May 24, 1939

MARINE AND FISHERIES-SECOND AND FINAL REPORT


Mr. THOMAS REID (New Westminster, for Mr. MacLean, Prince) presented the second and final report of the standing committee on marine and fisheries, as follows: The standing committee on marine and fisheries begs leave to present the following as its second and final report. Your committee has had under consideration an order of reference dated Thursday, March 2, 1939, viz: That Bill No. 15, an Act to amend the Fisheries Act, 1932, together with the proposed amendment of Mr. Neill thereto, be referred to the said committee. The committee has held twelve meetings and has heard three witnesses, including representatives of the Department of Fisheries. Your committee has agreed to recommend the adoption of Bill No. 15 with the following amendment: Insert after the word "obstruction, in line 3 of 57A (1), the words "which he deems necessary for the public interest." In connection with Mr. Neill's amendment, your committee recommends that the question of salmon trap-net fishing in the Sooke area be referred to a royal commission forthwith for investigation and report, and that the following be embodied in the order of reference to the commission: To fully investigate and hear evidence under oath, and to determine and report, whether Civil Service Superannuation Act or not it is in the public interest that trap nets for the capture of salmon should continue to be authorized in the Sooke area, British Columbia, i.e., between Beachy Head and Sombrio Point along the southwest coast of Vancouver Island, such investigation and report to have regard to all such points as in the judgment of the commission require consideration and without restricting the generality of the foregoing to include the following: 1. Destructiveness of trap nets from the standpoint of conservation and/or depletion, as compared with the use of other varieties of fishing gear. 2. Feasibility of successful operation of other types ol fishing in Juan de Fuca straits and waters of and adjacent to the Sooke area, keeping in view, among other things: a. Nature of waters, specially exposed or otherwise. b. Tidal and current conditions. e. Unusual phosphorescence, if any, in water. d. Proximity of international boundary. e. Fog, prevalence of sharks, etc. 3. The significance of continued operation of trap-net fishing in the Sooke area in relation to the possible reintroduction of trap nets in the State of Washington. 4. Whether or not unemployment is accentuated by the operation of trap nets in the Sooke area. Your committee further recommends that all parties wishing to do so be allowed to attend and give evidence, and that all transactions and evidence be recorded and obtainable by the public. Your committee wishes to express its appreciation of the assistance and ready cooperation received from the officials of the Department of Fisheries. A copy of the minutes of proceedings and evidence taken by the committee is tabled herewith. All of which is respectfully submitted.


CIVIL SERVICE SUPERANNUATION ACT-CONCURRENCE IN THIRD AND FINAL REPORT


Mr. MALCOLM McLEAN (Melfort) moved that the third and final report of the special committee on the Civil Service Superannuation Act be concurred in. He said: The special committee on the Civil Service Superannuation Act has made a report, which has been before the house for some time, in pursuance of studies of that question made by the committee during the present session and by a similar committee during the last session of parliament. I am going to deal very briefly with some of the changes recommended, in order that they may be perhaps a little more clearly understood than they would be from a reading of the report itself. Recommendation No. 1 asks that every contributor whose compensation does not exceed SI,200 per annum, with less than ten years' service at the time of his separation from the service, or his legal representatives, have a return of contributions made, which is not possible at the present time if the service is under ten years. The committee asks that every contributor, regardless of length of service, if dismissed for political partisanship, shall be eligible for a return of the contribution made. An important change recommended is that the right to elect under the statute of 1927 be reestablished for a period of one year from the date on which the amending act receives the royal assent. A good many civil servants represent that they either did not have sufficient notice or did not clearly understand the provisions at the time, and your committee thought that they should be given a further opportunity to be transferred from retirement to the superannuation fund. It is recommended that provision be made to allow each person who is a contributor, but who failed to elect to make contributions in respect of past non-contributory service, to make such contributions now in respect of the whole or any part of such service. Contributors who were not able to pay their portion of arrears before they came under superannuation received fifty per cent of the time allowance from the government at that time without payment, but it is thought wise now to give them an opportunity, by paying their arrears, to earn and ultimately to receive superannuation for the rest of that time upon payment. Recommendation No. 4 asks that provision be made for counting active service overseas during the great war, which cannot now be counted, subject of course to certain restrictions. Certain men who left the civil service of Canada on leave at the beginning of the war were given credit for their service overseas. At a later date that terminated and many men who had been in the civil service before the war are not now eligible to count their time overseas for benefits. New employees who joined the service after the war have not been able to receive credit for time overseas. All organizations of returned men have made representations for many years urging that such service be allowed as a matter of fair play and justice, the principle of which is established in connection with the mounted police and, I believe, one other branch of the service; and your committee has decided to recommend that a change be made. I am not going to deal specifically with some of the minor recommendations that do not involve either an important principle or a large number of contributors or a large



Civil Service Superannuation Act amount of money. I come then to recommendation No. 6, which asks that provision be made in the statute for the compulsory retirement from the public service of every contributor on attainment of his sixty-fifth birthday without provision for extension of service, subject to the proviso that this amendment shall not become operative until two years after the date the amending act receives royal assent; and recommendation No. 7 asks that provision be made in the statute for retiring any contributor on account of age on his attainment of his sixtieth birthday. The cost in the one case would be very small and in the other a little higher. For years it has been felt in and out of the civil service that there should be a compulsory retirement age, which has been set here in the recommendation at sixty-five, with the proviso that two years shall elapse before the change becomes effective so that it shall not bear harshly upon anyone. The committee was of the opinion that ultimately this provision might not cost the service anything but might possibly bring about a saving in the retirement from the service of men who have passed the age but who for various reasons wish to be kept on. Provision for retirement at the age of sixty, if it is implemented, as is intended, will provide that under certain circumstances contributors may apply for and be given permission to retire, and that it may be more or less optional at or after the age of sixty. Recommendation eight asks that provision be made in the statute to render prevailing-rates employees eligible to become contributors, subject to designation by the governor in council on the recommendation of the treasury board of the various classes and individuals to be so rendered eligible. There are a large number of men employed in the service throughout the country at prevailing rates. For many years they have been trying to become eligible and to earn superannuation. They have not been able to do so, with the result that many men having no provision for the future are kept on to an age and under conditions when in many cases they are not thoroughly efficient. By this change it is believed that the service will benefit to a great extent. It may be that at the beginning it will not be found feasible to include all classes of these prevailing-rates employees and therefore that provision was inserted, that certain contributors and classes should be designated. This should have a wholesome effect on the service, particularly as regards the employees concerned. Recommendation No. 9 asks that provision be made in the statute to empower the governor in council, on the recommendation of the treasury board, to admit as contributors employees of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation who had previous service under the Canadian radio commission or elsewhere in the public service of Canada. This is a minor recommendation dealing with about seven or eight employees of the broadcasting corporation, who for some reason or other were not allowed to come under superannuation, and until such time as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has a superannuation scheme of its own, a certain hardship is being wrought on these persons. Recommendation No. 10 is an important one, because it is intended to prevent the arising in the future of some of the problems that exist at the present time in the service in connection with superannuation matters. It asks that provision be made in the statute to render temporary employees occupying positions of continuing indeterminate duration eligible to become contributors subject to designation by the governor in council on the recommendation of the treasury board of the various classes and individuals to be so rendered eligible. At the present time and for many years back there have been continuing indeterminate duration employees in the service. They have not been permanent and have not been called upon to make contributions to superannuation, retirement or other funds. If and when they do become permanent, as many of them do in the course of years, there is no accumulated provision whereby they can receive full benefits of superannuation. They have either to pay in a lump sum or to pay in instalments their contribution for the years during which they were temporary, even though their work was continuing and in reality permanent, which means that a considerable burden is placed upon them, and spread over years it amounts to a good deal of money. If they did not make that contribution they were in the past eligible to receive fifty per cent from the service, which was given by the government. We make another recommendation in that regard, asking that such free service be discontinued in the case of employees who do not choose to subscribe their own fifty per cent payment. This provision will ensure that in the future there will be no such class of employees in the civil service. All who will be there will be making the same contribution. In the event of their not becoming permanent employees, and therefore eligible under the superannuation act, their contributions will be returned to them on separation from the service with the appropriate interest. If they become Civil Service Superannuation Act permanent, their contributions will be transferred to the superannuation fund. No. 11 asks that provision be made, by amendment of part II of the Civil Service Superannuation Act and the Retirement Act, to require each temporary employee, on appointment to a position of continuing indeterminate duration, or to a position for which the remuneration is prevailing rates in the public service, to pay contributions to the retirement fund. Under this provision, if any such temporary employee should become a contributor under the superannuation act the amount of his contribution to the retirement fund will be transferred to the superannuation fund. But otherwise the amount of his contribution with interest will be returned to him or his legal representative on separation from the service. I assume practically all hon. members know that there are in the service a certain number of men who have been in it for a long time but are still classed as temporaries-the common phrase used to describe them is "temporary permanents." Some have been in the service ten, fifteen, twenty years without having been able to make any provision for superannuation; therefore when they become permanent they are faced with that long arrearage of service, the contributions for which amount to a burdensome figure. It is to meet that condition that these two provisions are recommended. In No. 12 we ask that provision be made for transferring the balance at the credit of superannuation fund No. 2 to superannaution fund No. 5. On March 31, 1938, the balance at the credit of fund No. 2 was SI,823,596. There are only thirty annuitants drawing superannuation from that fund and two contributors still to be retired. That is an old fund set up some forty or more years ago. It is not now being subscribed to except by those two contributors. The amount at its credit is considerable; by transferring that to superannuation fund No. 5, which is the one now in effect, there is no possibility of increasing the load on the present fund No. 5 or of any injustice being dome, because the income from that 81,800,000 will be more than sufficient to take care of the present thirty annuitants and the two contributors still to be retired. In No. 13 we ask that provision be made in the statute for transferring from the retirement fund to superannuation fund No. 5 the contributions of employees who automatically become contributors under the superannuation act. That is, in the event of one of our earlier recommendations being adopted-that an opportunity for election be given again for a period of a year or such other time as par-71492-2801 liament may decide-that automatically their contributions to the retirement fund be transferred to the superannuation fund. In No. 14 we ask that provision be made for crediting superannuation fund No. 5 with interest at a rate to be fixed by the treasury board. My understanding is that this is being done now, in effect, but by regulation; we are asking that it be made statutory so as to remove any doubt. No. 15 asks that provision be made in the statute requiring contributions to be made from the effective date of a contributor's appointment, reclassification or increase of salary, rather than from the date of the instrument authorizing the same. In many cases, I think in all cases, an employee coming into the service has to wait for perhaps six to twelve months before he is made permanent, and sometimes he is reclassified or appointed to a permanent position. We ask that contribution be made from the date on which the employment or change in classification is made effective, rather than the date on which the civil service commission issues a certificate, which may be six to twelve months later.. It is not very important, but it will be of some value. * No. 16 asks that provision be made in the statute requiring persons hereafter appointed to positions exempted from the operation of the Civil Service Act, or to temporary positions, which have in either case been designated under the statute, to furnish the same evidence of health as is now required of persons appointed to permanent positions under the Civil Service Act. There are from time to time under all governments, and have been in all years since the superannuation act was set up, occasions on which persons were brought into the service as temporary em ployees. They may remain there one year or five years or longer, and then, either by civil service commission action or by order in council, become permanent employees. We believe that in order to protect the superannuation fund and the treasury as well, the same evidence of health should be required from such temporary employees on their first appointment as would be required if they were going into the permanent service. Very interesting evidence was presented to the committee by a medical officer from the Department of Pensions and National Health indicating the incidence of illness and consequent loss of time in the civil service. Hon. members would find it interesting to compare the figures set forth therein with that of some large industrial corporations. I am sure that we can be reasonably satisfied that the



Civil Service Superannuation Act civil service employees are not taking too much advantage of the provisions governing absence through illness without certificate, and that the general health of the service has shown a decided improvement, particularly since certificates of the Department of Pensions and National Health have been asked for. No. 17 provides for the discontinuance of the superannuation allowance to a dependent child if such person marries before attaining the age of eighteen years. No. 18 seeks to authorize the treasury board to direct payment of benefits to a person other than the annuitant where the annuitant is not capable of looking after his affairs, and for some other reasons. No. 19 asks that a change be made to render the right of any contributor incontestable after contributions by him have been accepted during a period of at least three years. This would bring the practice under the superannuation act more in line with insurance practice at the present time. There have been a few cases where errors have been thought to have been made, and where the status of certain persons now in the service and paying to the superannuation fund is in doubt. No. 20 seeks to authorize the treasury board to discontinue any benefits to a contributor if, subsequent to the granting of such benefits, it is established to the satisfaction of the board that the contributor was guilty of misconduct as defined in the act while employed in the civil service; and in such case to approve of the payment of such benefits in whole or in part to persons dependent upon the contributor for support. No. 21 asks that provision be made to limit the counting of past non-contributory service of any new contributor, or of any additional past non-contributory service allowed to any present contributor under the amending act, to such service in whole or in part as that in respect of which the contributor elects to pay contributions. If the contributor does not elect to pay his share for past service, then we suggest that the government should not give the fifty per cent free to any new contributor. A simple change is asked in No. 22: that provision be made to extend the definition of "dependent" to stepmother, stepfather, or widow of a contributor who might now be ineligible for benefit. Following that we ask for the repeal of subparagraph (c) of subsection 2 of section 9 of the act, which at the present time prevents the widow of a contributor who married after he had attained the age of sixty from receiving any compensation. In No. 24 we recommend a change that is quite far-reaching in principle, and which the committee believes will do something to allay friction or perhaps jealousy in the minds of some who are at present in the service. It asks that provision be made to limit the superannuation allowance which any new contributor shall be eligible to receive to the maximum sum of $4,200 per annum, and in consequence to provide for an adjustment of contributions in respect to the foregoing limitation. The highest figure ever given to any official of the government service under superannuation was $8,400. It is felt that that sum might well be reduced, that a better feeling would exist in the service if such a wide disparity were done away with. Consequently of course contributions must be required only on the basis of the maximum provided in this case, which would be $4,200. A very far-reaching change is recommended under paragraph 25, as follows: That provision be made in the statute to require new contributors to make contribution at the following rates, namely: Salary Contribution $1,200 and under 5 percent Over $1,200 and not exceeding $1,500 54 percent Over $1,500 6 percent This would apply to male employees only; female contributors would continue to pay the present rate of five per cent per annum, regardless of their salary. The reason nochange is recommended in regard to female employees is that as a rule they enjoy lesser benefits; for instance they seldom leave dependents, as many male contributors do. The evidence given before your committee did not make it possible to state with absolute certainty the cost of superannuation, but from all the evidence that was presented your committee believe that cost to be somewhere between 11 and 12 per cent. That belief is reflected in the change here recommended. As a matter of fact some suggestion was offered that it would not be inequitable to raise the rate even for present contributors, but your committee did not make any recommendation in that connection, the only recommendation being with respect to new contributors or to present contributors who will be offered advantages which they do not enjoy at the present time. Paragraph 26 of the report asks that provision be made in the statute that any new contributor who has over ten years' service and whose position is abolished shall be granted an allowance equal to two-thirds of the allowance he might have been granted if at the date of the abolition of his position Civil Service Superannuation Act he had been retired on account of age or ill-health. This is inserted to deal with a practice which I am glad to say is not common, by which an employee, perhaps wishing to get into some other business, or to get married, or for some other reason, who has not the length of service that would enable such contributor to be retired and receive the fud amount of superannuation in the ordinary way, very often asks, or brings pressure to bear, to have the position abolished, in which case he or she becomes eligible for the full amount of superannuation which has been earned. We believe that by reducing the superannuation payable to two-thirds of the full amount, that practice will be very materially checked. Paragraph 27 asks that provision be made in the statute to authorize the granting to any new contributor who, having served in the civil service for ten years or upwards, is retired on account of inefficiency, two-thirds of the superannuation allowance which he might have been granted if at the date of his retirement on account of inefficiency he had been retired on account of age or ill-health. This is in line with the previous recommendation, and deals with a situation which is somewhat troublesome in certain departments where employees have become inefficient. If there is no provision for retiring them with superannuation, human nature being what it is and heads of branches and departments being what they are, it is very difficult to secure such retirement. If this provision were made, under which two-thirds of the superannuation possible in the event of retirement for ill-health would be made available, then your committee felt this difficulty might be remedied.


LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

If I might ask my hon. friend a question, was the committee given any figure as to the number of civil servants being retired for inefficiency?

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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

I would not likj to answer that question categorically. My impression is that a few have been retired for inefficiency, but it is not an easy matter to retire men or women for inefficiency after years of service, if no superannuation is available to them or if the superannuation is so small that it would be of no value. So your committee thought it would be well to make this recommendation.

I have taken more time, Mr. Speaker, than I thought would be necessary in order to offer these interpretative remarks in regard to some of the more important phases of the report. I move that the report be concurred in.

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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. A. A. HEAPS (Winnipeg North):

I

am in favour of this report in a general way, and its importance can be easily gathered from lhe fact that it will affect approximately

50.000 employees of the government. However, there is one aspect of the question to which the hon. member for Melfort (Mr. McLean) did not refer, except indirectly. It is intended to give extended benefits to a very large number of those employed by the government. I am in hearty agreement with that;

I think we should try to bring under the superannuation fund every person working for the government, and I believe that has been the purpose of the committee, which has done its work fairly well. I should like to say a word or two, however, in regard to the fund itself. The hon. member for Melfort made no mention of the status of the fund, as to whether or not it is solvent, and what is likely to be the situation when these additional benefits accrue to those who will be entitled to them if this report is adopted. I hope before that is done we may have from the government some statement of policy and some indication as to whether it is their intention to implement this report by legislation at the present session of parliament. Personally I hope they will. Committees have been working on this matter for several sessions. ' They have called many witnesses, heard a great deal of evidence and spent much time on the question. I believe the civil service are anticipating that at this session the government will implement the report by the necessary legislation.

If my memory serves me aright, the amount to the credit of the superannuation fund at the present time is approximately 858,000,000. That is a fairly large sum of money, but in my opinion, after listening to the evidence submitted to the committee, it is questionable whether or not the fund ia solvent. Personally I have great doubt as to its solvency. We were told in the committee that whether or not it was solvent the government were behind it and, that being so, it was bound to be solvent. The very fact that the committee has recommended that persons who subsequently enter the employ of the government and come under the superannuation fund should be required to make a larger contribution to the extent of one-half or one per cent, is an indication that the fund at present is not on a sound actuarial basis. I should like to have seen the fund thoroughly examined by competent men. No doubt we have competent men in our department, but I should have liked that question

Civil Service Superannuation Act

investigated and the fund put on a proper, sound, scientific basis so that we would not be told at some subsequent time that it is not on a sound footing. I should like the mover to have informed the house as to the anticipated contributions the government would have to make in order to keep the fund on a sound basis and to provide the benefits set out in the report which I hope we are about to adopt. No mention has been made at all of this aspect of the question, but I suggest it is important. If we are to give benefits to an additional 15,000 employees in the employ of the government, we should have some idea of what the cost will be. I believe that point has not been touched on in the report. In my estimation-and I believe the view is held by some members of the committee and by some of the government experts who worked on the question- if we are to put this vast number of civil servants under the superannuation fund and extend to them the benefits of that fund, it will involve a large capital expenditure on the part of the government to keep the fund on a sound basis. What the approximate amount would be, I cannot say; but I do feel we should have some estimate from the committee on that particular point.

I feel, too, that when these additional members of the civil service attain the benefits mentioned in the report, within a reasonable time

probably two or three years-there ought to be a survey of the fund to see how it is operated. On that point we have heard nothing from the committee.

These are the few remarks I wanted to make this morning. Personally, however, I hope the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) will intimate to the house this morning that the recommendations of the committee are likely to be implemented at this session by legislation. As I said a moment ago, large numbers of employees of the government have been looking forward to this report for a number of years. Now that the report is before the house, unless it is accepted by the government and implemented by legislation, thousands of civil servants will be greatly disappointed.

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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni):

Mr. 6peaker, I should like to congratulate the hon. members of the committee and its chairman for this excellent, useful and practicable report. If implemented it will remedy grievances and injustices, and perhaps certain inequalities, from which civil servants in these days and for many years have been suffering. They had almost despaired of having any

action taken on their behalf. Other hon. members and myself have appeared before committees from time to time in years gone by, and in many cases the result was a mere stalling report. In some instances the matter was referred to officials who had nothing at all to do with it, and in other cases there was the statement that there was not time to consider the matter. But this is a real, practical and comprehensive report, dealing without fear or favour, apparently, with a lot of cases.

I am particularly interested in paragraph No. 8, which states:

8. That provision be made in the statute to render prevailing rates employees eligible to become contributors subject to designation by governor in council on the recommendation of the treasury board of the various classes and individuals to be so rendered eligible.

I presume that that will apply to and cover a class which for many years has been overlooked, namely, the masters, mates, officers and petty officers on board government boats. That is certainly a very necessary thing and I am sure it will be appreciated.

I have only one note of criticism to add with respect to the whole report-and possibly my criticism arises from the fact that I do not sufficiently understand it. Paragraph 21 is as follows:

21. That provision be made in the statute to limit the counting of past non-contributory service of any new contributor or of any additional past non-contributory service allowed to any present contributor under the amending act to such service in whole or in part as in respect of which the contributor elects to pay contributions.

Let us assume that certain employees are receiving $90 a month, as some of the men on the steamers do. We will say that they have put in thirty-four years. Under the old act they could come into seventeen years' superannuation without making any payment. If they elected to come in for the whole period they had to pay the arrears. I believe that was a proper procedure. But if I read this aright it will mean that any man coming in now will have to pay up, in full, the whole sum, a procedure which he would be quite incapable of doing, and he would thereby be prevented from coming in at all. It may be that the paragraph in the report is subject to the clause now appearing in the present act whereby a man or woman who wishes to pay up his or her arrears is permitted to do so by making monthly payments, which would carry over not only their period of service but after their superannuation. If that is to be understood it would be satisfactory. But

Civil Service Superannuation Act

if it is, as I fear it is, it would mean that it would have to foe taken care of in some way, or it would not be of much value to some people.

I join with the hon. member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Heaps) in impressing upon the government the necessity of taking steps, even this late in the session, to implement the report. If necessary they could do so by legislation, or if the Department of Justice rules that it may 'be done by order in council or through the Civil Service Act, a pronouncement should be made so that the people concerned may have their long anxieties set at rest so far as their future is concerned.

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LIB

James Joseph McCann

Liberal

Mr. J. J. McCANN (Renfrew South):

Mr. Speaker, the detailed explanatory remarks of the hon. member for Melfort (Mr. McLean) in presenting the report and moving its adoption do not call for additional observations upon my part, as seconder. I wish to point out merely that the government, as the largest employers in the country, should at all times find it to its advantage that proper protection be given to its employees.

During the sittings of the committee and in the preparation and presentation of the report we considered and studied the superannuation schemes of a large number of industrial concerns in Canada. No doubt in the report we have incorporated some of the better recommendations and practices of those industrial concerns. Speaking a few moments ago the hon. member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Heaps) referred to doubts that were in his mind as to whether the fund was insolvent. I have taken the stand throughout the deliberations of the committee that the contribution made by employees was a deferred payment of salary, and that that part of the contribution made by the government was a bonus. I believe that is a fair way of looking at it. Any employee who has given good service throughout the years and has been a contributor to superannuation, whether or not he has been an employee for less than ten years, should have that money returned to him when he quits the service. That will be done, if the report is implemented.

I took the stand also that so long as the credit of Canada is behind the superannuation fund it is not at any time, nor can it be declared, insolvent, so long as the country is solvent. Whether or not a separate fund is set up and the money in that fund put into separate securities, earmarked and kept apart for this particular purpose of superannuation

does not make a great deal of difference. It is being administered by the Department of Finance and the treasury board has complete supervision ow it. Recommendations must be made when amounts of money are to 'be taken from the fund. There has never been any question in my mind with reference to its solvency.

I do not believe it was the duty of the committee to make a note in the report as to what the increased costs might be in the event of implementing the different provisions. If and when legislation is brought down enacting some of the recommendations, I have no doubt the minister in charge of the bill will be in a position to give details with respect to any added costs there may be.

I ask that hon. members study this important report, and I urge the government to implement the recommendations contained therein, if possible this year. The government is the largest employer in this country and we owe a duty to those in the civil service who have been waiting for years for the benefits they would receive as a result of the implementation of these recommendations. I hope the necessary legislation will be passed at this session.

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IND

Martha Louise Black

Independent Conservative

Mrs. MARTHA LOUISE BLACK (Yukon):

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the chairman of this committee upon this voluminous and carefully considered report. As hon. members on the government front benches know, for many years we in the Yukon have felt that a grave injustice has been done to the civil servants there. These civil servants are required to contribute on their salary and living allowance. For a time those who retired received superannuation on the basis of their salaries and living allowances, but due to the caprice or whim of an official in the department this was changed without any warning or excuse.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

When was it changed?

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IND

Martha Louise Black

Independent Conservative

Mrs. BLACK:

I think in 1927. It was thoroughly dishonest and corrupt. That practice was continued by the Conservative government. WThen I made a similar statement in the house before, the former leader of the Conservative government corrected me. I did not catch his remark at the time, but I told him afterwards that two wrongs never make a right. Because one government did this to the civil servants was no reason why another government, even a Conservative government, should carry on the practice. I have tried to be entirely independent and impartial. These men who paid in on both

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Civil Service Superannuation Act

salary and living allowance looked forward to receiving superannuation on the same basis, just as anyone would who had paid into an insurance company.

I know of one very sad case, that of a civil servant who has been retired. This man has

an invalid wife, and an invalid daughter, and instead of receiving about $72 per month, as he should, he receives less than $50. The doctors ordered him to take his family out of the country because of the cold weather. It was very difficult for him to do this. I have hoped against hope that at some time the government would see fit to remedy this injustice. There are only a few civil servants in the north and they have rendered good service. Anyone who has lived in the north knows the prices that must be paid for everything. When I consider the prices asked by the fruit stands in Ottawa. I cannot help but think of what we in Yukon must pay for the few luxuries we have. How would hon. members like to pay $3.50 to $5 for a watermelon? How would they like to pay from $1 to $1.50 for a pound of cherries? We should have some luxuries, and our civil servants find it very hard to get along. I beseech the government again, as I have before by letter and by word of mouth, to remedy this injustice. I believe the recommendations in this report will help to a large extent, but there is still much more that can be done.

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CON

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. N. J. M. LOCKHART (Lincoln):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to say a word or two in connection with the splendid presentation by the chairman of this committee, of which I happened to be one of the humble members. I concur in what was said by the hon. member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Heaps), that it was disappointing that the committee did not get full and adequate information as to the exact actuarial standing of the superannuation fund. However, I appreciate that because of the way in which this fund has been handled over a long period of years it might be difficult to give this information at the present time. I believe that the members of the committee did their best. The officers of the department cooperated in every way, and every effort was made not to break faith with those who have contributed over a long period of years. We also endeavoured to take in as many as possible of those who did not elect to come under the superannuation act when the opportunity was afforded some years ago.

The committee has made no effort to change the basis of superannuation, leaving it as it is provided for by the old act on a ten-year basis. I think by and large across the country,

salaries are generally considered on a five-year basis. I mention this so that hon. members of this house may give the matter due consideration when the report is being discussed fully. Along with other members of the committee I do hope that the government will consider this report most seriously. I concur in the suggestion by other hon. members that the recommendations should be implemented, if possible at this session. However, I would point out that this report is of particular significance to thousands of civil servants across Canada, and I should not like to see it dealt with too hurriedly. I believe this report will more or less establish the basis for which civil servants have been waiting many years.

I join with all members of the committee in expressing my appreciation of the manner in which the committee was conducted and I appreciate having been given the opportunity to serve on it. I urge that full consideration be given by the house to all the details of this report, and other amendments which may be suggested by the departmental officials.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of National Revenue):

Mr. Speaker, if no other hon.

member desires to speak, I should like to say a few words on behalf of the government. I think everyone recognizes that this is a very able, thoughtful and extensive report. However, if its recommendations are fully implemented, it will be a most costly report. I do not suppose it would prove a service for me to give the house an estimate of the total cost of carrying out all these recommendations, but if maximum advantage is taken of the recommendations by all civil servants in Canada, it will mean a considerable additional annual cost to the government.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

What would the cost be?

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

After deducting the increased contributions, the additional annual cost to the government is estimated at $1,533,500. It is estimated that the applications for arrears would cost nearly $15,900,000. These are the estimates which have been placed in my hands. The government has no objection to the house adopting this report, but it is most far-reaching. According to the information I have, it will mean placing from 15,000 to 20,000 temporaries under the superannuation fund. This will mean a considerable drain on the fund, which of course is not self-supporting.

I am not now referring to the solvency of the superannuation fund, but it should be remembered that the government is assumed

Questions

to contribute as much as the contributor. Therefore, an additional 15,000 to 20,000 contributors would mean a considerable expense.

I am aware that no government should look at this matter purely from the standpoint of cost to the taxpayers, but the government must have some regard for that and must consider these recommendations with that in view.

There are a number of factors which I might mention. One recommendation is that the option of transferring to the superannuation fund be given to those who have elected to remain contributors to the retirement fund. There are 4,900 persons who will possibly take advantage of this. Periods of election were given some years ago, first from 1924 to 1925, next from 1925 to 1926, and then from 1926 to 1927. These contributors did not avail themselves of the right to elect during that period. If the house adopts this report, and I have no particular objection to the principle if hon. members wish to approve it, they will be giving these persons the right again to come under the superannuation fund. If they pay up their arrears and take advantage of the benefits, a very heavy obligation will have to be assumed in this connection by the government.

Of the twenty-eight recommendations in this report, many have numerous ramifications. I do not think that this is the time or the place for me to go into them. The government can give no undertaking at the moment to implement the report at this session. It will have to give consideration, perhaps extensive consideration, to just where all these recommendations lead. It might be that if parts of the report were _ adopted by legisl* tion at this session important changes would be made. Apart from that I do not know that I can say anything at this time. If the house adopts the report the government will have to reserve the right to take a little time for consideration and not bring in a bill at this session.

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Motion agreed to.


PRIVATE BILL

May 24, 1939