Legislative Summary – December 2013

December 31, 2013

The following is a summary of the legislation introduced by our government during the 41st Parliament, Second Session.

If you would like additional information on any of these bills, please go to www.parl.gc.ca.

Bill C-2, Respect for Communities Act
Stage: Second Reading in the House of Commons

A similar bill was introduced in the previous session as Bill C-65.

This legislation would require any potential applications for supervised drug consumption sites in Canada to meet clear criteria before such applications can be considered. Bill C-2 would raise the bar for applications to establish supervised drug consumption sites that would allow for the use of what would otherwise be illegal drugs.

Under the proposed new system, applicants for supervised drug consumptions sites would need to provide information outlining the views of a number of stakeholders including:

  • Local law enforcement;
  • Municipal leaders;
  • Public health officials, and;
  • Provincial and territorial ministers responsible for health, which would include documentation showing what treatment options are available for those dealing with addiction.

An applicant would also be required to provide documentation that shows the site's expected impact on crime rates, the public health reasons for needing such a site, and evidence that there are adequate resources to sustain the site's operations.

For more information: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/nr-cp/_2013/2013-76bk-eng.php.

Bill C-3, Safeguarding Canada’s Seas and Skies Act
Stage: Second Reading and Referral to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities

This legislation introduces the implementation of eight tanker safety measures as well as the creation of a Tanker Safety Expert Panel to review Canada's current tanker safety system and propose further measures to strengthen it. The Tanker Safety Expert Panel will review Canada's current system and propose further measures to strengthen it.

In the coming months, the panel will consult with key stakeholders to enhance the government's knowledge and understanding of how well the current system is working, review our current preparedness and response capacity, and propose new ways to bring Canada's tanker safety system to a world-class status.

For more information: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/mediaroom/releases-2013-h031e-7089.htm.

Bill C-4, Economic Action Plan 2013 No. 2
Stage: Royal Assent Received on December 12, 2013

Measures in the Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2 aimed at spurring job creation and economic growth include:

Providing support for job creators

  • Extending and expanding the Hiring Credit for Small Business, which will benefit an estimated 560,000 employers.
  • Increasing and indexing the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption from $750,000 to $800,000, to make investing in small business more rewarding.
  • Expanding the accelerated capital cost allowance to further encourage investments in clean energy generation.
  • Freezing Employment Insurance premium rates for three years, leaving $660 million in the pockets of job creators and workers in 2014 alone.

Closing tax loopholes and combating tax evasion

  • Introducing new administrative monetary penalties and criminal offences to deter the use, possession, sale and development of electronic suppression of sales software designed to falsify records for the purpose of tax evasion.
  • Closing tax loopholes relating to character conversion transactions, synthetic dispositions, leveraged life insurance arrangements and other schemes to ensure that everyone pays their fair share.
  • Extending, in certain circumstances, the period during which the Canada Revenue Agency can reassess a taxpayer who fails to report income from foreign property.
  • Phasing out the Labour-Sponsored Venture Capital Corporations tax credit.

Improving Service Delivery

  • Modernizing the Canada Student Loans Program by moving to electronic service delivery.
  • Improving the efficiency of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program by expanding electronic service delivery.

For more information: http://www.fin.gc.ca/n13/13-137-eng.asp

Bill C-5, Offshore Health and Safety Act
Stage: Second Reading and Referral to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources

This legislation is a result of cooperation between the federal and provincial governments to further strengthen safety in Canada’s offshore oil and gas industry. Amendments are subject to passage through both the House of Commons and provincial legislatures.

Amendments to the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act, were tabled in both the Federal Parliament and in the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador legislatures. The amendments will:

  • Place authority and fundamental principles of occupational health and safety within the Accord Acts;
  • Clarify the roles and responsibilities of governments, regulators, employers and employees. Notably, the federal Minister of Natural Resources and provincial labour ministers (in consultation with the federal Minister of Labour and Transport Canada) will develop regulations for offshore occupational health and safety, while the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NSOPB) and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) will administer the new legislation;
  • Grant the offshore petroleum boards the authority to disclose information to the public related to occupational health and safety;
  • Ensure that the new occupational health and safety regime clearly applies to workers in transit to or from offshore platforms, and it would require that the federal Minister of Transportation also recommend regulations related to the occupational health and safety of offshore workers in transit; and
  • Provide clear and specific enforcement powers for occupational health and safety officers including the powers of inspection and investigation, warrant provisions, and order measures in case of dangerous situations.

For more information: http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/media-room/news-release/2013/7082.

Bill C-6, Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Stage: Second Reading and Referral to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

The purpose of the bill is to implement Canada’s international obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) in order that Canada may ratify the treaty. Under Canada’s constitutional system, obligations contained in international treaties must be implemented in legislation passed by Parliament in order to have direct effect under domestic law.

For more information: http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/Parliament/LegislativeSummaries/bills_ls.asp?source=library_prb&ls=C6&Parl=41&Ses=2&Language=E&Mode=1.

Bill C-7, Canadian Museum of History Act
Stage: Royal Assent Received on December 12, 2013

This legislation amends the Museums Act to create the Canadian Museum of History. The Museums Act establishes national museums and defines their names, mandates, powers, and governance.

The Canadian Museum of History, as a result of this legislation, will replace the Canadian Museum of Civilization. This change is in conjunction with Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, creating a national museum of history that tells our stories and presents our country’s treasures to the world.

For more information: http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/Parliament/LegislativeSummaries/bills_ls.asp?source=library_prb&ls=C7&Parl=41&Ses=2&Language=E&Mode=1

Bill C-8, Combating Counterfeit Products Act
Stage: Committee Report Presented in the House of Commons

This new legislation is intended to protect Canadian consumers, Canadian manufacturers and retailers as well as the Canadian economy from the health and economic threats presented by counterfeit goods coming into Canada.

Bill C-8 would provide the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) with the authority to take action against the commercial movement of counterfeit goods at the border, and would also include new criminal offences for commercial trademark counterfeiting. It would also allow Canadian businesses to file a request for assistance with the CBSA, in turn, enabling border officers to share information with them regarding suspect shipments.

For more information: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/064.nsf/eng/07280.html

Bill C-9, First Nations Elections Act
Stage: First Reading in the Senate

This bill is taking action on our government's commitment and priority to provide all Canadians with strong, accountable and transparent governments. Bill C-9 addresses longstanding issues with the current election system under the Indian Act. This new legislation was created using the recommendations provided by the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs (APC) and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) following a national engagement process with First Nations on the development of a better electoral system for First Nations.

Other points in the bill that offer improvement over the current Indian Act election system are:

  • No role for the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development to play in receiving, investigating and deciding on election appeals;
  • Provisions that allow groups of First Nations to hold their elections on a common day and line up their terms of office;
  • Clear criteria on the eligibility to be a candidate for the position of chief;
  • The possibility for individual First Nations to institute a candidacy fee of no more than $250, which would be refunded if the candidate received at least 5% of the total votes cast;
  • Similar to other election laws, penalties for defined offences such as obstructing the electoral process and engaging in corrupt or fraudulent activities in relation to an election, and;
  • Powers to develop regulations surrounding mail-in ballots, advance polls and recall of elected officials.

For more information: http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1323193986817/1323194199466.

Bill C-10, Tackling Contraband Tobacco Act
Stage: Second Reading and Referral to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights

This bill advances efforts to combat the trafficking and cross border smuggling of contraband tobacco by establishing a 50-officer RCMP Anti-Contraband Force and by creating a new Criminal Code offence with mandatory penalties of imprisonment for repeat offenders, many of whom are affiliated with other serious organized criminal activity such as weapons and illegal drug trafficking.

Bill C-10 also proposes mandatory minimum penalties of imprisonment for repeat offenders where a high volume of tobacco products is involved.

For more information: http://canada.justice.gc.ca/eng/news-nouv/nr-cp/2013/doc_32861.html.

Bill C-11, Priority Hiring for Injured Veterans Act
Stage: Second Reading in the House of Commons

This legislation aims to provide medically released Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) who were injured in service to Canada the top level of priority consideration for job openings in the public service.

Every year, many military members transition out of the Canadian Armed Forces. For those CAF members who cannot deploy and meet the demands of operations, finding meaningful employment is a key factor in making a successful transition to civilian life.

Once the legislation comes into force, Regular Force and Reserve Force members who are medically released from the CAF for service-related reasons will receive a statutory priority for a period of five years. This will provide Veterans with the highest level of priority consideration, above all other groups, in recognition of their sacrifices and service to Canada. The changes will apply to Veterans who were medically released for service-related reasons and who had a priority entitlement on or after April 1, 2012.

For more information: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/department/press/viewrelease/1994

Bill C-12, Drug-Free Prisons Act
tage: Second Reading in the House of Commons

This legislation seeks to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) to specifically stipulate that the Parole Board of Canada has additional legislative authority when making decisions on the conditional release of offenders who have been granted parole, but who then test positive for drugs or refuse a drug test before being released from an institution into the community.

The bill will also amend the CCRA to ensure that the Parole Board of Canada pays particular attention to whether a condition to abstain from drugs or alcohol should be imposed on offenders on conditional release.

For more information: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/nws/nws-rlss/2013/20131108-1-eng.aspx

Bill C-13, Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act
Stage: Second Reading in the House of Commons

This bill addresses criminal behaviour associated with cyber-bullying, a growing issue in modern society. The legislation would:

  • Prohibit the non-consensual distribution of intimate images;
  • Empower a court to order the removal of intimate images from the Internet;
  • Permit the court to order forfeiture of the computer, cell phone or other device used in the offence;
  • Provide for reimbursement to victims for costs incurred in removing the intimate image from the Internet or elsewhere; and
  • Empower the court to make an order to prevent someone from distributing intimate images.

The proposed investigative powers to identify and remedy this and other cybercrimes would be subject to appropriate judicial oversight.

Our government worked closely with the provinces and territories in developing the report and recommendations on which this legislation is closely based.

For more information: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/news-nouv/nr-cp/2013/doc_32995.html.

Bill C-14, Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
Stage: Second Reading in the Senate

This legislation addresses concerns raised by victims of crime with respect to accused persons found Not Criminally Responsible (NCR) on Account of Mental Disorder, and is a key part of the Government's plan for safe streets and communities.

Bill C-14 would explicitly set out that public safety is the paramount consideration in the decision-making process relating to accused persons found to be NCR. It would create a new designation to protect the public from high-risk NCR accused. Upon being designated by a court as high-risk, an NCR accused must be held in custody and cannot be considered for release by a review board until their designation is revoked by a court.

The other consequences of being designated as a high-risk NCR accused include that their review periods could be extended to up to three years, such individuals would not be entitled to unescorted passes, and could only obtain an escorted pass in narrow circumstances and subject to sufficient conditions to protect public safety.

Finally, Bill C-14 would enhance the safety of victims by ensuring that they are specifically considered when decisions are being made about accused persons found NCR; ensuring they are notified when an NCR accused is discharged; and allowing non-communications orders between an NCR accused and the victim.

For more information: http://canada.justice.gc.ca/eng/news-nouv/nr-cp/2013/doc_33000.html.

Bill C-15, Northwest Territories Devolution Act
Stage: Second Reading and Referral to the House of Commons Standing Committee

The Northwest Territories Devolution Act responds to calls from territorial governments, Aboriginal groups and industry to place decision-making in the hands of Northerners. The Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement was signed on June 25, 2013. The introduction of legislation reinforces our government's commitment to completing devolution by the targeted effective date of April 1, 2014.

Devolution in the NWT will mean the transfer of decision-making and administration for land and resource management from the Government of Canada to the Government of the Northwest Territories. The territorial government will become responsible for the management of onshore lands and the issuance of rights and interests with respect to onshore minerals and oil and gas. It will also give them the power to collect and share in resource revenues generated in the territory.

The bill also introduces important improvements to the regulatory process including more predictable, timely environmental reviews of resource development projects, reduced regulatory burden and duplication, and improved environmental protection.

For more information: http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1386027208727/1386027249909.

Bill C-16, Sioux Valley Dakota Nation Governance Act
Stage: First Reading in the Senate

This self-government agreement would provide Sioux Valley Dakota Nation with the authority to make laws affecting its community in over 50 subject areas. This includes governance, economic and social development, education, housing and more. Sioux Valley Dakota Nation laws would be harmonized with existing federal and provincial laws and exercised within the Canadian constitutional framework.

Once this agreement with Sioux Valley Dakota Nation is brought into effect, the Government of Canada will have concluded 20 comprehensive self-government agreements with 34 Aboriginal communities.

For more information: http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1386268704112/1386268758158

Bill C-17, Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (Vanessa's Law)
Stage: Introduction and First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill is named after Vanessa Young, who tragically died of a heart attack while on a prescription drug that later was deemed not safe and removed from the market. The Law would protect Canadian families and children from unsafe medicine by enabling the government to:

  • Require strong surveillance including mandatory adverse drug reaction reporting;
  • Recall unsafe products;
  • Impose tough new penalties for unsafe products, including jail time and new fines of up to $5 million per day instead of the current $5,000;
  • Provide the courts with discretion to impose even stronger fines if violations were caused intentionally;
  • Compel drug companies to revise labels to clearly reflect health risk information, including updates for health warnings for children; and
  • Compel drug companies to do further testing on a product, including when issues are identified with certain at-risk populations such as children.

For more information: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/legislation/unsafedrugs-droguesdangereuses-eng.php.

Bill C-18, Agricultural Growth Act
Stage: Introduction and First Reading in the House of Commons

Bill C-18 would increase farmers’ access to new crop varieties, enhance trade opportunities and the safety of agricultural products, reduce red tape and contribute to Canada’s overall economic growth.

Some of the key changes being proposed in this legislation include:

  • Amendments to the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act to align with the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV’91) in order to update Canada’s outdated legislation;
  • Providing the Canadian Food Inspection Agency with the authority to consider foreign reviews, data and analyses during the approval or registration of new agricultural products in Canada, allowing for a more effective approvals process;
  • Introducing amendments to the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act and the Farm Debt Mediation Act to provide greater flexibility and options for Canadian farmers;
  • Simplifying delivery and ease access to the Advance Payments Program for producers;
  • Allowing for multi-year advance guarantee agreements and repayment agreements with administrators improving delivery;
  • Expanding the use of cash repayments;
  • Providing greater flexibility and options for what will be accepted as security allowing producers to secure larger advances;
  • Providing flexibility allowing breeding animals to be eligible under the program;
  • Adjusting the rules related to the repayment of advances, producers in default, default penalties and stays of default, and;
  • Expedite processing under the Farm Debt Mediation Act giving producers quicker resolutions.

For more information: http://www.agr.gc.ca/cb/index_e.php?s1=n&s2=2013&page=n131209&src=hp.

Bill C-19, Appropriation Act No. 4, 2013-14
Stage: Royal Assent Received on December 12, 2013

This legislation authorizes payments to defray certain expenses of the public service of Canada, not otherwise provided for, for the financial year ending 31 March 2014.

For more information: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/ems-sgd/esp-pbc/aa-lc-eng.asp.


Senate Bills

Below is a list of government bills introduced to the Senate during the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. For a complete list, please visit: http://www.parl.gc.ca/LegisInfo/Home.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&ParliamentSession=41-2&OriginatingChamber=Senate&Page=1

Bill S-2, Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act
Stage: Introduction and First Reading in the Senate

This legislation amends the Statutory Instruments Act in the following ways:

  • It imposes an obligation on regulation-making authorities to ensure that a document, index, rate or number that is incorporated by reference is accessible, and;
  • It provides that a person is not liable to be found guilty of an offence or subjected to an administrative sanction for a contravention relating to a document, index, rate or number that is incorporated by reference unless certain requirements in relation to accessibility are met.

For more information: http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/Parliament/LegislativeSummaries/bills_ls.asp?source=library_prb&ls=S2&Parl=41&Ses=2&Language=E&Mode=1.

Bill S-3, An Act to Amend the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act
Stage: Third Reading in the Senate

This legislation amends the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act to include a broader definition of “fishing vessel” to cover any vessels used for the trans-shipment of fish or marine plants not previously landed, and tougher prohibitions against the importation of fish, marine plants, and seafood products from illegal sources.

For more information: http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/Parliament/LegislativeSummaries/bills_ls.asp?source=library_prb&ls=S3&Parl=41&Ses=2&Language=E&Mode=1.

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