Interventions in Board of Internal Economy
 
 
 
RSS feed based on search criteria Export search results - CSV (plain text) Export search results - XML
Add search criteria
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
We are going on to the next item, the regulations respecting the non-attendance of members of Parliament by reasons of maternity or care of a newborn or newly adopted child.
We have some presenters here, and I will give the floor to you, Monsieur Dufresne.
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:33
Thank you very much, Ms. Bergen and members of the Board of Internal Economy.
We are here at the board's request to talk to you about potential regulations that would enable us to justify the non-attendance of members by reason of maternity or care for a newborn or a newly adopted child.
Under the Parliament of Canada Act, a deduction is made to the members' sessional allowance for days of absence in excess of 21 days if the member is absent for no acceptable reason. The acceptable reasons set out in the act currently are illness, being on official or public business, or absence due to service in the armed forces.
In amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act, a new section 59.1 was added to provide the House with the authority to make regulations for the non-attendance of members by reasons of maternity or care for a newborn or newly adopted child. This provision was preceded by studies from the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, where a recommendation was made to consider the family and parental obligations of members so that they would not be penalized for such reasons.
At the same time, questions were raised about the situation of members with respect to ordinary employees.
We have considered what is being done in other legislative assemblies.
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:35
The situation of members is different from that of employees, as members hold public office they are always responsible for, even if they have children. What must be determined is whether non-attendance of members in the House to care for their children or by reason of maternity should be treated more seriously than other types of non-attendance covered in the legislation, such as for reasons of illness, public duties or service in the armed forces.
We've looked at other assemblies. Most of the legislative assemblies do not financially penalize members who are absent from the sittings for such reasons. Some will include periods and some will not. Indeed, some assemblies have looked at issues such as proxy voting in some such situations.
We have brought a proposal for the board's consideration that could consider as valid reasons for the absence from the chamber the period before the due date, given that the act talks about maternity for a pregnant member. That could be a period of four weeks or it could be a different period. In terms of care for a newborn child or care for a newly adopted child, consideration could be given to a period of 12 months or another period.
In any case, these would be decisions for the House to make. Options for this board could be to refer the matter to the procedure and House affairs committee or to have agreement that a member would put forward a motion proposing the regulations.
With that, I would open it to questions.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you for those comments, Mr. Dufresne.
I think that we are certainly supportive of making the regulations, such that pregnant or new parents are....
Just to be clear, we're talking about mothers here—primarily pregnant women, in this case. We're not talking about parental leave. This is more of a maternity situation, as I understand it. I just want some clarification on that.
Could you address that right off the top? Does this also apply if a father wants to take some time for paternity leave or is this just for mothers?
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:38
Mr. Strahl, if we are talking about the four weeks before the due date, that would be only for the mother. The 12 months after the birth or after the date of adoption could be for any parent.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Okay. You've done some analysis here. With the employment insurance maternity and parental benefits, there are a maximum number of weeks that an individual is covered. We're looking at 13 months, with what you've put on the table. Unless there's a medical component to someone's maternity leave, I don't believe they would get the same number of weeks.
Did you do that analysis? Can you speak to that?
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:38
They would not. In terms of employment insurance, the supplementary report that was made in the procedure and House affairs mentioned 55% of income protection for such employees. There are some other employees with different regimes where it's a higher percentage.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Obviously, in this case we're talking about retaining 100% of pay and benefits, which is perhaps different from what our constituents would receive in most jobs.
For one of our constituents who works at a restaurant and pays into EI and goes on maternity and parental, I believe the maximum is 50 weeks, with a two-week.... I just want that knowledge for us. What number of weeks are we proposing here in addition to what someone would get if EI were the only support available to them?
Robyn Daigle
View Robyn Daigle Profile
Robyn Daigle
2019-05-30 11:40
I'll take that question. Thank you.
In terms of EI as the comparator, currently what's available to them through EI would be up to 12 months at 55%, or up to 18 months at 33%. I think one of the nuances we want to make here is that in the cases of EI, those employees are actually leaving the workforce. They're not employed during that period—they have no function—whereas here we're simply talking about reasonable reasons for non-attendance in the sitting. There are still functions that are very much current for the MPs at that time.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Right.
What is the vision for how this would be recorded? Would it simply be recorded on the attendance form that we currently use, or is that a decision that has to be made? Right now, there's travelling, official business, illness, etc. Will there simply be another box there that will say “pregnancy” or “parental leave”? What's the mechanism for reporting?
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:41
Assuming that the House were to agree to adopt this regulation, the mechanism would be put in place and it would be recorded to say, “this is the reason for the absence”. In addition to having all of this, like service in the armed forces and public business, those absences would be justified, as it were—
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
—captured on that current reporting mechanism.
Okay. Thank you.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
I just have two general questions.
You said you have looked at what is being done elsewhere in other parliaments.
Can you tell me which ones? I assume they are mostly parliaments of industrialized countries?
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:41
We have looked at legislative assemblies in Canada—those of the provinces and territories—as well those in Great Britain and Australia. A number of those assemblies had no deductions. For instance, in Quebec, there are no deductions in terms of income, but there is an issue concerning the ethics code—in other words, members have an obligation to attend the National Assembly. If a member is not at the National Assembly, they must provide a justification. Many assemblies operate like that.
Some assemblies say they want to do it, with the permission of their speaker, or allow it for personal or exceptional situations. We were wondering whether pregnancies were among those situations.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
Have you seen any cases where non-attendance is allowed for paternity, for a period of time?
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:42
Yes. There are examples where there was—
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:42
It varies. In some cases, it was one year. In other cases, there was a recommendation of four months. Sometimes, there was no deduction.
I would say that there is definitely a general trend where members continue to be paid for the entire year. However, in some cases, certain legislative assemblies may reduce their salary because they are not in attendance. That situation is different for employees who go on parental leave because those employees will be away from their duties. They will often be replaced, which is not the case for members.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
That could be the case.
I want to bring up a very rare hypothetical case. What would happen if a member became a parent one month before the end of their term?
That individual would not run in the election and would not return afterwards.
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:43
Our proposal for consideration includes regulations stipulating that non-attendance in the House for those reasons will not count toward deductions from sessional allowance.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
Let's say we are talking about four months. That individual becomes a father or a mother one month before the end of the electoral term. They would not return afterwards.
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:44
After the electoral term, there would be no more sitting days in the House.
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:44
Yes. It would become obsolete or hypothetical.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thanks, Madam Chair.
I want to underscore the work of Nycole Turmel, a former whip of the NDP, and Christine Moore, the member of Parliament for Abitibi—Témiscamingue. They have really been leaders—I think pioneers—in pushing for an end to what is a pretty strange situation in which members of Parliament are penalized for caring for their children. That is our current policy, and that's what I think we need to keep in perspective. We're currently penalizing parents for doing their work.
It seems to me that this is a very reasonable approach. What it allows parents to do is to take their time with their children, but the reality is—as you've spelled out very well, Ms. Daigle and Mr. Dufresne—that voters in any event are still going to require members of Parliament in their riding. What this does is ensure that there's not a financial penalty on top of that. There are still obligations that come. I have many friends in this Parliament who have gone through being new parents. They still have obligations. They still have to attend to things in the riding—there's no doubt. But what this does is end the penalty that members are currently subjected to when they do that. I think, for those reasons, this is a very responsible and appropriate approach.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2019-05-30 11:46
I do think that the situation that was identified was very unusual, in that the job continues whether or not you're a parent. There's an expectation that you will continue to represent the riding. There are not really a lot of analogous situations where somebody has a child and is on maternity leave, but then is still expected to work. There isn't an apples to apples type of comparison that can be made here.
In a general sense, I think that the comments that we shouldn't have anything that would be seen to be greater than what would be available to our constituents are ones that I'm moved by. I don't know what exactly that number is. I'm open to proposals. I think Madam Chagger perhaps has an idea.
I think that we have to be careful about expectations. You can imagine that a minority government may only sit 18 months, and if you say that somebody has 13 months during which they can be absent from the chamber, that could be quite challenging in establishing an expectation. The numbers as they are, I think, are a little generous. I think we have to come up with something perhaps a little different than what's on the table.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
I don't know if it's in the note here, but if a new parent—a member of Parliament—decided to take the full 12 months and didn't tick any of the boxes, but simply filled out that they weren't here and they weren't pretending to be ill but just looking after their child, what is the financial penalty? It's $120 after a certain number of days away, but say they did not come to Ottawa for that entire 12-month period. Of course, we don't sit every week. What is estimated reduction in pay they would incur as a result of doing that on their own and accurately reporting their attendance?
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:48
If there were one year of unjustifiable absences in a given year and there had been 21 days in the previous year, the penalty would be about 8% of the member's salary. The member would still have 92% of their salary in that scenario.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
That number is exactly what people who work for members of Parliament receive in compensation. My understanding is that if a staff member of a member of Parliament goes on maternity leave, they're topped up above the EI to 92%. Currently, a member who reports accurately receives the exact same benefit as the person who works for them. That's very interesting to me.
I understand what we're trying to do here, but I think we should have those numbers on the table. Even at that, the member is receiving 38% more in benefit than their constituents and exactly the same benefit as their employees, or those people who work for the public service. I throw that out there. It's a very interesting statistic and I think we need to bear in mind what we're proposing here.
We are already thought to be very well-compensated, with very generous benefits, and this is another step in that direction. I think we just have to be careful that we don't do anything that unintentionally puts our members in a bad light. I'll leave it at that.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you for the comments and the work you've done in making your proposal.
I do know that in Ontario, the average working person who is paying into EI would receive their EI benefit at 55% or 60%—whatever it is. I know that we've now extended benefits so that the secondary parent, or however you want to refer to them, can also take up to six months.
I do believe that if we want to adhere to the logic—which I think is well received—that members of Parliament not be better off than our constituents, perhaps offering a time that is proportionate to that benefit would be suitable.
I know Minister Gould has written a letter with a recommendation of four months. I'd even be comfortable with five months, or five and a half months, less than six months, just on the point that Mr. Holland has made as well.
I would like to throw some numbers out, because I think it would be important for us to offer a recommendation in response to what PROC has asked for. I think that would allow us to take a step in the right direction. Currently, there are no benefits when it comes to paternity leave, which is not okay if we're really trying to change the dynamics of the House of Commons and so forth.
I really do like Mr. Strahl's idea of having a box added, regardless. I think that if it's additional time, they should be able to say that it's paternity leave. If somebody is needing to take a day off because of a sick child, they should be able to say that, because you're not ill when you're taking care of your children.
It is really important, and we do need to shed some positive light in that world. So, I will throw out a number that's closer to Minister Gould's recommendation. I would be more comfortable with a period of between four and five and half months, but less than six months.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2019-05-30 11:52
I completely concur with that timeline. I'd just make the observation that—because I also agree with Mr. Strahl—on the surface of it, you could leave the policy as was and it would seem as though the policy would be equal to what employees have today. In other words, the penalty is not all that large—8% is not that significant.
The real issue is what we're broadcasting as acceptable. When you're charged, it isn't necessarily about the fact that you are having a reduction; it's kind of broadcasting that you're doing something wrong—that you're not attending the House and, therefore, you're being penalized.
Conversely, if we say that you can have a year, then people are going to think that it is—excuse me, it's not a year; we're talking about 13 months.... People are going to come into the job, become pregnant and then say now they can disappear for 13 months—if we put the policy in—and I don't think that's appropriate, given the nature of the work and the demands of the House, particularly if there's a minority government time frame.
I think having that period of four to six months—which is recommended as a minimum by international labour standards—is appropriate. It broadcasts that we do want to encourage members to be able to have children and families while they conduct this work. But it gives some parameters around what those expectations are, so that if somebody decides to take on this employment, then they will know what they're facing and what those expectations would be.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you.
I'd like to weigh into the discussion. I may actually be on a completely different side from all of my colleagues in a few of the areas.
I think it's important that we recognize that this is not at all like a maternity benefit, and that we not try to compare it to such. We could very well have female members of Parliament who have a baby and literally a week later have events in their riding they feel they must attend, since not doing so could affect their chances of being re-elected. They don't have the opportunity to take a year off and just enjoy their child with no pressure: they know they'll either get their 66% or, in the case of a federal employee, a topped-up amount. These members of Parliament have to be working in their ridings. If they don't, they will be penalized and not be rehired for their jobs. I personally don't think we should be trying to compare the two.
That said, I don't think that members of Parliament should then get less time when they are having that time with their child. I like the 12-month approach, because I think that members of Parliament should not be penalized because they're members of Parliament, and they will already have to be working in their constituencies. We're just talking about the work they're doing away from their families and their newborns.
I would also suggest that fathers play a vital role. I think that male MPs whose wives are ready to have babies need those four weeks. Maybe they need those four weeks before that child is born; maybe they need to be at home. Maybe that baby's going to be born early. They don't know when that baby's going to be born. I think we should give some consideration to new dads who may need a bit of time before the child is born.
I think that maybe we should look at sending this to PROC, because there are a lot of questions that need to be discussed and that more fulsome conversations need to be had.
Mr. Holland, you brought up a good topic, which is minority Parliaments. If we're in a minority Parliament.... We haven't even discussed this scenario. Maybe this is not part of the conversation, but I'm going to throw it out there. Imagine that we're in a minority Parliament and one of the parties, either the opposition or the government, happens to have more females are getting ready to deliver babies during that particular time. What if the scenario is that one of the parties now has four or five women who are on their maternity time and not able to be in the House? Are we actually going to ask that there be a pairing? Is that something we'd just leave up to the whips and to the goodwill of each of the parties?
You know, in politics, we could actually be talking about a government being defeated. I think there should be some discussion on that if we want to encourage not only females but also young people who might be at that age when they are having families.
I think we're having a very good discussion. I like the idea of the box. What we're doing is giving members of Parliament a legitimate reason to be at home. You don't have to just say, “Oh, I'm just at home doing constituency work”, or, “I'm not feeling well”, when in fact you're not sick, but looking after your newborn child. I really think it's important that we give it that validity, value, and credibility that it should have.
I think there are a lot of questions. I'm suggesting that we take the matter to PROC.
Mr. Holland, you have something more to add, and then it will be Mr. Julian.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2019-05-30 11:57
I think you raise an excellent point with respect to the position that a party could be in, and not only in a minority situation. You could have a very thin majority situation where the numbers would be impacted by members' having families. Therefore, as much as we have a policy in place, the policy effectively becomes irrelevant because the party's going to exert enormous pressure on those individuals to come back and be present for votes that might precipitate an election.
I don't know, and maybe it's a question I could ask, because I don't think we can force pairing. You could have a sort of gentleman's agreement or an agreement in principle, but I don't believe there's any way to compel parties to observe that. For example, I think it would be entirely appropriate to have mandatory pairing, but I don't think there's any way of enforcing that. Am I correct in that?
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:59
Currently, there isn't. I want to point out that in the United Kingdom they did adopt a temporary standing order that allowed for proxy voting in situations in which members have parental obligations, which allows them to identify a substitute for the vote. It's a detailed standing order, and they've done that on a temporary basis.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2019-05-30 11:59
The point that would make, first of all, is there's an expectation at PROC that we're going to give them some sort of direction. I think that's important.
I'm very sensitive, Ms. Bergen, to the points you're raising. I think that the issue of pairing, of being able to assure that you're not creating a precarious situation in the chamber as a result of these policies, has to be considered. In its absence, it would frankly render this policy irrelevant, because it doesn't matter whether or not we say that somebody can be on maternity leave if there is a circumstance where their vote is demanded or there's going to be an election. We know what's going to happen.
I don't think that any policy we recommend....There has to be something, and if we can make it in such a way that we can be assured that it would be enforced, I think we should look at it.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
I think you pointed out, Madam Chair, that what we're actually talking about is two workplaces. There are two workplaces that every member of Parliament has. One is here, and currently, if you come here to Ottawa or if you miss that session, you're penalized by not being present in the House of Commons, but in no way does that have an impact on the constituency work that members of Parliament continue to do.
There's no mythical MP who doesn't do work in the constituency, because somebody who doesn't do work in their constituency doesn't get re-elected. Members of Parliament are still working during this period. These parental obligations have to be balanced with that constituency work. All that's being suggested by this policy is that we stop penalizing them in the second workplace. The first workplace continues.
With those considerations, I find this a very reasonable policy, and if we provided PROC with direction, then we could seek to get things implemented if we continue to talk about what this should actually mean and we compared it with other workplaces. I believe very strongly that we need to be raising parental leave provisions. I'm certainly sympathetic to raising those provisions in this country, but in the two workplaces right now, the first workplace continues and in the second workplace, hopefully, we would end the penalties.
I think that's a very reasonable proposal. For all the members of Parliament from all parties whom I have seen working and going through the birth of a new child, they're all still working. Some of them hope not to have to come to Ottawa for a certain period of time, but currently they're being penalized if they do that. I think it's reasonable for us to adopt this policy and provide that direction to PROC so we can move on.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
Just to confirm, Mr. Julian, you're stating that you're comfortable with this recommendation in its entirety.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
I think that's great as well, then.
I just want to say that I do think this work has been done. PROC has studied this matter. They've asked this table, this board, for a recommendation. I think a unanimous recommendation should be offered to members of PROC. Then they would be able to table their report and it could be concurred in with all-party support and we would have movement.
I think we're recognizing that this is definitely a conversation that has many different layers, and those conversations have to start somewhere. This is a step that I think needs to be taken. I think it speaks volumes. Those other conversations can definitely take place. I would totally support Mr. Julian's comments in saying that this should be the recommendation that we offer to PROC.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Could you enlighten us on whether there is a limit for illness, for instance? Essentially, we had members in the last Parliament who were elected and who found they had very serious diseases. Unfortunately, in those cases, they've since passed away, but sometimes a battle with cancer or something like that could go on for years, right? We've had those tragic cases here.
I think what Ms. Bergen has reminded us of is that this is simply a way to justify your absence; it's not leave. Leave for someone in the private sector is just that; you see it all the time with maternity leave placements and things like that. They go away. They pack up their desk and they're gone for 12 months if they choose to do that. This is different, and obviously our constituents will be the judges, as they always are, of whether or not we have been away from this place too much. That's a reality. They don't care what box we tick. They might say, well, you missed too many important discussions, you missed too many.... We all make those choices when we travel each week, quite frankly.
To let you answer my question, could you be on any of those three things—I always forget the middle one—the public or official business, the illness and...?
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 12:05
Service in the armed forces.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Could you essentially be deployed for four years, be ill for four years or be on official business for four years and not have a single dollar deducted from your paycheque?
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 12:05
The short answer is yes. There's no time limit, and we are talking about valid justifications for absences from the chamber. In presenting this, it's not so much about leave but justification for an absence. There are no time limits provided for the categories of illness, public business and service in the armed forces.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
I'd suggest that's already more generous than any private sector arrangement.
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 12:06
Again, it's difficult to compare, because it's a different—
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
It is, so perhaps I started a bad trend there. I'm comfortable with this, but in terms of what we need, even though we have given our stamp of approval of it, I think PROC should be the body that sets regulation and deals with standing orders, regulation and legislation regarding the Parliament of Canada. I would be happy to concur with Ms. Chagger and Mr. Julian's comments.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2019-05-30 12:06
Yes, I concur with that. I'm comfortable moving forward on that basis.
I don't want to slow this down because I understand the need to make a recommendation to PROC and that it can make a decision quickly, and that we have a limited amount of time in our calendar. Perhaps in the future, however, I'd like to be able to address the issue of pairing and gaining assurance that there's actually a means to protect that leave. That also is in a situation of serious illness, right? We've seen this before when somebody is in very poor condition and they're being brought back into the chamber to vote because otherwise it would precipitate an election. To me that seems to me an unfair circumstance, and it's certainly unfair that somebody would be pulled. It makes sense that they're going to be doing work in their riding and are continuing to be in the riding, but to be pulled back in that period, I think, is problematic. I think if we could have that looked at and perhaps have something come back to us, then we could make a recommendation to PROC—
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2019-05-30 12:07
Okay. My problem is that I don't know what that mechanism is. I don't necessarily want to slow this process down, but I would be interested in understanding what tools would be at our disposal to be able to effect that—so that people who are on a serious medical leave are not in a situation where they're being dragged out of a hospital bed and into the chamber. If we could have something that assured that pairing were present.... I think it's a good time to have that conversation, frankly, because we're not in a heightened situation at the immediate moment with a minority government where there could be a very tight vote.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
I would think that that would be more appropriate for PROC to consider in a more comprehensive review of the Standing Orders. I know there have been members of our caucus who have believed that the whip should not have a role in pairing, for instance. That matter has been brought forward—that two members should be able to make that arrangement. I think we could, in looking at exactly what that meant.... I'm uncomfortable with any suggestion that we would start to erode the value or the importance of a member being present to vote in the House. I think you'd open Pandora's box there: “Well, if it's okay because I'm on maternity leave, then it's okay because I'm ill, and then it's okay because I need to be at home because I have a family emergency.” You would open it up to interpretation: “Why is your emergency or situation more valid than mine for having an automatic paired vote or an automatic proxy vote?" I think, if we're going to entertain it at all, it's a very, very serious discussion that members need a lot more time to consider than the 17 sitting days we have left in this Parliament.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
All right.
I would add that I do agree with Mr. Strahl. I know I'm the one who brought the issue forward, but I think we should keep it separate from this particular issue.
I do think, though, that PROC should be looking at this. I would still like them to look at the issue I brought forward with respect to MPs who are fathers possibly being able to access that four weeks before the due date.
I think there is consensus, then, that we refer this to PROC and let them look at it in greater detail.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
To clarify, Madam Chair, so we are supportive of the policy as written and referring it back to PROC?
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Yes, we're supportive of the report and the proposal, and we'd like to send it to PROC. Is that correct?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: All right, good. Thank you.
We're going to suspend. We'll be going in camera.
[Proceedings continue in camera]
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Chair, I want to raise the issue of maternity and paternity leave for MPs. On March 1, I wrote to you in your capacity as chair of the board and asked that BOIE be seized with this issue. Members of PROC had released a report in November 2017 entitled “Support for Members of Parliament with Young Children”. The committee recommended that changes be made to the Parliament of Canada Act to add that pregnancy and paternal leave be reckoned as a day of attendance of the member.
We took action with Bill C-74 and the budget implementation act. The PROC report was basically asking for guidance from the House of Commons administration for the purpose of implementing new rules, terms and conditions and/or modifying the current rules, terms and conditions that apply to members who are pregnant or on parental leave.
I'd also like to acknowledge that there was a supplementary report from the official opposition to the PROC report, which recommended that politicians not be put in a better position than their constituents. I think it would be appropriate for the House administration, when developing options, to factor in both the report and the supplementary report.
I'm hoping that the board will agree to ask the House administration to prepare some options that could be considered by both the board, as stewards of the House of Commons, and the committee on options for members who are pregnant or on parental leave.
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-02 11:37
Thank you, Mr. Speaker and Ms. Chagger.
Indeed, as you point out, section 59.1 of the Parliament of Canada Act gives both Houses the authority to:
make regulations, by rule or by order, respecting the provisions of this Act—or of regulations made under section 59—that relate to the attendance of members, or to the deductions to be made from sessional allowances, in respect of its own members who are unable to attend a sitting of that House by reason of
(a) being pregnant; or
(b) caring for a new-born or newly-adopted child of the member or for a child placed with the member for the purpose of adoption.
So that power rests with the House. A way to bring this to the House would be a report from PROC with recommendations in terms of such regulations.
The House administration is reviewing this issue. We will be prepared, should it go to PROC, to make some recommendations in terms of the content of such regulations.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
I appreciate that.
PROC has already released a report asking for recommendations. That's why I'm bringing it back to this table, to ask the House administration to prepare those options now that there has been a report by PROC members as well as the supplementary report. I think both reports should be considered when preparing those options, but I do believe that options should be prepared, being mindful of the situations and the legislation passed.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
I would agree with Ms. Chagger on that. I believe what she's recommending is that we have this come back to the BOIE from administration prior to us rising. I think the timing is important as well to have those—
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
You said to have it come back to the Board of Internal Economy, not to PROC? I thought she was suggesting that she'd like recommendations to go to PROC first. Is that wrong?
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
PROC released a report in November 2017 asking for recommendations.
Results: 1 - 60 of 258 | Page: 1 of 5

1
2
3
4
5
>
>|