[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

Thursday, November 20, 1997

• 0837

The Standing Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons for the Scrutiny of Regulations met this day at 8:37 a.m. for the review of statutory instruments.

Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette and Mr. Derek Lee (Joint Chairmen) in the Chair.


The Joint Chairman (Mr. Derek Lee (Scarborough—Rouge River, Lib.)): I call the meeting to order. On a technical note, neither House of Parliament has yet concurred in the first report of this committee. Therefore, the technical foundations of our quorum are not in place. Rather than go into details about what is a quorum, I recommend to members that we proceed with a meeting which may be technically ad hoc. We will, if necessary, adopt the transcript of this meeting at a subsequent meeting as being the transcript of the real meeting.

Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): The clerk brings to our attention the fact that our steering committee is now properly populated and named to include the Joint Chairmen, the Vice-Chairman, Richard Marceau from the Bloc, Lorne Nystrom from the NDP, and Senator Normand Grimard from the Progressive Conservative Party.

The second matter has to do with a proposed meeting with Treasury Board to review the subject of the regulatory processes set out in a report of the Fraser Institute. That was discussed at an earlier meeting. Mr. John MacBride is available on Thursday, December 4.

Are members prepared to hear from Mr. MacBride on December 4? We would want to review some of the background beforehand.

The Joint Clerk of the Committee (Mr. Tõnu Onu): This is a follow-up to the report which Senator Kelly brought to the attention of the committee at the last meeting. The gist of the Fraser Institute report is that many regulations are not meeting the regulatory impact assessment statements which are supposed to be made for each regulation. The interest of the committee is to obtain a response to that report from Treasury Board. That is the background.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): Are we ready, counsel?

Mr. François-R. Bernier (General Counsel to the Committee): Yes, Mr. Chairman. Is it the sense of the committee that, at the same, we can also hear from the Department of the Environment, assuming their witness can be available? You will recall at the last meeting that members wanted to see them concerning the tardiness of some replies.

Senator Kelly is not here. I do not know how many questions members might want to ask, or how long they might want to question Treasury Board on the matter of the regulatory impact analysis statements, but if it is a matter of 20 minutes, or a half hour, being sufficient, then perhaps we could also hear from the Department of the Environment at the same time.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): I gather there is some element of killing two or three birds with one stone, putting them together to be efficient. I am only concerned that members be prepared to address the subject. We would have a representative from the Department of the Environment and the Treasury Board on the same day.

M. Bernier: The environment matter is not a substantive one. It is just procedure.

The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette (Bedford, Lib.)): It has to do with why they do not reply on time and is meant to ensure that they know that we know that they are not doing their job properly. It will not take long.

The Fraser Institute report is part of the global review of the costs of regulations and their impact on businesses. It is good to remind Treasury Board that that is their mandate.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): Shall we go ahead with the December 4 meeting, then, and prepare?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see appendix p. 3A:1.)

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): The first item on the formal agenda relates to the Public Harbours Regulations and the letter from the minister.

I have been through this at least a couple of times. Your chair is relatively disappointed in the quality of the legal arguments. Could I ask counsel, first, to outline briefly for members the issue, and, second, to indicate what our options are at this point?

M. Bernier: The Public Harbours Regulations can only apply to harbours that have been specifically proclaimed to be public harbours within the meaning of the Public Harbours and Ports Facilities Act.

Some members will recall that at one point in the last Parliament, it came to light that the regulations were being applied to harbours that had never been properly proclaimed to be public harbours. The department had so far refused the committee's suggestions that it review all existing Orders in Council to determine which harbours were properly proclaimed as public harbours and which were not.

At the same time, the department was proceeding with the so-called deproclamation process in which the status of public harbour was being withdrawn from most harbour as part of the process of privatization.

In their last letter to the minister, the chairmen pointed out that the deproclamation process, while it would indeed settle the issue as far as the deproclaimed harbours are concerned, still left the status of the remaining harbours unclear. There were some 101 of those.

In his reply, the minister indicates that in parallel with the deproclamation of yet more harbours — that is, that process will continue — the department is now willing to undertake an examination of the status of the remaining harbours, which is exactly what was suggested by this committee some years ago.

At this point, I would suggest that the chair now write to the new minister asking for a progress report.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): Are there any comments?

I have a question for counsel. On page 2 of the letter of April 17 from the minister, the minister offers to declare the harbour as a public harbour as one option of resolution. For example, if it has never been done and 80 years ago it was not done, we would declare it to be a harbour before deproclaiming it, or whatever else was to occur.

The next paragraph states — and I do not understand this — that one of the reasons they do not declare retroactively harbours to be harbours is that it might prejudice someone who had a cause of action against the Crown.

I do not understand why in the first paragraph it is being proposed as an option that a harbour be declared a harbour, while in the second paragraph it states that it could never be declared retroactively that a harbour is a public harbour because it might prejudice someone if they had an action against the Crown. That seems to be inconsistent.

M. Bernier: The answer is contained in the first paragraph of the letter, as you mentioned, Mr. Chairman. The reference there is not for a retroactive declaration. The minister is saying that if we find that a harbour has not been properly proclaimed, we will now proclaim it to be a public harbour. That declaration could have and would have no retroactive effect whatsoever. What the status of the matter would have been for the first 80 years is left up in the air, but it would be settled for the future by means of a declaration.

In the second paragraph, he is referring to a suggestion the committee made for legislation deeming harbours to have been proclaimed properly. That is the approach he is refusing there.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): Are there any comments from members?

It works for me. We will do what counsel has suggested. We will ask for a status report from the minister.


(For text of documents, see appendix p. 3B:1.)

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): The next item on the agenda deals with the same ministry.

Mr. Peter Bernhardt (Counsel to the Committee): The issue here is the proper interpretation of section 178 of the National Transportation Act, which until it was repealed last year provided for payment of subsidies for the operation of money-losing branch lines during a defined claim period.

Section 178(1) of the act defines the claim period on the basis of a beginning date, which in this case was the date the application for the abandonment of the branch line was filed, and an end date, which normally would be the date fixed for abandonment in the order issued by the National Transportation Agency.

What happened in this instance, however, is that the abandonment order was rescinded on appeal to cabinet. There no longer being a date for abandonment, the committee has taken the view that there is no end date. If there is no end date, there can be no claim period. It follows, then, that if there is no claim period, there can be no entitlement subsidies.

In fact, however, subsidies were paid and continued to be paid for losses incurred until the relevant provisions of the act were repealed effective July 1, 1996.

The minister has taken the view that notwithstanding the rescission of the abandonment order, the application for abandonment remained active. Thus, there was a start date. It is then said that whenever the application might ultimately have been disposed of would, in the fullness of time, evolve into an end date.

Despite repeated requests from the committee, most recently in the letter from the chairmen, no wording in the act has ever been cited to support this. In fact, the department in the past conceded that the relevant section of the act did not provide for these particular circumstances.

Nevertheless, the minister continues to assert the subsidies were lawfully paid. His latest letter adds little to the debate. It does not explain how section 178(1) applies to establish an end date in this instance. In fact, there is not even any reference to the wording of that section.

Although payment of the subsidies has now ended, and the repeal of the relevant provisions means that branch line subsidies are no longer being paid and the situation cannot arise again, it is still the case that payments were made without lawful authority. Compounding that, the government persisted in continuing these payments even after the committee's objections had been made known to the department. In fact, the department studiously avoided any discussion of the wording of the act and making any argument that on the wording of the act they were entitled to do this.

As to what to do next, I suppose the committee might wish to consider making a report, thus drawing this to the attention of the Houses. That would at least serve to close the issue from the committee's perspective.

First, however, perhaps a final letter to the new minister could be prepared, going back over the comments made in the chairmen's letter of December 28, 1995, a copy of which is in the materials, asking for the precise wording in section 178 upon which the department relies. It might also be of some interest to find out just exactly what the amount of subsidies paid turned out to be in the end.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): Are there any comments from members?

Senator Lewis: What would be the benefit of pursuing the last suggestion?

Mr. Bernhardt: I suppose that if the committee is looking ultimately to make a report on the matter, it would want to be able to state that this is the amount that was paid. If the committee wishes ultimately to report that this amount was paid unlawfully, I suppose we should at least have a figure to attach to that.

Senator Lewis: It seems to me that we should make a report.Perhaps we should go along those lines.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): Looking at it very basically, I see a payment having been made of public funds on a basis that was not legal. Whoever wrote the cheque, whoever ordered the payment of the cheque and the calculation of the amount, did it without legal authority. In the first instance, they made a mistake. In the second or third instance, they did it in the face of the view of this committee that it was illegal.

This is an ultra vires act by the government. This is the kind of thing we are here to keep an eye on. I am of the view that there ought at least to be a report. I would not have had difficulty disallowing the regulation or order under which the payment was made.

In this case, it is after the fact. The statute no longer exists. However, the fact is that there is in existence an order or regulation which, in my view, is ultra vires, and we do not have to allow ultra vires orders to stand. When I draw a line in the sand, I draw it a lot more firmly than just to report that an illegal payment has been made. We already told them once that it was unfounded.

Are there further comments from members?

Mr. Mark: Mr. Chairman, I certainly share your point of view. I believe it is the responsibility of this committee to scrutinize expenditures of the government. The least we can do is submit a report on the matter and request a response from the minister.

Senator Lewis: That is my view. I do not think we should ignore it. We should take a stand on this matter.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): There seems to be a view that we should report firmly and do nothing more than that.

Mr. Wappel: Mr. Chairman, what do you mean by "do nothing more than that"? What do you have in mind?

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): Your chair had considered disallowance.

Mr. Wappel: Of what?

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): Of the order under which the original illegal payment was made.

Mr. Wappel: To what end?

The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): To get back the money.

Mr. Wappel: There must be a purpose, Mr. Chairman.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): Firmly drawing a line in the sand is what your chair had in mind. It is illegal; we disallow.

Mr. Wappel: That would be disallowing a regulation under a statute which does not exist.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): It did exist. We disallow retroactively all the time. We have to because we look at things after orders have been made.

Mr. Wappel: I would like counsel's view on that.

Mr. Bernhardt: As far as disallowance, the money has been paid. The provisions under which the payment was made no longer exist. Disallowance would be, I suppose, to give it a characterization, a purely symbolic gesture.

I suppose the committee could recommend that legislation be introduced to deem these things to have been validly made so that at least parliamentary approval is sought for the payments. The committee always has the option, under the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, to require a comprehensive government response to its report as well. It would not necessarily be simply a matter of tabling a report and walking away; it would once again at least attempt to force the government to give some legal justification for what it did.

The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): We do not know whether we are talking about a small amount or a big amount. We should not make a big deal of it if it is not a big deal. Why do we not first learn how much is at stake? There are principles, but at the same time we should be practical.

The first step should be to get a report on what amount is at stake and then at the next meeting we could deal with the matter. If it is important, we might consider the option of legislation.

Mr. Bernhardt: The first step could be to write to the new minister saying that the committee is not happy with the responses received so far, is thinking about reporting, but is providing the government with one more chance to put a good legal argument on the table for us to look at. We could ask for the figure as well.

Senator Lewis: I suppose that in the future this might be of interest to the Auditor General.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): Do I take it that the question is to report or not to report; that we are not interested in disallowance?

Mr. Wappel: No. The question is to write to the minister asking for the appropriate information. When we get that, we will make our decision.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): There was reference earlier to asking for a comprehensive report. We have invited such a response from this ministry for a couple of years. I do not see them as being capable of providing a comprehensive report.

Mr. Wappel: Mr. Chairman, counsel said he would ask for a comprehensive legal argument, presumably failing which the committee will discuss reporting to the House, and presumably giving them a relatively short period of time in which to respond. It will be back before us in the new year and we will deal with it then.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): Is that agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see appendix p. 3C:1.)

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): Counsel, will you outline this issue for us?

Mr. Bernhardt: The section in question, 4(1.1) of the regulations, deals with minimum liability insurance for low-value cargo. The minister's reply indicates that the future of the entire act is under discussion with the provinces. The proposals for amending the act are expected in 1997. It is also suggested that the end result may well be that the need for this entire regulation will simply disappear.

The minister has also undertaken to revoke the section in question should the amendments to the act not go forward within a reasonable period of time.

That letter from the minister is from exactly one year ago. The amendments have not yet been tabled. I suggest that it may be time to write back to the Minister of Transport to ask whether the amendments are imminent. If it is not expected that they will be tabled in the near future, perhaps the minister could be asked whether he will proceed with his predecessor's undertaking to revoke this provision independently of the broader provision process.

The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): This answer is from November 1996. Since then a new government and a new minister are in place. The letter says that discussions are being held and that there may be some changes. The committee did not ask our staff to request a progress report before this meeting. If we knew that there was an agreement with the provinces and that a bill would be tabled next week in the House of Commons, this would have a different meaning. We are dealing with something that is one year old. It is nice to deal with something after the fact, but this is more than after the fact; it is outdated.

In matters such as this, could we at least have an update?

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): Does counsel have information about the status of the new statute?

M. Bernier: As Mr. Bernhardt has indicated, there has been no new legislation introduced. We do not have that information. I suppose that the reason this is before the committee is that this is correspondence from the chairmen to the minister. In the past, counsel has not felt free to follow up on correspondence on ministers' replies. In the absence of a new chair, of course, there could be no further letter from the committee Chair.

You will find there are quite a few of those simply because there has been a general election and a dissolution of Parliament. Ministerial correspondence has been caught up in that.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): Let us check on the status of their proposal to amend the statute and then get back to it.




The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Overflight Charges Regulations, under the heading New Instruments.

M. Bernier: Madam Chairman, a drafting issue was raised with respect to SOR/95-471. The statutory instrument was subsequently repealed and the issue is resolved. We can now close the file.


The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): The next matter is under Progress (?). Are there any comments on this file, Mr. Bernier?

M. Bernier: I think that the dates following the title of the regulations indicate why there is a question mark. This matter goes back a good 10 years. In his letter of May 16, 1997, Mr. Watts provided the committee with an update on the steps taken by the government with a view to resolving some of the problems raised by the committee. At this point, I would suggest that another letter be sent to him asking him for another update and whether the government plans to reintroduce Bill C-79.


This may also be an appropriate time to comment on the approach followed in Bill C-79, the Indian Act Optional Modification Act. While the bill would have addressed a number of concerns raised by the joint committee through statutory amendment, it would also have made the coming into force or the applicability of those amendments dependent on an Indian band decision. The result may be that the amendments would be in force for one-half or one-quarter of the Indian bands in Canada and not the rest.

This means that the proposed legislation only addresses the concerns of the committee regarding bands that will opt into the legislative amendments. For remaining Indian bands, the committee would be no closer to a resolution of its concerns than it was before.

Having noted this on the record, I would suggest that the first step is still finding out whether the government intends to reintroduce this legislation and, if so, when.


The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): If I understand you correctly, if all nations opted in, we would no longer have any problems, but if a single nation remains under the former act, we will continue to have these problems.

M. Bernier: This bill is a bit odd because in this case, Parliament has legislated and left the choice of adopting the act up to the people.0


Mr. Wappel: In response to counsel's comment, the way I read this letter, the bureaucrats have accepted our position and have drafted the legislation accordingly to deal with these things. It is clear from the last sentence in the first paragraph that, as a result of political considerations, the minister at the last moment decided to make it an optional piece of legislation because of the dynamics of aboriginal politics.

Just for the record, it seems that in this case we had bureaucrats who were prepared to accept the committee's viewpoint. They were prepared to do so and, in fact, had initiated the legislation. Only at the last minute, for political reasons, was it made optional.


The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): So we will follow up with a letter.

M. Bernier: We will start by seeing if this bill is still viable, and the committee will then be in a position to make a decision.


The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): The next item under Reply Satisfactory is SOR/91-489.

M. Bernier: In this case, Madam Chairman, legal counsels questioned whether section 8(1.1) of the Regulations was perhaps no longer needed in light of the exceptions already set out in sections 6(7)(a) and (b). The explanation received from the department indicates that this is not the case. I would add that two other drafting issues that had been raised have since been resolved. If members agree, this matter is closed.

The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): We are satisfied with the answers and the action taken. Are there any questions? The matter is resolved.


(For text of documents, see Appendix p. 3D:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Under the heading Part Action Promised is SOR/93-3. Mr. Bernhardt, do you have any comments to make on this item?


Mr. Bernhardt: The great majority of the points raised in counsel's letter have been addressed by the department either through promises of amendments or by the giving of satisfactory explanations.

With regard to the amendments that have been promised, they remain outstanding. Therefore, the department should be asked when it is expected they will be made.

In addition, there are several possible points of contention which remain and may well be worth writing back on. Specifically, I refer to points 1, 23, 26 and 27 of the correspondence.

I will try to summarize as briefly as possible. Point 1 concerns failure to recite that these amendments were pre-published. In this case, pre-publication was required under the statute and the applicable Privy Council Office directives require recital of the fulfilment of this condition.

The department states that it saw no need for this recital and views the matter as one of drafting preference. While nothing significant really turns on the point, if a letter is to go to the department at any rate, it might be worth reminding them of the contents of the Privy Council Office directive and that this is more than a drafting preference.

Point 23 concerns sections 39 and 41 of the regulations. The department's reply in connection with section 39 seems satisfactory. It is questionable whether the same can be said of the reply as it relates to section 41. Section 41 imposes obligations on operators of reception facilities for oil residues and sludge to ensure that a sufficient number of persons are on duty during transfer operations.

The department acknowledges there is currently no authority in the act for this provision. It states that an amendment to provide the requisite authority is being drafted.

Again, to date, that amendment has not been tabled. The department should be asked for the time-frame on that.

In the meantime, of course, the ultra vires provision remains in the regulations. Moreover, the amendment of the act will not be seen as breathing life into an ultra vires provision for which no authority existed previously. In view of that, the committee might wish to consider suggesting that section 41 be re-enacted once the new enabling authority is in place.

It may also want to consider asking for an assurance from the department that no one will be prosecuted for contravening this provision until there is an authority in place and it has been properly re-enacted.

Point 26 deals with sections 43, 44 and 45 of the regulations. These impose obligations on supervisors of loading and unloading reception facilities. The issue here is the same, that is, the absence of an enabling authority. There is a promise of an amendment to fix that, but presumably it would be dealt with in the same way as the previous point.

That leaves point 27, a drafting matter that was raised concerning section 49. The defective portion, as presently worded, renders section 49 basically meaningless. It provides that the owner or master of a ship may receive documents. He could receive documents if this section were not there. Apparently, it is intended to place a duty on the appropriate officials to issue those documents to the owner or master of a ship that meets the requirements.

The department replies that the present wording is causing no difficulty. Since the present wording puts no duties, obligations or requirements on anyone, it is no surprise that it has caused no difficulties.

The department agreed to take the question into account in any future drafting activity. Presumably, this means whenever section 49 is to be amended for some other reason, somewhere down the road.

Perhaps a more definite undertaking should be sought. I suggest the department either be asked to delete a meaningless provision or to put some content into it and have it say what it is apparently intended to say.

On those points, I would suggest a further letter to the department.


The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Any other comments?


Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): Have we dealt with airport zoning yet?

M. Bernier: That is next.


The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): So for instrument SOR/93-3, a letter will be sent to them to clarify the outstanding items.


The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): We will now look at SOR/95-545.


M. Bernier: In this case, an amendment to the French version of paragraph (b) of Part II of the Schedule is promised.

Mr. Rousseau had also queried the meaning of the expression "displaced threshold" which appears in the same description of the approach surfaces of the airport.

In her reply, Madam Burel furnishes a definition of this term; but this definition does not form part of the regulation. I presume that it is taken out of a technical manual.

To the extent the expression forms part of the description of approach surfaces, and in light of the fact that we are dealing with a zoning regulation, I suggest that this term must be defined in the regulation itself. If the committee agrees, a request along those lines will be made to the department.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): My response is that only in this committee do we have the delightful opportunity to address concepts such as "an associated displaced threshold".

As much as I accept counsel's submission, I think it is a shame if we have to define it. I originally thought that was the problem that opposition parties had with the government party, and that it is so useful in many ways in life. However, if we define it, we will only be able to use it for what it is defined. So I would be cautious about pushing them too hard about the definition.

I did enjoy learning what it was all about. Thank you.



(For text of documents, see Appendix p. 3E:1.)


(For text of documents, see Appendix p. 3F:1.)


(For text of documents, see Appendix p. 3G:1.)


(For text of documents, see Appendix p. 3H:1.)


(For text of documents, see Appendix p. 3I:1.)


The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): It is less romantic in French, the concept is a lot less exciting. We are now looking at SOR/96-66, under Action Promised.

M. Bernier: Madam Chairman, if the committee agrees, we could deal with all of the documents appearing under the heading Action Promised as a group.

The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): That is fine with me.

M. Bernier: For the eight statutory instruments under this heading, I will simply point out that the joint committee has been promised that a total of 11 regulatory amendments will be made. Some of these statutory instruments also adopt amendments promised to the committee.


(For text of documents, see Appendix p. 3J:1.)


(For text of documents, see Appendix p. 3K:1.)


(For text of documents, see Appendix p. 3L:1.)


(For text of documents, see Appendix p. 3M:1.)



(For text of documents, see Appendix p. 3N:1.)


(For text of documents, see Appendix p. 3O:1.)


(For text of documents, see Appendix p. 3P:1.)


(For text of documents, see Appendix p. 3Q:1.)









(For text of documents, see Appendix p. 3R:1.)

M. Bernier: These items and nine statutory instruments under the heading Action taken represent a total of 43 amendments following committee recommendations. Two statutory instruments were validated through legislation and eight statutory instruments were deemed repealed following the repeal of the enabling legislation.


The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): I just want to say to colleagues that this bundle of work that we have here before us is certainly a large volume. I want to congratulate the staff for getting through all of it.

In particular, for the benefit of new members, the first item on the Award Regulations gives a good example of the kind of work that the staff does. Just in this first example, it deals with one case of an unauthorized subdelegation and a second issue involving a regulation that would have, on its face, contravened the Privacy Act.

Much of this work the staff accomplishes on behalf of this committee is buried in this part of the agenda. However, it is a great deal of work, and I congratulate them on it.

Have we completed the agenda?

M. Bernier: There remains Statutory Instruments Without Comment.


The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): On page 6, we have statutory instruments without comment.


M. Bernier: As I just indicated to the Joint Chairmen, and perhaps for the benefit of new members, those are texts that have been reviewed by the committee's legal secretariat and we were unable to find any contravention of any of the committee's scrutiny criteria.

Up to 10 years ago, we used to distribute the actual text of those, and I always bring the text with me to the committee. At that point, in order to save a few trees at least, it was decided to simply list them on the agenda. However, if a member has a question about any of those texts, as I say, I always bring a copy of the regulation with me in order to answer those questions. They are there because, formally, they must be submitted to the committee because it is this committee that is charged with the review and scrutiny of instruments.


The Joint Chair (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Following these explanations or comments, everyone is in agreement. We can nevertheless be happy that some regulations are in compliance. My joint chairman wants to add a comment even though we have completed the regular agenda.


The Joint Chairman (Mr. Lee): As a House of Commons Chair, I received a letter from the Chair of the Commons Industry Committee drawing our attention to the need to monitor more closely the departmental work that deals with the year 2000 computer roll-over.

Given that this committee does not directly scrutinize any particular department of government, I would not know where to direct our attention. However, I bring it to the attention of the committee because the letter was forwarded to me asking us in our work to pay some attention to the matter, if appropriate.

I wish to say that the co-chairs will be assiduous in attempting to get our respective Houses to give concurrence to our first report so that we can have a well-founded meeting next time.

Senator Lewis: I should like to congratulate the joint chairmen on the dispatch with which this meeting has proceeded. It was most unusual.

The committee adjourned.