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Scrutiny of Regulations, Issue 4, Evidence

Proceedings of the Standing Joint Committee on
Scrutiny of Regulations

Issue 4 - Evidence

OTTAWA, Thursday, March 20, 2003

The Standing Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons for the Scrutiny of Regulations met this day at 8:41 a.m. for the review of Statutory Instruments.

Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette and Mr. Gurmant Grewal (Joint Chairmen) in the Chair.


The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Before proceeding to the agenda items, we will consider the committee's budget. The House of Commons Liaison Committee is meeting today and we wish to discuss the budget with committee members. I would ask Mr. Heyde to review the budget quickly for us.

Mr. Till Heyde, Joint Clerk of the Committee: As members arrived, they should have received a copy of the budget for the 2003-04 fiscal year. It is marked "Draft'' at the top left-hand corner. The total for the two Houses is $25,150, of which $7,545 will be from the Senate and $17,605 from the House of Commons. The major changes, in comparison to previous years, is that the Senate has now reached an agreement with the Library of Parliament whereby the library will take over all of the staffing requirements for the committee in terms of legal counsel and administrative support.


This means that one of the major expenditures in previous years will be transferred from the budget of the Standing Joint Committee on Regulations to the Library of Parliament's budget.


This helps to regularize the money during, for example, periods of prorogation to ensure that staff are paid in the regular manner.

The third page provides a detailed breakdown of expenses. If you have any questions, I could run through this item by item.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Please give the members a quick summary.

The Joint Clerk (Mr. Heyde): The items carry through from previous years. One major change, under "Professional Services,'' is an item for legal counsel in the rare event that the committee may wish to hire specialized legal expertise. It has happened occasionally in the past. The committee may wish to ensure that it has that option available. Other than that, it is basically a carry-over of items from previous years, such as photocopying, working meals, printing of the agenda, et cetera.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Is there any discussion? Mr. Lee moves acceptance of the budget. All those in favour? All those opposed? Motion carried.

As a reminder to members, our next meeting will be on April 3. We will now proceed with the agenda items.



The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Mr. Bernier, would you care to brief us quickly? I am sure the members received the letter from the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans that was addressed to Mr. Derek Lee. After the steering committee meeting, Mr. Lee followed up with the minister, because we had an indication that the minister would introduce legislation and he wanted to write to the committee. I learned that this letter was written hastily. You received copies of it this morning. Mr. Bernier, would you care to brief us quickly on this topic?

Mr. Francois-R. Bernier, General Counsel to the Committee: I do not have anything to add. The matter was dealt with by the steering committee and so I would prefer that its members provide a report.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): The letter received from the minister looks promising because it would have helped the committee to accomplish its goals, but time is a factor. I cannot guarantee when the legislation will be introduced, although the minister promised that it would be introduced in the spring and that the issues that this committee dealt with would be addressed.

Senator Nolin: I think it would be fair to allow the minister to at least show us the amendments that he wants to propose. We should let the department and the minister follow through with their own process and bring that up in a relatively short period of time, but time is of the essence. It would be fair if you, the minister and the department were to come up with acceptable amendments. Of course, counsel should be in touch, in writing, with the department to highlight the changes in the law that we recommend. If it is the wish of this committee, it would be a good arrangement, bearing in mind that time is of the essence.

I am reading the letter that was sent to Mr. Lee and I see that we are now talking about next fall. Is that right?

Some Hon. Members: No, we are talking about this spring.

Senator Nolin: Time is of the essence and we are serious. I think the objective is to reach a common ground and to make it workable.

Mr. White: I have been in this committee for many years and I have heard many promises being made. We have had to follow up, threaten and cajole people to make the changes that we deemed necessary.

The letter from the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans states that he intends to initiate the formal process this spring, with a view to introducing a bill sometime this session. We do not know when this session will end. Possibly, something will come forward sometime this session but, in the meantime, we will still have regulations that are ultra vires as we head into the fishing season this summer in British Columbia. I do not see that we are resolving this problem by sitting back and abandoning the process in the hopes that the minister will introduce a bill.

His regulations are ultra vires. How does that help us cope with the problem this spring? If the letter had said that he "will'' introduce, before June, some legislation that will be passed in time for the new fishing season, we would then have a promise. We do not have a promise in this letter. We have something as vague as I have seen in many other letters over the years in this committee.

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

Mr. Lee: Perhaps I should say that most of us on the steering committee were not certain that we could put out a letter in 24 hours from the minister. It is notable that the minister responded quickly. That is because he is committed to addressing the committee's concerns. I admit that some of the wording in these letters is simply bureaucratese. I remember drafting letters like this when I was a lawyer many years ago. The bottom line is that he is committed to addressing the committee's specific concerns in legislation. He will begin the drafting in the "session,'' the word used in the letter. The word used in informal discussion was "spring.''

I would like to ask if Mr. Farrah, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, could clarify the intentions of the department vis-à-vis consultation with this committee before the amendments are crystallized and presented to the House this spring.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): As a member of the Fisheries Committee, you can express your views.


Mr. Farrah: First of all, I want to thank the members of the committee for their cooperation, in light of the delay which we all agree has been excessive. I would like to add my comments to those of the minister. As far as the letter is concerned, it is important to note the following:


"I indicated that there are activities underway in my department.''


What this means is that the department has already made a commitment to introducing some amendments. Secondly (and this is the reason why the minister mentions that action will be taken during the current session), the minister cannot presume what our intentions will be. We will be introducing these amendments in the House during the current session. There is nothing to indicate that this will not in fact happen. The Leader of the Government in the House controls the legislative process and the minister cannot presume to know what priority Cabinet will assign to bills. The letter is respectful of the legislative process. The plan to introduce this bill during the current session is clear.

In response to a question from my colleague Mr. Lee, I can say on behalf of the minister that the various options considered by the department will be presented to and discussed with members of your committee before they are tabled in the House of Commons. As far as a timetable is concerned, the plan is to table the legislative amendments in the House of Commons at the earliest opportunity during the current session.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Mr. Farrah, when you say "the formal process this spring,'' by "formal process'' do you mean a parliamentary committee will eventually be asked to examine the proposed amendments? I want to be clear about the meaning of "formal process'' because the department's internal procedure does not constitute a "formal process.''

Mr. Farrah: No, by "formal process'' we mean the legislative process leading to the adoption of these legislative amendments. Before any amendments are formally introduced in the House of Commons, the department is committed to meeting with your committee to discuss the various options. Is that clear?

Senator Nolin: To allow us to have as frank a discussion as possible, I suggest that the meeting be held in camera so that the minister can speak openly and reveal his hand. This approach would show consideration for your proposal, which is greatly appreciated, as well as for the minister's position.

Mr. Farrah: That approach would be most considerate. On the contrary, I have no objections.

Senator Nolin: Now then, it is important to remember that time is a valuable commodity. A session can last two years.

Mr. Farrah: Just to clarify, by session we mean the spring session. Theoretically, the session ends in June.

Senator Nolin: That information is duly noted.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): To sum up, before any amendments are formally tabled, the Minister plans to consult the committee and present various options. Senator Nolin is proposing that the committee meet in camera. You will pass that message along to the minister. My colleagues have no objections to holding such a meeting to discuss the substantive issue with a view to resolving this problem. If all of my colleagues agree on this approach, then we will wait until such a meeting is convened, mindful of the fact that these amendments should be introduced by the end of the session, as agreed.

Mr. Farrah: By the time the spring session adjourns.


The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): When will we have the in camera meeting with the minister? Do we have a tentative date for that? Could it be next week or the following week?

Mr. Farrah: I will have to check, but it will be as soon as possible. I know it is a rush.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): We have a meeting scheduled for April 3, 2003. I wish to have an in camera meeting on or before that. We cannot afford to have the meeting later than that. Is it possible to arrange it?

Mr. Farrah: I will be honest with you. I am not sure. We want to ensure to meet the members of the committee before the minister presents the amendments in the House of Commons. Our objective is to ensure that we will have amendments introduced by the House of Commons before June.

Mr. Lee: Rather than try to pick a date now to view the cake that we are just about to bake, let us wait until we have all the ingredients on the table. Let us signal to the department and the minister that we are ready to receive some form of consultation on the proposed options at an early date and as soon as they are ready.

Mr. Farrah: We know that time is important for the committee, and it is important for us, too.


The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Therefore, we can assume that you will give us an update at the April 3 meeting on the possible options that could be put forward. You realize that it is highly unusual for a committee to be consulted on proposed legislative amendments prior to the bill being tabled. This is extremely rare and the committee greatly appreciates being consulted, as this is a highly complex issue.

Mr. Farrah: Given the amount of time that the committee has devoted to this matter, it is the least that we could do.



Mr. Bernier: Members have before them a draft disallowance report in relation to section 14 of the Indian Estates regulations. I would ask members to turn to the correspondence that follows that draft report. The disallowance is the first aspect that is raised in the letter from the minister. After being advised of the committee's intention to propose this disallowance, the minister replied on February 10, 2003 that he would move ahead with the promised repeal.

I am happy to report that a regulation repealing section 14 was adopted by Order in Council, PC 2003-269, and published in the Canada Gazette of March 12. This takes care of the first aspect and makes it entirely unnecessary for the committee to adopt this draft report.

The second aspect concerns the validation of previous orders made by the minister under this illegal provision. Here, the minister is asking the joint committee to reconsider its request that validating legislation be enacted.

The first argument of the minister is that revisiting estates, as he puts it, could cause undue turmoil for widows and family members of the deceased. With due respect, this argument does not strike me as having much merit. We are talking about a one-clause bill to validate orders previously made. It is unclear to me why this should involve any revisiting of estates, or even any need for consultations with family members of the deceased.

It is also difficult not to point out that it is those very widows who were unlawfully deprived of their share of the estate as a result of the making of those orders under section 14 of the regulations.

The second reason put forward by the minister is that the Department of Justice has suggested that there is no need for such legislation. In this respect, it is important to point out that the commitment to introduce validating legislation was given in the November, 1999 comprehensive government response to Report no. 65. This undertaking was given on behalf of the government as a whole, presumably after advice was sought from the Department of Justice.

I question whether it is acceptable for an individual minister to renege on a commitment made by the government, irrespective of what the Department of Justice may now be suggesting, some years later. If that department had suggestions to make regarding the need for validating legislation, it should have made them before the government committed itself to this course of action. To take any other view of the matter would seriously undermine confidence in undertakings given by the government.

Having said that, the real issue concerns the fact that some persons — namely widows of Indians who have died intestate, and children in some instances — were illegally deprived of their right to a share of the estate of the deceased. That right had been given to them by statute and was effectively taken away as a result of these illegal orders made by the minister.

I would suggest to the committee that, if the Department of Justice can show that, as a matter of law, there is no possible legal claim on the part of those widows or children who were unlawfully deprived of their inheritance and that the position of the common law spouses, who were not entitled to an inheritance or a share of the estate, is beyond legal challenge, then, perhaps, that could be seen as justifying not proceeding with validating legislation. However, that would have to be established beyond a shadow of a doubt.

It still leaves open this issue of having a current minister going back on an undertaking that was given by the government in a government response to a parliamentary committee report.

Mr. Lee: Counsel has raised two important issues. I would note that the minister and the government have dealt with the major issue, which is the revocation of the regulations, and that precludes our need to proceed with a report and/or disallowance.

The two points raised by counsel, perhaps, have not been placed with clear focus on the record. Although our committee's record now shows those two issues, perhaps we should outline them for the benefit of the minister's eyes and have him, his department and the Department of Justice address the two issues.

The major issue is the second one raised by counsel. He has suggested that, before we walk from the issue, we should ensure that we are standing on good legal ground and that there would not be any potential claims by people whose legal rights or privileges may have been blocked by these invalid regulations. We could ask the minister to provide us with an opinion or a legal position generated by the Department of Justice for the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. That would clear up one of the issues.

Rather than making counsel's first issue, which is my second issue, into a major item, we should bring to the minister's attention, in the event that he is not aware, that the department had agreed. Was the current minister the one who gave us the undertaking?

Mr. Bernier: Yes.

Mr. Lee: Then, we could remind him that he and/or the government did undertake to legislate to correct this problem — to validate the invalid orders. That would deal with the two significant issues that counsel has raised. It would push the file off into the future a bit but it would at least allow us to attempt to clear up these two outstanding issues.

Mr. Wappel: I agree with Mr. Lee, except that I do not think requiring the Department of Justice to assure us "beyond a shadow of a doubt'' is a reasonable yardstick. I doubt very much that any department could ever do such a thing. However, we would need some kind of strong assurance that these things would not occur.

I do not want to classify these issues but if I were to, I would classify them on the same level. I did not realize that there was an official government response in which the government undertook to do something. When a government undertakes in writing to do something, and then later does not do it, then that is a serious matter. At the least, there should be a cogent reason given for a government reneging on its written undertaking. I would certainly classify them as being of equal importance, and they should both be stressed in that way.


Senator Nolin: On what do you base your contention with respect to proof, degree of understanding or importance, the standard you are demanding of the Department of Justice?

Mr. Bernier: On the fact that we are talking about the law. We are talking about persons' legal security. If we cannot be certain that the rights of spouses under common law will not be challenged, then the invalid orders should be validated. We cannot leave people in doubt as to their rights to an estate. The issue must be clear. In law, 100 per cent certainty is possible.

For example, I can say with 100 per cent certainty that in Quebec, a person is held responsible for any harm inflicted on another person. There is no doubt that this is a principle of Quebec civil law.

In a situation like this where individual rights are at issue and where persons have lost or been denied their inheritance rights and where others received some benefit or were awarded part of an estate to which they were not legally entitled, if we deem that legislation is not required for validation purposes, then at the very least, the committee must be absolutely certain that the rights of the individuals in question are sound.


Senator Nolin: The degree of understanding that those rights do not exist is quite important, Mr. Wappel. "Beyond a shadow of a doubt'' is a tough standard.


We talk of rights foreclosure.


Mr. Bernier: If there is a doubt, perhaps there should be validating legislation. That is the case for validating legislation.

Mr. Wappel: Correct.

Mr. White: It is quite disturbing that some people may have been deprived of things to which they were entitled or others may have received benefits to which they were not entitled because of illegal regulations.

Does counsel have any idea of the number of these orders were issued? We do not know whether there is a major or a minor problem.

These are the types of situations that can blow up in a government's face at a future time. Suddenly, the matter could come to public attention and become a major issue with huge amounts of compensation being paid to someone. We must address it in some way.

There is some value in asking the Department of Justice to give us some assurances. We should ask the department how many such orders were issued and whether the potential for problems from any of these orders has been assessed. The department should give us some degree of comfort in all of that as to whether we should be insisting that the government follow through with the validation.

That is my suggestion. I see Mr. Wappel nodding his head.

Mr. Wappel: Yes.


The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): It was my impression that estate laws were a provincial area of responsibility. Civil law is not necessarily the same in Quebec as it is in all other provinces.

The question I have is whether some persons were denied the right to their estates when in fact they were legally entitled to them. No challenges may have been launched and in this particular instance, we are talking about persons living in a common law relationship for seven years.

We must also consider common law as recognized by aboriginal peoples who follow the common law, rather than the civil law, tradition when it comes to regulatory provisions that we deem illegal.

How many persons were denied their rights, and how many have claimed these rights? I do not get the sense that some persons wanted to exercise these rights because they felt they were entitled to do so under provincial law.

As such, a legislative provision could stipulate that all rulings and devolutions of estates made pursuant to these regulations cannot be challenged.

Under the circumstances, this could be our recommendation, considering that future regulations will not apply as such. This would also prevent situations where estates could be revisited indefinitely. We could ask the minister to introduce a legislative amendment validating all previous decisions involving estates affected by these regulations. Would that be the ideal solution?

Mr. Bernier: At least that is what the committee recommended in Report no. 65. The government accepted the recommendation in its November 1999 response.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Are we asking the minister to proceed with the amendment in question? We need to be clear about what we are requesting. I believe he has already made his position quite clear.


Senator Nolin: Mr. Lee is proposing more than asking the minister to re-table his position. We already know his position. We want to clarify the opinion given by the Department of Justice. Is that correct?

Mr. Bernier: The minister refers to the Department of Justice suggestion that there is no benefit in validating those orders and would be asked to explain on what they based that suggestion, if you will. If those reasons are not utterly convincing, then the committee would have the option of going back to the minister and indicate that it might be preferable to proceed with the government commitment.

The letter would also indicate that the committee views with some concern the fact that an undertaking given in a comprehensive government response in writing on behalf of the entire government would now be set aside on the basis of a suggestion by the Department of Justice. We could also ask about the number of cases in answer to Mr. White's concern.

Mr. Wappel: We could bypass all that, which is where I thought the co-chair was heading, and simply insist that the government abide by its undertaking. We then do not need to get into all these questions. We can get into them if we wish, but if we wish to bypass them, we could simply say, "The government undertook to do something. Do it.''

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): I do not want to drag this out. We do not want people to go to court. Who will pay? We have the regulations. Those who are legally entitled make a claim would only be able to make a claim against the government, not again those who may have gotten an inheritance. We put the provision or the regulation in place.

My preference would be to have it confirmed that those decisions were made. In that way, we will not leave a cloud over the heads of those who inherited.

Mr. White: I have no argument with the co-chair's approach to asking the government to follow through. In one respect, it is a bit selfish, but I would like to know the extent of the problem. We have circled around it, but we do not know the substance of the problem.

We are at the stage where we have some correspondence back and forth. There is an unanswered question about the Department of Justice's attitude to this. Is there any harm in asking the questions and have the two-stage process? Let us ask the Department of Justice to validate their statement and give us an idea of the size of the problem. We would then move forward with the suggestion to get validation of it.

Mr. Bernier: If the committee wishes to do that, it certainly would be possible to do what Mr. White suggests. In their letter, the chairmen could indicate that, as presently advised, it is the strong preference of the committee that the undertaking of the government proceed. We could still ask these questions. However, we would indicate from the beginning that there is a preference for the government to proceed.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of document, see Appendix A, p. 4A:1.)

Mr. Bernier: The note before the committee explains how the enactment of subsection 4(7) of An Act to re-enact legislative instruments enacted in only one official language, which is now chapter 20 of the Statutes of Canada 2002, resolves the very important issue of constitutional law that was first raised by the standing joint committee in relation to the Public Lands Mineral Regulations but which also applied to a number of other regulations.

The unconstitutionality of regulations enacted in English only was first raised by counsel in 1991. Pursuant to subsection 4(7) of the act, any regulations enacted in one official language that has not been validated by the act directly will, if not re-enacted before then, be deemed to be revoked six years after the day the act comes into force, which was on June 13, 2002.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): What will we do?

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): When we appeared once before the Senate committee on this issue, was there a report from the Senate committee? I did not find one. Was anything concluded from that meeting?

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): At the time I thought that every regulation that had been adopted illegally would not be allowed to remain in place since it had not complied with the bilingualism obligation. I thought that they would rush to ensure that all of the regulations complied. If I remember correctly, the point was to start anew.

Mr. Bernier: This will be done in six years, that is, by June 13, 2008. Any federal regulation that is still in force that was enacted only in one official language will be automatically repealed. All regulations that remain after that will have been properly enacted in both official languages, and printed and published in both official languages.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Could we negotiate for a shorter term, perhaps between one and six years? Perhaps three years would be more reasonable.

Mr. Bernier: Other than the two joint chairmen who appeared before the Senate committee, I think the committee members owe a debt of gratitude to Senator Moore, who emphasized the concern of the committee to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. At one point, your wise suggestion of a one-year delay was falling by the wayside and Senator Moore was instrumental in bringing it back and into focus in that committee. The ultimate decision was to proceed with the suggestion of Senator Beaudoin, which was the six-year time frame. That is still better than the recommendation of the Department of Justice, which was to do nothing.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): I wish to add, for the information of some members, that Bill S-41 dealt with that and the bill was adopted in the House last session.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): We will be patient. I will be around in 2008, so I will report to all of you.

Mr. Lee: We are actually concluding our work on this. A clock may be running somewhere but, basically, the committee's goals have all been accomplished, thanks to counsel and to the Joint Chairmen. I think all the files here this morning are "good news'' files.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): We will proceed with the next item on the agenda.


Mr. Bernier: As indicated in the comment before the committee, this miscellaneous amendments instrument effects a number of amendments previously promised to the joint committee.

The instrument also effects the repeal of subsection 15(5) of the Northwest Territories Reindeer Regulations in accordance with the disallowance order made by the House of Commons on February 18, 2002. Members will be sad not to have the reindeer regulations around by next Christmas.

As noted, a repeal giving effect to a disallowance order by the House of Commons ought to stand on its own rather than be thrown into a miscellaneous amendments package. The Joint Chairmen have already written to the President of the Privy Council Office concerning this approach. This is another example of the practice that was queried by the joint committee. As soon as a reply is received to the other letter, it will be submitted to the committee.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): The next item on the agenda falls under the heading "Letters to and from Ministers.''


(For text of documents, see Appendix B, p. 4B:1.)

Mr. Peter Bernhardt, Counsel to the Committee: Members may recall that, under the relevant statutory authority, the Canadian Transportation Agency is required to fix rates to be charged for the interswitching of railway cars. When it examined the regulations in 1993, the committee noted that the regulations, rather than actually fixing the appropriate rates, simply prescribed maximum rates that shippers were not allowed to exceed. The agency was informed that this did not comply with the enabling authority and, eventually, it agreed to amend the regulations to bring them into line with the authority given by Parliament.

However, when the amendment was put forward by the agency, it was vetoed by the Minister of Transport. In a letter to the agency the minister stated that a change to the long-standing practice of establishing maximum rates would require further study. This clearly indicated that the agency was still treating the regulations as prescribing maximum rates well after it had acknowledged that this was illegal. This was at odds with the assurances given to the committee, which wanted to know how these rates were implemented in actual fact.

In the end, the committee was forced to order the appearance of the Deputy Minister of Transport to try to obtain this information. In the course of his appearance, the deputy minister indicated that the Canada Transportation Act would be amended to provide authority for the prescribing of maximum rates. As the minister's letter notes, this amendment has now been introduced — proposed section 128(1)(b) of Bill C-26.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): We will proceed to the next item on the agenda under the heading "New Instrument.''


Mr. Bernhardt: The matters discussed in Mr. Rousseau's letter of October 22, 2002 were resolved when these regulations were replaced by the new marine liability regulations. This being the case, the file can be closed.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): The next item is under the same heading.


Mr. Bernier: I noted when preparing for the meeting that the English version of Mr. Rousseau's original letter is missing from the material distributed to members. In light of this, I suggest that the file be brought back at the next meeting of the committee.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): We do not have the English version, so this item will come back to the committee next week. We will move on to SOR/99-12.


(For text of document, see Appendix C, p. 4C:1)

Mr. Bernhardt: On the preliminary screening requirement regulations, counsel's letter of September 3, 2002 inquired as to the progress of promised amendments. Clarification was also sought with respect to certain comments made in previous correspondence from the department.

Mr. Sinclair's reply advises that the amendments will be made after the final agreement on the Dogrib Land Claim Settlement is signed, which is expected some time this year. The reply also indicates that we have a shared understanding on the provisions in connection with the clarification that had been requested. In view of that, at this point, it would simply seem to be a matter of following up progress of the promised amendments.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): The next item is SOR/95-410.


Mr. Bernhardt: One of the amendments made by this instrument was to add the Vancouver Port Corporation to Schedule I, of what is now the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Act with respect to certain property.

As an aside, the effect of adding property of a corporation to Schedule I is that grants in lieu of property taxes and in lieu of frontage and area taxes can be made only with respect to the corporation's property that is specified in the schedule.

The act permits the Governor in Council to make regulations adding property to Schedule I, if the corporation is included in Schedule III of the act. The problem was that Vancouver Port Corporation was not included in Schedule III of the act. Subsequently, the Vancouver Port Corporation was added to Schedule III. It then remained to remake the amendment, putting it and its property into Schedule I.

In the course of preparing this amendment, it came to light that there was doubt both as to the identity of the property in question, as well as to who had responsibility for it. After some research and surveying was undertaken, it was determined that the Minister of Transport had administration of the property.

Having settled this, it brought into question the need for the provision at all. Most recently the committee has been advised that the provision in question will simply be deleted completely. Perhaps at this time, however, the department should be asked when it expects that this will take place.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): The next item is SOR/99-158.


Mr. Bernhardt: A minor correction to the English version of one provision had initially been promised. This was to be made early in 2002.

The department later advised that it was including this amendment in a larger package of amendments expected to be pre-published in the fall. It now seems that the amendment has been further postponed until the fall of 2003.

Obviously, these delays are somewhat less than satisfactory, but the amendment is a minor one. In view of this, the committee may choose to be patient for a while longer. It is a typographical error.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): The next items fall under the heading "Part Action Promised.''




(For text of documents, see Appendix D, p. 4D:1)

Mr. Bernhardt: As it is noted in the material, each of these instruments resolves matters that had been raised earlier by the committee. They also gave rise to several new matters as discussed in the correspondence between counsel and the department. In addition, there was one promised amendment that was overlooked.

Further amendments have been promised in connection with all these points except for the question of whether the two regulations should be amended to refer to the Department of Public Works and Government Services by its current proper name. While this may be thought to have been obvious, the department's letter of July 23, 2002, indicates that there is some reluctance to make these changes.

I should note as well that the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act does provide that every reference to the old Department of Public Works and the old Department of Supply and Services in any act or regulation is to be read as a reference to the Department of Public Works and Government Services.

While the department's arguments and protestations may not be particularly convincing, no real consequences flow from not updating the references. This being the case, the committee may decide not to pursue this particular matter. If the committee is in agreement, it would simple be a matter of chasing up the progress of the amendments that have been promised.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see Appendix E, p. 4E:1)

Mr. Bernier: Amendments are promised on all issues raised by counsel with the exception of the point in relation to sections 34, 35 and 35.1. The explanations on that point appear to be satisfactory. Progress of the amendments will be followed up in the usual manner.



(For text of documents, see Appendix F, p. 4F:1)

Mr. Bernier: The department has recognized the committee's concerns about the wording of SOR/97-138. The reply is deemed satisfactory and the matter can now be considered closed.


(For text of documents, see Appendix G, p. 4G:1)

Mr. Bernier: Here again, action has been promised on all concerns raised.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): We will follow up to ensure that action is in fact taken.


(For text of documents, see Appendix H, p. 4H:1)

Mr. Bernier: Again, amendments have been promised with respect to these two items. I would point out that there are a total of 65 instruments listed under the heading "statutory instruments without comment.''

The meeting is adjourned.

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