March 20, 1953

LIB

Paul-Émile Côté (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Cote (Verdun-La Salle):

The chairman of the board was, until recently, Mr. A. H. Brown, who was assistant deputy minister of labour. The members were Mr. B. J. Roberts of the national harbours board, who acts as vice-chairman, and Captain G. L. C. Johnson, assistant supervisor of nautical services in the Department of Transport.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink
PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

Where are they located?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
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LIB

Paul-Émile Côté (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Cote (Verdun-La Salle):

In Ottawa. They are civil servants living here.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink
PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

Do they make any report on their activities?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink
LIB

Paul-Émile Côté (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Cote (Verdun-La Salle):

They report to the Minister of Labour.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink
PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

Does the Minister of Labour make any report on their activities? Where can people find out what they have been doing?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink
LIB

Paul-Émile Côté (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Cote (Verdun-La Salle):

Their report is contained in the annual report of the department. I would refer my hon. friend to the one tabled for the last fiscal year.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink

Section agreed to. Section 2 agreed to. On section 3.


PC

Ellen Louks Fairclough

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Fairclough:

I realize that this act has been in effect actually for a comparatively short time, and that the amounts set out for burial expenses compare favourably with similar expenses in some of the provinces. However, it is still an extremely low figure.

3176 HOUSE OF

Merchant Seamen Compensation Act In these days, when all costs are very high, funeral costs in particular, it would seem to me that the amount set out here is a ridiculously low figure.

Much has been said about the high cost of living, but not much said about the high cost of dying. It has almost reached the point where one cannot afford to die. Will the parliamentary assistant say whether the department has taken into consideration the costs in the various provinces when arriving at this figure, or whether it simply increased the amount by an amount comparable with increases in other respects? I notice that the old amount was $125, and I believe it was placed in the act in 1946.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink
LIB

Paul-Émile Côté (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Cote (Verdun-La Salle):

And in the

regulations in 1945.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
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PC

Ellen Louks Fairclough

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Fairclough:

While some living costs have doubled and others have 'trebled, I think funeral expenses have reached an alltime high. Were those facts considered when arriving at this figure?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink
LIB

Paul-Émile Côté (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Cote (Verdun-La Salle):

One of the purposes behind this measure was to take into account the rise in the cost of living. That is why the main feature of the bill is an upward revision of the scale of benefits. The basis upon which these rates have been established has been, to a great extent, comparable figures prevailing under provincial workmen's compensation acts. We have taken inspiration from the rates applied by provincial boards. As there are ten provinces, and the rates vary from province to province, we have tried to strike a happy medium and, in the over-all picture, promote a worth-while improvement in the act.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink
PC

Ellen Louks Fairclough

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Fairclough:

It seems to me that since the administration of the act has been moved from the Department of Transport to the Department of Labour, and since the Department of Labour receives the benefits of its own Government Employees Compensation Act, which is really paid for by the department and administered by the provinces, it might have been well to have adopted the same type of procedure in this instance.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink
PC

Percy Chapman Black

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Black (Cumberland):

Does the parliamentary assistant consider that the provision for $50 a month for a widow, as set out in section 3(2)(d), is sufficient? It states that where the widow or an invalid husband is the sole dependent, there shall be a monthly payment of $50. It seems to me that is entirely too low a compensation at today's living costs. Upon what standard did the department base that figure? What standard do they accept in order to establish $50 as being adequate compensation for a widow under these conditions?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink
LIB

Paul-Émile Côté (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Cote (Verdun-La Salle):

I agree with the hon. member that this amount is certainly not excessive, but it compares with the monthly pensions to widows in all provinces except Saskatchewan and British Columbia where the amounts are $60 and $75 respectively.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink
PC

Percy Chapman Black

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Black (Cumberland):

Could not the minister, the department and the federal government set a standard for those provinces which the parliamentary assistant admits make too low a payment? If that is the basis on which they have established this payment of $50, why should not the federal government and this parliament set a standard for those provinces which are considered to be too low?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink
LIB

Paul-Émile Côté (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Cote (Verdun-La Salle):

Workmen's compensation legislation is under the jurisdiction of the provinces. This is intended to be supplementary to the workmen's compensation coverage. If our rates compare favourably with those of the provinces I think under those circumstances we could hardly be blamed.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink
PC

Percy Chapman Black

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Black (Cumberland):

I understand that under the British North America Act shipping and navigation is the responsibility of the federal government and therefore we should be setting a standard, by providing adequate compensation for these widows, for those provinces where the payments are admitted to be too low.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink
CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. Maclnnis:

I think the rate of $50 is

too low. The $45 which was paid in 1946 was really a larger amount than the $50 being suggested here. However, I must agree with the parliamentary assistant that the payments provided in the bill are not out of line with the average payments in the provinces. In Saskatchewan the payment for a child under sixteen years of age is $25, and this bill provides for a payment of $25 for each child under the age of eighteen years.

Perhaps a better way of providing for compensation to be paid for merchant seamen would be to put it on the basis of what is paid in the province where the ship is registered. That would give seamen on ships running out of Vancouver or Victoria a slightly better compensation than is provided under this bill. However, the difference would not be so great. I insist again that $50 today has much less purchasing power than $45 in 1946.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink
PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (Si. John's West):

I do not

think the parliamentary assistant has answered the argument. If $45 was considered by the dominion government in 1946 as being suitable compensation, how can it justify a payment of $50 today? The cost of

living has increased at least 90 per cent and I submit that there should be a higher payment for widows.

Take the case of a ship that goes down with all hands. The captain may be getting $500 a month, the first engineer $400 a month and so on down the line; yet the widow of every man lost will receive the same amount, namely, $50. Is that compensation for the loss which she has sustained? In times of war many ships have gone down and the widows of all the men who are lost are paid the same $50. I suggest that that is most inadequate. If the federal government is the supreme authority in the country it should set a good example.

It would take at least $75 to equal the $45 that was paid in 1946. It would not cost the federal government anything because they are going to be insured. It must be obvious to everyone that this is only a sideline for the Department of Labour or whatever department is handling it. Nobody seems to know what department is really handling it because there is one man from the Department of Labour and another man from the maritime commission. It is not receiving the attention that it deserves.

I admit that it is a good thing as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough. I suggest that greater attention be given to this in the coming year with special attention being paid to the amount of compensation to widows and to those who are engaged in this arduous occupation.

When replying to the hon. member for Charlotte reference was made by the parliamentary assistant to fishermen who go out from their home ports to the fishing grounds and then back in again and also to those fishermen who undertake long voyages to the north pole or to the south pole or into waters where they are more apt to meet with violent storms. It is not possible for them to run for a safe harbour when they receive a weather report that is unfavourable.

I have seen 60 or 70 vessels coming off the banks at one time because foul weather was reported. But when you are crossing the Atlantic to Liverpool or on some other long voyage you cannot do that; you must face what comes. Therefore they should receive a higher basic compensation.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO DISABLED SEAMEN
Permalink

March 20, 1953