I'll deal with that. Thank you, again.
This is to talk about subdivision B of division 15, and clauses 535 to 625.
The purpose of these amendments is to adjust part II, “Occupational Health and Safety”; part III, labour standards; and the new part IV, administrative monetary penalties of the Canada Labour Code.
This is to provide for the designation of a new head of compliance and enforcement by the Minister of Labour.
The head of compliance and enforcement would exercise the powers and perform the administrative duties and functions that are currently conferred on inspectors, regional directors and the Minister of Labour by the code. The head of compliance would have the authority to delegate to any qualified person or class of persons any of those powers, duties and functions, and to make that delegation subject to any terms and conditions that the head of compliance and enforcement considers appropriate.
Now, although the head of compliance and enforcement will be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the code, the Minister of Labour will still have some well-defined responsibilities under the code. That includes a number of things, including recommending regulations to the Governor in Council, appointing advisory committees, and dealing with any prosecution, so consent to prosecution. The minister could also impose any terms and conditions on the head of compliance and enforcement's delegation powers.
The minister would retain ultimate authority for the administration and enforcement of the code, should no head of compliance and enforcement be designated.
First, you have to understand that improving client service is the main objective. We want to reduce the time required to process labour standards complaints and to more quickly resolve occupational health and safety issues.
How will this be achieved? The designation of a new chief of compliance and enforcement, with the ongoing support of the labour program inspectorate, will make it possible to improve monitoring and consistency in program delivery, offer greater operational flexibility, for example by delegating certain duties to the best level possible, and provide greater harmony among the various parts of the Code. The goal is for parts II and III of the Code, and the new part IV, to include similar administrative measures and delegations, which can be problematic right now owing to the different systems in place.
This measure is also in response to the longstanding recommendations of the Federal Labour Standards Review Commission, which issued a report in 2006 that called for a more consistent approach to the compliance and enforcement activities of the labour program.
All of the amendments contained in this subdivision, just to be clear, are related to the new head of compliance and enforcement. These are technical changes. They do not change the obligations, responsibilities or rights of employees or employers. They should have no direct impact on any stakeholders, albeit perhaps improved client service.
Just to clarify, because it is fairly long—there are a good number of pages on these amendments—for the most part the amendments are aimed at simply replacing wording. Where we talk about inspectors, regional directors, the minister, this subdivision replaces those with the new head of compliance and enforcement. It is lengthy, but it is really dealing with a relatively limited technical change to the legislation.