In April, our Government introduced a landmark piece of legislation to create a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. This is historic: for the first time in Canadian history, victims will have clear, statutory rights at the federal level.
Specifically, the Victims Bill of Rights would provide rights to more information about victims services and programs and their case; to protection at all stages of the criminal justice process; to participation so that their voices are better heard; and restitution so that justice is done.
These reforms come as a result of an extensive process where we reached out to Canadians for their opinion, including through an online public consultation and a cross-country series of roundtables Justice Minister Peter MacKay held in every province and territory to consult with victims on how the federal government could better address the needs of victims of crime all while giving them a move effective voice in the criminal justice system.
During these consultations, many victims asked why the tragic impacts of crime on their lives, families, and property were not given greater prominence. Some were frustrated at not having been provided with information about court dates or plea negotiations, or not feeling properly protected. Their candour was heartfelt and invaluable. And it was clear that they weren’t only thinking of their own experience—they were telling their stories on behalf of other victims. Their primary motivation was to improve the justice system for all.
A study released in 2011 by the Department of Justice Canada found that the total cost of crime is an estimated $99.6 billion a year – 83 per cent of which is borne by victims. This is one reason why we make no apologies for passing reforms to keep society’s most dangerous criminals off our streets and behind bars where they belong.
Canadians need to feel that their justice system is working for them. They need to feel safe in the environment they live in, and, if they are victimized, they need to feel confident that the justice system will treat them with the courtesy, compassion and respect they deserve. Justice should not just be done—it should also be seen to be done.
This is precisely why our Government will continue putting victims first.
On July 7, 2014, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced the launch of the CAN+ program in India, which will result in more efficient processing for Indian visitors coming to Canada.
CAN+ is open to Indian nationals who have travelled to Canada or the United States of America within the last 10 years. They will benefit from expedited processing, which will free up visa officers to work on other cases, improving overall processing times for all Indian travellers.
Min. Alexander made the announcement during an event with representatives of India’s business, tourism and education sectors, where he highlighted a number of successful government initiatives that are increasing trade and travel to Canada from India. This includes: three visa “Express” programs for Indian businesspeople, students and tourists; 10 Visa Applications Centres (VACs) across India — a global record; and a standardized multiple-entry visa at a reduced fee of CAD $100.
All of these government initiatives are providing fast and easier options for international travellers to come to Canada to do business, learn, and support Canada’s tourism sector.
- Indian nationals rank in the top 10 source countries of international visitors to Canada. In 2013, more than 130,000 visitor visas were issued to Indian citizens, and nearly 14,000 Indian citizens were issued student permits.
- Between January and June 2014, almost 95 per cent of visitor visas issued to Indian nationals were multiple-entry visas, allowing travellers to visit Canada as many times as they want for up to 10 years.
- A CAN+ pilot program in India delivered impressive results with visas issued within five days and an approval rate over 95 per cent. Individuals eligible for CAN+ visa processing do not need to provide as many supporting documents when submitting their applications.
- Three visa “Express” programs that help Indian businesspeople, tourists and students come to Canada faster include:
o Business Express expedites business travel from India with visas issued within three days with a near-perfect approval rate for those registered in the program.
o Tourist Partner Program offers a fast, simplified visa application process for tourists who use travel agencies registered with the Canadian Embassy.
o Student Partners Program fast-tracks the processing of study permits with visas issued within 13 days or less for those who study at participating Canadian educational institutions.
On June 26, 2014, Brad attended a Citizenship Ceremony at the Mississauga Citizenship offices officiated by His Honour Angelo Persichilli where 95 new citizens were welcomed into the Canadian family.
Brad regularly attends these ceremonies. “This is one of the best parts of my job as a Member of Parliament. To see people from all over the world come and swear allegiance to Canada and see the pride in their faces on becoming citizens of the greatest country in the world is truly amazing.”
“This was a wonderful opportunity to speak to our new Canadians about the values we hold true, our respect for human rights and the importance of being active participants in our community. I wish each and everyone of them a long, healthy and successful life in Canada.”
The New Building Canada Plan builds on our Government’s unprecedented investments in infrastructure, providing stable funding for projects that enhance economic growth, job creation and productivity. With a wider range of eligible categories under the Plan, Canadian provinces, territories and municipalities have the flexibility to meet their unique infrastructure needs.
While the permanent, annual, $2-billion federal Gas Tax Fund allocation continues to flow across Canada to help municipalities build and revitalize their local public infrastructure, new programs are also moving ahead.
We are ensuring a seamless transition from our previous programs to our new Plan as funding continues to flow unremittingly. Approximately $5 billion will flow every year, including this year, to support projects across Canada over the next ten years.
The $53 billion New Building Canada Plan provides stable funding for a 10-year period, and includes:
o The Community Improvement Fund, consisting of the Gas Tax Fund and the incremental Goods and Services Tax Rebate for Municipalities, which will provide over $32 billion to municipalities for projects such as roads, public transit and recreational facilities, and other community infrastructure.
o The $14-billion New Building Canada Fund, which consists of:
- The $4-billion National Infrastructure Component that will support projects of national significance; and
- The $10-billion Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component for projects of national, regional and local significance. Of this amount, $1 billion for projects in communities with fewer than 100,000 residents through the Small Communities Fund.
o An additional $1.25 billion in funding for the Public-Private Partnerships (P3) Canada Fund administered by PPP Canada.
For additional information on the New Building Canada Plan, visit www.infrastructure.gc.ca.
The Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) is a procurement program created to bolster innovation in Canada’s business sector, and to help companies bridge the pre-commercialization gap for their innovative products and services.
The program provides the opportunity for innovators to:
• sell their pre-commercialized goods and services to the Government of Canada through an open, transparent, competitive and fair procurement process;
• connect with potential clients in federal government departments and showcase their innovations to them;
• get feedback on the use of their innovations in an operational setting before taking them to market; and
• enter the marketplace with a successful application of their innovations.
Whether or not innovators are successful in being awarded a contract, they will also:
• find out how to sell to the Government of Canada;
• learn more about opportunities for supplying innovative goods and services to the Government of Canada; and
• improve their understanding of how to do business with the Government of Canada.
Building on the early success of this pilot program, Economic Action Plan 2012 allocated additional funding for three years, starting in 2013. As of 2016, $40 million will be permanently dedicated to the BCIP annually. The program also now includes a military procurement component.
The BCIP has two complementary objectives. The first is to identify Canadian innovations to test within federal operations to support businesses as they move their innovations to commercialization. The second builds on improving small and medium enterprises’ (SME) access to federal procurement activities, and enables companies to showcase innovative products and services to potential government users.
The BCIP targets innovations in five key areas:
• the environment;
• safety and security;
• enabling technologies; and
• a military component.
The value of contracts under the program’s standard component will continue to be up to $500,000. Under the military component, innovations could be eligible for contracts of up to $1 million.
Proposals related to the opportunity to test innovative products and services are accepted through competitive Calls for Proposals. The initial Call for Proposals was announced in October 2010, the second in July 2011, the third in February 2012, and the fourth in November 2013. The fifth Call for Proposals was announced on June 20, 2014, and will close on September 16, 2014.
Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) continues to work with all stakeholders to ensure that SMEs receive the vital government support needed to thrive in today’s evolving economy.
The Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) assists SMEs as they navigate through the government procurement system. It is strengthening access to government business for SMEs by collaborating with industry associations and individual businesses on training, providing information, developing support tools, and recommending procurement policy changes. OSME is also working with SMEs to identify and pursue opportunities that encourage the introduction of innovative products and services to the marketplace.
PWGSC will be working with government departments to match innovations with the right test departments, and with the selected companies to put contracts in place to test their innovations, should the right department be found. Marking the first sale for these innovations, these contracts will also facilitate Canadian companies in moving their innovations into domestic and international markets by having the Government of Canada as a first client reference.
Descriptions of the innovations can be found on the BCIP website.
For more information about the program, please visit the BCIP web page.