Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would like to say that the issue is about the translation. It was raised in light of the Whitton case, where the court interpreted the French version, which did not contain a statement equivalent to “at any time”, as more restrictive when correcting these inconsistencies. This is what we're trying to do, to correct these inconsistencies to ensure that the legislation, in both the English and French versions, is not subject to misinterpretation. I just wanted to make that clarification on the translation issue.
I would like to also say that in light of the fact that both the CPP and OAS overpayments are not subject to a limitation period, associated debt such as interest payments or penalties should be treated in a consistent fashion. This is why we would not be able to support that particular amendment.
We also wanted to go back prior to 1995, when the old age security was amended to remove the existing limitations on the recovery of overpayments, and align the provisions of CPP, which had an indefinite period of time to recover overpayments.
Prior to the amendment, the Old Age Security Act contained a time limit that restricted the recovery of overpayments to the current year and the preceding fiscal year. This time limit was subsequently removed in order to ensure greater recovery and to ensure accountability to the integrity of the program.
What I'm saying is that we want to ensure accountability and having a greater recovery, and this provision was there just to have the translation consistent.