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Proceedings of the Standing Joint Committee for the
Scrutiny of Regulations
Issue 43 - Evidence - November 8, 2018
OTTAWA, Thursday, November 8, 2018
The Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations met this day at 8:30 a.m. for review of Statutory Instruments.
Senator Joseph A. Day and Mr. Harold Albrecht (Joint Chairs) in the chair.
APPEARANCE OF WITNESSES FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
MARGINAL NOTES (SF2016-3)
(For text of documents, see Appendix A, p. 43A:1.)
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): We have witnesses with us this morning from the Department of Justice: Mr. Jean-Charles Bélanger and Daniel Blasioli. I’m going to ask them to begin with an opening statement. I’m not sure which one of you will take the lead. You can make your opening statement, and then we will have opportunity for committee members to ask their questions. Welcome.
Do you have any written material for us?
Jean-Charles Bélanger, Acting Deputy Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Law and Legislative Services Sector, Department of Justice: I think our speaking notes were given to the interpreters.
Good morning. Thank you very much for having invited us to discuss the progress the Department of Justice has made on examining this matter of concern for the committee. My name is Jean-Charles Bélanger and I am Acting Deputy Assistant Deputy Minister of the Public Law and Legislative Services Sector at the Department of Justice. I am joined by my colleague Daniel Blasioli, Senior Counsel in the Legislative Services Branch of the Department of Justice.
We are pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the issues raised in Report No. 91 concerning the placement of marginal notes in the new legislative format for statutes and regulations. Our comments today seek to follow up on a letter sent by Ms. Nathalie Drouin, Deputy Minister of Justice, to the Honourable Senator Day and Mr. Albrecht on September 25, 2018.
More specifically, I would like to take this opportunity today to explain the work that the department has done in exploring the committee’s suggestions and to assure you, chairpersons and committee members, that we have heard your concerns and take them seriously.
I wish to also assure you that steps were taken to diligently explore how this committee’s suggestions, and the commitment in the government’s response to examine options to clarify the status of marginal notes might be implemented.
During our work, it became increasingly clear that no option provided a complete solution with respect to improved clarity. In fact, some options would have had the opposite effect; hence the decision to retain the current format that was communicated to the committee by Deputy Minister Drouin in September.
They would, however, all involve costs and resources to implement to a varying degree. Depending on the option, these costs and resources would not only be incurred by the Department of Justice but also by the House of Commons, the Senate and the Canada Gazette because of the programming changes involved as well as the consultations that would be required.
Chairpersons, since January 1, 2016, when the new legislative format was adopted, there have been no reported cases where the legislative format change has been discussed as the cause of legal uncertainty or lack of clarity. No judgment has examined whether a marginal note should be treated as a heading as opposed to a section note that merely provides a convenient reference.
In short, any incremental benefits that might be gained by implementing any of the options we examined would be outweighed by the costs and resources that would be required to do so. I can confidently state to the committee that following our examination of the various options, the legislative format implemented in 2016 was and remains the best option for improving accessibility for all users of the law.
If I may, I would like to explain how the Department of Justice reached this conclusion. Officials in the Department of Justice began examining various options to respond to the committee’s concerns following receipt of the initial correspondence on this matter in early 2016.
The legislation format committee was established to explore options and to narrow them down to those that were the most promising. These corresponded largely with the suggestions made by this committee in its Report No. 91 — Marginal Notes. The three options that were explored more fully over the course of the last six months were the following: a non-legislative option that would consist in making marginal notes with a distinctive feature or symbol to expressly indicate that they are not part of the act and that they continue to perform the same function as they previously did. The second was a legislative option that would amend the Interpretation Act to make section notes and marginal notes part of the enactments. And the third was a legislative option that would amend the Interpretation Act to describe these notes differently.
While these options may, on their face, appear to resolve many of the committee’s concerns, after further examination, we discovered that they would adversely affect clarity, rather than improve it, due to unintended consequences. We hope to explain this further in answering your questions today and to impress upon the committee that real efforts were made to find something that would help address your concerns without compromising the government’s fundamental objective of improved accessibility to the law for all Canadians. Very briefly, our findings were the following.
The first option would result in an inconsistent treatment between pre-2016 and post-2016 notes. Creating two formats for a legislative element that has the same role and function would reduce clarity and introduce uncertainty.
The second option would change the legal status of the notes for all legislation and for the countless other instruments to which the Interpretation Act applies and would constitute a substantive departure from Canada’s jurisprudence on their minimal interpretive value.
The last option would with engage parliamentarians’ time and government resources to amend the Interpretation Act to expressly and accurately reference the new notes without unduly extending the operation of section 14 of the act to those countless other instruments to which the Interpretation Act applies but which use similar text for other purposes.
We will certainly take the lessons learned from this initiative to guide us in our work. The committee has led us to further consider this issue, and we thank you. The observations and the questions you have raised are useful and important elements to consider in the development of legislative policy matters; we wanted to assure you of that.
Thank you again. My colleague and I would be pleased to answer your questions.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): I would ask you to repeat the third option. I’m not sure if it was the interpretation, but I missed the nuance of what you were saying in your first approach to the third option. Could you repeat that one for me? That would be helpful.
Mr. Bélanger: Certainly. The third option was a legislative option to amend the Interpretation Act in order to describe the notes differently.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): We’ve heard the opening remarks from our witnesses. Who wants to be first? Mr. El-Khoury?
Mr. El-Khoury: Good morning, Mr. Blasioli and Mr. Bélanger. Thanks for coming.
My question is the following: Do you recognize that the current location of the marginal notes in the layout leads a reader to believe that they are a part of the text and of its legal scope? Whether your answer is affirmative or negative, I would have another question to ask you. I’m listening.
Daniel Blasioli, Senior Counsel, Public Law and Legislative Services Sector, Department of Justice: We have to reiterate the government’s position that the mere movement of these notes into the text does not change their function or nature.
We can also assure the committee that they are in fact distinguishable from headings. In reviewing the materials before appearing today, I noted in the committee’s report that there was the understanding that they were indistinguishable from headings. I can assure you that marginal notes appear in a bold face type immediately above the heading to which they refer, whereas headings are not in bold — they never are — and they are in a larger font.
So, to answer your question, we don’t believe there’s been a change substantively, and we believe that the Canadian public can tell the difference easily between a marginal note and headings.
Mr. El-Khoury: Could you explain to us how you believe readers can distinguish between the headings and the marginal notes?
Mr. Blasioli: Pardon me for repeating myself, but the notes themselves are bolded. They are the only elements that are bolded and are found immediately above the provision to which they relate, whereas headings never appear in bold text. They are always in a larger font as well.
Mr. Bélanger: If I may add something, it is that the notes precede not only the sections, but also the paragraphs. So there are many more of those than headings, which are placed above a group of sections. That is an indication that they are indeed different elements.
Mr. El-Khoury: According to my notes, there are contradictory statements in your letter of September 25. First you tell us that you will not be changing the legislative layout. You then acknowledge that the options we submitted to you to remedy the situation would improve the clarity of the acts in certain regards. Are we to conclude that the clarity of the legislation is not a priority for you?
Mr. Bélanger: First, let me assure you, members of the committee, that the clarity of the legislation is a constant concern, and I would even say a daily concern in the course of our work, be it in the drafting of laws or of regulations. We want the texts that are submitted to you as parliamentarians to be as clear as possible, and that goes for all Canadians as well. As for the clarity of texts, we certainly do not want to see that compromised, not at all.
Mr. Blasioli: Let me expand on Mr. Bélanger’s response: Absolutely, clarity for the vulnerable population that we had in mind in making these changes, as well as all Canadians. The text was last changed in 1969. It was cluttered. It didn’t benefit from the software formatting technology, et cetera, that you have now, as well as the research for the absorption, retention and readability of text.
As parliamentarians, I think you can appreciate that very many issues, if not all issues, present challenges and competing considerations. This was very much one of those issues. There was no clear solution that would provide absolute clarity, and not detrimentally affect other aspects of the law.
When we looked into this, and I can assure you we looked into this very carefully, I made the mistake of promising I’d find a solution to my boss. I had to report back that I couldn’t. Any change we considered branched out like the roots of a tree in consequences that we would either not know or that we knew would be unfavourable or adversely affect the interpretive weight of statutes.
I hope that answers your question.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): As a non-lawyer, when I look at this, you refer to marginal notes in the Interpretation Act and yet you removed marginal notes and they’re now part of the text. So, at the very least, doesn’t it make sense that we would no longer talk about marginal notes if they aren’t in fact in the margin? It may seem too obvious.
Mr. Bélanger: Thank you for your question. Yes, I think it is fair to say that the term “marginal notes” no longer seems to be unanimous.
Now, rather than focusing on the positioning of this textual element in the text, let us rather look at the role it is supposed to play. Its purpose is simply to give readers a benchmark. The reader may, for instance, want to know where the remedies are; there will be a very brief note above the relevant provision that will say “remedies.” If the reader wants to know what the deadlines are to resort to those, they will find them in another paragraph with a note saying “deadlines.”
The only objective is to provide reference points. They are like tabs we insert to inform the reader about the topic, nothing more. And often we only cite key words from the provision in question, from a section, if the section has no subsections or paragraphs.
May I also direct your attention to the table of contents that appears at the beginning. There you will find, as was the case before 2016, the notes that were marginal notes previously but were moved to enhance intelligibility and the layout of the text. There is only the first one, the one that precedes the first subsection of the section in question.
So, I think that demonstrates that these textual elements play a purely ancillary role. Moreover, when section 14 refers to marginal notes, it indicates that they are only there as points of reference, as benchmarks. This element that has been moved, but which is in fact the same element in another location, plays essentially the same role. That is why we believe that they should be treated in the same way. These notes are not a part of the text, because their function is essentially the same.
Mr. Blasioli: Yes, it seems deceptively simple. These notes are no longer in the margin. Why do we keep the term “marginal notes”? We very much appreciate being invited today because I think the dialogue with the committee can help explain our positions on this issue much better than we were able to do, or that can be done through correspondence.
There is and remains printed statute law from 1867 to 2016 that still uses marginal notes. That printed body of text exists and will remain so.
We also have to keep in mind that “regulation” in the Interpretation Act is defined incredibly broadly. If you will permit me, I can tell you what it encompasses. It includes orders, regulations, rules, rules of court, forms, tariffs, costs or fees, letters patent, commissions, warrants, proclamations, bylaws, resolutions or other instruments made or established in the exercise of a power conferred by Parliament.
There are hundreds of thousands of instruments of this nature that may, and probably do, still use marginal notes. Elimination of the term would not be an option that would be acceptable. It would have impacts on these items that the Department of Justice does not examine in their production or ever see.
So the term has a relevance for these instruments that exist and will always continue to exist.
Mr. Scarpaleggia: On the issue of the definition of “marginal,” I’m not so hung up on that because I think the literal definition is “at the margin.” But the definition of “marginal” is also “peripheral.” That’s not so much my concern.
My question is this: How did you come up with this format? Did you consult groups? I’m sure there are computer programs at that can simulate the eye and show the path of the eye with this new format. Just for myself, subjectively, it’s very hard to find the marginal notes that are not in the margin. As you say, they’re in bold, but so is the number 5, the letter A. If I’m going to do a scan of marginal notes, I now have to go down the whole column, whereas before I just had to look at the margin on the left and I would see three or four notes. So I think the eye is working harder, if I may say so.
I am curious as to how you would have tested this out or how you would have consulted on this, because I assume there was some kind of consultation.
Mr. Blasioli: You’re absolutely correct. Again, in reviewing the committee’s transcripts of your past meetings on the issue, I think there was a perception that this change was impulsive or very quickly decided upon. But there was five years of work, if not more, before the 2016 changes. Before those were decided upon by the department, they were fully examined by a committee consisting of departmental officials with extensive expertise in a broad range of disciplines. That included legislative drafting, legislative revision and statutory interpretation. But we went outside as well. We went outside to refer to best practices, research, and the department consulted with experts in document design to ensure that the end result would be as user-friendly as possible.
There’s a list that I can give you from my research on the work that was done in those years preceding the implementation: the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada; the House of Commons was consulted because they would have to coordinate, and we were hoping to harmonize amongst the department’s printing, as well as the house and the Senate; legislation and house planning of PCO; Treasury Board Secretariat; Finance, and they produce their own instruments; the Canada Gazette; the advisory persons with disabilities in the Department of Justice. And we sought comments from the public on sample texts that were put out in 2011.
Mr. Scarpaleggia: Thank you.
Mr. Blasioli: My pleasure.
Senator Mégie: I don’t know if this question was asked before I arrived; you can let me know. When I looked at these so-called “marginal” notes, I could not see the value they added. The title, for instance is “Definitions,” and next to that it again says “Definitions.” For “Railway Accidents,” for example, it again says “Railway Accidents” next to it.
I don’t know what this adds to the text. If it is a common practice that has always been in existence, we can’t disrupt everything overnight, but I was trying to find the value added there, because it is neither a definition that you’ve added, nor an explanation. It’s only a repetition of the same terms, all the more so since it is printed in tiny characters. Our population is aging; I don’t know, but you might need a magnifying glass to read them. I’m wondering about their relevance or usefulness.
Mr. Bélanger: Thank you for the question. I will begin answering and my colleague may want to add something. First, I think you have understood that the note, which we will continue to call “marginal” for the purpose of our discussion, does not add anything except a point of reference for the reader, to show him where the definitions are. First, when the reader looks at the table of contents, he or she will see in which section the topic they are looking for is located. That is what the note adds, a bookmark.
As for the font size, in the consultations that we did, this was the font size that was recommended to make reading easier. That is what the document layout experts recommended.
If you compare these with the prior layout of the documents, as they were printed previously, you will see that there is an appreciable difference. They convinced us that this was a more user-friendly, modern presentation, and especially, one that would make legislative texts more accessible to the entire population.
Mr. Blasioli: Senator Mégie, you’re not alone in your view. In fact, some jurisdictions have eliminated marginal notes altogether, which you could see from the attachment to Deputy Minister Drouin’s letter of September 25, 2018. Quebec doesn’t use marginal notes. They stopped using them recently. Neither does the U.S. or France.
However, removing those from the Canadian federal legislative corpus at this point was not one of the items — this was a surgical procedure. It was as surgical as we could be to improve accessibility, without minimizing — because no option had a perfect solution — the adverse or potential adverse effects.
Mr. Bélanger: If I may, I’d like to add one last element, perhaps. I think we should not eliminate them. The so-called marginal notes — the notes as they appear here — remain good benchmarks to help the reader navigate the text and find the provisions that may be of particular interest to them. But aside from that limited function, it is true that they are of limited interpretative value.
Mr. Miller: I realize that the concern with marginal notes was raised by a previous committee. And while I would never question the wisdom of that, after looking over this, I don’t know what the big deal is. I don’t always agree with lawyers or legal opinions; however, I accept their explanation.
I think it’s reasonable and we should either accept it or somebody in this room who doesn’t agree with that should make a motion to get rid of marginal notes.
I just find this fruitless. We had a pretty good explanation of it, whether we agree with it or not, so let’s just decide what we’re going to do.
Ms. Romanado: In my short time subbing in here, I’ve never seen anything impulsive with this committee. I just want to get that on the record.
On the question of marginal notes or no marginal notes, when I look at the two versions, quite frankly, I couldn’t tell what the marginal notes were in the new version, but your explanation is fine.
My question is actually with respect to how long it took to get an answer. I understand that this goes back to March 2017. There was a government response in July 2017. We wrote on May 24 and got a response on September 25 without an explanation as to why. But then, in appearing this morning, you have explained why we’re keeping marginal notes, for instance, because legislation between 1867 and 2016 requires them, and there’s reference to that. Why didn’t you just put that in the letter in response?
I’m not trying to be mean, but we talked about the reason we didn’t go forward with different models being because of time and resources in the House of Commons, the Senate and Canada Gazette. Our time and resources around this table could have been saved by responding in the letter saying, “This is why we can’t get rid of marginal notes, because, between 1867 and 2016, we referenced them.” That would have saved a lot of time. Why wasn’t that put forward in terms of being proactive instead of reactive?
Mr. Bélanger: Thank you for your comment. I said in the beginning that we would be drawing lessons from this initiative that would provide further guidance. Here is one example of that. Thank you very much, we have taken good note of this.
With regard to the time it took, perhaps we need to take into account the efforts made at the Department of Justice to try to circumscribe the issues well, examine the options and consider other ones before providing you with the most complete answer possible. I hope that our presence here this morning will contribute to resolving the matter, but we take note for the future of how we could make the process somewhat more expeditious.
Ms. Romanado: This does not mean that we did not appreciate your time with us. However, in future, perhaps you could be a little clearer in your replies in order to avoid the need for holding a meeting.
Mr. Blasioli: We have taken good note of that, madam.
If I gave the committee the impression that I was characterizing it as impulsive, I wanted to clarify that I was assuring it that it was not Justice acting impulsively. In return, I can assure you we do not do so either; if anything, it is the opposite.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): I think that might have been the inference.
Mr. de Burgh Graham: This is my first time here at Scrutiny of Regulations, and as I understand it we just had an extensive discussion on the long study that came to the conclusion that we’re not doing anything. I just want to make sure I’m clear on that.
I was looking at the Interpretation Act, and it states:
Marginal notes and references to former enactments that appear after the end of a section or other division in an enactment form no part of the enactment, but are inserted for convenience of reference only.
In an era when we can 3-D print a house and other things in full colour, can we not use colour to address the visibility issues Mr. Scarpaleggia brought up while retaining the machine readability of laws going forward in this format? That’s just food for thought.
Mr. Blasioli: That is a very interesting option, but, again, there’s a large segment of the population that is colour-blind. This was the trap or the challenge that the department faced in achieving this objective of making this law accessible to those with visual impairment.
There’s a broad range of visual impairment. Often what comes to mind is blindness, but that’s a scale that ranges from blindness to colour-blindness to partial vision. I’m getting into the time of my life where I’m starting to experience impairment just because of my age, and the text was very small and crowded from the 1969 original layout.
To reiterate, in the former format with four columns — marginal notes in English, legislative text in English, text in French and marginal notes in French — for those using text readers, those applications would, on many occasions, read those columns as newsprint. So rather than what any of us would do in reading the marginal note definition and then going to your right to see that there are definitions there, a person using a text reader would simply get definition, interpretation, application to Canada and territorial application, and then it would move to the column in a complete divorce of the marginal notes from the text that they were meant to be linked to.
Now, with the new format, one of those readers will read, immediately above the section that it refers to, that note, the definition, and right under, right away, they get the text it describes.
Mr. de Burgh Graham: That’s why I referred to machine readability. If you are referring to colour-blindness as a reason not to do it, colour inversion transcends all colour blindness. If you have a white face on a black background for those headings, it is eye-catching and easy for pretty much anyone to read and easy for a machine to read without causing any undue impairment. I’m wondering if that was also considered.
Mr. Blasioli: It was, and I’m happy you’re asking these questions because it underscores that we really wanted to come back here with a solution and work with the committee.
We were challenged at every corner. The suggestion of the colour inversion is used for provisions that are not yet in force. The legislative corpus right now almost exhaustively uses distinguishing elements, colours or shadings for a lot of other functions, and we were really running into that conflict. That’s why the current solution we’re discussing today was the best option we could find that balanced all of those competing considerations.
Mr. de Burgh Graham: As Mr. Scarpaleggia pointed out, it is harder to find those notes looking through visually, but it is much easier for a machine now to do that. Could you not have an arrow in the margin pointing at the marginal notes saying, “Here they are?”
Mr. Blasioli: There were close to two dozen options examined. One of them was the indicator of an arrow or a unique symbol like an asterisk. To give you an example, we culled from the options to come up with the ultimate three, which were actually suggested by the committee as well, and those were the best of the possible options. What we culled out of the options that were initially studied included a small indent outwards, so they were partially in the margin, a small indent inwards, unique text or an asterisk, et cetera.
The issue that arose was we would be left with three legislative elements — a marginal note, in function — with three different appearances, which is completely contradictory to drafting convention.
What do I mean by that? Pre-2016, legislative text would have marginal notes in the margin, as we understand them in its literal meaning. The text printed between 2016 and, let’s say, 2019, the date we implemented this new option of the asterisk, for example, we would have many statutes that have been passed and regulations made with the current format, which is bolded text immediately above the provision it describes, and then, 2019 forward, marginal notes that are preceded with an asterisk.
That’s bad enough when you’re talking about the legislative corpus and different acts, but when you have a big act like the Criminal Code, it will have all three of those elements in them. It would have its content from 1867 to 2016, with marginal notes; you would have any amendments made to it between 2016 and 2019, with the current format; and any post-2019 amendments to the code would appear with an asterisk.
That is all a different presentation of an element that serves the exact same function and is completely antithetical to what we aim to do as legislative counsel and drafters: same elements, same look.
Mr. de Burgh Graham: To ask what is perhaps an obvious question in response to that, is it not possible to reprint the laws?
Mr. Blasioli: It is entirely possible to reprint the laws, but the cost of doing so going back to 1867 would be phenomenal.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): There’s general agreement that we’d like to come to a conclusion so that we leave some margin at the end of this meeting for the next part.
Valid concerns have been raised in terms of the readability and all that. I’d like to look to our counsel to clarify the issues for us so that we can move forward as best as possible. I want to ask our general counsel, Ms. Kirkby, to proceed.
Cynthia Kirkby, Acting General Counsel to the Committee: Mr. Blasioli, I think you said that marginal notes can be recognized because they’re in bold font, they’re immediately above the provision and they’re smaller than headings; is that correct?
Mr. Blasioli: That is correct.
Ms. Kirkby: The committee has been working on this for three years, and I think this is the first time that particular way to distinguish marginal notes has been conveyed to the committee.
Mr. Blasioli: Yes.
Ms. Kirkby: What is the Department of Justice doing to convey that to the public since they are the ones who would need to figure out what a marginal note is?
Mr. Blasioli: This is a challenging question. It requires strategy, and I’m a technician.
Would you like to address that?
I’m in trouble. Mr. Bélanger is my boss.
Mr. Bélanger: For the moment.
There is a place in the legislative website where one can obtain information on the new layout. It is indicated clearly that this is only a change in form and that nothing else must be interpreted from that change. That is a first point.
Afterwards, we must trust that when it comes to marginal notes, whoever takes the initiative to compare the pre-2016 version to today’s version will realize, since it is the same text element that plays the same role, that it has simply been moved. That change in location, if I may say — and this may be something you have already read or heard — reflects the principle of the new layout, which is to have only two columns. Thus someone who wants to consult federal legislation as a whole will be able to see longer lines and a less dense text if they look at both versions. This is why the notes which were previously elsewhere in the text were moved, and this was deemed advisable.
Mr. Blasioli: Ms. Kirkby, that splash page could be clearer. It states that the legislative format doesn’t change the meaning of the law. Could it have a section or another sentence saying, “By the way, marginal notes have been moved, but they haven’t been changed”? You can tell the difference by looking at them or even having a sample text. I don’t think we can leave here without taking good note of that.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): We’re coming very close to a solution.
Mr. de Burgh Graham: A marginal solution.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): Are there any further questions, either by our counsel or by committee members, for clarity? We don’t want to have to deal with this again at a subsequent meeting, if at all possible, so let’s be sure we have all unanswered questions answered.
Any other questions from counsel? Mr. Abel?
Shawn Abel, Counsel to the Committee: This is just to further clarify your comments on the various options you considered. We noted that British Columbia, as mentioned in their Interpretation Act, employs italics and brackets surrounding interpretive notes, so they put them within provisions. You haven’t discussed the use of italics, brackets or things other than unique characters. Was that considered? If so, why was that not considered useful?
Mr. Blasioli: That was, in fact, considered. Italics are used in federal legislation, at least in other areas of the legislative structure, for purposes other than marginal notes, so we wouldn’t want to conflict with that.
We looked at brackets. A lot of legislation has a formula. There’s a lot of environmental law that sets out regulatory obligations that are formulaic, as does fiscal law. If we were to characterize text encapsulated in brackets, you would lose chunks as not being part of the text and not being interpreted as part of the text; you would lose chunks of those statutes, which would have a fairly significant impact.
It also goes to that innumerable list I raised earlier of all these other instruments that are used where we can’t know if, for example, letters patent establishing a Crown corporation set out an entire paragraph in italics to emphasize its importance. If we were to change section 14 to provide that that’s not part of the statute or enactment and that falls in that definition, we would, by the snap of a finger, eliminate and essentially repeal that.
So we did look at it, but we did not see it as an acceptable solution.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): At this point, my understanding is that because we can expect marginal notes, which are no longer marginal, will always be in bold and there will be an additional sentence describing the location and purpose of those bolded statements, we’re coming close to an agreement as to how we can move forward.
Mr. Blasioli: We’re taking very good note. Of course, as mere public officers before you, we will take that back. I cannot see that as unreasonable.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): All right. Reasonableness is what we aim for here at this committee.
With that, I’m going to thank our witnesses for being with us this morning. Thanks for helping to clarify this issue, and thanks for your ongoing work.
Mr. Blasioli: It’s our pleasure.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): We will want a response within maybe half an hour.
Mr. Blasioli: I’ll get on it.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): I’m kidding. A reasonable time — by the end of this calendar year?
Mr. Blasioli: The splash page doesn’t take very long. If it goes beyond that time, you can call me back, personally, if not my boss.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): Leave me your cell number as you’re leaving.
Mr. Bélanger: We have taken due note of the comment that was made about the length of time it took to send our answers. That point has also been carefully noted.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): Thank you.
That concluded, we’ll continue now with the rest of our meeting.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Under Item No. 2 on our agenda, it is noted that progress has been made, so we will ask counsel to brief us.
SOR/93-382 — PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND CATTLE MARKETING LEVIES ORDER
(For text of documents, see Appendix B, p. 43B:1.)
Penny Becklumb, Counsel to the Committee: In 1994, it was determined that every substantive provision in this order is problematic for one reason or another. Amendments were promised in 1995, but, for various reasons over the years, they have never been made.
In 2010, the decision was made to repeal the order rather than amend it, but the repeal has been delayed for the past eight years for the various reasons outlined in your notes. The joint committee received confirmation in March 2017, and again this year, that the order is no longer used. Accordingly, there appears to be no reason to delay its repeal.
The Farm Products Council’s latest letter sent two weeks ago expects the order to be repealed soon. Specifically, it is waiting to hear back next week from legal counsel for the regulator before instructing the Department of Justice to draft the repeal.
Considering the length of time that resolution to this file is taking — the joint committee first waited 15 years for amendments that were never made and now has been waiting eight years for repeal — the committee may wish to set a firm deadline for the repeal of the order, failing which a consequence could be specified.
Mr. de Burgh Graham: Can I suggest when Centre Block reopens?
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): I think they’re just waiting for us to disallow it and then it’s done for them.
Any comment? This is Prince Edward Island we’re dealing with.
Mr. Scarpaleggia: What could possibly be holding this up? They just have to repeal it, right? What’s the entity? The Farm Products Council of Canada?
Ms. Becklumb: They’re the conduit between the committee — the regulator is the P.E.I. cattle producers.
Mr. Scarpaleggia: That’s federal?
Ms. Becklumb: No, that’s a provincial commodity board. They have delegated authority to regulate in their province in the federal area of interprovincial trade.
Mr. Scarpaleggia: Does that mean we have leverage?
Ms. Becklumb: Yes.
Mr. Scarpaleggia: The federal government’s leverage not the committee’s leverage. It’s a delegated authority?
Ms. Becklumb: That’s right. The federal government has a delegate that can withdraw that authority. It has persuasive authority.
Mr. Scarpaleggia: This is ridiculous. I mean, it’s such a simple matter. Are there many steps to be taken to repeal this order?
Ms. Becklumb: No, because it doesn’t have to go through prepublication.
Mr. Scarpaleggia: So they just have to write a letter or put a notice out?
Ms. Becklumb: It can go straight to gazetting without all the consultation.
Mr. de Burgh Graham: Who has to do it?
Mr. Scarpaleggia: The entity that has to do this?
Ms. Becklumb: P.E.I. cattle producers.
Mr. Scarpaleggia: Maybe we could follow our usual practice of sending a letter and saying, “Please do this or appear.”
Ms. Becklumb: Sure. Do you want to set a deadline for repeal by this date or a notice of disallowance even?
Mr. Scarpaleggia: I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to other members, but a deadline doesn’t make sense to me.
Ms. Romanado: As I said, there’s nothing impulsive about some of these responses. Since 1994, we’re talking 24 years.
I don’t know how long it takes to do a repeal. As you said, they just publish in the Canada Gazette. Is that all it requires to repeal this?
Ms. Becklumb: The P.E.I. cattle producers would have to make the order for the repeal and then it would be published.
Ms. Romanado: So is the delay such that they’re refusing to make the order or publish it, or do they not have the capacity? If they won’t do it, can we?
Ms. Becklumb: The committee can’t repeal it.
Ms. Romanado: Can we say, “Listen, you have until the end of this year to repeal it, and if you do not, we will write the text for you if that’s the difficulty”?
I find it ridiculous that it has been 24 years. It’s something so simple to do and they’re not doing it. I just don’t understand. I’m not blaming us, not at all — au contraire — but why is it not getting done? I’m not sure what the holdup is.
Ms. Becklumb: The letters indicate all their reasons, and they are set out in the note.
Ms. Romanado: Which I’ve read, but I’m trying to understand this — 24 years later.
What is the next step that shows the severity of — like, get this done?
Ms. Becklumb: The committee’s powers are set out. You can write to the minister; you can call witnesses; you can issue a notice of disallowance. You can set a deadline for repeal in the near future, failing which any of these actions will be taken.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Mr. Scarpaleggia, that flows from —
Mr. Scarpaleggia: More or less.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): I have Mr. Miller on my list as well.
Mr. Scarpaleggia: Go ahead.
Mr. Miller: I’m happy to hear the comments, because I thought I was the only one that thought this was ludicrous. I think setting a deadline for the end of the year is probably a little rushed, but why don’t we give them until April 1 and have them do it?
I also have a question for Ms. Becklumb: You said that it could go to gazetting, and that implied that we could just go ahead and do that, but, prior to that, we have to have the P.E.I. Board repeal this or put it in the text? Do I understand that correctly?
Ms. Kirkby: It’s a simplified process. It’s a provincial monitoring board, so they don’t have the same regulatory process of prepublication.
I do want to mention, on a slightly different topic, that the committee’s power to issue a notice of disallowance doesn’t bind it to proceeding to disallowance. What it does is give the regulation-making authority notice that the committee will consider it, so that can be used as a prompt, “We’re serious about this, get it done.”
We saw in a recent file that issuing the notice of disallowance itself prompted progress. So that is not necessarily as drastic as I think committee members might be concerned about.
Mr. Miller: Just to answer my question, can we put it to gazette or do we have to wait for them to do something?
Ms. Kirkby: We can’t put it to gazette, no. We’re not drafters.
Mr. Miller: That’s what I wanted clarification on.
I move that we give them to April 1 to deal with it. I don’t know what else we can do.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): We can give them the letter but say in the letter that if it’s not done by then, we intend to move to disallowance.
Mr. Scarpaleggia: I think Larry is being too generous, actually.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Liberal.
Mr. Scarpaleggia: I’m wondering if it’s not a question of good faith on the part of the provincial regulatory body and a kind of dismissive attitude on the part of the Department of Justice to say, “We have more important things to work on.” If you look at the note regarding April 9, the Farm Products Council of Canada advised that its counsel is presently working with the Department of Justice in order to find the best way to repeal the levies order. It could be that it’s getting stuck at the Department of Justice.
Maybe we send a letter saying that if you haven’t fixed it by a certain date, we will call the Department of Justice — they will come because they’re a federal authority — and the regulatory body representatives from each to tell us the problems.
The Department of Justice may then say, “We don’t need to appear again at the committee; let’s just get this done.” And it will get done very quickly. But April 1 is almost six months from now. I think we should set a deadline of maybe the end of January.
Mr. Miller: I’m fine with that.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): The end of January, and if not —
Mr. Scarpaleggia: If not, we’ll call them appear and they’ll have to make the trip and tell us why they can’t resolve this.
Mr. de Burgh Graham: April 1 would be an ironic date for a 25-year-old file to finish on.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): April Fool’s Day.
Mr. de Burgh Graham: From where does this provincial body derive its authority to issue a federal regulation? I see reference in the notes to the Agriculture Products Marketing Act, so could the Department of Agriculture not intervene in some way? Is there not someone who could force them to do it besides us?
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): You’re thinking Minister MacAulay?
Mr. de Burgh Graham: If anyone knows cattle in P.E.I. — I don’t know. I am just asking.
Ms. Becklumb: The federal body charged with administering this is the Farm Products Council of Canada. So that’s a federal farm products council and they look after all the commodity boards.
Mr. de Burgh Graham: What’s the connection to the government? That’s where we need to go.
Ms. Becklumb: Are they an independent agency?
Ms. Kirkby: There’s the act, and the delegation order delegates the authority on to the provincial body. Is that the question?
Mr. de Burgh Graham: Yes. So which person ultimately is in charge of that here?
Mr. Abel: The way the structure works is that normally a federal statutory instrument is enacted by a federal body, usually the Governor-in-Council or minister or CRTC, or some agency. This is an unusual situation in that because of the constitutional division of powers between intra-provincial and interprovincial trade, to resolve that issue, the federal government and Parliament some time ago chose to do delegate the ability to make federal statutory instruments directly to these provincial commodity boards that oversee chickens, cattle and so on in each province.
The committee has often encountered problems with these provincial boards respecting federal legislative requirements. It’s not the first time the committee has run up against provincial boards that don’t seem to take a lot of interest in following federal requirements or doing what this committee would like it to do.
The Farm Products Council sits as an intermediary. It’s a federal organization, and its job is to coordinate the provincial commodity boards and how they enact and deal with federal statutory instruments. So we tend to communicate with the Farm Products Council. They tell the commodity boards what they should do and then bring information back from the commodity boards as to what they have agreed to. That tends to lead to, as you would imagine, a more convoluted process. That’s the system and that is the way it is today.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Who will we write back to and ask to rectify this? Do we have a motion by Mr. Miller to contact the persons or department responsible?
Ms. Becklumb: We would write back to the Farm Products Council.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): But do they have to wait for something from Prince Edward Island before they can act?
Ms. Becklumb: Yes.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Maybe we should try to include Prince Edward Island in this correspondence so they know what our frustration is.
Was that the end of January?
Mr. Miller: Sure. I’m agreeable to that. I just suggested that other date. I thought the end of the year was a little close.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): The motion is that we write to the persons and department responsible and ask them to rectify this on or before the end of January.
Ms. Romanado: I want to get clarity with respect to the governance. We’ve delegated the authority to this federal council, but is there a federal minister who is responsible? That seems to be the problem, as you mentioned, and we see that often. In terms of compliance, if no one is asking who is in charge and who is responsible, ultimately they’re not responding. Who is the federal minister that oversees that council, because perhaps they should be copied on the letter.
Ms. Kirkby: As a matter of course, the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food is copied on the letters we send to the Farm Products Council. There are a lot of parties, and it’s not entirely clear where the holdup is.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): The last letter went to the Farm Products Council, copied to the deputy minister. Why don’t we add Minister MacAulay himself.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): And emphasize how long this has been going on.
Mr. Scarpaleggia: I would add that maybe we should cc the Department of Justice.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): In the letter, we’re going to say that if this isn’t rectified within the time limit, then we will be asking witnesses to come and explain themselves.
Mr. Miller: On a point of information, I believe that the chair or president of the Farm Products Council is appointed by government. I stand to be corrected, but I’m pretty sure of that. I do not know whether that matters, but it’s just for information. I think we do have some kind of authority over them.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): Just to clarify, Mr. Chair, I think the motion was not to ask for witnesses if it wasn’t answered but to say that disallowance would follow.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): So we wouldn’t even talk about bringing witnesses? Are we all satisfied with that?
Counsel, is that clear?
Ms. Kirkby: Sure. We can mention disallowance or we can say if this isn’t resolved by the end of January, the committee will consider other options available to it, which potentially could include witnesses, potentially could include disallowance.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): What’s your pleasure? Do we specifically want to say what we’re doing?
Mr. de Burgh Graham: When was disallowance last used in Canada? I believe it was long before my time.
Ms. Kirkby: We didn’t actually get to the stage of disallowance, but we issued a notice of disallowance.
Mr. de Burgh Graham: If we had to carry through on the threat, I want to make sure we can actually do it.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Oh, yes, we can do it.
All those in favour of that motion?
Hon. Members: Agreed.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Motion carried unanimously.
That was an interesting discussion on joint jurisdiction that we hadn’t had in the past.
SOR/96-194 — BASE METAL COINS REGULATIONS, 1996
(For text of documents, see Appendix C, p. )
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Next is Item No. 3 on our agenda. Counsel, can we talk about base metal coins?
Ms. Kirkby: These regulations prescribe standards for the composition of the one-cent coin. This coin was eliminated in 2012. In 2016, the issue was raised as to whether the regulations should not be repealed. The Department of Finance confirmed that the regulations were obsolete and indicated that it would repeal them at the earliest opportunity. The committee reviewed this file in February 2017, and decided to ask the department about its progress with respect to the repeal of those regulations. After several letters were exchanged, the only progress pointed out by the department was that the process was “under way.”
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): I cannot understand how, in their last letter to us, they said they want to be careful with the repeal process so it does not in any way hamper coin production when the coin production has not been done since 2012. It makes no sense.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Do they want to keep their options open in case the penny is brought back?
What do you recommend, counsel? We’re spending a lot of money here.
Mr. Miller: Exactly, a lot of pennies.
Ms. Kirkby: There are a couple of options. Perhaps we could do something similar to what we proposed on the last item, which is that we expect this to be done by a certain date, failing which we will consider other options.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Drastic measures.
Mr. El-Khoury: In its letter of March 9, 2018, the department only says that the repeal process is “under way.” In its letter of December 20, the department confirmed it intended to repeal the regulations.
I think we should ask for a more detailed progress report and follow up more closely. That is what I propose.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Did you want to put that in a formal motion?
Mr. El-Khoury: Yes.
Mr. de Burgh Graham: If we threaten that if they don’t do this we’ll force them to make the penny again, maybe it will make them go faster.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): I was thinking about a penny for their thoughts.
Mr. de Burgh Graham: After being left penniless.
Mr. Miller: I was going to suggest, Mr. Chair, that we ask them for a firm date but also stress in the letter what counsel just recommended as an option. In the event that they can’t give us a suggested finish date, we give them a date. I don’t know what a fair date is.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): So that’s along the lines of Mr. El-Khoury’s motion.
Mr. El-Khoury: That’s what I’m proposing.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): All those in favour of that action as proposed by Mr. El-Khoury and Mr. Miller?
Ms. Kirkby: I didn’t hear a date.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Similar to the last item that we dealt with.
Ms. Kirkby: It was, but if we’re asking for a firm date.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): For their action.
Mr. Benzen: The Mint makes a lot of collector coins. They do the tenth anniversary or the twenty-fifth anniversary and they put the penny in those. They do retro coins. I’m wondering if that’s an issue and why they may not want to repeal this. They don’t make the coin every day and they don’t make it annually anymore, but maybe for some reason by taking that out, that might prevent them from — I know a lot of the retro coins are made from other materials. Sometimes they will make a penny out of silver or gold and change the size of it. I just wonder if there’s some complication with their collector coins. Does that fit into this at all? I don’t know.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Counsel, do you have any information in that regard?
Ms. Kirkby: My recollection of the enabling act is that they’re different sections. There’s one about collections specifically and one about circulation coins. They did indicate that the regulations no longer serve a purpose, which suggests to me they have no application for the collector coins.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): We said the end of January on the previous item that we dealt with. We’re looking for a time to put into this motion. Do we ask for action by the end of January? If it turns out that there is, as Mr. Benzen suggested, some departmental reason why they can’t act, then presumably they would tell us rather than leaving it to us to speculate.
All those in favour of that motion?
Hon. Members: Agreed.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Motion carried.
Mr. Miller: Mr. Benzen could be right, but wouldn’t common sense tell you that they would have told us that by now?
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Yes.
SOR/2007-90 — RULES AMENDING THE PATENT RULES
(For text of documents, see Appendix D, p. 43D:1.)
Ms. Becklumb: Amendments to address the ten issues raised in 2015 were to be pre-published in fall 2018. However, they still have not been published. The final amendments were to be published in mid-2019. However, it has been more than a year since the committee received an update from the department on this. The most recent information we have is from the forward regulatory plan the department publishes on its website. It is to be noted that that plan can change. It creates no obligation for the department.
If the committee agrees, counsel could send a letter to the department to ask it to confirm that everything will be included in pre-publication before the end of the year.
Mr. Sidhu: Mr. Chair, I agree with counsel’s proposal. Send them a letter and find out if they’re on schedule.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): And nothing further? We’ll find out where they are?
Mr. Miller: Remind them that the current session ends on December 21.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): All those in favour of that action, please signify by raising your hand.
Hon. Members: Agreed.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Motion is carried. We’ll find out what’s happening with the Patent Rules.
SOR/2016-82 — CRITICAL HABITAT OF THE NOOKSACK DACE (RHINICHTHYS CATARACTAE SSP.)
(For text of documents, see Appendix E, p. 43E:1.)
Ms. Kirkby: In February 2017, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans promised to address the incorrect geographic coordinates in two items in this order and an incorrect plural in a third.
On September 1, 2017, the department advised that its intent was to correct the errors identified within the current fiscal year. However, this timeline was not met. According to its most recent letter, the department is currently working on amendments to the description of the critical habitat of the Nooksack Dace, further to which the order will be repealed and replaced. This work is anticipated to be completed within the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
Counsel can follow up to see if this is still the case.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Is that course of action satisfactory for the Nooksack Dace, to find out where they are? There is another year involved here, 2018-19. If there’s consensus on that, then we’ll take that course of action, counsel.
SOR/2017-230 — ORDER AMENDING THE IMPORT CONTROL LIST
(For text of documents, see Appendix F, p. 43F:1.)
Ms. Becklumb: This order authorizes the Steel Import Monitoring Program, which has been in place since 1986, to support early identification of issues of steel dumping on the Canadian market. The program is authorized by the inclusion of steel products on the Import Control List. Under the enabling act, the Export and Import Permits Act, steel products are removed automatically from the list every three years, and the program ends unless a new order is made renewing the program by adding the steel products back on to the Import Control List.
Since 1986, the steel monitoring program has been renewed repeatedly, every two to three years.
The latest order renewing the program was made on November 2, 2017, but the program had expired two days earlier, on October 31. Accordingly, there was a one-day gap when the program was carried out without authorization.
A similar problem occurred three years earlier, in 2014 when there was a two-month gap in the program between the time that steel products were automatically removed from the Import Control List and the order was made adding them back onto the list.
The department has acknowledged that it administered the program with no authority during the gap periods, and it states that it has taken steps to ensure that regulatory authority to renew the program will be sought within the appropriate time frame in the future.
Counsel will review any further order renewing the program, potentially in November 2020, to ensure there is no gap. If the committee is satisfied with this approach, the file can be closed.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): You will continue to monitor?
Ms. Becklumb: When the next one comes out. It’s expected in November 2020.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): I think because it has happened twice, it would be wise for the committee to emphasize our expectation that this gap will not occur again and that we will also be monitoring. This is the letter from us indicating our dissatisfaction. They have actually gone outside of the law for a two-month period in 2014 and a one-day period.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): They’re getting better.
Mr. Miller: I agree with Mr. Albrecht. Once is an accident or a mistake; twice is a pattern. What makes them think that we should trust them that they’re going to do it right the next time? Just emphasize in the letter that we expect that.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): With other things happening in North America in steel and Mr. Trump’s fixation on this, I guess we should make sure this is very accurate and being followed closely. As a course of action, counsel will keep an eye on this and write this note indicating that we expect the department to be very careful the next time.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): For clarification, Mr. Chair, I would suggest that that letter be over the signature of the joint chairs.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Do we all agree with that?
Hon. Members: Agreed.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): No difficulty. We’ll take that action, then, counsel. Thank you.
SOR/86-1004 — ATLANTIC PILOTAGE AUTHORITY NON-COMPULSORY AREA REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED BY SOR/2007-60
(For text of documents, see Appendix G, p. 43G:1.)
Ms. Becklumb: Thirteen amendments to the regulations have still not been made. In September 2017, the committee established a two-year timeline for this file to be finally resolved, either by making the thirteen remaining amendments or by repealing the regulations, which are no longer necessary.
The department replied that the Atlantic Pilotage Authority would repeal the regulations. The repeal was to be pre-published before fall 2018. Nothing has yet been published, but it is the authority’s timeline that was not respected, and not the deadline the committee set last year.
Consequently, if the committee is in agreement, a letter could be drafted to ask for information concerning the status of the repeal, and we would reiterate that the deadline set by the committee for the resolution of this file is September 2019.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Are we in agreement with that course of action — September 2019?
Hon. Members: Agreed.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Thank you. There is consensus that we proceed in that regard.
SOR/2017-251 — REGULATIONS AMENDING THE CONTRAVENTIONS REGULATIONS
(For text of documents, see Appendix H, p. 43H:1.)
Ms. Kirkby: Amendments have been promised in respect of two issues raised in January in relation to this instrument. The first concerns an item that designates two separate contraventions in relation to subsection 5(1) of the Environmental Emergency Regulations. Those contraventions, each of which is subject to a $500 fine, are failure to implement an environmental emergency plan within the required time, and failure to test the plan and submit a notice within the required time.
The designated subsection of the Environmental Emergency Regulations, however, seems to contemplate only a single offence, in that there is no “required time” for implementing the plan that is distinct from the required time to test it and submit the notice.
The Department of Justice advises it will amend this item to indicate a single contravention with one fine amount. In June, the department indicated the intent was to address this issue in a Miscellaneous Amendments Regulations package this fall, and a progress report could be sought.
The second issue is more complicated. The relevant item in the Contravention Regulations designates as a contravention section 11 of the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate and its Salts and Certain Other Compounds Regulations, and describes this contravention as a failure to keep a copy of the information in a record for five years at a place in Canada where it can be inspected. Those regulations were repealed in 2016, however, and if you look at the consolidated version maintained on the Department of Justice website, there is no content to them at all, including section 11. You have to look instead at the Canada Gazette website, at the regulations that repealed those regulations in 2016.
There is a transitional provision, section 25 of SOR/2016-252, that says that:
Section 11 of the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate and its Salts and Certain Other Compounds Regulations, as it read immediately before the day on which these Regulations come into force, continues to apply until March 31, 2019 . . . .
To summarize, that particular offence will not apply after March 31, 2019, but this fact is not at all apparent just by consulting the Contraventions Regulations, which seems like it could give rise to erroneous enforcement.
The Department of Justice initially indicated that the relevant part of the Contraventions Regulations would be repealed “after” March 31, 2019, when the relevant substantive provision ceases to have effect.
Confirmation was therefore sought that the repeal would occur “on” March 31, 2019, to eliminate any possibility of confusion for a person consulting the Contraventions Regulations between that date and when the regulations are ultimately repealed.
The department’s second letter indicates it will “undertake appropriate steps” to ensure that the repeal of that part of the Contraventions Regulations occurs on March 31, “therefore preventing any confusion.”
On this second issue, I would suggest a progress report could be sought to see whether the department is on track to repeal that item on March 31.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): To see if they agree.
In relation to the first part of that item, the changes they’ve agreed to make should be in the Miscellaneous Amendments Regulations package for this fall. Would you follow up on that as well?
Ms. Kirkby: Yes. I’m suggesting a progress report on issue 1 and issue 2, as well, to make sure they’re to doing it on March 31.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Are we in agreement with that course of action? They will report back to us.
Hon. Members: Agreed.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Thank you. There’s consensus on that.
SOR/2018-48 — ORDER AMENDING THE CANADIAN BROILER HATCHING EGG MARKETING LEVIES ORDER
(For text of documents, see Appendix I, p. 43I:1.)
Ms. Becklumb: The only item raised in this file last June was the fact that in the French version of the order, the expression “la province du Québec” was used. According to the Guide fédéral de jurilinguistique législative française, the expression should be “la province de Québec.”
The Farm Products Council of Canada agrees that this change needs to be made, and has promised that it will be made in the next amendments to the order. Normally this order is amended a few times a year. Our proposal is thus that counsel simply follow the file to ensure that the change is made in the next few months.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Do we agree with that course of action, to monitor it?
Hon. Members: Agreed.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Are there any other items, counsel, to bring before the committee?
Ms. Kirkby: I do have one thing to mention. We have our meeting on November 22, but the December 6 meeting has been pushed back a week to December 13. I have copies of the schedule if anyone would like one. So December 6 has been postponed to December 13, which is when the witnesses from Global Affairs Canada will be here.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): We’ll pass a timetable around.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): Next week is the Remembrance Day recess. We’ll not be here, and then the first meeting after we get back is on November 22.
The Joint Chair (Mr. Albrecht): Correct.
The Joint Chair (Senator Day): We will see you all then. Have a great break week. Thank you.
(The committee adjourned.)