Evidence of meeting #20 for Government Operations and Estimates in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was dates.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

11:30 a.m.

Shelley Rossignol Senior Analyst, Pension Policy, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Could I add some clarification?

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Yes, please.

11:35 a.m.

Senior Analyst, Pension Policy, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Shelley Rossignol

The problem is that this amendment under clause 9 of the bill is amending section 31.1 of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act, and it's saying which definitions apply of service in the force for purposes of part 2. So the definitions are provided on page 2 of the bill. It extends the definition of the term “service in the Force” to periods of prior service. Ongoing RCMP service is already covered, so we have to say which types of prior service count as service in the force for these disability payments.

And if you refer to the definition of service in the force, on page 2, the cadet time is not there. So it's not recognized as service in the force in the first place in order for part 2 benefits to apply to it. It wouldn't function.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

It's a bit of a wobbly duck. However, if it is passed, how would you implement it?

11:35 a.m.

Senior Analyst, Pension Policy, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Shelley Rossignol

It wouldn't function. It wouldn't work within the legislation because it doesn't form part of the definition of service in the force in the first place.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

That's it for me.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Derek Lee

Mr. Martin.

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

I was simply going to ask our technical experts. In order to achieve what Mr. Ménard very capably laid out, what change could be possible within the context of Bill C-18 to enable this, to have the period of time as a cadet be considered and added to your pension benefits?

May 7th, 2009 / 11:35 a.m.

Senior Analyst, Pension Policy, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Shelley Rossignol

It's not within the scope of Bill C-18. The reason is that we would have to have a brand new clause to allow members to elect for cadet time to count as pensionable service and service in the force.

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

That would be ruled out of order because it wouldn't be an amendment to the bill, would it, Mr. Chair?

Just before I cede the floor, I think part of the problem is that the people who crafted the bill in its original form didn't consider that period of time that you were a cadet as being time as an employee. I think modern labour relations jurisprudence would consider that if that cadet, for that six-month period, is under the direction and control of the RCMP and they're getting any kind of remuneration for that time, they are for the purposes of any employment standards act, federally or provincially, an employee.

I'm a carpenter by trade, and the period of time that I was an apprentice was certainly a time.... Even though your employer is not paying you for the period of time you're an apprentice, it's all part of your employment history, and those periods of time are part of your pensionable service later on.

I'll leave it at that. Thank you.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Derek Lee

Mr. MacKenzie, did you want to add something?

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Oxford, ON

Maybe I can cloud it even more.

What happens here is not unique. Quebec has the same thing. La Sûreté du Québec and I believe the Montreal Urban Community Police have the same thing. They are not considered to be employees during that training period. I think what happened is that you had somebody bring something forward to you and you maybe haven't had enough time to look at the broad aspects.

In 1995 the change came. Up until 1995 the RCMP cadets were a part of the force employees, if you will. With all due respect, Mr. Martin, police officers are different from carpenters. There are issues with respect to employment and disemployment that are totally different. Police agencies, for a variety of reasons in a number of locations, including in Quebec and the RCMP, changed these systems. Consequently, they are not considered to be employees, and the money that they receive, which we instituted a year ago, the $500, is considered an honorarium.

Now, the other part that is a bigger picture of this is that all the police agencies have something different. Some of them pay for their tuition. Some of them pay for their accommodation. To try to put this into this context is impossible, and I think the technical people here can tell you about a whole variety of other issues that would be raised.

I think what's happened is that it got sidelined a little bit because of one aspect that maybe should be dealt with at some other place at some other time, if that's the will of the people representing the members of the force.

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Derek Lee

Monsieur Ménard.

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

I understand your argument. This definition could affect other parts of the act.

The provision in question begins with: “For the purposes of this Part [...]“. This part deals with superannuation. With respect to incorporating officers from other police forces, a different definition than the one that applies pursuant to section 31.1 pertaining to superannuation would apply.

This definition is therefore limited to this particular part of the act and does not apply to any other parts. It applies only to superannuation and covers officers who join the RCMP in mid career, but not cadets who went through RCMP training.

The proposed clause 9 reads as follows:

31.1 For the purposes of this Part, paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) of the definition “service in the Force“ [...]“

The definition applies solely for the purposes of this part, not other parts, of the act.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Oxford, ON

I think the issue is that the bill just deals with the transference of retirement benefits. The section that you're dealing with here deals with disability. That's what is creating some of the confusion.

I suggest to you, sir, that you're not entirely wrong. But there is another time and another place that this issue should be brought forward, and it's not in this bill.