Evidence of meeting #184 for Finance in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was proposed.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Manuel Dussault  Senior Director, Framework Policy, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Justin Brown  Director, Financial Stability, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Peter Fragiskatos  London North Centre, Lib.
Yuki Bourdeau  Senior Advisor, Capital Markets Division, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Eleanor Ryan  Director General, Financial Institutions Division, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Jean-François Girard  Director, Consumer Affairs, Financial Institutions Division, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Brigitte Goulard  Deputy Commissionner, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
Kim Rudd  Northumberland—Peterborough South, Lib.
Mark Schaan  Director General, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Ian Wright  Director, Financial Crimes Governance and Operations, Department of Finance
Darryl C. Patterson  Director, Corporate, Insolvency and Competition Policy Directorate, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Department of Industry
Martin Simard  Director, Copyright and Trademark Policy, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Department of Industry
Andrea Flewelling  Senior Policy Advisor, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Department of Industry
Patrick Blanar  Senior Policy Analyst, Patent Policy Directorate, Department of Industry
Dale MacMillan  Vice-President, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer, National Research Council of Canada
Christopher Johnstone  Director General, National Programs and Business Services, National Research Council of Canada
Eric Grant  Director, Community Lands Development, Lands and Environmental Management, Lands and Economic Development, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Leane Walsh  Director, Fiscal Policy and Investment Readiness, Economic Policy Development, Lands and Economic Development, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Susan Waters  Director General, Lands and Environmental Management Branch, Lands and Economic Development, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Michèle Govier  Senior Director, Trade Rules, International Trade and Finance Branch, Department of Finance
Katharine Funtek  Executive Director, Trade Controls Policy, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Bev Shipley  Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, CPC
Nicole Giles  Director, International Trade and Finance, Assistant Deputy Minister's Office, Department of Finance
Deirdre Kent  Director General, International Assistance Policy, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Mark Lusignan  Director General, Grants and contributions Management, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (International Trade)
Michelle Kaminski  Director, Office of Innovative Finance, Grants and Contributions Management, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Chantal Larocque  Deputy Director, Development Finance, Grants and Contributions Financial Policy, Foreign Affairs Canada
Danielle Bélanger  Director, Gender-Based Analysis Plus and Strategic Policy, Policy and External Relations Directorate, Status of Women Canada
Alison McDermott  General Director, Economic and Fiscal Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Derek Armstrong  Executive Director, Results Division, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat
Lori Straznicky  Executive Director, Pay Equity Task Team, Strategic Policy, Analysis and Workplace Information, Labour Program, Department of Employment and Social Development
Don Graham  Senior Advisor to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Compensation and Labour Relations Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat
Bruce Kennedy  Manager, Pay Equity Task Team, Labour Program, Department of Employment and Social Development
Richard Stuart  Executive Director, Expenditure Analysis and Compensation Planning, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat
Colin Spencer James  Senior Director, Social Development Policy, Strategic and Service Policy Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development
Andrew Brown  Director General, Employment Insurance Policy Directorate, Skills and Employment Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development
Barbara Moran  Director General, Strategic Policy, Analysis and Workplace, Labour Program, Department of Employment and Social Development
Rutha Astravas  Director, Employment Insurance Policy, Special Benefits Policy, Department of Employment and Social Development
Charles Philippe Rochon  Senior Policy Analyst, Labour Standards and Wage Earner Protection Program, Workplace Directorate, Department of Employment and Social Development

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Are you ready there now?

Okay.

4:05 p.m.

Director General, Financial Institutions Division, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Eleanor Ryan

I was at proposed section 627.49, and I had highlighted paragraph (i), and I was about to highlight paragraphs (j) and (k).

These are two requirements for the external complaints bodies to report annually to the commissioner of the FCAC on the performance of their functions, including their governance and funding, and to also have reports made publicly available. Taken as a group, these are intended to increase transparency and public confidence in the complaint handling process.

This concludes my overview of the consumer protection measures in the bill. We're available to answer any questions you may have.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Who are we starting with?

We'll have Mr. Kmiec, and then Mr. Julian.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

You want me to go first. I thought that Greg was raising his hand.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Go ahead, Tom. I don't think you've been through this process before. When we have departmental witnesses, there is no limit on time in questions and we bounce around.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Thank you, Chair.

I'm going to bounce around a little bit too. Forgive me for this, but under “Definitions” and dealing with customers and the public, it says a “business day does not include a Saturday or a holiday” but a lot of banks are open on Saturdays. Their branches are open and operating. Can you explain to me the logic of not calling a Saturday a business day when, for the banks, it often is a business day?

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Go ahead.

4:10 p.m.

Jean-François Girard Director, Consumer Affairs, Financial Institutions Division, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance

This definition is already in the legislation. The reason is that this is used for the calculation of certain delays and timing in the act. We just wanted to keep the status quo in terms of the number of days that pass when certain events occur. It's a reference. It doesn't define when they can or can't do business.

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Okay. I'll go to the whistle-blowing sections, and then I'll let other members ask questions.

On the back end, page 304—it's a big omnibus bill—under “Whistleblowing”, is there a duty to protect whistle-blowers, and if so, can you point it out to me in this section?

4:10 p.m.

Director, Consumer Affairs, Financial Institutions Division, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Jean-François Girard

The protections are provided for under proposed subsection 979.4(1) and below.

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

But it doesn't actually say there's a duty to protect whistle-blowers. The government estimates and operations committee, back in June 2017, when it came to the public service, said that there should be a legislated duty to protect the whistle-blowers, because that does a better job of actually protecting those people. Reading this, I don't see any penalty, either. Is there a penalty for not following these rules, and what is it?

4:10 p.m.

Director, Consumer Affairs, Financial Institutions Division, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Jean-François Girard

The penalties would be the same as in the other parts of the act, so they are the same penalties.

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Which would be...?

4:10 p.m.

Director General, Financial Institutions Division, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Eleanor Ryan

There are, sorry, civil penalties.

November 5th, 2018 / 4:10 p.m.

Director, Consumer Affairs, Financial Institutions Division, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Jean-François Girard

Yes, so in the civil penalties, it's up to $10 million per violation. You do have an offence under the act being a criminal offence that could be prosecuted as well in principle.

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

There is no duty to protect and the civil penalties are up to $10 million. There could be criminal proceedings against bank employees who go after whistle-blowers.

Okay.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Okay.

We have Mr. Fergus, and then Mr. Julian.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Thank you very much. Similar to the questions that were asked in terms of the penalties, I'm taking a look again back to clause 329. If you wish, it's division 2, proposed section 627.03, when you talk about false or misleading information. You move on in proposed section 627.04 about prohibited conduct.

What are the penalties for the banks or financial institutions for not complying with these legislative clarifications as to what is considered to be prohibited actions?

4:10 p.m.

Director, Consumer Affairs, Financial Institutions Division, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Jean-François Girard

They're the same. The—

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

It's the same throughout the whole....

4:10 p.m.

Director, Consumer Affairs, Financial Institutions Division, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Jean-François Girard

Yes, the limits are set in the FCAC Act and they apply to all the provisions under the administration of the agency.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Okay.

Mr. Girard, you will recognize the killer question.

Over the past five years, how often has your organization imposed penalties on financial institutions, and how large were they?

4:10 p.m.

Director, Consumer Affairs, Financial Institutions Division, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Jean-François Girard

I'm a Director at the Finance department. I'll ask Ms. Goulard to answer you.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Fine.

4:10 p.m.

Brigitte Goulard Deputy Commissionner, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Good afternoon. Thank you for your question.

The financial sanctions we impose are not all the same. We use several tools to ensure that the banks do the right thing. A small percentage of banks were subject to sanctions. We sometimes conclude compliance agreements with them to ensure that pro-consumer measures will be taken.

Over the past year, we imposed a few sanctions. Thanks to the measures we took under the powers we have, over $6 million were returned to more than a million clients, and that is what's important. The new powers the bill gives us will allow us to take even more measures so that Canadians will be reimbursed.