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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was chair.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Mississauga—Erindale (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act June 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the state of the law today is that there are no restrictions on incorporation by reference.

That member is a member of a party that formed government from 1993 to 2006, during which time thousands upon thousands of things were incorporated by reference into regulations passed under his party's government with no oversight and no restriction whatsoever. Bill S-2 would put those restrictions and guidelines in place.

Obviously the member has not read subparagraph18.1(4) of the bill, and I would encourage him to do so right now if he can. He will see there is a definition of regulation-making authority and every individual or body is accountable to Parliament. This legislation would make all of this accountable to Parliament, whether it is incorporation of a foreign statute or incorporation by technical standards.

Those members talk about putting technical standards in the Canada Gazette, which could be tens of thousands of pages of numbers and schematics. They have not really thought this through.

Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act June 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as much as we would like to hear that member speak for another 60 minutes, and I am sure we will over the next few days, what the opposition members do not seem to understand or get is the state of the law today is that there is no restriction on incorporation by reference. That member is a member of a party that formed—

Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act June 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, listening to my colleague from the justice committee, one would wonder if anyone in the New Democratic Party has ever read the North American Free Trade Agreement or any of the regulations thereto. If she had, she would know that for more than 20 years, these kinds of incorporation by reference have done this. Previously we had no guidelines for this. Now we have guidelines in Bill S-2.

If we had an NDP government, business would grind to a halt. This probably points out why the NDP is against every trade agreement in the world. Business could not be done if Parliament had to review every regulation. She knows that is not how it is done.

The bill would put some parameters, control and basic guidelines around what has been done in Canada, in the provinces and in every major nation in the world for decades.

The member would know that in any trade agreement, there are dispute resolution mechanisms. What does she think the civil servants of Canada do, the public servants at International Trade and Foreign Affairs or the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Transport. They review those regulations and the regulations of other countries, and ensure they fit within the laws of Canada and the authority given to them by Parliament. That is why we have public servants. If we did not have people doing that, we could not have these kinds of agreements, which make the international economy work. The things she is saying really do not make sense.

I want to point out one other thing. She talked about regulation-making authority. Subclause 18.1(4) of Bill S-2 includes the definition of regulation-making authority, which includes the Governor-in-Council or the Treasury Board, the minister who recommends the making of regulation, the minister who is accountable to Parliament for the administration of the regulation, any person, other than Statistics Canada, for which either of those ministers is accountable to Parliament. In other words, the people who have the authority to write the regulations are accountable to Parliament.

Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act June 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no concern in that regard. First of all, governments have been drafting legislation and regulation incorporating documents by reference from other countries for decades. There have been no guidelines on how it should be done. Now there will be. That is what Bill S-2 would do.

Second, in situations such as the one the member describes, hormones in milk are not acceptable in Canada. It would be contrary to Canadian regulations. Parliament has oversight over that, so that would not change, and if there were a change in regulations in the other country's legislation, that would actually put the agreement out of sync. It would not be harmonized in that case.

As I said, Parliament can review it. The government, through the Department of International Trade, would review it, and it would also be reviewed by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.

Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act June 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I think the member will find that the legislation clearly states that all regulations are subject to the review of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations. Parliament authorizes, in any trade agreement, the harmonization and adoption by reference of legislation from another country, and then it is the job of the committee that she sits on and her colleagues on that committee to review those regulations and make sure that they are as intended by Parliament.

Of course, that can be reviewed from time to time, as regulations might change, but the purpose of trade agreements is to harmonize the agreement between Canada and the other country so that the business people in both countries can trade their goods and services without tariff to the benefit of consumers in both countries.

Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act June 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, that is actually a very good question. In any trade agreement, access to thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of products is open through the agreement. If the legislation of both countries, or multiple countries, in that trade agreement is not harmonized in the way they regulate technology and the way they regulate food, for example, that could actually end up causing an unnecessary barrier to trade, a technical barrier to trade.

Incorporation by reference allows legislators in each country to incorporate each other's legislation, which means that all of those products that are meant to be traded without tariffs would be able to be done that way.

Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act June 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada incorporates many international standards and laws of different states by reference in regulations. A really good example would be the North American Free Trade Agreement. To harmonize trade between Canada, the United States, and Mexico, there are many pieces of legislation and international standards that are incorporated by reference in the regulations to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

He raises the question of the European Union comprehensive economic trade agreement. Those regulations are not yet drafted. That will come in time.

He also raises the question of a trade agreement with Ukraine, which is something our government is very interested in. I think it would be beneficial to both Canadians and the people of Ukraine.

On international standards, such as air transport and safety regulations, Canada is most famously home to the International Civil Aviation Organization, in Montreal, which is a UN body that sets civil aviation safety standards. Those standards are incorporated by reference into Department of Transport regulations, which regulate air safety in Canada.

Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act June 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the first point is that currently there is no requirement at all that documents incorporated by reference be accessible. This bill is actually enshrining that in law for the first time. That is very important.

With respect to accessibility, it really depends on what kind of information is being incorporated by reference. Obviously, some of this information is very technical and could go on for hundreds of thousands of pages. I am thinking of transport standards, aviation safety standards, and electrical standards as set out by the national standards organizations of Canada.

In each case, I think the regulators, when they incorporate by reference, need to state where that would be. I would imagine that in this day and age it is going to be on the Internet. It is going to be available in both official languages. When it is used in a regulation, they will indicate where it can be found.

Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act June 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to speak about Bill S-2, the incorporation by reference in regulations act. Yes, this is riveting. While it may not be the subject of headlines, it is actually very important.

Bill S-2 has been studied by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and has been reported without amendment back to the House. Before that, the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs also reported the bill, without amendment, to the House for consideration.

This bill deals with a regulatory drafting technique. Essentially, the bill clarifies when federal regulators can or cannot use the technique of incorporation by reference.

The technique of incorporation by reference is currently used in a wide range of federal regulations. Indeed, it is difficult to think of a regulated area in which incorporation by reference is not used to some degree.

Bill S-2 is about securing the government's access to a drafting technique that has already become essential to the way governments regulate. It is also about leading the way internationally in the modernization of regulations. However, more directly, Bill S-2 responds to concerns expressed by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations about when incorporation by reference can be used. This bill would create the legal clarification that is needed so that regulators and the committee can ensure that there is no uncertainty in the process of incorporation by reference.

Incorporation by reference has already become an essential tool that is widely relied upon to achieve the objectives of the government. Both committees have heard that it is also an effective way to achieve many of the current goals of the cabinet directive on regulatory management, which are cabinet's instructions on how to ensure effective and responsive regulations. For example, regulations that use this technique are effective in facilitating intergovernmental co-operation and harmonization, a key objective of the Regulatory Cooperation Council established by the Prime Minister and President Obama. By incorporating the legislation of other jurisdictions with which harmonization is desired, or by incorporating standards developed internationally, regulations can minimize duplication. This is an important objective of the Red Tape Reduction Commission. The result of Bill S-2 would be that regulators would have the option of using this drafting technique in regulations aimed at achieving these objectives.

Incorporation by reference is also an important tool for the government to help Canada comply with its international obligations. Referencing material that is internationally accepted, rather than attempting to reproduce the same rules in the regulations, also reduces technical differences that create barriers to trade and is, in fact, something Canada is required to do under the World Trade Organization's Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement.

Incorporation by reference is also an effective way to take advantage of the use of the expertise of standards writing bodies in Canada. Canada has a national standards system that is recognized all over the world. Incorporation of standards, whether developed in Canada or internationally, allows the best science and the most accepted approach in areas that affect people on a day-to-day basis to be used in regulations. Indeed, reliance on this expertise is essential to ensuring access to technical knowledge across the country and around the world.

Testimony by witnesses from the Standards Council of Canada before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs made it clear how Canada already relies extensively on international and national standards. Ensuring that regulators continue to have the ability to use ambulatory incorporation by reference in their regulations, meaning the ability to incorporate by reference a document as it is amended from time to time rather than just in its fixed or static version, means that Canadians can be assured that they are protected by the most up-to-date technology.

Incorporation by reference allows the expertise of the Canadian national standards system and the international standards system to form a meaningful part of the regulatory tool box.

Another important aspect of Bill S-2 is that it allows for the incorporation by reference of rates and indices, such as the Consumer Price Index or the Bank of Canada rates, which are important elements in many regulations.

For these reasons and more, ambulatory incorporation by reference is an important instrument available to regulators when they are designing their regulatory initiatives. However, Bill S-2 also strikes an important balance in respect of what may be incorporated by reference by limiting the types of documents that can be incorporated when they are produced by the regulation maker. Also, only the version of such documents as they exist on a particular day can be incorporated when the documents are produced by the regulation maker only. This is an important safeguard against circumvention of the regulatory process.

Although there was some testimony at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights that suggested that the bill should go even further to allow more types of documents to be incorporated by reference, including documents produced by the regulation maker, we believe that Bill S-2 strikes the right balance, and where further authority is needed, Parliament can and has authorized incorporation by reference of additional material.

Parliament's ability to control the delegation of regulation-making powers continues, as does the oversight of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations. We expect that the standing joint committee will continue its work in respect of the scrutiny of regulations that use incorporation by reference. The standing joint committee will indeed play an important role in ensuring that the use of this technique continues to be exercised in a way that Parliament has authorized.

One of the most important aspects of this bill relates to accessibility. Bill S-2 would not only provide a solid legal basis for the use of this regulatory drafting technique but would also expressly impose in legislation an obligation on all regulators to ensure that the documents they incorporate are accessible. While this has always been something the common law required, this bill clearly enshrines this obligation in legislation.

There is no doubt that accessibility should be part of this bill. It is essential that documents that are incorporated by reference be accessible to all those who are required to comply with them. This is an important and significant step forward in this legislation.

The general approach to accessibility found in Bill S-2 will provide flexibility to regulatory bodies to take whatever steps might be necessary to make sure that the diverse types of material from various sources are in fact accessible. In general, material that is incorporated by reference is already accessible. As a result, in some cases, no further action on the part of the regulation-making authority will be necessary. An example is provincial legislation, which is already generally accessible. Federal regulations that incorporate provincial legislation will undoubtedly allow the regulator to meet the requirement to ensure that the material is accessible.

Sometimes accessing the document through the standards organization itself will be appropriate. It will be clear that the proposed legislation will ensure that the regulated community will have access to the incorporated material, with a reasonable effort on their part. It is also important to note that standards organizations, such as the Canadian Standards Association, understand the need to provide access to incorporated standards. By recognizing the changing landscape of the Internet, this bill creates a meaningful obligation for regulators to ensure accessibility while still allowing for innovation, flexibility, and creativity.

Bill S-2 is intended to solidify the government's access to a regulatory drafting technique that is essential to modern and responsive regulation. It also recognizes the corresponding obligations regulators must meet when using this tool. The bill strikes an important balance that reflects the reality of modern regulation while ensuring that appropriate protections are enshrined in law. No person can suffer a penalty or sanction if the relevant material is not accessible to them.

This proposal is consistent with the position the government has long taken on the question of when regulations can and cannot use the technique of incorporation by reference. It will provide express legislative authority for the use of this technique in the future and will confirm the validity of existing regulations incorporating documents in a manner that is consistent with that authority.

We have many years of successful experience with the use ambulatory and static incorporation by reference in legislation at the federal level, and this knowledge will be useful in providing guidance in the future.

To conclude, the enactment of this legislation is the logical and necessary next step to securing access in a responsible manner to incorporation by reference in regulations. I would invite all members to support this legislative proposal and recognize the important steps forward it contains.

Leader of the Liberal Party June 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party wants to be the next prime minister of Canada, but Canadians know this simple truth. He is not ready for the job.

There are so many examples of this to point to. He attributed Putin's aggression to a hockey game. He said that the country he most admires in the world is China. He introduced a wide scattershot 32-point plan that was clearly written on the back of a napkin somewhere.

Canada is the best country in the world. It is a country where we stand up for our beliefs, whether it be home or abroad. It is a country where we want every family to succeed and spend on their priorities by cutting taxes and creating jobs.

The leader of the Liberal Party is simply not ready.