The Federal Budget Implementation Act, Bill C-30, was passed by the House of Commons today by a vote of 211 to 121 and will now be debated by the Senate. The Bill passed the House with the support of NDP and Bloc Members of Parliament, while the Conservatives voted against the legislation. With a federal election widely expected in late Summer or Fall, the Trudeau Government will want the Senate to pass Bill C-30 before adjourning for the Summer. If the Senate makes amendments to Bill C-30, stakeholders should expect the Government to recall the House, if necessary, to consider the Senate amendments and ultimately ensure that the Bill receives Royal Assent. Bill C-30 contains many provisions related to ongoing and new programs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it is important to the Government, from both a political and a policy perspective, that the legislation passes.
What Comes Next
Typically, there are two Budget Implementation Acts (BIAs) for every federal Budget. The first BIA is introduced in the Spring and passed before Parliament adjourns in June. The second BIA is usually introduced in the Fall and passed before Parliament adjourns in December. But, this year, with an election widely expected in late Summer or Fall, the introduction of a second BIA is uncertain.
Bill C-30 now passes to the Senate for consideration. Several Senate Committees undertook pre-studies of the Bill, which should allow for faster passage of the legislation through the Senate. That said, in the recent past, the Senate has often proposed amendments to BIAs, so stakeholders that have a vested interest in provisions of Bill C-30 should pay close attention to the Senate’s deliberations on the Bill.
Several tax measures, including the creation of a Digital Sales Tax, were announced in Federal Budget 2021, but not contained in Bill C-30. The Government says that it plans to consult on those proposed changes before introducing implementing legislation. That process could be interrupted by an election, meaning the future of these measures is very much dependent on the timing and outcome of the next election.