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REGS Committee Meeting

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OTTAWA, Monday, June 12, 2023

The Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations met with videoconference this day at 11:07 a.m. [ET] to conduct a review of Statutory Instruments.

Mr. Dan Albas and Senator Yuen Pau Woo (Joint Chairs) in the chair.


The Joint Chair (Senator Woo): Good morning, colleagues. I would like to welcome you to today’s meeting of the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee. Our joint chair Mr. Albas is taking part virtually, so I will be holding the gavel. A special welcome to colleagues who are substituting. I see Ed Fast is with us. Welcome to the committee.


The Joint Chair (Senator Woo): Colleagues, this is a special meeting, as you will recall. We asked for a meeting a week after our previous session to revisit the question of the Canadian Forces Superannuation Regulations. At the last committee meeting, we agreed to send another letter to the Minister of National Defence, requesting that she appear before the committee and that she give us a firm date as to when she could show up.

She has replied — you will see the letter in your package — and she has offered the date of September 25, which is a Monday. She has indicated her flexibility to adjust if that happens to not be a day on which we are meeting.

I would also note that we received a letter from one of our witnesses, Lieutenant-General Lise Bourgon, who essentially reiterates some of the points she made at her testimony.

It would appear to me that our request has been addressed. I welcome your comments and feedback, but if it is agreed that the requests from our committee to the department have been addressed, we can put this file on hold until the minister visits with us in September.

Let me open now for comments and questions.

Mr. Zuberi: I’m happy we got a timely response. Was it received by Friday? That’s great. I’m happy to receive that timely response. I think it satisfies everything we wanted. Even if we are 100% certain that we’re going to be sitting on Mondays, it does satisfy the expected date that we will sit, and it’s great there is an accommodation and an acknowledgement that the date hasn’t yet been fixed in terms of when we do sit. I’m glad there is a willingness to adjust based upon our schedule.

It picks up upon what I was saying last meeting that it appears that the department is fully seized by the issue we have brought forth. We have done our duty by focusing on this issue, ensuring that the work of the committee is given its full due regard. That is what I’m personally seeing right now. I think that’s plainly visible to anyone who objectively looks at what is happening.

So, Mr. Joint Chair, I would suggest exactly as you’re saying: that we pause this conversation and let the minister appear. All members can ask the minister what they want, whether it be “marriage after 60,” financial remuneration to those who are needing benefits or why this has taken 20 years between successive governments to reach the point where it is reaching right now.

I would second what you have put forth. I suggest we move on to the other business of the committee, which we do have; we have many regulations we need to iron out that are waiting on the docket for us to discuss. We have given this its due regard. Let’s move on to the other work we need to do, ensuring this is going to be done in its proper time too.

The Joint Chair (Senator Woo): Thank you, Mr. Zuberi.

Mr. Davidson: Good morning. I have a couple of things. It is in good faith that she is going to attend; I agree with my colleague there. I still want to sort of hold the hammer, though; I don’t think we should give that up. You know how things can change in the world of politics, unfortunately. All of a sudden, the minister can’t attend or something can happen. I think we still have to hold that hammer. I would like to see that happen.

I would expect when the minister comes that she is aware of what she is coming for and she has specific timelines when she does attend.

Those would be my comments on that.

The Joint Chair (Senator Woo): Thank you. Clerks will take note of our intention to keep her to her offer and to adjust as needed if there is no meeting on September 25. Other comments? Seeing none, I think we have agreed to pause this discussion. We look forward to the minister’s arrival.

There is nothing else on the agenda today, colleagues, so this is a record-breaking meeting. Thank you for your time.

(The committee adjourned.)

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