Bill C-280 (Historical)
An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (qualification for and entitlement to benefits)
This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.
This bill was previously introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session.
Carol Hughes NDP
Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)
Committee Report Presented
(This bill did not become law.)
- June 16, 2010 Passed That Bill C-280, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (qualification for and entitlement to benefits), be concurred in at report stage.
- June 10, 2009 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.
Bill C-300—Speaker's Ruling
Points of Order
October 26th, 2010 / 3 p.m.
The Speaker Peter Milliken
I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised on Monday, September 20, 2010, by the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons concerning the need for a royal recommendation to accompany Bill C-300, An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries, standing in the name of the hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood.
I would like to thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons for having drawn this matter to the attention of the House as well as the hon. members for Scarborough—Guildwood and Mississauga South and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation for their comments.
In raising this issue, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons argued that Bill C-300 established a new, quasi-judicial function regarding Canadian companies engaged in mining, oil or gas activities in developing countries to be exercised by the ministers of foreign affairs and international trade. He also contended that the framework required to implement the provisions of the bill was not foreseen by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act and that considerable expense would be required to put it in place. In supporting this point, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation noted that during 2009 the World Bank had expended $3.3 million conducting what he described as “parallel investigations” to those he believed would be required by Bill C-300.
The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons noted that in other cases, the Speaker had found that bills mandating an expansion of the functions of an existing department or agency required a royal recommendation. He referred in that regard to the ruling concerning Bill C-280, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (Employment Insurance Account and rate setting) Debates, June 13, 2005, pages 6990-1, as well as to the ruling concerning Bill C-474, National Sustainable Development Act, Debates, February 11, 2008, but I will not cite the pages.
It is in that context that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons maintained that the terms and conditions of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act were therefore being altered by Bill C-300 and that funds would need to be appropriated to carry out the new function imposed by the bill. He concluded that for these reasons, a royal recommendation would be required for Bill C-300.
In his remarks, the hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood asserted that the bill had been carefully drafted with a view to avoiding any requirement for a royal recommendation. He acknowledged that some reorganization of existing resources would be necessary, but that new resources would not be required.
The Chair takes very seriously the need to respect the requirements for a recommendation of the Crown to accompany any legislation requiring new expenditures. The Chair has therefore examined with care the details of Bill C-300, An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries, as well as the precedents enumerated by the parliamentary secretary.
The case of Bill C-280, cited by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, involved the creation of a new employment insurance account outside the consolidated revenue fund. Bill C-474, to which he also referred, assigned new functions to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, including the assessing of provincial performance in the meeting of sustainable development goals, which was clearly a significant expansion of the existing mandate.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons was correct in saying that both Bill C-280 and Bill C-474 required a royal recommendation. In the first instance, the bill created an employment insurance account outside the consolidated revenue fund as well as several other proposals. These included lowering the threshold for becoming a major attachment claimant; setting benefits payable to 55% of the average weekly insurable earnings during the highest paid 12 weeks of the 12 month period preceding the interruption of earnings; reducing the qualifying period before receiving benefits; and removing the distinctions made in the qualifying period on the basis of the regional unemployment rate. From a mere listing of the measures in the bill, one must clearly conclude that the bill had the effect of authorizing increased expenditures from the consolidated revenue fund in a manner and for purposes not currently authorized.
As for Bill C-474, it sought among other things, to modify the mandate of a new independent Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. Specifically, it sought to develop “a national sustainability monitoring system to assess...the state of the Canadian environment, nationally and by province” as well as “...the national and provincial performance in meeting each sustainable development goal...” listed in the bill. There is no doubt that extending the commissioner’s mandate into the provincial arena was clearly a significant expansion of the existing mandate.
Thus, we are in agreement on the issues raised by these two bills, however, it seems to me that the situation presented by Bill C-300, the case now before the House, is not analogous to the circumstances just described.
Bill C-300 does require the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to examine bona fide complaints concerning possible contraventions of the guidelines to be established under clause 5, but the bill is silent with respect to the manner in which such examinations are to be conducted. The respective ministers appear to have entire discretion in this regard. Furthermore, the Chair is of the view that the examination of such complaints is not a departure from or expansion of the current ministerial mandate under the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act to carry out such examinations. Bill C-300 may put forth more stringent requirements, but it does not expand the mandate per se. Hence, a parallel cannot be made to Bill C-474.
In addition, Bill C-300 does not actually call for the establishment of the quasi-judicial process referred to in testimony by departmental officials. Nor does it require that investigations be carried out in other jurisdictions. It may be that a reorganization of resources or even additional funds would be required, however, it appears these would be operational in nature. In short, there is little ground for comparison of Bill C-300 with Bill C-280 and Bill C-474.
Consequently, from a strictly procedural point of view, the Chair cannot find that Bill C-300 requires the expenditure of public funds for a new and distinct purpose. I therefore rule that there is no requirement that the bill be accompanied by a royal recommendation. The House may continue to consider it in accordance with the rules governing private members' business.
I thank hon. members for their attention.
(Bill C-280. On the Order: Private Members' Bills:)
Statements by Members
October 22nd, 2010 / 11:15 a.m.
Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC
Mr. Speaker, when a person wants to have a dog put down they say the dog was violent. When a government does not want to vote for a bill, it exaggerates the economic impact. That is what the government did with the Bloc Québécois' Bill C-308, which it estimated would cost $7 billion.
Last year, the Liberals and the Conservatives set up a puppet committee to restore the 360-hour threshold for employment insurance eligibility. At the first opportunity to vote in favour of this measure included in Bill C-308, they turned their backs on the workers.
Today, we are debating Bill C-280, which would fill in some of the gaps that Bill C-308 sought to remedy. That is why the Bloc Québécois is voting in favour of the bill. We hope the Conservatives and the Liberals will follow suit and that they will not use cost as an excuse again, because the costs, which are estimated at $2 billion—
October 21st, 2010 / 2:55 p.m.
Joe Preston Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON
Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will debate yet another coalition EI bill. Our Conservative government is the only party in this House that is standing up for taxpayers and voting against this costly and irresponsible bill. Bill C-280 would provide a year's worth of employment insurance after only 45 days of work. This is offensive to hard-working Canadians.
Can the parliamentary secretary inform the House of the consequences if the Liberal-Bloc-NDP coalition gets the chance to implement its EI plans?
Statements By Members
October 21st, 2010 / 2:15 p.m.
Phil McColeman Brant, ON
Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will debate yet another coalition EI bill. Bill C-280 would provide a year's worth of employment insurance after only 45 days of work. This is offensive to hard-working Canadians.
In total, the Liberal-Bloc-NDP coalition EI plans would cost Canadians $7 billion per year and would permanently increase EI premiums by a whopping 35%. In other words, the coalition EI plans would cost billions of dollars, result in massive permanent increases in premiums, kill jobs and harm our economic recovery.
Our Conservative government is the only party in the House that is standing up for hard-working Canadians and job-creating small businesses and voting against the bill. We will continue to fight against these costly and irresponsible coalition EI plans.
Statements by Members
October 18th, 2010 / 2:05 p.m.
Nina Grewal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal, Bloc and NDP coalition, headed by the Liberal leader, is at it again. It will try yet again with its relentless pursuit to push its irresponsible and costly EI plans when NDP Bill C-280 is debated this Friday.
Our Conservative government does not support the bill or any other expensive coalition EI bills. The idea of getting a year's worth of EI after only having worked 45 days is offensive to hard-working Canadians. The coalition's EI plans would cost workers and job-creating small businesses $7 billion per year and result in a permanent 35% increase in payroll premiums.
It is our Conservative government that will stand up for hard-working Canadians and fight against the Liberal leader's coalition plans to increase taxes on workers and job-creating small businesses.
Employment Insurance Act
Private Members' Business
June 16th, 2010 / 5:30 p.m.
The House resumed from June 10 consideration of Bill C-280, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (qualification for and entitlement to benefits), as reported (without amendment) from the committee.
The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-280, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (qualification for and entitlement to benefits), as reported (without amendment) from the committee.
April 26th, 2010 / 3:55 p.m.
Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB
Thank you, Madam Chair.
What is the CLC's recommendation on that point?