Mr. ALPHONSE FOURNIER (Hull) moved concurrence in the second and final report of the special committee appointed to inquire into the operation of the Civil Service Act, as follows:
Pursuant to order of reference dated February 21st, 1939, your committee has perused the evidence taken before the special committee on the Civil Service Act presided over by Mr. Jean-Frangois Pouliot during the session of 1938; has studied most carefully the report of that committee; has examined the chairman and the chief executive officer of the civil service commission and has given consideration to numerous suggestions proposed by members of the committee.
Your committee recommends that legislation be enacted to implement the following proposals:-
1. Your committee deems it expedient and in the interest of the public, the civil service and the civil service commission that a standing committee on civil service matters be appointed at the commencement of each session of parliament, and therefore recommends to parliament that standing order 63 be amended by adding after clause (k) of said order the following clause: (1) "on civil service matters to consist of twenty-five members, nine of whom shall constitute a quorum."
2. That subsection one of section 38 of the Civil Service Act be amended by adding at the end thereof the following proviso:-
"Provided that, except on approval by the governor in council, such authorization shall not extend to the employment of a person who
(1) is not a natural born or naturalized British subject; and
(2) has not been a resident of Canada for at least ten years prior to such authorization."
3. That subsection (1) of section 33 of the Civil Service Act be amended by substituting the word "ten" for the word "five" in the last line thereof.
4. That the commission may, on the written request of the department concerned, and subject to the approval of the treasury board, appoint without competition any person who has already held a permanent position in the civil service and who has resigned, to the same or a similar position within the department, provided however, that such written request shall state fully the reasons for such appointment, and that such person is deserving of such appointment, is not over fifty-five years of age, is of good character, and in good physical condition, and the commission on being satisfied that such appointment is in the public interest, may appoint such person.
5. That section twenty-one of the Civil Service Act, dealing with vacancies in the departments, be amended by providing (in subsection two thereof), for the case of temporary appointments when there is no eligible list, that
the commission shall forthwith hold an examination, and, if necessary, to prevent any serious interference with the public business, but not otherwise, may fill the position at once, subject to the approval of the head of the department, by making a temporary appointment as prescribed herein, the only change in the subsection being the insertion therein of the words in italics above.
6. Your committee is of the opinion that the preference granted by sections twenty-eight and twenty-nine of the act to persons who have served overseas in the military or naval forces of his majesty's allies should apply only when such persons are natural born or naturalized British subjects, and also had been resident in Canada before the great war.
7. Your committee recommends that no male employee shall be retained in the civil service beyond the age of sixty-five years, and no female employee beyond the age of sixty years, and that such retirement be made compulsory, without any extension, except when deemed against the public interest by the governor in council.
Your committee is of the opinion that this would materially increase the efficiency of the civil service, would facilitate promotion and
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create a brighter outlook for the future of the younger people in the service or desirous of entering therein. .
8. Your committee recommends that all positions for which the maximum salary rate is $700 or less, except the positions of office boys, or others usually subject to promotion, shall be excluded from the operation of the Civil Service Act, and that the governor in council be empowered to make regulations for the control and direction, organization, classification, and compensation, appointments to and general conditions of such positions.
9. Your committee recommends that longterm temporaries on the staff of all government departments, who have been giving satisfactory service for a number of years, should be made permanent employees under the civil service commission.
Your committee also recommends that the civil service commission make effective by regulation or otherwise, the following proposals:
1. The committee recommends that no official or employee in the civil service shall make any direct or indirect recommendation or reference by letter or otherwise on behalf of any relative by blood or marriage, or take any part, whether directly or indirectly in any competition, temporary or permanent assignment, promotion, classification or reclassification in which any such relative is an applicant.
2. Your committee recommends that^ it shall be the duty of the civil service commission to make their own rulings on the operation of the act and apply the same uniformly, provided however, that any department affected by such ruling may request the civil service commission to join in any submission to the Department of Justice for an opinion.
3. Your committee reaffirms the eighteenth recommendation of the civil service committee of 1932 which is as follows:
18. Your committee is of opinion that there is a great deal of overlapping in the performance of duties by the heads of different branches of the civil service commission, owing to matters receiving the attention of the secretary of the commission which are in no way related to secretarial duties.
Your committee, therefore, recommends that the secretary of the civil service commission be called upon to perform only those duties which are peculiarly those of a secretary and that the civil service commission consider ways and means of eliminating duplication of correspondence and departmental memoranda which now pass through the secretary to the commissioners, and your committee recommends that all forms presently in use for such purposes shall be altered accordingly.
4. As the multiplicity of classification and the discrepancy in salary ranges tend to create dissatisfaction in the service, your committee suggests that the classification should be simplified to as great a degree as possible, with such reduction in the number of salary grades as is commensurate with efficiency and economy.
5. From the evidence it appears there is at present a considerable discrepancy in salary ranges as between departments and as between the various branches of the same department and as between the Senate and House of Commons, which militates against efficiency and co-operation. Your committee recommends that the organization branch be charged with special responsibility with regard to salary levels in order to simplify ranges and also to thoroughly
investigate salaries paid in comparable classes within and without the service.
6. Your committee recommends:
(1) That annual surveys of departments, units or branches shall be made in rotation by the various investigators, whether requested by the department or not, and such reviews shall be made so as to remedy overlapping, overstaffing or understaffing and any unfair discrepancies which may exist.
(2) That if there is to be specialization, it shall be within classes rather than by attempting to cover a whole department from top to bottom, as at present.
(3) That investigators shall mention in each report the time spent with each employee and the date and circumstances of the interviews.
(4) That investigators shall not sit on examining boards as members thereof.
7. In order to give the civil service commissioners a complete picture which will ensure fairness and departmental responsibility, and which will standardize the service and speed up handling of cases, your committee recommends that the investigator's report with the comments of the chief of the organization branch be forwarded to the department concerned and returned to the civil service commission with any comments such department wishes to make.
8. Your committee recommends that no married woman shall be employed even temporarily under her maiden name and that regulation No. 36 of the civil service commission shall be strictly applied.
9. Your committee recommends that standard advertisements to cover all classes and grades should be prepared and adhered to and that the practice which has often been followed in the past of -writing advertisements to fit the qualifications of a single individual should be discontinued. Your committee recommends further that any reason for varying such standard advertisements should be submitted in writing by the deputy head suggesting such variation and be reported thereon by the organization branch and that no such varied advertisement shall be issued or published unless previously approved by the civil service commission.
10. Your committee recommends that examination papers should not be translated for examination purposes but should be read by the examiners in the language in which they have been written, whether English or French.
11. Your committee is pf the opinion that wherever advisable, transfers to other branches of departments, as well as from one department to another, should be encouraged so as to facilitate merited promotions and for the purpose of helping employees to acquire £ general knowledge of the work of the depart ment or departments of the government. Youi committee considers that the effect of this recommendation will open new horizons to the younger employees by offering opportunities for advancement and promotion at the same time preventing the static condition of the service and remedying certain injustices.
12. Your committee recommends that in connection with ratings on efficiency and fitness on which selections for promotion are based, the fitness ratings, -whenever possible, be made by a board of three departmental officers instead of individual departmental officers as at present, and that the efficiency ratings be _ made by the immediate supervisors of the applicants and reviewed by the board of three departmental officers.
Your committee recommends that a system of periodical ratings recording the efficiency of employees be established for use in eon-
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neetion with promotions, classification, salary increases, and retirements and that the employee 6hall be advised of the results of all his ratings and shall have the right to appeal such ratings to the board mentioned in the following recommendation.
13. To facilitate the adjustment of complaints of a civil servant where such complaints cannot otherwise be adjusted, your committee recommends that such complaints be adjudicated by a board of appeal consisting of a nominee of a civil service organization named by the complainant, a nominee of the chairman of the civil service commission and one, who shall be the chairman of the board, to be named by the head of the department; the findings of the board to be reported to the bodies having jurisdiction over the matter, to be final respecting ratings for promotion, and to be put into effect.
14. Your committee recommends that promotions shall not be confirmed until after the expiration of fourteen days so as to permit the filing of an appeal to the board mentioned in your committee's thirteenth recommendation, and hi the event of such appeal being made that such promotion shall not be confirmed until the appeal has been disposed of.
15. Your committee recommends that the practice of placing employees in vacant positions m an acting capacity instead of holding promotion competitions for them be discouraged.
16. Your committee recommends that the commission investigate the feasibility of more extensive and adequate advertising of competitions by press and radio.
17. Your committee regrets that the recom-menaation of the civil service committee of 1932 "that all papers, documents, et cetera, placed on the files of the commission be consecutively numbered in each file, so that removals or deletions therefrom will be apparent has not been put into operation, and recommends that it shall be strictly observed and that_ also each document on file shall be duly initialed and classified in each file.
18. Your committee is of the opinion that:
(1) a departmental division of eighty per cent permanent and twenty per cent temporary results in discrimination in certain branches where the work is entirely permanent and where twenty per cent have to wait years for any hope of permanency; and
(2) disapproves of any practice which will result in a branch creating work to bring in extra temporaries so as to absorb into the permanent quota those who otherwise would not be permanent.
19. That_ in order to remove all appointments from political influence, all advertisements for applicants shall contain a notice advising the applicant that he must not seek political assistance to further his application.
A copy of the minutes of proceedings and evidence taken before your committee is tabled herewith.
He said: Mr. Speaker, a special committee to inquire into the operation of the Civil Service Act was appointed on February 21, 1939. This was the second committee appointed in the last two years to look into the operation of the act and the conduct of the civil service commission and its officials regarding the service in general. The second report was presented to the house on April 27, and on May 9 I gave notice that I would move concurrence.
The civil service commission is one of the most important bodies of public administration in Canada. It has jurisdiction over every department; it has control over a large number of civil servants, and the amounts of money expended by the government upon its recommendation are enormous. Since confederation many committees have been appointed to investigate the civil service of Canada, and reasons were given for these investigations. I may say at the outset that the Secretary of State (Mr. Rinfret), when moving the appointment of this year's committee on February 21, 1939, gave the main reasons for its appointment. I quote from page 1170 of Hansard'.
I have only to add a word to alleviate the fears of any hon. member that the continuance of the work of this committee may in the least degree weaken the authority of the civil service commission. On the contrary, the appointment of the committee is meant to strengthen the civil service commission and to surround it with the proper guarantees which it has a right to expect from parliament. I need hardly repeat what has been so often said by my right hon. leader (Mr. Mackenzie King), namely that the present government is strongly and unequivocally in favour of the merit system, and I believe that parliament, if the question were put to a vote, would pronounce by a very large majority in favour of the merit system.
Since confederation, committees have been appointed at different periods with a view to rendering the civil service more efficient. From 1877 to 1881 reports were made from different civil service committees to the house, and in 1882 a board of examiners was created by parliament to hold qualifying examinations for appointment to the civil service. These qualifying examinations were a strict rule for appointment to the civil service, but in 1908 a civil service commission was appointed and empowered to hold competitive examinations for appointment to the inside civil service of Canada. All appointments to the outside service were dealt with by patronage. But from 1908 to 1918, if you will study the statute, you will find that the last word in the appointment of civil servants was always left to the head of the department.
In 1918 the present Civil Service Act was adopted-not exactly in the form in which it now stands; but the principle of that act is what we have followed ever since 1918. All positions in the civil service were to be filled after competitive examination, were open to every part of the country, and wide publicity was given to the holding of the examinations. From 1918 to the present, civil service committees have been appointed and have laid down certain principles in the attempt to
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bring appointments, promotions, reclassifications and salaries more in line with the needs of the country.
In 1938 the government decided to appoint a civil service committee, which was presided over by the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot). The hon. member, who, as everyone knows, is one of the hardest workers we have in this house, gave all his time and energy to the holding of the fifty-two sittings of that committee. Over a thousand pages of evidence, I believe, accompanied the report which he laid on the table of the house last year, and facts and data were presented showing how examinations were held, appointments made and promotions dealt with. His report was a complete one, and he should be congratulated from all sides upon the work he did during the sittings of that committee.
In this year's committee we had twenty of the members who sat on last year's committee. The members of the committee this year followed the proceedings attentively, and every member gave his opinion in the preparation of the report. The sittings were devoted mainly to a consideration of the recommendations contained in last year s report. We had as advisers and heard as witnesses only the chairman of the commission and the chief examiner, Mr. Nelson. I wish to state here and now that I was impressed by the evidence given by Mr. Bland, the chairman of the Givil Service Commission of Canada. He is certainly one of the cleverest men we have had in that position. His evidence was carefully prepared, he was calm in delivering his statements, and he certainly was of great assistance to the members of the committee in preparing the report in which I now ask the house to concur. The other witnesses heard last year and this year did not impress me to the same extent. I noticed that some of the officials were not well acquainted with the act itself. When questions were put to them they hesitated before giving an answer, and on many occasions members of the committee referred to sections of the act to indicate that we would not touch things which to our minds seemed perfect. I do not wish to cast reflections upon any member of the commission or any of its officials, but in the years to come I am of the opinion that the situation could be bettered by the appointment to the commission of real technicians. A list of the technicians of the commission was filed, and I was surprised to find that most of them had passed examinations fifteen, twenty or twenty-five years ago as clerks in the civil service. They had grown up and learned their trade in the civil service, but 71492-301
some of them did not seem to have the necessary background to give to the commission the effect which parliament expects from it.
The report submitted this year is divided into two parts. Nine recommendations were made, two or three of which would, if adopted, require legislation. The remainder could be dealt with by order in council or upon recommendation and with the help of the commission. The other recommendations are addressed to the commission itself and concern the internal administration of their work in different departments.
The first recommendation was that the rules of the house be amended to add to the standing committees a committee on civil service matters. For two or three years special committees on the civil service have had to be appointed by reason of complaints made as to the operation of the Civil Service Act. It was found that when a considerable time elapsed between the appointment of one special committee and another there was an increase in the complaints made to members of parliament and people outside as to the way the act was administered, or how examinations were held, appointments made, or promotions dealt with. I really believe that if we had a standing committee on the civil service which would sit at every session, if necessary, or upon demand, the officials of the department as well as the members of the civil service commission and their employees generally would be far more careful in the work they do and the decisions they make.
I am not of that school of thought that believes that the civil service commission should overrule everybody and everything. It will be found upon reading the evidence of the committees of last year and this year that upon those committees were hon. members who had the most extreme views as to giving control of the civil service to three men, namely, the civil service commission, and others who believed that we should do away completely with that organization and have appointments made after qualifying examinations by a board of examiners. Actually our service is not completely a merit system. It is a dual system. A number of the employees are appointed after examination by the commission and according to eligible lists which are prepared by the commission. Other appointments are made by order in council, by votes in estimates, and, under section 59 of the act, upon recommendation of the civil service commission.
It is pretty difficult to obtain the exact figures concerning the number of civil servants in Canada. Mr. Ronson handed to the committee a list of employees in the