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Minutes of Proceedings

42nd Parliament, 1st Session
Meeting No. 58
Thursday, May 4, 2017, 8:45 a.m. to 9:54 a.m.
Presiding
Dan Ruimy, Chair (Liberal)

House of Commons
• Philippe Méla, Legislative Clerk
 
Library of Parliament
• André Léonard, Analyst
• Francis Lord, Analyst
Department of Industry
• Larry Shute, Deputy Director General, Economic Research and Policy Analysis Branch, Strategic Policy Sector
Pursuant to the Order of Reference of Tuesday, February 7, 2017, the Committee resumed consideration of Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Statistics Act.

The Chair called Clause 1.

Larry Shute made a statement and answered questions.

The Committee commenced its clause-by-clause study of the Bill.

Clause 1 carried on division.

On Clause 2,

Pursuant to the order adopted by the Committee on Tuesday, May 3, 2016, the following amendment, submitted by Elizabeth May for the consideration of the Committee, was deemed moved:

That Bill C-36, in Clause 2, be amended by adding after line 13 on page 1 the following:

“(1.1) The Minister shall establish an advisory appointment panel to recommend one candidate and two alternate candidates for consideration by the Governor in Council when making an appointment under subsection (1).

(1.2) The advisory appointment panel shall be composed of three persons, each of whom has the appropriate knowledge about the position of the Chief Statistician to conduct the recruitment of potential candidates for that position.

(1.3) No member of the advisory appointment panel is entitled to receive remuneration for the performance of their duties or reimbursement for any expenses incurred in the course of performing those duties.”

After debate, the question was put on the amendment and it was negatived, by a show of hands: YEAS: 0; NAYS: 6.

Brian Masse moved, — That Bill C-36, in Clause 2, be amended by adding after line 4 on page 2 the following:

“(4.1) The Minister shall establish a search committee to prepare a list of no more than five qualified candidates for consideration by the Governor in Council when making an appointment under subsection (1).

(4.2) The search committee shall be composed of between 8 and 12 persons, each of whom are knowledgeable about the duties of the Chief Statistician and the mandate of Statistics Canada, and may include the following:

(a) any former Clerk of the Privy Council;

(b) any former Governor of the Bank of Canada;

(c) any former Chief Statistician; and

(d) the President of the Statistical Society of Canada.

(4.3) No member of the search committee shall receive remuneration for the performance of their duties or be reimbursed for any expenses incurred in the course of performing those duties.”

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Brian Masse and it was negatived, by a show of hands: YEAS: 2; NAYS: 5.

Brian Masse moved, — That Bill C-36, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing line 30 on page 2 to line 12 on page 3 with the following:

“4.1 The Chief Statistician shall determine the methods, procedures and operations that are implemented by Statistics Canada in carrying out its mandate.

4.2 The Minister may provide written recommendations for the consideration of the Chief Statistician on the statistical programs that aim to collect, compile, analyse, abstract and publish statistics on all or any of the matters referred to in section 22.”

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Brian Masse and it was negatived, by a show of hands: YEAS: 2; NAYS: 5.

Clause 2 carried on division.

On Clause 3,

Brian Masse moved, — That Bill C-36, in Clause 3, be amended by replacing lines 18 to 21 on page 3 with the following:

“Statistics Canada the statistics and information that he or she considers useful and in the public interest relating to the commercial, industrial, financial, social, economic and other activities that he or she may deter-”

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Brian Masse and it was negatived, by a show of hands: YEAS: 2; NAYS: 5.

Clause 3 carried on division.

Clause 4 carried on division.

On Clause 5,

Pursuant to the order adopted by the Committee on Tuesday, May 3, 2016, the following amendment, submitted by Elizabeth May for the consideration of the Committee, was deemed moved:

That Bill C-36, in Clause 5, be amended by adding after line 36 on page 4 the following:

“(1.1) The census of population and census of agriculture are mandatory even if not all the questions are addressed to all respondents and regardless of to the method used to obtain the information.”

After debate, the question was put on the amendment and it was negatived, by a show of hands: YEAS: 1; NAYS: 5.

Alexander Nuttall moved, — That Bill C-36, in Clause 5, be amended by replacing line 19 on page 5 with the following:

“Statistician, not more than 20 other members appointed”

Debate arose thereon.

The Chair ruled the proposed amendment inadmissible because it infringed on the financial initiative of the Crown, as provided on pages 767-768 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition.

Brian Masse moved, — That Bill C-36, in Clause 5, be amended by replacing line 19 on page 5 with the following:

“Statistician, at least 19 other members who represent a broad range of disciplines, skill sets and regions of Canada and who are appointed”

The Chair ruled the proposed amendment inadmissible because it infringed on the financial initiative of the Crown, as provided on pages 767-768 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition.

Pursuant to the order adopted by the Committee on Tuesday, May 3, 2016, the following amendment, submitted by Elizabeth May for the consideration of the Committee, was deemed moved:

That Bill C-36, in Clause 5, be amended

(a) by replacing line 19 on page 5 with the following:

“Statistician, not more than 20 other members appointed”

(b) by replacing line 30 on page 5 to line 1 on page 6 with the following:

“(6) No member appointed under subsection (2) is entitled to be paid any remuneration or any travel or living expenses that are incurred while absent from”

After debate, the question was put on the amendment and it was negatived, by a show of hands: YEAS: 1; NAYS: 5.

Clause 5 carried on division.

Clause 6 carried on division.

Clause 7 carried on division.

Clause 8 carried on division.

Clause 9 carried on division.

On Clause 10,

Alexander Nuttall moved, — That Bill C-36, in Clause 10, be amended by replacing line 7 on page 8 with the following:

“taken, but only if the person to whom the information relates consents, at the time of the census, to the release of the information ninety-two years later.”

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Alexander Nuttall and it was negatived, by a show of hands: YEAS: 1; NAYS: 5.

Clause 10 carried on division.

On new Clause 10.1,

Brian Masse moved, — That Bill C-36 be amended by adding after line 15 on page 8 the following new clause:

“10.1 (1) Subsection 21(1) of the Act is replaced by the following:

21 (1) The Chief Statistician shall, by order, determine the questions to be asked in any census taken by Statistics Canada under section 19 or 20.

(2) Subsection 21(2) of the French version of the Act is replaced by the following:

(2) Chaque arrêté pris en vertu du paragraphe (1) est publié dans la Gazette du Canada au plus tard trente jours après qu’il a été pris.”

Debate arose thereon.

The Chair ruled the proposed amendment inadmissible because it sought to amend sections of the parent Act not amended by the Bill, as provided on page 767 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition.

Clause 11 carried on division.

Clause 12 carried on division.

Clause 13 carried on division.

Clause 14 carried on division.

Clause 15 carried on division.

Clause 16 carried on division.

Clause 17 carried on division.

Clause 18 carried on division.

On new Preamble,

Brian Masse moved, — That Bill C-36, in Clause 1, be amended by replacing line 4 on page 1 with the following:

“1. The Statistics Act is amended by adding the following before the enacting clause:

Whereas resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Economic and Social Council have highlighted the fundamental importance of official statistics for the national and global development agenda;

Whereas the Government of Canada is mindful of the critical role of high-quality official statistical information in analysis and informed policy decision-making in support of sustainable development, peace and security, created from reliable data regarding the range of social and economic factors that citizens require to understand Canadian society in an increasingly connected world that demands openness and transparency;

Whereas the Government of Canada understands that the essential trust of the public in the integrity of official statistical systems and the public's confidence in statistics depend to a large extent on respect for the fundamental values and principles that are the basis of any society seeking to understand itself and to respect the rights of its members and, in this context, that the professional independence and accountability of statistical agencies are crucial;

Whereas the Government of Canada seeks to emphasize that, in order to be effective, the fundamental values and principles that govern statistical work have to be guaranteed by legal and institutional frameworks and respected at all political levels and by all stakeholders in Canada’s national statistical systems;

Whereas the Government of Canada endorses the fundamental principles of official statistics set out below, which are largely consistent with the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission in 1994 and reaffirmed in 2013, and endorsed by resolution of the General Assembly in 2014;

Whereas the first of the endorsed fundamental principles is that official statistics provide an indispensable element in the information system of a democratic society, serving the government, the economy and the public with data about the economic, demographic, social and environmental situation, and that, to this end, official statistics that meet the test of practical utility are to be compiled and made available on an impartial basis by official statistical agencies to honour Canadians’ entitlement to public information;

Whereas the second of the endorsed fundamental principles is that, in order to retain trust in official statistics, Statistics Canada needs to decide according to strictly professional considerations, including scientific principles and professional ethics, on the methods and procedures for the collection, processing, storage and presentation of statistical data;

Whereas the third of the endorsed fundamental principles is that, in order to facilitate a correct interpretation of the data, Statistics Canada must present information according to scientific standards on the sources, methods and procedures of the statistics;

Whereas the fourth of the endorsed fundamental principles is that Statistics Canada is entitled to comment on erroneous interpretation and misuse of statistics;

Whereas the fifth of the endorsed fundamental principles is that data for statistical purposes may be drawn from all types of sources, including statistical surveys or administrative records, and that Statistics Canada must choose the source with regard to quality, timeliness, costs and the burden on respondents;

Whereas the sixth of the endorsed fundamental principles is that individual data collected by Statistics Canada for statistical compilation, whether they refer to natural or legal persons, must be strictly confidential and used exclusively for statistical purposes;

Whereas the seventh of the endorsed fundamental principles is that the laws, regulations and measures under which the statistical system operates must be made public;

Whereas the eighth of the endorsed fundamental principles is that Statistics Canada should coordinate with statistical agencies from other countries, recognizing that this coordination is essential to achieve consistency and efficiency among statistical systems;

Whereas the ninth of the endorsed fundamental principles is that the use by Statistics Canada of international concepts, classifications and methods promotes the consistency and efficiency of statistical systems at all official levels;

And whereas the tenth of the endorsed fundamental principles is that bilateral and multilateral cooperation in statistics contributes to the improvement of systems of official statistics in all countries;

1.1 Section 2 of the Act is amended by”

The Chair ruled the proposed amendment inadmissible because it proposed to add a preamble to the Bill, as provided on page 770 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition.

The Title carried by a show of hands: YEAS: 5; NAYS: 2.

The Bill carried on division.

ORDERED, — That the Chair report the Bill to the House.

The Committee proceeded to the consideration of matters related to Committee business.

Motion

Brian Masse moved, — That the Committee not suspend any meeting time for an informal meeting; and that the Committee find scheduled time or additional time outside of its regular time for an informal meeting.

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

It was agreed, — That, notwithstanding the motion adopted by the Committee on Thursday, April 13, 2017, the meeting of Tuesday, May 9, 2017, be dedicated to the study of the manufacturing sector.

At 9:54 a.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.



Danielle Widmer
Clerk of the Committee