Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank all the members of this House for granting unanimous consent for me to speak this morning. I am very grateful. I will be splitting my time with the member for Kootenay—Columbia.
I have the privilege of speaking this morning on Bill C-31, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine. This is a momentous time in our history for us to be looking at this bill together in this House. I am indeed very pleased to speak today on the topic of the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement and the benefits it will provide to all Canadians.
When we talk about trade, those are benefits that are going to each and every one of the 338 jurisdictions and ridings we have in our country. The good people who sent every member sitting in this House here to represent them will benefit from our free trade agreement. This is a good example of what Canada can do in the world, when Canada stands for progressive trade, and when Canada becomes a beacon of hope and openness around the world.
This agreement is an important step in Canada's relationship with Ukraine, and one that is supported by Canadians from across the country. Following the 125th anniversary of Ukrainian migration to Canada last year, we are reminded of the Ukrainian Canadian community, which is more than 1.2 million strong in our nation.
Our people-to-people ties form a strong foundation for the partnership enjoyed by Canada and Ukraine today. Canada has remained steadfast in its support of Ukraine and believes the free trade agreement will only strengthen this relationship going forward. Trade is good for the world; trade is good for the people.
In 1991, Canada became the first western country to recognize Ukraine's independence. I am sure this is an act that a lot of members in the House take great pride in. Since then, and especially now in the face of recent crises, Canada has prioritized its role in the international community by encouraging Ukraine's and Canada's shared commitment to security, advancing democracy, and promoting sustainable economic growth.
One of the ways that Canada has done this is through technical and financial assistance, which since 1991 amounts to more than $1.2 billion. Reflecting the multi-faceted nature of our relationship, this includes support for macroeconomic stabilization, democratic and economic reforms, support for promoting the rule of law, security and stability, and, very importantly, humanitarian assistance.
In addition, Canada is seeking to support efforts to find a lasting and sustainable resolution to the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine through the provision of stabilization and security assistance. Since 2014, over $60 million has been committed to support initiatives in a wide range of areas, including ceasefire and human rights monitoring, police reform, and non-military equipment and training.
Further, Canada has provided $27 million in humanitarian assistance to help people affected by the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, including emergency shelters and essential relief items, safe drinking water, food, sanitation, basic medical care, hygiene supplies, education, protection, and psychosocial support.
I am sure that every member in this House today recognizes how Canada is a power for good in the world. When I say these words, I am sure many of us take great pride in saying what role Canada can play in the world. As we can see through our multi-faceted work with Ukraine, Canada is deeply committed to supporting the economic reform and development efforts of the Government of Ukraine.
The Canada-Ukraine FTA will only reinforce these efforts. The agreement is complementary on the premise that economic development can strengthen the social foundations in countries and contribute to a domestic environment where human rights, good governance, and the rule of law are all respected.
I am sure that is something that all members in the House firmly believe to be the foundation of every nation. This agreement will create new business opportunities and assist with developing a predictable and prosperous future for Ukraine.
The beauty of the agreement, however, is that it is mutually beneficial. It has opportunities for both Ukraine and Canada. Tariff elimination will improve access to each other's markets and thus help to expand commerce between Canada and Ukraine.
Upon implementation, the Canada-Ukraine FTA will result in an immediate elimination of tariffs on 86% of Canadian exports to Ukraine. This is very significant. The remaining tariffs will be phased out over seven years on industrial products, fish and seafood, and essentially all agricultural goods exported by Canada.
Ukraine is an interesting market for Canadian exporters with opportunities in areas such as aerospace, agricultural equipment, information and communication technologies, agriculture, agrifood, fish and seafood, and mining equipment. At the same time Canada will eliminate tariffs on 99.9% of imports from Ukraine. This stands to benefit Ukrainian exporters for products such as sunflower oil, sugar and chocolate, baked goods, vodka, apparel, ceramics, and mineral products.
An hon. member: Vodka.
Hon. François-Philippe Champagne: Mr. Speaker, I see members already interested in free trade. It is only Friday morning, but I see a lot of support in the House for free trade.
Beyond tariff reductions, the FTA includes disciplines and commitments on non-tariff measures that will help ensure that market access gains are not constrained by unjustified trade barriers. This agreement also includes commitments on trade facilitation that are designed to reduce red tape at the border. These provisions will increase certainty and predictability for businesses, something that Canadian businesses across our country will want to see.
Furthermore, the Canada-Ukraine FTA reflects this government's commitment to a progressive approach to trade in trying to ensure that trade reflects Canadian values such as environmental protection and labour rights. This agreement therefore includes comprehensive provision in the areas of labour, environment, transparency, and anti-corruption.
As part of this free trade agreement, Canada and Ukraine have agreed on anti-corruption provisions to protect human rights. Under this agreement, Canada and Ukraine have committed to ensuring that companies can be held responsible for human rights violations.
The agreement also encourages both countries to look at implementing legal protection for whistleblowers. Time and again, Canada has shown that it considers protecting workers' rights a priority. It has negotiated labour protection provisions in the free trade agreements it is a party to, provisions that are essential to upholding human rights. The labour provisions in the free trade agreement with Ukraine will ensure that workers' basic rights are protected in both countries.
Canada and Ukraine also agreed to uphold the standards in the International Labour Organization's 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. To do so, both parties must comply with labour laws governing standards pertaining to minimum wage, hours of work, and workplace health and safety. The labour provisions protect the right to collective bargaining and freedom of association. Child labour, forced labour, and discrimination at work are forbidden. The Canadian labour movement made a vital contribution to promoting equality for women, indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities.
One of our government's priorities is to strengthen the middle class and ensure that all Canadians benefit from trade. Canada's long-term prosperity depends on broad access to foreign markets because trade is a driver of our country's growth and economic success. It enables Canadian businesses to grow, gives Canadian consumers access to a variety of products at competitive prices, and creates jobs for the middle class.
In closing, that is exactly what the free trade agreement with Ukraine is intended to do. I want to thank all members who are here this morning for adding their support by voting in favour of the Canada-Ukraine agreement. This support will help ensure that Canada remains a model of global progressive trade as well as a world leader that chooses to do business with a country like Ukraine, so that people on both sides of the Atlantic can benefit from a progressive trade agreement.