities. Before the shooting, public alerting was only used for serious weather events, natural disasters and amber alerts, and had not been used by any police service in Canada for active shootings.

In addition, no policy for public alerting in policing situations existed, nor did the RCMP have direct access to the system. In December 2020, the Nova Scotia RCMP Serious Incident Alert Policy was implemented. A Memorandum of Understanding was developed with the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office (EMO), giving the RCMP direct access to the EMO Alert Ready system.

RCMP national policy on Police-Initiated Public Alerts was also published in March 2022. Moreover, the RCMP provides assistance where needed to the provinces and territories in developing policy, training and procedures related to the Alert Ready system and police-initiated public safety alerts. The RCMP also continually reviews best practices and analyzes the use of the Alert Ready system for the mitigation of future critical events and beyond.

Furthermore, the RCMP will continue to support the Mass Casualty Commission in its mandate and cooperate with the Inquiry.

Foreign Affairs

Summit of the Americas

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Mary Coyle on June 15, 2022)

Insofar as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is concerned:

On June 10, 2022, the Prime Minister announced over $145 million for initiatives to provide support to Latin American and Caribbean countries, by advancing gender equality; promoting and protecting democracy; fighting climate change; increasing digital access and countering disinformation; and improving health and pandemic response. These initiatives include $26.9 million in additional funding toward migration- and protection-related projects in the Americas, such as support for Venezuelan refugees and funding to combat human trafficking. The indicated funding is under the direction of Global Affairs Canada.

As for the complementary question regarding pathways to permanent residency, there are a number of pathways for agricultural workers, including:

The Agri-Food Pilot for experienced non-seasonal, full‑time agricultural workers

The Atlantic Immigration Program for workers at varying skill levels, including agricultural workers at skill levels NOC 0 to C in the Atlantic provinces; and

The Provincial Nominee Program, through which all participating provinces/territories provide pathways for workers at all skill levels.

Furthermore, many agricultural workers applied through the Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident Pathway — a time-limited measure implemented from May to November 2021 in support of Canada’s economic recovery from the pandemic. The Government continues its work to expand pathways to permanent residence for experienced workers.

Hans Island

(Response to question raised by the Honourable David M. Wells on June 15, 2022)

Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

The comprehensive Agreement signed in Ottawa on June 14, 2022, is the culmination of years of negotiations with the Kingdom of Denmark (which includes Greenland) under a Joint Task Force established in May 2018. It resolves Canada’s 50-year-old disputes over the maritime boundary in Lincoln Sea and the sovereignty of Hans Island while also establishing a boundary on the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in Labrador Sea.

This historic Agreement is an equitable resolution to our outstanding boundary issues, achieved in accordance with international law, and a win-win solution for both our countries, including through the fair division of Hans Island and the Labrador Sea continental shelf overlap. The Inuit of Nunavut, as well as Nunavut and Newfoundland and Labrador, were consulted during the negotiations for this agreement.

Once ratified, the Agreement will expand and replace the 1973 boundary Agreement and result in the longest maritime boundary in world at 3,962 km.

The Agreement deals with transboundary hydrocarbon and other mineral resources on the continental shelf similar to Article V of the 1973 Agreement. There are no additional new agreements on natural resources.


Prompt Payment of Federal Government Construction Work

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Pat Duncan on June 20, 2022)

Department of Finance Canada

In a July 14, 2022, news release (, the Government of Canada announced clarifications to the implementation of the Luxury Tax, which was included in Bill C-19 and received Royal Assent on June 23, 2022. Bill C-19 authorizes the Governor in Council to set the coming into force date of the Luxury Tax as it applies to aircraft. To this end, on July 14, 2022, on the recommendation of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Governor General in Council made an order in council that fixes September 1, 2022 as the day on which the luxury tax on all subject items, including aircraft, comes into force.

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Pat Duncan on June 20, 2022)

Public Service and Procurement Canada (PSPC):

The Prompt Payment Act is expected to come into force in the Spring of 2023.

The proclamation of the Act is dependent on the enactment of supporting Ministerial regulations and Orders in Council which are currently being finalized by Justice Canada.

PSPC expects to award a contract for adjudication services as an enabling feature of the Act in the fall of 2022. While this time frame will provide the successful bidder with six months to prepare for the Act’s coming into force, it is possible that the adjudicator may require more time than the six months anticipated to be ready to launch its service.




Income Tax Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading

Hon. Tony Loffreda moved second reading of Bill C-30, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (temporary enhancement to the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax credit).

He said: Honourable senators, I rise today at second reading to speak to Bill C-30, the government’s proposed cost of living relief act, No. 1. I appreciate this opportunity to sponsor this bill in the Senate.


Bill C-30 is part of the government’s attempt to make life more affordable for low- and moderate-income Canadians who are grappling with inflation.

We all know that inflation is a big problem, both in Canada and around the world. It is a problem that I, like many senators, raised here and in committee time and again for over a year now.

Like Bill C-31, which seeks to establish a dental benefit and a one-time payment for rental housing, Bill C-30 is part of the government’s affordability plan. This plan consists of a series of measures that will cost $12.1 billion.

It also includes other measures, such as a new universal early learning and child care program, an increase to Old Age Security and climate action incentive payments.


As stipulated by the government, this piece of legislation proposes to double the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax credit, which I will refer to as the GST credit, for six months and deliver targeted support to Canadians who need it most. By way of background, the GST credit is a tax-free quarterly payment that helps people and families with low and modest income to offset the GST that they pay. Not all Canadians are eligible for this rebate. It is really targeted for those in greater need.

Indeed, there is a maximum income to be eligible for this benefit. I’ll run through some of the numbers to give you an idea: For example, for single individuals, the maximum income to be eligible is $49,166. For a couple without children, it’s $52,066. For a couple with two kids, it’s $58,506. A single parent or a couple, either married or common law, with four children is eligible for the rebate provided they do not make more than $64,946 a year. These income levels are for the 2021 base year.

In terms of how much money individuals and families will receive, this obviously depends on family size and income. For instance, from July 2022 to June 2023, eligible people, per quarter, can receive up to $467 for singles without children, $612 for married or common-law partners, and $612 for single parents, plus $161 for each child under the age of 19.

I ran through a lot of numbers there, but, just to give you an idea, the bulk of those who will benefit from this GST credit top‑up have family incomes between $20,000 to $40,000. In other words, a couple with two children and $35,000 net income could receive $1,401 between July 2022 and June 2023. This could certainly help families who are struggling with the higher costs of groceries, rent and energy.

Approximately 11 million Canadians who already receive the tax credit will benefit from this six-month top-up. This includes half of Canadian families and more than half of Canadian seniors. That’s very important — more than half of Canadian seniors will benefit.

According to the government, the price tag associated with Bill C-30 to double the GST credit is $2.5 billion. As the finance minister told us during our Committee of the Whole on October 6, the government was very careful and thoughtful in choosing this measure, striking a balance between compassionate support for those who need it most and remaining fiscally responsible.

Our Deputy Prime Minister recognizes that, at a time of elevated inflation, it’s really important for fiscal policy not to be at odds with monetary policy.


This brings me to my next point, namely inflation.

Some have argued that the government’s plan to make life more affordable, including this GST rebate, will contribute to the current inflationary pressure. Let’s be clear, any money injected into the economy can have an impact on inflation.

This rebate will probably not ease inflation, but I also don’t think it will put significant pressure on the economy.


Of course, I think the current rate of inflation is seriously problematic and needs to be brought under control. We are already seeing early and positive results from the Bank of Canada’s recent interest rate hikes. The effects of interest rate hikes usually lag between 6 to 12 months. The economists in this chamber know that, but we’re seeing some encouraging signs. Inflation was at 8.6% in June; it dropped to 7.6% in July; and, again, in August, it reached 7%.

There is still some work to be done for to us reach our target of 1% to 3%, but we are slowly getting there. In fact, when the Parliamentary Budget Officer appeared before our Banking Committee a couple of weeks ago, I asked him if he thought the measures contained in Bill C-30 and Bill C-31 would put additional pressure on inflation. He explained to us that, in a $2.5-trillion economy, it’s not a significant amount of money. He said:

It will, of course, have an impact on inflation the moment the government injects money into the economy, be it through tax cuts or increases in spending, such as these measures. . . . but I don’t think it will be a measurable or significant impact on the economy . . . .

The six-month doubling of the GST credit in Bill C-30, along with the measures being debated in Bill C-31, amount to 0.1% of Canada’s GDP in additional costs. This amount is not insignificant, but it is a fraction of the country’s GDP. The material effects in terms of further fuelling inflation are microscopic.

Instead, there are other factors that have been contributing to the higher-than-usual inflation we are seeing. In my opinion, and that of many experts, inflation is mostly driven by supply-side challenges.

Of course, the war in Ukraine is also a contributing factor at the moment. Economists from the University of Calgary published a paper recently suggesting that supply-side forces are responsible for about 75% of driving costs.

Furthermore, I have always believed that inflation is driven by expectations, which can have a considerable effect on people’s behaviour. I cannot put it any more simply than this recent article in Forbes:

Rising inflation makes people believe that prices will rise again in the future, causing them to demand wage increases and not delay purchases. Meanwhile, businesses boost their prices to accommodate higher wages and demand, which drive up inflation.

Honourable senators, you may also have seen a paper in Policy Options last month that looked at the expansion of the GST credit proposed in Bill C-30. It’s a great article with lots of data, and I invite everybody to read it. Its conclusion is that the rebate is unlikely to fuel inflation.

As the authors point out, the GST credit top-up will be received by low- and modest-income households. These same households have less in savings to cover price increases from the same goods and services, unlike higher-income households which have reserves on which to draw. As they conclude, such spending would not represent new demand or increased inflationary pressures. Recipients of the top-up would simply be purchasing the same goods and services that have recently become more expensive. Because of that, I don’t believe this additional rebate will drive up further demand and exacerbate inflation. The top-up strikes a balance between providing help to those who need it most while not undermining efforts to bring inflation down.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I continue to believe that we need to address inflation, and I think it should be a priority, but I also feel this $2.5 billion measure is timely and necessary. I’m sure all honourable senators will agree with me that prosperous societies must let market mechanisms work themselves out, but they cannot let the more vulnerable be submerged by a tide of rising costs. Targeted and interim measures are smart, long-term economics.

We were reminded during our Committee of the Whole that the objective is for the top-up to be issued before the end of the year to current GST credit recipients through the existing GST credit system administered by the Canada Revenue Agency. As such, Canadians need to file their taxes in order to receive both the current GST credit and the additional payment proposed in Bill C-30. There is no need to apply for the additional benefit. It will be automatic.

For some Canadians, this method of payment may be more problematic because not every working-age Canadian files his or her taxes. Estimates vary, but in 2017 the Canada Revenue Agency estimated that the number of people who did not file tax returns was in excess of 10%. That number is way too high.


When the Auditor General appeared before our National Finance Committee on October 4, I explored with her the content of one of her most recent audits on hard-to-reach populations. Many of these individuals would likely benefit from the GST credit, but won’t receive it if they don’t file their taxes.

Myself and many senators brought this issue up during Committee of the Whole, and the minister recognized that more needs to be done to reach the most vulnerable. I was particularly struck by Senator Patterson’s comments about the non-filing rate in Nunavut. Clearly, the government needs to do a bit more work to have a clear understanding of the demographics and barriers impacting hard-to-reach populations so it can then tailor its outreach approaches in a responsive and effective manner.

It’s most unfortunate that many Canadians living in poverty may not receive this benefit because they have not filed their taxes.


If I may, I would like to say a few words about the government’s Gender-based Analysis Plus. I thank Senator Dupuis for raising the issue with the minister.

I believe that it is worth repeating what Minister Freeland told us in Committee of the Whole. She confirmed that this analysis was conducted on Bill C-30 and that its conclusions show that women, especially single mothers, will truly benefit from this tax credit and enhancement. She highlighted the fact that among seniors, there are more women than men. Statistics show that senior women are more likely to end up living in poverty.


In conclusion, in my view, Bill C-30 is an appropriate answer to the current period of unusual and extraordinary economic challenges that many Canadians are facing. Like many of my honourable colleagues, I am concerned with the current state of our economy, our deficit, lack of productivity and slow growth.

The government, like most governments around the world, is looking to strike a balance between delivering support where and when it is needed most and maintaining the discipline that has given Canada a strong financial position in the G7.

Some may argue that the government isn’t going far enough, that some people are falling through the cracks or that these measures do nothing to address poverty. Others might argue that it’s too much and will have a negative impact on inflation. However, I recognize that governments need to make difficult decisions in difficult times, and I am satisfied with the content of this bill.

Personally, what I like about Bill C-30 is that it’s clear, simple and targeted. Throughout the pandemic, I often argued that we needed to have more targeted measures that addressed specific needs for specific segments of the population. We needed to be more agile, nimble and adaptive. This is a good example.

I also appreciate that this measure is temporary: It’s for six months only. The government can re-evaluate the situation later next year. I’m comfortable supporting this time-stamped transfer that is seriously needed right now.

I think the more than 11 million Canadians who will benefit from this six-month top-up will feel some relief, and hopefully it will make life a bit more affordable for them. Combined with other measures in the Affordability Plan, I think the government is on the right track.

I urge all honourable senators to support the swift passage of this bill so we can help make life affordable for those Canadians who need this support the most. They are counting on us. Thank you.

Hon. Leo Housakos: Thank you, Senator Loffreda, for your speech. I listened quite attentively, and it sounded pretty dire when we’re talking about essentially giving aid to 11 million Canadians because of rising costs. It is indeed a dire situation, despite what the government leader said earlier in an answer to a question about how the economy is so wonderful and how the government has done an outstanding job.

The reality is that we are in a country where we have the second-largest land mass in the world — yet rents are off the charts. Housing affordability is off the charts. We have agricultural capacity that is among the best in the world, yet our food costs — milk, bread — are exponentially growing. We have a need for energy, of course, to produce food at a decent cost, and energy prices are off the charts because we’re keeping our energy in the ground thanks to legislation like Bill C-69 and Bill C-48.

My question to you is the following: Nobody discredits the fact that we need to act urgently to help Canadians who are suffering. But what happens in six months if Royal Bank of Canada, or RBC, for example, is right in their prediction of a recession being around the corner? What happens if the Governor of the Bank of Canada finally wakes up and says inflation is the biggest challenge facing Canadians? What is going to happen six months from now when we face these dire realities? Are we going to come back with more aid or will we turn to quantitative economics, which clearly this government needs a lesson in? I know you understand it well.

How do we address the problem at its core? Six months from now, would you be willing to go back to the well to give maybe 15 million Canadians more help?

Senator Loffreda: Thank you for your question, Senator Housakos. It’s always interesting to hear your perspective.

I’ve said from the beginning that agility is so important. This is agile, targeted and necessary at this point in time. What we’ve seen so far during this pandemic is that it’s very hard to forecast and predict what’s going to happen in six months or what’s going to happen in a year. We have a war in Ukraine. We have so many issues going on. You discussed inflation, and I think it’s a debate that needs to be had. Inflation is always caused by excess liquidity, scarce resources and expectations.

I want to say “kudos” to Loblaws, who announced today that they are freezing prices on No Name products until January. I say that because you’re asking what happens in six months if this is still the situation. If more Canadian companies were to take action like Loblaws and freeze prices and lower expectations for increasing prices, I think we would come to easier solutions to this crisis, and it would be quicker to resolve inflation.

I’m looking at a great paper here from Professor Trevor Tombe of the University of Calgary, who attended one of our committee meetings. He appeared at a meeting of the Senate Committee on Banking, Commerce and the Economy on September 29, 2022, and he confirmed that 75% of rising inflation is supply driven, 15% is demand driven and the rest is miscellaneous. He confirmed in his paper, which I read thoroughly a few times:

We find that a clear majority of Canada’s high inflation is due to a small handful of items: energy, food, and home-ownership costs.

The home ownership affordability crisis is a major issue, and we’re seeing that increasing interest rates will help with home affordability. If you look at the numbers lately, that will help. We hope more companies will do like Loblaws and freeze prices. Kudos to Loblaws; I think they deserve a hand. Hopefully, within six months, we’ll have a better economy.

Yes, RBC was the first to predict a recession. But I’ll tell you one thing — I said then and I’ll say it again — economists are always right: There will be a recession. I’ve had economists tell me that there’s going to be a recession. Two years later, they call me and say, “I told you so.” And I say, “Yeah, but you told me that two years ago.” So there will be a recession. When will it be? Your guess is as good as mine.

With the situation we’re in now, with the pandemic behind us but the war in Ukraine, the scarce supply and the scarce resources, I think we need to find solutions. Again, kudos to Loblaws, who own Maxi and Provigo in my cherished province of Quebec. More businesses should do like Loblaws. Let’s cut the expectations for inflation. Let’s create policies. Let’s find solutions for scarce resources. If we do all that within six months, we won’t need additional aid. I hope it will be the case that we, in this chamber, look for solutions. Thank you.

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Another question for Senator Loffreda. Thank you very much for acknowledging the significant number of Canadians who don’t file tax returns. My concern is about the 28.5% of Nunavut residents who — research has shown — don’t file tax returns and therefore will miss out on this important benefit, as well as the child tax credit.


It’s quite clear to me that one of the barriers to tax filing in Nunavut is the fact that the 85% Inuit population’s first language is neither French nor English, and tax forms are therefore unreadable and inaccessible. In the past, CRA — and you spoke of them today — has set up a capability within their department of Inuktitut-speaking personnel who not only did community outreach but were available for consultation in Inuktitut for residents who had tax filing questions. I’m wondering if you would use your good offices as sponsor of the bill to encourage CRA to once again address this issue. Thank you.

Senator Loffreda: Thank you for the question. I think it’s such an important issue, and this is why I quoted it in my speech and I thank you for raising that issue with the minister. Yes, I will gladly do so and will put pressure that it is done on a timely basis. It’s such an important issue, very important. As I said, 10% is way too high. If we look at Nunavut and those who don’t file taxes, it’s even higher.

It’s of concern to all of us, and I will use my office to put pressure on the minister and CRA to ascertain that problem is resolved on a timely basis. Thank you for the question.


Hon. Renée Dupuis: Would Senator Loffreda agree to answer a clarifying question?

Senator Loffreda: Yes.

Senator Dupuis: In a question that was asked of you earlier, a senator said that 11 million Canadians could benefit from this measure. What I understood the minister to say, in Committee of the Whole, was that 11 million households will benefit, not 11 million Canadians. Can you clarify, both for our benefit and for those listening?

Senator Loffreda: Thank you for the question. The minister said 11 million households, so that must be the case, but I will come back to you on third reading tomorrow to clear up any confusion.


Hon. Marilou McPhedran: Thank you for this initiative and your explanation, Senator Loffreda. I would like to go into a little more detail, building on the question from Senator Patterson.

I think we all very much appreciate and believe your concern on the timeliness, but we saw with the series of payments during COVID that it was indeed the most vulnerable people who often waited the longest, and some never received what was supposed to be coming to them at all because of logistical challenges, shall we say.

It’s one thing for us to express concern. It’s another thing for a piece of legislation to demonstrate that there’s been learning from the problems in the very recent past. I haven’t heard any assurances to that regard. Can you speak to that, please?

Senator Loffreda: Thank you for the question. It’s a very important question. I raised the question in the Committee of the Whole and I raised it in the committee, and as a matter of fact, I don’t know of any progress that’s been made lately. CRA, like Minister Freeland, did express on numerous occasions that it was a question of timeliness, of simplicity — that vehicle was used because the data was there — to use CRA and to use the tax returns and filing. But I think it’s an issue that has to be tackled. If we have the problem today, it’s because the work — I always say, manage activities, you’ll get activities; manage results, you’ll get results. I was never strong on managing activities. I was always strong and wanted to manage results. The result today is that 10% of Canadians will not benefit from this tax credit. These are the Canadians who need it the most. Let’s manage the results going forward.

I also suggested in our National Finance Committee, in our Banking Committee that maybe it’s a study that has to be undertaken in the future as to what we could do better to ascertain that all Canadians can be identified. What has to be done? It’s not an answer I can give you in 30 seconds, but what I do promise is that I will put the necessary pressure that this situation be resolved in the future and a study hopefully be undertaken by one of our committees to see what else can be done to ascertain and identify that all Canadians in the future will benefit, and not as was the case, like you expressed, in the past. Thank you for your question.


Hon. Clément Gignac: Would Senator Loffreda take a question? Thank you for your insight on this issue. It’s always interesting to hear what you have to say.

There’s no doubt that we’re not all equal when it comes to inflation. It hits the poorest people the most, relatively speaking, compared to wealthier people. I agree with the comments made by the two senators who spoke before me. I’m a little surprised, despite the lessons we’ve learned from this pandemic, that the government was agile enough to respond in such a timely and effective way when it came time to bring in CERB. One could criticize the government, given that some people may have received it who perhaps shouldn’t have, but at least we were able to reach those who needed it the most, I think.

Statistics say, and you are right to mention it, that 11% of people don’t file tax returns, and our colleague, Senator Patterson, says it is about 28% in Nunavut. That troubles me. Yes, I will support this bill. I commend you for sponsoring it, but I just want to encourage you to pressure the government to find a solution.

When CERB was being delivered and time was of the essence, the government was certainly capable of doing things quickly. We are here on a Monday evening because time is of the essence and we need to move fast. We are taking a different route, and we may reach only a portion of the population in need. Thank you for your involvement, but I encourage you to use the necessary pressure.

Senator Loffreda: Thank you, Senator Gignac. It is always a pleasure to hear your perspective and answer your questions. As I have said several times, it is a very important aspect. One of our committees should carry out this study to determine how to identify the 11% who currently do not file tax returns.

I can say that tax returns are the best vehicle at present for reaching most of the Canadians who need this support. We must see what more we could do in future, and a study would be very much appreciated by everyone. I am looking at the chair of our Finance Committee, who says he agrees. It is a study that we should undertake with great seriousness in the future. Thank you for your question.


Hon. Jane Cordy: Thank you, Senator Loffreda, for an excellent detailed speech on Bill C-30 and the comments that you made. Your background as a banker certainly shone through during your speech, and that’s a positive thing. I’m also very pleased that you answered all the questions, so I’m sure there are no questions left to be asked.

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak briefly to Bill C-30, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (temporary enhancement to the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax credit).

This enactment amends the Income Tax Act to double the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax, or GST/HST, credit for six months, effectively increasing the maximum annual GST/HST credit amounts by 50% for the 2022-23 benefit year.

The GST credit is targeted to Canadians who need it the most, and that came through in a lot of the questions that were asked earlier of Senator Loffreda. Those with family incomes of $39,821 or less in 2021 receive the full credit, and the GST credit is lowered as incomes rise. As we heard from the minister last week, single Canadians with no children would receive $234 more, and families with two children almost $500 more. As well, seniors will receive an additional $225. This would help almost 11 million Canadian households, in answer to your question, Senator Dupuis.


The world we are living in today is rife with uncertainty — uncertainty about how people will be able to afford their groceries, their rent, and things like transportation to get back and forth to work, whether that is travelling by public transportation or buying gas for their car.

The worldwide pandemic presented many challenges to the supply system for goods and services. Coming out of the pandemic meant the need for goods and services started to climb, which increased costs. The resulting inflationary pressures on Canada worsened — indeed, as it did right across the globe.

The continuing war in Ukraine has also taken its toll on world prices. This unprovoked action by Vladimir Putin has been devastating to the people of Ukraine and to their families around the world. We continue to stand with the people of Ukraine who are fighting for their country against the dictatorial actions of a despot.

Honourable senators, according to the Bank of Canada, inflation in Canada peaked at 8.1% in June 2022, and it has declined for both July and August. However, it is still expected to remain high, which will make life difficult for many Canadians. This bill is one way that the federal government is trying to help Canadians and their families weather the economic storm we are living in today.

According to the Department of Finance, the Affordability Plan is a suite of measures totalling $12.1 billion in new support in 2022 to help make life more affordable for millions of Canadians. They include such things as enhancing the Canada workers benefit, a 10% increase to Old Age Security, helping Canadians afford their rent and dental care for Canadian children under the age of 12. It also includes this bill, Bill C-30, which will double the GST tax credit for six months. Together, these measures will help a great many people in Canada by providing financial relief.

As the Governor of the Bank of Canada said last week in Halifax, “Plain and simple, high inflation feeds frustration and creates a sense of helplessness.”

Through the help provided in this bill and the other measures the government has taken and will take, we will get through this time of economic uncertainty and allay those feelings that so many Canadians are experiencing.

Inflation is painful. As the famed businessman Warren Buffett once said, inflation “swindles almost everybody.” But, honourable senators, we know that inflation hurts the vulnerable the most.

We have been through inflationary periods before. We have weathered this type of economic storm in the past. But, honourable senators, we must remember that inflation, as I said earlier, affects our most vulnerable the most. Therefore, bills like Bill C-30 are important.

Bill C-30 and other measures are part of the government’s affordability package that is designed to help the most vulnerable through this economic crisis.

We will get through this again. The strength of Canadians is boundless. I am hopeful that you will support this legislation. I am also looking forward to receiving more legislation that will provide additional support to low-income Canadians.

Hon. Elizabeth Marshall: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to Bill C-30, which proposes to double the GST tax credit for six months to support those most affected by inflation.

The objective of the Bank of Canada, according to the Bank of Canada Act, is “to promote the economic and financial welfare of Canada.” Last year, the Bank of Canada and the Government of Canada renewed their agreement on Canada’s monetary policy framework. The cornerstone of their agreement remains an inflation target of 2% inside a control range of 1% to 3%.

Inflation in Canada has been well above the 2% inflation target since April 2021. Inflation was 8.1% in June, 7.6% in July and 7% in August. The Bank of Canada has been raising its policy interest rate in an effort to bring inflation within the control range of 1% to 3%. It has raised interest rates five times this year to 3.25%.

Last month, in Halifax, the Governor of the Bank of Canada said that more interest rate hikes are necessary to bring inflation down. A sixth rate hike is due on October 26.

For those of us who renewed our mortgages at 22% in the 1980s, interest rates really aren’t that high yet. Having said that, high inflation is having a devastating effect on the majority of Canadians. One only has to speak with one’s neighbours to realize that many people are concerned, especially about the increasing cost of food, the heating of one’s home and the price of gasoline. The cost of groceries alone has increased over 10% in the past year, and the average family of four is spending over $1,200 more each year to put food on the table.

More Canadians are using food banks to help them feed their families, and there has been a significant increase in the number of people looking for meals at soup kitchens. There’s also concern that many people who are food insecure will not access food banks or soup kitchens, but will rather reduce the amount or quality of the food which they, their families and their children eat.

Given the increase in inflation, Bill C-30 attempts to provide some financial assistance to, as the minister said, “those who need it the most.”

I will support the bill, although I am disappointed that the bill was not referred to the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance for study. The Parliamentary Budget Officer did provide a legislative costing note on the proposed bill.

According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the estimated cost of this initiative is $2.6 billion, and 11.6 million beneficiaries will receive financial help under this initiative. Specifically, those with a family net income of less than $39,826 in 2021 will receive the maximum amount allowed, which is $467. Those with family net income above $39,826 in 2021 will see the amount of the benefit reduced as income increases. The full phasing out depends on family type. For example, it is fully phased out at $49,200 for a single person without children and at about $58,500 for a couple with two children.

It is important to note that the 11.6 million beneficiaries represent the number of families or households and not individuals, since the GST credit is a measure calculated at the nuclear family level.

Since there are 22,150,000 nuclear families in Canada, and 11.6 million of these will receive benefits under this program, approximately 53% of families in Canada will benefit from this program.

As discussed at the National Finance Committee two weeks ago, and as raised by several of my colleagues during Committee of the Whole with the minister, about 10% of Canadians do not file income tax returns and therefore may not receive the GST credit, although they would probably qualify. If this is correct, then more than 53% of households in Canada would benefit from this program.

I was surprised by the number of households benefiting from this program, as I thought it would be more around the 35% rate. In my opinion, our Finance Committee would have benefited from a study of this bill, especially me.

Once this bill is passed, inflation will continue into the future, raising the possibility of further financial assistance targeted to a specific group or groups. However, even the Minister of Finance said during Committee of the Whole that the government cannot compensate every single Canadian for increasing costs due to inflation.

While the government was able to help Canadians and businesses cope during the pandemic and are now helping some Canadians cope with high inflation, our next challenge is waiting around the corner. Many economists are now predicting a recession in Canada next year. In addition, last week, the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, said it expects a substantial further cooling of the Canadian economy, and advises the federal and provincial governments to refrain from spending windfall revenues as our country teeters on the edge of recession. Those are the IMF’s words, not mine.


In fact, government spending remains high and we have not reverted to pre-pandemic levels of spending.

The IMF is predicting that the Canadian economy will grow 1.5% in 2023, which is substantially lower than the 3.3% they predicted earlier this year. The IMF also said that the economic outlook for Canada could be substantially worse if inflation remains high and the Bank of Canada is forced to keep raising interest rates or if the country’s key trading partners, especially the U.S., fall into a deeper slump than anticipated.

There are already signs that inflation is now becoming embedded in the economy, and it is starting to show up in discussions in labour negotiations.

Of particular concern are rising interest rates intended to cool inflation. Canadians are the most highly indebted people in the world. If interest rates rise, so will the cost of their mortgages and other debts. Although the government intends to financially assist renters, it raises the question of financial assistance for homeowners whose homes are still mortgaged.

Homeowners who recently purchased their homes are likely to see the value of their homes decrease. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation expects national average housing prices to fall 15% by the second quarter of 2023 from the peak level of $770,000 earlier this year as the economy enters a recession by the end of the year. The 15% is a much bigger reduction than the 5% reduction they forecasted in July.

The cost of the government’s debt — now about $1.6 trillion — will also increase. While the Minister of Finance did say we have maintained our AAA credit rating, our high debt and rising interest rates elevate the uncertainty over our economy. In any event, we should be prepared for a shock-prone world.

In responding to the affordability of this initiative, the minister said that Canada has the lowest deficit and lowest net debt‑to‑GDP ratio in the G7. However, in the budget earlier this year, the government did announce some cost-saving or cost‑cutting measures which would help pay for this initiative.

There was a commitment to save $9 billion through a review of government programs, and the implementation — by next year — of a publicly available beneficial ownership registry intended to help the government track money laundering and tax evasion. Both of these initiatives would help fund the GST enhancement. An update on these initiatives would be appreciated.

In addition, many people are convinced that the government is not targeting tax evasion and offshore accounts as aggressively as it should, and that the tax gap is in the multi-billions of dollars. If the government were to focus more diligently on the tax gap and collect the revenues it is entitled to, the government’s bottom line would improve.

I hope that the government has the firepower to cope with the recession that awaits us around the corner.

My last comment is on the national child care strategy and how I see it relating to Bill C-30. The majority of people want to earn their own living and not be dependent on government handouts. In his legislative costing note, the Parliamentary Budget Officer identifies two groups with children that will benefit from Bill C-30 — one adult with children and two adults with children.

The lack of child care spaces, along with the shortage of child care workers, is affecting workers, especially women, who cannot find child care for their children. The national child care strategy is supposed to reduce fees, create 250,000 new child care spaces and recruit additional child care workers.

In speaking with parents of preschool children across the country — and I have spoken with parents in four different provinces — they have told me that some costs have been reduced, but the availability of spaces has actually deteriorated over the past year. There are simply not enough child care spaces or child care workers to meet the demand, and parents are unable to commit to full-time work. This problem deserves attention now as the successful implementation of the $30 billion child care strategy is at risk.

Honourable senators, these conclude my comments on Bill C-30.


Senator Dupuis: Honourable senators, I rise at second reading of Bill C-30, which provides for the temporary enhancement to the Goods and Services Tax and Harmonized Sales Tax credit.

Senators will recall that, during the Committee of the Whole held by the Senate on October 6 with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, I asked the minister a question about Gender-based Analysis Plus. As you know, every bill must undergo an analysis that compares its positive and negative impacts on men, women and gender-diverse people. The results of this analysis are included in the memorandum to cabinet for its study of the bill. Since this document is confidential, the government won’t agree to give Senate committees the GBA+ analysis that is done on all government bills. That’s a problem, in my opinion.

At the request of senators such as myself, the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee developed a practice: The Minister of Justice agreed to table a written summary of the elements of the Gender-based Analysis Plus that were applied to bills that are his department’s responsibility. This practice should be extended to all bills, and the summary of this analysis should be tabled before all Senate committees. This practice should be routine, not left to the whim of individual ministers.

At Committee of the Whole on Bill C-30, the minister gave a preliminary response. The sponsor of the bill repeated the terms. She said that this bill has a positive impact on women, who are more frequently represented among Canada’s most vulnerable citizens, particularly women who are heads of single-parent families and seniors. The minister then said she would contact me to supplement her response.

On October 14, in response to my question to the minister in Committee of the Whole, I received from her office a summary of Bill C-30’s Gender-based Analysis Plus. As my question was of general interest, I’m sharing this supplemental response with you, and I’d like it to be included in the official record of the Senate’s debates on this bill. The minister’s response reads as follows:

Individuals and low-income families would be the primary beneficiaries of the proposal to double the GST credit for six months. Overall, nearly 90% of the temporary increase in the GST credit would go to families with net incomes below $40,000.

The department estimates that nearly 78% of the additional support provided by the proposal to double the GST credit for six months would go to individuals living alone and single parents, while 22% would go to couples. This result is predictable given that single individuals and single-parent families are more likely to have lower incomes than couples and are therefore more likely to qualify for the GST credit.

With respect to Indigenous communities, the tax data do not contain information on the Indigenous identity of people who file their taxes, but it is to be expected that Indigenous families living on reserve would be significant beneficiaries of the proposed temporary GST credit increase given the high levels of poverty among children in those families.

I very much appreciate the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance taking this matter seriously, and I invite her to table at least a summary of the GBA+ for each of the bills in her purview going forward.

Colleagues, I encourage you to make sure that ministers who introduce bills table at least a summary of the key elements of their GBA+ when they appear before you during Senate committee meetings. This is an accountability measure we must continue to demand of the government given that it doesn’t seem to be standard practice yet.


The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

An Hon. Senator: On division.

(Motion agreed to and bill read second time, on division.)


The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the third time?

(On motion of Senator Loffreda, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.)

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Wallin, seconded by the Honourable Senator Tannas, for the second reading of Bill S-248, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying).

Hon. Pamela Wallin: Thank you very much, Your Honour, for this opportunity to conclude my thoughts on Bill S-248.

Throughout our lives, we deal with death in many forms — the death of a relationship or a career, the death of a loved one, even a beloved pet and, of course, we will face our own death as well. Death and dying are a part of life. We are — for better or worse — the only species actually aware of the inevitability of death. That motivates us, helps us find purpose and may also frighten us; either way, it makes moments meaningful and precious.

We live in a time where we can reasonably foresee death. We can diagnose terminal illness or spot signs of physical and cognitive decline scientifically and with great accuracy. While more people may be living longer, what becomes more important is: Are we actually living a good life? In the pursuit of longevity, we must always consider quality of life.

I have come to my views watching both of my parents die in two very different but equally tragic ways — my father to painful cancers, my mother to Alzheimer’s. Their suffering was unnecessary and preventable. These encounters with death can help ready us for an end to our own life. We all want to be spared pain and indignity, but we need choices.

I believe it is our right, and perhaps even our responsibility, to make our own end-of-life decisions. Every single day, Canadians with an incurable or irreversible medical condition suffer needlessly in hospital beds and care homes. They suffer, sometimes with loved ones close at hand, but too often alone or in fear or — the worst of all fates — without knowing who they are or once were.

For many Canadians, the right to choose medical assistance in dying has been a blessing. I have seen it first-hand. The ability to choose is empowering. MAID affords a person not just relief from pain and suffering, but a sense of control and predictability, a chance to plan and a chance to say goodbye.

For those recently diagnosed with an incurable illness, death is a ruthless dictator. Research shows that over 20% have prolonged and intense feelings of fear of dying a painful death. We are able, so why would we not offer some certainty at the end when so much of life has become uncertain? That’s what this bill is about: peace of mind and a dignified departure.

Bill S-248 gives Canadians, once they have been diagnosed with a “grievous and irremediable medical condition,” the ability to make an advance request for MAID, before they lose the capacity to give final consent. It’s a common sense answer to a gap in the current law, and it’s something an overwhelming majority of Canadians want. It will allow those diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s the freedom from this possible Catch-22: You can’t ask in advance of a diagnosis, and once diagnosed it’s too late to ask for some time in the future.

This bill will allow a person to apply long before they actually wish to die and long before they have lost capacity to ask for MAID. This offers peace of mind and a better quality of life for the time they have left with much less stress and anxiety as they live out their final days.

In 2019, a survey by The Canadian Press found that over 86% of Canadians agree that people with a serious, degenerative and incurable disease should be able to request and obtain medical assistance in dying, and 74% said MAID should be accessible to all people with incurable diseases, even if their death is not imminent. Just last year an Ipsos poll conducted by Dying with Dignity found that Canadians feel the same way about advance requests: 83% of Canadians support them for those with a grievous and irremediable condition.

This is a powerful insight into the minds of Canadians, their values, their empathy and concern for their fellow citizens, not just their loved ones. It is all clear. Even with so much public support, we still, sadly, have that unfair gap in our current MAID laws, and it is our responsibility as lawmakers to right this inequity.

I won’t review the entire history of MAID, but, as you will remember, in 2016 the government introduced Bill C-14, in response to the Supreme Court Carter decision, which afforded individuals the right to make their own end-of-life decisions. In the bill, a series of safeguards were put in place to guard against fears of a slippery slope of access. But the government decided that access for mature minors or those with mental disorders as an underlying sole condition and the right to an advance request were all to be excluded from the final draft of the bill. The government said it wanted more time to figure out how the public and the medical world would deal with the ethical complexity.

Of course, all agreed that an assisted death ought not replace essential support and services for the under-represented, the unwilling or those who could have been treated or cared for but were failed by an unjust or overburdened system. This applies to anyone, for that matter. MAID is always a matter of choice. MAID is not an alternative to poverty or treatment or support or family. It should and must always be a choice. And I believe, as it stands, our MAID regime is moving toward the right balance between access and safeguards. We know a little more with MAID having now been available for more than six years.

The third annual report on MAID, which was released in July, indicated that in 2021, 80% of all MAID recipients first had access to and received palliative care, a number that has remained constant since 2019.


Of the MAID recipients who did not receive palliative care, 88% had access to those services but chose not to avail themselves of that option.

So the typical MAID recipient, then, is a cancer patient in their seventies who died in their home after receiving palliative care in advance of MAID. We must continue to work to ensure equal access as well, so those in rural or underserviced areas are not denied access.

There have been some suggestions — undocumented — of people being offered MAID as a first resort rather than a last. Any evidence of any such cases should be investigated, of course, but it does not mean the entire system should be replaced.

There are safeguards in MAID law to make sure that those requesting MAID must state, literally in the moment before their medically assisted death, that they are certain. It ensures the patient, their doctor, family and loved ones would all be absolutely certain that a MAID recipient had made the choice. It also ensures that medical practitioners administering MAID are legally protected.

But colleagues, instead of making things easier, some safeguards have actually created more ambiguity. In a case where people have been deemed eligible for a medically assisted death — say, they had an advanced form of cancer that might physically prevent them from uttering that final verbal consent, or they feared that they might fall unconscious from their illness — then their only option would be to end their life prematurely — sooner than necessary — because they would have to end their lives while fully competent and verbal. It was a legal trap that needlessly creates more suffering.

That is exactly what happened to Audrey Parker, a 57-year-old Nova Scotia woman with stage 4 breast cancer, who had to end her life two months before Christmas, due only to a poorly conceived “safeguard” in the law.

Countless others likely had to make a similar decision — we have heard many of those stories — before the law was finally changed in March of 2021 thanks to the tireless advocacy of Audrey’s family and friends.

It was an important change and it has paved the way for this bill. Because, as I noted, some people who are eligible for MAID are at risk of losing capacity before their chosen date. And now, thanks to “Audrey’s Amendment,” in a way we now have a very limited version of advance requests in the current law. Limited because it is only for those who have already been assessed and approved for MAID, and only when you’re right at the end, and when a doctor agrees that you might be robbed of that ability to say “yes” or nod your head as final consent in your last moments.

Colleagues, this was the context in which I introduced an amendment last year to Bill C-7 to fully allow for advance requests. My hope was to extend the right to an advance request to those whose death was not imminent but who would inevitably lose their right to consent. This is, of course, the case for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, which is why the right to make their views known in advance is so key.

I wish to thank so many of you for helping me pass that amendment here in this chamber. It was a powerful moment. Sadly, though, it was later rejected by the government of the day. I genuinely do not understand why the government said “no” to the wishes of this chamber and to the stated wishes of so many Canadians. Instead, the issue was handed over to a special joint parliamentary committee for more study.

As we see so often, the people — Canadians — are more compassionate and open-minded than the government, as was the Supreme Court of Canada, who led the way.

We also see provinces moving forward on this. The Quebec National Assembly Select Committee on Dying with Dignity recommended an advance directive for medical aid in dying in 2012. The Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying: Final Report sought clarity from the government to include advance requests in any upcoming legislation.

Even the Council of Canadian Academies’ reports on advance requests, mature minors and mental disorders — though prohibited from making any actual recommendations — proposed possible levels of accessibility for legislators to consider when amending future legislation.

And remember that our first Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying, leading up to Bill C-14, stated, in its seventh recommendation:

That the permission to use advance requests for medical assistance in dying be allowed any time after one is diagnosed with a condition that is reasonably likely to cause loss of competence or after a diagnosis of a grievous or irremediable condition but before the suffering becomes intolerable.

All those hearings, expert testimonies and recommendations — a decade of work. Colleagues, that is why I introduced my amendment to Bill C-7 and why I believe it passed here in this chamber.

Not everyone will choose this option for themselves, but they believe others should have the choice. Yet, somehow it still wasn’t enough, and still the people of Canada continue to seek the right to advance requests in 2022.

So that is exactly what this bill now aims to do. There are signs that the political climate is changing. Earlier this year, in Quebec, an all-party committee put forward 11 recommendations, 10 of which propose a workable model for advance requests. That provided significant direction on the scope of this bill and was also the inspiration for the Quebec government’s Bill 38, in limbo at this moment due to the recent election.

It was a reasoned bill and set out what I believe to be an appropriate level of safeguards. I urge colleagues to look at the bill to see what a provincial framework for advance requests would look like.

But there are concerns that, if passed, any provincial advance request regime will still be vulnerable — as would the medical practitioners — if the federal law does not change. So even if Bill 38 is passed, Quebec doctors could go to jail for honouring an advance request, even if it’s legally permitted in their province but not by Ottawa.

The Supreme Court of Canada has already given the federal government all the room it needs to allow the right to an advance request, so these delays are unjust.

I believe this bill is a remedy. It amends the federal Criminal Code to allow for advance requests. It is not overly prescriptive in its approach, as that is actually the purview of the provinces.

You see, our MAID laws exist as an amendment to the Criminal Code, essentially as an exclusion, and all health-related issues are regulated by the provinces per the Constitution. So this bill merely excludes an advance request — or the use of an advance request — from being considered a criminal act.

The legislation is quite simple. It amends subsection 241.2(3.1), (3.2) and (3.4) of the Criminal Code relating to a medically assisted death. This section is the final consent waiver safeguard, which can now be waived thanks to subsection (3.21) or, as I described earlier, “Audrey’s Amendment.”

The bill also adds another section — (3.22) — which allows a person and their doctor to prepare a written set of specified conditions and state that when these medically assessed behaviours or conditions are present, that would help define the time when the person would want MAID to be performed. It is the crux of this bill.

Of course, they would have to have been diagnosed with a serious or incurable illness, disease or disability to be eligible for MAID in the future. Spelling out the conditions would exist on paper, even before they are assessed and approved for MAID.

Section (3.22)(a) states that a person may be able to make a declaration in writing that a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner can perform MAID without final consent as long as the conditions of suffering are clearly identified in the advance request, and that those conditions can be easily observed by the medical or nurse practitioner.


This is an important distinction from what we currently have in the law. Subsection 3.21, the so-called “Audrey’s Amendment,” allows final consent to be waived if there was agreement between a MAID recipient and their doctor to have MAID performed on a specific day, and if that person’s suffering and physical state have prevented them from being able to make that final verbal confirmation.

Subsection 3.22 affords the same right to Canadians diagnosed with a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability, and who don’t yet have a date set for a medically assisted death but have established a clear set of criteria for when they want their suffering to end.

Paragraph 3.22(b) of the bill requires an advance request to be no more than five years old. This means it would need to be updated regularly to make sure it remains a person’s wish and intent and that is what they really want when they have lost control of their circumstances.

That timeline was decided after consultations with various stakeholders and groups such as the Alzheimer Society of Canada and the Canadian Association of MAiD Assessors and Providers, known as CAMAP.

But if the Social Affairs Committee of this place were to advise that a three-year update is appropriate, I would absolutely concur. Whatever gives the most people the most peace of mind is what we should do.

Paragraph 3.22(c) in the bill requires an advance request to include the consent to have MAID performed by the person requesting it, and paragraph (d) requires two independent witnesses to be present during the signing of the advance request.

We should all be discussing end-of-life choices with family, friends, doctors and even lawyers long before the end is nigh. We should all have advance care planning documents and directives, and they are readily available online. They should be updated regularly so that your records and your intentions, over time, are clear. Clarity and understanding are key to having your wishes honoured.

I believe the scope of this bill finds the right balance. It requires an advance request to be regularly updated. It also requires someone seeking an advance request to discuss that request with their doctor and others — many others — in detail, to ensure they understand what they are doing and agree on what criteria they and their doctor believe to be appropriate.

And you would have to be approved for MAID. It will not circumvent the parameters already established in our current laws, or the scope recommended by any of our federal reports. It will not compel anyone to choose MAID, nor can it be used as a coercive tactic. It simply gives Canadians the assurance that, in the event their disease, illness or disability worsens to the point where they can no longer consent to MAID, their wishes will be respected.

Of course, the bill will benefit from study by our Social Affairs Committee. Health Canada and the provinces need to create regulatory frameworks to allow for advance requests, and no doubt they would benefit from our advice here.

There is also the issue of how an advance request would be stored. Will an online registry be needed or be created? What happens if someone travels between provinces? What if they wish to change the set of specified conditions or opt out of the advance request entirely?

I personally believe that anyone should have the right to an advance request in a living will. No one who loses capacity unexpectedly — through accident or stroke, for example — should be forced to live the rest of their life incapacitated until their death. That is why we have “do not resuscitate” laws. I see an advance request as exercising that same right. Our well-stated, well-documented decisions on our own lives should be respected even after losing our conscious ability to confirm that decision in the moment.

But these are all important and very complicated issues that I know our committee would study and consider. Again, if our MAID laws were not tied to the Criminal Code, then we could simply address many of these issues and concerns legislatively. But, sadly, that is not the case.

Finally, colleagues, allow me one last comment on why this bill is before the Senate now rather than after the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying has finished its final report.

As I noted earlier, the committee is spending valuable time relitigating the concept of MAID. We have, indeed, heard from many witnesses representing the full spectrum of views on this issue, and I do hope this eventually leads to the crafting of actual recommendations that would be specific and useful for future legislation. But I think Senate committees are better able to report on matters in a timely way, and time is of the essence.

The government’s action or inaction is often frustrating for the thousands of Canadians awaiting decisions. Their lives and their deaths are too often trapped in our legislative limbo.

In The Meditations, Marcus Aurelius wrote:

. . . every day more of our life is used up and less and less of it is left, but this too: if we live longer, can we be sure our mind will still be up to understanding the world . . . .

So we need to hurry.

Not just because we move daily closer to death but also because our understanding—our grasp of the world—may be gone before we get there.

Colleagues, we do need to hurry. This bill will help those whose grasp of the world is fading. This bill is needed and wanted by so many.

Thank you for listening and know that I am grateful for your support if you can offer it. Thank you.

Hon. Denise Batters: Senator Wallin, I have a few questions about witnesses, how they’re defined in your bill and how that’s characterized. How is the term “independent witness” defined in your bill? I know under your bill, the patient’s declaration must be:

. . . witnessed by two independent witnesses to confirm that it was made voluntarily and not as a result of external pressure and each witness signed and dated it . . .

I have a further question about that, but could you answer about “independent witnesses” first, please? Thank you.

Senator Wallin: This is a concept that already exists in other parts of law, but “independent witnesses” would be best characterized as those that the client, the patient and the person who is requesting MAID, in consultation with medical professionals over time, has suggested would be independent and would not have a vested interest in the outcome or the decision of the patient.

Senator Batters: Is there a definition that already exists under Bill C-7 or Bill C-14 or something that it’s referring to or is this an extra definition? That’s what I’m wondering about. Maybe you can find that out and let me know if you’re not sure, because there could be a few different definitions. It might be that that person is not entitled to benefit under the estate, or it also might be someone who is not related to that person. I’m wondering about that because it’s an important definition.

I’m also wondering if it would be correct that under your bill it would be the “medical practitioner” who certifies that under subparagraph 3.22(e)(iii), “each witness is an independent witness as described in subsection (5).”

What I’m wondering there is: How would a medical practitioner be able to determine that? By the way, it’s important to recall that such a medical practitioner under the medical assistance in dying laws could be a doctor or a nurse practitioner. I’m wondering how a medical practitioner would have that level of knowledge. Thank you.

Senator Wallin: I have discussed this whole issue at length with the Canadian Association of MAiD Assessors and Providers. These are doctors. They are often family doctors. So these are people who have known the patient over years and over time.

I just had this discussion with someone last week. The importance of us all filling out these forms and making wishes clear over time and with a variety of people helps ensure that kind of independence. It may be that you have some of your family members involved. You may have friends or outsiders. You might go to a lawyer. You might go to a separate doctor from your own family doctor. There are many options.


If you make those comments, thoughts and beliefs known to your friends, family and, more importantly, written down, then you have that guarantee or backup. The medical professionals who are engaged in the medical assistance in dying, or MAID, area very much want this to happen. They are seeking provincial rules — that’s part of what they negotiate and deal with — to clarify this.

You will find in any of the forms that you are asked to fill out — of course, you can have variations on that, if there’s something that gives you, specifically, more comfort — that there are lots of ways to make this clear.

I’m a woman who doesn’t have children or a husband, so I would obviously have to go beyond the parameters of immediate family — perhaps a more distant relative, a niece or nephew. But I would have made this action very clear early in the process. That is why I keep suggesting and almost begging that I wish we would do this not only for ourselves to ensure that our own requests and wishes are respected, but that we do this for the sake of those who love us and want to make sure that these really are our wishes and that it’s carried out.

It does mean responsibility for us earlier in life. I know when you’re 29, nobody thinks about this. But for most of us in here, it’s well-timed for us to be thinking about these issues. It’s clarity for yourself as well. If you go through this process of filling out these forms and going through the exercises that are required, it really makes you examine your own feelings. It makes sure that there is a definition there. There’s a certainty there. There’s a commitment there.

If you ask others to participate in that process with you, be they a lawyer, family or friends, then you actually are getting that sense of security from them and for them that they are willing to bear witness to this.

It’s an obligation. It’s a heavy obligation. We have to take it most seriously. The sooner we start that process, the better. That’s where we would get to those definitions because it would be a group of people who would be engaged in this process over time.


Hon. Marie-Françoise Mégie: Will Senator Wallin take a question?

Senator Wallin: Yes.

Senator Mégie: Senator Wallin, during my medical career, I worked with people with serious and incurable medical conditions, including people with neurocognitive disorders.

We are using the advance medical directives system. If Bill S-248 is passed, what will the interdependencies be between advance requests for medical assistance in dying and the provincial advance medical directives system?


Senator Wallin: You’ve raised a series of questions there because, of course, the Criminal Code is the federal purview and all matters health are the provincial purview.

This is why groups have been working on this issue for more than 10 years to try to find frameworks that reflect the needs and desires of a particular province or territory — because views will be different across this country — and that we find a federal framework that will accept that and has enough flexibility in it so that if one province is different from another, it can be in the embrace of the MAID laws — a new, revised set of MAID laws.

Advanced medical directives or care directives — when you go into a hospital and you’re about to have surgery, they may ask you if you want to sign a do not resuscitate order. That’s the individual that’s there. But I think it all starts to form part of your views and your history. If you have that — if you have engaged in this process of preparing for end-of-life decisions — then that is going to be further reassurance to people that your views have been similar, not just in the short-term but over the long-term.

I would see it as part of a larger piece where your beliefs and feelings have been monitored over time. If they are the same, if there’s a consistency or if there’s a change, all that can be assessed by the medical professionals at the end of the day.

Hon. Ratna Omidvar: Will Senator Wallin take another question?

Senator Wallin: I will.

Senator Omidvar: Thank you very much, Senator Wallin.

I want to commend you for your ongoing and consistent advocacy for advanced requests. Your comments brought back a rush of memories going back to 2016-17 when we debated and studied Bill C-14. There was a lot of emotion. There was also a lot of substance.

This issue of advanced request, I want to ask you, is it unique or new in Canada? There are other jurisdictions — most famously, the Netherlands, but also Belgium and Switzerland — that have physician-assisted dying laws.

Is there anything that you can share with us from your study of this issue from other jurisdictions and what can we learn? Have they had some experience here that could inform us?

Senator Wallin: From most of the things that I have studied in other countries, my understanding is they have a very different view of it. It’s a decision that you make, and that’s it.

In countries like Switzerland, they’ve even allowed for — I hate to use the phrase — medical tourism, where people can go and seek an end to their life if they’re suffering and, for some reason, do not qualify in this country.

Ours is complicated. There’s no question. But I think that’s a good thing. What we are doing is really dealing with the nitty‑gritty of this. This is not a decision that anybody takes lightly. It’s not anything that a medical practitioner wants to take lightly.

Because ours is still in the Criminal Code, it makes it doubly more complicated because we’re asking people to engage as individuals or as medical practitioners in something that we’re still saying might be against the law. It’s really important that we narrow this down.

This comes home with the benefit, as I mentioned several times, of “Audrey’s Amendment” because it moved us in that direction, which is that this woman knew that she would lose her ability to give that final consent in the final moments because of the nature of her illness and so she took her own life early.

Honestly, I get calls from people every week documenting cases of friends who have made that choice because they didn’t quite qualify. They were afraid that if they waited for the moment when they would qualify, they wouldn’t be able to consent. We have that Catch-22 there for a lot of people.

We owe it to everybody to find clarity. Because we’ve come this far and because we are doing this in such a deliberate way, we don’t have a lot of international precedent. Our own provinces are wrestling with it. Quebec is doing some of the heavy lifting on this. It seems we always wait until there’s a court decision. We’re forced in one direction and then we run around and try to figure it out.


What I think we need to be doing — and this is what the committee and other groups are involved in — is to be proactive. We need to try to lay out the parameters, to give people assurance, peace of mind and confidence that we’re not doing this without serious understanding and study and putting the rules, protections and safeguards in place. That’s really what we have to do. We need to do that here, in the other place and in the courts. The medical providers have to engage in that, and they are, but we need to find some way to bring it all together. I’m hoping this will be a starting point for that discussion.

Hon. Mary Jane McCallum: I can understand why people may want to request assisted dying, but I don’t think that any of us in this chamber can say that it will not be used as a coercive tactic. I have had calls from elders and disability communities. One elder in particular told me that, when he went to his medical doctor, he was offered it. He didn’t request it, nor did he want it. Now he’s afraid. He’s an Indigenous elder.

When you look at the vulnerable populations, we can say it’s coercive. When we look at the issue of forced sterilization that’s occurring with Indigenous women today, there is no choice. There’s no option for them: It has been taken away from them.

What safeguards will be put in place for Aboriginal people and the disability community — that is, those who are looked upon as subordinate by many people in Canada? What safeguards will be put in place for them?

Senator Wallin: The safeguards are the same as for any Canadian — they exist in law. We are trying to put safeguards on this specific issue of advance requests that are more relevant to that particular issue. We already have the waivers of final consent and the right to do this. The laws apply to everybody.

I mentioned this in my remarks, but I think it’s important to say this: We don’t have documented cases of people who have been forced to undergo MAID. It’s almost inconceivable that a medical practitioner would engage in that without being challenged by the family and by their own medical establishment. They have very strict rules surrounding what doctors can’t do, and medical malpractice is something they’re most aware of.

If there were any such cases, they should, of course, be taken to the authorities. They should be examined. There should be action taken, if need be. But, as we’ve been hearing through witnesses and testimony, there is no evidence on that one. Thank you.

(On motion of Senator Seidman, debate adjourned.)


Criminal Code
Judges Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond moved second reading of Bill C-233, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Judges Act (violence against an intimate partner).

He said: Honourable senators, today, I have the honour to commence second reading of Bill C-233, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Judges Act (violence against an intimate partner).

This bill was introduced in the House of Commons on February 7, 2022, by Anju Dhillon, the member for Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle and a family and criminal lawyer, in cooperation with Pam Damoff, the member for Oakville-North—Burlington and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, and with Ya’ara Saks, the member for York Centre and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

It was changed slightly by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women and then unanimously passed by 326 MPs on June 1. Unfortunately, this bill arrived in the Senate when we were working exclusively on government bills.

Although it consists of only four provisions, including one on the coming into force of the act, Bill C-233 proposes two measures that should help reduce incidents of violence, including femicide, against women who want to end a toxic relationship.


First, Bill C-233 proposes to amend the Criminal Code where an accused is charged with an offence against an intimate partner. Before making a release order, this change would require a justice to consider whether it is desirable — regarding the safety and security of any person — to include that the accused wear an electronic monitoring device as a condition of the bail order.

Second, Bill C-233 proposes to amend the Judges Act to signal to the Canadian Judicial Council the importance of continuing education seminars for judges on matters related to intimate partner violence and coercive control in intimate partner and family relationships.

I will start with the two proposed amendments to the Judges Act.

Those of you who were here in 2017, 2018 and 2019 remember the failed attempts in this chamber to reach a final vote on Bill C-337 introduced by the former leader of the Conservative Party, the Honourable Rona Ambrose. That bill aimed to improve judges’ knowledge relating to sexual assault law and social context by inviting the Canadian Judicial Council to establish seminars on these issues.

In September 2020, the government introduced a bill to the same effect, Bill C-3, that included social context, systemic racism and systemic discrimination. That bill was adopted by the Senate and became law on May 6, 2021.

Bill C-233 proposes that the Canadian Judicial Council be invited to offer seminars to judges on the following subjects: intimate partner violence and coercive control in intimate partner and family relationships.

Thus paragraph 60(2)(b) of the Judges Act would read that, “In furtherance of its objects, the Council may”:

. . . establish seminars for the continuing education of judges, including seminars on matters related to sexual assault law, intimate partner violence, coercive control in intimate partner and family relationships and social context, which includes systemic racism and systemic discrimination . . . .

With this proposed change, Parliament will signal to the Canadian Judicial Council and to judges the high importance that our society places on intimate partner violence and coercive control.


Notably, Parliament would signal the necessity of protecting all family members from becoming the victims of the father exercising coercive control. In addition, Parliament will invite the Canadian Judicial Council to provide information on its annual reports on seminars offered on all the matters indicated in paragraph 60(2)(b), which I just read.

This part of Bill C-233 is described as “Keira’s Law,” in memory of Keira Kagan, a four-year-old girl killed in Milton, Ontario, by her violent father in what was likely a murder-suicide in February 2020.

Despite serious allegations by the mother that the father was a violent husband, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted him access rights. In fact, it seems that the judges tasked in 2018 and 2019 with deciding on access rights had assumed that the violence manifested by the husband against his wife did not mean that he could not be a good father and that he should, therefore, be denied access rights to their daughter, Keira.

Since this tragic event, the mother, Dr. Jennifer Kagan-Viater, and her spouse, Philip Viater, a lawyer who practises family law, have been working relentlessly to ensure other families do not suffer the pain of losing a child killed by a violent parent. Among the measures they seek is more training for all those involved in family law cases, including judges, about the importance of considering indicia of violence before deciding matters of custody and access rights.

Those proposed additions to the Judges Act will encourage the Canadian Judicial Council to continue and even expand its efforts to train judges on intimate partner violence and controlling spouses.

In the last two years, the Canadian Judicial Council has authorized numerous conferences, seminars and tools for judges, all provided by the National Judicial Institute. Those initiatives are funded by public money. The annual budget of the council exceeds $30 million, including over $6 million for education and assistance tools for judges.

As you might remember, in the 2019 budget, Parliament authorized the government to increase the amount allocated to judicial education by $5 million over the following 10 years.

Let me give you some examples of the programs currently offered.

One is a mandatory 10-day course for newly appointed judges that is intended to provide them with the essential knowledge, skills and understanding of social contexts to succeed in their new role. The course includes training on sexual assault trials, and on the myths and stereotypes that might arise in those trials. It also includes training on the importance of considering violence in family law matters.

As for sitting judges, they must attend two courses called Judging in Your First Five Years: Criminal Law. One is related to criminal law and the other one to family law. In addition, as part of their continuing education plan, sitting judges are invited to participate in national seminars and conferences in family law, criminal law, access to justice for children, jury trials, gender‑based violence and similar topics.

Furthermore, appeal courts and superior courts organize annual general meetings that include training. Since January 2018, 50 live-education programs have been offered during these annual meetings, dealing in whole or in part with issues related to intimate partner, domestic or family violence; sexual assault trials; and social contexts.

Digital resources are also made available to judges on sexual assault, Indigenous people’s issues, intimate partner and family violence, evidence, family law and jury instructions.

As said previously in this chamber, studies have shown that violence against a parent harms the children of the family. In fact, a violent husband cannot be a father who is able to act in the best interests of the children.

That is why Parliament adopted substantial amendments to the Divorce Act in 2019. Those changes were designed to identify violent acts and to force all those involved in divorce proceedings, including lawyers, social workers, psychologists and judges, to consider such acts in reports, agreements and decisions relating to sharing parental time and responsibilities.

The ultimate goal of those amendments has been to protect the ex-spouse and the children against further violence following separation, especially from husbands who have exercised coercive control over their spouses. Studies show that despite a separation, such husbands will often resort to violent acts to try to resume coercive control, including harassment, threats, assaults and even murder.


Since the coming into force of the reformed Divorce Act on March 1, 2021, we have seen a shift in the jurisprudence. A growing number of rulings handed down by the lower courts, appeals courts and the Supreme Court of Canada are noting the importance of considering incidents of family violence, assuming they are against the best interests of any child and putting measures in place to ensure that the former spouse or the children are no longer exposed to violence.

On May 20, in Barendregt v. Grebliunas, 2022 SCC 22, the Supreme Court of Canada stated, and I quote:

The recent amendments to the Divorce Act recognize that findings of family violence are a critical consideration in the best interests analysis: s. 16(3)(j) and (4). The Divorce Act broadly defines family violence in s. 2(1) to include any violent or threatening conduct, ranging from physical abuse to psychological and financial abuse. Courts must consider family violence and its impact on the ability and willingness of any person who engaged in the family violence to care for and meet the needs of the child.

That is a clear and unequivocal message from the Supreme Court to every judge and member of the judicial system and the law societies.

I could also quote numerous rulings handed down by provincial criminal court judges, superior family court judges and appeal courts across the country that confirm that Canadian courts now take family violence and intimate partner violence very seriously.

In my view, this change in attitude is the result of several factors. These include the aforementioned amendments to the Divorce Act and the Criminal Code relating to intimate partner violence, the importance that media and society have placed on the issue of spousal violence, and the increased knowledge within the justice system of the serious consequences associated with spousal and family violence. This growing awareness in the court system needs to be further encouraged, specifically through training for judges and lawyers.

I will now move on to the amendments to the Criminal Code.


Bill C-233 proposes to amend section 515 of the Criminal Code that deals with judicial interim release, called bail orders.


When a person is arrested and charged, the principle is that the accused should be released without conditions pending the completion of the judicial process, unless the Crown shows that the detention of the accused is justified or that the release order should be accompanied by conditions.

There are some exceptions to that rule. For example, further to the adoption of Bill C-75 in 2019, when the accused has been previously found guilty of a violent offence against an intimate partner, it is up to the accused to show that their release could be managed safely for the alleged victim. Bill C-233 proposes to add that when the person is accused of an offence involving violence against an intimate partner, the judge can impose as a condition of release that the accused must wear an electronic monitoring device if the attorney general of the province makes the request.

In our digital and connected world, there are two types of devices. It could be a bracelet, worn by an accused, which is connected by radio frequency to a telephone line in the place of residence in order to indicate to a monitor in real time that the person is always in the place of residence. For example, if a convicted person has been released under the condition of staying at home at all times, such a device ensures compliance or at least serves as evidence of a breach of compliance.

A second type of device allows for the geolocation of a person at any time. In cases of intimate partner violence, such a device could be ordered for a convicted person when the release order includes the condition to maintain a certain distance from the house or place of work of the victim. A breach of the order could automatically be signalled to a monitoring centre that could alert the victim and dispatch the police. A more sophisticated system provides a corresponding electronic device to the victim that will automatically signal the presence of the accused if they are within a certain range.

Under the current provisions of the Criminal Code, a judge could order an accused person to wear an electronic bracelet as a condition of a bail order, assuming that it is available in the place of residence of the accused. This condition is often offered by the accused to show his desire to comply with the bail order and willingness to assume the associated costs.

One of the main providers is Recovery Science Corporation of Bradford, Ontario. According to its website, since 2010 over 800 people across Canada have been granted pre-trial release when including its GPS program as part of their plan of supervision. The company then enters into an agreement with each participant that includes a comprehensive waiver of confidentiality that enables it to report violations and share monitoring data with police, as well as the payment of over $600 per month for the service.

Incidentally, in a case before the Superior Court of Quebec in November 2021, this company acknowledged that with a good pair of scissors it was possible to cut off the bracelet, and that it had happened about 130 times so far, which is, more or less, about 15% of the cases.

It is also worth noting that wearing a bracelet may be ordered currently pursuant to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to monitor compliance with conditions such as house arrest, curfew or not leaving a certain area. Bill C-233 proposes to make it clear to the Crown, the accused, the victim and the judiciary that such a condition in a bail order should be considered as a way to not only deter non-compliance but also protect the alleged victim in cases of domestic and intimate partner violence, pending criminal proceedings.

The sponsor of the bill in the other place has chosen to focus on bail orders because it is in the first 18 months post-separation that many women or children are killed. Statistics show that the post-separation period is an enhanced period of danger for the victims of violent partners. Of course, adopting this bill won’t prevent Parliament from providing for monitoring devices in other circumstances, such as those contemplated in Bill S-205 proposed by Senator Boisvenu.

In all cases, it must be clear that reliance on electronic monitoring devices depends on the existence of proper infrastructure to provide a reliable device, constant monitoring and a timely response if triggered, including from the police. Otherwise, the victims may live with a false sense of security. That’s why it is proposed that such a bail order condition can be imposed by a judge only at the request of the attorney general of the province. Hopefully, this should create an impetus for provincial governments to establish the required infrastructure for such monitoring systems.


On that note, I want to highlight the important initiatives undertaken in my part of the country, Quebec, to establish a monitoring device system. The Government of Quebec is acting on recommendation 84 of a report entitled Rebuilding Trust, which was tabled on December 25, 2020, by the expert committee on support for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Recommendation 84 states the following:

Where appropriate, consider requiring the accused to wear an electronic bracelet as a means of further protecting the victim.

This committee also recommended that victims have free‑of‑charge access to rapid intervention tools, such as emergency telephones, and encouraged the use of other technological methods for keeping victims safe, all at no charge to them.

In response to this report, Quebec adopted various measures. For example, the National Assembly passed Bill 24 in the spring. This bill amends the Act Respecting the Québec Correctional System and authorizes the director of a provincial prison or the Quebec parole board to require, as a condition of release, an offender convicted of domestic violence and sentenced to less than two years to wear a monitoring device that tracks their whereabouts at all times.

Of course, in order for an electronic monitoring device to fulfill its function, the victim’s location must also be known at all times. Therefore, this release condition can only be imposed with the victim’s consent. Quebec correctional services provide victims with the necessary equipment, such as cellphone software that tells the victim when the offender is within a certain distance of her. This is all at no cost to victims. These devices can only be imposed if the judge has ordered it for the accused as part of an application for release.

A budget of $41 million over five years has been allocated to implementing this system. This budget includes funding to train stakeholders in assessing abusive partners, and to cover the cost of equipment and the monitoring of the system. Incidentally, continuous monitoring of these electronic devices has been entrusted to a non-profit security company, the Commissionnaires du Québec, which includes former members of the Armed Forces and the RCMP.

On May 20, 2022, the Quebec government announced the launch of a pilot project in Quebec City. This will be followed by a gradual rollout across Quebec, with four regions to be added this fall, followed by eight more in the spring and, finally, the rest of Quebec in the fall of 2023.

The Quebec Ministry of Public Security estimates that 500 electronic monitoring devices should meet the requirements when the program is implemented across the province. Three devices have been ordered so far as part of the pilot project.


This initiative is in addition to others introduced by Quebec, in particular the creation of courts specialized in sexual violence and domestic violence, the allocation of financial assistance to 11 municipal police forces for the hiring of staff specialized in the fight against domestic violence and femicide, and the provision of funding of treatment services for offenders.

I would remind colleagues that 26 women were murdered in Quebec in 2021, the majority in the context of domestic violence.

The monitoring device is therefore an interesting tool. We hope that, based on the Quebec experience, the National Parole Board will consider requiring offenders involved in intimate partner violence to wear a monitoring device while noting that the effectiveness of this device requires not only the consent of the victim but an adequate system of supervision.

That said, I believe it’s important to point out that to address intimate partner violence we need a comprehensive strategy as demonstrated by the Spanish experience after the adoption in 2004 of legislation addressing intimate partner violence that integrates an approach based on the victim, often a woman, as is the case here in Canada, in approximately 80% of cases.

I would like to highlight five features of the Spanish system: specialized courts; specially trained police officers; an effective public awareness campaign on domestic violence — a survey found that 8 out of 10 women in Spain are aware of these programs; an information platform called VioGén, maintained by police officers and the various institutions that care for abused women; and an electronic surveillance command centre, connected to the Spain’s department of health, social services and equality, which is responsible for 24-hour monitoring of the bracelets in use.

The use of monitoring bracelets in protection orders increased by 800% between 2009 and 2018, going from 166 to 970, which represents 5.6% of all violence-related orders issued in Spain. In fact, Spain is a leader among democratic countries in terms of the number of bracelets per capita.

These measures seem to be working. In fact, since the 2004 law, the number of femicides in Spain has decreased by 25%.


According to researchers and numerous scholarly articles, documented violations of these orders have been very scarce.

Some of the research also indicates that some victims of domestic violence are resistant to the use of electronic monitoring because this reminds them too much of the dynamic experience when they were living with their controlling partner. They felt monitored at all times. However, the feeling of security and confidence in the system has increased over time, according to Spanish police. It seems that more and more victims are satisfied with the system and that the number of false alarms is decreasing.

Several jurisdictions have followed Spain’s example: Portugal, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Chile and Japan.


Electronic monitoring bracelets were implemented in France in 2019. The French government announced an operational capacity of 1,000 units nationwide. As of April 1, 2022, French judges had ordered 995 electronic bracelets to be worn.

In that country, the imposition of an electronic bracelet, which is also referred to as being “placed under electronic monitoring,” may be applied before conviction or as part of the sentence.

What is more, a family court judge may issue a protection order to shelter a woman who is a victim of domestic violence, independently from any criminal proceedings.

Nevertheless, some victims feel that electronic monitoring devices are inadequate because they are not automatically ordered by judges.

It should also be noted that emergency telephones are another device that are recommended for Quebec. France implemented them in 2014, five years before the electronic bracelets. The device consists of a cellphone with a specific button that the victim can press to quickly alert the help line, which is informed of the call and the victim’s geographic location at that precise moment. This service dispatches law enforcement officers who are connected to the service through a special line, either with local police or with the national police force.

According to the French justice department, 3,512 of these phones were available on French territory as of March 1, 2022; 2,566 of them were assigned. That means another 1,000 are available for use.

However, in 2021, some associations criticized the fact that these phones were being handed out so sparingly.

According to the French justice department’s website, the electronic monitoring device is a more versatile tool than the emergency telephone.

There seems to be a big difference between outcomes in Spain and those in France, largely due to the funding allocated to other measures enabling women to get away from violent partners. For example, Spain has 8,600 specialized shelter spaces compared to 5,000 in France, even though France’s population is 30% bigger.


In conclusion, I want to thank the sponsor of Bill C-233, MP Anju Dhillon, and all members of the House of Commons for having unanimously adopted Bill C-233. It contains two interesting measures that could effectively help protect against further domestic and intimate partner violence. Thus, I invite you to adopt the bill at second reading as soon as possible and to send it to committee for review.

However, it should remain clear that the incremental steps contained in Bill C-233, though useful, are insufficient to end intimate partner and domestic violence. A comprehensive strategy must be developed. It must include help for aggressors — especially men — access to resources for victims, including shelters, public education and training for all those asked to intervene, such as police officers, social workers and judges.


Thank you for your attention. Meegwetch.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Dalphond, will you take questions?

Senator Dalphond: I’d be happy to.

Hon. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu: Thank you very much for your speech on Bill C-233, Senator Dalphond. I am very pleased to learn that the plan is to include training for judges on domestic violence.

I think that attitudes have changed here and in committee, because when we examined Bill C-3, I proposed an amendment to include training on domestic violence in the training for judges on sexual exploitation.

Will the bill before us ensure that this control mechanism is applied only to abusers who are awaiting trial?

Senator Dalphond: Thank you for the question, Senator Boisvenu. I knew you’d be pleased with this bill since it deals with a topic that is very important to you. At the time, you proposed at third reading stage that we amend the bill to add this element and the chamber thought it best to adopt Bill C-3 instead of sending it back to the other place because of the time at which it was adopted. You will recall that an election was called a few months later. That was perhaps the right decision in that context.

That being said, you were right to say that it would have been better to add these elements to the training. I’d be pleased to add that to the bill, as the other place suggests.

It’s true that the bill proposes only to amend the Criminal Code with respect to release orders during the trial, also known as bail orders.


Bill S-205 also includes other provisions and amendments to the Criminal Code that would apply in other contexts, including amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, that would apply when the person has served their sentence and are part of the transition and conditional release.

Senator Boisvenu: I think it’s really inefficient to have two bills with the same objective, to protect women, making their way through the Senate at the same time. The government is going to end up in a situation where it has to choose between the two.

In 85% of femicide cases, the aggressor wasn’t brought to trial. Rather than a trial, the aggressor is ordered not to approach his victim, and 85% of victims are murdered in that context. Why not immediately combine these two bills to ensure that we’re protecting the women who are truly in danger? I’m not talking about those whose aggressor will be brought to trial, but those whose aggressor will never be formally charged because he signed an order. Those are the cases where women get murdered, not when the individual is brought to trial.

Senator Dalphond: I know that politics is the art of the possible and that sometimes we must be pragmatic.

This bill comes to us from the House of Commons, where it received the unanimous support of members. We’ve been asked to consider it carefully and, if we support it, to pass it. As I stated in my speech, this doesn’t at all prevent the Senate from going further and passing your bill, which contains other measures, which will then be retained at third reading stage and sent to the House of Commons, where it could be adopted in future.

The bill we received is along the lines of what you’re proposing, but consists of two important steps. I will repeat that it’s not the end of the process, but represents two small steps that won’t put an end to domestic violence or intimate partner violence. They are two small, useful steps in a vehicle arriving from the House of Commons with unanimous support. I believe that we should seize this vehicle and deal with this bill as quickly as possible to ensure that these two small steps are taken. We must continue to study your bill and hope that the House of Commons will adopt it as well.


Hon. Denise Batters: Senator Dalphond, there was a reference made in your speech — and just a brief reference now — to Bill C-3, which was based on former Conservative Party leader Rona Ambrose’s bill. At the Legal Committee on April 1, 2021, Senator Boisvenu introduced an amendment that was similar to what the Keira’s Law part of the bill you’re talking about today does — it added domestic violence to the judicial training that would be received.

Senator Dalphond, you spoke against that amendment that day and said you believed that amendment did not meet the test of “necessity.” Incredible. You said this requirement to further educate judges on domestic violence wasn’t necessary. Senator Gold echoed your argument at Legal Committee that day and stated this important amendment was “. . . just not necessary” in his view and in the view of the Trudeau government.

I’m glad to see there’s been a change of thought because at the Legal Committee that day after those two interventions, I responded to say this:

I wanted to comment that we’ve heard two men here today, who are senators, tell us that an amendment regarding domestic violence is not necessary. Yet our witnesses, who were women and many of whom were Indigenous people who deal with vulnerable people every single day on these issues, told us that it is necessary.

Senator Dalphond, you then voted against that amendment and Senator Gold voted against that amendment. Only Conservative senators — Batters, Boisvenu, Carignan and Martin — and Senator Griffin voted for that important amendment. All other senators that day voted against it and it was defeated at Legal Committee.

This new bill we’re considering today was introduced by a Liberal MP in the House of Commons. Thankfully, it received unanimous consent in the House of Commons, as you indicated, and now you support it. In fact, you’re now the Senate sponsor of the bill.

Senator Dalphond, why didn’t you recognize the necessity of this domestic violence training for judges 18 months ago? We could have had this key provision in place helping Canadian women a long time ago.

Senator Dalphond: Thank you very much, Senator Batters, for this good question, which gives me the opportunity to say that I invite colleagues to read the transcript of the committee hearing. I opposed this amendment, but not because I was against the idea. I said that amendment at that stage would have jeopardized the adoption of that bill. We were in a minority position at the time. I said this is going forward, and said I was favourable to Keira’s Law. I’ve met with Dr. Kagan and her husband, Mr. Viater, to discuss that issue, and I explained to them that as much as I had sympathy for what they’re proposing, this amendment would mean the bill would have to go back to the House of Commons, who were done in May of 2021. As you may remember, there was an election called in the summer of 2021, and I know you and your party were of the view that it was an unnecessary election. If we had followed your proposed course of action, we would not have had that bill passed.

Second, I explained at the committee — and I think I also said it in the house; we can read the transcript. I remember well that debate because I was not against the principle, but I said the social context is used in that bill that we had before us and the Supreme Court has defined social context as including domestic violence. I said this is not explicitly covered, but it is incidentally covered. I thought it would be the right message to send to judges without jeopardizing the success of that bill.

I’m glad to say today I haven’t changed my mind. I still support Keira’s Law, and I’m pleased — if they are watching tonight — to thank them for their continuous efforts to have this adopted. I will gladly support it. I was never opposed to it. But time is of the essence and, unfortunately, on that matter, I think history has shown we are right to be more prudent than not.


Hon. Michèle Audette: Would Senator Dalphond take another question?

Senator Dalphond: Certainly.

Senator Audette: Thank you very much for sharing and explaining your arguments for this bill. Many of the women here — perhaps all women — know one or more people affected by human tragedy. Indigenous women are certainly among them. I understand that we’re talking about intimate partner and family violence, but might it be possible for the provisions to include women who have repeatedly reported individuals who aren’t current or former partners so that they can be kept safe too? Is this only for partners and ex-partners?

Senator Dalphond: Thank you, senator, for this question, which allows me to clarify. I may not have been clear enough in my speech. Anyone who is accused of violence against another person can be forced to wear a bracelet, whether it is a case of intimate partner violence or domestic violence. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the individual’s spouse. It can be a lover, a former partner, and so on.

Senator Audette: I want to ensure I understand. If it’s not a former partner or lover, but someone whom the woman doesn’t know but who has already had a complaint lodged against them, someone that has gone to prison, been released and come back to harass, intimidate or assault the woman in question, is it possible that the individual could be forced to wear a monitoring device?

Senator Dalphond: Based on my understanding of the amendment to Bill C-75, the person must have been convicted of intimate partner violence. This time, the onus will be on the offender to show that they can be released without jeopardizing the safety of any person. It will be up to the offender to convince the judge, who may propose that the offender be ordered to wear a device in order to secure their release.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)



Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services and Travel—Study on Issues Relating to Foreign Relations and International Trade Generally—Seventh Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the seventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Budget—study on foreign relations and international trade generally—power to hire staff and to travel), presented in the Senate on October 6, 2022.

Hon. Peter M. Boehm moved the adoption of the report.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services and Travel—Study on the Canadian Foreign Service and Elements of the Foreign Policy Machinery within Global Affairs—Eighth Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the eighth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Budget—study on the Canadian foreign service and elements of the foreign policy machinery within Global Affairs Canada—power to hire staff and to travel), presented in the Senate on October 6, 2022.

Hon. Peter M. Boehm moved the adoption of the report.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

Contributions and Impacts of Métis, Inuit, and First Nations

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Boyer, calling the attention of the Senate to the positive contributions and impacts that Métis, Inuit, and First Nations have made to Canada, and the world.

Hon. Marilou McPhedran: Honourable senators, I rise this evening because Inquiry No. 3 is a means through which Senator Yvonne Boyer has given us a welcome opportunity to recognize the important contributions that Métis, Inuit and First Nations have made to Canada and the world.


As a senator from Manitoba, I recognize that I live on Treaty 1 territory, the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.


I acknowledge that the Parliament of Canada is situated on the unsurrendered territory of the Anishinaabeg and Algonquin First Nations.

I thank Senator Boyer for this initiative. We can all learn much from the resilience and brilliance demonstrated by every generation of the founding peoples of Turtle Island, often in the face of massive systemic discrimination and illegality of every kind.

I’m pleased to take this opportunity to present to you the work of three truly remarkable, awesome Indigenous women: Teara Fraser, Leslie Spillett and Diane Redsky. I speak from experience and can assure you that all three of these strong Indigenous women leaders are admirable examples of success on their own terms. All are role models for leadership grounded by deep‑rooted Indigenous values, reflected in who they are, what they do and how they do what they do.

Honourable colleagues, the first woman I would like to recognize is Teara Fraser, a proud Métis woman who brings her passion for aviation to her work and volunteerism every day. As Teara started out her career in this heavily White‑male‑dominated industry, she dreamed of a more diverse workplace with better working conditions, and she continues tirelessly to make it happen through her own airline.

In 2019, Teara launched Iskwew Air, her own Indigenous, female-run airline based at Vancouver International Airport, currently the only Indigenous business in the airport. Iskwew is a Cree word for “woman,” and it represents her desire to empower and celebrate female leadership. The airline aims to support Indigenous tourism and to improve accessibility to remote Indigenous communities in British Columbia and neighbouring provinces and territories.

Teara has instilled in her business some of her ancestral values. For example, Iskwew Air is committed to becoming a carbon‑neutral company. They do so by calculating their operating greenhouse gas emissions, working on reducing them and offsetting the difference. Such an initiative shows care for the air and the land. It also demonstrates innovation in addressing environmental concerns.

Another notable contribution is Teara’s work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her airline supplied essential goods to remote Indigenous communities affected by COVID, often at greatly reduced prices.

Teara is a wonderful model for bringing feminine energy, creativity and tenacity to innovative leadership. Logically, Teara was recently celebrated as the Businesswoman of the Year at the 2022 BC Tourism and Hospitality Awards in British Columbia.

Honourable senators, the next woman I would like to recognize is Dr. Leslie Spillett. Born in northern Manitoba, her maternal ancestry is Cree from Cumberland House and Opaskwayak Cree Nation and Red River Métis, and her paternal ancestry is Irish and Scottish.

Leslie is a formidable community activist and advocate, with far-reaching initiatives serving Indigenous and non-Indigenous Manitobans. Leslie founded Ka Ni Kanichihk, a leading Indigenous organization supporting women and their families through trauma-informed, culturally attuned educational programs and development services. Ka ni kanichihk is Cree for “those who lead,” and it’s often called a “second home,” a place to belong, a place to find purpose and a learning hub.

Leslie was also one of the principal founders of Mother of Red Nations Women’s Council of Manitoba and has worked in an executive capacity at the Native Women’s Association of Canada. Her initiatives also include support of Aboriginal youth achievements, traditional knowledge and the status of Indigenous women, spoken in very blunt terms.

Leslie was one of the first advocates for missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada, and she raised the issue through international forums long before the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, on which our colleague Senator Michèle Audette served with such distinction.

After some deliberation on her part, Leslie decided to accept an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Winnipeg in 2011. In 2012, she was inducted into the Order of Manitoba. Leslie’s courage, dedication, initiative and tenacity are an example for all of us.

I’m now honoured to recognize and acknowledge Dr. Diane Redsky, a strong advocate for Indigenous rights in health, education and social services, especially for the many Indigenous women and children who face barriers to actually living their rights and to actually accessing these services in a helpful way.

Diane has been serving as Executive Director of the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, known in the community as Mamawi, for many years and has recently announced her retirement as of this December. Mamawi houses more than 50 programs operating in far-ranging Indigenous communities aimed at creating meaningful opportunities for community and family involvement, building on innate strengths and drawing from Indigenous skills to amplify healing and reconciliation within Indigenous families, within their communities and having this kind of healing benefit the community of the whole.

Mamawi’s vision brought together community members in 1984 who wanted to rebuild families through Indigenous solutions. This vision is carried and sustained today under Diane’s leadership, making Ma Mawi one of the largest Indigenous-led and -staffed social service organizations in all of Canada, and she has secured a succession plan that will ensure this vision will continue to be made real.


Diane is devoted to combatting human trafficking and violence against women and girls and 2SLGBTQI people. For five years, Diane stepped away from Ma Mawi to be the project director for the National Task Force on Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls in Canada, which was not started by government. Rather, it was funded by individual women philanthropists through The Canadian Women’s Foundation and became the catalyst for increased government responsiveness, publishing a highly significant report containing 34 recommendations to end sex trafficking in Canada.

Diane’s contributions have not gone unnoticed, as she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, the Senate 150th Anniversary Medal, the YWCA Women of Distinction Award, and she has been made a member of the Order of Manitoba and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Winnipeg.

In our society, we pay attention to titles in front of names and letters after names because they signify for us that the holder has achieved distinctions that we value and respect. These three remarkable women have all of those honours, but they also have the invisible medals that matter the most — the deep respect, love, appreciation and dedication of their communities in their provinces, joined by allies and supporters throughout Canada and other countries.

Colleagues, I invite you to join me in celebrating these amazing Indigenous women leaders, and as Senator Boyer has invited us through her inquiry for “recognizing the contributions that Métis, Inuit and First Nations have made to Canada and the world,” let’s find and recognize many more and place them on the Senate record. Chi-meegwetch. Thank you.

(On motion of Senator Duncan, debate adjourned.)

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Motion to Study the Provisions and Operation of the Sergei Magnitsky Law and the Special Economic Measures Act Adopted

Hon. Peter M. Boehm, pursuant to notice of October 6, 2022, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade be designated to conduct a comprehensive review of the provisions and operation of the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) and the Special Economic Measures Act, pursuant to section 16 of the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law);

That, in accordance with subsection 16(2) of the Sergei Magnitsky Law, the committee submit its report on this review no later than June 23, 2023.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators

Motion to Affect Committee Membership Adopted

Hon. Scott Tannas, pursuant to notice of October 6, 2022, moved:

That, notwithstanding any provision of the Rules or previous order, the Honourable Senator Smith take the place of former Senator White as one of the members of the Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(At 9:24 p.m., the Senate was continued until tomorrow at 2 p.m.)

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