Omnibus budget bill: 5 things you may have missed
A pedestrian walks by Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Sonja Puzic , CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, March 30, 2014 6:02PM EDT
The Conservative government tabled its latest omnibus budget bill on Friday, setting off another round of criticism from opposition parties, who say the 359-page document is stuffed with amendments that have little or nothing to do with the budget itself.
The bill seeks to alter dozens of pieces of legislation, and includes a new law that would compel Canadian banks to share information about the holdings of dual U.S.-Canadian citizens with the American government.
Here are five highlights from the massive bill:
Crackdown on abuse of temporary foreign workers program: The bill proposes hefty penalties for companies caught abusing the system. The temporary foreign workers program is supposed to fill “genuine and acute labour needs” in Canada, but there are concerns that some employers are opting for cheaper labour rather than hiring unemployed Canadians. The new fines proposed by the government are expected to be in place by early 2015.
U.S. tax laws: The U.S. Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act, which is aimed at catching tax cheats, comes into effect July 1. The Canadian Bankers Association has already raised privacy concerns, but the omnibus bill includes a new piece of legislation that would require Canadian banks to report the financial holdings of dual Canadian-U.S. citizens.
Disgraced senators: In the wake of the Senate scandal, the government is seeking to prevent senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau from accruing pensionable service while they are under suspension from the upper chamber. Wallin’s lawyer, Terrence O’Sullivan, told The Canadian Press on Friday that the move is “wrong and contrary to law.” He said Wallin has not yet decided whether to challenge the proposed changes in court.
Roaming fees: The omnibus bill proposes a cap on roaming fees large wireless companies charge other domestic providers. Smaller companies often have to rely on cellphone towers belonging to large providers to give their customers wide coverage, which can result in high roaming fees.
Cheers to that: The bill would also allow Canadians to transport beer and liquor for "personal consumption" from province to province.
With files from The Canadian Press