Passer au contenu

Parliament's winter sitting

As MPs head back to the Hill, the order papers in both chambers remain full of bills that are either still being debated or awaiting debate to begin.

Parliament hill at night in winter

The House of Commons witnessed its fair share of chaos during last year's fall sitting. Speaker Anthony Rota resigned in disgrace after recognizing a war veteran who fought alongside the Nazis Nazi as a "Canadian hero." His replacement, Greg Fergus, also faced criticism for appearing in a video tribute to an Ontario Liberal MPP while wearing his Speaker's robes. Also, Government House Leader Karina Gould has begun her maternity leave, leaving it to Government Whip Steve MacKinnon to oversee the legislative agenda in her absence.

Housing and affordability continue to be major concerns, which have led to significant changes to the Competition Act. Several provisions have already been passed into law, while others are still under debate. Housing Minister Sean Fraser has discussed plans to launch an industrial strategy to boost productivity in the housing sector. The initiative is expected to be unveiled in the upcoming spring budget.

The public inquiry into foreign interference, headed by Justice Marie-Josée Hogue, is now in full swing. Public hearings are set to 

begin in late January, and the deadline for the first part of her report has been extended to May. The government's promised foreign agent registry has not yet been tabled. Consultations launched in the fall could lead to changes to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, the Criminal Code, the Security of Information Act and the Canada Evidence Act. A more comprehensive approach to strengthening Canada's national security legal framework appears to be underway.

The promised online harms legislation is still delayed, with responsibility for the file shifting from Canadian Heritage to the Department of Justice. In light of rising incidents of antisemitism across the country and a similar rise in Islamophobia following the October 7th attack by Hamas on Israel, and the ensuing conflict, the government has insisted it is committed to bringing the legislation forward.

Pharmacare legislation that New Democrats had demanded as part of its supply and confidence agreement with the government has yet to be tabled. Earlier drafts were rejected due to concerns about the proposal's size and scope. The Liberals and the NDP agreed to extend the deadline to present the bill to March 1, 2024.

Here is the status of government bills in both chambers: 

  • Bill S-6 is a technical omnibus bill amending different statutes as part of a regulatory modernization initiative to remove barriers to economic growth and innovation. It has passed the Senate and has yet to see any debate beyond the initial few hours in May.
  • Bill S-7 has controversially proposed to create a permissive new standard by which border officers can examine personal digital devices. Senators objected to the new standard and amended the bill to require that preclearance officers require "reasonable grounds to suspect" before conducting a search. As amended, the bill passed the Senate but has yet to be debated in the House of Commons after more than a year.
  • Bill S-9 amends the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act to avoid potential discrepancies with its namesake convention. This bill had passed the Senate, died on the order paper at the last election call, and was resurrected. It passed the Senate again and only saw a few hours of debate in the House of Commons just before the Christmas break. The government complained that the Conservatives had blocked debate on previous occasions.
  • Bill S-11 is a technical bill that works to harmonize federal law with Quebec civil law and ensures that each language version of existing legislation takes into account both common and civil law. It was introduced and passed by the Senate last fall and hs yet to be debated in the House of Commons.
  • Bill S-13 amends the Interpretation Act to ensure that statutes and regulations are construed as upholding the Section 35 Aboriginal and treaty rights of Indigenous people, repealing non-derogation clauses in other acts. It passed the Senate in December and has yet to be introduced in the House of Commons.
  • Bill S-14 amends the Canada National Parks Act, including expanding several of their boundaries. It passed the Senate before the Christmas break and has yet to be introduced in the House of Commons.
  • Bill S-15 criminalizes the keeping of elephants and great apes in captivity with certain exceptions. It was introduced in the Senate in November and is still undergoing second reading debate there.
  • Bill C-20 would create a new Public Complaints and Review Commission for the RCMP and the Canadian Border Services Agency. However, there are concerns the proposed independent oversight body won't be empowered to carry out its mandate. The bill, which underwent study at committee during the spring and fall sessions, is now awaiting report stage debate in the House of Commons.
  • Bill C-23 would see greater Indigenous participation in the designation of historical places or sites of national historical significance and their conservation. The bill has undergone several hours of debate at second reading, though these discussions occurred months apart and not at all during the fall.
  • Bill C-26 introduced technical changes to the Telecommunications Act, focusing on enhancing system security against cyber-attacks and implementing components of the Critical Cyber Systems Protection Act. The bill passed a second reading in the House during the spring but has since been awaiting committee study.
  • Bill C-27 is the federal government's promised overhaul of privacy legislation to make it more responsive to the digital era. It establishes a new Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal. It passed second reading in the House of Commons in April, and during the fall underwent committee study, which has yet to wrap up.
  • Bill C-29 proposes the creation of a national council for reconciliation in response to Call to Action 53 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It passed the Senate with amendments and is now awaiting a response from the House of Commons.
  • Bill C-33 brings amendments to railway safety and seeks to modernize the governance of federally owned and regulated ports. It underwent committee study during the fall.
  • Bill C-34 seeks to modernize the national security review portions of the Investment Canada Act. The bill passed the House of Commons in November and is now awaiting committee study in the Senate.
  • Bill C-35 looks to create a federal framework in legislation for the continued funding of provincial early learning and childcare, proofing it somewhat against potential dismantling by future governments. The bill passed the Senate in December with amendments and is now awaiting a decision from the House of Commons.
  • Bill C-37 seeks to amend legislation related to the Employment Insurance Board of Appeal ahead of the promised modernization of the EI system. It has yet to be debated.
  • Bill C-38 enacts changes to eligibility for Indian status and is part of an effort to suspend a constitutional challenge launched by First Nations families looking to end the inequities and exclusion faced by those "enfranchised" under previous versions of the Indian Act. The bill underwent a few hours of debate in the fall but has yet to be referred to committee.
  • Bill C-40, which seeks to create a Miscarriage of Justice Review Commission, underwent committee study during the fall.
  • Bill C-49 makes technical amendments to the Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act. The changes pertain to regulations governing offshore oil projects and open the door for offshore wind energy and other clean electricity projects. The bill passed second reading in the House of Commons, and is awaiting committee study.
  • Bill C-50, the Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act, the government's preferred terminology for the "just transition" away from carbon-intensive industries and which emphasizes training workers for the net-zero economy. Before the break, the bill saw parties negotiate amendments and was sent back to the House of Commons for debate during a tumultuous natural resources committee meeting.
  • Bill C-52 creates a new statutory framework on transparency and accountability in the air transportation sector, aiming to address challenges faced by airlines and airports since reopening after the peak of the pandemic. It underwent a few hours of second reading debate during the fall sitting.
  • Bill C-53 would formally recognize Métis governments in Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. It underwent committee study in the fall but has drawn objections from the Assembly of First Nations, the Chiefs of Ontario, and some individual Métis settlements.
  • Bill C-57 serves as implementation legislation for the updated Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement, which both governments have already signed. The bill, slated to pass before the Christmas break, is at third reading. After the Conservatives opposed it on grounds it imposes carbon pricing on Ukraine (which has had a carbon tax since 2011) due to language concerning border adjustment mechanisms, the Government House Leader opted to give the Conservatives time to rethink their position in the hopes that the bill will get unanimous support.
  • The "anti-scab" legislation Bill C-58 seeks to ban replacement workers in federally-regulated industries, a priority for the NDP under its supply and confidence agreement with the government. It is in the middle of second reading debate.
  • Bill C-59 serves as the implementation legislation for the Fall Economic Statement. It includes several provisions that update the Competition Act, and introduces bereavement leave related to pregnancy loss. It creates a Canada Water Agency, amends bankruptcy and insolvency legislation regarding post-secondary institutions, and parental leave for adoption placement. The bill saw initial second reading debate before the House rose for the break.
  • Minister of Indigenous Services of Canada Patty Hajdu has said that Bill C-61, known as the "First Nations Clean Water Act," was "co-developed" with First Nations, though some groups dispute this. It was introduced before the House rose for the break and has yet to be debated.