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MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
 
Meeting No. 50
 
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
 

The Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates met in a televised session at 11:09 a.m. this day, in Room 253-D Centre Block, the Chair, Leon Benoit, presiding.

 

Members of the Committee present: Leon Benoit, Ken Boshcoff, Guy Lauzon, Hon. Diane Marleau, Pat Martin, Joe Preston, Francis Scarpaleggia, Paul Szabo and Louise Thibault.

 

Acting Members present: Gary Lunn for Randy White, Pierre Poilievre for Randy White, Benoît Sauvageau for Marcel Gagnon and Lloyd St. Amand for Marc Godbout.

 

In attendance: House of Commons: Susan Baldwin, Legislative Clerk; Jean-François Lafleur, Legislative Clerk. Library of Parliament: Tara Gray, Analyst.

 

Witnesses: Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada: Ralph Heintzman, Vice-President. Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat: Jane Graham, Counsel; Michel Lefrançois, General Counsel.

 
The Committee proceeded to the consideration of matters related to Committee business.
 
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) and the motion adopted by the Committee on May 3, 2005, the Committee resumed its examination of the leasing agreement between the Federal Government and Alexis Nihon REIT.
 

On motion of Pierre Poilievre, it was agreed, — That the motion agreed to on June 21, 2005 be reported to the House.

 
Pursuant to the Order of Reference of Monday, October 18, 2004, the Committee resumed consideration of Bill C-11, An Act to establish a procedure for the disclosure of wrongdoings in the public sector, including the protection of persons who disclose the wrongdoings.
 

Clause 21, as amended, carried.

 
On Clause 21.1,
 
On motion of Louise Thibault, it was agreed, — That Bill C-11 be amended by adding after line 3 on page 10 the following new clause:

21.1 (1) A chief executive may temporarily assign other duties to a public servant who is involved in a disclosure or a complaint in respect of a reprisal if the chief executive believes on reasonable grounds that the public servant's involvement has become known in the public servant's workplace and that the temporary assignment is necessary to maintain the effective operation of the workplace.

(2) For the purposes of this section, the public servants involved in a disclosure or a complaint in respect of a reprisal are

(a) the public servant who made the disclosure and every public servant who is the subject of the disclosure;

(b) the public servant who filed the complaint and every public servant who is alleged to have taken the reprisal to which the complaint relates; and

every public servant who is a witness or potential witness in the investigation, if any, relating to the disclosure or in any proceeding dealing with the complaint.

(3) The assignment may be for a period of up to three months, but the chief executive may renew the assignment one or more times if he or she believes that the conditions giving rise to it continue to exist on the expiry of a previous period.

(4) Subject to subsection (6), the duties that may be assigned must be in the same portion of the public sector in which the public servant is employed and must be comparable to the public servant's normal duties.

(5) Subsection (1) applies to a public servant who made a disclosure under this Act, or who is a witness or potential witness in any investigation relating to the disclosure or in any proceeding dealing with a complaint in respect of a reprisal, only if the public servant consents in writing to the assignment. The assignment is deemed not to be a reprisal if the public servant's consent is given.

(6) The public servant may be temporarily assigned duties in another portion of the public sector if both the chief executive of that other portion and the public servant consent to the assignment and the duties are comparable to the public servant's normal duties. The assignment is deemed not to be a reprisal if the public servant's consent is given.”

 

Clause 21.1 carried.

 
On Clause 22,
 
On motion of Diane Marleau, it was agreed, — That Bill C-11, in Clause 22, be amended by replacing line 7 on page 10 with the following:

“considering making a disclosure under this Act;”

 
Joe Preston moved, — That Bill C-11, in Clause 22, be amended by replacing line 12 on page 10 with the following:

“made in accordance with section 13 and disclosures made by persons who are in a contractual relationship with the Government of Canada, and”

 

By unanimous consent, the amendment was withdrawn.

 
Benoît Sauvageau moved, — That Bill C-11, in Clause 22, be amended by replacing lines 29 to 31 on page 10 with the following:

“(f) establish procedures for processing disclosures and ensure the confidentiality of information collected in relation to disclosures and investigations.”

Debate arose thereon.

 

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Benoît Sauvageau and it was agreed to.

 
Joe Preston moved, — That Bill C-11, in Clause 22, be amended

(a) by replacing line 36 on page 10 with the following:

“(h) issue directives to chief execu-”

(b) by replacing line 40 on page 10 with the following:

“response to those directives.”

 

After debate, by unanimous consent, the amendment was withdrawn.

 

Clause 22, as amended, carried.

 
On Clause 23,
 
On motion of Paul Szabo, it was agreed, — That Bill C-11, in Clause 23, be amended by replacing lines 3 to 11 on page 11 with the following:

under this Act or commence an investigation under section 34 if a person or body acting under another Act of Parliament is dealing with the subject-matter of the disclosure or the investigation other than as a law enforcement authority.

(2) The President may not deal with a disclosure under this Act or commence an investigation under section 34 if the subject-matter of the disclosure or the investigation could be dealt with under the Public Service Employment Act, unless he or she is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that the subject-matter relates to

 

RULING BY THE CHAIR

The Chair ruled that the vote on G12a applied to G14a as they were consequential amendments.

 
On motion of Paul Szabo, it was agreed, — That Bill C-11, in Clause 23, be amended by adding after line 6 on page 11 the following:

“(1.1) For the purpose of subsection (1), a person or body dealing with a matter in the course of an investigation or proceeding under Part IV or V of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act is deemed not to be dealing with the matter as a law enforcement authority.”

 

Clause 23, as amended, carried.

 

On Clause 24,

Diane Marleau moved, — That Bill C-11, in Clause 24, be amended by replacing lines 14 to 34 on page 11 with the following:

“24. (1) The President of the Public Service Commission may refuse to deal with a disclosure or cease an investigation if he or she is of the opinion that

(a) the public servant has failed to exhaust other procedures otherwise reasonably available;

(b) the subject-matter of the disclosure is one that could more appropriately be dealt with, initially or completely, according to a procedure provided for under another Act of Parliament;

(c) the subject-matter of the disclosure is not sufficiently important or the disclosure is frivolous or vexatious or made in bad faith;

(d) the length of time that has elapsed between the date when the subject-matter of the disclosure arose and the date when the disclosure was made is such that dealing with the disclosure would serve no useful purpose;

(e) the disclosure relates to a matter that results from a balanced and informed decision-making process on a public policy issue; or

(f) there is a valid reason for not dealing with the disclosure.

(2) The President of the Public Service Commission must refuse to deal with a disclosure or must cease an investigation if he or she is of the opinion that the subject-matter of the disclosure relates solely to a decision that was made in the exercise of an adjudicative function under an Act of Parliament.

(3) If the President refuses to deal with a disclosure or ceases an investigation under this Act, he or she must inform the person who made the disclosure and give reasons why he or she did so.”

 

It was agreed, — That the motion be amended by deleting the article (a).

 

The question was put on the amendment of Diane Marleau, as amended, and it was agreed to.

 

On motion of Joe Preston, it was agreed, — That clause 24 (1) (c) be amended by replacing the words “frivolous or vexatious or made in bad faith” with the words “not made in good faith”.

 

Joe Preston moved, — That the amendment be amended by replacing subsection (2) and (3) with the following:

“(2) The President of the Public Service Commission must refuse to deal with a disclosure or must cease an investigation if he or she is of the opinion that the subject-matter of the disclosure relates solely to a decision that was made in the exercise of an adjudicative function under an Act of Parliament, including a decision of the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police under Part IV or V of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act.

(3) If the President refuses to deal with a disclosure or ceases an investigation under this Act, he or she must inform the person who made the disclosure and give reasons why he or she did so.” .

 

After debate, the question was put on the subamendment of Joe Preston and it was agreed to.

 

Clause 24, as amended, carried.

 

Clause 25 carried.

 
On Clause 26,
 
On motion of Diane Marleau, it was agreed, — That Bill C-11, in Clause 26, be amended by

(a) replacing line 6 on page 12 with the following:

“26. (1) The President of the Public Service”

(b) adding after line 29 on page 12 the following:

“(2) The President may not delegate the conduct of any investigation that involves or may involve information relating to international relations, national defence, national security or the detection, prevention or suppression of criminal, subversive or hostile activities, except to one of a maximum of four officers or employees of the Commission specifically designated by the President for the purpose of conducting those investigations.”

 

Clause 26, as amended, carried.

 

On Clause 27,

Guy Lauzon moved, — That Bill C-11, in Clause 27, be amended by replacing lines 32 and 33 on page 12 with the following:

“doings to the attention of ministers of the Crown, chief executives, the public and, where appropriate, law enforcement authorities, and making recommendations to ministers and chief executives concerning corrective”

 

By unanimous consent, the amendment was withdrawn.

 
Guy Lauzon moved, — That Bill C-11, in Clause 27, be amended by replacing lines 35 and 36 on page 12 with the following:

“(2) Investigations are to be conducted in such a manner as to minimize disruption in the workplace and ensure the earliest possible resolution of the matter being investigated.”

 

By unanimous consent, the amendment was withdrawn.

 

Clause 27 carried.

 

On Clause 28,

Joe Preston moved, — That Bill C-11, in Clause 28, be amended by deleting lines 1 to 6 on page 13.

 

The question was put on the amendment of Joe Preston and it was negatived, by a show of hands: YEAS: 2; NAYS: 8.

 
Joe Preston moved, — That Bill C-11, in Clause 28, be amended by replacing lines 15 and 16 on page 13 with the following:

“hold any hearing unless requested to do so by the person making a disclosure or any person alleged to have committed a wrongdoing. However, if at any”

 

After debate, by unanimous consent, the amendment was withdrawn.

 

Clause 28 carried.

 

Clause 29 carried.

 

Clause 30 carried.

 
On Clause 31,
 
On motion of Diane Marleau, it was agreed, — That Bill C-11, in Clause 31, be amended by replacing lines 21 to 26 on page 14 with the following:

“(2) Nothing in this Act is to be construed as limiting the application of the Canada Evidence Act to investigations conducted by the President of the Public Service Commission under this Act.”

 

Clause 31, as amended, carried.

 

Clause 32 carried.

 

Clause 33 carried.

 
On Clause 34,
 
On motion of Paul Szabo, it was agreed, — That Bill C-11, in Clause 34, be amended by replacing lines 1 to 9 on page 15 with the following:

34. (1) If, during the course of an investigation or as a result of any information provided to the President of the Public Service Commission by a person who is not a public servant, the President has reason to believe that another wrongdoing, or a wrongdoing, as the case may be, has been committed, he or she may, subject to sections 23 and 24, commence an investigation into the wrongdoing if he or she believes on reasonable grounds that the public interest requires an investigation. The provisions of this Act applicable to investigations commenced as the result of a disclosure apply to investigations commenced under this section.

(2) The President may not, in the course of an investigation commenced under subsection (1), use a confidence of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada in respect of which subsection 39(1) of the Canada Evidence Act applies, or information that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, if the confidence or information is disclosed to the President.

 

Clause 34, as amended, carried.

 

On Clause 35,

Benoît Sauvageau moved, — That Bill C-11, in Clause 35, be amended by replacing lines 14 to 17 on page 15 with the following:

“or she shall cooperate with the person who has possession of the information in order to obtain the information and continue the investigation.”

 

The question was put on the amendment of Benoît Sauvageau and it was negatived, by a show of hands: YEAS: 4; NAYS: 6.

 

Clause 35 carried.

 

At 1:00 p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.

 



Miriam Burke
Clerk of the Committee

 
 
2005-10-20 3:12 p.m.