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Proceedings of the Standing Joint Committee for the 
Scrutiny of Regulations

Issue 32 - Evidence - March 22, 2018

OTTAWA, Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations met this day at 8:31 a.m. for the review of Statutory Instruments; and for the consideration of a draft budget.

Mr. Harold Albrecht (Joint Chair) in the chair.



(For text of documents, see Appendix A, p.32A:1.)

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): Good morning, committee members. As you have noted in your agenda, we have before us a special agenda item. We have Minister Ralph Goodale with us this morning, accompanied by witnesses from Canada Border Services Agency, Mr. Charles Slowey and Ms. Tara-Marie Andronek. Welcome to the committee.

We are going to look to Minister Goodale for his opening remarks and then have questions and answers following the statements.

Welcome, Minister Goodale.

Hon. Ralph Goodale, P.C. M.P., Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I am glad to be here and appreciate the attendance of my two colleagues from CBSA who will be able to inform the committee in much greater detail than I could about the fine points of this particular issue.

One of the things I noticed in my early days as minister, when I was trying to get up to speed, learn the portfolio and become acquainted with the history of various outstanding issues, was that there had been a flow of correspondence going back and forth between the committee and various legal officers in the department or the agencies within the department. I appreciate the diligence of this particular committee in pursuing certain issues to make sure that our statutory regulations are properly constructed, and I have been trying my best to follow up on that correspondence to resolve outstanding issues.

So I’m glad to be invited here to discuss the issue of “good character,” as that term appears in the Accounting for Imported Goods and Payment of Duties Regulations.

I fully acknowledge, Mr. Chair, that it has taken much longer than expected to replace the “good character” provision in the regulations for the Customs Self Assessment, that is, the CSA Program. Since I was informed of the committee’s concerns with timelines, I asked my officials to redouble their efforts to try to resolve this issue.

To date, the CBSA has developed several approaches to replace “good character” with specific criteria. Each of these approaches, when they were being developed, appeared to be promising, and then other issues emerged from a practical or a legal point of view that rendered these various ideas, at the end of the day, unacceptable.

But I’m pleased to inform the committee, Mr. Chair, that we have come up with a much simplified approach to address the committee’s original concerns.

By way of background, the CBSA administers two trusted trader programs. One is called Partners in Protection and the other is Customs Self Assessment. These voluntary partnership programs enable the agency to efficiently move commercial shipments of low-risk participants across the Canada-U.S. border in a way that ensures security in the trading chain.

I won’t belabour you with the statistics, but the volume of that business that goes back and forth across the border on a daily basis is absolutely huge. It is vital to Canada that that flow continues to move smoothly and efficiently. Programs like the Trusted Trader program and the Customs Self Assessment Program are initiatives that do their very best to identify the type of traffic across the border that is the lowest risk and therefore can be treated in the most expeditious manner. That is just good business sense so that we focus the skill and strength of the CBSA in areas where there are genuine risks, problems and issues, and expedite the other traffic that can move with very little risk.

On average at the border on a daily basis the CBSA processes over 33,000 highway shipments, 12,000 air cargo shipments, 1,100 marine containers and approximately $1.64 billion worth of trade in commercial goods.

In 2016-17, trusted trader imports accounted for nearly 35 per cent of the value of the duty collected on all imports. The programs are therefore pretty critical to supporting Canada’s trade and economic prosperity. It’s 35 per cent of the duties that are collected.

To become a trusted trader, importers and carriers volunteer to be assessed against pre-established criteria. Once applicants have met all of the eligibility criteria to be defined as a “trusted trader,” they receive a combination of benefits that save the businesses time and money. These include expedited clearance, simplified accounting and the use of dedicated, free and secure trade lanes at the border.

The Accounting for Imported Goods and Payment of Duties Regulations form a substantial part of the legal framework for the CBSA Customs Self Assessment Program. Presently the term “good character” is one the eligibility criteria among others that are set out in those regulations.

In 2007, this committee determined that the term “good character” was ambiguous and provided too much discretion in the process of granting customs self-assessment. The committee recommended that the term be replaced with a list of prescribed criteria for eligibility into or exclusion from the CBSA’s regulated programs. For many years, the CBSA has worked to replace that phrase with an exhaustive list of Customs Self Assessment Program eligibility criteria that would allow the agency to determine eligibility and manage risks appropriately.

As the committee is aware from its regular correspondence with the CBSA, since 2007 the agency has proposed a variety of different approaches in an effort to resolve the committee’s concerns, while at the same time upholding CBSA’s requirement to manage the program efficiently and in fact to address risks. This has unfortunately taken a very long time and I fully share the committee’s view that this matter must be resolved.

CBSA proposes to replace the term “good character” with specific criteria — that is, objective indicia — relevant to the Customs Self Assessment Program to determine where applicants are eligible for an authorization.

As you know, when regulations are in the process of being drafted, they have the status of a cabinet confidence and cannot be disclosed publicly, but I am able to confirm that the drafting has been completed and the wording is now with the Department of Justice. The regulatory work is included in the CBSA’s forward-looking regulatory plan that we are required to produce. You will find this item included on that list, and it’s posted on the agency’s website.

Allowing for the various steps the regulatory process, the target date for the final publication is December this year. Hopefully that will bring this long saga to a successful conclusion.

I want to thank the committee for its diligence. You have certainly pursued this matter assiduously. I hope by the end of this year it is successfully put to bed and we will have an expression in the regulations that accomplishes the safety and security and regulatory objectives of the CBSA but does so in a way that solves the problem of ambiguity and vagueness that the committee identified.

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): Thank you very much, Minister Goodale. Thank you for acknowledging the lengthy period of time that it has taken. I know that you haven’t been reading all of our minutes, but if you could take a little look through the minutes, I’m sure you would sense an even greater degree of frustration. We are really glad you came to address it this morning.

I will open the floor to committee members who may have questions for Mr. Goodale.

Mr. Di Iorio: Thank you for making yourself available and for coming here and addressing the issue.

We came back here at the end of January and this matter was on the table. Could you enlighten us as to why there are 10 more months? I want to put a very important element of context to you. When 10 years ago it would have taken less than 10 months to address this, why is it that after 10 years we have an even longer delay?

Mr. Goodale: Mr. Di Iorio, the process is rolling forward. A series of steps need to be taken in the proper drafting and preparing of regulations. I have expressed to my department on other issues a little frustration at how long this process takes, but it is time consuming.

I’m glad we can now see the finish line. I wish it were sooner than that, but there are various steps in the process that must be accomplished. In the give and take of all those requirements, our projection is we can finish it before the end of this year. I certainly hope it can be faster, and I will be encouraging everyone to work at top speed on this issue to get it done.


Mr. Dusseault: Thank you, minister. May I share how pleased I am to welcome a minister who has taken the time to come and appear before our committee. This is not something that happens every day.

My question is about the current state of the law with regard to the term “good character.” I often say to the committee that concerning legal matters, we cannot afford to be ignorant of the law. However, when the law and regulations are this vague, an ordinary person cannot have an objective understanding of what the law really means.

I assume that it has happened that people were refused because they were not of good character. Were they at least given some explanations to help them understand what good character is, and why they were deemed not to have it?


Mr. Goodale: Could I ask Charles to wade into that, as to when the actual process, when a determination, that the “good character” criterion had not been satisfied?

Charles Slowey, Acting Associate Vice-President, Programs Branch, Canada Border Services Agency: I took over the responsibility for the area last fall, around the time the latest correspondence from the committee came in, so the timing is interesting.

We have worked hard to have open and transparent eligibility criteria available on our website, to make it clear, open and transparent to all applicants for the program of what is required. There is a multi-step process for that assessment in order to be eligible for the program.

Over the past 10 years, my understanding is that only two applications were denied as a result of “good character” and for reasons of non-compliance with program legislation, where an assessment has been done against the company for violations of various sorts against the Customs Act, things like that.

We’ve worked hard over the past year or two to modernize the program, update the portal and application process, and make the criteria as clear as possible and as open and fair as possible.

Mr. Shipley: It is always good to see a minister here. Thank you for coming.

In October 2015, the analysis has now been completed. Formal drafting is to begin with the Department of Justice. Then we went to November 2016, over a year later, and CBSA reported it is engaged with the Department of Justice and the Treasury Board in developing the amendments required for the changes here.

We can walk down through some other dates. In October 2017, the joint chairs write again to the minister and then on October 26, 2017, a letter again goes out. Then we have the frustration of the last meeting, saying we had better get somebody here.

Minister, you have said you see the finish line in December 2018. Why should we have any confidence that that date will ever come to fruition? We are looking at 10-year window here. You said, in terms of formal drafting, that it began and was complete in October 2015. Many things have obviously changed, and you talked about some of those.

What assurances can we have? That date you’ve given us was given for a reason, because you have faith that CBSA is actually going to be able to come through and make those amendments come to fruition.

I’m really concerned because this committee has a bit of lack of jurisdiction when things don’t happen. On behalf of this committee, I need to understand that what you are going to do to make sure the date your agency has just given us actually comes to fruition. What type of correspondence will you give to this committee to keep us up to speed on it?

Mr. Goodale: I’m happy to provide progress reports along the way, over the course of the nine or ten months to the end of the year, Mr. Shipley.

Quite frankly, as nice as you all are on this committee, and all of the wonderful people in this room, I’d rather not be back. My goal is to get this done, and I believe my officials are bending every effort to make sure that the committee is satisfied.

Mr. Shipley: Thank you.

Senator Stewart Olsen: Thank you, minister, for appearing with us.

I’m new to the committee. I find the importance of regulations is becoming more and more clear to me, but I would ask for your indulgence. Governments come and go, but when new legislation comes into being, in order for a clear pathway for Canadians, we really need to have an idea of what those regulations are. I think they should be part of the process of passages of bills. In other words, we really should see the regulations, at least in the Canada Gazette, so that we have a much better understanding of where the government wants to go with the bill.

As you can see, we’re trying to reinforce the reasonableness and the absolute importance of those regulations being presented in a timely fashion. Would you agree with that?

Mr. Goodale: Generally speaking, senator, I do agree with that.

The officials are in a bit of a conundrum because they are not under our system of making laws. They are not authorized to draft the regulations until the authority appears in the bill and that, of course, doesn’t occur until the bill has passed both houses of Parliament and is given Royal Assent. So it’s a bit of a circular problem here, circular argument.

People would like to have a look at regulations in advance, perhaps even passed in legislation; but, on the other hand, the officials are not entitled to draft the regulations until they have the bill. So you catch yourself coming and going on that one.

I think it’s important when you are drafting legislation to keep the clear distinction in mind about what is appropriate to be in the bill and what is appropriately to be delegated to a regulatory process. That is sometimes a very delicate judgment call.

Generally speaking, where you need greater flexibility and the capacity to respond to changing circumstances, you put those things in regulations because they are generally more responsive to public needs, whereas the legislation, generally speaking, is much more difficult to adjust from time to time because it engages the entire parliamentary process.

So there is a reason why some things are in legislation and some things are in regulations, and you can only make regulations that are authorized by the legislation and only once the legislation is passed. But as a general principle, the more information you can give to people, including parliamentarians, before a legislative measure proceeds, the better.

Senator Stewart Olsen: You can see where I’m coming from. It would ease the burden on the regulatory process if indeed the government communicated with them, and perhaps with all parliamentarians, what you envision for legislation in the way of regulations or how to make it work.

I’m asking for a little more attention in working with the regulatory people so that they know where you’re coming from. I think that might move regulations and the presentation of regulations forward more expeditiously. Would you agree with that?

Mr. Goodale: As a general principle, yes.

Senator Stewart Olsen: Thank you.

Mr. Diotte: Thank you for being here today.

When people ask me about this committee, I say that basically this committee is a microcosm of everything that is wrong with big bureaucracy. I see some smiles around the table and I think a lot of people agree.

What can you give us as advice on how we can move this along? What can we do? We all have to work together, but I think everybody at this table is frustrated by delays like this and I’m sure that you are as well.

Mr. Goodale: I don’t think there is any advice to offer other than persistence and diligence. Obviously the committee has worked very hard on this issue. I’m happy we are getting to the point where we can see the solution, but it shouldn’t have taken this long. That is a clear message that I would take to my cabinet colleagues. But the fact that there is a solution coming is because of the diligence of the committee.

Mr. Badawey: I have to compliment Mr. Diotte on his question; it was a good one. On this committee, we often find ourselves challenged with regulations that sometimes go back 10, 15 or 20 years. When you look at this file, for example, I can see a letter here to Stockwell Day dated 2008 on this very issue, and here we are, two governments later, getting it resolved.

So I did want to make the comment that yes, we are trying to get to these files, issues and regulations and bring them up to date so they are not 10, 15 or 20 years old and that they are current. It is a challenge because there are many of them, as I’m sure legal counsel can attest to, but we’re trying.

I appreciate the question from Mr. Diotte to you, as a member of cabinet, on how we can expedite a lot of this by working together. We are not here to step over anyone. We are not here to get into a competition or a position of that nature. We are here to try to get these things rolling through so the regulations are proper and more conducive with the bills they are attached to.

Mr. Goodale: The debates, in principle, about legislation should properly take place in the House of Commons and in the Senate as the bills go through.

Once that process is done, whatever side of the debate you may have been on — for the legislation or against the legislation — becomes immaterial. The legislation is the law of the land, so the issue changes from “Should we pass this bill or not?” to a discussion about how the Parliament of Canada has determined that this is the law and how we make that law of service and benefit to Canadians in the practical administration and functioning of the system.

So the process of looking at regulations, which this committee does very well, largely steps out of the partisan arena and into the issue of what constitutes good governance. And this is a classic example; words like “good behaviour” or “good character.” I’m sure we all have our own conception of what that means, but in your good judgment, I think you have correctly identified that the term is just too vague. So provide some criteria, some objective in indicators that will get to the same policy result but do so in a way that is more understandable for Canadians. That’s good advice and we are taking it.

Mr. Badawey: Thank you. I want to express my appreciation for you being here today, minister, as mentioned already. It is not every day that we get a minister to show up. It shows that you care and that you want to be decisive on this. We have seen this in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 not being taken care of under the previous government. Now, in two years, you showed up to a committee and are very decisive on handing this back to us by the end of year. I congratulate you on that.


Mr. Dusseault: I’d like to go back to something that was said about the fact that it is easier to amend regulations in good time; and yet the committee’s experience has been the opposite, in that we get the impression that regulations are extremely difficult to amend, that the departments have a lot of trouble moving their regulatory projects forward within the governmental apparatus. When we see the speed at which bills are passed in the house, we have the impression that it is almost easier and simpler to get bills adopted than it is to adopt regulations through Treasury Board.

Generally speaking, have you seen frustration related to the fact that the regulatory process is so long and complex that sometimes it is almost easier to get bills adopted?


Mr. Goodale: In some circumstances, that is absolutely correct. Without getting into the detail of other policy issues, I have a couple of matters right now in my domain as Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness where regulations need to move forward. The steps that you have to go through, including the consultation and public response period, prepublication and then publication and so forth, it is very time consuming. So it might well be useful to examine the ways in which that whole machinery can be sped up, not to in my way compromise the integrity of the process but to make it more timely.

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): I see no further wish for discussion.

Mr. Goodale, we want to thank you for appearing today. Thank you for acknowledging our needs as a committee. I would like to request that perhaps in your great acceptance of our concerns you pass those concerns on to your cabinet colleagues, because yours is definitely not the only department with which we have concerns.

Mr. Goodale: I’m glad to hear that.

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): Thank you again, Minister Goodale, and thank you to the witnesses for being with us.

Now, rather than moving to Item 2 on our agenda, we’re going to look at the proposed budget that is before you. Is someone prepared to move the adoption of this budget? Let’s start with a motion.

Mr. Dusseault. Okay, any discussion? All in favour of adopting this budget — summary of expenditures — for $7,500.

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): Carried. Now let’s return to the agenda.



(For text of documents, see Appendix B, p. 32B:1.)

Evelyne Borkowski-Parent, Senior Legal Counsel to the Committee: At its meeting of February 1, 2018, the committee decided to issue a notice of disallowance regarding subsection 404.04(9) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations on the grounds that the provision was not authorized by the enabling legislation and that it made the person unduly dependent on administrative discretion. The notice of disallowance is the preliminary step before the committee can table a disallowance report. In other words, this is a 30-day notice to the regulatory authority. The 30-day period ended on March 7. In response to the notice of disallowance, the Minister of Transport informed the committee on March 1, 2018, that the provision would be amended in the fall of 2018 at the latest. The minister concludes his letter by asking the committee to hold a meeting with departmental officials to discuss the issue. At this point, I would suggest that the advisors discuss things with the department officials to see to it that the proposed amendment does indeed solve the discretion issue raised by the committee. The committee could also reserve the right to convene witnesses if the amendment is not made as planned in the fall.


The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): The proposed action here is for the fall. Do we want to specify what “the fall” means? September? A special date?

Mr. Badawey: So moved for September 2018.

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): We are agreed to proceed with the recommendation by counsel, provided it’s resolved by September 2018.

Is there any discussion on that motion? All in favour of that motion raise your hand. Carried.

Mr. Di Iorio: I would like to point out one thing, and I asked the question of the minister also earlier.

When we see “fall 2018” or “December 2018,” we should add, “Please provide the timetable as to what steps will be taken and at which time.” That way, if we have to call back the minister or the individual responsible, we are able to go back to the timetable. I noted that my colleague Mr. Shipley did that; he asked what the steps are. It is an appropriate way to approach this. It makes people more accountable.

I also want to go back to Mr. Diotte’s question: We should also ask them to provide a solution, not just a date. Once they provide a scheduled timetable and a solution, if something takes three, five or even ten years, we can call them back and say, “Your department wrote this and it is inconsistent with what you are saying today.” It puts a heavier burden on the individual who is ultimately responsible.

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): Thank you.

In this particular case relating to Item 2, we have charged our counsel to have the dialogue with their officials and come back with the solution by September 2018.



(For text of documents, see Appendix C, p. 32C:1.)

Cynthia Kirkby, Counsel to the Committee: This item concerns the Draft Cabinet Directive on Regulation, on which the Treasury Board Secretariat held consultations in late 2017. As members may recall, the draft directive was reviewed by the joint committee at its meeting on October 19, 2017, and the joint chairs then sent a letter to the designated instruments officer for Treasury Board to convey members’ comments. That letter is in the materials.

The response, dated December 4, sounds very encouraging. It refers to the fundamental role the committee plays in the federal regulatory system and assures that the committee’s observations and suggestions will be brought to the attention of the ministers as the draft cabinet directive is further developed.

However, the Treasury Board Secretariat subsequently published a document called What We Heard, which summarizes the results of its online consultation into the draft directive. The document states that among the parties that sent comments was a parliamentary committee, which presumably means this committee, but the report does not seem to reflect what the committee conveyed. For example, Theme 3 of the What We Heard report concerns incorporation by reference. The report primarily refers to comments from stakeholders about placing a stronger emphasis on incorporation by reference in order to assist with intergovernmental cooperation and harmonization.

The committee had pointed out that there is now a statutory requirement that regulation-making authorities must ensure that incorporated documents are accessible and recommended that this be explicitly referenced in the cabinet directive, including with respect to accessibility in both official languages. This is not reflected in the report.

The committee had also made observations about the nature of regulations as delegated legislation, including that the first step in the regulatory process is to ensure that a proposal is authorized in law, that the principle of parliamentary supremacy must be observed, and that a streamlined regulatory process should be available where legal deficiencies have been identified since there is little point to broad-based consultations in these cases. No summary of these comments is included in the report.

It is certainly possible that the committee’s comments will be included if the next version of cabinet directive, despite not having been included in the summary report, but it is also possible that they will be left out because they do not reflect current priorities.

Many of the comments summarized in the report relate to increasing consultation with stakeholders earlier and throughout the regulatory process and finding ways to streamline regulations with other jurisdictions.

Further, Treasury Board is currently conducting additional consultations to “reshape Canada’s regulatory system to spur economic growth, innovation and investment.” The committee’s concerns about verifying delegated authority and ensuring access to the law do not fit tidily into these priorities. Nonetheless, it would seem to do a disservice to the community of federal regulators to fail to include the committee’s perspectives in the final version of the cabinet directive, since regulation-making authorities will still be required to address the committee’s concerns once the regulations have already been made.

Evidently, it would be more efficient and less frustrating for all involved if the types of issues of ongoing concern to the committee are highlighted from the very beginning of the process.

All that said, this is being brought back to the committee to see how it wishes to proceed.

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): Thank you very much. The one question that crossed my mind is this: Is it because we didn’t do our consultation online that what we heard is not included in there? If so, are they intending to do it? But at the very least, we can indicate our concern that it’s not reflected at all.

Ms. Kirkby: The fact that they did refer to having received comments from a parliamentary committee suggested to me that they —

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): So they did read it, but they didn’t hear us.

Back to the committee, are there any suggestions or comments as to how we should proceed to be sure that the committee’s concerns are reflected in the guidelines?

Mr. Di Iorio: You’re referring to —

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): The letter the joint chairs wrote on November 9 clearly identified a significant number — 11— different issues that we wanted included.

Mr. Di Iorio: You are asking for comment on that?

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): Correct. Their letter back to us indicated they heard us and intended to do that. However, the actual report they wrote includes none of our input. I think that’s the concern. Am I summarizing that adequately?

Ms. Kirkby: Yes.


Mr. Dusseault: I’m trying to see what we could do, but this document has to be neutral. A report on what was heard normally reflects what was said in the most accurate way possible. It’s not about taking a position, but simply relating what was said. Perhaps we could complain about the fact that their neutral document does not reflect what the committee raised, that we expected to find a greater number of our recommendations in this report, but that we still trust that things will unfold as they should. That will be taken into account, even if it does not appear in the report about what they heard during the consultations.


Mr. Shipley: I’m going to go back to what Mr. Di Iorio and I talked about. There was nothing in the neutral report as to why they didn’t address our issues. I think it shows the reflection of what this committee means to some organizations or departments, quite honestly.

We should start going back. Eleven issues were raised by this committee. If this committee is to have any relevance to any of the departments, not only now but into the future, it would seem to me that when things are not going well, we intervene. We spend time as a committee — and I’m new on it, so apologize for the sequence of events that may have happened to get to these 11, but when we get a report that doesn’t address any of them and doesn’t really acknowledge what you’ve done and doesn’t really say why, I think we need to start to say to these departments, “These are the recommendations we have for consideration. If you include them, fine; if not, give us the reasons why you don’t.”

Quite honestly that’s trying to be accountable, not only to this committee but to both levels of Parliament that we have sitting around the table and the great staff who are working on our behalf to carry our message forward.

I think we have to send a letter back.

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): Your comments are appropriate when you consider the title: Draft Cabinet Directive on Regulation. This committee is the only committee of Parliament that is specifically charged with that responsibility, so I think your points are well taken.

Mr. Di Iorio: When you look at the document you just referred to, not only the title but right beneath it, it says, “From Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat,” which obviously is comprised of civil servants. It is crucial that we constantly be mindful that nothing is clear-cut in democracy. There are fuzzy frontiers and there are vaporous notions, and if one of the components doesn’t stand firm, you don’t go forward and you don’t stand still; you only back up. Once you back up, you can never regain what you have lost.

We’ve seen in instances where democracy gets lost in one night; in others, it gets lost one molecule at a time.

I just want to refer to our letter. There are things that are not necessarily complicated but that are crucial. We have the Draft Cabinet Directive on Regulation. Then in the letter from the joint chairs, there is Item 3: “Recognize the need to streamline or adapt the regulatory process in certain circumstances.” Number 2: “Add a new principle, ‘parliamentary supremacy,’ to section 3.0.”

We are faced on a daily basis with a situation where we have this tendency and a very strong urge to have regulations instead of legislation. Mr. Shipley pointed out that it took 10 years for the minister responsible to come here and address an issue. It would have taken less time to address it via legislation. The argument always put forward is that’s easier to do with via regulation. That does not stand anymore. That’s why I think it’s not “if” but “what” — what are we going to do about this? If it’s “if,” then we lose something.

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): I’m hearing consensus with Mr. Dusseault’s suggestion that we write indicating our concerns that none of our material has been included.

Senator Stewart Olsen: This more than anything gets to the heart of where I was going with Mr. Goodale in the fact that there seems to be expectation that if you write a law, it will be easy to get all the regulations and everything in place. From my brief experience here, I can see that it’s not easy.

This committee has an obligation to move this forward. This is a very comprehensive note and letter, and I think the committee has an obligation to move this forward. I’m not sure that a letter is — we obviously sent the letter. But I’m not sure this isn’t a case where we shouldn’t think about tabling something in both chambers. We want people to understand the system. It sounds like it’s a really old system. It has not been looked at in 100 years, most likely.

I’m saying there are things that have to be considered for our bureaucracy to carry through on. A lot of them have been put forward by this committee and were seemingly ignored. I’m not commenting on any government; I’m commenting on all of the governments.

There has to be some kind of understanding, and I would say we should table something. We can try a letter first, and if nothing happens, we should look at tabling a report in both chambers.

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): Because we are in the draft consultation period where nothing is set in stone yet, I would suggest that we write a strongly worded letter asking our concerns to be addressed. Failing that, we could possibly ask a representative to appear here and discuss with us why none of these 11 things were incorporated. I would like to take incremental steps.

Senator Stewart Olsen: I hear you. That’s fine.

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): The committee is master of the decisions here, but Mr. Dusseault had a good suggestion.

Senator Stewart Olsen: We have to be fairly strong.

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): Word a letter more strongly and suggest the possibility of having them appear should that fail. It’ll be a letter to the minister of Treasury Board as well as the officials at Treasury Board.

Is there general consensus on that?

Mr. Di Iorio: The letter would only be the start, not the end.

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): Correct, but we want an expeditious start, not six months from now. We want this immediately addressed to them, the minister as well. Failing acknowledgement and incorporation of some of our issues into the draft regulation, then we appear —

Mr. Di Iorio: The chair is still available.

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): It’s open again. The chair is open again.

I think we have general consensus. Are you comfortable with that direction? All in favour?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): I believe that brings us to the end of our agenda. It’s uncharacteristically early, but thank you very much for your cooperation.

(The committee adjourned.)

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