May 7, 1952

LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

When shall the bill be read a third time?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF GEORGE A. TOUCHE AND COMPANY AS AUDITORS
Permalink
LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

Now.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF GEORGE A. TOUCHE AND COMPANY AS AUDITORS
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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott (for Mr. Chevrier) moved

the third reading of the bill.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF GEORGE A. TOUCHE AND COMPANY AS AUDITORS
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Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.


GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION ACT

COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITY OR DEATH FROM CERTAIN DISEASES

LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Hon. Milton F. Gregg (Minister of Labour) moved

that the house go into committee to consider the following resolution:

That it is expedient to introduce a measure to amend the Government Employees Compensation Act, 1947, to extend the provision for the payment of compensation contained in section 8 of the act.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION ACT
Subtopic:   COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITY OR DEATH FROM CERTAIN DISEASES
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Will the minister make a statement on the resolution?

Government Employees Compensation Act

Topic:   GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION ACT
Subtopic:   COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITY OR DEATH FROM CERTAIN DISEASES
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LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Gregg:

Mr. Speaker, I will be glad to make a short statement now. This amendment of the Government Employees Compensation Act, 1947, will not affect a very great number, but of course to those whom it will affect it is just as important as if thousands were involved. The Government Employees Compensation Act provides for compensation to federal government employees or their dependents where disablement or death comes as a result of industrial disease due to the nature of the employment. The right to compensation and the amount of it in each case are decided by the provincial workmen's compensation board under the statute of the province concerned. Under our federal act the term "industrial disease" is defined as follows:

Any disease in respect of which compensation is payable under the workmen's compensation act of the province in which the disease was contracted.

This amendment is needed because the categories of diseases now included under the definition of industrial disease in the provincial workmen's compensation acts are not exactly the same in all the provinces. Thus a few diseases which are listed as industrial diseases under some provincial acts may not be recognized as such under some other provincial acts.

Because of this situation parliament included in the federal act of 1947 a provision giving authority to make regulations to provide for compensation for federal employees employed in tuberculosis sanatoria and also for nurses in the field who may get pulmonary tuberculosis owing to the nature of their employment, regardless of the province in which the disease was contracted. The present amendment is designed to cover other cases; for instance, where a federal employee may be disabled or his death caused by a disease which is due to the nature of his employment and peculiar to his occupation, but not included in the statute of the province where the disease was contracted. We feel that all such cases should receive the same treatment no matter in which of the ten provinces the employee happens to be employed at the time.

This amendment is designed in particular to cover employees in federal government laboratories, particularly .animal disease laboratories and in animal disease field inspection work, where they may be exposed to virus infections in the course of their work. These diseases are not recognized as industrial diseases in the five provinces between here and ,the Atlantic: Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. Presumably workers in industrial establishments in those

five provinces are not exposed to the diseases in the ordinary course of their employment. Consequently there apparently has been no occasion in the past for those provinces to extend their acts to cover these cases. Federal employees so exposed will now be protected.

The proposed amendment is put forward after consultation with the provincial workmen's compensation boards and the health officers of the federal Department of National Health and Welfare as to the best way of handling these cases.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION ACT
Subtopic:   COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITY OR DEATH FROM CERTAIN DISEASES
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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Clarence Gillis (Cape Breton South):

I listened carefully to what the minister had to say in regard to what the proposed amendment means. I would judge that these are steps in the right direction and that the amendment is desirable and necessary. But there are other features about this federal compensation act on which I would like to say just a few words.

I have had the experience of handling a couple of cases under this act. One case was settled very expeditiously and satisfactorily. It had to do with a seaman, and was handled through the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier). But in another case on which I was consulted here in Ottawa, concerning an employee who was entitled to compensation under this act, the result was not so satisfactory. What I am getting at is that the federal compensation act as such has no machinery of adjudication, and the average employee who may be entitled to compensation under it knows very little about the act. The adjudicator, the person who processes the claim, is a provincial government employee here in Ottawa. I am thinking particularly of the city of Ottawa at this time because most of the federal government employees are located here.

In my opinion the adjudication and processing of the claims of federal employees works all right in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia or Manitoba. The natural thing for such employees is to contact the nearest official. Here in Ottawa, however, the average employee knows very little about this act. Many of them do not know where to go if they have an accident or contract some disease. Finally they are sent to the provincial government representative in Ottawa and then to a doctor in this city. Then that claim has to go to Toronto for adjudication.

I am not casting any reflections upon the efficiency of those in Ontario, Nova Scotia or elsewhere who have to handle their own claims. They are familiar with their own industrial set-up; they know exactly how

the regulations apply as between industry and industry. But I think it is wrong, with the great bulk of federal employees located in this city, to have the provincial adjudicators deal with claims arising here. In view of the large number of employees in this city I believe the minister would be well advised to set up somewhere within his own department a small board that would look after the adjudication of the claims of federal employees in this city. He should also make that fact known. Then the people affected would know to whom they should apply, from whom they could get advice, and where they must go to have their claims adjudicated. That would be done by someone who understood the circumstances existing in this city, instead of being sent to Toronto for processing and adjudication. The evidence is not properly assembled; it must be done by correspondence, and all that kind of stuff. In addition I believe the federal government should have a doctor somewhere in this city to whom federal employees might report in the event of an accident or illness, in order to protect themselves under this act, so their claims would be handled from a medical standpoint by somebody in this city, someone having to do with the federal compensation act.

I am not quarrelling with the amendment. I am not quarrelling with the act. It is a good thing. I am quarrelling with the mechanics in connection with the adjudication and processing of claims on the part of federal employees. The average member who has been taking a look at this during the years he has been here will realize that quite a few people did not get the kind of deal they would have got if there had been machinery here in Ottawa to administer this act instead of having the whole thing handled by the provincial authorities. I do not think there is any similarity between the kind of problems the provincial boards have to handle and the problems that arise when federal employees suffer accidents or contract what may be construed as industrial diseases. In making his statement I think the minister himself pointed up the fact that the definition of industrial diseases in the different acts across the country is not the same, and does not always cover the kind of industrial diseases that may be covered by this act. For that reason I believe some processing and adjudication machinery should be set up here in Ottawa, together with a medical consultant, so the federal employees located in this city might be properly looked after. I say that because we have such a great number of them here, perhaps more than are employed in the average industry, and I think a request that this kind of machinery be set up is logical

Government Employees Compensation Act and reasonable. I wonder if the minister would give some consideration to it.

Motion agreed to and the house went into committee, Mr. Beaudoin in the chair.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION ACT
Subtopic:   COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITY OR DEATH FROM CERTAIN DISEASES
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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Gillis:

Has the minister anything to

say on my suggestion?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION ACT
Subtopic:   COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITY OR DEATH FROM CERTAIN DISEASES
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LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Gregg:

As the hon. member knows, the administration of this act was transferred from the Department of Transport to the Department of Labour just two years ago. The objective, of course, in asking the various provincial workmen's compensation boards to act as adjudicators under this act was for the purpose of economy, and the fact that very effective boards are set up in the various provinces. I think that applies particularly to the province of Ontario.

For the year from April 2, 1951, to April 29, 1952, in the whole of the province of Ontario there was a total of 4,054 claims. I could get a breakdown of those as to how many were in the city of Ottawa, but the hon. member is probably able to make an accurate guess. Of those claims, 7 received pensions; 7 received compensation; 7 received full salary and 2,930 received medical aid; 16 were rejected and 4 were fatal. Other than what the hon. member has said today, it has not been brought to my attention that there were any delays in dealing with these claims, but after the representations made here I shall be glad to look into it to ascertain whether any cause for grievance in that regard does exist.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION ACT
Subtopic:   COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITY OR DEATH FROM CERTAIN DISEASES
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Will the proposed amendment be wide enough to cover the case of a rehabilitation officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs who develops tuberculosis through contact with patients, say in one of the military hospitals? As I read section 8 of the present statute, such an employee would not be covered. It does seem that there should be some change made so that cases of that kind could be dealt with. There would probably be similar cases in the Indian affairs branch, in which some government official would come in contact with tuberculosis but would not be eligible for assistance under the act.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION ACT
Subtopic:   COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITY OR DEATH FROM CERTAIN DISEASES
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LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Gregg:

Mr. Chairman, there was a special item inserted to take care of those dealing with tubercular cases, and it is my understanding that they were covered. Consequently, those in the veterans affairs department and Indian affairs branch would be covered prior to this amendment. This amendment only applies to those industrial diseases in the five eastern provinces that are mainly related to laboratories. I shall be glad to

Canadian Forces Act

check and make sure I am right on that, and refer to the matter when the bill is before the committee.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION ACT
Subtopic:   COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITY OR DEATH FROM CERTAIN DISEASES
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

As I read it, the act only refers to nurses and would not be wide enough to cover such a case.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION ACT
Subtopic:   COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITY OR DEATH FROM CERTAIN DISEASES
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LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Gregg:

I shall check on that.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION ACT
Subtopic:   COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITY OR DEATH FROM CERTAIN DISEASES
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

Can the minister say whether this bill involves any changes in the rates of compensation?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION ACT
Subtopic:   COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITY OR DEATH FROM CERTAIN DISEASES
Permalink
LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Gregg:

No, Mr. Chairman.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION ACT
Subtopic:   COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITY OR DEATH FROM CERTAIN DISEASES
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

In other words, the rates of compensation in respect of the new diseases being defined in this amendment will be the same as the rates already in the main act?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION ACT
Subtopic:   COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITY OR DEATH FROM CERTAIN DISEASES
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LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Gregg:

That is correct.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in.

Mr. Gregg thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 195, to amend the Government Employees Compensation Act, 1947.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION ACT
Subtopic:   COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITY OR DEATH FROM CERTAIN DISEASES
Permalink

May 7, 1952