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Proceedings of the Standing Joint Committee for the 
Scrutiny of Regulations

Issue No. 4 - Evidence - May 19, 2016

OTTAWA, Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations met this day at 8:31 a.m. for the review of statutory instruments.

Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Vice-Chair) in the chair.


The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Welcome to our meeting of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations. We have a pretty busy schedule ahead, with at least 27 items of business to review today.


Mr. Brassard: Our leader will be giving a speech in House of Commons at 10 this morning. Do you think we could finish the meeting by then?


The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): We will see how the committee will proceed, but at 10 o'clock we may need the unanimous consent of the committee to do that. We will just proceed, and if we are not done by 10:00, we will ask the committee members if it's all right to adjourn at that point.

Mr. Di Iorio: Perhaps we could agree that, at quarter to 10, if we are not done we will adjourn. As far as I'm concerned, if members want to be present in the house, I will make sure that they can be.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Thank you.



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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): We will start with Item 1 on our agenda, under the heading "New Instruments.'' Counsel has an update for us.

Peter Bernhardt, General Counsel to the Committee: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Each of these instruments was made on December 11, 2015 and registered on December 23, 2015. While it's true that these amendments did not come into force until they were registered, the Statutory Instruments Act does require that a regulation be transmitted to the Clerk of the Privy Council for registration within seven days of its making. Here an explanation was sought concerning what appeared to be the failure to comply with that seven-day requirement.

The Farm Products Council of Canada has replied that, in fact, the two instruments were transmitted for registration within seven days of their making. However, the actual registration was then delayed by the Privy Council Office. This was because the amendments were drafted in the new format, and that new format was only to be used for the first time in the Canada Gazette on January 13.

Regulations have to be published within 23 days. Registration was delayed so that they wouldn't run afoul of the 23- day publication requirement. The Farm Products Council goes on to explain that as long as registration took place before December 27, which it did, there would be no gap in the scheme.

This being the case, it would appear that no further action is required. If members are satisfied, we can simply close these two files.

Hon. Members: Agreed.


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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): We will move on to Item 2, under the heading "Reply Unsatisfactory.''


Mr. Bernhardt: The joint committee had previously concluded that providing that certain provisions of the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act came into force the day on which this order was published or, in some cases, on the day six months after the day on which the order was published, this did not fix the day of coming into force as the act requires. When the order was made, it was impossible to know the date on which these relevant provisions would come into force. Of course, this was because the order had yet to be published, so the day of publication was unknown. If the days to which the order makes reference — that is, the day of publication — had not been fixed at the time the order was made, the committee concluded you couldn't say that the day referred to had been fixed.

The Department of Justice argues that the power to fix the day of coming into force should be more broadly interpreted. In its view, the fact that it was possible to ascertain whether or not the provisions in question were in force would be sufficient to conclude that the day of coming into force had been fixed.

This issue was dealt with by the joint committee in a 2014 report, which is included in the materials this morning. In that report, the committee concluded that if a mechanism provided for determining the date on which provisions come into force doesn't allow that date to be determined when the order is made, it cannot be said that the date has been fixed. After all, how can referring to a date that has not been fixed be said to fix a date?

The same reasoning here would lead to the conclusion that the provisions that were purported to be brought into force by SI/2013-65 have yet to legally come into force.

Since the making of the order that triggered the committee's report back in 2014, in addition to the order under discussion this morning, 13 orders have used the approach the committee has objected to. These are all listed in the appendix to the note in the materials.

On January 19, 2015, the joint chairs wrote to the Clerk of the Privy Council, drawing her attention to the committee's report and advising that the committee views the approach taken in these orders as being of dubious legality and as making an unusual or unexpected use of the enabling legislation so as to contravene the committee's scrutiny criteria. That letter also sought an assurance that this approach would not be used in the future.

The Clerk of the Privy Council advised that the letter had been forwarded to the Deputy Minister of Justice for a reply. The deputy minister replied on February 29. That letter simply restates the positions advanced previously. They again suggest that because you can ascertain whether the event triggering coming force has taken place or not, you can tell whether the order is in force or not, and therefore the date of the coming into force is fixed in the order.

Again, the committee has repeatedly pointed out that the question is not whether the date would eventually be fixed but whether it could be said to have been fixed when the order was made.

Contrary to what the deputy minister suggests, the committee's position does not mean the only way to validly exercise the power to fix a day of coming into force is to set out a specific calendar date. For example, it is not unusual for coming into force orders to provide that statutory provisions come into force on the day on which the order is made or at a specified time after the day on which the order is made — six months or whatever. Because the day of making the order will obviously be known when the order is made, that's perfectly acceptable.

The deputy minister also states, "This type of power allows some flexibility in deciding how to fix a day'' and does "not restrict the power to fix a day in any particular way.'' I suggest that is circular reasoning. It assumes the approach taken fixes a day and then uses that assumption to conclude that the day has been fixed.

The deputy minister concludes "that there is no compelling legal basis'' for adopting the committee's position. I suggest the basis of the committee's position is simply that when Parliament provides the Government-in-Council to fix a day for coming into force, that's what the Governor-in-Council must do — fix a day. Referring to a day that has not itself been fixed cannot be said to indirectly fix a day.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Is there any more action the committee wants to entertain with regard to a different interpretation?

Mr. Brassard: I don't think it's a matter of a different interpretation. We need to make sure that they adhere to this.

First of all, I'm glad to see that this isn't an Environment Canada issue, as is seemingly the case. A strongly worded letter or an appearance by a member of the Department of Justice in front of this committee may resolve this matter once and for all. That would be my suggestion, Mr. Chair.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): You are suggesting writing a letter and also inviting them to testify to give us more detail on their viewpoint?

Mr. Brassard: We can start with a letter. Failing any resolution of this issue, I think we need to take that next step of having them appear before the committee.

Senator Moore: By way of the process, counsel, you wrote to the Clerk of the Privy Council explaining the situation, and the clerk passed it over the Deputy Minister of Justice. When you wrote to the Clerk of the Privy Council, what did you expect to happen? Did you think he was going to pass it back to the delinquent department? Do we expect this person to override and tell the department to follow the legal advice of our committee? What is the process here and what is the thinking?

Mr. Bernhardt: Probably, from the Privy Council Office's perspective, the thinking was that they would refer the matter to the people they take their legal advice from, which would be the Department of Justice. In that case, the joint chairs wrote to the clerk, and the clerk determined that the appropriate people to fashion a response would be their legal advisers at the Department of Justice.

Senator Moore: I agree with Mr. Brassard that we should do something firm here. This just flies in the face of the law.

Mr. Bernhardt: Would this letter go to the Minister of Justice, then?

Mr. Brassard: If it's the committee's will, my suggestion would be that it be sent to the Minister of Justice. Within the context of the letter, there could be a suggestion that failing resolution of the issue, this committee would like to have the minister appear before it.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Are there any other comments on the suggestion to send a firm letter to the minister to reaffirm what we see as the law currently, invoking the possibility of inviting the minister? All agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Next is Item 3 under "Reply Unsatisfactory.''

Mr. Bernhardt: Mr. Chair, this instrument resolves a concern of the committee by establishing a maximum period of 10 years for which passport services can be withheld. Previous to this, the maximum period was simply a matter of policy. There was nothing to prevent Passport Canada or the minister from imposing a longer period of withheld passport service, and the committee had suggested amending the order to include the limit in the order itself. Of course, this has now been done.

More generally, these amendments authorize the Minister of Public Safety to cancel a passport when there are reasonable grounds to suspect that it will prevent the commission of a terrorism offence or for national security reasons. The minister can refuse or revoke a passport where there are reasonable grounds to believe it will prevent the commission of a terrorism offence or for national security purposes. So the order provides for both revocation and cancellation of a passport.

Apparently, cancellation is intended to be a temporary measure, pending completion of an investigation. However, this isn't actually reflected in the order. Moreover, the order makes no provision for reissuing or replacing a cancelled passport. The passport can be cancelled without notice. However, there is no indication as to the circumstances in which notice will not be given. The order is also silent as to whether notice is to be given of the revocation of a passport.

The order places a legal duty on the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to support the Minister of Public Safety in carrying out his or her responsibilities under the order. The need to deal with this in legislation as opposed to simply by way of an administrative arrangement seems questionable. As well, there are discrepancies between the language used in the order and in the Prevention of Terrorist Travel Act with respect to the standards for revocation and cancellation.

The department is advised that a comprehensive review of the order remains ongoing as departmental officials continue to examine a wide range of issues. At the same time, there is no commitment to actually make amendments to address any of the issues raised. There is some indication the department feels that any defects or deficiencies are adequately addressed by providing information on websites concerning the order.

Perhaps, as a suggestion, the department could be asked for assurance that the issues raised will indeed be addressed when amendments to the order are made, perhaps seeking a time frame for completion of this comprehensive review that is referred to by the department.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Are there any comments?

Ms. Vecchio: From what we have heard today, I think it's very important that we call the officials to the committee so that we can hear what exactly the process is and all of the ifs, ands and buts that go along with it. We need a full report from the officials so that we can ask those questions to them directly.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): So that proposition is to invite the officials to testify on this matter. Maybe they will be able to give us a timeline or answers about the comprehensive review they are supposed to do.

Mr. Bernhardt: Keeping in mind the committee's timetable for future meetings, witnesses are scheduled for the next two meetings, which will probably be the last two before the fall. That would mean having witnesses appear before the committee in the fall.

One approach might be to write asking these questions, asking for this information, with the proviso that in the absence of a complete satisfactory response by September, the committee would like — that just keeps the matter going over the summer rather.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Is there agreement to send a letter to the officials asking what their time line is, and if it's not satisfactory for us, maybe we will entertain this point?

Senator Moore: I'd ask for an answer within 30 days.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): We can certainly add that into the letter, asking for a response in 30 days.

Mr. Di Iorio: There are two aspects to this. One is to correct the problem. The second is: What do they do in the interim while they are correcting the problem? In the interval in which they are correcting the problem, they could immediately respond by saying that they will abide by and comply with the law. That can be done very quickly. Taking steps to correct the error might take longer, but we should outline both aspects. First, you want an immediate response as to what they would do. To say, "Look at our website'' is poor way to legislate or regulate in this country. That's not the way we do things. We have ways of doing it. We all comply with them, hopefully, and we certainly ask of them that they do it.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): So the letter should ask what they plan to do in the interim while they are doing the comprehensive review.

Mr. Di Iorio: Yes, that should be emphasized because that doesn't take very long. If they tell people, "Look at our websites,'' that's not enough to us. We want it in writing, a letter to the committee immediately. Anybody that has an issue will have, at least, a written and formal document that they can rely on and that will be part of the record of this committee. Then they can tell us, in a reasonable period of time, when they will correct the problem and comply with the law.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Any more comments in response? Are we all in agreement?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): We will now move on to Item 4, also under "Reply Unsatisfactory.''


Evelyne Borkowski-Parent, Counsel to the Committee: Two points were raised in 2011 in this regard. The first pertains to undue administrative discretion by allowing the park superintendent to make certain decisions that he deems necessary. In addition to exposing the party in question to an arbitrary risk, it becomes very difficult to conduct a judicial review of decisions based on this kind of discretionary authority.

The second point pertains to the subjective wording of certain criteria. For example, the regulations require that a site be maintained in a condition deemed satisfactory by the park superintendent. This wording makes it difficult for the party in question to know how to go about complying with the regulations. Once again, the superintendent's decision might not be subject to judicial review of any kind.

In 2012, Parks Canada confirmed its intent to include the changes requested by the committee in a miscellaneous amendment regulation to be drafted in the spring of 2013. The adoption of that regulation was then delayed to the end of 2015.

At its meeting on December 4, 2014, the committee asked its counsel to look into this. Not only was the miscellaneous amendment regulation not adopted in 2015 as promised, but we received no reply to the four letters inquiring on progress, and this appears to be a general trend since no letters have been received from Parks Canada on any file in the last 18 months or so.

Perhaps it is time to raise the committee's concerns directly with the chief executive officer of Parks Canada.

Deputy Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Thank you for the explanation. I see a number of hands raised now.


Ms. Jordan: This began in 2011, so we're five years in, now. I believe that at past meetings of this committee we decided that if something is ongoing and taking a long time to get a response, we would automatically send it to the minister to try and deal with it.

That said, I consider five years and four letters with absolutely zero response disrespectful to the committee and the work we do here, so I suggest that we send a letter to the minister asking for answers to this question.

Mr. Badawey: I would also call him in as a witness to ask the questions that were asked in the letter. If we can't get answers in letter form, then we can get them personally from the individuals.

I would do both: I would call the minister and/or deputy minister, as well as bring in a witness to explain exactly what we are looking for here.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): You are suggesting doing both: sending a letter to the minister, as Ms. Jordan suggested, and also invite officials from Parks Canada?

Mr. Badawey: I see this happen often. I believe we have had three meetings already, and we have received the same responses from different agencies. If they don't want to give us answers in letter form, we should get into the habit of calling them in as witnesses and asking them one on one to give us the answers. We would allow them to give us those answers in advance of the meeting so that they'd be prepared.

Mr. Bernhardt: The only point I want to make in connection with this particular file is I'm not sure exactly what the relationship is between the agency and the minister. The agency has some independence.

Mr. Badawey: Obviously.

Mr. Bernhardt: I think that was why our suggestion was to deal with the CEO of the agency, because I'm uncertain what the response from the Minister of the Environment would be. She may simply say they are a quasi-independent agency.

Mr. Badawey: Hence the reason why I'd prefer to have them as witnesses one on one. I want to reiterate that we should get into that habit. If we can't get a response through correspondence, then we can get one by having them come in as a witness, fully prepared, rather than expecting a letter to be returned within a five-year period.

Senator Moore: Among the officials that we call, I would certainly include Ms. Jane Pearse. I really want to know why she didn't have the courtesy to respond to four letters from our counsel. Make sure she's on the witness stand.

Mr. Di Iorio: There are two components here. There is that of resolving the matter, but there is something even more important. We are a committee of both houses of Parliament, and while many of us are new here, there have been other members and other sessions before this. I believe that, with our colleagues here, we have a degree of collegiality in setting the tone. That tone is this: If you cannot do it, tell us why. We are reasonable people and we will understand.

As the learned senator pointed out, the important item here is the simple courtesy of saying, "I'm away,'' or "I'm too busy and can't reply.'' It's a simple courtesy to acknowledge that something has happened. We rely on very experienced counsel to guide us. We are tremendously appreciative of what he and his colleagues do.

We have to set the tone. We are starting to work together and we're going to be here for a while, so we have to set the tone. In the public service, people have to talk amongst themselves and will know that if they don't reply, this is what is going to happen to them, and it will happen sooner and more often than in the past.

I agree with my colleague. The individual, as the senator pointed out, should be called as a witness, along with the director and the minister. That way, when we have all three of them here, in real-time, we will be able to identify where each person's responsibility starts and ends.

The past is the past, but we want to ensure it doesn't happen again. If someone erred, they will have to correct their behaviour.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): From what I understand, the suggestion is to send a letter to the minister to let her know what is happening with Parks Canada and that we are unsatisfied with their lack of response, and also to call Parks Canada CEO Jane Pearse as a witness. And as per Mr. Di Iorio's last comment, we should also invite the minister as a witness. Is there agreement on that?

Senator Moore: Chair, in the letter, I would also attach a copy of the four letters to which we received no response.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): The letter to the minister?

Senator Moore: Yes.

Mr. Bernhardt: At the risk of throwing gasoline on the fire, in preparing for today's meeting I had occasion to go through our various files with Parks Canada, and I did find a couple of other files where the situation was basically identical. Perhaps we could deal with those.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Deal with it all together.

Ms. Jordan: I believe that we have already requested Environment Canada as a witness on other matters, so is there any chance it could all be wrapped into one? Is that too much to ask? I'm not sure what the process is, but I know they are on the list because they are repeat offenders for not getting back to us or responding inadequately. If they're coming in the next few weeks, can this be done at the same time rather than push it to the fall?

Mr. Bernhardt: Environment Canada is coming to the next meeting on June 2, but obviously that is not to deal with any Parks Canada issues. I imagine there is no great difficulty advising Environment that the committee would like to ask questions about their relationship with Parks Canada. They may say they don't really have one and that Parks Canada is independent.

There is nothing preventing the committee from asking Parks Canada people to come on the second as well. It's short notice for them, I suppose, but it's up the committee to decide how sympathetic it wishes to be.

Ms. Jordan: I'd like to make one point. Although it's a hands-off agency, they are still ultimately responsible to the ministry and therefore should answer the question.

Mr. Ehsassi: I understand the frustration of everyone, but I query how effective the means we have chosen will be.

Perhaps the better approach would be to write to the relevant official, cc the minister, and provide a warning to that official that if we don't hear back within the next week, we will be asking the minister to appear before the committee.

That type of approach would ensure that the minister and the ADM actually get some motion on this issue, as opposed to asking three different officials from the same department to show up as witnesses. I don't know if that's a particularly effective use of resources and if it will get us where we want to go.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Are you suggesting a fifth letter?

Mr. Ehsassi: Absolutely. I agree that all the other ones have to be annexed to this letter, but I don't think we should ask three different officials to possibly appear as witnesses here. We should write to the relevant official but go to a higher authority to ensure that the department is shaken up and they see to it that we get a response.

Mr. Badawey: My colleague is right. Actually, we should have called them back here after the second letter not after the fourth.

I would put a motion forward that we do as was suggested earlier and get the three witnesses and the minister to a meeting in the future.

Mr. Di Iorio: To comment on the motion, a fifth letter would not address what the senator pointed out. The basic discourtesy to Parliament that the individual has committed has to be addressed. We don't want that to be widespread.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): The motion is on the floor.

Mr. Nault: Is it normal practice in this committee not to CC anybody? Public shaming is a very important tool. As a minister in the past, if I didn't get something CC'd or sent to me I wouldn't know about it. If you just send it to this person and CC just about anybody who moves, it's a public shaming in itself and they will react more quickly because that's the way the public service works.

Can counsel tell us why we don't CC other officials and ministers as a general rule?

Mr. Bernhardt: As a general rule, we would leave it to the discretion of the committee in a particular instance. Our standard practice would be to write back to the committee's contact person. On occasion, it has been the practice in the past where the committee makes a specific decision to CC whomever the committee feels should be CC'd on a letter.

Mr. Nault: I would suggest that you make it a regular practice to ensure that when you write someone at the highest level of the department you also inform the minister's office. Their job is to ensure that their officials do their work appropriately. This may make it easier.

Obviously, this must be a rogue public servant. You don't write four letters and never get a response. That's crazy.

I throw that out as a suggestion, Mr. Chair.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Copying the minister is maybe something we could do as a normal practice.

Mr. Bernhardt: We certainly can, but I would remind members that the volume of correspondence with certain departments is such that we would be looking at literally dozens of letters to a minister each month, which is not a problem from our end. I wonder what the effect of that would be in a minister's office. At some point it might just become "Here's another CC on another letter, the twentieth one this month.''

Mr. Nault: To give you feedback, when I was a minister, if my department got letters like that every week, I wouldn't be very happy. It would come to my attention that my department was causing all sorts of havoc in your committee and I would fix it. But if I don't know about it, it could go on for years.

I have been here twice and this has been the topic of conversation. The Department of Environment in the last dozen years does not seem to be very effective in dealing with its regulatory issues. I think this minister has a lot of work to do to fix that, so we may as well package it up to make sure she is aware of it. Calling her in before she's even aware is a bit harsh in the early going because she wasn't the minister 5 or 10 years ago. It seems to me you might start with a process to inform the minister and her chief of staff, whoever that might be.

Senator Moore: I like Mr. Ehsassi's idea. He's also requesting a response within seven days.

You're advocating that the letter go to Ms. Pearse and a copy to the director and the minister; is that right?

Mr. Ehsassi: Absolutely.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): I still have a motion on the floor from Mr. Badawey, which we have to deal with first.

It was moved that we send a letter to the minister and attach copies of the four letters that we sent to Parks Canada; and that we also call three witnesses, including the minister.

Is there agreement on that motion?

Senator Runciman: It's premature to call the minister.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Any other comments?

I will call the question on Mr. Badawey's motion. All those in favour? All those against? It's defeated.

We will go now to Mr. Ehsassi's suggestion, agreed to by Senator Moore, that we send a letter to the CEO of Parks Canada.

Mr. Whalen: We would copy the minister and include all the attachments and require a response within seven days to the issues raised. You might say that this is in addition to the requested response in respect of the other matters under separate cover. We want it clear in the letter that we want a response to this within seven days and that this is not taking them off the hook for all the other things we have not yet received an answer on.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): A letter to the CEO, CC the minister and ask for a response within seven days.

Mr. Ehsassi: If we don't receive a response, we will ask the minister to appear before this committee.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): The minister will be aware of that issue at some point.

Senator Moore: Who are we addressing the letter to? Will it go to Ms. Pearse with a copy to the director and the minister?

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): I heard that it was to the CEO.

Senator Moore: Fine.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): We have agreement to attach the four letters.

Senator Moore: Absolutely.

Mr. Bernhardt: As a last comment, I remind members that the issue of committee's general procedures in dealing with delays was referred to the steering committee, which will report back to this committee at the next meeting. Those issues will be up for discussion on June 2.

Mr. Ehsassi: In the event that witnesses appear before this committee, would it be in camera or in public?

Mr. Bernhardt: Generally it's been in public in the past, but that's subject to the committee's decision. There was one occasion in the past when the committee heard witnesses in camera.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Item No. 5 is Canada Land Surveyors Regulations.


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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): We will now turn to Item No. 5 on our agenda under the heading "Reply Unsatisfactory (?).''

Ms. Borkowski-Parent: The last point on the file is an amendment to the act in order to bring the French and English versions of section 53 in line. In this instance, the French version is slightly broader than the English.

In 2014, the department mentioned the possibility of having this amendment included in the Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment program, or MSLA. This program allows for introducing a bill containing various legislative housekeeping amendments as long as they are not controversial and do not involve the spending of public funds and do not affect the rights of persons and do not create new offences. The bill then has the benefit of going through a simplified parliamentary process.

Unfortunately, this particular amendment was not included in the MSLA bill tabled in Parliament in May 2014. The committee has been trying to obtain a time frame since, but so far the department has only committed to making the amendment if and when it reopens the act, unless it can be included in the next MSLA bill. There is no indication at this point that there is such a bill in the works.

Senator Runciman: Counsel's note indicates that it was first raised in 2004, and then the next comment is 2012. During that interval, was there additional correspondence?

Mr. Bernhardt: No. I think the response from the department has been fairly consistent over the years; they have always agreed with the need to do it, with a preference first to do it if and when the act was next amended for some other reason. Then they were to be exploring the possibility of putting it a miscellaneous statute law amendment bill. For whatever reason, that didn't happen. Now we're back to "if and when the act is otherwise amended.''

Senator Runciman: You say in this note that in 2012 the department stated it never agreed that amendments were necessary. For eight years, they have not agreed with the committee's conclusion.

You talked about the housekeeping bill. I'm going by your note here: In 2013 they used it as an excuse, as they did in 2014 and 2015. That's three times they have not been able to get Justice to incorporate this into a housekeeping bill.

At this stage of the game, what would a satisfactory response be? I'm wondering about involving Justice in this, because if this is a phony argument they have been putting forward for three years now — and there is a pretty strong suspicion that that is the case, given that their resistance to this has gone on for 11 years — should we not be involving Justice in some way? They are using this as a crutch to continue to stall this.

Mr. Bernhardt: The committee could ask Justice whether it considers this appropriate for a MSLA and whether it will be included. We had one fairly recently, so it may be some time.

Over the years, the committee has been of the understanding that the department had agreed. I think the 2012 supposed advice that the department had never agreed was, for lack of a better phrase, treading water on the department's part.

At the end of day, my impression is that it's simply the case that the department considers this to be a very minor amendment. Unless it will amend the act for some other reason, it really can't be bothered because of the time and effort involved. The justifications for that have shifted over the years, but reading between the lines, I think that's basically what it comes down to: "unless they need to amend the act for some other reason.''

Senator Runciman: My point is this: Who should we direct a letter to? Should it be to the Minister of Justice to say, "This matter has been before the committee for 11 years and that for the last three or four years we have continuously had the department contend that the problem is with your ministry and your failure to incorporate this in a housekeeping bill''? We should look for a response from the minister and cc the Minister of Natural Resources.

Mr. Bernhardt: I can certainly do that. If the response from Justice is "No, we think this is too substantive to put in an MSLA,'' at least the committee would know where it stands on that front.

Senator Runciman: Right.

Mr. Bernhardt: And that it is not going to be an option.

Senator Runciman: And go after them to do an amendment solely on this.

Mr. Bernhardt: You are right: To this point, the committee does not know precisely why this wasn't in the last MSLA.

Senator Runciman: The last three.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Can we also ask if they are engaging in the process of drafting a piece of legislation?

Mr. Di Iorio: There are two things that are different from what we usually see at the committee. First, it involves legislation, which is very different from regulations. Second, the flaw — "sous le régime de la présente loi'' — is certainly different from the act. However, it could be that, for two important reasons, there would be no difference. I will explain myself.

The wording "sous le régime de la présente loi'' could be a more elaborate way of saying "of the act.'' It could be that.

There is also the fact that for this discrepancy in the versions, the Interpretation Act resolves it. The Interpretation Act is very clear: It has to be resolved in a way that reconciles the intent and also that is most favourable to a person who is either in peril of liberty or whose goods or property could be in peril. Therefore, there is currently a solution in legislation to deal with this.

I'm only left with an item that is bothersome. I can imagine a situation where a lawyer would only read the French version and not have the habit that I always taught my students to develop, which is to look at both versions in any situation, always. But I do acknowledge that some lawyers in this country don't do that.

Having said that, if it becomes a matter of any importance, obviously we do hope that the department would step in, being aware of this discrepancy.

I'm faced with a situation where I'm torn, because it involves legislation. To ask that a legislative amendment be put into motion when we all know that maybe it's connected with other matters and it becomes much more complicated to anticipate — when we do have a solution, however imperfect it is.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Are there any further comments?

Senator Moore: So what do we do after all of this?

Senator Runciman: Make that motion.

With respect to writing the Minister of Justice, it is a continuing concern of the committee, and CC the Minister of Natural Resources.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): The motion is to send a letter to the Minister of Justice and CC the Minister of Natural Resources, informing her of the situation and that we expect them to follow up and include that in the bill. Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Next is Item 6 under the same heading, "Reply Unsatisfactory (?).''

Ms. Borkowski-Parent: As presented in the note prepared for members, three amendments were published in Part I of the Canada Gazette on May 5, 2015. When counsel for the committee last inquired as to when the committee can expect the proposed amendments to be made, the department responded that they would proceed once the minister had been briefed on the issue. The last response from the department, dated May 23, 2016, seems to imply that this had yet to take place and therefore no expected time frame for completion was provided.

There is one outstanding point on the file, which deals with the definition of "person'' in the regulations having a broader meaning than what is contemplated in the act. The department does not intend to repeal the definition from the regulations until a definition of "person'' is added to the Defence Production Act. Its commitment remains to do it at the first available opportunity, with no indication as to when this might happen.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): That looks similar to the last item.

Are there any suggestions about what the committee should do? Shall we also send a letter to ask them where they are now in the process of what they said they would do, which is amending the act to better define the definition of "person''?

Mr. Brassard: Mr. Chair, my suggestion to the committee is to send the letter and continue to monitor the situation, because we're not quite sure why the minister has not been briefed at this point. We need to find out a definitive timeline in order to ensure the changes are made. If it's only a matter of briefing the minister, at some point the minister should have been briefed prior to this on what really is a benign issue. In the overall scheme of things, this is a minor matter. A 15-minute briefing could clarify this, so we need to find out when that will happen.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Sending a letter and asking for a timeline with regard to their actions.

Mr. Brassard: I think that's the only thing we can do at this point and make sure we have enough paper for the letters we are writing today.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Next is the heading "Part Action Promised,'' and we will start with Item No. 7.

Mr. Bernhardt: The initial terms and conditions of employment of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime stated it was made pursuant to paragraph 127.1(1)(c) of the Public Service Employment Act, which authorizes the Governor-in-Council to appoint a person as a special adviser to a minister and to fix their remuneration.

We raised 25 points concerning this instrument in November 2012, including the basic issue of whether the making of a regulation was even necessary in the first place since the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime has no statutory basis, and the terms and conditions of employment of the ombudsman are simply a matter of internal government administration.

That original letter went to Treasury Board as the department responsible for the Public Service Employment Act. The Treasury Board then passed the matter on to the Department of Justice on the basis that the ombudsman acts as a special adviser to the Minister of Justice. Eventually, the Deputy Minister of Justice advised that in fact this instrument was not made under the authority of the Public Service Employment Act but was made under the authority of the Royal Prerogative, and it was mistakenly determined to be and registered as a regulation.

The deputy minister also advised that the present order made in 2014 replaced this first instrument with a new one that was not a regulation. The deputy minister concluded by advising that in doing this, the Department of Justice had considered all 25 points raised in the original letter from 2012.

We subsequently advised the deputy minister that while the 2014 order-in-council is not a regulation, as a prerogative instrument it comes within the definition of "statutory instrument'' in the Statutory Instruments Act and therefore stands permanently referred to this committee.

While eight of the matters noted in the original letter had been addressed in the new instrument, a substantive response on the remaining 17 was not provided by the deputy minister. The wording that had given rise to these matters was reproduced in the new instrument, so a substantive response was requested, and that was provided in the deputy minister's February 19 letter. He advised that various drafting matters have been "flagged for consideration for future amendments,'' but there is no firm commitment or timeline on these. Agreements have not been reached on various other matters.

The issues that the deputy minister indicates have been flagged for consideration for future amendments include updating the definition of "victim'' to address a discrepancy between the English and the French, using that defined term consistently throughout and resolving other discrepancies and clarifying provisions.

The issues for which agreement has not been reached include provisions that appear to be redundant and provisions that did not seem to achieve their intent. These are discussed in detail in the note in the materials, which I will admit is quite lengthy. The note does suggest that the reply in some of these matters, those in connection with section 1, subsections 5(1) and 9(4) could be considered satisfactory.

On the remainder, we are certainly prepared to discuss any of those in detail, but our recommendation at this point is simply to pursue those a second time in a further letter to the department that would follow along the lines of the discussion in the note.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): At least they are responding to us.

The suggestion is to send another letter to follow up on the things that they didn't respond to yet?

Mr. Bernhardt: That's correct. Some of the original 25 are resolved. We have a vague promise on others. We have some satisfactory responses, and we are suggesting that we should try again on a number of matters.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Are there any comments?

Ms. Vecchio: I think we should follow up on paragraph 5(2)(c).

I believe that subsection 5(1) is a good candidate for disallowance.

With regard to sections 1, 2, 4, 5(2)(a), 5(2)(g), 6(2), 6(4)(a), 9 and 9(4), most of these are insignificant and not worth the attention.

Some that need to be followed up and are more prominent than others. That would include sections 5(2)(c). Something needs to be followed up, but some are quite insignificant. I think we should pick and choose the best ones to make sure there is action on them.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Instead of something more general, you are suggesting something more specific.

Ms. Vecchio: Yes, absolutely.

Mr. Bernhardt: We can follow that advice.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Can you repeat the numbers?

Ms. Vecchio: Start with 5(2)(c).

For the sections that are insignificant, 1, 2, 4, 5(2)(a), 5(2)(g), 6(2), 6(4)(a), 9 and 9(4). Most of these are insignificant, but 5(1) is a good candidate for disallowance.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Are those understood by the members?

Senator Moore: Which ones are we looking to be fixed? Subsection 5(2)?

Ms. Vecchio: Paragraph 5(2)(c) seems to be the most important.

Senator Moore: And 6(2)(a)?

Senator Moore: Subsection 5(1) to do with the disallowance, but I was only referring to 5(2)(c).

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): In the letter, we will ask specifically for a response on 5(2)(c).

Are you also suggesting that we pursue disallowance on subsection 5(1)?

Ms. Vecchio: Let me refer to my colleague.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): You are suggesting a disallowance process for 5(1).

Ms. Vecchio: The disallowance. I want to refer back to Mr. Brassard here.

Mr. Brassard: I would ask Mr. Bernhardt about the effect of disallowing subsection 5(1).

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Perhaps he could explain the process, too.

Mr. Bernhardt: The process would be to issue a notice of disallowance to the minister and start the 30-day clock running. After 30 days, the committee could table a report.

I'm somewhat at a loss as to what disallowance would achieve. The provision states that the ombudsman cannot review matters that occurred prior to the day on which the office was established unless the minister requests the ombudsman to do that. The response is that the authority is limited by the requirement to obtain consent of the minister. Subsection 5(1) states that he can review where the minister requests the ombudsman to do so.

Mr. Brassard: Mr. Chair, I will follow Mr. Bernhardt's lead on that issue. If he feels that the authority is there, then I would suggest, Ms. Vecchio, that we withdraw that.

Mr. Bernhardt: Or we could simply pursue that in a letter to the department with the suggestion that while there might be a way to read this as being satisfactory, at the very least it should be clarified so that's the only way it could be read.

I see what the response is, since we are writing on these other points anyway. It may be possible, if the committee takes a somewhat harder line on that, since we are not entirely happy with the response, it might get what it's looking for in the next letter.

Mr. Brassard: Rather than move for disallowance at this point, I would be prepared to take your suggestion on this and put that to the committee.

Mr. Bernhardt: My concern, frankly, is that we are still in the fairly early stages; maybe I'm getting soft in my old age.

Mr. Brassard: Maybe we are getting hard in having to deal with all these issues.

Ms. Vecchio: I would agree to remove that portion with regard to 5(1) and continue with the others.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): The letter will specifically talk about 5(2)(c) and 5(1), instead of starting a disallowance procedure.

Ms. Vecchio: Perfect.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Are there any other comments? Seeing none, let's move on.


The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): The next agenda item under "Part Action Promised'' is No. 8.

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


Ms. Borkowski-Parent: As to the 12 points raised in the initial correspondence, the department has promised to make corrections to address points 1 to 11. With respect to point 12, the question was asked as to why various documents provided pursuant to the regulations did not have a validity period. The department indicated that, pursuant to section 17(1) of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the minister has the authority to stipulate a validity period. With regard to the promised corrections, it should be noted that the department never provided an explanation of the amendments to be made further to points 4, 5 and 9. We could request further information, if the committee so wishes, to ensure that when the corrections are made they address all of the committee's concerns.

Deputy Chair (Mr. Dusseault): That is the recommendation of our counsel.


Mr. Badawey: I would move that we just send a letter and ask for a timeline as well as clarification on the amendments.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Is it agreed to add a timeline with regard to what they are planning to do?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): We will now move to Item No. 9 under "Part Action Promised.''

Mr. Bernhardt: Mr. Chair, this instrument removes references to individual articles of the conservation and enforcement measures made by the North Atlantic Fisheries Organization. This was a suggestion of the committee. Maintaining accurate references had proven difficult, and they were repeatedly being rendered obsolete as a result of frequent changes to the measures.

Three matters were then raised in connection with SOR/2014-149. Amendments are promised to address two of those relating to matters of drafting and the consistent use of language, but no timeline has been provided. Our first suggestion would be to ask for the timeline on those two promised amendments.

As for the third matter, the regulations permit foreign vessels to fish in certain waters if the fishing done under an arrangement consistent with the NAFO measures. Without some factors or criteria in the regulations, how can a person operating a vessel know whether their fishing activity is permitted by the regulations because it's consistent? The department indicates this was left open-ended so as to capture chartering arrangements, which are already dealt with in the measures, as well as other types of arrangements that might be used in the future.

Perhaps the department could be asked whether it expects the measures to be amended in order to address other types of arrangements and, if it does, whether these other arrangements would be subject to a verification process, such as exists now under the measures for chartering arrangements. If that was the case there would not be issue here. If non-chartering arrangements would not be governed by the measures, we suggest the regulation be amended to set out criteria for determining consistency of these arrangements.

It might also be useful to ask whether there have been any arrangements, other than chartering arrangements, except as consistent with the measures and, if so, how they went about deciding the issue of consistency.

Senator Runciman: I move that we accept counsel's recommendation.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Next on our agenda is Item 10, again under "Part Action Promised.''

Ms. Borkowski-Parent: The note prepared for you today details the background on these regulations. Three points were raised in the initial letter: two regarding a definition and another dealing with a drafting issue in subsection 19(2). The department was asked the significance of the difference between the wording of the definition of "qualified medical practitioner'' found in the Criminal Code and that of the regulations.

In the case of "under'' versus "by'' provincial law, it appears that it signifies a change of drafting practice. In the case of the laws of "a province'' versus the laws of "the province,'' the department could be asked when medical practitioners take a substance if they have to be qualified in any province, or in the province where the substance is taken.

Lastly, the department was asked why the regulations, unlike the parent statute, were silent on the qualifications of a person taking a breath sample. Because the evidentiary threshold is different for offences of impaired driving and breach of probation, combined with the fact that the taking of a breath sample is intrinsically less invasive than a blood sample, for example, it was judged appropriate to give provinces some flexibility in who can be designated as a qualified technician for the purposes of taking breath samples. This explanation could be considered satisfactory.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Is it satisfactory for members of the committee?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

Ms. Borkowski-Parent: Should we follow up on the issue of the laws of "a province'' versus the laws of "the province?''

Mr. Brassard: There is no explanation here, so we should absolutely try to define and clarify what qualifies in "a province'' and the rest of the country. We should follow through.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): We will continue to request more on that issue, and we feel that the last part of the answer they gave us is satisfactory.

Are we all agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): We will move now to the heading "Reply Satisfactory (?)'' and Item 11 on our agenda.

Mr. Bernhardt: The first issue that the committee had raised was the use of phrases "as soon as practicable'' and "as soon as feasible,'' apparently interchangeably. The department has advised that they are making progress on amending the regulations to use a single phrase consistently throughout since they both supposedly mean the same thing.

When the instrument was last before the committee in March 2015, members also wondered whether it would be possible to provide some clarification, perhaps by way of specific criteria, as to what these phrases mean. The department indicates that there are no internal guidelines or criteria that exist that they could incorporate into the regulations. The reason for this, in their view, is that matters carried out in federal correctional institutions do not lend themselves to specific timelines. The department suggests that whichever phrase they use in the end should be taken to mean "as soon as reasonably possible under the circumstances.''

In its report tabled the same month, March 2015, the committee expressed its view that the use of vague or subjective expressions of time such as "forthwith,'' "immediately,'' "as soon as practicable'' and "without delay'' should be limited and avoided wherever possible because these expressions generally provide no real additional guidance as to what time is required.

At the same time, the committee's report recognized that there are circumstances where the use of these qualifiers is unavoidable, for example where the circumstances in which a rule operates are so variable that it's simply impossible to address them with a greater degree of precision. The question, then, is whether the processes governed by these regulations fit this description.

In short, it falls to the committee to decide whether the department's claim that the terms "as soon as practicable'' or "as soon as feasible'' within the correctional context cannot be further clarified in this case is acceptable.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Are we looking at clarification from them? Are we of the view that it's satisfactory for them to use two terms in the same regulation?

Mr. Bernhardt: They will pick one term. The question for the committee is whether it wishes further clarification, when the term is used, of what they mean and whether there are criteria to decide what "as soon as practicable'' means, or whether the circumstances are so diverse that it would be futile to try to do that.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): We're looking at asking for clarification.

Senator Omidvar: I'm not a lawyer or a member of the committee but am here observing. There is a difference between the words "practicable'' and "feasible.'' Something can be feasible but not practical, and vice versa.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): We can ask them to clarify what they mean.

Senator Omidvar: Which one?

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Whichever one they choose. They can clarify what it means so people will know when they read the regulation.

Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): The next section on our agenda is "Progress,'' Item No. 12.

Mr. Bernhardt: The Antarctic Environmental Protection Act provides that the minister can issue a permit authorizing Canadian expeditions, vessels and aircraft to be in the Antarctic but only if a waste management plan is prepared. The Governor-in-Council then has authority to make regulations respecting waste management plans. These regulations, however, include provisions that impose obligations on both permit holders and non-permit holders. They also contain requirements in addition to the preparation of a waste management plan. The committee has concluded that there is no authority for these provisions.

The department advises that a review of the regulations has now been completed and that as of last December amendments to resolve the committee's concerns would be made in 18 to 24 months. The department's letter indicates that they decided to amend the regulations to require that waste management plans contain provisions equivalent to the objectionable provisions in the regulations. The offending provisions in the regulations can then be revoked.

As the department's letter notes, this is the approach that the committee suggested some five years ago. The department has now decided that's the approach it should follow.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Are there comments?

Senator Moore: I expect that the regulatory amendment process will take up to another two years. It was January 2016 that we got the letter. Is that normal? Why would it take two years to do something as simple as this?

Mr. Bernhardt: Well, it is Environment Canada.

Senator Moore: This is another thing that we could ask them about when they come here. I don't understand. They finally came around and agreed to the approach that is correct.

Ms. Jordan: After five years.

Senator Moore: Exactly. Why does it take 24 months to do something as simple as this? Is that normal?

Mr. Bernhardt: If that's a question the committee wishes to ask, we'll ask.

Mr. Nault: This is a little more complicated than that. These regulations connect to a number of other changes to the environmental act that are all in the process of review. I think the department is signalling that the major review will culminate in legislation and extensive regulations, and they will add this to it. That's why they have given themselves 18 to 24 months. That would be my sense of it. It's good progress, but at the same time we should monitor to see that they come with a comprehensive package.

Ms. Jordan: Is it our intention to follow up and make sure that those regulations are amended within the next two years? Is that the process?

Mr. Bernhardt: Typically we would write from time to time simply to ask if things are still on track and if that's still the anticipated time frame.

Ms. Jordan: Thank you.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): We'll continue to follow their progress.

Mr. Bernhardt: If there is a change, it comes back to the committee.

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): I see that it's 9:47 and we are halfway through the agenda. Is it agreed that we continue? At the beginning of the meeting we discussed the possibility of finishing early.

Mr. Brassard: Mr. Chair, when I look at some of the issues that we have yet to deal with, in my opinion no action is required on many of the items, with the exception of a couple of letters that we will send. Perhaps we could move through this fairly quickly. We have been asked by our leader to be in the house by 10 a.m. for a statement.

Mr. Di Iorio: The member's request is legitimate. His leader is going to speak in the house and he wants to be present. He is a member of Parliament.

Mr. Brassard: I appreciate that the vice-chair is giving us the option, Mr. Di Iorio. Perhaps we could move through these in relatively quick time, which I think we can do.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): We'll keep going and maybe adjourn at 10 o'clock.


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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Next is Item 13 under "Progress.''

Mr. Bernhardt: This file concerned the committee for some time. It had to do with colour-fastness and colour- staining of fabric for seat belts. The largest portion of the issue has been resolved. The one remaining aspect is that the requirement still exists in a technical standard that's incorporated into the regulations. The proposed amendment has been prepublished. It's expected that it will be made by the end of this year, so we will simply monitor that.

The other provision that's still in question concerns a requirement to put in the instructions for restraint systems and built-in booster seats the primary consequences of not following the instructions. It seems clear that the primary consequences are death and serious injury. There is a warning you have to put on to that effect. So the question is why not simply require that warning to be reproduced? The department is reviewing that issue and expects it will result in a proposed amendment in late 2017. We could ask for further details on that.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): We'll monitor the progress.

Senator Runciman: Is counsel suggesting that we ask for further details?

Mr. Bernhardt: On the second point for which they expect to see an amendment.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Next is Item 14 under "Progress (?).''

Ms. Borkowski-Parent: Issues surrounding vagueness on national security requirements and erroneous cross- references were raised by the committee back in 2007. It took six years to get an undertaking to make the amendments. The amendments have still not been made.

The last letter indicates that the department intends the amendments to be submitted "within a reasonable time.'' At this point, it is for the committee to decide if that is a satisfactory or acceptable approach.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Are we giving them more time?

Mr. Brassard: Is there a legislative requirement on a time frame to establish the regulation? They seem to be going through the process. They are not "boom, full stop.''

Ms. Borkowski-Parent: A five-year review is specified in the act. The first five-year review seems not to have happened, or it took so long. We should have had two five-year reviews at this point. The regulations were made in 2002. It seems that now they have made one review, but we are still waiting for the results.

Mr. Brassard: The latest letter that we have, October 27, says "Due to conflicting priorities . . . .'' I would like to have a better understanding of what that conflicting priority was or is that would allow them not to initiate this regulation. Summer leave and staff turnover I get, but I'd like a clear definition, if the committee would agree, on what the conflicting priority was in not establishing or completing the regulatory review on the issue.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Asking for an explanation of why they are waiting and what the conflicting matter is?

Mr. Brassard: Yes. I'd like to know what the conflicting priority is.

Senator Moore: The writer knows what the conflicting priorities were, so let's ask for a reply within 30 days.

Mr. Whalen: Is this a matter for which we could also write them back and ask for revision of the time frame and let them know that we are going to provide this information to the pay equity subcommittee? There is a special subcommittee now on pay equity that's looking into these types of matters, so just to provide them with the information as to the employment equity regulations with the Canadian Forces. An undertaking had been made to make corrections by a particular time, and it has not yet happened. That might be something of interest to the subcommittee on pay equity.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): The suggestion would be to send a letter to the chair of the pay equity subcommittee to inform them of the situation.

Mr. Bernhardt: Give them a head's up.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Give them a head's up about the situation. If they want to act, that is their own decision to make.

Are we agreed on both things, a letter and a letter to the chair of the subcommittee on pay equity?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Item 15 under "Progress (?).''

Ms. Borkowski-Parent: It appears that this might come to completion in 2016, so it could be a matter of just following up to make sure that it's still the expected time frame.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Monitor the progress? Agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Item 16 under "Progress (?).''

Mr. Bernhardt: This is part of the ongoing transition to the new scheme of ministerial marketing authorizations. We have 15 marketing authorizations dealing with the classes of food additives that are in the tables to section B.16.100 of the regulations. Those tables are, therefore, to be repealed.

That has not happened yet. It's unclear why there would be delays in doing that, particularly given that Health Canada apparently no longer treats them as authoritative, despite the fact that they are still part of the regulations.

It anticipates publishing proposed amendments in the spring of 2017. It is examining earlier opportunities to address other matters. An amendment addressing the final matter concerning Schedule M was prepublished almost a year ago, but that will eventually lead to a resolution of that final concern.

Again, if the committee is satisfied with that, we will monitor progress.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Is it agreed?

Mr. Brassard: I would suggest that we monitor the progress.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): All agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Next is Item 17 under "Progress (?).''

Ms. Borkowski-Parent: The issue here is the use of a unit of measurement that has not been in use since 1994. It's a matter of removing those units from a schedule that tables the various docking charges.

It looked like we had an imminent resolution on at least three different occasions, always for the time frame to be pushed back. When we last inquired, we were told that they were at the point of drafting a regulatory impact analysis statement, which appears to be the holdup.

It's not clear why a RIAS on amendments that are, by the department and the Treasury Board's admission, simple administrative matters, with no impact on end users, would take so long to draft.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): They said it would be completed by fall of 2015 but then delayed it to September 2016.

Will we monitor this file?

Senator Runciman: Monitor and bring it back in the fall.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Getting back to the committee in September just to know if something happened?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


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

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Item 18 under "Progress (?).''

Ms. Borkowski-Parent: This file is under "Progress?'' because the corporation changed its plan. It went from, "We'll amend the current regulations'' to "We'll remake the Letter Mail Regulations entirely.'' The time frame at this point is to provide drafting instructions by the fall of 2016. So we could monitor their progress.

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

Mr. Whalen: There is an ongoing task force with respect to Canada Post. The other committee I sit on is Government Operations and Estimates. I think it would be helpful if you just referred this to us so that we would be aware that they are in the process of reviewing the Letter Mail Regulations. When the task force is completed, if it doesn't comment on this, then we at least know it's an open item.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): So informing the Committee of Government Operations of the promise they gave to replace the regulations with more succinct and understandable regulations? The committee can monitor this progress, too.

Mr. Brassard: I would agree.

I appreciate the committee's expediency and legal counsel's expediency on these matters. I move that we defer the remaining agenda items to the next meeting — I don't think they are going to take up much time in the next meeting, to be frank — so that we can adjourn the meeting so that the members can enter the house to listen to our leader.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): The motion is to defer Items 19 to 27.

The motion is in order. Is there agreement?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

Mr. Brassard: Does counsel feel that there is anything timely within those remaining items that we should be dealing with, or can we defer them to the next meeting?

Mr. Bernhardt: No.

Mr. Brassard: Thank you so much.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Dusseault): Items 19 to 27 were deferred, so I see no other business today.

(The committee adjourned.)

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