Have you ever met a volunteer whose work in the past year had a profound impact on your community?
Now’s your chance to recognize their accomplishments and nominate them for a Prime Minister’s Volunteer Award!
The Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards celebrate the enormous contributions volunteers, not-for-profit organizations and businesses make to their communities.
You can nominate someone in the following national and regional categories.
- Emerging Leader recognizes new volunteers who help build stronger communities through leadership and have made a positive difference in their community in a short period of time. This award is for those who have volunteered for no more than three years.
- Lifelong Achievement recognizes individuals who have dedicated their life to volunteering and have inspired other volunteers, led volunteer groups or made other exceptional achievements through volunteering. This award is for those who have volunteered for a period of at least 20 years.
- Community Leader recognizes individual volunteers or groups of volunteers who have taken a lead role in developing solutions to local challenges.
- Business Leader recognizes businesses that demonstrate social responsibility in their business practices.
- Social Innovator recognizes not-for-profit organizations that demonstrate innovation in addressing social challenges.
Recipients are recognized at an award ceremony and chose an eligible not-for-profit organization to receive a grant for $5,000 (regional award) or $10,000 (national award).
Submissions are accepted from April 13 to June 30, 2015.
To learn more about the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards and submit a nomination today through www.pm.gc.ca/awards or call 1-877-825-0434.
Check Against Delivery
It gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today and speak at Third Reading on Bill C-59, Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1.
This Act will legislate key elements of Economic Action Plan 2015 which include measures to support jobs and growth, help communities prosper and ensure the security of Canadians.
The Act also includes the measures contained in Bill C-57, the Support for Families Act and Bill C-58, the Support for Veterans and Their Families Act.
Perhaps the most significant part of this Act is that it returns Canada to balanced budget and enshrines in law balanced budget legislation reflecting our Government’s responsible fiscal management policy that is creating jobs and putting more money back into the pockets of Canadians.
A balanced budget allows the Government of Canada to cut taxes further for Canadian families, individuals and businesses.
Mr. Speaker my riding of Mississauga-Streetsville has the second highest number of families with children living at home in all of Canada. That is why our Government’s Family Tax Cut and Benefits Plan really hits home in my community.
Our Government will increase the Universal Child Care Benefit for children 6 and under to $160 per month and extend the benefit for children aged 7-17 by $60 per month. This initiative puts thousands of dollars per year back into families’ pockets in my riding and allows parents to make their choices for their children on how that money will be spent.
It is important to note Mr. Speaker that the increase to the UCCB is retroactive to January 1, 2015 and that the new benefit will start to flow for families this July.
Further, our Government is instituting a family income splitting program that will allow a higher income spouse to, in effect, transfer $50,000 of taxable income to a spouse in a lower tax bracket, effective the 2014 tax year. Some families will save as much as $2,000 a year in total family tax paid – yet another example of how we are putting more money back into the pockets of hard working families.
Economic Action Plan 2015 also increases the Child Care Expense Deduction dollar limits by $1,000 effective for the 2015 tax year. The maximum amounts that can be claimed will increase to $8,000 from $7,000 for children under age 7, to $5,000 from $4,000 for children aged 7-16 and to $11,000 from $10,000 for children who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit.
Mr. Speaker, millions of Canadians have taken advantage of the very popular Tax Free Savings Account. TFSAs are an excellent way for Canadians to save – tax free – and have that money available in the future for their personal needs. Many Canadians have maxed out the old $5,500 limit and many would contribute more if allowed. I am very pleased to report that Economic Action Plan 2015 raises the maximum contribution limit to $10,000 effective in 2015 and subsequent years.
Bill C-59 also reduces the minimum withdrawal factors for Registered Retirement Income Funds to permit seniors to preserve more of their retirement savings to better support their retirement income needs.
The Bill also creates the Home Accessibility Tax Credit to assist seniors and disabled Canadians offset renovation costs to make their homes safer and more accessible, so they can live independently and remain in their homes.
Mississauga-Streetsville is home to many seniors who tell me they want to age gracefully in place, remain in their cherished home as long as possible and be able to make modifications to improve their living conditions. The Home Accessibility Tax Credit is welcome news in my community.
Mr. Speaker, Branch 139 of the Royal Canadian Legion in located in the Village of Streetsville. I am a member and visit the Legion regularly to support its initiatives.
I have met with veterans there and I was honoured to present World War II “V” pins to dozens of these brave Canadians.
That is why I am very pleased that Economic Action Plan 2015 ensures that veterans and their families receive the support they need by providing a new Retirement Income Security benefit to moderately and severely disabled veterans, expands access to the Permanent Impairment Allowance for disabled veterans and creates a new tax-free Family Caregiver Relief Benefit to recognize the very important role of caregivers.
This Government values and supports the brave women and men who have served in our Canadian Forces and will ensure that our veterans get the full support they need and deserve.
During pre-budget consultations and meetings that I held, I had the opportunity to meet with groups like ALS Canada, the MS Society and others about the Compassionate Care Benefit provided under the Employment Insurance system.
Mr. Speaker, Bill C-59 will extend Compassionate Care Benefits from the current six weeks of coverage to six months to better support Canadians caring for gravely ill and dying family members. This change will benefit thousands of families across Canada when they need the financial and emotional support the most.
This Bill also implements very important measures for supporting jobs and growth.
Our Government will reduce the small business tax rate to 9% by 2019 – lowering taxes for job-creating small businesses and their owners by $2.7 billion between now and 2019-20.
This is very good news for members of the Streetsville Business Improvement Association and other companies operating in Mississauga-Streetsville. Predictable, lower taxes each and every year is an important signal to the small business community.
We are providing manufacturers with a 10-year accelerated capital cost allowance to encourage productivity-enhancing investments in machinery and equipment. And we are improving access to financing for Canadian small businesses through the Canada Small Business Financing Program.
Recently, I have had the opportunity to announce several investments in Mississauga through the Federal Economic Development Corporation of Southern Ontario. These strategic investments assist leading edge companies grow and expand, create new high wage jobs and contribute to research and innovation.
Bill C-59 also makes new and important investments to ensure the security of Canadians. Along with important new legislation designed to combat terrorism, Economic Action Plan 2015 provides more funds for security and intelligence services and agencies to ensure they have the resources for this ongoing battle against those who wish Canadians harm.
Mr. Speaker, Economic Action Plan 2015 has seen the budget deficit of $55.6 billion at the height of the worldwide economic recession reduced to a projected budget surplus of $1.4 billion for 2015-16. And this without cutting transfers to Provinces or people. In fact Mr. Speaker, our transfer to the Provinces is at an all-time high in the history of our nation.
Mr. Speaker, all Canadians should be thanked for their hard work and support of our Government returning Canada to balanced budgets.
A typical two-earner family of four will receive tax relief and increased benefits of up to $6,600 in 2015 as a result of the actions taken by this Government since coming to office in 2006 and the overall tax burden is now at its lowest level in more than 50 years.
Canada has one of the best economic performances among G-7 countries and we have created more than 1.2 million net new jobs since the depths of the recession.
Mr. Speaker, although there is more to do, Canadians can be proud of the achievements of this Government, the economic and fiscal record and our plans for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.
I ask all members of this House to support Bill C-59 so Canada may continue to be strong, proud and free.
Government of Canada announces proposed new nutrition labels and tools to promote healthier food choices
Improved Nutrition Facts table format and clearer labelling of sugar and serving sizes
June 12, 2015 Toronto, Ontario
Today, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, took a major step forward in giving Canadians the information they need to make healthy food choices for themselves and their families by unveiling several initiatives including proposed changes to nutritional labelling regulations.
The proposed labelling changes aim to make it easier for Canadians to read labels and the Nutrition Facts table. Mandating consistent serving sizes will make it easier to compare nutrient contents of similar foods, and make more informed choices when selecting foods for themselves and their families. The ingredient list on the proposed new label would also be easier to read.
The labelling changes respond to comments made by parents, consumers and health organizations and the food industry in earlier consultations held throughout 2014.
The Government of Canada is also breaking new ground in the labelling of sugars on foods. Proposed changes would give Canadians clear information about the sugars contained in the foods they eat. The proposed addition of a percentage daily value for sugar and changes to the way sugars are identified in the list of ingredients will make it easier to understand how much sugar is in a product, whether there is a little or a lot of sugar, and what the source of sugar is.
Minister Ambrose also announced new public education tools, including a My Food Guide mobile application and the Eat Well Plate, to help Canadians apply the dietary guidance of Canada’s Food Guide to build a healthy meal.
The Eat Well Plate will help Canadians visualize food proportions, and encourages them to make half their plate vegetables and fruit. The new My Food Guide mobile application will help Canadians access healthy eating information anytime, anywhere. The My Food Guide app allows individuals to create an easy-to-use customized Canada’s Food Guide and will help them understand Food Guide servings and types of foods to choose for a healthy diet.
Canadians will be consulted on the proposed regulatory changes to the nutrition information on food labels for a 75-day comment period, ending on August 26. These changes are being published in Canada Gazette, Part I on June 13, 2015.
- This labelling proposal delivers on a commitment made by the Government of Canada during the 2013 Speech from the Throne to consult with Canadians parents and consumers on how to improve the way nutrition information is presented on food labels.
- Health Canada received feedback from over 10,000 Canadians.
- This proposal also requires that manufacturers list all food colouring agents by their common name within the ingredient list on the label. This will allow consumers who have sensitivities to specific food colours to avoid those ingredients when shopping for food.
- A new health claim would also be allowed on pre-packaged fruits and vegetables that would make it easier to let Canadians know about the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables.
Proposed changes will better protect the health and safety of Canadians
June 11, 2015 Ottawa, Ontario Health Canada
The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, along with Roxanne James, Parliamentary Secretary to Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, today announced a series of proposed enhancements to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA); updating Health Canada’s nearly two-decade-old rules for drug control.
The CDSA has two core objectives: protecting public health and maintaining public safety. There are a number of areas where Health Canada inspectors, as well as the police, require updated legal authorities in order to keep up with the evolving drug trade. The new legislation introduced today is designed to address those needs, and to address new drug abuse issues. The proposed changes to the CDSA will equip the Minister of Health and law enforcement officials with better tools to more quickly control dangerous new drugs, combat illegal drug production and distribution, and enable Health Canada inspectors to more effectively ensure compliance in the legitimate controlled substance industry.
This action demonstrates the Government’s commitment to safe and healthy communities by better protecting Canadians against the introduction of new designer drugs marketed to youth, and the ongoing problem of prescription drug abuse.
- The updated Act would give the Minister of Health modern and effective tools to respond to changes in the illegal drug market, including the authority to quickly control potentially dangerous new drugs.
- The amendments enhance law enforcement’s ability to dispose of seized goods more efficiently and safely, and strengthen criminal penalties for the illegal possession, production or sale of chemicals or equipment intended for use in the illegal production of a controlled substance.
- Proposed amendments also respond to the Government’s commitment to address prescription drug abuse by strengthening the ability to inspect, monitor and regulate the movement of controlled substances within the legal supply chain, minimizing the potential for diversion.
- Amendments will make it easier to dispose of seized material where there is a health or safety risk to those involved resulting in safer environments, efficiencies and cost savings for police.
- The illicit drug market is innovative, and has created new “designer” drugs that should be subject to the CDSA but are not yet regulated. This new authority will allow the Minister of Health to quickly schedule new substances, allowing for swift action as new drugs appear.
- New authorities to levy fines will provide inspectors with more flexibility when bringing companies into compliance.
- This legislation is in keeping with the Government’s National Anti-Drug Strategy which focuses on prevention and access to treatment for those with drug dependencies, while at the same time getting tough on drug dealers and producers who threaten the safety of our youth and communities.
- This legislation compliments Private Member’s Bill, C-475, introduced by Member of Parliament, John Weston, which brought in stronger powers for precursor chemicals used in manufacturing methamphetamine.
Government of Canada moves to restore mandatory minimum penalties for illegal possession of loaded prohibited or restricted firearms
Proposed legislation would help ensure safety of Canadians and of their families
June 10, 2015 Ottawa, ON Department of Justice Canada
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Peter MacKay today announced the introduction of legislation to restore mandatory minimum penalties (MMPs), in defined circumstances, for the illegal possession of a loaded prohibited or restricted firearm. The Bill, titled the Penalties for the Criminal Possession of Firearms Act, is the Government’s response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in R. v. Nur. The Bill would make clear that people who possess loaded or easily loaded guns on Canadian streets or around schools are engaging in serious criminal behavior and must face the full force of the law, through clear and defined penalties of imprisonment, while protecting law-abiding gun owners.
The Criminal Code prohibits the criminal possession of loaded or easily loaded prohibited or restricted firearms such as fully automatic firearms, sawed-off rifles and handguns, and the offence is punishable by a maximum period of ten years’ imprisonment. The Penalties for the Criminal Possession of Firearms Act would impose MMPs on people who possess loaded prohibited or restricted firearms for the purpose of committing certain serious offences, or in situations that create a real risk of harm to others. Prohibited and restricted firearms are the weapons of choice for gangs and other types of organized crime. In the hands of these groups, such weapons pose serious risks to the safety of Canadians and to the safety of our communities.
The Penalties for the Criminal Possession of Firearms Act would also clarify who the offence applies to. For example, law-abiding firearms owners who possess prohibited or restricted firearms in accordance with the Firearms Act and store them lawfully would be exempt from the offence.
The proposed legislation builds on measures the Government introduced in October 2014 in the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act (Bill C-42) to strengthen the Criminal Code provisions relating to orders prohibiting the possession of firearms where a person is convicted of an offence involving domestic violence.
The proposed reforms also build on other measures brought forward by the Government to protect public safety and strengthen sentencing of violent offenders. Those measures include changes to the “faint hope” clause that allowed murderers to apply for early parole and Criminal Code amendments to allow judges to impose consecutive periods of parole ineligibility for multiple murders so that each life taken is represented in an offender’s sentence. More recently, the Government introduced legislation that would ensure that Canada’s most heinous criminals will be subject to mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
- Gang-related homicides are far more likely to involve firearms than non-gang-related homicides. In 2013, 71% of gang-related homicides were committed with a firearm, compared with 15% of non-gang-related homicides. In total, there were 60 gang-related homicides committed with a firearm in 2013, 83% of which were committed with a handgun.
- There were more than a dozen shootings between rival gang members fighting for control of the drug trade in Surrey, British Columbia, from March to May 2015
- The Government recently provided new funding to hire 100 more RCMP officers to tackle the increasing gang-related violence in Surrey, B.C.
Government of Canada announces two calls for proposals for projects helping seniors across Canada stay active, engaged and informed
MP Brad Butt encourages organizations to start submitting applications
June 2, 2015 Mississauga, ON Employment and Social Development Canada
Today, Brad Butt, Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Streetsville, on behalf of the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), highlighted two New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) calls for proposals for projects that will keep Canadian seniors active, engaged and informed. The application period for both calls for proposals began on May 29, 2015 and will close on July 10, 2015.
The 2015-2016 NHSP Call for Proposals for Pan-Canadian Projects invites organizations to apply for funding for projects that will help to reduce social isolation among seniors by using collaborative approaches that place an emphasis on measurable results. The Government of Canada is partnering with the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and its Innoweave initiative to support the development, implementation and scaling of these collaborative approaches to reduce social isolation among seniors. Applicants can contact Innoweave through its Seniors SI program to obtain support and to learn more about how organizations can work together to address social isolation. More information on how to apply for funding is available at Canada.ca/Seniors.
The annual NHSP Call for Proposals for Community-Based Projects is inviting organizations to apply for funding of up to $25,000 for projects that help empower seniors to share their knowledge, skills and experiences with others and support communities by increasing their capacity to address local issues. More information on how to apply is available at Canada.ca/Seniors.
To help families prosper, the Government is also enhancing the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB), introducing the Family Tax Cut and making improvements to the Child Care Expenses Deduction and the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit. The UCCB would increase to up to $1,920 per year for children under the age of 6, and parents would receive a benefit of up to $720 per year for each child aged 6 through 17. The proposed enhancements to the UCCB would provide $160 per month for each child under the age of 6 and $60 per month for each child aged 6 through 17.
- The Government of Canada is committed to supporting and promoting seniors’ health, well-being and contributions by encouraging them to stay active, engaged and informed.
- Since 2006, the NHSP has funded nearly 15,000 projects in hundreds of communities across Canada, representing a total Government of Canada investment of $350 million.
- Since 2006, $2.8 billion in annual tax relief has been provided to seniors and pensioners.
- In 2006, over 30 percent of Canada’s seniors were at risk of social isolation
- The National Seniors Council (NSC), in its Report on the Social Isolation of Seniors, 2013–2014, highlighted the importance of working with a wide array of organizations that deliver services and programs in an efficient and effective manner to alleviate isolation among older Canadians. The report can be found on Canada.ca/Seniors
- The Government of Canada released the Government of Canada – Action for Seniors report in September 2014. The report is a new information resource highlighting federal programs and services that can be accessed by seniors, their families and caregivers. It was created in collaboration with more than 22 federal departments and agencies. The report can be found on Canada.ca/Seniors.
- For a wide range of information for seniors, including details on the NHSP, please visit Canada.ca/Seniors.