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Proceedings of the Standing Joint Committee for the 
Scrutiny of Regulations

Issue 21 - Evidence - June 11, 2015

OTTAWA, Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations met this day at 8:33 a.m. for the review of statutory instruments.

Senator Denise Batters and Ms. Chris Charlton (Joint Chairs) in the chair.


The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Good morning, everyone. I want to thank committee members and our guests for being here this morning to engage in a dialogue about two sets of occupational health and safety regulations. I think it may prove helpful to begin with a brief overview of our committee's mandate before we jump into agenda Item 1, which is SOR/2010-120 and SOR/2011-87 under the heading "Special Agenda Item.''

The standing joint committee, as most of you know, was established to ensure that the regulations and statutory instruments created by government bodies are reviewed and scrutinized. In essence, therefore, it is this committee's job to ensure accountability. To that end, our committee reviews hundreds of regulations and statutory instruments each year with an eye to ascertaining that they comply with a number of requirements, most notably that the executive had the statutory authority to make the regulation or issue the statutory instrument; that the regulation or statutory instrument complies with the law, including of course the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and that the proper procedure was followed in enacting the regulation or issuing the statutory instrument.

Our committee has the power of general disallowance of a statutory instrument or regulation, which provides parliamentarians with the power to reject a regulation or statutory instrument. That power is of course rarely used. Instead, our committee strives to work cooperatively, through counsel, with government bodies to address the issues it has identified.

From time to time, substantive replies remain unresolved for considerable periods of time. Such is the case with respect to the Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and the Aviation Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. As a result, committee members thought it would be advisable to meet with departmental officials to come to a better understanding about the status of the outstanding concerns raised by the committee.



(For text of documents, see Appendix A, p. 21A:1.)

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): I'm delighted that Ms. Brenda Baxter and Ms. Kathryn Fredericks have accepted our invitation to meet with us this morning. I invite both or either of you to begin with opening remarks before opening the floor to committee members.

I remind committee members we had agreed that this agenda item would be considered for no more than 30 minutes.


Brenda Baxter, Director General, Workplace Directorate, Labour Program, Employment and Social Development Canada: Thank you, Madam Joint Chairs, for the opportunity to address the committee.

I am Brenda Baxter, Director General, Workplace Directorate at the Labour Program. I am accompanied by Kathryn Fredericks, Manager of the Occupational Health and Safety Policy Unit.

The committee has recently indicated to the Labour Program that our responses with respect to its concerns related to the Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and Aviation Occupational Health and Safety Regulations have not addressed the substance of its concerns. I would like to respectfully acknowledge that the labour program has not yet provided the committee with the appropriate level of response.


We have indicated to the committee that we are working with our legal services to review and analyze each of the committee's concerns. I will take the opportunity this morning to highlight for you our commitment to address these concerns and to share our plan for moving forward, but first I want to speak briefly about our context and the tripartite approach we take with our community of stakeholders.

The Labour Program is responsible for overseeing federal labour regulatory responsibilities, including facilitating compliance with occupational health and safety, labour standards, employment equity legislation, as well as assisting trade unions and employees in the negotiations of collective agreements and their renewal in federally regulated workplaces.

The Labour Program seeks to promote and sustain sustainable industrial relations and administer the Canada Labour Code for safe, fair, healthy, equitable and productive workplaces under federal jurisdiction. For occupational health and safety, we do so in partnership with Transport Canada and the National Energy Board for certain industrial sectors, which include air, marine, rail and oil and gas sectors.

To that end, we develop labour legislation and regulations to achieve an effective balance between employees' and employers' rights and responsibilities. In the case of the marine and aviation sectors, the two areas of interest to the committee today, we do this in consultation with Transport Canada.

I will now turn to our strategy.

With respect to the Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, the Labour Program, with advice and guidance from our legal services, is undertaking a comprehensive review of the maritime regulations to better reflect the current work environment and occupational health and safety realities and in doing so will address the outstanding 153 concerns raised by this committee.

As well, we are aligning the regulations with recent changes led by Transport Canada to the Canada Shipping Act, aligning them with amendments made to other occupational health and safety regulations as well. Work on these amendments is proceeding in close collaboration with Transport Canada due to the interlocking nature of our legislative frameworks.

The nature of these changes, including many of those anticipated to address the committee's concerns, have policy, compliance and cost burden impacts that will require stakeholder consultations. For example, comments the committee has made with respect to the use of qualitative terms such as "effective,'' "adequate'' and "suitable'' require technical expertise of the workplace to define what compliance would actually mean.

There are over 200 employers within the federally regulated marine sector. We anticipate consultations on the proposal areas of regulatory change to be completed in spring 2016. This will be followed by regulatory drafting, and we want to build in sufficient time for review by legal editors and jurilinguists. The Labour Program will then target 2017 for the prepublication of these amendments in Canada Gazette Part I.

With respect to the Aviation Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, I will now turn to our approach to address the committee's concerns.

Government commitments made in the Economic Action Plan 2015 related to the Canada Labour Code have potential implications for aviation regulations. With that in mind, the Labour Program commits to addressing a significant number — 29 of the 37 — of the outstanding concerns raised by this committee when legislative authority is provided and the aviation regulations are opened to address those, specifically the 29 concerns regarding clarifications, alignment of English and French, where consultation is not necessary.

This will leave eight remaining concerns raised by the committee. These concerns have implications on our stakeholders with respect to compliance and administrative burden costs and will require consultations with our stakeholders. On these specific points, there are over 1,000 employers and four major employee groups in the airline sector. This work will be undertaken at a later date, after we refresh our forward regulatory plan.

A final point I want to raise is with respect to collaboration with this committee. More generally, the Labour Program is committed to scheduling regular meetings between departmental officials and Mr. Peter Bernhardt, with a view of forming a more collaborative interaction with the committee. These meetings will also act as the impetus for more regular and timely correspondence between the Labour Program and the committee. We will ensure that the committee's concerns are taken into account as we prepare drafting instructions and that particular issues of alignment, clarity, definitions, et cetera, that have been raised through these two regulations. We will work with the expertise of the Department of Justice to ensure that we proactively preclude further issues of this sort, not only in these two regulations, but in all those regulations for which the Labour Program is responsible.

A purpose of the regulations is to enable workplace parties to create healthy, safe work places so that every worker goes home safe at the end of each work day.

Thank you.

Mr. Albas: I certainly appreciate the presence of both of our witnesses today. The committee had concerns, and I am glad to see there is a response in terms of what you intend to do moving forward but also in giving a bit more context behind the kind of environment you have to work in.

We have two key files here, one dealing with maritime regulations and one with aviation. The maritime file is quite complex. Some of the things we're asking to define, such as what is an appropriate or suitable piece of equipment to work on, can be very difficult to define, considering there is different technology and standards. You have to work with companies, because they don't just suddenly bring in new equipment or operating methods on a dime.

With this in mind, does that add to the complexity? How do you account for that? Are consultations required for these kinds of definitions? I would see that as a major challenge, namely, to have a common set of regulations where everyone agrees on the same thing, because at the end of the day, as you mentioned, we all want people to be safe. Could you give more explanation on that?

Ms. Baxter: Certainly.

Consultations are key to making sure that we have regulations that are relevant, clear and understandable to our stakeholders. We undertake consultations internally. With respect to the two regulations that we're here to speak of today, we work with our colleagues at Transport Canada because there is an interlocking relationship between some of the regulations under the purview of Transport Canada as well as the maritime and aviation regulations.

Also, when looking at the regulations, we have to consider the potential burden to employers, whether it is an administrative burden or a cost burden. In doing that, we have to undertake consultations with external stakeholders, employers and employees, and this can be fairly lengthy. I think there are approximately 1,000 stakeholders in the maritime sector as well. That adds to the complexity of the work that is undertaken.

Our process starts with working internally with our legal experts to look at the nature of each of the comments and the potential for the interlocking relationship with other regulations. That is followed by initial discussions with our stakeholders.

We have two bodies that we use for those consultations. From an occupational health and safety perspective, we have the Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Committee that's composed of employer and employee associations in federally regulated industries. We work with them to get strategic advice and expertise on matters concerning the improvement of occupational health and safety for workers in federal jurisdiction.

Another body we use is the Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation, the occupational health and safety subcommittee. These are composed of provincial and territorial labour counterparts who meet regularly to exchange information with respect to best practices, challenges and opportunities, because we are all looking to improve the health and safety of workplaces.

Mr. Albas: May I have a supplementary question, Madam Chair, or do you want to come back to it?

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): I'll come back to you because we only have the half-hour.


Ms. Ayala: I read the text, and while you were speaking, I heard the translation. You referred to the English-to- French translation, but it is not included in the text. I don't know if you read the text as is or if you added information, because in this document, no mention is made of problems regarding the English-to-French translation. I was simply wondering why.


Ms. Baxter: The comments made by the committee on both the maritime and the aviation regulations refer to various inequities within the regulations. They include definitions, numbering issues and alignment between English and French, where we may use one term in French and then a subsequent term in English.


Ms. Ayala: That is not my question. I would like to know why these important comments on language are not to be found in the written documents.

You said this when you spoke, but in the document, there is no reference to the linguistic problem. Do you understand what I mean?


Ms. Baxter: No. I'm speaking in general of all the comments with regard to the committee. There are those that have to do with language issues — English, French — and definitions of terms in English or French. Also, there are other issues that may have implications for stakeholders from a cost and administrative burden perspective.

Maybe I'm not understanding your question.


Ms. Ayala: You misunderstood me. Yes, I know, because I am a member of the committee. Yes, we are talking about an issue with the English and French translation.

When you spoke earlier, I was reading the brief, which makes no mention of a linguistic problem. You added more information in your oral explanations than there is in the written document.

If I want to share this with someone, it doesn't say in the written text that there is a linguistic problem. That is my question. Why did you not include that information in the written document? It is simple. Was it just an omission?


Kathryn Fredericks, Manager, Policy Unit, Labour Program, Employment and Social Development Canada: No, not at all. I would summarize what Ms. Baxter has said. The intent of the opening remarks was to give an overview and acknowledge that we have a plan moving forward. Certainly, there are 153 comments in the Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Regulations alone, and they deal with a wide range of issues. We absolutely acknowledge the difficulties between the French and English.

As we're working with our legal services, we will be looking for their advice to ensure that we have a consistent approach in drafting and that the decisions we make to have parity between English and French in these regulations will apply in the others and that we see alignment across all —


Ms. Ayala: I understood all of that. I simply want to know why it was not included in the written brief.


Ms. Fredericks: It's just a broad overview of the document. It's not all the answers.


Mr. Bélanger: I am going to continue on the same topic, but with a question on the substance.

How do you explain that the translation errors or the wrong use of certain words or certain references could not be solved without consultation? Since these are translation or interpretation errors, do you need to consult the 1,000 employers to correct those errors?


Ms. Baxter: With respect to the concordance or alignment between the English and French terminology, part of it may be working with the legal jurilinguist to ensure that the translation, whether it is in English or French, is consistent with other regulations, whether it is those with respect to occupational health and safety or, as we said, since we have an interlocking relationship with other pieces of regulation, to make sure that the translation of that terminology is consistent.

Now should the use of terminology have a policy or administrative burden impact on our stakeholders, yes, we may be consulting on that particular language as well.


Mr. Bélanger: So you consult the 200 employers on the maritime side, and the 1,000 employers on the aviation side, about errors in the French or the English, rather than simply correcting them.

Have I understood correctly?


Ms. Baxter: Yes, I do understand, and it does depend on the nature of the comments that you've made. Some of it may have to do with working directly with the legal editors and jurilinguists who are specialists in the translation of regulations and in ensuring there is consistent terminology used across regulations.

With respect to consultations with our stakeholders, they are concerned with the application of the regulations and ensuring, in the end, that there is a healthy and safe workplace. As well, they're concerned with respect to the obligations of employers and employees and the ability to interpret and implement the regulations.

If some of the commentary that you have made has an impact on compliance and a lack of understanding with respect to compliance with those regulations, absolutely, we do consult with the stakeholders.

In addition to the regulations, we do have other documentation that assists the stakeholders in complying with the regulations and the legislation. Interpretation documents are prepared to accompany those regulations, as well as other education awareness documents that are used by your stakeholders to ensure that they understand the regulations and the requirements under those regulations.

We do proactive work with our stakeholders to ensure that they do understand the regulations themselves and the ability to comply with those regulations. We have a 1-800 number that is used by our stakeholders should they have questions with regard to our regulations, if they don't have the opportunity to discuss that with our health and safety officers in the field.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Thank you, Ms. Baxter.

Ms. Quach?


Ms. Quach: I thank our witnesses for being with us this morning. This is the first time we have had witnesses at this committee in four years.

As for the process, is it your department's policy to deal with concerns that are only raised with groups of other modifications? If there are, for instance, 153 changes, what is the applicable policy in that case? Do you have a different process for certain minor changes in order to avoid having to wait years to deal with translation issues?

In addition, you said that you are going to deal with 29 of the following 37 concerns. What are you going to do to make this more effective in future meetings, so that we do not have to deal with these same issues year after year?


Ms. Baxter: Thank you for the question. As the committee probably understands, it can average anywhere from three to seven years to undertake amendments to regulations. We have a forward regulatory plan that we post publicly so that our stakeholders are aware of what changes are being made to our regulations so they can anticipate when they have an opportunity to engage with us on those regulatory changes.

Because the work to undertake regulatory changes is long and fairly burdensome, we want to take the opportunity when making amendments to regulations to reflect updated standards that we reference in our regulations, making sure that those standards are current and ensuring health and safety for workers, and also looking at how the workplace may have changed as well, ensuring that the regulations are current and reflective of the realities in the workplace.

We want to consider the expectations of our stakeholders as well, when they hear that we are opening regulations for amendments, to give the opportunity to understand what their concerns are with respect to updating, broadly, the regulations, to ensure that the regulations reflect the realities in the workplace and that the workplace is healthy and safe for the workers and the employers.


Ms. Quach: I am sorry to interrupt you, but I would like to obtain a small clarification. Could the department deal with some of the matters raised by the committee without waiting for other changes or updates? Is it possible for the department to deal with certain issues without waiting for a whole array of other changes to be made?


Ms. Baxter: Yes, there is the ability to do a miscellaneous amendments regulatory package, which we have recently done. We are considering undertaking another package similar to that.

When undertaking regulatory amendments that way, we have to ensure that those regulatory changes do not require consultation with our stakeholders. We have to balance the comments that have been made by the committee and those that require consultation with our stakeholders because we want to ensure, in the end, that the regulations are clear and understood and implementable by our stakeholders. We don't want regulations where we create more problems for our stakeholders.

I think one of the benefits of the comments made by this committee, where you point to definitions, consistency, clarity and alignment between English and French, is that we review all of your comments. We look at those not just for the regulations that we're here to speak to today but, going forward, in all of our regulatory changes, to make sure that we can prevent having some of those changes with regulations when they move forward. The idea is that we will be seeing you and hearing from you less and less.

Mr. Albas: I certainly appreciate all that has been said.

One of the challenges we have is that there is a broad array of recommendations made by this committee. It has made suggestions. For example, a minor amendment to the French and English that is just an error I'm sure could go forward as part of the miscellaneous statute amendment, and I'm glad to hear you're thinking about another one. But we all have to bear in mind that you have the regulatory, going-forward plans that are communicated in advance to stakeholders so that they know your priorities. By the same token, we continue to advance legislation that changes pretty much a whole docket. Even the recent Budget Implementation Act has a section for labour in it as well. So we keep changing it as well. Then there are events that force government to make sudden changes because there is a gap in existing regulations for unanticipated situations. It seems to me that we're not your only stakeholder. Is that correct?

Ms. Baxter: That is correct.

Mr. Albas: You have to be able to balance all of those things.

If I could just have one more comment in case I don't have a chance to raise it again, it seems to me you have to raise some priorities. For example, if you have broadcast already that you're going to be making certain changes in a certain area in the next few years and we have hit on the same point, to me would make sense, in some cases, especially if it's just a technical issue, to put that as a part of the broader consultation, so you're not sending out mixed signals to stakeholders and you are being more efficient. Then you can really put your resources behind sudden changes that need to happen right way. I think that's important.

My last comment is that I'm glad to hear you're going to continue to work with Mr. Bernhardt, because one of the great aspects of this committee is we can build mutual understanding and that creates a better framework for regulations going forward.

Ms. Baxter: Thank you for your question and comments.

With respect to the regulatory work we undertake, there are several considerations when looking at which regulations we are making amendments to. As you said, legislative changes often necessitate regulatory changes. That's very important to consider.

As well, I've mentioned the changing workplace. Workplaces are constantly evolving, and we need to ensure the regulations reflect those constantly evolving workplaces so that measures are put in place to protect workers in the workplace.

As well, in our regulations we reference standards by the Canadian Standards Association and the American Industrial Hygiene Association, and they are constantly updating their standards. We have to make sure the standards we are referencing are current so that employers are following the most up-to-date scientific information.

We consider the comments made by this committee. We consider the priorities our stakeholders have raised for us and what we know with respect to accidents and injuries in the workplace so that with any gaps that exist in our regulations, we can adjust so workers go home healthy and safe at the end of every workday.

In addition, we enforce the Labour Code in our regulations, working with other partners like Transport Canada and the National Energy Board. So we have to make sure that should they make changes to their regulations that interlock with ours, we can adjust our regulations to reflect those.

There are many different considerations as we look to the regulations that we're moving forward, but in the end, our goal in the Labour Program is to make sure that those regulations provide the necessary measures to ensure that accidents and injuries are prevented or reduced in the workplace as much as possible. That's the goal of the work we do every day.


Mr. Pilon: Thank you. My question is simple. I understand deadlines because I was a municipal public servant in the past. However, when a request came in from a city councillor, it automatically went to the top of the pile. You received 153 requests from a government committee, but we do not get the impression that you considered them a priority. Do we understand that our committee is of no greater importance than anything else to you?


Ms. Baxter: I would say that the comments this committee makes are very important because you are pointing out issues of inconsistency and challenges that our stakeholders may have with respect to implementing our regulations.

As I said earlier, our objective is to ensure that workplaces are healthy and safe, and that the regulations we have in place and the measures the program puts in place to ensure employers and employees understand those regulations are very clear.

Senator Moore: I want to thank the witnesses for being here.

I have been on this committee for many years and I never heard of the standard that we accept the fact it takes three to seven years to amendment regulations. Is that the policy under which your department operates?

Ms. Baxter: No, it's not a policy. We've been looking within the Labour Program to find efficient ways to reduce the time it takes to move from a policy decision with respect to the need to make an amendment to a regulation and to it being implemented in Canada Gazette Part II. We have looked across the government and the process is very time consuming. As you can understand, the consultation process, when there are many different stakeholders, the time to —

Senator Moore: I heard you say that before. I don't want you to repeat.

What I don't understand — and I guess this is part of Mr. Pilon's question as well — is that we take this work very seriously, and I don't think your answers are acceptable. You're not exactly a start-up operation. I don't know why you wouldn't be anticipating what's to be done when you get a bill or if there is a policy change.

Twenty-nine of 37 outstanding items under the aviation sector, and you have two of those in a miscellaneous statute. Why only two? Don't you see that as an opportunity to get these things done more quickly and to address the concerns expressed by this committee? It's not good enough to say, "We're going to look at it.'' That doesn't address it. If we're going to talk about the safety of the workers and getting it done quickly for their benefit, this should be done more quickly.

Ms. Baxter: As I mentioned, we take every effort we can to find efficiencies to move, to make amendments to regulations because we want those workplaces to be healthy and safe. We have to consider the comments from our stakeholders to ensure that they have the ability to implement any changes that are being put forward and understand the administrative and cost burden that may exist for employers in order to implement the changes.

As well, we have to work to align the regulatory changes —

Senator Moore: I heard you say that before.

Why only two? You addressed 29 of the 37, but why did only 2 of those 39 get into the miscellaneous statute process?

Ms. Baxter: Through a miscellaneous process, that requires no impact on stakeholders and it doesn't include any ability to consult with stakeholders.

The other comments made by this committee require some consultation with our stakeholders. Moving forward with a miscellaneous package has to be simple changes that do not have an impact on our stakeholders, whether administrative or cost. We have to consult with other departments where there is interlocking regulation and also work with the legal experts to ensure that there is clarity and consistency with respect to those changes.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): With the indulgence of the committee, I'd like to have counsel ask one final question. Are committee members comfortable with that?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

Peter Bernhardt, General Counsel to the Committee: I note in the presentation that it says the Labour Program is committed to addressing 29 of the 37 concerns. One of the difficulties we have in presenting files to the committee is that after four years, we have no idea which 29 that might be. Could the committee perhaps expect a reply from Labour indicating what points will be addressed?

Similarly, on the 153 points for the maritime regulations, we had an indication that Labour is going to address 153 points. Does that mean amendments will be made to deal with all 153? For example, one of these points is that it would seem on its face that a section requires a permit to be issued to each person entering a confined space. Is this what is intended? That was a simple question. The committee has no reply four years later on what was a request for information. Now we're being told that apparently it's going to be the subject of an amendment. It makes it difficult for us to come back to the committee and present the file.

Could the committee expect responses that address each of these points?

Ms. Baxter: Yes, the intention is to work with our legal services to provide a response on each of the points.

Something like a comment with respect to confined spaces is not a simple question because that does tie to the Canada Shipping Act, as well as other regulations where we define what a confined space is. So a change in wording with respect to the Marine Occupational Health and Safety Regulations around confined spaces also impacts aviation, our oil and gas regulations as well. These are some of the considerations that we need to look at as we address, review and analyze each of the comments made by this committee.

I can commit to providing a detailed response with respect to each of the 153 comments made by this committee.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Thank you very much, Ms. Baxter and Ms. Fredericks.

Senator Moore: There are 153, but there are another 29.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): I think Ms. Baxter has made a commitment on behalf of the department.

Thank you very much for appearing before us today. Your testimony has been incredibly helpful to committee members. I hope you have enjoyed your appearance here as much as we have enjoyed having you here. Please recommend it highly to officials in other departments, as well.

We will invite Ms. Baxter and Ms. Fredericks to leave, and then we will continue our consideration of this agenda item.

Committee members, we have now heard a commitment from the department to get back to us on the outstanding points. Does that suffice, or do members want additional further follow-up from counsel?

Mr. Wallace: I've only been here a couple times. I substituted a couple of years ago on this committee, but I've never seen witnesses here before. I'm interested in the regular follow-up, but it would be interesting to see whether having them appear here is a motivating factor and if the responses come quicker. If that is the case, my suggestion to the committee might be that instead of reviewing pages and pages of this, maybe pick on individual cases and invite witnesses here on a regular basis. If it is a motivating factor, you may not get through everything that's here, but you may get actual progress on a number of the items. It would be interesting to see if it makes a difference on the time frames.

Mr. Bélanger: I want to thank my colleague for making that suggestion because I do believe that, previously, the committee had a witness appear every third meeting or so. My sense is that it is a bit of a motivating factor in that we did get from these two witnesses a timeline for consultation and publication for 2016 and 2017. We didn't have that before and now we do. My sense is that it did cause them to focus a little more in providing a response.

Mr. Albas: I certainly thought today's exercise was helpful. As I said when we suggested having them come in, it would give us a better understanding of the complex work environment that many of these regulatory bodies have to work in. Certainly, I heard that today.

I think that we have used probably 45 minutes of our total time for two files. In this case I thought it was helpful, but I would remind members that a tool is only as good as the situation in which it exists. We should be mindful of that. Just like disallowance may be appropriate in certain cases, it will not be appropriate in every case. That's why we typically work with consensus here to find out which cases a particular tool might be appropriate. Then we argue our points.

I think we can all agree that today was a positive experience. I hope that Mr. Bernhardt and his team continue to work with them, starting with following up on the commitments made here today and possibly having Mr. Bernhardt also offer to meet as per their implementation plan. I think that would be appropriate. So let's consider writing a letter.

Mr. Vellacott: I would agree that it is an issue in all of these cases to find out which tool is most effective. If could be a specifically detailed letter from Mr. Bernhardt to get the job done and move the file forward.

I think I would speak for other members around this table in saying that whatever party is in power, we don't want "regulatory constipation'' on this kind of stuff; we want the job done. It doesn't matter who is in government. It's not an attack on the government, necessarily, or shouldn't be seen that way, if we're going after the issues of safety for workers. We all want that, altogether around the table — all parties for sure.

I think it's a matter of getting the job done and picking the tool. I would agree that we haven't used this tool nearly enough, at least in the length of time I have been on this committee. If we were to use it more, it would also make our other tools sharper and more effective. What's the saying? They would have "the fear of the devil.'' It would motivate them, I believe, to move forward. Mr. Bélanger has said that. I can see that these tools working together can get a better job done.

Mr. Hillyer: In addition to the motivation factor, I think about efficiency. Yes, it took 45 minutes, but how many people asked questions and supplemental questions? Normally we would have a meeting to discuss sending one question in a letter and we would wait. There is no wonder it takes four years. If every single one of these questions and follow-up questions was another meeting and another discussion about whether to send a letter, then waiting to hear back, the process today is a lot faster than sending a letter on each question. It has that power, as well.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): There is a suggestion that we ask counsel to follow up on the meeting we just had. There are also suggestions on the floor about how this committee conducts its business in the future. I suspect we might want to leave that to the next Parliament, as this is our last meeting.

Mr. Bernhardt, are you comfortable following up? Do you have enough direction?

Mr. Bernhardt: I think so.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): As pointed out, we have now used 45 minutes of our agenda, so let's move forward.


(For text of documents, see Appendix B, p. 21B:1.)

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Item 2 on our agenda, Negative Option Billing Regulations, is under the heading "Reply Unsatisfactory.''

There are two provisions that appear to add nothing to the prohibitions already found in the enabling acts, and we are still waiting for amendments to fix French-English discrepancies that were promised at the "next available opportunity.''

That seems to be an entirely unsatisfactory reply. Would anyone like to comment?

Senator Runciman: I think the position seems to be a stretch, but I suggest that we write back. It would be helpful for the committee to have concrete examples of cases where the information is not misleading but is presented in a misleading manner. That's what they're essentially saying. If they could give us a few examples, the committee would perhaps feel more comfortable with allowing it to continue.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Any other comments on this file? Are we agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see Appendix C, p. 21C:1.)

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Moving on to Item 3 under "Reply Unsatisfactory (?)'', after agreeing over a decade ago that outdated references to the Canada Business Corporations Regulations should be corrected, the Department of Finance is now saying it is still examining how to correct these references and assures the committee that it "remains committed to addressing the committee's concerns and remedying the outdated references as quickly as possible.'' However, no indication has been given to us as to when that might actually occur.

Mr. Anders: I think we're looking for a timeline with regard to this file. It seems to me they have made a switchover, but it hasn't been recognized in terms of the writing. A timeline or deadline would be required.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): So write to the department asking for a timeline?

Mr. Anders: Yes.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.



(For text of documents, see Appendix D, p. 21D:1.)

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Moving on to Item 4 under the same heading, we have been promised an amendment with respect to the French version of the regulations, but there is one other issue where the department and the committee remain at odds. The committee suggested that to the extent that section 3 of the regulations seeks to do away with the requirement that in order to contravene the enabling acts misleading information need not be knowingly provided, it would represent an unlawful attempt to alter the scope of an offence established by Parliament. To the extent it merely repeats a prohibition already found in the enabling act, it serves no purpose. Either way, it is an issue that still must be addressed.


Mr. Bernhardt: Exactly. The situation here is identical to that the committee had under Item 2, so I presume the same approach would be followed on this one.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Is that agreed, Mr. Albas?

Mr. Albas: Yes.


(For text of documents, see Appendix E, p. 21E:1.)

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Next is Item 5 under "Part Action Promised.'' Two issues here were deemed to be addressed satisfactorily, and amendments have now been promised to address six other issues raised, albeit without a time line. That leaves one last set of concerns that the Department of Transport says it will examine as part of the certification and service review project, and that was to commence in January 2015.

Mr. Bernhardt: That's correct, Madam Chair. These issues all concern the imposition of penalties for not complying with the manuals prepared by holders of certificates. The committee is seeing this in a number of aviation files.

The department is undertaking what it calls a certification and service review project that began in January, and it's to look at this whole area throughout the regulations. The department indicates it will be seeking the best way to resolve the issue, but that is going to take some time.

Aside from that, there are either promises of amendments or satisfactory explanations on all other points, so I suppose at this point it's simply a case of monitoring the progress of those and asking for a time frame.

Mr. Albas: I was going to suggest exactly that, Madam Chair, that we should simply monitor; but, at the same time, since they have made a commitment, I think it's helpful for us to get a timeline.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see Appendix F, p. 21F:1.)

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): With regard to Item 6 under the same agenda heading, we should note that amendments are promised to remove an inconsistency in the terminology used in the English version of the regulations. However, with respect to the other issues that committee members had raised, the Department of the Environment indicates that more time is needed to determine how the intent behind language related to the accreditation of laboratories can be expressed clearly and in a way that promotes consistent application across all regulations administered by the department.

Mr. Bernhardt: That's correct. What happened here is simply that the issue identified in this file turns out to arise in a number of files with different regulations under the Environmental Protection Act. The department is trying to find a global solution so that it can deal with all of those at once. It says it needs more time to do that.

I should add, by way of good news, that this instrument did make an amendment that the committee had requested.

Mr. Hillyer: You said they need more time. Did they say how much time they need?

Mr. Bernhardt: No. The last letter, which was April 16, simply indicated that they are studying the issue and will be in touch as soon as they have finalized an approach.

Mr. Hillyer: I'd like to get some sort of timeline commitment, because it's hard to hold anyone accountable to "we'll get to it.''

Mr. Albas: I would point out that they recently wrote back to us. As far as I understand the way the committee usually works, you can't suddenly expect them to have gone through the whole process that they have laid out in just a short period of time. We're in June now. My suggestion is to simply monitor over the summer and write back in the fall.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): There are two suggestions on the floor that I'm hearing. One is to write now; one is to write in the fall. What's the wish of the committee?


Ms. Quach: I think that we could write to them now, and they will decide when they send us a reply. I do not know why there would be a problem with our writing to them now.


Mr. Bélanger: Writing in the fall would be something that the next committee might be doing, so I think if we're going to write, now would be better.

Mr. Albas: Again, we may not get anything until the fall, so perhaps we could suggest monitoring and have this brought up by the committee counsel in the new Parliament. They have already made the undertaking. Again, they've basically said they are going to start a process. If you look in the actual file, the letter of April 16, they're saying that they have identified a process to do it, but they are going to need some time. For us to immediately write back — and, again, this is a short period of time — we're not going to get anything of substance.

If members want to do that, that's fine. However, just remember that you actually chip away at the credibility if someone says to you, "I'll get back to you as soon as I have something,'' and you respond almost instantaneously, saying, "Have you made any progress?''

Mr. Hillyer: That's not the question.

Mr. Albas: The issue is how best to proceed. I would simply say we monitor. If people want to write a letter, the letter would probably be more effective after giving the agency some time to do the work that they need to do.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): I'm not hearing a consensus. I am hearing four people saying write a letter now. I've heard one saying wait until the fall. I'm going to suggest we send a letter asking for a timeline now. If somebody wants to put that to an actual vote, tell me now. No? Are we okay with that?

Hon. Members: Yes.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Thank you. That's how we'll proceed.

Senator Moore: It might be useful as well to comment about the fact that they did bring forward that amendment, which we appreciated, and to let us know what their timeline is. If they can do it now, let us know.

Mr. Hillyer: I agree. The content of the letter is not to say, "What's your progress here?'' It's just to clarify, "You said you need some time. So that we can follow up properly in the future, what kind of timeline can we expect?''

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Right. That was the consensus I was trying to forge. Thank you very much.


(For text of documents, see Appendix G, p. 21G:1.)

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Moving on to Item 7 under "Part Action Taken,'' in this case, the committee raised 140 points with the Canada Border Services Agency as well as Citizenship and Immigration. Counsel is suggesting that the committee should now ask for updates from both, as only 80 out of the 140 issues have been resolved satisfactorily.

Mr. Bernhardt: That's correct, Madam Chair. There were supposed to be 27 amendments made by CBSA last fall. Those have yet to be made, so an update could be sought on that. There is also an undertaking to make amendments to the act as soon as possible on two points.

As the note explains in some detail, the agency's reply on one matter seems to require a bit more clarification, and there is one other matter that still appears unsatisfactory. Those could be pursued as well.

As for Citizenship and Immigration, there are a number of promised amendments that could be followed up by way of asking for a progress report. I think, most significantly, the department has now decided against a number of amendments that were previously promised. Of the new explanations it has now provided, the note explains that it is suggested that points 48 and 72 could be considered satisfactory and accepted by the committee. As well, point 138 now seems to be moot, although I'd point out that this wouldn't have been the case when it was first raised eight years ago.

As for the remainder of the points, as the note explains, the department's change of position does not appear to be justified, and we'd suggest that those be pursued further with the department. As members will have seen, this is a fairly substantial file. I think even the note in the materials runs to some 14 pages. I wouldn't propose to go over each one of those in detail. However, we're more than willing, obviously, to answer any questions on any of those points that members might have.

Mr. Bélanger: If our counsel does not agree with the decision, then I suspect that has to be made known. Does the committee agree with our counsel, number one? Number two, if so, then I think it's important that we make it known to the department that we are in disagreement with their decision. My sense is that our counsel has the right attitude on this, and I'm wondering if others agree with that.

Mr. Albas: If you read through the file, there are a number of points where they do agree with us, so I would suggest that we write back, follow up seeking an update from CBSA on the agreed 27 points so that we get a time frame. I would suggest also that we get confirmation on point 21 from CBSA because that seems to be outstanding. Write back also on point 23.

The CIC promised action and then wrote back saying that there was no need to make amendments, so I think we should write back seeking clarification on that.

There are 10 or so points that are still outstanding. I am happy that our counsel agrees that their points on 48 and 72 are correct.

It seems to me that it is a bit of a mixed bag. I do agree with the member that there are some points worth following up, but we should also remind ourselves that they are dealing with us in good faith and that this is a complex set of files that we need to resolve.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): So we will follow up as counsel has suggested?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see Appendix H, p. 21H:1.)


(For text of documents, see Appendix I, p. 21I:1.)

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Moving on to the next section, "Reply Satisfactory,'' I would like to suggest that we deal with the two items together since they are satisfactorily resolved and are very similar.

In both instances, the regulations were not transmitted to the Clerk of the Privy Council within seven days of their making. The Department of the Environment acknowledged the snafu, and the Farm Products Council says it was transmitted in time, although it wasn't received in time.

It would seem that the committee's concerns were heard, and both replies can now be deemed satisfactory.

Do you have anything to add, counsel?

Mr. Bernhardt: No.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Are committee members okay with closing those files?

Mr. Albas: I'm okay with closing both files, but I would like to make a few comments on Item 9.

I think we should consider recommending changes to the Statutory Instruments Act because these issues will continue to happen, and basically tie it to publication versus the registration of the order, the current system that is in place. The order would take effect the moment that it is published, because having this, there are a number of stop gaps that could happen. For example, with Item 9, the fact is that it came in probably on a Friday afternoon, and then by Monday, when someone opened it up and looked at it, that contravened it because it didn't receive the stamp in time. That seems to be a very bureaucratic system to me.

I would simply suggest that we write to PCO and suggest that they should consider changing the Statutory Instruments Act so that they have a new goal on publication and so we don't have some of these asinine processes that hold back what should be a relatively straightforward process.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Any comments on that suggestion?

Senator Moore: Good idea.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.



(For text of documents, see Appendix J, p. 21J:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Agenda Item 10 falls under the heading "Progress,'' my favourite category. The Canadian Transportation Agency hoped to complete amendments addressing our remaining concerns by this spring. However, the agency said if delays occurred it would proceed with a separate package of amendments. That has now happened and they are developing a miscellaneous amendments regulations package.

Mr. Vellacott: They want to have it in place by the end of the 2015 fiscal year. I guess we're not there, but I think about all we can do is monitor it and remind them at some point to that this is what we thought they would do and ask if they are at that point. Urge or nudge them on that, but basically monitor it for the present time.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see Appendix K, p. 21K:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Next is Item 11 under the same heading. Environment Canada recommenced its regulation review in January 2015. Amendments we requested are to be made upon completion of that review, and this response is now expected this fall.


Cynthia Kirkby, Counsel to the Committee: I will add that when they say they are providing a response in the fall of 2015, one of the issues was whether amendments would be required to the enabling act as well. That is something we could be looking for as well, to see if they're planning only regulatory amendments or also amendments to the enabling act.

Mr. Anders: When counsel mentions "looking for,'' I think it's basically to monitor the file.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Agreed?

Senator Moore: What did you say, counsel? There are possibilities here; don't you want an answer to one of them?

Ms. Kirkby: They are talking about doing a regulatory review. One of the issues was that the regulations perhaps are broader than what was authorized by the enabling act, so we had suggested as part of that review whether that should also encompass amendments to the act.

It's not clear to me from their last letter whether their response in the fall of 2015 will include the suggestion of amending the act itself. We could wait and see what they say, or we could ask to make sure they are also taking that into account.

Senator Moore: Wouldn't you be better off to find out now rather than get down the road? I would think as counsel you would want to know now. I think we should draft a sweet little letter and find out now.

Mr. Vellacott: If you're talking about the enabling act, you're talking about an act of Parliament in terms of change. I think we've run out of time with respect to that one, but I certainly agree we should monitor it. I think it's a valid question, but I don't think we're going to get any answers on that legislation between now and the fall.

Senator Moore: I don't think I was looking for an act so much but rather what the intentions are. That's all.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Could we monitor to see if they make those intentions clear and then bring it back?

Senator Moore: Yes.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.



(For text of documents, see Appendix L, p. 21L:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Next is Item 12 on our agenda, the first of 10 items under the category "Progress (?)''.

We are waiting for 41 outstanding concerns to be addressed. A package of technical amendments was to follow amendments to the act. The department indicates that "the drafting of amendments is still being refined'' with no indication about timeline.

Mr. Anders: I think the obvious thing is to write and ask for a timeline.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

Mr. Bélanger: It might be one that the next committee may want to consider inviting. I will just leave it at that.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): He's got his feet wet and would like to jump in.


(For text of documents, see Appendix M, p. 21M:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Moving on to Item 13, amendments have been promised to address five concerns. These relate to drafting errors and inconsistencies between the English and French versions of the regulations, the deletion of an unnecessary provision, and the need to bring certain terminology into conformity with that used in the current version of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations.

The forecast completion time for the amendments to address the committee's concerns has now been pushed back again. It's now anticipated that the proposed amendments will be prepublished in Part I of the Canada Gazette, near the end of 2016.

Mr. Bernhardt: I don't have much to add to that, Madam Chair. To go back to the very beginning, I would note that in 2007 the department proposed deferring action on this file for three years. The committee advised the department that it didn't consider waiting for three years to be satisfactory. The department then replied it expected the amendments to be made in 2008. As you say, we're now looking at 2016.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): It has had a bit of a sordid history.

Mr. Hillyer: It seems like they have a history of pushing things off. I think we should write and ask them to honour their time commitment.


Ms. Quach: I was wondering whether, in this case, we could propose a miscellaneous statute amendment bill, if there are minor corrections to be made, and if they are corrections we have been waiting for for a long time. Would that solution work in this case?


Mr. Bernhardt: I think in this case, from what I'm seeing in the summary, these amendments are quite minor and routine. If the committee wished to suggest that a miscellaneous amendments package might expedite matters, that wouldn't be an unreasonable suggestion in this case.

Senator Runciman: We have other items coming up where there are commitments to publish in the Canada Gazette in 2016. This says late 2016. I guess that's the expectation. Can we talk about monitoring? I assume that means if they don't do it, we'll notice it.

I'm wondering if we should have a policy on some of these issues, especially the commitments to the 2016 Canada Gazette, and that at some point the committee, through counsel, maybe six months ahead or early 2016, contact them for an update. I'm not restricting it to this one, but any of these other files where this might apply, to get an update on the status so the committee can take action. If they're not making progress, let's call them before the committee and find out why.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): A system of diarizing.

Mr. Albas: I actually agree with Mr. Hillyer. They have made a commitment. They've made previous ones, but I think we should put our foot down and say that we expect that to be maintained.

With regard to Senator Runciman's idea in respect to diarizing, I'm not opposed to that at this point. We do want to see the result we want.

That said, we should also point out that they've cited that additional time is needed because they were required to conduct consultations to determine administrative and compliance burden on small- and medium-sized enterprises. This is a requirement upon them to be able to make the changes to the regulations.

I understand that they're dealing with some issues, but I agree with Mr. Hillyer that we should simply write back to them and say, "Okay, we expect it done this time and in that time frame.''

Mr. Bélanger: I agree with that suggestion.

To follow up on Senator Runciman's idea, would it be appropriate for us to recommend to our counsel that they include this matter in the agenda of a meeting of the committee, say, in March or April next year to remind the committee of the need to get a follow-up? Would that be appropriate? If it is, I would make that suggestion.

Senator Moore: Near the end of 2016. Is that the fiscal year or the calendar year? Are we talking about 2015-16?

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): It sounds like calendar year.

Senator Moore: I was afraid of that.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): We will write back, if that is the wish of the committee —

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): — to ask them to honour their commitment timeline. Then we will diarize that as per the suggestion of Senator Runciman. Counsel can keep us advised.

Mr. Bernhardt: I will do so.


(For text of documents, see Appendix N, p. 21N:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): On Item 14, the Department of the Environment committed to change wording in its French regulations to harmonize it with the English version. This amendment has been delayed numerous times, and now the department expects to prepublish it in Canada Gazette Part I in late 2016.


Mr. Bernhardt: The situation is similar to that regarding the previous file.

Publication was supposed to take place in the spring of 2013, and then it went to the end of 2013, to the end of 2014, and finally to the end of 2015. In his letter of April 16, the minister now confirms that the publication will have to wait to the end of 2016.

Ms. Quach: But, as counsel told us about the previous file, if these are minor corrections, may I propose that we suggest a miscellaneous amendment bill, so that things may go more quickly and so that this may be settled?

I am suggesting it again. Nothing happened on the previous file, but perhaps we could settle things more expeditiously in this case.


Mr. Albas: As much as I wish it were that simple, the requirements in the department are the same as the previous, where they have to do consultations. We've secured a commitment and a timeline. They are working toward it.

However, I do feel the frustrations of committee members, and that's why I think we should take the same course of action that Mr. Hillyer recommended earlier: Write back to inform them that the expectation of the committee is that they will complete on time this time, and that we take similar provisions as per the last one.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Is the suggestion put forward by Mr. Albas agreeable?


Ms. Quach: I want to know, basically, whether it would be very cumbersome to propose a corrective bill in both cases — for both files, file 13 and file 14, through a letter we would send to the minister or the agency responsible for the file. Should I move this?


The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): I would make one comment. If we're going to suggest including it in the miscellaneous regulations amendments, that could take us to the same time frame they're proposing for completion. It takes a long time to go through that process.

I don't know if that's a welcome comment. Does that have any impact on what you may think of about that particular matter?


Ms. Quach: If it comes to the same thing, fine. But if counsel says that it would be more effective, let us go with the most effective method.


The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Counsel has a response, to be followed by Mr. Albas.

Mr. Bernhardt: I think that ties in. I was going through the correspondence, and I note on this particular file that the committee had made that suggestion in 2014. The reply from the department was that, at least from its point of view, an amendment to the regulations is already under way, and the miscellaneous amendment would not accelerate the process.

That's the department's view; I am just communicating it.

Mr. Albas: I was going to make the suggestion that a miscellaneous amendment is usually used when there are very minor changes that do not require consultation, vis-à-vis what we heard today when Mr. Bélanger suggested whether you really need to do consultations on certain terms when there is an English-French translation error. They said that they could do that for some, but for others that impact on other pieces of legislation or stakeholders, they have a requirement to work with those people.

In this case, we have a requirement for consultation. That's why the department will probably have to run it through this particular process.

We've raised the point before, so I agree with the member opposite that if there is a more efficient way, we should try and seek that; however, in some cases, these are not minor amendments and there is a necessary process for that.

I was also going to say we should try and be somewhat consistent, because some of these are similar. If we start striking off on different paths — unless there is a marked difference in the situation, perhaps we might speed up our conversations today. We have a lot of files still, and I would like to see them completed.


Mr. Pilon: I think that the consultations have already taken place, as since 2013 they have been promising us that the text would be published. So the consultations should be over. If we agree on a miscellaneous amendment bill, that would accelerate the process. They told us the text was to be published in 2014; they told us they would need some time but they did not do it. Now we could force them to do so.


The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Can counsel provide any comment about the likelihood that more consultations would be necessary?

Mr. Bernhardt: On this particular file, the reference to consultations is probably a reference to consultations on some of the other things in the amendment package. The committee's concern here is very much a drafting matter. I presume when they say they need to consult, there is a broader package, and some aspects of that will require consultation.

As I say, the committee suggested separating out its amendments last year. That suggestion was, shall we say, somewhat frowned upon in the department's reply. That doesn't mean the committee couldn't suggest it again, but I think the outcome is fairly predictable.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Mr. Albas suggested writing back to ask them to honour their timeline. Perhaps we could also say, "If you're not able to honour your time commitment, the other thing we can suggest is to potentially have this dealt with in a Miscellaneous Amendment Regulation.'' What do you think about that?

Mr. Albas: I think we should stick to our knitting. We can't tell them what to do; we can suggest what we feel would be the most efficient, and we have already done that. They said no, that this has to go in as part of a regulatory package.

I think we just have to hold their feet to the fire: "We expect this to happen, and we will be following up to make sure it happens.''

Mr. Bélanger: I would not recommend that we put veiled threats in a letter — "do this, do that.''

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): I wasn't suggesting that.

Mr. Bélanger: I agree with Mr. Albas. I would hesitate to do that.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Does that have the consensus of the committee?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

An Hon. Member: The same approach as in Item 13.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): The same approach to ask them to honour their commitment to a timeline, and then we'll monitor to see how they react to that.

Hon. Members: Agreed.

Mr. Bélanger: Put it on the agenda in the spring as well.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): We can diarize it and put it on the agenda for the spring. Thank you for that.


(For text of documents, see Appendix O, p. 21O:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Moving on to Item 15 on our agenda, the preparation of promised amendments is progressing, but the Department of the Environment seems uncertain as to whether the previously forecast completion time of the end of 2015 will be met. As well, the department confirms that it is currently reviewing the wording used in provisions regarding laboratory accreditation and all regulations it administers.

Mr. Bernhardt: That's correct, Madam Chair. That's the same issue the committee saw earlier this morning.

As for the other promised amendments, the committee had been given a forecast of the end of 2015 for publication in Part I of the Canada Gazette. The April 22 letter simply says that they're progressing and that once their process is completed, they will be in position to provide a more specific timeline. Whether that means they still expect the 2015 timeline to be met or not is a bit unclear.

Mr. Albas: I suggest we do the same. They made a commitment; we hold them to it.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see Appendix P, p. 21P:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Next is Item 16. Amendments that had been anticipated to be published in Part I of the Canada Gazette in 2014 are now to be published in Part I in 2016. There are amendments promised to correct a typographical error in the French version and to clarify the English version of one provision. A third amendment will permit a person who offers for sale or sells a product to not indicate the manufacturing date or the code representing that date on the container if the manufacturer or importer has already so indicated. Under the circumstances at present, counsel indicates that if the person who is offering the product for sale or selling the product does not also indicate the date, he or she is in contravention of the regulations.

Counsel, do you have anything further?

Mr. Bernhardt: No. The song remains the same on this file.

Mr. Vellacott: I have a question. Does the code clearly indicate to the untrained, a layperson's eye, the date, or do I have to scan it?

Mr. Bernhardt: I think it's something that could be scanned. I'm not sure it would necessarily be clear to someone who wasn't familiar with the code. These are sort of industrial products.

The problem the committee had raised is that technically it's required to be there twice. It says that one person has to put it on and then another person has to put it on. The intent was that, if the first person didn't put it on, then the second person had to. The intent wasn't that the information had to appear twice.

Mr. Vellacott: Our insistence is that it's there at least in one form, by the manufacturer or whatever.

Mr. Bernhardt: Yes.

Mr. Vellacott: So we're not really getting into how clear and obvious that date is to the layperson? The layperson wants to know when the date is.

Mr. Bernhardt: I have no idea what that code would say and how that would read.

Mr. Vellacott: This is retail, or is it going to suppliers?

Mr. Bernhardt: No, I understand these are going to —

Mr. Vellacott: A supplier to a commercial —

Mr. Bernhardt: Body shops, basically.

Mr. Vellacott: Then they would know.

Mr. Bernhardt: I presume. These would be suppliers to body shops, basically.

Mr. Vellacott: Then I think it's very straightforward, actually. One is the amendment to clarify the English version, then this other thing, but I would say the same as the previous ones we have had, to simply ask them to keep that time commitment and that we assume, in good faith, that that's what they intend to do.


Mr. Bélanger: Mr. Bernhardt, do you know if we are looking at the same timeframe, i.e. the end of 2016?

Mr. Bernhardt: Yes.

Mr. Bélanger: It does not say.

Mr. Bernhardt: In that case, I think it is during 2016 and not at the end of 2016.

Mr. Bélanger: Thank you.


The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): On this matter, the same thing, ask them to honour their time commitment?

Mr. Vellacott: And diarize, if necessary.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see Appendix Q, p. 21Q:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Next is Item 17. Amendments that had been anticipated to be published in Part I of the Canada Gazette in 2014 — same as the last one — are now to be published in Part I in 2016. Amendments have been promised to clarify the English version of one provision to correct an error in the drafting of the French version of one provision and to remove an anglicism from the French version of several items in the schedule to the regulations.

Mr. Bernhardt: I really have nothing to add to that.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): What does anglicism mean? Is it the English way of saying something?

Mr. Bernhardt: Using a vernacular word from English that, strictly speaking, doesn't exist in the French language. Gallicism is the opposite, where you go in the other direction.

Mr. Vellacott: Just so we understand, we don't need the Anglican Church to weigh in on this.

Senator Runciman: I guess we could follow the same format as the previous ones, but when I read this letter, I don't see it as a commitment. The key sentence to me is "we are expecting to publish it.'' I think we can write a letter saying there is an expectation from the committee that this will occur, but I think it would also be appropriate in that letter to request a status update by no later than March 2016.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see Appendix R, p. 21R:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Agenda Item 18 deals with amendments that were previously forecast to be published in Part I of the Canada Gazette in early 2015 and are now to be published in Part I in 2016. These proposed amendments would harmonize the French and English versions, eliminate a redundancy in the French version and correct the wording of the French version to conform to the terminology used in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.


Mr. Bernhardt: It is, again, the same situation.

Mr. Anders: Write to the department asking them to honour the commitment to the new time frame.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see Appendix S, p. 21S:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Moving on to Item 19, in response to the committee's inquiry as to when a proposed amendment will be made to the Canada Business Corporations Act, the Department of Industry has replied that work is ongoing, but it gives no indication as to when the amendments to the act could be introduced. I will ask counsel to summarize that.

Ms. Kirkby: The only issue is that the enabling act requires a prescribed date, but the regulations instead refer to a time period. Industry Canada agreed in 2007 to seek an amendment to the act to create the broader authority required for the approach taken in the regulations. Initially, Industry indicated it would seek this amendment through the miscellaneous statute law amendment process. In 2013, however, the Department of Justice advised Industry that this was not a minor amendment, so the MSLA process was not appropriate.

Industry then indicated it would seek the amendment in the context of any amendments arising out of public consultations on the Canada Business Corporations Act more generally. After multiple follow-ups from counsel, Industry advised in February of this year that those consultations concluded in May of last year and that submissions are being thoroughly reviewed.

As was mentioned, they are working to ensure that the correction identified by the committee is addressed, but this has been since 2007 now. The question is whether progress is being made.

Senator Runciman: They left it pretty open-ended with respect to when this might be addressed. I think at this stage all we can do is write back and ask them to give the committee a timeline, some indication of when this might occur and hopefully will occur.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see Appendix T, p. 21T:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Next is Item 20 on our agenda. The Department of Health advises that proposed new regulations are now expected to be published in Part I of the Canada Gazette in the spring of 2015, which would be now.

The authority for section 43 of the regulations, which requires the keeping and provision of records, was questioned. As well, there were several inconsistencies between the English and French versions of the regulations that need to be addressed.

Ms. Kirkby: I will mention that the prepublication date has been pushed back. It was initially going to be in 2012 and has not yet occurred. It's spring 2015, but not yet.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Do we monitor, seeing as it's supposed to be imminent? Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

Mr. Bélanger: There are 10 days left.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): There's always hope. It hasn't gotten that muggy yet in Ottawa, so it must still be spring.

We'll monitor and hope for the best on that one.


(For text of documents, see Appendix U, p. 21U:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): With regard to promised amendments in relation to Item 21 that were previously projected to be made in March 2015, they have now been delayed. The Treasury Board Secretariat had agreed to amend the French version of various provisions to remove unnecessary or grammatically incorrect words, and to amend two provisions to refer to record suspensions as well as pardons to reflect changes to the Criminal Records Act.

Ms. Kirkby: They have indicated it would be done this spring, but it hasn't occurred as of this week.

Mr. Anders: It's an amendment of the French version. It is a grammatical correction and they have said they're expecting it to be presented in the spring, so I say we monitor the file.


Mr. Bélanger: Madam Chair, may I put a question to counsel?

How can there possibly be grammatical errors in regulations that are being published?


Mr. Bernhardt: That's a very good question. I suspect there are a number of reasons. In some cases, I suspect because there are so many versions and so many people handling various documents, drafts and revisions that things don't get matched up at the end. I think sometimes we take a more stringent approach than the drafters may do in looking at the particular terms.

Mr. Bélanger: Doesn't the Justice Department review regulations before they're published?

Mr. Bernhardt: Their job is to review and blue stamp them, yes.

Mr. Bélanger: You're bringing me back to a conclusion I reached a while back. In the matter of English and French, the principal responsibility lies with the Justice Department, yet they seem to be failing to address this properly, in my view.

Mr. Bernhardt: All I can say is that we certainly do see those issues, those matters fairly frequently.

Senator Moore: It's just a start-up operation.

Mr. Bélanger: At some point that will have to be addressed, but not now.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): The suggestion is to monitor it.

Hon. Members: Agreed.




(For text of documents, see Appendix V, p. 21V:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Moving on to the category of "Action Promised'' and agenda Item 22, amendments have now been promised to address the one outstanding matter. The department has also provided an explanation of which amendments will be made and through which amendment package.

The department previously indicated that many of the promised amendments would be published by mid-2015. While remaining items would be published the following year, it has now clarified which amendments are to be made and through which amendment package. As well, they have agreed to address the one outstanding matter on which agreement has not been reached by making the obligation to consult clear in law rather than simply required in practice.

Ms. Kirkby: This is another one where they said mid-2015. I will advise the committee that it hasn't happened yet.

One of the questions was whether we should seek clarification. In the third of their bullet point lists, they indicated they would amend certain items in a schedule to standardize geographical coordinates. Other provisions that had been raised initially were left off of that bullet point list, so perhaps we could seek confirmation that they would be amending those as well. It's likely an oversight given the complexity of the various issues raised, but it might be worth seeking confirmation.

Mr. Anders: Since they have indicated amendments are forthcoming, I suggest we monitor it.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Agreed?

Senator Moore: Didn't counsel recommend that we write a letter and get some confirmation?

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): I think she said it was a possibility.

Ms. Kirkby: A possibility with respect to the third set of amendments.

Senator Moore: I think we should do that. We should follow counsel's advice.

Mr. Vellacott: I agree for peace of mind that we get clarification on that point but basically monitoring it.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Do you want to monitor it for a time and see if it's addressed or write a letter? What do you suggest?

Mr. Vellacott: Get a clarification.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see Appendix W, p. 21W:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Next is Item 23 under the same heading. Transport Canada advises that the requested amendment will be published in the Canada Gazette by the end of next year.

Counsel, is there anything to note on that? No?

Mr. Albas: Monitor.

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see Appendix X, p. 21X:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): With regard to Item 24 under "Action Promised,'' 51 promised amendments have been made, so good work to counsel and this committee for achieving that. There are a few remaining matters.

Ms. Kirkby: I would highlight the 51 promised amendments that were made with respect to 21 separate files, so we were able to close a fair number of files in this instance. While they did address several issues, they replaced most instances of the word "succursale'' in the French version with the word "bureau,'' but there are still some provisions that use the earlier terminology. They have now acknowledged these discrepancies and will recommend that they be amended at the next available opportunity.

There was another instance where they had indicated that they would replace the English phrase "member company's customers'' with "branch's customers,'' but this was not done. They didn't provide an explanation for why this amendment was not included, but they have stated that they remain committed to addressing this discrepancy.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Monitor it in the meantime?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see Appendix Y, p. 21Y:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Next is Item 25 under the category "Action Taken.'' The promised amendment to the French version of the Aeronautics Act was made by the Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act. That is good work to counsel on that one. We can close that file. Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see Appendix Z, p. 21Z:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Moving on to Item 26 under the same heading, the Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act amended the English version of the provision in question to conform to its French counterpart.

Mr. Albas: On this file, counsel, did we suggest the miscellaneous statute law, or did the department just do the right thing on their own?

Mr. Bernhardt: I suspect, given the age of this file, that somewhere over the years the committee made that suggestion.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): It started in 1996.

Mr. Albas: So it does work.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): That's great. We can close that file.




(For text of documents, see Appendix AA, p. 21AA:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Next is Item 27, again under "Action Taken.'' It was eventually decided that a new occupational health and safety regulatory regime for the Atlantic offshore was to be put in place and there were three existing regulations that should be repealed. As a result of that, many requested amendments by this committee were addressed by that.

Mr. Bernhardt: That's correct. These regulations under the new scheme have been replaced by what are called the transitional regulations. They are kind of the bridge to the new regime, and those regulations can remain in force a maximum of five years.

In any event, the committee's three existing files can now be closed.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Thank you.


(For text of documents, see Appendix BB, p. 21BB:1.)

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Item 28 is the last item under "Action Taken.'' Two outstanding matters here were cleared up with the wonderful Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act. We can close that file as well.


















The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Under "Statutory Instruments Without Comment,'' we have 17 matters. We can thank this committee and counsel for the good work in getting a number of other items handled in that fashion.

Before we complete our meeting today, I would like to thank my joint chair, MP Chris Charlton, for all of her hard work over a number of years.

How many years have you been a joint chair of this committee?

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Two or three.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): And probably a member before that.

She won't be running in the next election, so this may well be the last meeting we have prior to that. I want to thank her for all her good work on this committee and for serving Canadians for all those years. Thank you very much.

Thank you also to counsel and to committee members for all of their hard work, and to all of the people who help us on this committee — clerks, interpreters and everybody else who helps us out. It's much appreciated.

Mr. Bélanger: I also want to add my thanks to Madam Charlton, your joint chair. She is my seatmate in the Commons, believe it or not.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Interesting seating arrangements.

Mr. Bélanger: We have had fascinating exchanges. I want to thank her for the work she's done here this good morning and forging consensus. Well done. I think we should be aware that in 2010 she was voted one of the hardest working MPs on the Hill.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): That was then; this is now.

Mr. Bélanger: We mature as we age.

I want to thank her and you, Madam Chair, for your work. I presume you may be around again. I'm sorry that Chris is not running again. Thank you for the work you've done.

The Joint Chair (Ms. Charlton): Thank you for saying that.

It's unfortunate that Senator Runciman has left because I would have liked to thank him very much for having been an incredible joint chair who led me into this role. I learned a lot from him at the time, so if you see him later in the day, please share my thanks.

All of you have, on most days, made this job easy and almost enjoyable, so thank you for that.

In particular, I want to thank counsel, without whom none of us could do this job. I really appreciate the incredible work you do on our behalf, and everybody else who serves the committee, from the interpreters to the pages. Everyone in this room has made this job easier for us and enjoyable, and I thank you very much for your support throughout this process.

Good luck in the next election, to those of you who are running. Good luck in maintaining the Senate to those who sit in the other house.

Mr. Anders: I reiterate all of those thank you's, and also one to Mr. Breitkreuz, who could not be here this morning but who has served well in the past.

The Joint Chair (Senator Batters): Absolutely. I had the opportunity to mention Mr. Breitkreuz and also other members on this — Mr. Vellacott and Mr. Anders — last week, but I completely neglected to mention my joint chair. That was just an oversight.

Thank you very much.

(The committee adjourned.)

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