Communique #8 – Legislation

April 03, 2020

National Chairperson of Legislation Betty Colaneri, April 3, 2020.

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“The worldwide coronavirus pandemic is not God’s judgment on humanity, but God’s call on people to judge what is most important to them and resolve to act accordingly from now on” (Pope Francis).

My dear sisters in the League,

These are strange and uncertain times where we find ourselves struggling to deal with a situation that is out of our control and forcing us on a path we do not want to take. During Pope Francis’ extraordinary blessing to the world, he stated, “It is not the time of your judgment, but of our judgment: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others.”

This statement struck a chord with me regarding legislation. Chairpersons need to look at important issues and pursue them to the best of their ability. Parliament is not sitting at this time but did meet briefly to quickly push through Bill C-13 An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19 (COVID-19 Emergency Response Act), which received royal assent on March 25th. The bill is the response from the federal government in “taking strong, immediate and effective action to protect Canadians and our economy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic.” It also guarantees “the rapid implementation and administration of measures to protect Canadians’ health and safety and stabilize the Canadian economy.”

Bill C-13 can be read in its entirety at parl.ca/LegisInfo. A press release by the Department of Finance Canada, stated, “The Government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan provides direct support to Canadian workers and businesses, plus $55 billion through tax deferrals, to help meet the cash needs of Canadian businesses and households, and to help stabilize the economy. This comprehensive support helps ensure that Canadians can pay for essentials like housing and groceries, as well as helps businesses continue to pay their employees and their bills during this time of uncertainty.” The benefits are outlined and explained in their entirety in a press release posted on the federal government’s website, Canada.ca, under Department of Finance.

This legislation:

  • provides additional assistance to families with children
  • provides additional assistance to individuals and families with low and modest incomes
  • introduces a Canada Emergency Response Benefit
  • introduces a pause on repayments of Canada Student Loans
  • helps businesses keep workers
  • helps protect seniors’ retirement savings from the impact of volatile market conditions
  • supports provinces and territories with a COVID-19 Response Fund
  • ensures availability of drugs and medical devices
  • supports Canadian businesses through the Business Development Bank of Canada
  • supports Canadian businesses through Export Development Canada leggi l’articolo
  • supports the agriculture and agri-food sector
  • supports the mortgage financing market in Canada
  • protects Canadians from the spread of COVID-19
  • provides the minister of finance with flexibility
  • supports the protection of Canadians’ savings

The federal minister of finance thanked and commended his colleagues “for agreeing to the immediate adoption and Royal Assent of Bill C-13 so that the Government can deliver this extraordinary support for Canadians and the economy on an urgent basis. The measures being implemented through Bill C-13 show that we will do whatever it takes to ensure that the health of Canadians is protected, that families and businesses are supported, and that our economy remains strong in the face of uncertainty.”

C-13 is one bill I am sure members all agree deserved to receive royal assent so quickly.

Bills that received royal assent on March 13th are as follows:

  • Bill C-4 An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States (Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act) Sponsored by the deputy prime minister and minister of intergovernmental affairs.
  • Bill C-10 An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020 (Appropriation Act No. 4 2019-20) Sponsored by the president of the Treasury Board.
  • Bill C-11 An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021 (Appropriation Act No. 1, 2020-21) Sponsored by the president of the Treasury Board.
  • Bill C-12 An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act (special warrant)
    Sponsored by the minister of finance.

Sending blessings and prayers that you and your families stay healthy and safe. Faith will keep us strong so that we can get us through this together. After all, as Easter people, members know that after the sorrow, there was the joy of the resurrection.

May the risen Lord bless and keep you.

Betty Colaneri
National Chairperson of Legislation