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e-3094 (Foreign affairs)

Initiated by mimi lee from Markham, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

  • After the United States, China is Canada’s second largest trading partner for both imports and exports;
  • An agreement between Canada and China to produce a CanSino Biologics COVID-19 vaccine failed after Chinese customs refused to allow shipment of the vaccine for Canadian trials;
  • Canada is dependent on China's supply chain, especially for essential goods like Perosnal Protective Equipment (PPE);
  • The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) used United Front networks to gather and stockpile PPE from countries around the world, including Canada at the beginning of the pandemic;
  • There are credible reports of labour and human rights abuses and violations in Chinese factories which supply many global brand; and
  • The Canada-China FIPPA is lopsided, anti-democratic and locks Canada into 31 years of investment protection for CCP state-owned corporations.
We, the undersigned, citizens or residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to:
1. Make policies to ensure Canada rebuilds its manufacturing base for essential goods and focuses on trade partnerships with democratic countries that respect the rule of law;
2. Ensure Canada reduces dependency on countries like China, where evidence supports violations of human rights, and takes punitive measures for violations of human rights;
3. Initiate the Standing Committee on International Trade to investigate and provide a report on Canada's trading relationship with China, including the ongoing implications of the Canada-China FIPPA, and specifically to examine human rights violations in China and Canada’s supply chain dependency on China.

Response by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne

Helping Canada Build Back Better

From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has demonstrated its commitment to use every tool available to combat the virus and mitigate its economic harm. The Government of Canada has taken, and continues to take, strong and decisive action to protect the health of Canadians as well as support Canadian workers and businesses.

The Government of Canada has made major investments in health care, in procuring medical and personal protective equipment, in income support and paid sick leave, in responding to businesses urgent needs and in keeping Canadians safe, healthy, and solvent through the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada’s broad and ambitious suite of measures has been designed to protect the health and safety of all Canadians, bridge Canada’s economy through the effects of widespread lockdowns, and position Canada well for a post-pandemic recovery.

Budget 2021 outlines a plan that will get Canadians back to work and begin improving Canada’s growth potential. The actions in Budget 2021 build upon the commitments made in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement and the Enhanced Climate Plan, which together comprise a recovery plan that will create shared prosperity, improve Canadians’ quality of life, and power our green transformation.

The Government of Canada is acutely aware that certain industries and commodities are critical to the country’s ability to protect the health and safety of Canadians. The Government has promoted a made-in-Canada approach in our purchases of personal protective equipment and other medical equipment and intends to continue to invest in Canadian industries and support Canadian jobs.

Strategic Investments in the Life Sciences

The pandemic has highlighted the need for a revitalized life sciences sector in Canada. As such, the Government has turned to the advice of the COVID-19 Vaccine and Therapeutics Task Forces, comprised of Canada’s leading vaccine and immunology experts and industry leaders, to inform strategic decision-making relating to both Canada’s immediate pandemic needs and long-term vision for the Canadian life sciences sector.

On March 20, 2020, the Government of Canada launched a Call to Action to mobilize Canadian manufacturers and businesses to assist Canada in meeting the need for personal protective equipment, medical devices, and associated critical commodities. Since then, over 6,500 companies have offered their expertise and capacity. By leveraging programming, engagement across departments, and collaborating with industry, the Made in Canada Project has successfully secured domestic manufacturing to meet these needs.

Investments in the Canadian life sciences sector not only protect Canadians in the event of a pandemic, but also provide enormous economic benefits associated with growing manufacturing capacity, attracting vaccine developers and connecting Canada's world leading life science researchers and start-ups with opportunities to grow and succeed in Canada.

To this end, the Government of Canada has made a number of strategic investments in domestic capabilities to develop and produce vaccines, therapeutics and drugs in the country. These investments include:

  • The National Research Council (NRC) (Montréal, Quebec) - $126 million to establish the new Biologics Manufacturing Centre with vaccine manufacturing capabilities;
  • Medicago (Quebec City, Quebec) - $173 million to develop a plant-based virus-like-particle vaccine and for the construction of a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility, alongside an Advance Purchase Agreement (APA) for eventual purchase of its vaccines;
  • Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) - $35 million to establish GMP-certified biomanufacturing capacity, and to accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines;
  • AbCellera (Vancouver, British Columbia) - $175.6 million in government support for antibody discovery and clinical testing and for the construction of a GMP facility;
  • Precision Nanosystems (Vancouver, British Columbia) - $25.1 million in government support to build a biomanufacturing centre for production of ribonucleic acid (RNA) vaccines, in addition to an investment of $18.2M for the company to develop its RNA based vaccine;
  • Laboratoires KABS (St-Hubert and Val des Sources, Quebec) - $54.25 million toward a biologics production facility with a focus on antibody therapies and new fill-finish capabilities;
  • Novocol (Cambridge, Ontario) - $32.7 million contribution toward expanded fill-finish capacity;
  • Variation Biotechnologies (Ottawa, Ontario) - $55.9 million to advance the development of an enveloped virus-like-particle (eVLP) vaccine candidate for COVID-19 through pre-clinical studies and clinical trials;
  • Arch Biopartners (Toronto, Ontario) - $6.7 million to advance Metablock, a treatment to help block inflammation in the lungs, liver and kidneys, through clinical trials II;
  • Edesa Biotech Research (Markham, Ontario) – $14 million to develop a monoclonal antibody therapy as a treatment for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, the leading cause of death among COVID-19 patients;
  • Immune Biosolutions (Sherbrooke, Quebec) - $13.4 million to advance its COVID-19 therapeutic candidate from preclinical studies through to Phase II clinical trials. Immune Biosolutions will establish clinical scale biomanufacturing capacity to develop a new accelerated discovery process that will support future biologics and discovery work; and,
  • Sanofi Pasteur Limited (Toronto, Ontario) - $415 million to support in building an end-to-end influenza vaccine biomanufacturing facility. The facility will serve as their international production and distribution center of their high-dose seasonal influenza vaccine, FLUZONE® High Dose Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (FLUZONE® HD QIV), and will have the ability to pivot to pandemic influenza production.

The Government is also actively considering a number of other investments to help round out our capabilities. Furthermore, the Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canada remains well-positioned to respond to the current pandemic as well as future health emergencies.

Budget 2021 illustrates the Government of Canada’s deep commitment to Canada’s biomanufacturing and life science sector, by investing a total of $2.2 billion over seven years towards growing a vibrant domestic life sciences sector. This support would provide foundational investments to help build Canada’s talent pipeline and research system, and support the growth of Canada life sciences firms, including:

  • $500 million for the Canada Foundation for Innovation to support the bioscience capital and infrastructure needs of post-secondary institutions and research hospitals;
  • $250 million for the federal granting councils to create a new tri-council biomedical research fund;
  • $92 million for adMare to support company creation, scale up, and training activities in the life sciences sector;
  • $59.2 million for VIDO to support the development of its vaccine candidates and expand its facility in Saskatoon; and,
  • $45 million for the Stem Cell Network to support stem cell and regenerative medicine.

Several other initiatives included in Budget 2021 include targeted support for the life sciences and biomanufacturing sector, including:

  • $1 billion through the Strategic Innovation Fund would be targeted towards promising domestic life sciences and biomanufacturing firms;
  • $250 million to increase clinical research capacity through the new Canadian Institutes of Health Research Clinical Trials Fund; and,
  • $50 million to create a new life sciences stream in the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative.

Through these and other investments, the Government of Canada remains committed to supporting a strong recovery and a vibrant life sciences sector in Canada.

Additionally, Canada has a strong advanced manufacturing sector, which provides essential goods, such as food products, to both domestic and international markets. Throughout the pandemic, the Government of Canada has worked closely with provincial governments and industry to overcome challenges facing essential sectors, including addressing barriers to international movement of goods and services, supporting rapid testing programs to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at work sites, and supporting a multitude of programs to provide businesses with access to capital.

Furthermore, the Government of Canada is assessing all options to ensure future supply chain security, including in collaboration with likeminded partners. The Government has worked closely with industry in strategizing how to rebuild Canada’s economy together, through forums like the Industry Strategy Council. Government and industry have exemplified a strong partnership over the course of the pandemic, and will continue working together to support Canadians, rebuild the national economy, and secure critical supply chains.

Response by the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Rachel Bendayan

1. Canada’s trade policy is geared toward building economic opportunities for Canadians in all sectors, including in the manufacturing sector. Canada’s network of free trade agreements creates opportunities to expand exports, build resilient and stable supply chains and create jobs for Canadians.

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) is a solid foundation for building Canada’s prosperity and has set a valuable example of the benefits of trade liberalization for the rest of the world.

The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) presents Canadian businesses with preferential access to, and excellent opportunities for growth, in the EU.

Through the Canada-Korea FTA and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Canada has secured preferential market access to some of our most important trading partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

The recently concluded Canada-UK Trade Continuity Agreement further adds to our list of free trade agreements which includes key trading partners like Chile, Israel, Colombia and Peru.

The Government is also pursuing new opportunities and agreements to help Canadian businesses gain preferential access to key markets and grow their businesses in the world economy.

Comprehensive free trade agreement negotiations with Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance continue to progress as does the proposed modernization of Canada’s free trade agreement with Ukraine.

We are working to expand the CPTPP through accessions, working toward a trade agreement with India, advancing a possible trade agreement with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and exploring a possible trade agreement with Indonesia.

Fostering greater engagement and closer ties with countries, including through free trade agreements, is an effective way of promoting Canadian values, such as human rights, democracy, openness and respect for the rule of law and rules-based international trade.

2. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canadian businesses at home and abroad are not unknowingly involved in any supply chains involving forced labour. We remain steadfast in our commitment to increasing supply chain transparency, promoting responsible business conduct, and ensuring that Canadian companies are upholding Canadian values, wherever they may operate. We are encouraging Canadian companies to take steps to maximize the resiliency of their supply chains.

Through Canada’s Trade Diversification Strategy, the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) is proactively helping Canadian businesses diversify their trade – in terms of where they trade, who trades and how they trade. The TCS is providing clients and stakeholders information on the risks of doing business in China, including the importance of Responsible Business Conduct and international best practices for Canadian companies operating abroad, as well as new risks related to human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and Hong Kong’s National Security Law.

To safeguard Canadian supply chains and prevent Canadian businesses from becoming unknowingly complicit, on January 12, 2021 Canada announced a suite of measures to address extensive human rights violations against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in the XUAR in China.

Also, on March 22, 2021, Canada imposed sanctions on 4 Chinese officials and 1 entity under the Special Economic Measures (People’s Republic of China) Regulations, based on their participation in gross and systematic human rights violations in the XUAR. These measures were taken in coordination with the United States and the United Kingdom, and in solidarity with the European Union. The Special Economic Measures (People’s Republic of China) Regulations impose on listed individuals a prohibition on any transaction (effectively, an asset freeze) by prohibiting persons in Canada, and Canadians outside Canada, from engaging in any activity related to any property of these individuals or providing financial or related services to them. The individuals listed in the schedule to the regulations are also rendered inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

These measures are a part of a comprehensive approach to human rights advocacy for Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities facing persecution in China.  Canada will continue to call on the People’s Republic of China to respect and protect human rights and to allow for meaningful, unfettered access to the XUAR so that impartial experts can observe and report on the situation first-hand.  

Together with likeminded countries, a collective approach to mitigating supply chain risks will help Canada to achieve our overarching human rights objectives – in the XUAR as well as other jurisdictions requiring enhanced due diligence.

Beyond strengthening supply chain integrity, Canada is also ramping up efforts to reinvest in critical supply chains, such as critical minerals, and bio-manufacturing. For instance, on January 9, 2020, Canada and the U.S. finalized the Canada-U.S. Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration. This plan advances our mutual interest in securing supply chains for the critical minerals needed for important manufacturing sectors, including communication technology, aerospace and defence, and clean technology. Furthermore, on February 23, 2021, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden issued a Roadmap for a Renewed Canada-U.S. Partnership, which includes a commitment to strengthen the Canada-U.S. Critical Minerals Action Plan, as well as cooperation under the U.S.-led Energy Resource Governance - a multi-country initiative promoting sound mining sector governance, and secure and resilient supply chains for critical energy minerals.

 Additionally, resources will be provided to bolster Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy. On December 11, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that it will be investing $3 billion over 5 years through the Strategic Innovation Fund’s new Net Zero Accelerator fund to rapidly expedite decarbonization projects with large emitters, scale-up clean technology and accelerate Canada's industrial transformation across all sectors.

3. Canadian parliamentarians enjoy the right to freedom of speech and expression within Canada. Parliament is an independent institution and the Government of Canada is not involved in parliamentary matters, including recommendations for topics of studies for standing or special committees.

Open for signature
January 7, 2021, at 4:56 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
March 8, 2021, at 4:56 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Paul Manly (Nanaimo—Ladysmith)
March 24, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00711)
Government response tabled
May 7, 2021
Photo - Paul Manly
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia
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