Bill C-568 (Historical)
An Act to amend the Statistics Act (mandatory long-form census)
This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.
Carolyn Bennett Liberal
Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)
Second Reading and Referral to Committee
(This bill did not become law.)
- Dec. 8, 2010 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
Bill C-377—Income Tax Act—Speaker's Ruling
Points of Order
December 6th, 2012 / 10:05 a.m.
The Speaker Andrew Scheer
I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised on November 22, 2012 by the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie regarding the need for a royal recommendation for Bill C-377, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations), standing in the name of the hon. member for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale.
I would like to thank the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie for having raised the matter; as well as the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; the hon. House leader of the official opposition; and the members for Saint-Lambert, Cape Breton—Canso and South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale for their interventions.
In raising this matter, the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie explained that the provisions of clause 1 of the bill would result in expenditures of public funds in a manner and for purposes not currently authorized. Specifically, he claimed that a new entity within the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) would have to be created to administer and enforce the provisions contained in the bill, and that there would be costs incurred in setting up a new computer system to meet the requirements of the legislation. These, he concluded, would constitute “new and distinct” costs, thereby creating a need for a royal recommendation.
Similarly, the member for Cape Breton—Canso argued that the bill envisioned a new function and purpose within the CRA and as such the terms and conditions of the royal recommendation that authorizes the agency's current spending would be altered. He also suggested that Bill C-377 would regulate the internal affairs of unions and the relationships with their members, thus giving the CRA a new labour relations function.
For his part, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons rejected these arguments, claiming instead that the authority to spend for the purposes set out in the bill would fall under the general authority of existing broader provisions of the Income Tax Act, as well as the agency's general authorities under the Canada Revenue Agency Act. He illustrated this by referring to those portions of the Income Tax Act dealing with reporting requirements for charity organizations. He also stated that, should additional funds be required, the government would seek them from Parliament through an appropriation bill covering operating expenses.
The question before us is whether the implementation of Bill C-377 would constitute a new appropriation requiring a royal recommendation, or whether the costs would be administrative in nature and would fall under the ongoing mandate of the Canada Revenue Agency.
I would like to remind the House of the conditions under which a royal recommendation is required. As the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie noted in his presentation, bills which authorize new charges for purposes not anticipated in the estimates require royal recommendations. House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition, at page 833 further states:
The charge imposed by the legislation must be “new and distinct”; in other words, not covered elsewhere by some more general authorization.
The Canada Revenue Agency already has the mandate to administer various tax and benefits regimes and to manage a broad range of other programs and activities. More specifically, section 5 of the Canada Revenue Agency Act mandates the agency to support the administration and enforcement of program legislation. Furthermore, in reviewing the documentation provided by the member for Saint-Lambert, which makes reference to specific cost information provided by the CRA in response to questions from the Standing Committee on Finance, the Chair notes the references made to section 220 of the Income Tax Act, which states:
(1) The Minister shall administer and enforce this Act and the Commissioner of Revenue may exercise all the powers and perform the duties of the Minister under this Act.
(2) Such officers, clerks and employees as are necessary to administer and enforce this Act shall be appointed or employed in the manner authorized by law.
In carefully reviewing this matter, it seems to the Chair that the provisions of the bill, namely the requirements for the agency to administer new filing requirements for labour organizations and making information available to the public, may result in an increased workload or operating costs but do not require spending for a new function per se. In other words, the agency, as part of its ongoing mandate, already administers filing requirements and makes information available to the public. The requirements contained in Bill C-377 can thus be said to fall within the existing spending authorization of the agency.
In a ruling given by Speaker Milliken on February 23, 2007, which can be found at page 7261 of Debates, he stated, in relation to the then Bill C-327, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act (reduction of violence in television broadcasts), that:
Bill C-327 may or may not result in a greater workload for the CRTC, but the activities being proposed are within its mandate. If additional staff or resources are required to perform these activities then they would be brought forward in a separate appropriation bill for Parliament’s consideration.
It appears to the Chair that a similar situation would arise should Bill C-377 be enacted and, thus, that this particular ruling is directly relevant and applicable to the current circumstance.
A second ruling by Speaker Milliken, this one on December 3, 2010, Debates page 6803, in reference to then Bill C-568, An Act to amend the Statistics Act (mandatory long-form census), is also helpful. In that ruling it was apparent to the Speaker that the proposed legislation was not adding to or expanding upon the existing mandate of Statistics Canada and, thus, that the bill in question did not require a royal recommendation.
Accordingly, the Chair rules that Bill C-377 in its current form does not require a royal recommendation to proceed through the next stages of the legislative process.
I thank hon. members for their attention.
For March 29, we had the Canadian Association of University Teachers,
the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d'université,
the Canadian Institute of Planners, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Canadian Council on Social Development, the Canadian Association for Business Economics,
the Institute for Research on Public Policy.
On April 5, we will have the Fédération francophones et acadienne du Canada. These were confirmed for Bill C-568.
For Investment Canada, on Thursday, March 31, we have the Quebec Employers' Council, the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec.
There's the Hon. Donald Johnston, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the City of Thompson, the Canadian Auto Workers Union, the Canadian Labour Congress, and the United Steelworkers of Canada.
For Bill C-568 we had the Canadian Association of University Teachers confirmed for, let's say, March 29.
March 24th, 2011 / 5:25 p.m.
For Bill C-568, we had eight witnesses confirmed.
March 24th, 2011 / 4:35 p.m.
Mike Wallace Burlington, ON
Mr. Chair, I'll speak in favour of the motion, based on a number of reasons.
First of all, I recall a very active discussion in this committee on the timing of meetings and on having to have meetings with witnesses to discuss this private member's bill, Bill C-568.
I think--and you can correct me if I'm wrong--that a fair number of witnesses have been invited to future meetings, whether they will happen or not, to deal with this particular item so that we can properly debate and discuss each clause. Now, we've only had one meeting, I believe, on this, and that was with some officials and with the mover of the motion--no; it wasn't officials. It was others from the group, but there certainly was debate.
What's very confusing to me is that we have the opposition parties wanting these meetings, setting them up, inviting people to come, and then all of a sudden, with one day left--I don't know who we're kidding here--in this Parliament, they're going to try to move this through all stages, without any discussion and without any further witnesses on the issue. They seem to want it both ways, and then, at the end of the day, we will be reporting back to the House that this has gone through here.
It won't go anywhere. The House will likely fall tomorrow afternoon at around 1:30. We'll go to an election starting on Sunday or Monday, and it will be a non-issue. It's a non-issue for me today.
We made the argument, Mr. Chair, that we needed more meetings with witnesses, such as the ones we have here waiting for us and the witness we had before, to deal with the Investment Canada Act. It was a study requested by the opposition parties, which we agreed to do. We only have to have one meeting this week, one meeting two weeks from now, and one meeting in another week. We need to fill in these other spots.
But all of a sudden, now that they've decided they're going to an election, we don't need those other spots. We don't need to have those meetings. We don't need to have those witnesses or to pass it here. I think it's a shame that in the 11th hour of this Parliament, we're playing these games.
I will be supporting the motion that we get a chance to go through clause-by-clause study, because on this committee and on my finance committee, on the last private members' bills there were a tremendous number of changes during clause by clause. In fact, one bill went to one four- or five-word sentence from one clause. Another one went from 12 or 14 clauses to two clauses. It was at this committee.
I think they're violating my right as a member of Parliament, as they like to say, to discuss those clauses and maybe convince my colleagues to make changes.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
March 24th, 2011 / 4:35 p.m.
March 24th, 2011 / 4:25 p.m.
Anthony Rota Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON
The reason is that we have gone through Bill C-568 to some extent. I feel we've come to a conclusion and I think both sides are pretty well content with sending it back to the House. We've confirmed what we believed. If the honourable member would prefer, if the chair would prefer, we could move to clause-by-clause consideration and go through it--
March 24th, 2011 / 4:20 p.m.
The Chair David Sweet
For the rest of the committee, we'll deal with some business right now.
Everybody, I believe, has a copy of Mr. Rota's motion in both official languages. I'll just go ahead with the ruling, Mr. Rota, because I think you'll see why, based on your motion.
As the members are well aware, a committee has an order of reference from the House with regard to Bill C-568, a private member's bill. In the case of private member's bills, the committee has three options available to fulfill its mandate.
Option number one is that the committee may simply ignore the order of reference, and the bill will automatically be deemed reported back to the House without amendment after the prescribed period of sitting days has elapsed. That period is 60 days, with the possibility of a further 30 days if we ask for an extension.
Option number two is that the committee may adopt a motion to not proceed further with the bill. This option sets in motion the elements of Standing Order 97.1(2), a motion to concur, and the report is automatically placed on a notice, debated, and subsequently voted on. If the concurrence motion not to proceed carries, the bill is defeated; if the motion fails, the bill is deemed reported without amendment.
Then we have a third option: the committee may proceed to clause-by-clause consideration of the bill. In this case the committee considers the bill clause by clause, and if necessary word by word, and approves the text or modifies it. Once all of the clauses have been approved, modified, or deleted, the bill in its entirety is submitted for the approval of the committee. After the bill is adopted, the chair asks the committee for leave to report the bill to the House.
The motion of Mr. Rota seeks to empower the committee to skip clause-by-clause consideration of the bill and instruct the chair of the committee to immediately report the bill back to the House without amendment. As House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition, states on page 762, “Each clause of the bill is a distinct question requiring separate consideration.”
In order to properly consider the bill, it will be necessary for the chair to formally put the question on each clause, any possible amendments or subamendments, the title, the bill itself, and the motion seeking leave to report the bill.
Since the motion of Mr. Rota seeks to combine all of these distinct questions into one general motion, it deprives the members of the opportunity to propose amendments and voice their opinions on the separate elements being considered. For these reasons I must rule that the motion is out of order.
You of course have that option, Mr. Rota.
March 8th, 2011 / 5:05 p.m.
Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC
You mentioned the impact of the data on municipalities and the loss of benchmarks, and you added that it would be impossible to go back and hold a census such as the one of 2006. However, some of you, or perhaps all of you, have said that if Bill C-568 is passed, it will be possible to recover some components and not to have the complete loss of benchmarks that we can expect with the new process.
If Bill C-568 is passed, there might still be delays but what would that entail? If it was passed quickly, would it still be impossible to readjust the 2011 census? Of course, there would probably be some financial losses or additional cost but could it be done?