Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
RSS feed based on search criteria Export search results - CSV (plain text) Export search results - XML
Add search criteria
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, September 30, 2009, we will commence clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-304, an act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible, and affordable housing for Canadians.
(On clause 5--Conference to be held)
The Chair: I'll go back to where we were when we met on Tuesday. We were at clause 5, and we were looking at amendment LIB-16, which is on page 17.1.
You'll notice that the package you have before you today contains considerably less than what we started with on Tuesday. There's not a whole lot left to work on.
I'm going to turn the floor over to Mr. Kennedy. I believe he was talking about amendment LIB-16.
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'm actually asking for your indulgence, Mr. Chair, and that of the committee. There's a slight wording change to amendment LIB-16, and I think that's being distributed now.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay, so do you want unanimous consent to withdraw amendment LIB-16?
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
Lib. (ON)
No, I'm sorry, Mr. Chair, if you would give me just a moment, I want to make sure I have what I need.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
All right. Do we have unanimous consent to withdraw amendment LIB-16?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: So then we'll turn to page 17.2, amendment LIB-16.01, and I will turn the floor back over to Mr. Kennedy to speak to that motion.
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
Lib. (ON)
Again, just to remind the committee, this is setting up a process so that there is a consequence to the bill itself, first for measuring outcomes, and then for taking in complaints. This just streamlines it a bit from the motion that was pulled back, but that's essentially what we're doing in the spirit of the bill that has been brought forward.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Is there any discussion on amendment LIB-16.01?
Go ahead, Mr. Jean.
View Brian Jean Profile
CPC (AB)
How do you set up a reporting process for complaints without money? Perhaps Mr. Kennedy could address that. Obviously it's talking about setting up a reporting process for addressing complaints, and I'm not sure how a government sets that up without some form of financial remuneration for the people who would receive those reports, unless they just go into possibly an e-mail that's not answered.
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Chair, this type of provision has been ruled on numerous times. In other words, it's not the granting of money; it's not the distribution of money. Processes in the ordinary course of government can be determined by governments at that time. They could fund it a little, a lot, or not at all. In other words, that process might turn out to be inadequate. This simply provides for its existence. How it's made into existence is a prerogative of the government of the day.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
I'll just comment on that, Mr. Jean. This is about developing the national strategy, not about implementation.
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
As you can see, it says “a process for”. It doesn't say to put in place the actual independent review.
View Brian Jean Profile
CPC (AB)
That's interesting. Thank you.
As a matter of interest for future reference, does Mr. Kennedy have a reference for that from Marleau and Montpetit or any other source? I've not seen it and I'm a bit of a junkie.
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
Lib. (ON)
I wasn't referring to Marleau and Montpetit, or Bourinot, or anyone else. Just for your general awareness, and I'm sure you'll pick this up in other committees, this is the kind of language that is permitted for private members' bills. It's not new to this.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. That's why we have our legislative clerks with us.
Is there any other discussion? I'll call the question on amendment LIB-16.01.
(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: I'll ask you to turn to page 18 in your handouts and look at amendment LIB-16.1.
Once again I will turn the floor over to Mr. Kennedy to speak to that motion.
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
Lib. (ON)
Very briefly, Mr. Chair, Canada has been a signatory, but has been subject to United Nations review on its human rights compliance with respect to adequate housing for decades now, and it has had no vehicle with which to address the recommendations that come from our engagement with the international community. This provides for that, again, in developing such a review and follow-up basis.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
All right, is there any discussion on this?
I'll call the question, then, on L-16.1.
(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
(Clause 5 as amended agreed to)
(On clause 6—Report)
The Chair: We have a proposed amendment on page 19, the next page in your handouts, and it is L-18.
Once again, Mr. Kennedy, I'll turn the floor over to you to discuss that amendment.
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This is simply a conforming amendment that recognizes the work the committee just did in adding clauses, to make sure it's in compliance.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Is there any discussion on amendment L-18? No.
(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
(Clause 6 as amended agreed to)
(On clause 2--Definitions)
The Chair: Now we're going to come back to the clauses that we stood down. On clause 2 we have an NDP motion, NDP-1, so we're going to turn back to the first page in your handouts again, to NDP-1 on page 1. If we're all there, then I will get Ms. Leslie to talk to the amendment, then we can have any discussion there is.
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2009-12-10 15:44
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This would actually add something to the definitions section, specifically “aboriginal community”, and it defines it as “a community made up of Métis, Inuit, or First Nations peoples, whether or not that community is situated on a reserve”. We're bringing forward this amendment to clarify that this act does apply to Métis, Inuit, and first nations people who live either on-reserve or off-reserve, are urban or rural, recognizing that more than half of the status Indian population live off-reserve, and aboriginal Canadians do live in urban centres but also disproportionately face housing insecurity and homelessness. This would be a recognition of that.
Thank you.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Is there any discussion on this? No.
(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: We're going to move to the second page in your handout, and it's NDP-2, and I will ask Ms. Leslie to speak to this.
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2009-12-10 15:45
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This would actually remove the word “disadvantaged” from this definition. It's the word “disadvantaged” in reference to people with a physical disability. This was actually raised directly with us by a witness, recognizing that while people with physical or mental differences may face greater challenges or face more barriers than other people, they shouldn't necessarily be equated with a disadvantage. We really welcomed that feedback from the community and we're moving to remove the word “disadvantaged”.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay, thank you.
I'm going to rule this amendment out of order. This amendment seeks to make substantive modification to the definition of accessible housing in the interpretation clause. The House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition, page 769, states:
The interpretation clause of a bill is not the place to propose a substantive amendment to a bill. In addition, an amendment to the interpretation clause of a bill that was referred to a committee after second reading must always relate to the bill and may neither exceed the scope of nor be contrary to the principle of the bill.
It is with that opinion that I will rule that substantive and, therefore, inadmissible.
Yes, Ms. Leslie.
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2009-12-10 15:46
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I am a bit new to parliamentary procedure, so I'm looking for guidance. The ruling is that it's out of order. I'm wondering, if there were to be unanimous consent from this committee to agree that despite it being out of order this is very important to the bill and important to various disability communities, would it be possible, with unanimous consent, to get around this somehow?
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
My understanding is that the only way this could happen is if you were to challenge the chair.
We are going to move, then, to--
View Brian Jean Profile
CPC (AB)
As you know, Mr. Chair, I'm always challenging you.
I'm just wondering if the clerk can tell us about the constitutionality of this particular clause. I haven't seen the whole clause, but it might be inclusive, whether or not it's mentioned as a result of constitutional issues that have risen again. And I'm not sure what clause it refers to, but it might in fact be.... The Supreme Court has ruled in relation to various sections of this, including child of a marriage.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
I don't think they're prepared to give advice on constitutionality.
View Brian Jean Profile
CPC (AB)
So it might be included anyway. Whether or not it's included in the bill is what I'm asking.
View Ed Komarnicki Profile
CPC (SK)
I just want to make a note for the record. The committee has chosen, the majority in opposition, not to appeal the ruling of the chair because of the fact that it's not within the context of the bill or within the objective of the bill in terms of the definition, yet appealed the decision of the chair on a matter that was fundamental to this bill that would make it a less-than-national national housing policy. And I think that's regrettable.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Komarnicki.
We're going to move now to....
Yes, go ahead.
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
Lib. (ON)
Just for other times, and also for the edification of the.... The disability community would like to see different language start to work its way in. And I'm wondering if there's a little bit of guidance in terms of.... I know this is a restrictive area of the bill, the definition section, but is it possible, for future work, that some further detail could be provided on this part in terms of why the ruling was made, and so on?
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Once again, if it had been part of the original bill, there would be no issue. Now that it's gone past second reading, we can't go back and change definitions. As I understand it, there would have been no problem changing the definitions in the original bill as it was presented before second reading.
Lucie Tardif-Carpentier
View Lucie Tardif-Carpentier Profile
Lucie Tardif-Carpentier
2009-12-10 15:49
If we're able to make an amendment elsewhere in the bill that would make the change in the interpretation clause necessary or admissible--
View Yves Lessard Profile
BQ (QC)
This is important. I am happy that our colleague, Mr. Jean, has brought up this matter, because I wonder what this would in fact change, in the end. It seems to me that the removal of the qualifying term “disadvantaged“ would eliminate the arbitrariness of the matter. Indeed, this would call into play a form of judgment.
Who is disadvantaged by age? It seems to me that the question should be put. My impression is that the word “disadvantaged“ gives the provision a meaning that could discount the entire value of the text. I am asking the question because were we, by chance, to decide to pass the amendment, the only word that would disappear would be “disadvantaged“. The only thing that would then be left to do would be to make the corresponding changes wherever the term “disadvantaged“ is used.
Someone might be able to tell me at what stage one becomes disadvantaged by one's age. I also put the question to our colleagues from the NDP. Is it at my age or at yours, Mr. Chairman? At what stage is one disadvantaged by a disability? The question is the same whether it is a mental disability or a physical disability. It seems that this term creates a certain ambiguity, and that it must be removed. I am not challenging your decision for now, but I would like to better understand it.
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2009-12-10 15:52
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
First, I do want to have it on the record that the parliamentary secretary has made assumptions about our decision not to challenge the decision of the chair, and those are just assumptions.
But I would like to seek your advice about clause 3 of the bill, as it stands. Paragraph 3(3)(c) states:
provides access for those with different needs, including, in an appropriate proportion, access for the elderly and the disabled, and reasonable design options;
What I would like to know from the clerk is whether, if we agree, we could amend paragraph 3(3)(c) to say, “access for those challenged by age and disability”. Would that be enough to trigger the ability to amend the definition?
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Yes, if we are going to go back and look at clause 3--because it has already been passed--we'd need unanimous consent to go back and deal with that. At this point I could seek unanimous consent. I'm not sure that's going to be--
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2009-12-10 15:55
I'd appreciate it if you would seek that.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Sure. I'll see whether there's unanimous consent to go back to clause 3 to reopen it, in terms of a definition.
View Ed Komarnicki Profile
CPC (SK)
If there is a ruling to be made, your option is to appeal. You did previously on a more fundamental issue, you didn't on this one, and that's your choice. There won't be any consent to change that.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
There is no consent, then, in terms of that.
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Komarnicki was speaking, and I was looking to be recognized, hoping to appeal to members. This is something that hopefully is not about partisanship; it's simply about respecting the disability community. This was a workaround available for the bill, and therefore I was hoping the members opposite might recognize that in terms of drafting, this would improve the outcome in the eyes of people who are affected.
View Ed Komarnicki Profile
CPC (SK)
We tried for about an hour to reach a bunch of your colleagues when you were away last week to say that the Speaker's ruling shouldn't have been appealed, because fundamentally you couldn't do what they intended to do and have this bill go through, and it didn't. So there's no point in prolonging--
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
We have a list going on here. I'm going to go to Mr. Jean.
Mr. Jean, you have the floor.
View Brian Jean Profile
CPC (AB)
I was just wondering, Mr. Chair--and I'm just a stickler for procedure; I'm interested in it--can anybody challenge the chair, or does it have to be the proponent of the amendment?
A voice: I think anybody can.
Mr. Brian Jean: So in fact, Mr. Kennedy could challenge the chair on his ruling. Right, Mr. Kennedy?
View Brian Jean Profile
CPC (AB)
If you look at the record, I just mentioned that you could challenge the chair in relation to his ruling. It doesn't have to be the proponent of the motion.
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'd be happy to respond, Mr. Chair.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay, hold on a second here. We have Mr. Kennedy, and then Mr. Lessard.
Go ahead, Mr. Kennedy.
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
Lib. (ON)
Again, we're in a situation today where there's an opportunity to work on behalf of the people affected by mental and physical disabilities, to put in language that respects them better. Therefore, to the extent that it's still possible, Mr. Chair--I don't want to waste your or anyone else's time--I appeal to the members of this committee to see this as a non-partisan effort we could make in this narrow application, because I think it would be received by that community--
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm actually going to go to Mr. Lessard.
As far as I am concerned, we're done dealing with amendment NDP-2, so we're going to move on to amendment L-1. There will be no more debate on this particular issue.
But I'm going to ask you if you have a comment or if there is a different perspective here.
View Yves Lessard Profile
BQ (QC)
We are still dealing with amendment NDP-2, Mr. Chairman, are we not?
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
I made a ruling on NDP-2 and my decision stands, unless I'm being challenged. If not we'll move on to L-1.
View Yves Lessard Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Chairman, our colleague, Mr. Kennedy, is perfectly right in saying that this is not a matter of partisanship. There is much wisdom, I suggest, in what he has brought forward. Once I am finished with this, I will not utter another word, I promise. Our colleague, Ms. Leslie, made a suggestion that is to my mind more appropriate. Age and disability are not factors that disadvantage a person; these are factors that create new challenges. Therefore, to state that a person is disadvantaged by age is pejorative, Mr. Chairman, and amounts to ageism.
My challenges, for example with regard to physical strength, are not the same as those of Mr. Savage, because he is a sturdier man. I am not disadvantaged; these are simply challenges. It is the same thing for an elderly person. In the case of a public building with a heavy door, accommodations must be made in order for the operation of the door to be compatible with the physical strength of the people who will be using it, because it is a challenge for them.
That is all, Mr. Chairman. I would respectfully submit to you that there is much wisdom in the suggestion made by our colleague, Mr. Kennedy. It would be much more appropriate to talk of challenges due to age, one's physical condition, etc.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
I asked if there was unanimous consent to open up clause 3. That is not the case, so we're done with that issue.
We'll move to amendment L-1 on page 2.1.
Mr. Kennedy, would you like to speak to the L-1 amendment?
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
This measure is necessary in order for the definition to fit with the change made in the other part of the bill. This motion adds education, recreational activities and health care services to the other definitions of basic needs.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Is there any discussion on this?
(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
(Clause 2 as amended agreed to)
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Shall the preamble carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 1 carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the title carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the bill as amended carry?
View Ed Komarnicki Profile
CPC (SK)
Given that there was a challenge to the chair's ruling, there's a possibility it will be taken to a further level. Should this committee not wait to pass the bill until a definitive decision is made on that?
In light of the fact that there was great debate about the basis upon which the chair was overruled--which I found to be groundless, with no premise under it--I wonder whether the members might consider unanimous consent to hold the bill back until we have a determination from a higher level that we have some reference to common sense and logic.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
I see lots of hands.
Mr. Lessard is next and then Ms. Leslie.
View Yves Lessard Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Chairman, the Speaker of the House has always said, in such circumstances, that committees are masters of their procedures. In this case, the Committee is master of its process, and has already dealt with the amendments at Clause 3.
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2009-12-10 16:02
My understanding is that we actually report the bill to the House, and then at that point the issue of the challenge to the chair is raised with the Speaker. So to unanimously consent not to report to the House means this bill dies.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
I think that's pretty close.
Anyway, I'm going to go back, then, if that's all the discussion on that. I don't think I'm going to have unanimous consent to withhold the bill at this stage, so I will ask the question.
Should the bill as amended carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall I report the bill as amended to the House.
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Last, shall the committee order a reprint of the bill? I really hope we have a reprint of this bill or we're going to be in trouble.
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Thank you very much, everyone, for the cooperation in moving through that.
Yes?
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2009-12-10 16:04
Just a question. Will the report to the House be tomorrow?
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
I'll talk it over with the clerk and the legislative clerk to see if all the work can be done by then, and if that's the case, then we'll see what we can do.
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2009-12-10 16:04
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
Lib. (ON)
I want to express a brief appreciation for the chair and the cooperation of the committee. There were a lot of amendments that were in the spirit of improving the bill, and we appreciate the way they were conducted through this session. Thank you.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay.
I'm going to suspend for a minute so we can bring our witness in, and then we'll get started early, which means we can probably get finished early as well.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay, perhaps I could get all the members back to the table. It's now ten after four, so if we could get started, then we could probably be finished by ten after five, although I realize bells are probably not going to be until about 5:22.
What I'm going to do is just read in the motion that this committee adopted. It reads:
That an independent actuary of the choosing of the opposition be invited to appear before the Committee for one hour before Christmas 2009 to give an independent analysis of the soundness, the rate setting, premium setting, and cost estimates of Bill C-56, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.
So I will welcome Mr. Bédard right now.
Sir, welcome. You have an opening statement, so we'll turn the floor over to you, and then, as usual, we'll go through our questions from the members of Parliament.
Welcome, sir, the floor is yours.
Michel Bédard
View Michel Bédard Profile
Michel Bédard
2009-12-10 16:08
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My name is Michel Bédard, and I thank you for your invitation to testify before the Committee concerning Bill C-56. I am an actuary by profession and I am appearing in my personal capacity. I was Chief Actuary to the Employment Insurance Commission from 1991 to 2003. I have also completed a number of missions for the International Labour Office as an employment insurance consultant.
I support the principle of the bill, namely the extension of special employment insurance benefits to the self-employed, but several aspects of it are problematic. My first comments relate to the financial aspects of the plan.
First, the new benefits would cost about $305 million in 2014, with about $212 million in parental benefits, that would be paid totally outside of Quebec; $93 million in sickness benefits, that would be paid out countrywide; and less than one million dollars in compassionate care benefits. The cost of these benefits represents 2.5% of insurable earnings in the case of parental benefits, and 0.9% in the case of sickness benefits, for a total of 3.40%.
These calculations are based on data from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, as supplied to your committee. In broad terms, the Department assumed that all those who joined the plan in order to receive parental benefits would ultimately receive them, or leave the plan, whereas in the case of sickness benefits, only 10% of the newly ensured would receive benefits.
What does Bill C-56 propose?
In 2014, a deficit of $86 million outside Quebec and a surplus of $18 million in Quebec, with contribution rates of 2.33% and 1.96% respectively. A rate of 1.96% in 2014 for self-employed workers in Quebec would thus represent double the forecast cost for this protection alone, the cost being 0.9%. This would be four times the rate now applicable to wage-earners for sickness and compassionate care benefits. This rate presently sits at 0.41%. We can calculate that at 1.36%, which was the rate in 2010, revenue in Quebec would already exceed costs. A representative of the Department confirmed this, stating before the Senate Standing Committee on National Finance that with a rate of 1.36%:
The typical self-employed individual in Quebec will receive benefits roughly equivalent to what the individual pays in premiums.
If so, why expect the rate to rise in the future? Together, these financial impacts therefore constitute the first stumbling block, in my opinion.
Second, the voluntary nature of the proposed system requires the government to impose strict conditions on those who wish to take advantage of it, in order to protect against opting out and abuse. There would accordingly be a waiting period of 12 months, which is much longer than what private schemes apply. Even in California, the comparable period is six months, for those who join the voluntary scheme for self-employed workers, and which it too is a disability insurance plan.
A third aspect that poses a problem, and will discourage participation in the plan, is the rule that would commit for life those who have received even minimal benefits, particularly for sickness. Have we ever seen income insurance that demands a lifetime of contributions after a minor claim? In California, the voluntary portion of the public disability insurance plan allows withdrawal after two years.
Fourth, if someone joins the plan mid-year, BillC-56 would require that they wait 12 months for coverage, but would require them to pay benefits for the entire year. Why not arrange to prorate contributions in such cases? As an alternative, the plan provides for those who register from January to March 2010 to qualify for benefits from January 1, 2011. Why not provide a similar clause for every year?
Fifth, and last, the employment insurance plan already includes a refund of contributions for those earning under $2,000 a year, since they do not qualify for benefits. Should there not be a similar clause in this voluntary plan, but based on a level of $6,000?
What are we to make of all of this?
Firstly, financially, with regard to these new benefits, it is inappropriate to adopt artificially the general rate for employees. Rather, we should select a funding mode that is proportional to the cost of the new benefits, and relatively stable.
Secondly, in order to fund a social benefit, namely parental benefits, while making it voluntary, the government found it necessary to impose strict limits. Among other things, these limits will have the effect of discouraging many potential participants, and make the system much less effective as a way of protecting incomes.
That is the gist of what I had to say.
I'll be pleased to answer any questions.
Thank you.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
What we're going to do, then, is start with the Liberals.
Mr. Savage, you have seven minutes.
View Ben Lobb Profile
CPC (ON)
View Ben Lobb Profile
2009-12-10 16:15
I have a point of order.
My understanding from the last meeting we had on Bill C-56 was that we were going to have an actuary come to actually investigate the numbers.
View Ben Lobb Profile
CPC (ON)
View Ben Lobb Profile
2009-12-10 16:15
Yes. I wasn't finished my statement, though.
I don't see anything new here compared to what we saw at the last meeting. I just wondered if Mr. Lessard is satisfied with the level of detail in this report.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
We'll go around the room with questions.
We'll go to Mr. Savage.
View Michael Savage Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you, Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Bédard, for coming and for coming a couple of weeks ago when you flew standby. Today you had a guaranteed ticket. Thank you for coming back. I appreciate that.
I certainly don't agree with Mr. Lobb. There's a whole bunch of information in this, certainly, that wasn't made available to us when we had a look at this bill.
I've raised questions about the premium setting. I've raised a lot of questions about the deficit that will be on this fund, which we weren't given initially and were only given in response to our questions. Madame Folco has talked about the premium rates. My colleague Ms. Minna has spoken about the gender inequities, potentially, in this bill and how it relates to regular EI.
You've given us a lot of information. When I saw this this morning, I thought there was a lot of stuff here that would be of interest. If you were still the chief actuary of the EI Commission, if there were still the EI Commission as it was and you were still the chief actuary, would you sanction Bill C-56?
Michel Bédard
View Michel Bédard Profile
Michel Bédard
2009-12-10 16:17
If I were still chief actuary, it would not be my responsibility to sanction. A bureaucrat offers advice and then stands back and lets the political leaders reach whatever decision they will.
View Michael Savage Profile
Lib. (NS)
That's fair enough.
Would you, as chief actuary, have raised these questions and insisted that these would make the bill an ineffective bill?
Michel Bédard
View Michel Bédard Profile
Michel Bédard
2009-12-10 16:17
I certainly would have raised these questions in the same way as I am raising them before you, but I would have stood quiet afterwards.
View Michael Savage Profile
Lib. (NS)
There are a number of things of interest here. You've raised a huge number of questions. I'd like to ask you if you are able to tell us, in order, what the biggest flaws in the bill are.
Michel Bédard
View Michel Bédard Profile
Michel Bédard
2009-12-10 16:17
Well, the biggest flaw, from the financing side, is that premiums are not aligned to the costs of the benefits. They are, in a way, but only artificially so. They're aligned to the general premium rate, and the general premium rate, everyone knows, basically varies according to unemployment rates. It doesn't vary according to the costs of these special benefits. And it will be increasing over the next few years. For Quebec in particular, it's obvious that the general premium rate that is already in place is already more than sufficient, so why should that particular rate have to go up?
That's my main concern.
Michel Bédard
View Michel Bédard Profile
Michel Bédard
2009-12-10 16:18
Yes.
View Michael Savage Profile
Lib. (NS)
You see, when the minister appeared and when officials appeared, we asked about this. We asked who had looked at this bill. The minister continually said that because it's an optional program, they don't know what the costs are going to be, etc. We understand that, but whenever you introduce a program, there's a certain level of rigour that one expects to come with it. We weren't told that it was going to cost anything. We were told it would be self-sustaining. On the other hand, it never made sense that the minister could state with certainty that it would be self-sustaining when she also said that it was optional and they didn't know.
It's a difficult process. We all support, as you do, the idea of employment insurance for the self-employed. The question is whether this bill is the answer. It is being rushed? Was it put together quickly to get it out the door? Those are the things we've had to wrestle with. That's difficult.
Let me ask you this. Now that you're not the chief actuary but have all the knowledge inherent to having been that, do you think it makes sense that the funding should come from the EI fund, as opposed to the consolidated revenue fund?
Michel Bédard
View Michel Bédard Profile
Michel Bédard
2009-12-10 16:19
Well, there are a lot of components to the EI Fund, and they're not all self-financing. Benefits for self-employed fishermen are certainly not self-financing; nor are benefits for construction workers. In general, these are all within a pool. I would see logic in having this within the same pool and the people who join could be charged the same premium rate as the people who are already in the pool, are currently being charged, and that would be 0.41% for sickness benefits, and for maternity or paternity, parental benefits, 0.88%, I believe. Table 4 will provide you with that information. Yes, it would be 0.88%, so it would be a combined rate of 1.30%.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay, hold on.We have a point of order.
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
Yes. I find it disrespectful of the members opposite. This gentleman has been invited to come and give us information. I think he should be heard.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
Mr. Jean.
Results: 1 - 100 of 150000 | Page: 1 of 1500

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>|