The Liberals’ Bill C-2, which aims to update and extend federal wage and rent supports for businesses that have been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, is trying to win parliamentary approval before Parliament takes a six-week holiday break starting this Friday (Dec. 17).
But initial forecasts suggest that the piece of legislation, which includes targeted support for tourism and hospitality businesses, may not making it through the legislative hoops in time to meet the government’s self-imposed deadline.
Bills C-2 and C-3 – which includes legislation that cracks down on the harassment of health-care workers – are currently before the Commons finance and human resources committees, but neither has set deadline for scrutinizing the bills and returning them for a final vote.
C-3 has support, but C-2 still faces some opposition from both the Conservatives and NDP.
Two Senate committees have begun a pre-study of C-3, which should help expedite the Bill’s passage through the upper house, the Canadian Press writes.
But a study has not yet begun on Bill C-2.
“The fate of Bill C-2 — which would create targeted support programs for sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and a new lockdown benefit for individuals thrown out of work due to the pandemic — seems particularly iffy,” the Canadian Press reports.
Last week, the House Finance committee agreed to finish its review of Bill C-2 by today (Dec. 13).
The bill would then return to the Commons as soon as Dec. 14 and face a final vote in the House later in the week.
If everything goes according to plan. Canadians could start receiving the new benefit payments within 24 hours of royal assent, the committee was told.
Conservative MP Greg McLean said the committee has barely explored the bill, adding that Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland was unable to answer questions last Thursday because the fall economic statement has yet to be released, according to digital newspaper iPolitics.
The Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) says the quick passage of Bill C-2 is “essential” or thousands of travel and tourism jobs will be lost.
But ACTA is also calling on the feds to amend the bill to include supports for independent travel advisors.
"There is no indication that independent travel agents will benefit," ACTA said in a release on Dec. 1.