Income Tax: The Last Six Months
Of Federal Activity

About

This Report

This is a computer-generated report that shows all of the federal activity with respect to the keyword "Income Tax" over the last six months. This is a demonstration of the power of our government relations automation software.

Hansard

House: 83 Speeches
Senate: 20 Speeches

House Senate

Bills

Active: 6

See Bills

Regulations

Filed: 0
Proposed: 0

The House

Mr. Ziad Aboultaif (Edmonton Manning, CPC)

June 9th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“Mr. Speaker, on page 252 of the 2017 budget, the personal income tax is projected to grow by about 7% in 2018. However, if the government is taxing Canadians less, why is the projection of personal income tax growing by such a big margin, to 7%, in 2018? I would like to have clarification on this ...”

Mr. Mark Warawa (Langley—Aldergrove, CPC)

June 8th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...e GST? The Conservative government provided the lowest taxation in Canadian history, whether it was income tax or lowering taxes for corporations and small business. (1740)

That was one of the...”

Mr. Marc Miller (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.)

June 8th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“... 2015. Through the middle-class tax cut, nearly nine million Canadians saw a drop in their personal income taxes. Single individuals who benefit are saving an average of $330 each year, and couples wh...”

Mr. Jonathan Wilkinson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.)

June 6th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...ovides a tax credit for low-income families and has made its carbon tax revenue neutral by reducing income taxes for British Columbians and for businesses operating in the province.

Alberta's ca...”

Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, CPC)

June 5th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... Canadians do their taxes at the end of the year and they can determine how much they are paying in income tax. On a daily basis, they can take their bill from a night at the movies or at a restaurant and see what they paid in harmonized sales taxes or other consumption taxes.

Carbon taxes are insidious in a very special way. The cost of a carbon tax is embedded deep inside literally thousands of products that Canadians buy every single day. For example, a basket of fruit that is transported by a truck, was also transported by a train, and before that a ship. A carbon tax on all of the fossil fuels necessary to bring that basket of fruit to the grocery store, where a single mother buys it for her children, increases the cost of that fruit. Unfortunately, when that single mother goes to the cash register and pays that bill, she does not know what share of it is going to the government through carbon tax. Therefore, as an elector, as a common person, she cannot ultimately hold the crown accountable for what it is charging her to nourish her children with the vitamin C from that basket of fruit. She can hold the government accountable for the cost of the harmonized sales tax, because when she purchases various goods and services, she can look at the receipt and it will tell her what she paid. If she thinks it is too much, she can tell her local member of Parliament, and if he or she fails to act accordingly, she can vote against that member of Parliament in the forthcoming election.

No such accountability exists with the carbon tax. I endeavoured to create such accountability by filing numerous Order Paper questions and access to information requests, demanding that the government reveal the following information: (1235)

Documents such as briefing notes, analyses, projections, and emails regarding the impact of a $50-a-tonne price on carbon or carbon tax on the Canadian economy. Please include any analysis on how a price on carbon will impact the Consumer Price Index, median incomes, low-income household incomes, the poverty rate, the employment rate, and the unemployment rate.

Originally the government responded that it had no such data. It just did not exist. That was its original response to my Order Paper question. However, we later obtained documents showing that the government did in fact have the data. It had been calculated and it was in the possession of the Minister of Finance's department.

The government said secondarily that it was wrong, that it did have the information, but it would not tell us what it said. It released documents that were roughly 70% blacked out. For example, I have here a memo that was written on October 20, the day after the Liberal Party won the October 19 election, which says:

Imposing a price on carbon...either through a tax or a cap-and-trade system, would raise the cost of fossil fuels and energy. These...costs would then cascade through the economy in the form of higher prices, thus leading all firms and consumers to pay more for goods and services with higher carbon content. This would create distributional effects since the share of goods and services with high-carbon content may vary with households' income.

That is a quote from the document.

To simplify the overly complicated terminology here, distributional effects is an economics term for how the tax will shift income between rich and poor households. It would be effects on the gap between rich and poor, the poverty rate, and the income of the middle class.

I go back to quoting from the same document:

This [document] focuses on the potential impact of a carbon price on a households' consumption expenditures across the income distribution. Key findings are: [blacked out].

The key findings are blacked out and none of the information is included.

Now again, this memo advertises that the government will reveal the potential impact of a carbon price on a household's consumption expenditures across the income distribution. That word “distribution” is very important for those of us who are concerned about poverty. Distribution is used as a term by economists to describe how much money the very poor, the poor, the middle class, the affluent, and the rich have in this country. This document would tell us what impact the carbon tax would have on that distribution. How would it affect the very poor, the poor, the middle class, the affluent, and the rich? The House of Commons does not know. The finance minister does. He has this briefing, and, in his possession, that briefing is not blacked out.

Let me tell the House what else the finance minister has. He has a continuation of the backgrounder, which says:

A good predictor of the expected distributional effect of a price on carbon is to look at how the carbon intensity of a typical consumption basket varies across earnings groups.... This intensity is the result of the direct consumption of carbon intensive goods—like gasoline, natural gas and heating oil—and the indirect result from consuming goods with a high carbon [input]....

Let us return to common language, as we are in the House of the common people. Let us start again: “A good predictor of the expected distributional effect of a price on carbon..”. Simply put, how will a carbon tax affect the gap between rich and poor? A look at the carbon intensity of a typical consumption basket varies across earnings groups. What does that mean in plainer language? (1240)

It means that people with less money typically rely on things that have lots of carbon inputs in them, more so than do rich households, at least as a share of their income. That is because rich households can afford to spend more on luxuries rather than on basic survival. Poor households, it is proven, spend a third more of their household budget on things that the tax will apply to, like heating their home, turning on the lights, and feeding their families. If people are rich, they still have to do those things, it is just that those expenses represent a much smaller share of their household budget. Therefore, in percentage terms, the rich households are paying much less than the poorer households pay in carbon taxes.

If the members across the way disagree with my analysis, why do they not just remove all of the black ink on these documents and reveal what they say? It stands to reason, given the documented evidence from Statistics Canada, that the data contained here will show that poor families would be disproportionately hammered by this new tax because it is a larger share of their budget that would be taxed. In other words, as a percentage of income, a poor household would actually pay more than a rich household. That is the economic definition of regressive, from a government that tells us every day how progressive it is.

The Liberals also campaigned on transparency. Let us see if they lived up to that promise. In the September 11, 2015 documents, which calculated the impact of a carbon tax. I am going to quote what it says:

In the context of departmental work on the medium-term planning and transition advice on climate change, the memo provides the model based long run economic impacts of various policy scenarios to meet Canada's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas...emissions.

I would continue the sentence, but it is blacked out. It continues:

Environment Canada is in the process of updating their emissions projections and our analysis will be revised once these updated projections are available.

These are supposed to demonstrate what impact the carbon price will have on the emissions of greenhouse gases. Again, all the numbers are blacked out, so we do not even know if this expensive and damaging tax is going to have any successful impact on reducing greenhouse gases, which is the purported purpose of the tax. It goes on:

The estimated economic impacts from [greenhouse gas] mitigation scenarios are based on a computational general equilibrium...model of the world economy. The analysis shows that estimated economic costs (and the resulting carbon price) [will] vary greatly across the chosen mitigation policy.

How high does the tax have to be before it changes people's behaviour to be more conducive to the battle against climate change? Again, we do not know the answer to that question because it too is blacked out. I could go on and on. I have page after page here before me indicating that the government has data that it will not release because it does not want Canadians to know either the effectiveness of its policy or the cost that Canadians will have to bear in order to live under that policy.

I was very optimistic when I saw the finance minister stand in the House of Commons today to speak, that he would reveal the contents of these documents, given that they are housed within his own department and that it is his department that has blacked out those contents. However, no, he did not reveal any of that. Instead, he rambled on about all the spending and programs and government interference that his and the Prime Minister's administration are imposing under the ostensible pretext of battling climate change. If this were really about protecting the environment, then the government would ensure that every extra dollar in so-called carbon pricing that Canadians pay would be returned to them through lower income taxes or lower consumption taxes. The Liberals claim that these are revenue-neutral policies, but how can we possibly know that when they will not reveal what the tax will cost to begin with? (1245)

In every province the carbon tax has been imposed, there has been a net increase in government revenue. In other words, taxpayers have less so governments can have more. This is true even in British Columbia, which has the least damaging carbon tax regime. Recently, the Fraser Institute calculated that in British Columbia taxpayers will be net losers by about $500 to $700 as a result of the carbon tax. In other words, even as the government claims that it is reducing income taxes to compensate people for the higher cost of fossil fuel-based products, the taxpayer is...”

Ms. Brigitte Sansoucy (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, NDP)

June 5th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...our society, keep acquiring more and more wealth. Whereas all hard-working wage earners have to pay income tax, only half of the revenues from selling shares is taxed. Just in case the government is unaware, let me remind them that selling shares is not a major source of income for the middle class and it is even less so for the most vulnerable.

The tax rate for big corporations has been constantly declining for the past 15 years, and that rate is applied only on taxable revenues. In spite of the ever-decreasing rate, big corporations still engage in tax evasion, a scourge that deprives the state of revenues worth 7 billion dollars a year.

That said, it really becomes indecent when the government itself allows the richest to evade income tax. The stock options tax break for big corporation CEOs represents a net loss of 800 millio...”

Mr. Jean-Claude Poissant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.)

June 5th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“... in budget 2017, we launched consultations on the ongoing relevance and possible elimination of the income tax deferral available via cash purchase tickets for deliveries of listed grains. Budget 2017...”

Mrs. Deborah Schulte (King—Vaughan, Lib.)

June 1st
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development in relation to Bill C-323, an act to amend the Income Tax Act, regarding the rehabilitation of historic property. The committee has studied the bil...”

Hon. Kevin Sorenson

June 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...hey generate huge benefits for Ontario and Quebec as well—because they provide jobs, property and income taxes, construction activity and community development.” Jobs like this allow social progra...”

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux

May 30th
Hansard Link

S. O. 57

“... just 14 or 15 months ago when we had a budget that saw the largest single decrease to middle-class income tax in recent history. Hundreds of millions of dollars were put back in the form of tax cuts ...”

Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

May 29th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ced two weeks ago, Canadian Armed Forces members deployed on all of these missions will now receive income tax relief. This includes the refocused mission in Iraq and our continuing fight against Daes...”

Mr. Sven Spengemann (Mississauga—Lakeshore, Lib.)

May 29th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...nce announced that the government would ensure all armed forces members and police officers receive income tax relief on all named international operations. This measure, retroactive to January 1, 201...”

Mr. Jonathan Wilkinson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.)

May 19th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...rned those through rebates, British Columbia has a carbon-neutral tax and returns the funds through income tax reductions.

We have a thoughtful plan. Those of us on this side of the House believ...”

Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau (Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Lib.)

May 18th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“... pursuant to Standing Order 83(1), I wish to table a notice of a ways and means motion to amend the Income Tax Act.

Pursuant to Standing Order 83(2), I ask that an order of the day be designated...”

Mr. Jean Rioux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

May 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... deployed overseas as part of a recognized operation will have their salaries exempted from federal income tax. This exemption will apply to salaries up to the pay level of lieutenant-colonel and will...”

Hon. Bardish Chagger (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, Lib.)

May 17th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...e Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Income Tax Act. Therefore, I move:

That, in relation to Bill C-4, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Income Tax Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the ...”

Mr. James Bezan (Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, CPC)

May 16th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...ober 2014, the start of the operation) and established a Risk Level of 2.13. In accordance with the Income Tax Act, the Minister of National Defence requested that the Minister of Finance designate Op...”

Mr. Nicola Di Iorio (Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, Lib.)

May 16th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...e Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Income Tax Act.

Bill C-4, which was introduced in the House of Commons on January 28, 2016, se...”

Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Battle River—Crowfoot, CPC)

May 15th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...g two reports of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts: the 25th report, entitled “Report 2—Income Tax Objections—Canada Revenue Agency, of the Fall 2016 Reports of the Auditor General of Ca...”

Sheri Benson (NDP)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...e Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Income Tax Act.””

Bardish Chagger (Liberal)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act, and the Income Tax Act.

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of...”

Patty Hajdu (Liberal)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...e Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Income Tax Act, this House disagrees with the amendments made by the Senate.

She said: Madam S...”

Pierre Poilievre (Conservative)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...e Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Income Tax Act be now read a second time and concurred in.”

I am thankful for the opportunit...”

Tom Kmiec (Conservative)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...im expand on that, with this ridiculous tax plan the government has proposed, this so-called middle income tax cut, which gave the biggest tax cut to the wealthiest. Those of us in this chamber earn just enough to be eligible for the full benefit of the supposed middle-income tax cut.

I would also like to hear more from him on the national debt. The Liberal gove...”

Kevin Lamoureux (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... way said tax, deficit, and debt. When the Minister of Finance came up with the largest decrease in income tax for Canada's middle class—nine million Canadians benefited, hundreds of millions of dol...”

Gary Anandasangaree (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...hat it has changed their way of life. Our office has assisted constituents who needed to file their income tax to qualify for the CCB. They have told us the impact it will have on their lives. The CCB...”

Richard Cannings (NDP)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...le class by doing absolutely nothing for those making less than $45,000 a year, instead bringing in income tax changes that gave tax relief primarily to those making $150,000 to $200,000 a year.

..”

Kim Rudd (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...ople who need it the most by giving the money back to families through rebates, by cutting personal income tax and small business taxes, and by investing to support entrepreneurs and clean technologie...”

Gérard Deltell (Conservative)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...rliamentary budget officer. It appears that 65% of Canadians will see absolutely no change to their income tax, including those who earn $45,000 or less per year, who are the real middle class. Those ...”

Alexandre Boulerice (NDP)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...ify, as was done in the past, the costs of purchasing the F-35s, for example, or of the Liberals’ income tax reduction which, in the end, has benefited only the very wealthy. The freedom of action o...”

Rodger Cuzner (Liberal)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...xibility to deal with recessions and pressures from an aging population.

We began by reducing income taxes for nearly nine million middle-class Canadians. We have made more strategic investments...”

Joël Godin (Conservative)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...n the policy paper. Canadian farmers will see their taxes go up because the Liberals eliminated the income tax exemption for insurers. Insurance companies gave our farmers and fishers some breathing r...”

Pierre Breton (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...nerous, better targeted and non-taxable Canada child tax benefit was instituted, and after reducing income tax for middle-class people by 7%, a measure that affects 20,000 families in my riding, we wi...”

Kevin Lamoureux (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...All we need to do is take a look at one of the most significant, sizable tax cuts given on personal income tax in decades. It was just last year. Hundreds of millions of dollars were put back into the...”

Pierre-Luc Dusseault (NDP)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...he CRA 171,000 files related to objections to notices of assessment. Average taxpayers submit their income tax returns. It is timely that we are discussing this right now, because this is the time of ...”

Kamal Khera (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“... opportunity to speak about the diligent work that our government is undertaking to improve the way income tax objections are managed and processed.

As the hon. member opposite is aware, in November 2016 the Auditor General examined how efficiently the Canada Revenue Agency processes income tax objections. The CRA agrees with the eight recommendations and has developed an action plan to address each of them. The work is already under way to improve service to Canadians.

Canadians must have access to the highest level of quality service when they engage with the CRA. This is at the heart of the minister's mandate letter, which was developed after listening to Canadians. I am wholeheartedly committed to making every effort to reach this level of service.

Canadians want a government that delivers on its commitments, which is why the CRA is working to make real change happen. The CRA is using funding from budget 2016 to start improving its services by increasing its capacity to efficiently resolve taxpayer objections.

Every year the CRA carries out millions of actions related to individual and business tax returns. Of the 66 million transactions with taxpayers in 2014-15, only 0.1% resulted in an objection.

The CRA has already taken concrete steps to strengthen the way it manages tax objections. It has identified areas of delay and conducted a full review of the objection process. Since January, the CRA has started to implement changes to its processes to reduce lengthy processing times. As such, it is looking to other comparable organizations to leverage best practices, and it continues to transform its operations.

Our government has made a firm commitment to supporting Canadian taxpayers by providing complete, timely, and accurate information. This is a priority for our government, which continuously strives to uphold the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

The CRA's current way of measuring processing time is based on the complexity of an objection. In November 2016, we published descriptions of the different levels of complexity on our website. In April of this year, just a few weeks ago, we added updates to include actual and expected times for processing objections, as well as our new service standard for assigning and resolving low-complexity objections.

The CRA will strive to respond to taxpayers on low-complexity objections within 180 days 80% of the time. These represent 60% of all objections. Better service for Canadians means service delivered in a way that makes taxpayers feel respected and valued.

In line with the CRA's guiding value of collaboration, we will also ensure that decisions on objections and appeals are shared internally with all assessing and audit areas. This will be done through an enhanced and formalized feedback process. By sharing explanations on why decisions are made, employees will be able to learn from these changes, and processes will be revised where required.

The Auditor General has spoken, and the CRA is taking action. By working to resolve income tax objections in a timely manner, the CRA will give Canadians the certainty they need about their tax affairs to make informed decisions for themselves and their family. We recognize the importance of resolving income tax objections in a timely manner and we will build on the progress that the CRA has made to ...”

Pierre-Luc Dusseault (NDP)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...ust looking into what is being done in other countries with regard to the time frame for processing income tax objections when the minister promised that the job would be done by early 2017. It is very surprising to hear my colleague say today that she intends to resolve low-complexity objections in 180 days or less, while talking about efficiency and effectiveness.

I do not think that the average taxpayer who sends something in to the Canada Revenue Agency would agree that waiting 180 days to get an answer is acceptable, effective, or efficient. What is more, the government is admitting that it believes that this time frame is acceptable. In my opinion, it is not acceptable for taxpayers to have to wait 180 days before getting an answer from the Canada Revenue Agency.

I would like my colleague to provide a detailed explanation of what actions have been taken to date since the minister promised to get the job done and improve the time frame for the processing of income tax objections. What has been accomplished to date? I do not want her to tell me about what i...”

Kamal Khera (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...cesses and early communication with taxpayers, appeals officers will be able to efficiently process income tax objections in a timely manner.

CRA regularly reviews the way it does business to en...”

Jenny Kwan (NDP)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...ord it? We can. If we choose to reduce the corporate welfare to big corporations with the corporate income tax, we could more than pay for a national pharmacare program.

I will now turn to anoth...”

Harold Albrecht (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...and fishermen may face higher insurance premiums resulting from the Liberals' decision to scrap the income tax exemption for insurers of farming and fishing property. In addition, the Liberals have indicated they plan to eliminate the income tax deferral for grain producers. By failing to provide any details regarding the next agricu...”

James Bezan (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...n will they have all that back pay, which goes up to about $1,800 a month in increased salaries, in income tax treatment, and other benefits that accrue to them? When is that actually going to be paid...”

Rona Ambrose (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... return for that investment. That is not what we are seeing now. We are seeing, across the country, income taxes over 50%. The Prime Minister talked about helping youth, and that has just been thrown ...”

Richard Cannings (NDP)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...cits that Canadian taxpayers are facing over the next decade.

The Conservatives cut corporate income taxes by over one-third over a six-year period. The parliamentary budget officer found that these cuts were costing the Canadian taxpayer $12 billion a year. That is a lot of money and could go a long way to helping the government pay off its debts. What is more, there is no evidence at all that these cuts stimulated any industrial growth or jobs, and so they were a pure debt on society.

Right now, corporate income tax is well below that in the United States, our competitors. I am just wondering what the Li...”

Karen Vecchio (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...a disadvantage to attract and retain skilled labour, investment, and entrepreneurs, due to personal income tax rates that in response, truly failed to meet the expected increase in revenues to the gov...”

Jenny Kwan (NDP)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...er, one of which is that the Conservative government, for six years in a row, lowered the corporate income tax for big corporations. The Conservatives are probably proud of that, but let us just put the figures on the record and analyze them for a minute.

The corporate income tax went down from 22% to 15% over the course of six years. That meant that $12 billion in revenue was lost for Canadians and for the government. That is money that could have been invested in a variety of fashions.

The evidence indicates that these cuts actually did not stimulate investments or deliver the promised job creation. Barbados and the Bahamas, two countries that are tax havens because of their lower tax rates, have unemployment rates of about 12%. In the context of that, would the member agree that there should be a redirection with respect to the corporate income tax and that those monies be regained and invested for Canadians where they need it the most?...”

Jean-Yves Duclos (Liberal)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ud to notice the interest of our colleague in real facts: facts around the decrease in middle-class income taxes, while increasing taxes for the top 1% of Canadians; facts around 900,000 seniors getti...”

Cheryl Gallant (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...e, and 15 of them are at a U.S. air base, Camp Arifjan. They are not getting the same danger pay or income tax considerations as the rest of our troops in Kuwait

Are you committed to fixing this...”

Jean Rioux (Liberal)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...embers of the House, the issue is not about the pay itself but rather the applicable tax break. The Income Tax Act states in black and white that risk allowances for medium- and high-risk missions are eligible for tax relief. Any mission with a risk score of 2.50 or higher receives the relief automatically. Missions that score between 2.00 and 2.49 receive the relief when the Minister of Finance designates them as medium risk.

The Minister of National Defence has always asked the Minister of Finance for that “medium risk” designation for our troops. He has always sought that tax break for our soldiers, and he has always received it. Once a mission’s risk level falls below medium-risk threshold, however, it is out of the Minister of National Defence’s hands.

The Income Tax Act simply does not allow for tax breaks on relatively low-risk missions. The two locatio...”

Mark Gerretsen (Liberal)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“... my constituents of Kingston and the Islands to speak in support of Bill C-323, an act to amend the Income Tax Act. I will begin by thanking my colleague for York—Simcoe for putting forward this sub...”

John Nater (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“... the same conditions of the tax credit. It would do so by allowing a minor reduction on the owner's income tax for the costs of rehabilitating the building. This would ensure that when owners of an hi...”

Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...o reduce taxes for the middle class.

Specifically, the government reduced the second personal income tax rate to 20.5% from 22%. In addition, only those individuals earning the highest incomes in Canada, or the richest 1%, should pay more taxes after the introduction of the new 33% tax rate for individuals earning over $200,000. Since January 1, 2016, nearly nine million Canadians have seen more money in their pockets as a result of the middle-class tax cut. Not only was this a good thing to do, but it was also the intelligent thing to do for our economy.

The tax cut for the middle class and the measures that go with it have helped make the tax system fairer to ensure that Canadians can succeed and prosper in their lives. Single individuals who benefit from the reduced second personal income tax rate will see an average tax reduction of $330 per year, while couples will see an average tax reduction of $540 per year.

At the same time, the government returned the tax-free savings account, or TFSA, annual contribution limit to $5,500 from $10,000, effective January 1, 2016. Returning the TFSA annual contribution limit to $5,500 was in line with the government’s objective of making the tax system fairer and helping those who need it the most.

When other registered savings plans are taken into account, the $5,500 contribution limit will enable most taxpayers to meet their ongoing savings needs in a tax-efficient manner. Furthermore, indexation of the TFSA annual contribution limit was reinstated so that the amount will retain its real value over time.

We have also taken action to improve the child benefit that Canadians receive. In our 2016 budget, we implemented the Canada child benefit, which is completely tax-free, in addition to being simpler and more generous than the old benefit system it replaced.

It also does a better job than the previous system of targeting the people who most need it. I firmly believe that the many parents who receive this greatly needed assistance agree with me. Thanks to the introduction of a much better-targeted Canada child benefit, about 300,000 fewer children will be living in poverty in 2017, as compared to 2014. This represents a nearly 40% drop in the child poverty rate since 2014.

Since the Canada child benefit was introduced in July 2016, nine out of ten families are now receiving more money than they did under the previous system, or nearly $2,300 more on average in 2016-17. Parents with children under 18 will receive annually up to $6,400 more per child under age 6 and $5,400 more per child aged 6 to 17.

Whether these additional funds are used for things like buying school supplies, covering part of the family grocery bill, or buying warm coats for winter, the Canada child benefit helps parents cover the high cost of raising their children. (1045) [English]

As announced in budget 2016, the government is currently conducting a comprehensive review of the federal tax expenditures. It is doing so in recognition of concerns that have been expressed regarding the efficiency, fairness, and complexity of the tax system. The objective of this review is to ensure that federal tax expenditures are fair for Canadians, efficient, and fiscally responsible for all. External experts have been engaged to provide advice to the Department of Finance. This approach ensures the review is informed by a range of perspectives.

I can assure all hon. members that the government remains committed to ensuring federal tax expenditures are doing what they are meant to do and that they are doing it to help middle-class Canadians. In addition, the government is committed to strengthening efforts to combat international tax evasion and avoidance, and we have taken, and will continue to take, this important step and actions to do so.

These efforts help protect the revenues base and give Canadians greater confidence that the system is fair for everyone. Canadians work hard for their money, and the majority of Canadians pay their fair share of taxes. However, some wealthy individuals participate in complex tax schemes to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. This is unacceptable, and it needs to change.

The Government of Canada is working hard to crack down on offshore tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance in order to ensure a tax system that is fair and responsive for all Canadians. In budget 2016, we invested $444 million over five years for the Canada Revenue Agency, better known as the CRA, to crack down on international tax evasion and combat tax avoidance.

These investments by the government are enabling the CRA to hire additional auditors, develop robust business intelligence infrastructure, increase verification activities, and improve the quality of its investigative work. These new investments to support the CRA's effort to crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance are expected to generate around $2.6 billion in taxes over the next five years.

In April 2016, the offshore compliance advisory committee was created to advise the Minister of National Revenue and the CRA on strategies to combat offshore tax evasion and avoidance. However, we also recognize that assessing tax revenues alone is not enough. Once we do an assessment, we need to be able to collect the unpaid amounts. That is why budget 2016 invests an additional $351.6 million over five years to improve CRA's ability to collect these outstanding tax debts.

Canada has been a very active participant in international efforts to address tax evasion. Canada is an active member of the Global Forum which was established to ensure that high standards of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes are in place around the world. Canada has developed an extensive network of bilateral tax treaties and tax information exchange agreements which provide for the exchange of information that could be extremely critical in investigation processes.

Another international development with regard to addressing tax evasion is the new common reporting standard developed by the OECD and endorsed by the G20 leaders. The standard provides a framework under which information on financial accounts in a country held by non-residents will be automatically shared with tax authorities of the jurisdiction in which the account holder is a resident. Legislation has now been adopted to implement the common reporting standard in Canada, starting July 1, 2017, joining more than 100 other countries.

With our partners in the G20 and the OECD, Canada has been an active participant in the multilateral project to address base erosion and profit shifting, BEPS. BEPS refers to aggressive international tax-planning arrangements undertaken by some multinational enterprises to inappropriately minimize their taxes. Budget 2016 announced a series of actions Canada is taking to implement recommendations from the BEPS project. (1050)

First, Canada has enacted new legislation to require country-by-country reporting for large multinational enterprises. Second, the CRA is applying revised international guidance on transfer pricing. Third, we participated in international work that developed a multilateral instrument to streamline the implementation of treaty-related BEPS recommendations, including addressing treaty abuse. Finally, the CRA is undertaking a spontaneous exchange with other jurisdictions of certain tax rulings.

Going forward, the government will continue to work with the international community to ensure a coherent and consistent response to the BEPS. The government is also taking action in other areas to protect the integrity of Canada's international tax rules. In particular, budget 2016 introduced measures to extend the application of the income tax back-to-back loan rule to royalty arrangements, and to prevent unintended tax-free cross-...”

Dan Albas (Conservative)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...rs for taxpayers who have failed to report income from a specified foreign property on their annual income tax returns and have failed to properly file the foreign income verification statement; revising form T1135 reporting to provide more detailed information, including the names of specific foreign institutions and countries where offshore assets are located and the foreign income earned on those assets; and streamlining the process for the Canada Revenue Agency to obtain information concerning unnamed persons from third parties, such as banks.

Conservatives also launched the international tax evasion program aimed at reducing international tax evasion and avoidance. Under this program, the CRA would pay rewards to individuals with knowledge of major international tax non-compliance when they provided information to the CRA that led to the collection of outstanding taxes due. This program helped target high-income taxpayers attempting to evade or avoid tax using complex international arrangements.

Economic action plan 2015 built on these measures and announced an additional $25.3 million over five years to expand its activities to combat international tax evasion, and $58.2 million over five years to specifically deal with large and complex business entities that were undertaking tax evasion. I would note that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance has mentioned some of the investments the government makes, which shows that there are progressive efforts to curb tax evasion in this country. (1110)

These measures help make sure that every Canadian pays their fair share. In fact, between 2006 and 2015, the Conservative government aggressively moved to close more than 85 tax loopholes. Closing these loopholes amounted to billions of dollars saved annually. That meant lower taxes for all Canadians, not just a select few.

It is not just us who believe that these measures have helped. In the fall of 2013, when the Auditor General conducted a review of offshore banking, it was concluded that CRA was diligent and that the new measures were helping. Our plan worked on this very issue and is continuing to help CRA crack down on tax evaders. We will continue to advocate that the Liberal government consistently review how it can best address the problem.

Beyond taking direct action to combat international tax evasion, the Conservative Party also took steps to encourage new investment to come to Canada by building a tax-friendly environment for businesses. Conservatives understand that we need to be tough on tax cheaters while also making sure that our tax system is not driving people away. That is why we introduced a number of measures that reduced the overall tax burden in Canada to its lowest level in 50 years. In fact, the Conservative government cut taxes more than 180 times. That is because we do not simply say we will do something; we follow through with those commitments we make to Canadians.

Our record on taxes is clear. We lowered the federal corporate income tax rate to 15% to help create jobs and economic growth for Canadian communities. We lowered ...”

Jenny Kwan (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... should think again. Over the years, between the Conservatives and the Liberals, Canada's corporate income tax rate has dropped dramatically, from 37% to 15%. Members heard me correctly. That is a 22-...”

Jenny Kwan (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...of the measures were good, but the government could do a whole lot more if it reduced the corporate income tax. By the way, successive governments have reduced corporate income tax, Conservatives to Liberals, Liberals to Conservatives, from 37% to 15%, and the Liberals ...”

Jenny Kwan (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ould reduce taxes. I obviously meant the opposite, that the Liberals need to increase the corporate income tax rate in order to recoup the monies that could be invested into the community. I want to be clear about that.

To the member's question, these things are all interrelated, of course. We are talking about tax havens, where the ultra rich can hide their money so they do not have to pay Canadian taxes. We are talking about a corporate income tax that successive governments have reduced over the years, which actually gave a huge windf...”

Raj Grewal (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...% of Canadians so we could cut taxes for the middle class. Specifically, we reduced the 22% federal income tax rate to 20.5% for 2016 and all subsequent tax years, and we raised the taxes on the wealthiest Canadians by introducing a new top income tax rate of 33% for individuals with a taxable income of over $200,000. As a result, nearly n...”

Xavier Barsalou-Duval (Bloc Québécois)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...e Agency is also granting amnesty to fraudsters who come up with shell games to avoid having to pay income tax.

In his speech, my colleague talked about reducing income tax. Not too long ago, Alain Deneault wrote a book in which he asked whether Canada was becom...”

Tracey Ramsey (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...icy I would like to draw my colleagues' attention to is the impact of drastic cuts to the corporate income tax. The Conservatives cut the rate by one-third, from 22% to 15%, over six years, and the Li...”

Rachel Blaney (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ot give in, that we can slowly and smartly take steps to dismantle these schemes and strengthen our Income Tax Act. This is so important. It is about the hard-working people in Canada who are paying m...”

Ruby Sahota (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...taxes on the wealthiest 1%, so we could lower taxes on the middle class. We reduced the 22% federal income tax rate to 20.5% for 2016 and subsequent taxation years. This tax cut is already benefiting nearly nine million Canadians. Single individuals who benefit will see an average tax reduction of $330 every year and couples will benefit by seeing an average tax reduction of $540 every year. This means more money in the pockets of the middle class. To help pay for the middle-class tax cuts, the government raised taxes on the wealthiest Canadians by introducing a new top income tax rate of 33% for individuals with a taxable income of more than $200,000 per year.

O...”

Linda Lapointe (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...things done by our government was to reduce taxes for the middle class. We have reduced the federal income tax rate to 20.5% from 22%, for 2016 and the years after that. This tax reduction is already benefiting nearly nine million Canadians. Individuals without spouses who benefit from this will see their tax burden lightened by an average of $330 each year, and couples who benefit will have their burden lightened by an average of $540 each year. That means that these people will have more money in their pockets, and that will result in a stronger middle class.

To help finance this tax reduction for the middle class, the government raised taxes for the wealthiest Canadians by introducing a new personal income tax rate of 33% for individuals with taxable income in excess of $200,000 per year.

Our...”

Linda Lapointe (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“Madam Speaker, you spoke of tax measures. In our budget 2016, income tax rates fell from 22% to 20.5%, while the rate for people with an annual income of $200,000...”

Gabriel Ste-Marie (Bloc Québécois)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...n it comes to helping its banker buddies, the government is happy to play an active role.

The Income Tax Act prohibits the use of tax havens. Parliamentarians never voted for that. A close look at the tax treaties shows that the use of tax havens is not allowed. For example, article 30 of the treaty with Barbados explicitly excludes all businesses with special tax benefits in Barbados. According to the treaty, profits sent to Barbados have to be taxed in Canada. The treaty is clear, and its implementation act is rock-solid. The act states that provisions in this treaty take precedence over incompatible provisions in any other act or regulation. In other words, under the act to implement the Canada-Barbados treaty, the government is obligated to tax repatriated profits.

As for the agreements that Canada has concluded with the other 22 tax havens, they are nothing but information sharing agreements. They too do not give anyone the right not to pay income tax in Canada. The tax treaties and the Income Tax Act are not the problem; the problem is the regulations which contradict the treaties and...”

Robert Aubin (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...I would like to briefly comment on the relevance of our motion. Many people are finalizing their income tax returns and doing their duty as citizens. However, for those for whom the T4 is everything, or in other words, those who file the simplest income tax return with just one source of revenue, there are no loopholes available. That is the case for most Canadians, but late filers beware because there will inevitably be penalties. That means that average Canadians, and I am not talking about those with an average salary, but most Canadians who file their income tax return using only a single T4, will have to pay penalties at even the slightest sign of a...”

Pierre-Luc Dusseault (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ok at the figures, we see that since 2006, not one charge has been filed under section 163.2 of the Income Tax Act. That section allows for prosecution for misleading tax plans, in other words, prosec...”

Cheryl Hardcastle (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...colleague for her very intriguing and inspiring speech. We know that Harper's cuts to the corporate income tax rate did not boost investment in Canada. They did not lead to promised job creation, and ...”

Joël Godin (Conservative)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ealthy fiscal environment for businesses thanks to its tax cuts which brought the general corporate income tax rate down from 22% to 15%. It lowered taxes for small businesses and created measures to ...”

Bernard Généreux (Conservative)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ll the hon. member introduce a private member's bill that identifies precisely which section of the Income Tax Act needs to be amended, repealed, or added? Is he going to propose amendments to the Cri...”

Rhéal Fortin (Bloc Québécois)

March 6th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, KPMG allowed Canadian multimillionaires to violate the Income Tax Act with impunity thanks to an agreement with the Canada Revenue Agency, or CRA. This is ...”

Jonathan Wilkinson (Liberal)

March 6th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...% for the middle class and to provide rebates. British Columbia now has the lowest overall personal income taxes in Canada thanks to its carbon pricing system.

Many of the world's largest econom...”

Jonathan Wilkinson (Liberal)

March 6th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...people who are not earning a lot of money. British Columbia does that and actually reduced personal income taxes to achieve the lowest personal income tax rate in Canada.

There are many ways we can have a carbon price that tries to get at...”

Wayne Easter (Liberal)

February 23rd
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...the 13th report of the Standing Committee on Finance in relation to Bill C-240, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (tax credit — first aid). The committee has studied the bill and recommends that th...”

Pierre Poilievre (Conservative)

February 23rd
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...d return to taxpayers everything collected through that price on carbon, in the form of rebates and income tax cuts. The only way to test that proposition is to know what people are paying in the firs...”

Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Liberal)

February 23rd
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ortunity to succeed.

Specifically, the government lowered the tax rate in the second personal income tax bracket from 22% to 20.5%. Single individuals who benefit from the reduced second personal income tax rate will see an average tax reduction of $330 every year, while couples will see an average tax reduction of $540 every year. Only the higher income earners, the wealthiest 1%, will pay more taxes with the introduction of the 33% personal income tax rate on individual taxable income in excess of $200,000. (1055)

Finally, the gover...”

Cheryl Gallant (Conservative)

February 23rd
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“Mr. Speaker:

Carbon taxes are before income tax operating expenses and at least partially deductible from royalties payable by resource e...”

David Lametti (Liberal)

February 23rd
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... credit for low-income families and has made its direct price on carbon revenue-neutral by reducing income taxes for British Columbians and for businesses operating in the province.

Alberta's po...”

Geng Tan (Liberal)

February 23rd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... CRA-approved clinic is managed through my constituency office. Our volunteers are ready to prepare income tax returns for all eligible individuals from mid-February to the end of April.

I encou...”

Jonathan Wilkinson (Liberal)

February 23rd
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...and how it has used those revenues. The bulk of those revenues, if he would look, are used to lower income taxes for the lowest-income people in British Columbia, to provide a tax credit, a rebate, fo...”

David McGuinty (Liberal)

February 23rd
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...hority to decide what they want to do with those revenues. If Saskatchewan wants to reduce personal income taxes, it can do so.

Could the member produce the same analysis she calls for now, the ...”

Garnett Genuis (Conservative)

February 23rd
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ent actually did not make any changes to the tax rates for high-income earners. We only lowered the income tax rates for the lowest tax bracket, and we made other tax reductions and changes that stimu...”

Pierre Poilievre (Conservative)

February 23rd
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...y would theoretically be returned to them through offsetting tax reductions. Some say, for example, income taxes could be reduced. The old saying is “We will tax what you burn, not what you earn”....”

Jonathan Wilkinson (Liberal)

February 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...the pricing of carbon pollution to give the money back to families through rebates, to cut personal income taxes and corporate taxes, and to invest and to create jobs in the clean growth economy.

<...”

Kelly McCauley (Conservative)

February 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ecision alone. Now the government employees are getting incorrect T4s as they prepare to file their income tax, and no one is willing to help them or respond. What does the minister have planned to he...”


The Senate

Hon. Yuen Pau Woo

June 20th
Hansard Link

Budget Implementation Bill, 2017, No. 1 Eighteenth Report of National Finance Committee Presented

“...es like the GST precisely as having a built-in inflation escalator.

I would also add that our income tax system also has a built-in inflation escalator. We heard differently in this chamber a few days ago. The argument was made that when tax brackets change they lower one's taxes rather than increase them. But that is not the argument. The issue of income taxes is that, as you all know, there are various brackets. As you move up the income bracket...”

Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals)

June 14th
Hansard Link

Budget Implementation Bill, 2017, No. 1 Second Reading

“...d for precedents for such an extraordinary provision, they pointed to the tax brackets for personal income taxes, which rise automatically with inflation. But, colleagues, that indexation works to tax...”

Hon. Yuen Pau Woo

June 13th
Hansard Link

Budget Implementation Bill, 2017, No. 1 Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

“... colleagues in this chamber.

The National Finance Committee also dealt with amendments to the Income Tax Act and related legislation, to the Excise Tax Act and to the Excise Act and Excise Act, ...”

Hon. Elizabeth Marshall

June 13th
Hansard Link

Budget Implementation Bill, 2017, No. 1 Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

“...lic Transit Tax Credit.

Through Bill C-44, the Liberal government will be increasing personal income taxes through the elimination of the Public Transit Tax Credit. This will add $200 million each year to the government's coffers, or $1 billion over the next five years.

In his report, the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that approximately 1.2 million Canadians will pay, on average, $137 in additional federal tax as a result of the Liberal government's elimination of the Public Transit Tax Credit.

The PBO identified 4,200 individuals who claimed the federal disability tax credit, but will lose this benefit under Bill C-44.

In addition, the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated that there are approximately 185,000 individuals earning annual after-tax income below $22,600 that would have received a benefit from this tax credit.

Honourable senators, last year's budget reduced income taxes for taxpayers with incomes above $45,000. However, people with income below $45,000 did not receive any reduction in their taxes.

Last year, Senator Smith proposed an amendment to the 2016 budget that would have reduced income taxes for people earning less than $45,000. Unfortunately, this amendment failed.

Not only did the government not reduce taxes for these low-income Canadians in 2016, they are increasing the taxes for this vulnerable group in 2017 by eliminating the Public Transit Tax Credit.

Through Bill C-44, the Liberal government is also increasing business income tax, primarily through a variety of measures that will generate almost $1 billion in addition...”

Hon. Terry M. Mercer,

June 1st
Hansard Link

The Senate Motion to Strike Special Committee on the Charitable Sector—Debate Adjourned

“...ation.

The major legislation governing non-profit and charitable organizations is that famous Income Tax Act. The act sets out the provision for the registration of charities, a process which allows exemptions from income tax and allows donors to claim tax credits or the like.

The current basic provisions of the Income Tax Act relating to charities were introduced in the 1960s. Within the early years of the system, there were some 35,000 registered charities. There are over 170,000 charitable and non-profit organizations in Canada today, and 85,000 of those are registered charities which are recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency.

We have not had an in-depth review to see if the laws and policies regulating non-profits and charities are adequate.

Non-profits and charities deliver services and programs where there is a lack of service being provided by others, and specifically, not being delivered by government.

Today, charities are looking for new ways to sustain themselves and the services they provide to Canadians. This is not simply about tax credits or the like; it is about the entire sector — from the volunteers to the CEOs. Frankly, this special committee is needed and needed now.

(1720)

Honourable senators, I have asked myself the following questions while designing what I think we can do with this type of study. Ask yourselves the following questions. The list is long, but you'll notice the questions are all very important.

How do we modernize the non-profit and charitable sectors in Canada? Why do we need volunteers and donations? What motivates someone to volunteer or donate? How does age affect volunteering and donating? How does socio-economic status or geography affect volunteering or donating? How do gender, culture and language affect volunteering and donating? What can we do to encourage more volunteering and donating, and what form would that encouragement take? What areas are in need of more volunteers or donations? What factors prevent people from volunteering and donating? How are current tax credits working? How should they be updated? How is the Income Tax Act performing to support charities, non-profits and volunteers? What ideas have been tri...”

Hon. Terry M. Mercer,

June 1st
Hansard Link

The Senate Motion to Strike Special Committee on the Charitable Sector—Debate Adjourned

“...ation.

The major legislation governing non-profit and charitable organizations is that famous Income Tax Act. The act sets out the provision for the registration of charities, a process which allows exemptions from income tax and allows donors to claim tax credits or the like.

The current basic provisions of the Income Tax Act relating to charities were introduced in the 1960s. Within the early years of the system, there were some 35,000 registered charities. There are over 170,000 charitable and non-profit organizations in Canada today, and 85,000 of those are registered charities which are recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency.

We have not had an in-depth review to see if the laws and policies regulating non-profits and charities are adequate.

Non-profits and charities deliver services and programs where there is a lack of service being provided by others, and specifically, not being delivered by government.

Today, charities are looking for new ways to sustain themselves and the services they provide to Canadians. This is not simply about tax credits or the like; it is about the entire sector — from the volunteers to the CEOs. Frankly, this special committee is needed and needed now.

(1720)

Honourable senators, I have asked myself the following questions while designing what I think we can do with this type of study. Ask yourselves the following questions. The list is long, but you'll notice the questions are all very important.

How do we modernize the non-profit and charitable sectors in Canada? Why do we need volunteers and donations? What motivates someone to volunteer or donate? How does age affect volunteering and donating? How does socio-economic status or geography affect volunteering or donating? How do gender, culture and language affect volunteering and donating? What can we do to encourage more volunteering and donating, and what form would that encouragement take? What areas are in need of more volunteers or donations? What factors prevent people from volunteering and donating? How are current tax credits working? How should they be updated? How is the Income Tax Act performing to support charities, non-profits and volunteers? What ideas have been tri...”

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate)

May 30th
Hansard Link

Canada Labour Code Bill to Amend—Message from Commons—Motion for Non-Insistence Upon Senate Amendments—Debate Adjourned

“...e Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Income Tax Act, to which the House of Commons has disagreed; and

That a message be sent to the...”

Hon. Patricia Bovey

May 9th
Hansard Link

The Senate Motion to Encourage the Government to Evaluate the Cost and Impact of Implementing a National Basic Income Program—Motion in Amendment—Debate Suspended

“...g the situation of Canada's poor, recommending a guaranteed annual income in the form of a negative income tax. Not viewed as a panacea for all society's problems, guaranteed income was viewed a game-...”

Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Budget Implementation Bill, 2017, No. 1 Certain Committees Authorized to Study Subject Matter

“... of the topics.

In addition to the normal and traditional budget bill amendments, such as the Income Tax Act, under Bill C-44, the bill would amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, th...”

Hon. Jean-Guy Dagenais

April 11th
Hansard Link

Canada Labour Code Motion in Amendment

“...) The definition of labour relations activities in subsection 149.01(1) of the Income Tax Act is repealed.

(2) Subsection 149.01(3) of the Act is replaced by t...”

Senator Baker

April 11th
Hansard Link

Canada Labour Code Motion in Amendment

“...t the union was one of sanitary workers in a town of 200 people and that as a requirement under the Income Tax Act that would mean that any officer of that union would have to comply with very stringent income tax requirements, there were many objections that, in those cases, that would be very onerous...”

Senator Baker

April 11th
Hansard Link

Canada Labour Code Motion in Amendment

“... in my mind is that an officer of a very small union would be under the same requirements under the Income Tax Act as a large union representing tens of thousands of people, as was the position of the...”

Hon. Renée Dupuis

April 11th
Hansard Link

The Senate Motion to Encourage the Government to Evaluate the Cost and Impact of Implementing a National Basic Income Program—Motion in Amendment—Debate Continued

“...he cost and impact of implementing a national basic income program based on the concept of negative income tax in order to help Canadians escape poverty.

As we all know, dear colleagues, and as Prime Minister Trudeau publicly stated, poverty in Canada has a gender. The poor in Canada are women. A society's true worth is measured by the way it treats its most vulnerable members, who are often among the poorest, as compared to the way it subsidizes its wealthiest members and organisations.

Known by many names, whether "basic income," "negative income tax," "guaranteed minimum income" or "social welfare," the concept was often discussed in the...”

Hon. Betty Unger

March 29th
Hansard Link

Alberta Economic Measures

“...l be no carbon tax in the U.S., and instead of raising taxes, President Trump plans to cut personal income tax and to slash the corporate tax rate from 35 to 15 per cent.

As the Fraser Institute...”

Hon. Donald Neil Plett

March 28th
Hansard Link

Finance Tax Deferral for Producers of Certain Grains

“... the Senate.

Leader, the federal budget announced a public consultation of the utility of the income tax deferral for producers of certain listed grains with respect to grain transactions and deliveries. The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association said in response that eliminating this income tax deferral would ". . . fundamentally change the way western grain farms operate their busi...”

Senator Plett

March 28th
Hansard Link

Finance Tax Deferral for Producers of Certain Grains

“...e worry about the impact of the Prime Minister's carbon tax. For example, the budget eliminates the income tax exemption for insurers of farming and fishing property. This could very well lead to insu...”

Hon. Tobias C. Enverga, Jr.

March 28th
Hansard Link

Finance Small Business Tax Regime

“... the 2017 budget as the Liberal government announced the elimination of billed-basis accounting for income tax purposes. This method of accounting is used by accountants, chiropractors, dentists and v...”

Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals)

March 2nd
Hansard Link

Canada Labour Code Bill to Amend—Third Reading—Debate Continued

“...ed before June 16, 2015.

It goes on to say:

It also amends the Income Tax Act to remove from that Act the requirement that labour organizations and labour trusts provide annually to the Minister of National Revenue certain information returns containing specific information that would be made available to the public.

Those two groups of provisions appear in this bill. With a check of the provisions, one will see that the first part of the summary was Bill C-525, which was passed and then came into force on June 16, 2015. Bill C-377 was also a separate bill but dealt with the same general subject matter, so it was deemed expedient by the current government to put the subject matter of both of those bills into Bill C-4.

Like other honourable senators have done, I will refer to Bill C- 377 and Bill C-525, because that is the convenient way to refer to the debate that had taken place previously. Those two older bills are reflected in Bill C-4, which is in fact proposing to revoke those two previous bills.

Honourable senators, I would like to add my voice in support of Bill C-4. Bill C-377 and Bill C-525 were passed in the last Parliament. I will address each of these bills separately and will undoubtedly emphasize some of the points that have been made previously by honourable colleagues. But hopefully I will also touch on why I believe it appropriate to revoke Bill C-377 and Bill C-525.

I'll start with the provisions that were in Bill C-377. This bill is very familiar to those senators who were in this chamber in the previous Parliament. It was a private member's bill from the other place. That bill purported to amend the Income Tax Act but was considered by many in this chamber and elsewhere to be actually a thinly disguised attack on the labour unions and the labour union movement in this country.

The current Minister of Labour, Patricia Hajdu, described it well when she appeared before the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee just last month to speak on Bill C-4. She said:

The perspective of this government is first that Bill C-377 is unconstitutional, that it was not a fair and balanced approach, and that it in fact undermined the integrity of the unions and put them at a disadvantage that could weaken the labour movement in Canada.

Carrying on with the quote:

[Bill C-377] was designed to actually diminish the strength of unions. We believe —

—as an aside, she's talking about the current government —

—that a strong union movement in Canada is essential to maintaining the middle class that we have, growing it to include others, and reducing income inequality in Canada.

I agree with the minister in relation to that earlier legislation, Bill C-377. I spoke on that and expressed that view when the bill was before us three or four years ago.

Many of us on both sides of this chamber at that time were deeply troubled by Bill C-377, going back to when it was first tabled in this place in 2012. It called for an unprecedented invasion of Canadians' privacy and wreaked havoc with a balance that is so critical in healthy labour relations.

Meanwhile, it was unnecessary — a solution in search of a problem. Union members already can already obtain the financial disclosure they need from their unions. So it wasn't for the union members to be informed; it was for the broader public to be informed about what was going on in unions.

Last but most definitely not least, it became clear that the bill was unconstitutional, dealing with a matter within provincial, and not federal, jurisdiction. Indeed, seven provinces representing over 80 per cent of the Canadian population came forward to oppose Bill C-377 and urged us not to pass it.

One could spend several hours detailing the many problems with the bill. My time is limited, but I would commend to our newer colleagues in the chamber that they read the Debates of the Senate with respect to Bill C-377 to get a sense of the many frankly shocking problems with that legislation when it was passed. For now, I will highlight just a few examples that may provide you with some insight as to why many of us found the bill so egregious.

The bill singled out a number of people who work for labour unions. And the bill was not limited to national offices of labour unions but included every union local, however small, and imposed on them unprecedented obligations of public disclosure of their highly personal financial information. These requirements applied to officers, directors and employees earning over $100,000 per year and — here's the important part — also to ". . . persons in positions of authority who would reasonably be expected to have, in the ordinary course, access to material information about the business, operations, assets or revenue of the labour organization or labour trust . . . ."

(1530)

Colleagues, under this definition, we could be describing a union steward in your small town or in your area, earning something less than $30,000 a year. We could be describing a part- time assistant who has access to a filing cabinet and a key.

Going on, the bill then required all of these people to publicly disclose a long list of highly personal financial information, including their individual salaries, their benefits, and any bonuses they might have received.

And all this, with their name attached, was to be posted on the Internet for their neighbours, relatives, office colleagues and, in fact, the whole world to see.

This isn't transparency; it is voyeurism, and we felt that at the time. You can understand why many suspected that these new requirements were really all about discouraging anyone from being part of, or working for, a union.

That was not all, honourable colleagues. These same individuals were required to post a statement of the amount of time that each spent on "political activities, lobbying activities and other non- labour relations activities," and to post all that information on the Internet for the world to see, including maybe another union that wished to raid that particular union, or maybe their employers with whom they had to bargain in the next while.

Colleagues, a person's right to engage in political activities is the foundation of a healthy democracy. That is a right that is, and must remain, sacrosanct to all Canadians, whether they are the CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation or the union steward in a small local in a rural community.

And what does it mean to require individuals to report and to post on the Internet details — and this is in the legislation — of their time on "other non-labour relations activities"?

I repeat, that information was required by the legislation to be posted for all to see. The bill didn't limit its application to the employee's working hours, so from a plain reading, the bill required all these people to monitor and then disclose the details of their private lives and their private activities, just because, during the day, they worked for a labour union, or they were part of a labour union.

Successive privacy commissioners came forward to voice their concerns with respect to the bill at the time. The then-Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, referred to the "significant invasion" of privacy that was effected under the bill.

The present Privacy Commissioner, Daniel Therrien, was equally blunt. He recently told the other place, during its consideration of Bill C-4, which is now before us, that Bill C- 377 was "disproportionately intrusive from a privacy perspective." Privacy Commissioner Therrien was very clear that he supports Bill C-4 because it will remove these provisions from our law.

As I said, seven provinces, representing over 80 per cent of Canada's population and every region of our country came forward to oppose passage of the bill.

Let me read to you from some of the provincial submissions we received during consideration of Bill C-377.

The Government of Nova Scotia wrote:

This bill has the potential to disrupt collective bargaining at a time when we need greater cooperation between governments, organized labour and business to resolve our economic challenges.

Indeed, the Minister of Labour for the then-government of Nova Scotia took the time to come to Ottawa to testify in opposition to the bill. That was on June 6, 2013. He told our Banking Committee that Bill C-377 was so disruptive to collective bargaining that it was like " . . . a grenade in the room of collective bargaining."

The Ontario government was equally clear, writing:

This bill has the potential to drastically derail collective bargaining in Ontario. In these tough economic times we need governments, organized labour, and management to work together, and this bill would needlessly intervene in that process.

Continuing with the quote:

Balance is essential. Putting a thumb on the scale in either direction damages this delicate balance. By imposing unnecessary and draconian costs on one side, and not the other, this bill might unbalance that scale.

We heard from the Government of Manitoba who sounded the same caution.

[T]he Bill's requirement to publicly disclose confidential financial information will likely unbalance and seriously disrupt labour relations between employers and unions, and adversely affect the collective bargaining process in Manitoba. It is not clear what benefit, if any, this Bill offers that would counter the harm it will do to our labour relations climate, our economy, and our communities.

Honourable colleagues, we heard from provincial governments of all political stripes — Liberal, NDP and Conservative — and all sounded the same warnings and urged us not to pass that legislation.

These were messages many of us took to heart. We were further troubled when leading constitutional experts came to testify, questioning whether the Parliament of Canada had the constitutional power to pass Bill C-377.

Bruce Ryder, a constitutional law professor from Osgoode Hall Law School, testified very powerfully. He said:

I am here to share the bad news that Bill C-377 is beyond the legislative jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada. Its dominant characteristic is the regulation of the activities of labour organizations, a matter that falls predominantly within provincial jurisdiction to pass laws in relation to property and civil rights pursuant to section 92.13 of the Constitution Act, 1867. If Bill C-377 is passed by Parliament, it will be declared unconstitutional and of no force and effect by the courts.

Professor Ryder recently appeared before our Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee with respect to Bill C-4, and he repeated his conclusion that the provisions of Bill C-377 were, and continue to be, unconstitutional.

He told our committee that the Income Tax Act, under which this legislation purported to fall, was being used as a Trojan Horse for...”

Senator Day

March 2nd
Hansard Link

Canada Labour Code Bill to Amend—Third Reading—Debate Continued

“...y Bill C-525, because honourable senators will recall that the other bill, Bill C- 377, amended the Income Tax Act and that that becomes effective as of the date that the Income Tax Act amendment comes into force. That's under Bill C-4.

The other ones, some things ...”

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer

February 28th
Hansard Link

Canada Labour Code Bill to Amend—Third Reading—Debate Continued

“...e Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Income Tax Act.

If passed, Bill C-4 will repeal several problematic provisions found in Bill C-37 and Bill C-525. As honourable senators will remember, this chamber studied these bills thoroughly and had many challenges.

I support this bill for two reasons. On one hand, it restores balance in the federal labour regime, and on the other it restores the constitutionality of our labour laws.

I would like to begin on the first topic by quoting Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, when he appeared before the Standing Senate Committee of Legal and Constitutional Affairs:

Careful study, consultation and deliberation have always created stability, predictability and a balance in the federal labour relations regime. Bills C-377 and C-525 threaten to undermine this achievement.

In particular, Bill C-377 singled out unions, undermining them by making their reporting conditions so demanding that it infringed on their ability to operate. The bill also ordered unions to disclose publicly any information regarding their actions pending and their members. That last requirement is especially concerning since people would fear being singled out for repercussions by this reporting, especially since it required them to disclose any political activities. If a union could not comply with these heavy reporting requirements, they would be faced with a heavy fine.

The legislation was unnecessary. When the bill was passed, section 110 of the Labour Code already required unions to provide financial statements to their members upon request and free of charge. The legislation was not about promoting transparency, since it was already present in the law.

Instead, Bill C-377 undermined unions by making their reporting conditions so demanding that it damaged unions' ability to operate and placed a chill on potential union members who risked having their personal information revealed.

Meanwhile, Bill C-525 replaced the previous card check system used for the certification and decertification of unions with a mandatory secret vote system. The former government claimed that this change was necessary because many complaints had come up regarding union intimidation.

In fact, no federal stakeholder stated this was an issue. Further, only two cases of union intimidation could be found between 2004 and 2014. Instead, Bill C-525 created a system that only weakened unions. When Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, the Honourable Patricia Hajdu, appeared before the committee, she told us that her department had determined that the mandatory secret vote system declared that decreased union density, further changing the threshold to trigger a decertification vote from a majority to 40 per cent, threatened unions by making their decertification far easier.

Honourable senators, the restrictions that these two bills placed upon unions were unjust and unnecessary. I welcome that Bill C-4 will restore balance in the federal labour regime and remove undue restrictions on the actions of unions.

To conclude on this subject, I would like to quote Mr. Yussuff once more:

Honourable senators, the labour relations regime that Bill C-4 will restore has evolved over decades and has generally worked well in the federal jurisdiction. It has led to stability and predictability in federal labour relations. The vast majority of contracts negotiated and re-negotiated in the federal jurisdiction are settled without work stoppages. This is an important value and achievement in the regime that we have built.

Honourable senators, as I mentioned before, I also support Bill C-4 because it restores the constitutionality of our labour laws. In particular, Bill C-4 repeals sections of Bill C-317 that were blatantly unconstitutional. First, Bill C-377 intruded on provincial jurisdiction over labour relations without any form of provincial consultation or consent.

Honourable senators, we live in a federation. This speaks to the kind of country Canada is. Our country differs greatly from sea to sea to sea, with several provinces that have their own circumstances. That is why the Fathers of Confederation chose to split responsibility between the federal and provincial levels of government.

One of those areas is labour. The Constitution only provides the federal level with jurisdiction of labour that falls into two categories: Labour within the federal public sector and federally regulated private sector labour.

Under section 92(13) of the Constitution Act, 1867, all other labour relations are under the jurisdiction of the provinces. Bill C- 377, which Bill C-4 will be repealing, clearly fell under provincial jurisdiction.

According to Professor Bruce Ryder of York University, who appeared before the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, less than 10 per cent of all labour organizations are under federal jurisdiction; therefore, legislating on an area that the provinces have 90 per cent jurisdiction over without consultation or consent would be unconstitutional.

When Bill C-377 was being debated in 2015, the previous government tried to avoid this by stating that the bill was amending the Income Tax Act, and claimed that it would use the federal power to legislate that area. I rejected t...”


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