May 31, 1939

INTERNATIONAL LABOUR CONFERENCE

DRAFT CONVENTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS- JURISDICTION OF DOMINION AND PROVINCES IN RELATION THERETO


Hon. NORMAN McL. ROGERS (Minister of Labour): Mr. Speaker, in accordance with the provisions of article 405 of the treaty of Versailles and the corresponding provisions of the other treaties of peace, I desire to lay on the table of the house, and thereby to bring to the attention of parliament with a view to any action which may be desired, the authentic texts of the draft conventions and recommendations which were adopted by the international labour conference, League of Nations, Geneva, at its nineteenth to twenty-fourth sessions inclusive, comprising in all nineteen draft conventions and twelve recommendations. With these texts, I desire also to lay on the table of the house the text of an order in council which was approved on March 7, 1939, dealing with the competence of parliament and of the provincial legislatures as to the subject matters involved in these draft conventions and recommendations. The decision of the judicial committee of the privy council in the radio reference, 1932 Appeal Cases, 304, had given rise to the view that the parliament of Canada possessed general legislative authority to give effect to international engagements, including those arising from the ratification of labour conventions entered into by the government of Canada. In reliance upon this view, three acts of the parliament of Canada were enacted in the session of 1935 to give effect to conventions of the international labour conference previously ratified by Canada, in respect of hours of work, weekly rest and minimum wages. The validity of this legislation was the subject of a reference which came before the judicial committee of the privy council in the labour conventions case, 1937 Appeal Cases, 327. The board held the legislation to be invalid on the ground that parliament had no such general legislative authority in relation to international obligations as was claimed, and that the subject matters of the legislation fell within the exclusive legislative competence of the provinces. The report of the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) on which the order in council of March 7, 1939, to which I have referred, is based, indicates that the individual draft conventions and recommendations adopted during the period 1935-1938 involve, with certain exceptions, subject matters in respect of which legislative jurisdiction is primarily vested in the provinces. In conformity with the decision of the judicial committee of the privy council, the procedure which was followed prior to 1935 has now been reverted to in respect of all of the draft conventions and recommendations adopted between 1935 and 1938 which were found to fall in point of subject matter primarily within the provincial sphere of authority, and authenticated copies of the said draft conventions and recommendations, together with copies of the order in council of March 7, 1939, have been transmitted through the Department of the Secretary of State to the lieutenant governors of the respective provinces for the consideration of their respective governments, with a view to the enactment of legislation, or such other action, upon the parts of the subject matter of the several draft conventions and recommendations within the provincial sphere of jurisdiction, as each government may be advised to take. Consideration has been given also by the government of Canada to certain aspects of the foregoing draft conventions and recom-



International Labour Conference mendations subject to the legislative authority of parliament, and in so far as these may be approved, legislative or executive measures will be taken to give effect thereto. As regards the draft conventions and recommendations affecting seamen which have been successively adopted by the international labour conference, since the inception of this body, all of which involve subject matters within federal jurisdiction, six draft conventions in all have been ratified already by this country, concerning: (1) minimum age for the admission of children to employment at sea; (2) unemployment indemnity in case of loss or foundering of the ship; (3) minimum age for admission of young persons to employment as trimmers or stokers; (4) compulsory medical examination of children or young persons employed at sea; (5) seamen's articles of agreement; and (6) the marking of the weight on heavy packages transported by vessels. Five draft conventions, Nos. 53 to 57 inclusive, and one recommendation, No. 49, which were adopted at the twenty-first session of the international labour conference in 1936, and one draft convention, No. 58, which was adopted at the twenty-second session in the same year, deal with matters affecting seamen which are competent to parliament. The provisions of these draft conventions .and recommendations are being given examination in the marine section of the Department of Transport, and parliament will be advised in due course as to any measures which may be taken looking to the acceptance by Canada of the proposals which are respectively involved. Attention is being given also by the government to draft convention No. 63, and recommendation No. 50, concerning statistical matters which are within federal jurisdiction.


CIVIL SERVICE ACT

MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND AND FINAL REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE


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 Civil Service-Report oj Committee 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- 4782 COMMONS Civil Service-Report oj Committee 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 Civil Service-Re-port of Committee 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



Civil Service-Report oj Committee different services of the departments of federal government, and the total was approximately 57,000. Not long ago in the house a return made by the secretary of state indicated that there were only 44,102 civil servants, namely 32,263 permanents and 11,839 temporaries. Mr. Ronson's total of 57,426 civil servants was made up of 43,200 permanents, 13,268 temporaries and 958 casuals. A large number of these employees -according to the chairman of the commission, some twenty to twenty-five thousand- have been appointed by the three methods I have mentioned, namely, by statute, by order in council on recommendation of the commission under section 59 of the act, and by votes in the estimates. Nobody has given evidence before these committees as to the qualifications of civil servants appointed by statute, by votes in the estimates, or by orders in council. I have not heard so many complaints in respect of, for instance, appointments to the income tax branch, which does not come under the Civil Service Act. I understand that the Department of National Revenue, before making appointments to the staff of that department, have a list of candidates, that these candidates are examined by departmental officials, and if qualified, they are appointed later upon the recommendation of the head of the department. Other appointments made by the commission, after examination, held, it may be, every year or every second year, are to the clerical classes-stenographers and clerks of different grades. I have not heard many complaints about appointments to the commission. The examinations appear to be held very fairly, although during the sittings of the committee we found that everything in relation to those examinations was not always correct, and probably other members of the committee will give their views as to the way in which examinations should be held. In general, I really believe, not many complaints are to be made against the manner in which appointments to the service are effected. Complaints come rather after a person is appointed, and on account of this order in council requiring that twenty per cent of the employees should be temporary such appointees may stay in the same position, without any increase in salary and without the benefits of the Civil Service Act, for one year, two years, five years and up to eight years. This is the subject of a recommendation, and it is a matter upon which the members of the committee felt very strongly. In this regard we have received a letter from the hon. member for Ottawa East (Mr. Pinard) giving all the reasons why the government should cancel that order in council, and pointing to the hardships occasioned to the people who passed examinations in good faith, believing, according to the act, that after six months they either would become permanent or be let out of the service because of inefficiency; yet some of these men and women remain in the service year after year, hoping to become permanent some day, but meanwhile receiving no benefit from the provisions of the act and having no prospect of promotion. I know of men who have been in the service for eight years, doing the same work as their confreres seated at the next desk, receiving the minimum salary, and not benefiting from the superannuation act or obtaining any of the advantages which pertain to the status of permanency. We believe that that is not fair to those who have entered the service anticipating that six months after their appointment they would have a good chance to become permanent and receive promotion and increase of salary. The argument against our recommendation will probably be that the cost to the country will be quite high. Certainly that is a serious consideration, and throughout the country there will be people trying to find out just what the additional cost will be. Nobody who appeared before the committee could give us the exact figures on this point. On the other hand the government must keep in mind that people who go into the service upon a temporary basis may have to wait, according to that order in council, if eighty per cent of the permanent employees are of the younger generation, as long as ten, fifteen or even twenty years before they will become permanent. In cases of this kind much hardship has resulted from the operation of the order in council, which was passed, I believe, in 1936. With reference to the recommendation that a standing committee on civil service matters be set up, serious reasons have been advanced against the proposal. I recently read an article by Professor McGregor Dawson of the university of Toronto in which he stated that in his opinion to hold sittings of such a committee every year would paralyze the initiative of the commission and its officials. In answer to that I can say that the committees inquiring into the operation of the Civil Service Act do not, generally speaking, go into personal cases or personal complaints of civil servants, and in the future, if the recommendations in this report as to rating boards and appeal boards are adopted, they will not inquire into those questions at all. Civil Service-Report oj Committee Last year, when the question was put to the commissioners and to the former secretary of the commission, they admitted that tJhey thought a standing committee would be helpful to the commission and to the service in every department. I have much respect for those who believe that it would harm the service, but from most of the information I have received I believe these committees help the service rather than do it harm. Another recommendation is an amendment to add a few words to section 21 of the act. It is in the second paragraph of the section, and concerns vacancies in a department when no eligible list exists. I will read the section so that hon. members will fully understand it: 21. . . . 2. The commission shall thereupon appoint the person whose name stands highest upon the commission's list of eligible persons for the class in which the position is found and who is willing to accept the appointment; in case there is no such list for the class, 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 by making a temporary appointment as prescribed herein. This is the section as it exists, and the amendment is to add the words "after being approved by the head of the department." The evidence is not very clear, but information was given that when vacancies occur in the departments and there is no eligible list from which to choose, someone in the commission, an examiner or investigator or a member of the commission, chooses somebody to fill the position temporarily with the result that examinations are delayed for a year or so; and while the temporary appointee is discharging his duties he has an opportunity to acquaint himself with the work, so that he is in a favourable position to pass the examination when it is called by the commission. I believe that this amendment would serve a useful purpose. It would provide that the approval of the head of the department should be obtained before any temporary appointment could be made and might induce the commission to hold their examinations at shorter intervals. The next recommendation is out of the ordinary. It was discussed at length in. the committee and opinions were divided as to its desirability. With regard to. this, the fourth, recommendation, it is represented that persons leaving the service with a view to improving their position or for the purpose of getting married or going into business sometimes find themselves, after two or three years, either out of luck, so to speak, or in distress, and having been efficient civil servants they wish to return to the service. The committee recommended that up to the age of 71492-3011 fifty-five such persons should be reinstated in the service under strict conditions but without having to undergo an examination. They would have to be approved at the request of the department and they would come back subject to the approval of the treasury board. Further, the commission would have to be satisfied that the applicant for reinstatemenA was physically fit to reenter the service andl possessed sufficient aptitude to fill the position.. I understand that this is a departure from the; merit system and it has been criticized by civil service organizations in Ottawa. I have received some protests from these organizations. The next amendment has to do with sections 33 and 38. In section 33 it is proposed to amend the qualification as to residence in Canada, substituting the word "ten" for the word "five." Section 38 relates to temporary employees. It is a general section and the committee decided to add this 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. We believe that under present conditions in Canada this ten year requirement should be imposed upon those who wish to enter the service. [DOT] Amendments to sections 28 and 29 have reference to those who served in the great-war in the allied forces. We are adding that these applicants should be naturalized or bom British subjects or have been resident in Canada prior to 1914. There are in the civil service many men who were members of allied forces, coming from other countries,, and after a few years' residence here they became civil servants to the disadvantage-of Canadians who served in the great war The next recommendation gave rise to a good deal of discussion in the committee. It concerns the retirement age for civil servants. We agreed on an age of sixty-five but added: at the end of the recommendation that sucfr retirement be made compulsory, without any extension, except when deemed against the public interest by the governor in council. That is not so drastic. In the last ten or fifteen years it has been suggested that civil servants should be retired at sixty-five. Many of them are quite efficient after that age and others not so well able to carry on, but in these distressing times we are of the opinion that the young people should be given a greater opportunity to enter the service and 4786 COMMONS Civil Service-Report oj Committee if civil servants were retired at this age on pension it would make room for a number of young, ambitious people to come in. Another contentious recommendation is to remove from the jurisdiction of the civil service commission all minor positions carrying a salary of less than $700. These positions embrace such persons as cleaners, helpers, certain labourers and caretakers and others working around buildings, appointed in every riding in Canada. The members of the committee were not unanimous, but many felt that the commission is not in such a position as to judge of the ability of persons appointed to such positions, in the city of Halifax, say, or in my own city. These members believe that the sitting member is better qualified to form a judgment. Those who favour the idea of bringing all these positions under the control of the commission will certainly propose an amendment to this recommendation. The majority of the committee were in favour of it and others were strongly opposed. For my own part, I should prefer in my own riding to make no recommendations and to have nothing to do with civil service matters, being as close to the city of Ottawa as I am. In the city I represent there are more than 800 people working for the government, and I would invite hon. members to come to my office and see some of the claims and the demands that are made with reference to employment. On the other hand, I do not like to see the commission, instead of getting in touch with me, calling up the principal of a school in my city or somebody else and asking whether he would prefer Mr. So-and-So to be caretaker at the armouries in Hull. I think I know the people in my riding better than most of the constituents of the riding do. I do not see that this recommendation would do any harm. The reason given by those who oppose it is that this is a matter of political patronage, to compensate for services rendered to the member or his friends during the election. That may be true, but I am still of the opinion that people who take part in political affairs and help candidates are not so bad. They have their qualifications and they can do as well as others who are recommended from other sources. Really, I am going to vote against any amendment to the recommendation. In my opinion the recommendation, if adopted, would relieve the commission of a burden which it cannot now carry to the advantage of the riding in which the appointment is made. That is my personal opinion, of course. A recommendation which received unanimous support was that long-term temporaries in the service should be made permanent and IMr. A. Fournier.] should be brought under the act. This recommendation was made last year and was supported strongly by the chairman of the civil service commission. In 1920-21 orders in council were passed giving these people the privilege of becoming permanent employees and receiving the benefit of the act, but only a certain number were admitted under the civil service commission, and I believe some two hundred are still temporaries. When they retire they will have no pension or superannuation or any of the benefits granted to civil servants under the act. They have been in the civil service for years and years, and we believe it would be only just and fair that they should be put under the act. I remember that in 1938 Mr. Bland advised in his evidence, pages 63 to 65, "that permanent status be granted to the long-term temporary employees who are still in the service and who, although qualified under the provisions of orders in council P.C. 2958 of December 16, 1920 and P.C. 3895 of October 22, 1921, did not secure permanent status at that time." If this were remedied I believe it would remove some injustices left since 1920-21. Now we have the recommendations of the committee. This is more in the administrative field and I will deal with these nineteen recommendations briefly. The first is to the effect that no one in the commission or in any department of the government should recommend the appointment of a relative or have anything to do in the appointment, promotion, classification or reclassification of a relative. I did not really believe that we should have this recommendation, because I thought that officials of the commission or high officials in the departments would not use methods not in accordance with the act to have their relatives appointed to positions in the service. But it was revealed in the committee that these things did take place, and we thought we should recommend to the commission that they look into these matters and prohibit all these undercurrent ways of obtaining positions or promotions in the service. One of the most important recommendations of your committee relates to the classification of employees in the different departments. Actually, if I am correctly informed, there are some 2,400 different classes of employees in the civil service of Canada, while in Great Britain, although they have not exactly the same system, they have divided their civil service into four broad classes with salaries ranging from so much to so much. When you start studying the classification of the civil service in Canada, inside of ten or fifteen minutes you are lost; Civil Service-Report oj Committee you do not know what it is all about. Take, for instance, the seventeen classes of lighthouse keepers. These ligbtkeepers receive from $180 to say $3,000 a year. The committee thought we could simplify the classification of civil servants in broad classes, so that the civil servants themselves would know exactly where they start and where they will stop as to salary or grades in the service. The recommendation is in very general terms, but if the commission try to apply this in the next four or five years I believe they themselves will see that it would render the service more efficient. As to the multiplicity of classifications and discrepancies in salary ranges, it is thought these tend to create dissension in the service. The committee suggests that the classification should be simplified as much as possible, with such reduction in the number of grades as is commensurate with efficiency and economy. This same recommendation goes as to the classification of salaries, which is the next recommendation. I believe that certain of these recommendations are not as important as those about which I now wish to say a few words. We suggest that the commission should change its rating system, where a rating system actually exists. I understand that at present the superior officer of an employee in the service rates the employee when required to do so, except in certain departments where there are annual rating of all civil servants in the department. Our recommendation is that a board of at least three departmental officers, instead of an individual department officer as at present, should make the rating; that the efficiency ratings should be made by the immediate supervisors of the applicant and be reviewed by a board of three departmental officers. The more people you have in to judge of the efficiency and fitness of an employee, the fairer will be the treatment of the employee in respect to increases of salary and promotion.


LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Would there be such a board in every department?

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier

Liberal

Mr. FOURNIER (Hull):

There should be in every department a board to give ratings to the civil servants; it should not be done by one superior officer alone. He will make the first rating, and this will be reviewed by the board. I know personally of civil servants who have occupied the same positions for many years and who cannot be promoted because their superior officer does not like them. They may be efficient; there may be some other reason, but they have been receiving the same salary for the last fifteen years.

I can tell of professional men in certain departments who were appointed twenty-five years ago at say $1,400 or $1,500 a year and are receiving now only about $2,000. I am not charging that the superior officers are not doing what they should, but when a reviewing board or rating board passes on the ratings, a man who does not get his promotion will at least have more satisfaction and consequently I believe will be a better servant.

We recommend that these ratings should be periodical. We did not think we should require it to be done yearly, although I believe that is done in the Post Office Department; but it is desirable that in each department there shall be periodical ratings, and these ratings should be known to the civil servant himself and should be known in his branch. If there is any complaint against him it will not be made behind his back; he will be able to see that he was checked when he was late on duty or did not do the work properly. He will know Aout it and if he is a good servant he will try to improve his work.

But the most important of our recommendations in this field is the establishment of appeal boards. There is no promotion given in the civil service which does not create discontent amongst the other employees. Generally when a position is open for promotion there are four or five or six who apply for the promotion. They are rated, as I have mentioned, by one official, and the others do not know why they are not getting the promotion and are kept back in the same position. We suggest the establishment of an appeal board consisting of a nominee of the civil service organization to which the complainant belongs, a nominee of the chairman of the civil service commission-

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LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I am sorry, but the hon. member has exhausted his time. He may continue only by unanimous consent of the house.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Go on.

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier

Liberal

Mr. FOURNIER (Hull):

I shall conclude in a few minutes-a nominee of the civil service commission and a nominee of the head of a department, who will be the chairman of this appeal board. These appeal boards have been discussed for the last twenty years but so far no recommendation in that regard! has been made to the house. We feel strongly that this recommendation should carry.

To this we add the recommendation of a delay of fourteen days after a promotion is made before it becomes final, so that if there are any complaints they may be made within that period.

Civil Service-Report oj Committee

There is a recommendation also as to the advertising of positions.

Our last recommendation is 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. This was recommended to help members of parliament to fulfil their duties without being obliged to try to pull strings to help people who want to enter the service.

To conclude, I feel that it will take many more years before a complete merit system shall be operative in the civil service of Canada. As governments are constituted today I do not believe they will hand over to an independent body the selection of those best qualified to occupy superior positions in the various departments. I believe hon. members are wasting their time if they say to the .government, "We are going to let these three rnaen, whom we appointed, make all the selections for appointment to higher positions," i because when you look into the civil service jyou find it so intricate, with appointments Ibeing made for many years from the same families and the same groups, that if you do not keep some authority over the commission you may have in this country a bureaucracy such as does not exist anywhere else in the world. We must have a system based on merit, but no doubt there will be long discussions as to what is understood by a merit system, and I do not believe two members will agree on that point. On the other hand we must maintain control over the commission so that it may not become one of those organizations, such as exist in some countries of Europe, capable of controlling and overthrowing governments. I believe our system is one of the best in the world. As time goes by I believe it can be rendered more efficient, that better appointments may be made and a higher class of civil servants admitted; and the reports of civil service committees during the past twenty-five years tend to these ends.

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LIB-PRO

James Allison Glen

Liberal Progressive

Mr. J. A. GLEN (Marquette):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to pay a sincere compliment to the chairman of the civil service committee, not only for the comprehensive and explicit manner in which he has explained the report, but also for his conduct during the deliberations of the committee. At all times he exhibited that courtesy which is a characteristic of his race, and showed ability and knowledge of civil service matters which proved very helpful to the committee. I believe it is the unanimous opinion of members of the committee that .the hon. member for Hull (Mr. Fournier) will

take a greater part in the public affairs of this country as the years go by, a view which has been supported by his presentation this morning.

I am in almost complete agreement with the report itself. It is true that we had a great deal of discussion, some of it acrimonious, with regard to certain features of the report, and it contains one or two features with which I am not wholly satisfied. For instance, in paragraph 4 we depart from the established rules in that we create exceptions in regard to people formerly in the service who, for reasons of their own, left to enter some other line of activity. In the past it has been found that many of these people, not meeting with success in that other business, desired to return to the service. They possessed qualifications which fitted them for the positions such as they formerly occupied, and the recommendation now made is that as long as the public interest is protected these people should be allowed to reenter the service without examination. I am not entirely pleased with that recommendation, but these matters can be ironed out in the committee next year, and perhaps no serious detriment will result to the public service if this procedure is followed in the meantime.

There was difference of opinion in regard to several other matters, and I was very much concerned in particular as to the question of patronage. In paragraph 8 of this report we have what I believe is the second invasion of the merit system since it was established in 1918. Strenuous objection was taken by many of us to this recommendation. Last year in discussing this matter in the committee I took the position that we should bring back under the statute those positions which had been taken out by the committee of 1932, I think. It will be remembered that up to that time only post offices where the revenue was under 8400 were under patronage, and that in 1932 that limit was increased to 83,000, which meant a large extension of patronage and a diminution of the powers of the commission. As I say, I took the position in the committee last year that all post offices should come under the jurisdiction of the civil service commission. Those of us who supported that view succeeded in having it adopted by the committee, but as hon. members know, concurrence in the report presented last year was not moved, so we were faced with the same situation this year. When the question again came up we found that those who supported this view were in the minority, and as a result that recommendation does not form part of this report.

Civil Service-Report of Committee

Again this year the question of such positions as lighthouse keepers, cleaners and so on was brought up in committee, and the majority in the committee were of the opinion that these positions should be taken out from under the commission; hence the recommendation contained in paragraph 8 of the report. I view this matter not from the point of the number of positions concerned, which according to the evidence of Mr. Bland would be only about seven hundred, but from the point that one invasion of the merit system has occurred in connection with post offices, and now we are faced with another. I am not so much concerned with the particular jobs affected, or their number, or the salary involved; I am dealing with the matter solely from the point of view of the merit system. The chairman of the committee has stated in the house, as he did in the committee, his point of view, and has indicated that he would be against any amendment that might be moved, knowing I intended to take that action. Let me explain that I intimated in the committee that I would again bring up the question of the post offices, but it seems to me that in these dying days of the session, with so many hon. members hway, it would not be possible to have a proper discussion of the matter, and that I might be defeating the very object I had in mind, namely the continuation of the merit system as far as those positions were concerned. For that reason I came to the conclusion that I would not introduce any amendment in regard to the post offices, but if there is a committee appointed next year, and we are all here, I shall certainly bring up the matter then.

We in the committee did consider the effect on members of parliament when they have to become an employment agency in connection with the civil service. Last year Sir Francis Floud, the British high commissioner, gave evidence before the committee, which evidence I believe has been fairly well disseminated throughout the dominion. When he was asked with regard to political influence in the English civil service he said that if any applicant wished to destroy his chances of obtaining a position the best thing he could do would be to obtain the recommendation of a member of parliament. In the old country the approval of a member of parliament simply means that the application is refused. The chairman of the committee referred to the recommendation made at the end of the report. While that does not go as far as I

should like it to go, I am always content with half a loaf when I cannot get the whole loaf. This recommendation number 19 reads:

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.

I am quite satisfied that, if adopted, this recommendation will be of considerable benefit, not only to the applicants and members of parliament, but also to the civil service commission. If the extension of that principle is made to a greater extent than is provided for in the recommendation, I believe the day will come when members of parliament will be able to attend to their duties as legislators without this outside interference.

There are one or two other matters which are not referred to in $ie report but which ought to be the subject of discussion. We discussed for some time the question of the entrance age limits for each of the respective classes, the types of examination papers, the advisability of holding examinations at dates fairly close to the annual graduation dates of our educational institutions, and other matters. Throughout the whole dominion, and especially in Manitoba, there are many young men in the colleges and collegiates who are looking for places where their educational abilities may be utilized. In our province there are not many young men preparing themselves for these examinations. There are many bright men who if they were directed in the proper way would be of considerable value to our country. There seems to be a general ignorance of the civil service. As a matter of fact, there is a feeling throughout the country that the civil service of Canada is open only to persons in the larger cities, and especially Ottawa. The consequence is that very few young men and young women in the far west are candidates for the civil service.

The suggestion has been made that some endeavour should be made to advertise vacancies in the civil service for some considerable time before they are filled. These advertisements could be placed in the newspapers so that young men would know when vacancies within the service are likely to ' occur and could direct their studies in an effort to qualify. I think this would be done by the civil service commission if there were a further extension of this principle. The educational authorities throughout the whole dominion should be made aware of these positions so that young men and women from all parts of the country could ultimately enter the service. In our report we have

Civil Service-Report of Committee

not referred to what is done in the old country in connection with the administration branch of the civil service. The young men who enter the administrative branch of the civil service in the old country really form the backbone of that service. They are not political appointees, and no matter what government may be in power they are ready to render the same service. When the labour government in Great Britain first took office and Viscount Snowden became chancellor of the exchequer, he was struck by the type of service he obtained from civil servants who up to that time had been unaccustomed to a Labour government, having worked only under Liberal and Conservative governments. He refers to this in his autobiography.

We have many extraordinary good men in the civil service to-day. I was amazed at the amount of material that was supplied to the committee during the two years in which it sat. The officers of the civil service commission appeared before us, and, without any reservations, submitted all the material facts they were called upon to submit. I was particularly struck by the attitude of the chairman of the commission. Several committees have been sitting during this session before which many outstanding officers of the government have had to attend. I do not think it would be out of the way to refer to Mr. Towers, who appeared before the banking and commerce committee, and Mr. Finlayson, the superintendent of insurance. In Mr. Bland I think we have a man who is as capable as any other member of the civil service. Mr. Bland rose from the ranks; he was not a political appointee, he was simply a civil servant who by the force of his own character and ability became the chairman of this commission. He is an example of what should be possible within the civil service. I make this commendation now because I believe in giving a bouquet to a man when he is alive, not after he is dead. In the chairman of our civil service commission we have a most distinguished public servant.

I should like to read some of the evidence given by Mr. Bland in connection with paragraph 8 of the recommendations. It has been said that the civil service commission is not in as good a position as a member of parliament or the defeated candidate to make appointments to small positions, such as lighthouse keepers and cleaners; that these positions should be taken out of the civil service commission. The question of cost was also referred to. In the committee the hon. member for Bruce (Mr. Tomlinson) had moved a resolution, and he wished to ascertain

whether its form was in accordance with what Mr. Bland thought would be proper. I should like to quote from page 120 of the minutes of proceedings and evidence of the committee taken on March 30, 1939. Mr. Bland was a witness, and he was asked by Mr. Tomlinson:

Q. Mr. Bland, I should like to ask you if the wording of that resolution is such that it protects all positions in which merit is involved or promotion? Does it protect those particular classes?

A. I think, Mr. Chairman, there might be two small amendments to clarify the motion.

Here is the pregnant sentence.

As the committee knows, from my evidence before it last year, I am of the opinion that it is in the public interest that all positions- even the lower grade ones-should be filled by competition. I do not think that I need to reiterate that. The committee knows what I think.

By Mr. MacNeil:

Q. Would you mind repeating that answer?

A. As I said before the committee last year, I am of the opinion that it is in the public interest that all positions-even the lower grade ones-should be filled by open competition. That is simply a statement of general belief.

Further on I examined Mr. Bland, and I quote from page 123 as follows:

By Mr. Glen:

Q. How long have these appointments been under the jurisdiction of the civil service commission?

A. Since 1918.

Q. Have you had any difficulty in operating the act with regard to these particular appointments?

A. Our main difficulty has been lack of sufficient funds to send examiners to hold tests for these particular classes, they being local appointments.

Q. If you had sufficient funds, there is nothing so extraordinary in the appointments but that they could still be made under the civil service commission?

A. No. I think they could be made satisfactorily if we had sufficient funds to employ sufficient examiners.

Q. Has there been any objection made with regard to the appointments under the act with regard to these positions?

A. As I told the committee last year, I think that positions of caretaker are more subject to criticism, because they are local positions in which residents of a small town or village are particularly interested. There has, I think, been perhaps more expression of opinion about appointments of caretakers than there has been about any other classes of that kind.

Q. So far as the general principle of the merit system is concerned, it has worked satisfactorily with you since 1918?

A. I think so.

Q. And if you had sufficient money wherewith to conduct proper examinations, are you of the opinion they should be within the Civil Service Act?

A. Yes, I am.

Q. Definitely so?

A. Yes.

Civil Service-Report of Committee

Further, on page 124, I asked Mr. Bland this question:

Q. I am going to ask you a question, Mr. Bland, and I do not know whether you wish to answer it or not. If you do not wish to answer it, of course, you will say so. We have heard a great deal with regard to the merit system in the civil service. Would you care to say that a recommendation such as is proposed by this resolution this morning is a breach of the merit system, as you understand it, under the civil service commission?

A. I believe better employees would be secured under open competition than by this system.

Q. You do?

A. Yes.

Q. Would you fear that there might be the danger, in the reopening and the taking out of the jurisdiction of the commission such appointments, that there might be other demands made in order to make a breach in the merit system?

A. I think that might be the natural consequence, yes.

On page 125 the hon. member for Bruce asked this question of Mr. Bland:

Q. Mr. Bland, why would you say that this affects the merit system?

A. I do not think I could put it any more clearly than I have put it.

Q. I think you will have to, to make me understand it.

A. Well, I shall try to say it again in another way. As Mr. Pouliot has said, we are expressing our own opinions. My opinion, based on my thirty years of experience, is that better appointments are made under open competition than under the other system.

Further on, in answer to a question by the hon. member for Bruce, Mr. Bland said:

A. I think this question can only be answered on the basis of general experience. I would not be prepared to say that you would not appoint as good a man as I would at all. But I do say that, taking by and large most of the appointments that have been made, my opinion is that better appointments are made when there is open competition than when there is not.

Q. Do you not realize that, as a rule, there is open competition with the average member?

A. I would not say it was open competition.

Mr. Lennard: No, it is not.

Mr. Tomlinson: You have not had any

appointments to make yet.

Mr. Lennard: I would say it is certainly not open competition. It is very much otherwise.

On the question of expense, Mr. Bland, the chairman of the commission, in a letter addressed to the chairman of the committee dated May 5, 1939, said:

Ottawa, May 5, 1939.

Dear Mr. Fournier,-

At one of the sessions of the committee I was asked to supply an estimate as to the approximate cost which would be entailed if the commission were to send a member of its examining staff to hold tests for the smaller positions, such as lightkeepers, caretakers, etc.

I have asked the chief examiner to estimate the approximate cost, and he is of opinion that $5,000 would be sufficient to provide for this work.

Yours sincerely,

C. H. Bland,

Chairman

I submit that $5,000 is a very small sum to pay in respect of a matter which involves,

I contend, a breach of the merit system in order that these positions may be retained under the civil service commission.

While the present act has been in force since 1918, I do not know whether many members or people outside this house know what difficulties there were in the civil service before that act was put upon the statute book.

I have here an address on the Problem of an Efficient Civil Service, which was delivered by the Right Hon. Sir Robert Laird Borden on May 26, 1931, to the Canadian Historical Association. Discussing the question of dismissals when a new party gets into power, Sir Robert Borden said:

There began to spread abroad the realization that wholesale dismissals followed by appointments based largely on party service were a serious detriment to the public interest. But this spirit was of comparatively slow development-

These are the words to which I particularly direct attention:

-and I doubt whether any administration, other than one founded on the cooperation of both political parties, could have secured the enactment of the Civil Service Act of 1918.

With that I wholly agree. At that time the act could have been passed only by such a government. From that day to this the Civil Service Act has remained on the statute book until it has become really worth while.

On the question of patronage, with which members are so familiar, Sir Robert Borden on page 4 of his address points out what I think is common knowledge to everybody in this dominion, and it is the basis upon which I form the conclusion that these post office positions should be retained within the jurisdiction of the civil service commission. Sir Robert Borden said:

This system was supposed to function in the interests of the member or the defeated candidate, but in truth it frequently operated to his disadvantage. Perhaps twenty supporters would seek a certain appointment and, although he might endeavour to throw the onus upon his patronage committee, yet he was held responsible. Thus, instead of twenty strong and active supporters he found himself confronted with the loss of the active political services of the officer whose appointment he had recommended while nineteen disappointed office-seekers would fail actively to support, if they did not actively or passively oppose, his interests during the next electoral contest.

4792 COMMONS

Civil Service-Report oj Committee

I am sure that every member of the house, especially those on the government side-and those opposite have been in that position- can endorse every word there said by Sir Robert Borden. I know I certainly can.

In connection with the appointment to small positions such as caretakers, the argument is made that the sitting member knows more about these things than the civil service commission, and c'an therefore make better appointments. On page 9 Sir Robert Borden says:

I do not for one moment venture to say that appointment by competitive examination will always result in the best selection, hut I do say it will conduce to the public interest and that it will result in better appointments than those made simply by reason of party pressure and for partisan reasons.

That is almost the exact language used by the chairman of the commission which I quoted a moment ago.

I do not think I need say much more. I think the temper of the people of Canada to-day is that, wherever possible, patronage should be excluded from our civil service system. I believe that paragraph 8 of the committee's report, if adopted, would be an invasion of the merit system, and should therefore be refused by the house. The rest of the committee's report is worth while and should be concurred in. The only objection I have is to paragraph 8. Public men in all spheres of life in every country where there is a civil service, and especially in the old country, are satisfied that wherever there is the slightest indication of a breach in the merit system within the civil service it militates against the efficiency of the service and is a disadvantage to the country. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I am moving, seconded by the hon. member for Halton (Mr. Cleaver):

That paragraph 8 of the report of the special committee appointed to inquire into the operation of the Civil Service Act which reads as follows:

"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." be deleted from said report and be not concurred in.

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LIB

Hughes Cleaver

Liberal

Mr. HUGHES CLEAVER (Halton):

We have in Canada to-day in the employ of the dominion government just over 62,000 men and women. They receive a total compensation of over 892,000,000 annually. From these figures it will be clearly evident that the group of individuals that assists the government of Canada in its administrative work

is one of the most important groups of people in Canada to-day, and I think we all agree that we should do anything within our power to assist them in carrying on their duties and improving their efficiency. Of these 62,000 men and women, only some 35,000, or a little more than half, are appointed by the civil service commission upon the merit system.

There are still large numbers of people who believe in the patronage system, and who think that government positions should be used as a means of rewarding their political friends. I do not say that these individuals are not entitled to their opinions, but I do assert that those opinions do not represent a majority opinion in Canada to-day.

As we have in existence a dual system, the merit system on the one hand and the political patronage system on the other, we might as well be frank about it. Necessarily there is a warfare constantly going on. Those who believe in the patronage system are constantly seeking to encroach on the merit system, and those of us who believe in the merit system must be eternally vigilant to see that these encroachments do not take place.

In discussing the question of the public service of Canada, it seems to me that the two most important factors with regard to the welfare of the country are, first, the question of who will be admitted to the service, and, second, the matter of promotions within the service. I find myself in entire agreement with the committee in its recommendations as to promotions within the service. My only complaint is that they do not go far enough. In brief, the committee's recommendations are these. We recommend that an annual survey should be made and that every individual in the service shall yearly be rated or scored with respect to the work which he has done during that year. We suggest that the result of these ratings should be made known to the individuals interested. If they feel that they have been unfairly treated, we have suggested that a properly constituted appeal court should be set up to deal with the complaints. We recommend also that a permanent record should be kept of these yearly ratings, with the result, we hope, that when the time for promotion comes the man or the women who by his or her work has earned promotion will receive it, entirely apart from any question of political influence or inside departmental pull or anything of the kind.

As I said a moment ago, I am in entire accord with the recommendations of the committee with respect to promotions, but I think we should go one step further. There are two very important instances wherein we

Civil Service-Report of Committee

make no provision for giving reward to merit;

I refer to the appointment of deputy ministers and the appointment of members of the civil service commission. I firmly believe that with respect to those two classes of positions the merit system should apply, that the appointments should be made by way of promotion within the service.

With regard to the question of entry to the service, here we arrive at a very serious difference of opinion. In seconding this amendment now before the house, I do so not because I regard the appointments covered by it as of any great consequence; I believe that the section of the report which we are asking to have deleted covers only some seven hundred minor positions. But I have seconded the amendment on the broad ground that I am opposed to any further encroachment upon the scope of the civil service commission. I believe that if we are to improve the service we should enlarge the jurisdiction of the commission so that eventually every appointment to the public service of Canada will be made upon merit. I believe that it would be decidedly to the benefit of this country to build up morale within the service, and to build up public confidence to the point where we shall have a public service comparable to that of Great Britain to-day. When I sponsored section 19 of our report, a recommendation that, in order to remove all appointments from political influence, all advertisements shall contain a notice advising the applicant that he must not seek political assistance to further his application, I did not do so in order to shirk personal responsibility, I did it with the idea that such an advertisement would be of material assistance to this country on two broad grounds: on the one hand it would inspire additional public confidence in the non-political character of the civil service commission; on the other hand it would inspire confidence in the applicants who are called upon to write these competitive examinations that there would be no political influence in connection with those examinations and that the best qualified candidate would receive the position. I believe that we should hold dominion-wide examinations for entry to the service, and that these examinations should be held at a time of year which would synchronize with the graduation of our students from the high schools, the business colleges and the universities. I should like to see these examinations set up in such a way as to attract to the service

of Canada the brightest minds in our student body. To that end I moved, but it has not been included in the report:

That a careful study be made by the commission with respect to:

(a) Entrance age limit of each of the respective classes;

(b) Type of examination papers;

(c) Advisability of holding general examinations country wide at the right season of the year and coordinating with our educational institutions and that such matters be dealt with by the committee of the house next year.

This proposal I sponsored in the hope that we would attract to the civil service our brightest students. I should like to see the civil service looked upon as a profession just as highly esteemed as any of the others, and I believe that if the merit system could be made universal and these different reforms brought about, we would attract to the service our brightest students.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. H. A. STEWART (Leeds):

I desire to discuss briefly this very important report. My first comment is that it is unfortunate that the motion for adoption of a report upon which a committee has spent so much time, which report is found in the votes and proceedings of April 27, is brought forward only in the last day or two of the session. I say that because it is a report of far-reaching effect, of importance to the large body of public servants and to the public at large.

I was a member of the committee which had this matter under consideration, not this year but the year before, and I think we may all agree that the investigation was indeed a searching one. A great deal of time was spent in reviewing individual files and in hearing the testimony of witnesses who could give any information upon the matters which the committee had under consideration. I wish to pay a tribute to the committee for the searching character of their investigation and the thoroughness with which they dealt with all these subjects, and in the main I approve of their report.

One inevitable result of this report, and one upon which I think there is almost unanimous consent, is the vindication of the conduct of the civil service commissioners in the administration of the act. There was unfortunately, I believe, some suspicion, some suggestion, that the administration had not been exactly what it should be, and everything that pointed in that direction was brought forward, discussed, considered and answered. I think we may agree that the commissioners came through that investigation with a clean sheet. They have a difficult duty to discharge, a great many cases to deal with; and a review

4794 COMMONS

Civil Service-Report oj Committee

of these numerous files failed to disclose anything in the nature of maladministration, wilful misconduct or anything that seriously reflected upon the administration of the civil service commission. That may be said also of the chief officials who appeared before the committee.

Another most fortunate result of the report is the recognition of the value of the merit system. I do not find in this report or in anything that took place before the committee any serious contention that the merit system i3 not in the public interest. I say that after an experience of the working of this system for twenty years. I do not believe there is a member in this house who would assume the responsibility of moving that appointments on the basis of merit be discontinued. I say, therefore, that our experience over a period of twenty years and after all these investigations is a vindication of the adoption of the principle of appointments to the public service on the basis of merit and of competitive examination, which is embodied in the Civil Service Act.

Having once adopted that principle, I think it is very difficult for us logically and convincingly to argue that any appointment should not be made by the civil service commission. If we adopt the general principle that the merit system is sound, then where are we to draw the line and say that this or that class of appointment should not be made by the commission but can be better made in some other way? It appears to me to be illogical and unsound, and a disposition, not an unnatural one, to cling to the old system of patronage. There are those who think that that is the proper system with respect to all appointments, but I believe those who hold that view are very few. There are those who believe that it is not sound with regard to any appointment, and I find myself, after considerable experience, in the ranks of the latter.

Any member of parliament who has had much experience will admit that there is no advantage either to himself or to his party in the long run to be derived from appoints ments or from political patronage.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND AND FINAL REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

Or pork banrels.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND AND FINAL REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

Or anything of that sort. If we believe in the merit system, and I say we do, is it not desirable to remove from the public mind any confusion, any misunderstanding and misconception in connection with appointments to the public service? At the present time, when we make some appointments through the civil service commission and some on another basis, can we blame the public fear being confused, for not

understanding the situation and assuming that when an appointment is to be made it will not be exclusively under the jurisdiction of the civil service commission? The result is that in connection with appointments that are under the commission some people have the suspicion and the belief that something can be done by the sitting member to secure the appointment for them. The result is the exercise of pressure; representations are made, and the membeir or defeated candidate is subjected to the difficulty of convincing an applicant that the appointment is to be made by the civil service commission and he cannot do something about it. If we approve the merit system, the sooner we cause the public to understand that that system prevails in appointments to the public service, that no other influence can intervene or be exercised, but that all appointments are made on that basis-the sooner that is done, the better, for the civil servant, for the public, and for men in public life. For this reason I find myself opposed to section 8 of the report, which recommends that all positions under $700 a year should be excluded from the operation of the Civil Service Act. It is an arbitrary line to draw.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND AND FINAL REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
CON

David Spence

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPENCE:

What was the amount

before?

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND AND FINAL REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

I do not know.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND AND FINAL REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink

May 31, 1939