Evidence of meeting #215 for Finance in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was chair.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Maude Lavoie  Director General, Business Income Tax Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Trevor McGowan  Director General, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Charlene Davidson  Senior Project Leader, Financial Crimes Policy, Financial Systems Division, Financial Sector Policy, Department of Finance
Samuel Millar  Director General, Corporate Finance, Natural Resources and Environment, Economic Development and Corporate Finance, Department of Finance
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. David Gagnon
Darryl C. Patterson  Director, Corporate, Insolvency and Competition Policy Directorate, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Department of Industry
Tolga Yalkin  Director General, Consumer Product Safety Directorate, Department of Health
Colin Stacey  Acting Director General, Pilotage Act Review, Department of Transport
Sara Wiebe  Director General, Air Policy, Department of Transport
Joyce Henry  Director General, Office of Energy Efficiency, Energy Sector, Department of Natural Resources
André Baril  Senior Director, Refugee Affairs, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Michel Tremblay  Senior Vice-President, Policy and Innovation, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Ariane Gagné-Frégeau  Procedural Clerk
Karen Hall  Director General, Social Policy Directorate, Strategic and Service Policy Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development
Hugues Vaillancourt  Senior Director, Social Development Policy Division, Social Policy Directorate, Strategic and Service Policy Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

I appreciate the answer, but it's still unclear. I understand what you're saying, but it hasn't been confirmed beyond all doubt. Doubt still lingers.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Go ahead, Mr. Kmiec.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

The FCM is not government, though; it's a third party organization. This amendment would require the Minister of Finance to do it. I don't think it's too much of a problem to require a minister to table a report for information that he or she supposedly will get from FCM. They also likely generate internally, so I don't see a problem with this.

I don't doubt that Mr. McLeod is correct in saying that the minister does table documents, including the FCM's documents, but I would like it confirmed by officials that in fact this is the case right now.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

All right.

Can we table it for the motion, and come back to it? Is that the procedure?

11:55 a.m.

The Clerk of the Committee Mr. David Gagnon

Yes, we can.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Are we in agreement to table this amendment? We'll ask whoever is in charge of officials in the room to ask an official to come in to clarify the points that Mr. McLeod raised.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

Trust me.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Everybody says they trust him, but they want clarification.

We will hold on CPC-5 for clause 131 until we get an official for further clarification. Then we'll come back to it.

(Amendment allowed to stand)

(Clause 131 allowed to stand)

There are no amendments on clauses 132 to 216.

Did you have a question, Mr. Dusseault?

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

I have a question about clause 141. Do we have any officials who can speak to it?

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

There's a question on clause 141. Can we agree to carry clauses 132 to 140 on division?

(Clauses 132 to 140 inclusive agreed to on division)

(On clause 141)

Your question is on clause 141. Are there any officials here on this one? It is in division 5, clauses 133 to 152.

We have Mr. Patterson, Director of the Corporate, Insolvency and Competition Policy Directorate with ISED, and Mr. Disend, Senior Policy Analyst, who is with ISED as well.

You have a question, Mr. Dusseault.

May 27th, 2019 / 11:55 a.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

I'd like to echo the concerns expressed by the Quebec bar representatives who appeared before the committee. We may have some members of the Quebec bar at the table, I don't know.

The Quebec bar expressed concerns over clause 141, which amends the Canada Business Corporations Act by adding factors that the directors of a corporation may consider when acting with a view to “the best interests of the corporation”. In addition to the interests of shareholders, the directors of the corporation may take into account the interests of employees, retirees and pensioners, creditors, consumers and governments. They can also take into account the environment and long-term interests of the corporation, which the Quebec bar said was comparable to taking account of the interests of the corporation's stakeholders.

The Quebec bar was most concerned about whether the potential impact on future case law had been assessed. In other jurisdictions where these factors exist, the case law is different, to say the least.

Was an in-depth analysis done in order to fully understand the consequences of adding these criteria to the Canada Business Corporations Act?

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Go ahead, Mr. Patterson.

Noon

Darryl C. Patterson Director, Corporate, Insolvency and Competition Policy Directorate, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Department of Industry

Thank you for your question.

There were extensive consultations done for the retirement security project in general. We consulted the Canadian Bar Association, among a plethora of other groups that provided their views on all of the provisions, but on this provision in particular, I think there are a couple of things we would want to note.

Essentially, the department views this provision as a codification of the common law that's been enunciated in the BCE case by the Supreme Court of Canada, which lists almost verbatim these stakeholders as being able to be considered when the directors are fulfilling their fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the corporation. The only change in the language would be the addition of retirees and pensioners, which we don't feel changes the tests. It just adds another one.

The other thing to keep in mind is that it's a permissive provision. Directors are not required to consult and consider the interests of all of these stakeholders in every instance. It's up to them as the directors of the corporation to assess what's in the best interests of the corporation, and this merely codifies what the Supreme Court has already said—that in acting in the best interests of the corporation, depending on the circumstances, it is possible that you would consider these interests.

Noon

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

That explanation will no doubt satisfy the people at the Quebec bar. They mentioned the precedent set in People's Department Stores Inc. (Trustee of) v. Wise. I imagine that's the decision you're talking about. This is about entrenching in legislation the case law established by the Supreme Court. I hope the Quebec bar will find this satisfactory.

Thank you.

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you, officials and Mr. Dusseault.

Shall clauses 141 through to 216 carry on division?

Do you have another question partway through there? We're looking right up to 216, Pierre.

Noon

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Actually, Mr. Chair, I'd like—

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Are we okay?

Clauses 141 to 216—did you have a question?

Noon

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

I don't have a question. Actually, if I may, I'd like to have separate votes for clauses 198 through 213. They pertain to changes to the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act. I'd like a recorded division for each clause.

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Let's back up a little. Can we see fit to carry clauses 141 through to 197 on division?

(Clauses 141 to 197 agreed to on division)

(On clause 198)

Turning to clause 198, do you want a recorded division on each of these?

Noon

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

I'd like to say something before we continue.

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Just one second. We have to get the officials in here, Pierre.

Could we have officials on division 9, which covers clauses 160 to 221? We'll start with clause 198.

We'll wait until the officials get here, Mr. Dusseault, before we have your comments.

Now we have officials here. If we have to bring others in, we will.

Mr. Flint is Director General of Policy, Communications and Regulatory Affairs with Health Canada. That really relates to subdivision J.

In any event, on clause 198, you have some comments to make, Mr. Dusseault, and did you say you want a recorded vote right through to clause 212?

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

That's right. I'd like a recorded division for each of the clauses amending the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act.

We received a letter signed by Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff. In the letter forwarded to all committee members, some extremely important issues were brought to the committee's attention. They concern the proposed measures to relax—which I think is the right term—the true copy requirement set out in the Hazardous Products Act. Suppliers of hazardous products are required to always prepare and maintain a document containing a true copy of the label affixed to the product, and that information must be made available to all workers who come into contact with the product so that they know how to respond in the event of an incident or it emerges that the product could be associated with certain illnesses. The purpose is to have all the necessary information to ensure the safety of workers.

According to the letter, the industry lobbied the government, and, clearly, the companies that lobbied, in relation to these hazardous products, won out because they got their way. In other words, the requirement was relaxed. The companies found the requirement to be cost-prohibitive. The Canadian Labour Congress submitted that, even if that were the case, it would be a small price to pay to keep workers exposed to these hazardous products safe in the workplace.

Mr. Yussuff also mentioned in his letter that having to keep a document containing a true copy of the product label for a period of six years was not an onerous requirement for suppliers. He indicated that the requirement ensured essential information was available should workers fall ill after being exposed to a hazardous product.

In fact, because numerous occupational illnesses may not manifest for a long time, the time frame for the keeping of labels should be significantly extended. The Canadian Labour Congress is in favour of keeping the current requirement and is therefore opposed to the proposed changes.

I would like a recorded division on this because it would clearly show where members around the table fall on the issue. Are they on the side of workers, or do they support the hazardous products industry and its demands? Will they agree with the Canadian Labour Congress and support the safety and protection of Canadians in the workplace?

For that reason, I would like a recorded division.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Is there any further discussion on clause 198, or any further questions to officials?

We have an additional official here, Mr. Yalkin.

Could you give us your title?

12:05 p.m.

Tolga Yalkin Director General, Consumer Product Safety Directorate, Department of Health

Certainly, Mr. Chair. I'm Director General of Consumer Product Safety at Health Canada.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you.

Are there any questions to officials or any further comments on clause 198?

Go ahead, Mr. Fragiskatos.