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[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

Thursday, December 10, 1998

• 1117

The Standing Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons for the Scrutiny of Regulations met this day at 11:17 a.m. for the review of statutory instruments.

Mr. Gurman Grewal (Joint Chairman) in the Chair.


The Joint Chairman (Mr. Gurman Grewal (Surrey Central, Ref.)): As you know, we had a terrible incident in the chamber yesterday afternoon. Shaughnessy Cohen passed away last night. Most of our committee meetings have been cancelled. However, today, we will deal with only some of the contentious issues since most of the members are not here. That is my opinion.

Is there an opinion around the table contrary to that?

Mr. Wappel: I have no problem with that.

Mr. Lee: Yes. Let us proceed.

Mr. Wappel: That is what Shaughnessy would have wanted.

Mr. Lee: Mr. Chairman, I am sure that our deceased colleague would have counselled us to quickly dispose of the business before us and then move on to celebrate her contributions during her short time with us. I am sure she would offer us that counsel. The House will be adjourning shortly and we can probably wrap up here quickly, too.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): We will go directly to the agenda, then.


Mr. François-R. Bernier (General Counsel to the Committee): The letter from the chairmen is for the committee's information. This letter was sent following the last meeting of the committee.

Mr. Wappel: Has there been any contact from the legalists over there?

Mr. Bernier: No.

Mr. Wappel: Mr. Chairman, can either you or counsel remind us about this matter? I thought there was something else that we were supposed to say, such as, “We are not happy with the regulations,” or something like that. We have drawn to their attention our comments, but there was nothing in the letter that asked for a follow up or for confirmation that our comments would be accepted or considered. What is the next step here?

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): As I understand it, we gave them a deadline, did we not?

Mr. Wappel: There is nothing in the letter to that effect. The deadline is the first of the year for the new regulations. I do not see anything in this letter which would indicate anything if they chose to ignore it. I am a little puzzled because I thought we had some sort of follow-up. What is our Plan B?

Mr. Bernier: I may be wrong, but I am fairly sure that when we drafted this letter for the chairmen, we looked at the blues. The committee had no specific plan at that time. We then sent comments and indicated that those comments were shared by members. A note was enclosed.

We assumed, as did the signatories, that it went without saying that if a parliamentary committee bothered to send you comments, a reply would be expected without having to indicate that fact. Comments on proposed regulations call for a reply and I would think that the minister would reply. However, no deadline was given.

I suggest that the letter reads what the consensus was in the committee at that time.

Mr. Wappel: I am not looking to criticize, Mr. Chairman; I am looking to determine our next step, because I get the feeling that we will be ignored.

Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, I know that because we have received copies. Representations have been made by various interested parties to the Solicitor General. I refer particularly to the staff associations within the RCMP, as well as the staff associations or federations that are outside. You will recall that there was a letter from Julius Grey, a well-known constitutionalist, among others. All of these documents are being translated.

It was counsels' thought, that at the next meeting of the committee, we would put before the committee a summary of those other representations, with some comments, if necessary.

I assumed that, at this stage, the Solicitor General having received the same documents, as well as the note and the concerns of this committee, the process would now involve sitting down and assessing those comments with regard to his proposed regulations. Then they would decide whether or not to come up with new proposed regulations, depending upon the reception to the various comments received.

Mr. Wappel: Mr. Chairman, I do not want to belabour it. We can see what will happen. New regulations will be in effect January 1, 1999. Those regulations will be defended vigorously by the department because they have just been put into place in spite of all of the things that have occurred with the committee. I do not want to be pessimistic about it, and perhaps there will be a change. However, I ask that the matter be raised as the first item of business again at the next meeting and that counsel not only provide us with a summary but with counsel's specific comments about the regulations as they exist as of our next meeting. We do not want to go through this again for another two years.

Mr. Bernier: Those you have already received, Mr. Wappel. That was the note.

Mr. Wappel: We need something very clear upon which we can base the disallowance report. I do not want to wait for it until June. We have gone around the merry-go-round enough. If the regulations take the form that was submitted before, we must be seized of the issue quickly, at the first meeting upon our return, and come to grips with it.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Mr. Wappel, I tend to believe the outcome you are expecting. This letter was sent on December 3. At our first meeting in February, the matter will be on the agenda. If we have not heard anything, then we will give them a short deadline, and it will be short since so much time has already passed on this issue. Would that be appropriate?

Mr. Wappel: We do not have a full committee here. I am concerned that months will fritter away again and we will be stonewalled by the legalists in the Solicitor General's department. I base that comment on the fact that they have not, first, contacted our counsel, even though we invited them to do so when they were in front of our committee. Therefore, it could not possibly be that they did not know. Second, they have not contacted our counsel after receiving this letter, knowing that in approximately 20 days new regulations will come into force.

I have no confidence that there will be any meaningful contact.

Mr. Lee: Mr. Chairman, I do not disagree with anything my colleagues have said. I wish to note the substantial progress that had been made in redrafting or drafting new regulations.

Mr. Wappel referred to the legalists in the Solicitor General's department. We should take note that we are not dealing with legalists in a large, pyramid-shaped department. We are in fact dealing with legalists with the RCMP. It is Department of Justice lawyers or RCMP lawyers and/or both who are proceeding with this file and who are not in the normal course used to — talking about the RCMP — making close reference to Parliament. The RCMP has appropriately distanced itself from close political accountability, and that is simply the way the system has evolved. They are operating, perhaps, with less sensitivity to the parliamentary view on this than other departments might. That is, I suppose, a problem for us, but it is probably also a problem for the RCMP.

I am not comfortable letting the file just drift. If we let it drift, we will be back where we started with something that is imperfect. By the same token, the committee should be prepared to conceptually accept that we could end up with regulations that are not “perfect”. The committee might accept that.

I think counsel's letter has summarized it fairly well to date.

Senator Kelly: Mr. Chairman, the previous two speakers have been careful not to specifically criticize the letter. I want to criticize this letter just a bit, frankly. I read it and read it and read it, and it really says, in effect, If you had asked us sooner, if you had responded to our first request, then we would be allowed to assist in this whole thing, and this whole mess would not be in front of us now, but gee whiz, we are still available, and holey smoke, if you happen to like it, give us some time, and it would be kind of nice.

I do not see in this letter any suggestion that we are specifically stating we intend to have certain things implemented in this document. We have not said that at all. We have sent a note. This letter leaves me feeling that we are sort of whimpering. I have been a member of this committee for a long time, and it seems to be a backward step from the path I thought we were on, that of being much more aggressive and coming to the end of the journey we want to take, rather than just reminding people that we are here in case they want to pay attention to us one of these days.

That is the end of my criticism.

Mr. Bernier: One small point, Mr. Chairman, I suppose to provide a context: The letter was drafted, and I believe signed, by the chair with the knowledge that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General attended the meeting when this file was last before us, and many of the observations made were rather strong and determined. One would assume, given his presence, that this has been conveyed by Mr. Saada to the department. The letter, in a sense, was just a follow-through on what one assumed had already taken place, that is, his reporting back to the department and giving them the sense of what this committee wanted.

Senator Kelly: These are documents that continue to exist. If someone came along and looked at how this committee carries on its work, that document would not give people much confidence that we are serious about what we are doing.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): I agree with you. This letter is too soft, and perhaps we are not pursuing it in a hard way. It is not tough enough, and we did not give a deadline. Therefore, I suggest that we write another letter demanding them to take action by a particular deadline? Can we give them a deadline in that letter or write another letter?

Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, the RCMP is already operating with a deadline. There is a court-imposed deadline of January 1, 1999. They have 20 days to put the new regulations in place. Either that or the government, represented by the Attorney General, must go back to court and ask for an extension of the court-imposed deadline, arguing that he needs more time to prepare proper regulations.

There is a deadline there, if I might say so. One or the other of these two things must take place in the next 20 days.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): I did not read the blues, but if memory serves me, we decided at the last meeting that we should give them a time-frame. If we do not get a concrete response from them, then we will have the Solicitor General or his staff appear before the committee; is that right?

Mr. Bernier: I do not quite recall it that way, Mr. Chairman. I could verify it.

Obviously, if the department goes ahead with the draft regulations put forth by the committee, and I agree with Mr. Wappel that given the time frame there is a very good chance that will happen, it might be accompanied by an undertaking that we will now look at your comments.

We can always amend those regulations. So we will pass them as they are because we must meet the court deadline, but we will then look at the various comments that were made. If that happens there will be a new regulation and the committee will automatically have that regulation referred to it. It can then deal with it in the same way it has dealt with the existing regulations with whatever degree of urgency that the committee wishes to put on it.

Mr. Lee: If we are to write again, and maybe we should, to remind the Solicitor General that notwithstanding the change in focus from Parliament to the courts that occurred in the last half of 1998 — caused by the interposition of the court proceeding and the court judgment — these regulations will also have to pass the parliamentary constitutional test, and that, therefore, the department or the RCMP, making reference to our previous advice to them, from the parliamentary side, should govern themselves accordingly. This issue will not go away. I would suggest a letter to that effect.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): We will prepare a letter and sign it. That is a good suggestion and that is what we should do, subject to the ability of all of us to sign.

Mr. Wappel: Mr. Chairman, members do not have to sign themselves. As long as they are happy with the content of the letter they can instruct staff or counsel to sign in their name. Regardless of whether someone is in Siberia or in Nepean, the letter can be signed.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Is it clear what we want to do? Can you repeat it so we are sure to be on the same frequency?

Mr. Bernier: A letter indicating in general terms that the committee wishes to remind the Solicitor General that any new regulations that will be made on January 1 will not only have to meet or be seen to meet the constitutional requirement in terms of the court process but also in terms of a parliamentary process, namely, this committee.

Mr. Wappel: Mr. Chairman, the polite way to remind them is to state that the issue will be the first item on the agenda at the next meeting of the committee.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): I do not see any problem with that.




Mr. Lee: The recommendation of counsel looks like a good one. I think we can proceed to close our file.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): There being no comments, we shall proceed to the next item.


Ms Margaret Jodoin-Rasmussen (Counsel to the Committee): Mr. Chairman, again, as indicated in the note to the committee, there is no need for these files to remain open, since the order will be allowed to lapse.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


Ms Jodoin-Rasmussen: Mr. Chairman, this reply is satisfactory since it indicates that the department acted upon Mr. Bernhardt's advice regarding the footnote requirement.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Any comments? Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): We can now deal with unsatisfactory replies.


(For text of documents, see appendix, p. 17A:1)

Mr. Bernier: To put it simply, Mr. Chairman, the department is taking the position that none of the amendments that are required to the act or to these regulations, amendments which were promised to this committee, will be made until after international agreement is reached on a globally harmonized standard for the classification and labelling of material safety data sheet requirements for hazardous chemicals. This agreement is expected to be reached in 2001.

Mr. Chairman, considering that some of the committee's objections in this case go back to 1988, and that a number of those involve issues of legality, it was certainly the feeling of counsel that the reply is not satisfactory.

Mr. Wappel: Mr. Chairman, as I understand it, Mr. Weiner believes that the amendments requested are substantive in nature. Do we agree with that?

Mr. Bernier: Certainly.

Mr. Wappel: There is then a dispute as to whether amendments that are substantive in nature can be done in an omnibus bill. Our counsel seems to think they can be because of something on page 103 of the manual. To which Mr. Weiner responds, presumably, no, it cannot be done. I am not sure what his position is. Is he saying that what we quoted has been cancelled?

Mr. Bernier: Mr. Weiner is somewhat misinformed. At one point Treasury Board put in place the omnibus amendment order process. If you recall, it was agreed that twice a year departments could use one order to effect a number of minor corrections to a number of instruments and processes as a single instrument, a sort of regulatory equivalent of a miscellaneous statutory law amendment bill, if you will. Part of the agreement at that time was that those omnibus orders could also include substantive amendments, provided agreement had been reached between the department and this committee as to the need for those amendments.

Mr. Wappel: This committee was named specifically?

Mr. Bernier: Yes.

Mr. Wappel: I ask because our material does not include page 103 of the federal regulations manual, so I was not able to satisfy myself that that is the case.

Mr. Bernier: And I take it you were not willing to take Mr. Bernhardt's word in this instance.

This system was in place for two or three years. It turned out that departments could not meet that even twice a year, so the formal aspect of the process was cancelled. The aspect of allowing the making of miscellaneous or omnibus orders only at a set, announced time was done away with. It is still possible for departments to present an omnibus order, but now they can do it at any time they choose.

On that point, Mr. Weiner is wrong. The mechanism is still available. What was cancelled was the more formal aspect of it, the timetable.

Mr. Wappel: Perhaps counsel should put that very point in a response to Mr. Weiner, include page 103 of the manual, and ask that the department proceed with the amendment.

Mr. Bernier: The matter was not pursued because, irrespective of whether the omnibus order process is available, the fact remains that these are substantive amendments. Whether it is done through the omnibus amendment process or through a regular amendment to the controlled products regulations, it is our view that those amendments should be made. As I say, they have been promised as far back as 1988 and they are substantive amendments.

Mr. Wappel: I understand that. You were making a suggestion as to how it could be done expeditiously.

Mr. Bernier: Exactly.

Mr. Wappel: They did not want to take your suggestion. Presumably you are looking for direction from the committee. We think they are substantive, we do not want them to go away, we want to have the department proceed, we are not prepared to wait until the year 2001; and, if you want to use our suggestion, this would be an expeditious way of doing it. Is that not the instructions you are looking for?

Mr. Bernier: Or, if you do not wish to use the expeditious process of the omnibus amendment order, fine, but go ahead with an amendment anyway.

Mr. Wappel: That is what you are looking for from this committee?

Mr. Bernier: Yes.

Mr. Wappel: Then that is what I suggest we do in a letter.

Mr. Lee: I would not waste too much time with the omnibus procedure. It is there if they wish to use it. I hope committee members do not care too much about whether they use route A or route B.

Did the department agree that these corrections had to be dealt made?

Mr. Bernier: Yes.

Mr. Lee: Did we ever have an undertaking or did we just get their agreement?

Mr. Bernier: We had an undertaking, definitely.

Mr. Lee: I think we ought to communicate that the time has long passed when the changes should have been made and that, if they cannot agree to proceed forthwith to make the changes, they will have to deal with the committee, which may consider a report to the Houses. I do not know whether we should mention the disallowance.

As far as I am concerned, this letter could go straight to the minister now. Some of these items have been outstanding for 10 years, and I am definitely not prepared to wait. There are plenty of reasons, which are obvious to colleagues in the House now, why we should not wait to do things tomorrow when we can do them today.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Should there be a time frame for tabling the response in the Houses?

Mr. Lee: I would like the department or the minister to reply to our letter forthwith. We would give them the normal amount of time for a forthwith reply and then take it up on the agenda. If we do not have a firm undertaking to correct it forthwith, will do what we have to do as part of our job here.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Should we specify about two months?

Mr. Lee: Our clerk and counsel know the rough time parameters. If a time element needs to be inserted, they could do that.

Mr. Bernier: Would this letter go to the minister?

Mr. Lee: Yes. This is the last stop.



(For text of documents, see appendix, p. 17B:1)

Mr. Bernier: On the maple products regulations, progress on previously agreed amendments has been delayed for the reason given by Mr. Ray in the second paragraph of his July 10 reply.

The second issue has to do with section 3.4 of the regulations, a section which grants inspectors the authority to direct that a maple product be disposed of or destroyed if he or she suspects the product is adulterated, contaminated, does not meet regulatory requirements, or is otherwise injurious to health.

The suggestion has been made to the agency that, before private property is ordered destroyed by a government official, the owner should be notified, reasons for the direction or order to destroy should be given, and the owner ought to have an opportunity to contest that direction.

In a nutshell, the committee did not think that section 34 struck a proper balance between protection of consumer health and safety and protection of the rights of individual property owners.

The answer that was received is:

...that to establish procedures similar to those already in place for products that are seized and detained under the Regulations would weaken our ability to address immediately serious hazard situations. It goes on to state that the suggestion would nevertheless be discussed with the agency's legal advisors.

In the first instance, Mr. Chairman, I would like to note that nowhere in section 34 is the application of the section limited to situations involving a serious hazard. This is simply a gloss by the agency. Even if that were the case, it may well be asked whether the existence of a serious hazard necessarily justifies ordering the destruction of people's property without any notice to the owner and without having to give reasons. I wonder how that sort of requirement reduces in any way the ability or the flexibility that may be required to protect health and safety.

The agency's latest reply, I submit, is no more convincing than its earlier one. The absence of any procedural safeguards in this case appears to rest on nothing but the whim of the agency. This is not satisfactory at all.

The reply said that legal advisors would nevertheless be consulted. As we have not heard anything further, I assume that consultation did not yield a change in position.

If the committee is disposed to pursue this issue, I suggest as a next step that we go to the minister for a response.

Mr. Lee: In my view, Mr. Chairman, notwithstanding the desire of the department to discuss the issues further, the basic issue of symmetry between the fairness provisions for seizure and the fairness provisions for destruction must be there. I regard that basic issue as non-debatable.

The only issue is how they will address it, and I think it should be put in those terms to the minister. Doubtless, the matter will come back, perhaps with great justification. We will wait to see. At least it will come back to committee members. At that point, my clock will have wound down, subject, of course, to the minister's remarks.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): We will proceed with a letter to the minister?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): We will continue with the unsatisfactory replies.




(For text of documents, see appendix, p. 17C:1)

Mr. Bernier: As indicated in the covering note, Mr. Chairman, enactment of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act did resolve the committee's longstanding objections to three provisions of the Food and Drug Regulations and Narcotic Control Regulations dealing with the issue of authorizations to possess certain substances, those authorizations being issued by the minister.

As the committee stated in a previous report to both Houses, those sections were ultra vires the previous legislation, and that view was accepted by the government.

Given the enactment of section 56 of the new act, these regulatory sections are no longer required. Section 56 now gives the minister that authority and it is exercised under that section of the act.

In light of this, nothing really stands in the way of formally revoking those sections. However, the department wants to wait pending some broad review that will take place in two or three years, maybe.

These are regulations of the Governor in Council. I mentioned to the chairman yesterday that the committee may want to look at Standing Order 123, and following, as a way of accelerating things, keeping in mind that these files are already nearly a quarter-century old. They go back to 1974.

Mr. Wappel: What is 123?

Mr. Bernier: That is the disallowance provision.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Counsel is right, in my opinion, and we should do that. Can we make a disallowance report in February?

Mr. Lee: Mr. Chairman, the suggestion would be that to the extent that they do not wish to remove items to which we have taken objection and on which they agree our objection is valid, that we could by means of disallowance expedite their disposition of these?

Mr. Bernier: In a case such as this, there is no need to replace. This will not leave a vacuum. These provisions are no longer required. As I say, the authority that used to be exercised legally under these provisions is now exercised under section 56 of the act.

Mr. Lee: I am prepared to suggest that, with a view to finally wrapping up this 25-year-old file, the committee would probably be prepared to consider the use of the disallowance provisions of the Standing Orders.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): How do we do that?

Mr. Bernier: We draft a report for consideration by the party and submit it to the committee when it meets again in February.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): So it would be on the next agenda?

Mr. Bernier: If that is the wish of the committee.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): That is what we should do.

Mr. Lee: We are a little thin on participation here today, but if the matter comes back as a proposed procedure, that is excellent. It is a little early to initiate drafting instructions. Counsel can do what he thinks best, but I would not want to go too far down the road without a good consensus around the committee table.

Mr. Bernier: You would prefer that the file be brought back?

Mr. Lee: I think you could do some excellent homework in preparation for disallowance, if it was the view that you would bring back a disallowance report for discussion. What do other members think?

Mr. Wappel: This will appear harsh on the transcript and I do not mean it to be, but I do not think those who are here should be punished by those who are not here. We have a meeting. It was duly scheduled. Anybody could have been here. If they are not here, they have to abide, at least to the extent that is necessary, by the decisions of those who are here.

I see nothing wrong with instructing counsel to prepare a disallowance report. If, at the next meeting of the committee, members decide not to proceed with disallowance, then so be it. In the meantime, if they decide to go ahead, at least it is done. We can get the matter completed because counsel will have already done the report.

If the committee has before it a draft disallowance report, we can see and presumably accept the cogent reasons why we would want to take the nuclear option in this case. I do not agree that we should notify the department that we are thinking about maybe talking about a disallowance report. We should proceed with a draft disallowance report for discussion and decision at the next meeting. That is my view.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Senator Kelly, will you break the tie?

Senator Kelly: I agree with the last speaker. How old is this file?

Mr. Bernier: In January, it will be 25 years.

Senator Kelly: I thought that was the case. It seems to me we have been reasonably patient.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): We will go ahead and prepare that report for the next meeting.


Ms Jodoin-Rasmussen: In October of 1986, the department committed itself to amending the problematic sections in accordance with the committee's comments.

The committee is now informed that its comments will be taken into consideration when Health Canada undertakes a comprehensive review of the narcotic control regulations and the relevant parts of the food and drug regulations, which review, as my colleague has said, is tentatively planned for year 2000.

Since these sections are of a substantive nature, the question to the committee is whether it is acceptable that the amendments be made some years from now or should they be made now.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): What is the proposal?

Mr. Wappel: There is no guarantee that the amendments will be made some years from now. There is only a guarantee that there will be a consideration of making amendments some years from now. They would undertake a comprehensive review and rewrite and will take all our comments into consideration. It does not say they will accept our comments and deal with the problems at that time. It says they will think about it in the year 2000-2001. That is how I read it. Is this similar to the file we just addressed?

Ms Jodoin-Rasmussen: Yes.

Mr. Wappel: Do I take it that counsel's recommendation is similar to that for the previous file?

Ms Jodoin-Rasmussen: The recommendation is that the amendments can be made. I do not know if disallowance ever entered the conversation.

Mr. Bernier: The consequences here would have to be considered in terms of these sections. They do serve a role. There is a problem of legality with their current drafting, but to do away with them entirely might bring about unforeseen consequences or just plain undesirable consequences for people.

Mr. Wappel: What is the recommendation?

Mr. Bernier: The sense is that these are substantive amendments. They should not have to wait for some global review that is tentatively planned for two years from now. In other words, it could be five years. We are saying, Go ahead with the amendments now, as you would with other substantive amendments. This matter should not be caught up in some global review. This should be done so the committee can close its file.

Mr. Wappel: You are recommending that this committee write to Mr. Weiner — not the minister, but Mr. Weiner — saying that he should go ahead with the amendments now. Is that what you are saying?

Mr. Bernier: With that sort of request, it might be preferable for the chairmen to write to the minister.

Mr. Wappel: That is my point.

Senator Kelly: Thinking back, we are often faced with this response, that a broader comprehensive study is imminent.

I will go with Mr. Wappel's recommendation. However, I suggest that when we do something like this we at least insist on the current view of the recommended amendments from the people who have the responsibility. They should not be able to just say, We will consider it in the year 2000. We should at least determine whether or not we agree today, and then commit to have it in place the next day.

I believe Mr. Wappel's suggestion is better than mine, but I do think we must guard against being caught up by that commitment to make our requests part of a broader review. It is a great way of getting another 25-year file.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Shall we go ahead with the recommendation?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Should we proceed or should we stop here today?

Mr. Lee: We have two other items under the rubric. We are pretty close to breaking the logjam here.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): We will clear these two items then.


Ms Jodoin-Rasmussen: Mr. Chairman, Dr. Franklin informs the committee that the promised amendments regarding the bilingual labelling will be developed in the context of new legislation. When the amendments to the Pest Control Products Act will be introduced into Parliament is anyone's guess. The committee has written a number of times to the appropriate parties expressing their view that the safety warning should appear in both official languages. The Commissioner of Official Languages has expressed the same view.

Our question is: Is the committee prepared to wait until the amendments are made in the context of new legislation; or does the committee wish to suggest to Dr. Franklin that the agency go ahead with the amendments now?

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Which is about safety regulations, right?

Ms Jodoin-Rasmussen: Yes, Mr. Chairman.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Sort of a warning?

Ms Jodoin-Rasmussen: Warnings on labels. Right now, the option is that the warning can be in either official language or both.

Mr. Wappel: Mr. Chairman, for my part, I feel we should proceed with the latter of the two choices?

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Which is?

Mr. Wappel: Tell them that they should amend it immediately.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): We are in agreement I believe.

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see appendix, p. 17D:1)

Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, the matter here is fairly straightforward. The enabling statute only allows obligations to be imposed on persons who advertise, sell or import restricted products. Section 3.2 of the regulations, however, imposes obligations on the manufacturer of a product other than a luxury lighter. The manufacturer of the lighter may not be also a person who advertises, sells or imports, and to that extent it was said that section 3.2 is ultra vires the act.

Ultimately, the department proceeded to obtain a brilliant legal opinion from the Department of Justice in which the author required five pages to come to the conclusion that section 3.2 does not really say what it appears to say and, therefore, everything must be in order. In the Land of Oz I would suggest.

Mr. Chairman, given that section 3.2, it is now admitted, does not say what the department believes it really says, perhaps the department would now be prepared to accept the suggestion that section 3.2 be amended in the manner outlined by Mr. Bernhardt in his first letter to the department. That is, in a manner similar to section 3.1 and in a manner that expressly states that we are referring here to a manufacturer who either sells, imports or advertises a lighter.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Any other comments?

Mr. Lee: That is an excellent suggestion, Mr. Chairman — fix it or nix it.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): At this juncture we will conclude the meeting.

Mr. Lee: Before we conclude, is there anything in the subsequent sections that counsel believes should have caught the eye of members? I refer to the progress section.

Mr. Bernier: Those things can wait.

Mr. Lee: Can wait or it can be dealt with now?

Mr. Bernier: Either. There is nothing terribly complex in what follows.

Mr. Wappel: As we have come to the headings “Action Promised” and “Action Taken,” could we agree that we are happy with the action promised and the action taken? Then it does not need to come back before us.

What about progress? There is no progress, question mark, so progress we are satisfied with, so that does not need to come back.

Action promised, question mark, any comments there?

It is only one thing. It is all bracketed. If we deal with that, we are through.



(For text of documents, see appendix p. 17E:1)





(For text of documents see appendix p. 17f:1)

Mr. Bernier: The question mark is there because we are not yet positive the department has understood the problem. That being said, they have agreed that they will ensure that the requirements for display areas are clear in future regulations.

I hope that reflects an understanding of what the objection was in the first place, but then Mr. Bernhardt has spent I believe nine years trying to get them to understand what the problem was, with little success until this last letter. However, the letter does not really acknowledge that they now understand the problem, it just says that they will ensure that they have clear requirements in the future regulation.

We take that optimistically as an action promised.

Mr. Wappel: Perhaps we should write to the department, Mr. Chairman, and say that we want you to confirm in writing that this is the correct understanding of this particular disputed item, and then set it out and ask them to return it indicating we acknowledge this. If they do not, then the matter must come back to us with a question mark.

Mr. Bernier: Mr. Bernhardt will be delighted with that suggestion, I am sure.

Mr. Wappel: At least we can then clarify it and make them take a position one way or another. Put it to them squarely, we want you to accept this as our position, “yes” or “no”, and then bring it back to us at the next meeting.

Mr. Bernier: We want to ask them if they understand.

Mr. Wappel: We want to ask them to confirm that they understand.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): I have no problem with that. Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.




(For text of documents see appendix p. 17G:1)





(For text of documents see appendix p. 17H:1)



(For text of documents, see appendix p. 17I:1)


(For text of documents, see appendix p. 17J:1)


(For text of documents, see appendix p. 17K:1)


(For text of documents, see appendix p. 17L:1)


(For text of documents, see appendix p. 17M:1)


(For text of documents, see appendix p. 17N:1)


(For text of documents, see appendix p. 17O:1)

The committee adjourned.