Roundtable Discussion on the National Autism Strategy

Ryan Turnbull speaks in the House of Commons

Reflections on the Throne Speech 2020

The Speech from the Throne delivered this past week by the Governor General outlines many significant wins for Canadians. Many of the commitments and directions conveyed in the Speech were the result of consultation and advocacy work by myself and my fellow Liberal caucus members. I really do see it reflecting and responding to the needs of Canadians, while signalling major progressive changes on the near horizon as we eventually emerge from this worldwide pandemic. 

There is a sense in which I and others were hoping for even more bold measures for the future to be outlined in that Speech but the context shifted dramatically leading up to the Throne Speech. Whereas two weeks earlier COVID-19 had been relatively successfully held at bay and case numbers were dwindling, numbers began to shoot up sharply as the season changed and students began to return to school. It was clear that getting Canadians safely through this pandemic needed to be a continued priority.

Below, I outline some of substantive features of the recent Speech from the Throne that demonstrate again our Government is listening and responding to the needs of Canadians. These are all directions that I personally fought for and strongly advocated for as a member of the governing Liberal Party caucus. I always say it’s good to be ambitious and many of my constituents’ ambitions are reflected in this inspiring Speech from the Throne. I know that my constituents here in Whitby are ready for our government to lead us through an era of crisis, to overcome this pandemic and to take on transformative changes that will help Canada become stronger and more resilient. This challenging time will be defined in how we define it, it’s up to all of us! We can emerge from this stronger and more capable of taking on the biggest challenges of our time.

A National Standard for Long-term Care 

Probably one of the biggest “wins” in the Speech from the Throne is the strong commitment our Government has made to developing a National Standard of Care for Long-term Care. One of my first official acts as the Member of Parliament for Whitby on the Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) Standing Committee was to make a motion to study how we could improve Long-term Care. This includes building more facilities and having more highly qualified health care workers to ensure a higher standard of care. This motion seems like eons ago and was well before the current COVID-19 pandemic, which adds additional urgency. The Motion I put forward got Unanimous Consent, something I’ve learned is extremely challenging to achieve in Parliament. 

Just prior to the pandemic, I hosted a consultation in my riding with Seniors whose perspectives I listened to and whose input my team and I summarized and wrote up into a briefing, which I subsequently presented to the Minister of Seniors, the Honourable Deb Schulte. One of the highest-level priorities was improving care for seniors, developing more affordable housing options and developing a strategy for developing the human resources necessary for ensuring that Senior Care of all types would have enough skilled workers to meet the demand.

In addition, I put forward a policy resolution on a National Standard for Long-term Care for the Liberal Caucus’ policy development process and worked with my fellow MPs to combine our similar resolutions into one stronger policy resolution, which could garner more support, and it was successful in being one of the highest priorities in that process. 

I also wrote a letter to Minister Schulte and put out a public statement calling for our Government to prioritize a National Standard for Long-term Care as we move forward, given the many inadequacies in our current system that have been laid bare during this pandemic. 

Lastly, in the lead up to the Throne Speech, I participated in consultations with the Honourable Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity to voice the need for the National Standard for Long-term Care to be a prominent feature in the Throne Speech. 

Hearing the words spoken by the Governor General on this topic, echoing what I and others had advocated strongly for, was truly fulfilling, and now of course there is much work to be done to fulfill this commitment.

Statement by Ryan Turnbull, MP for Whitby on Rent Assistance and Commercial Eviction Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 25, 2020

Statement by Ryan Turnbull, MP for Whitby on Rent Assistance and Commercial Eviction Ban

WHITBY – Ryan Turnbull, joined by local business owners and community leaders, Member of Parliament for Whitby, made the following statement today:

“Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us today.

“We gather today on the traditional territory of the Missisaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, which is covered by the Williams Treaties.

“The provincial government has put in place a commercial eviction ban to protect small businesses in the COVID-19 pandemic in the Protecting Small Business Act. I have heard from many small business owners in Whitby whose livelihoods are threatened by illegal evictions and many more who are worried about what happens when the commercial eviction ban is lifted at the end of this month.

This is not about party politics, but instead about working across party lines and orders of government to find solutions for the residents and business here in Whitby. Small business owners, their employees, their suppliers, and their families are all counting on us to help them during this pandemic.

“The federal and provincial governments worked together successfully to develop the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program and I am calling on them to continue to work together, as I know they have been, to offer further rent support. I am also asking for the provincial government to extend the ban on commercial evictions until December 31st.

“The CECRA, or Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance, is working. I have heard from businesses in Whitby who have benefited from this vital help. Landlords should be participating in this program, and it is in the interests of small business owners and landlords to keep businesses in our community thriving. I have personally called landlords multiple times to ensure that their voices and any concerns they have about the design of this program are heard.

“I have also written a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to advocate for this, and I’ve also, just yesterday, written a letter to Ontario’s Minister of Finance Rod Phillips which you can find on my website at TurnbullWhitby.ca.

“Small businesses, we all know, are at the heart of our economy. They are innovators, they’re job creators. More than ever, these small businesses will be vital to our building back better and ensuring that our economy bounces back successfully.

“I have launched a broad consultation on how we, in Whitby, can cultivate the most innovative ideas for building back a stronger, more resilient, more sustainable economy and I have committed to delivering those best ideas to the Prime Minister myself. I hope you’ll help me and lend your voices to the many chorus of voices in Whitby and across the country in looking forward to our economy recovery plan.

“Thank you very much.”

Local business owner, Benito Suppa of Durham Escape Rooms, added:

“COVID-19 has impacted everyone from business owners and families, to employees and landlords. The struggle for us is not being able to operate our business fully. Consumers and our guests have not been able to do things and there is still some consumer confidence lacking. We need to do things to ensure that business owners can continue operating as we navigate through COVID-19.”

Whitby Councillor Jo-Anne Drum added:

“Our small businesses are the heart of our community. I firmly believe the downtowns are the barometer of the community. Now is the time to all of us to band together to give a hand up to our small businesses and remove barriers. We need to make it a better journey for them in order succeed.”

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For more information, please contact

Bryan Crockett, Office of Ryan Turnbull
bryan.crockett.514@parl.gc.ca
905.242.8125

Letter to Ontario Minister of Finance, Hon. Rod Phillips

Ryan Turnbull Member of Parliament

August 24, 2020

Honourable Rod Phillips, M.P.P.
Minister of Finance
Ministry of Finance
Frost Building South
7th Floor
7 Queen’s Park Cres.
Toronto, ON M7A 1Y7

URGENT

Dear Minister:

RE: Commercial Eviction Ban

I, along with many of my constituents, were very pleased with your government’s decision to pass a commercial eviction ban as part of the The Protecting Small Business Act, 2020. I also want to express my gratitude to your government for their participation in the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program. This vital program has saved many small businesses from closure during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of my constituents have reached out to me with concerns that their commercial landlords are illegally locking them out of their businesses. Some landlords are refusing to participate in the CECRA and are waiting for the moratorium on evictions to lapse in order to evict their tenants. During this time, this threatens the survival of their business and threatens the overall stability of the economy. I am sure that you can appreciate how important it is to support small business, especially considering the tremendous economic benefit they provide to the local community.

We must work together, across party lines and orders of government, for the good of our province and in order to protect small businesses during this difficult time.

I respectfully request that your government take immediate action to:

  • Extend the ban on commercial evictions until December 31st; and
  • Work with your federal counterparts to extend the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program until December 31st.

We know that the livelihoods of many family-run, small businesses hang in the balance and they are counting on us to ensure they can recover.

Thank you for your consideration in this regard.

Sincerely,

Ryan Turnbull
Member of Parliament for Whitby

cc:

The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Minister of Finance

The Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario

The Hon. Doug Downey, Attorney General of Ontario

Mr. Lorne Coe, MPP for Whitby

Ryan Turnbull speaks in the House of Commons

Sustainable Public Procurement – Using Government Purchasing Power to Transform Markets

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many issues to the surface and changed all facets of our lives. Early in the pandemic the vulnerabilities present within our supply chain became quite clear. Access to essential goods such as personal protective equipment, food, lumber, and many other items became difficult to come by. Government and the private sector were forced in a short timeframe to produce many essential goods domestically.

In my opinion one of the most promising and timely policy directions that we as a Federal Government can take is to ensure that we are buying goods and services according to our values.  This is referred to as Sustainable Public Procurement.  The Federal Government spends between $10-20 Billion annually on goods and services and wields considerable buying power.  As a customer, we are one of the largest in the country, which means we have influence to help send a clear market signal with our purchasing decisions.

In speaking with many constituents, I have heard over and over the need for Canada to refocus on rebuilding its domestic supply chains and ensuring that they are resilient and sustainable. Given the shocks that we have endured and likely will endure again, this is even more pressing.  This is not out of a protectionism that sometimes plagues these dialogues, but genuinely out of concern for being able to secure essential supplies in times when borders may be shut down or international trade relationships become strained due to scarce supply.

We all have seen the calls for an equitable society and racial justice. The inherent differences experienced by racialized people, and people of colour have been brought to the forefront of all our consciousness. Many other equity seeking groups, such as the LGBTQ2S+ community, and persons with disabilities find themselves excluded from the labour market or experiencing barriers to employment, challenges in upward mobility through no fault of their own.

Another looming crisis that has been approaching for generations that scientists and researchers have been clear is not a figment of the imagination, but instead is based on a body of evidence that is undeniably solid is Climate Change.  The potential for disruption to our daily lives of global climate change far surpasses that of the current global pandemic, and in many ways environmentalists, scientists and world leaders rightly perceive COVID-19 as a wake-up call or even a final alarm bell.  Seeing governments respond with such urgency during COVID-19 has been encouraging and many would welcome a similar response to the bigger impending crisis of climate change.  One of the main impediments to addressing global climate change is the private industries that continue to spew GHG emissions into the atmosphere contributing to our national emissions total.  As a government, we are committed to reaching Net Zero as a country by 2050 but this requires unprecedented and transformational shifts in all aspects of our economy, our purchasing decisions and behaviour as consumers and creating of new norms within the lives of Canadians.

All these concerns are at the forefront of people’s minds today and provide context for why I believe now is the time to introduce a Federal Government commitment to Sustainable Public Procurement.  We can achieve outcomes in all three of these key areas through adopting a sustainability framework into how the Federal Government evaluates bids and makes decisions on who we do business with.  By thinking about our purchasing decisions as a massive market force, we can introduce a new sense of social and environmental responsibility into the marketplace.  This means that through a competitive process we would favour businesses that are of different sizes and that operate domestically, that provide the most employment opportunities to equity seeking groups, and that reduce GHG emissions and their overall carbon footprint.  Changing the nature in which we do government purchasing will provide a shift in the market to enable Canadians to have more domestically sourced options while also lowering barriers to employment for equity-seeking groups and demonstrate a firm commitment to action on climate change.

 

Ryan Turnbull

Member of Parliament for Whitby

Letter in Support of Summer Camps

Ryan Turnbull Member of Parliament

August 14, 2020

The Honourable Bardish Chagger, P.C, M.P.
Minister of Diversity, Inclusion, and Youth
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Minister:

COVID-19 has impacted many facets of our lives and our young people have been particularly hit hard. Their school year ended early and many of them have not seen their friends for months. Summer camps across Canada have been struggling as a result of the pandemic. I write today to express my support for the government to provide financial assistance to Canada’s summer camps.

We all know the positive impacts the summer camp experience has on children across the country and it is important that we ensure that these opportunities continue to be available in the future. These experiences teach critical life skills to children and give them a lifetime of memories. These organizations also employ 70,000 Canadians and add a $1 billion to the Canadian economy. Many of these organizations have nearly lost all of their revenue this year and some will not survive without targeted financial support from government.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to working together to ensure Canada’s young people can enjoy the camp experience for generations to come.

Yours sincerely,

Ryan Turnbull

Member of Parliament for Whitby

cc:

The Hon. Bill Morneau, P.C.,M.P., Minister of Finance

The Hon. Steven Guilbeault, P.C., M.P., Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Matt Brundage

Ms. Catherine Kennedy

Mark Diamond, Vice-President, Ontario Camps Association

Letter to Minister Schulte on Long Term Care

Ryan Turnbull Member of Parliament

August 14, 2020

The Honourable Deb Schulte, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Seniors
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Minister:

Following up on our previous conversations, I write today with my wholehearted support for a national standard for long-term care.

The pandemic has laid bare what we have known for decades and failed to act on when it comes to long-term care. Some homes provide an inadequate level of care to our seniors. It is unbecoming of a country such as Canada to have those who cared for us and raised us to be treated in the ways described in the media.

I look forward to working together to improve the quality of life of our seniors.

Yours sincerely,

Ryan Turnbull

Member of Parliament for Whitby