April 28, 1971

GOVERNMENT ORDERS


The House resumed, from Tuesday, April 27, consideration of the motion of Mr. Mackasey that Bill C-228, to amend the Canada Labour (Standards) Code be read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Labour, Manpower and Immigration.


IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. Is it understood that the minister's being called now will close the debate? I believe there was discussion in the House yesterday with regard to this matter. If there is no further discussion on the point, and the minister speaks now, he will close the debate. Is this agreed?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA LABOUR (STANDARDS) CODE AMENDMENTS RESPECTING HOURS OF WORK, WAGES, VACATIONS, TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT, ETC.
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA LABOUR (STANDARDS) CODE AMENDMENTS RESPECTING HOURS OF WORK, WAGES, VACATIONS, TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Bryce Stuart Mackasey (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Hon. Bryce Mackasey (Minister of Labour):

Mr. Speaker, my first words are to thank the members of the opposition for permitting me to close the debate at this time in order that we may go on to other legislation before six o'clock.

As is customary with legislation dealing with labour, Mr. Speaker, the debate has been marked by very constructive criticism of changes and additions to the Labour (Standards) Code as well as suggestions on how the bill could be improved at the committee stage. It has been noted by most speakers that while the bill does not amend or change to any great extent the standards that are incorporated in the present legislation, nevertheless in many areas the proposed changes are breaking new ground in this country.

I might recall for members who have not been present during the debate of the last couple of days that for the first time in the federal field we will be providing for severance pay, group termination, individual notice, maternity leave, equal pay for similar work and protection for workers against loss of employment as a result of garnishment of their wages. The differences of opinion, which were valid, of course, did not centre on whether we should include those features in the legislation which the House is being asked to adopt in principle but whether the changes proposed go far enough.

There has been criticism of the whole approach of the government to labour and I am not certain that these criticisms were expressed at the proper time on second reading. I might remind the House once again that a

companion piece of legislation will be introduced later in the session which will deal with industrial relations; that is, it will deal exclusively with what we tend to call the organized sector of labour.

As I mentioned earlier in the debate, I think we all too frequently forget that approximately 60 per cent of the work force in Canada, and certainly more than 50 per cent in the federal field, is made up of workers who for the most part depend upon the standards and mini-mums-I emphasize the word "minimums"-that are introduced and passed in this House, rather than upon trade unions, craft unions or any other form of protection at the bargaining table.

In other words, the minimum wage, hours of work, conditions for drawing overtime and all the new provisions that I mentioned are now available to people in the unorganized sector of the economy as a result of leg sla-tion and not as a result of collective bargaining. Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, I must emphasize that the standards we are introducing and the standards we are amending, particularly in the minimum wage area, are meant to be precisely that-standards and minimums. It is not the intent as a general principle to run ahead of collective bargaining because that would be very unfair to the employer and to some degree unfair to those employees who do have the right to bargain collectively for conditions of employment.

There was some talk yesterday, Mr. Speaker, of the effect the minimum wage could have on our export position, but I have been unable to trace any such effect. As a matter of fact, in preparing this bill and in preparing myself for debate on various occasions, not only in this House but elsewhere, and considering the effect the minimum wage would have on the economy through the work force and its possible effect on employers and industry, I have been surprised, and disenchanted to some degree, at the lack of material available on the effect not only of the minimum wage but of termination, individual notice, and so forth.

There has been mention of the textile industry. Speaking for myself and not necessarily the government, I agree with the concept raised by some members of the House that labour should not resist technological change. I have always been an advocate of the concept that for our industries to remain competitive in the export field, labour and management must accept technological change, innovation and new methods of automation. While these may have the short-term effect of reducing a particular work force, in my opinion the end result is a more competitive industry. The studies which I have read, which are available in any library, indicate that our real competition in the textile industry-Japan and Korea-stems not primarily and exclusively from inexpensive labour in those countries but, rather, because these countries have taken advantage of the latest technology.

Having said that, and recognized that labour is on shaky ground in rejecting technological change, I think employers are also on shaky ground when asking labour to accept technological change for the good of the coun-

April 28, 1971

try, for the good of their children and grandchildren because change sometimes prevents the disappearance of an industry. I think employers should be prepared to minimize the effects of technological change and to give labour as much advance notice as possible of its introduction, with an opportunity to appreciate the end result. Labour should have a voice in the decision-making when technological change is to be introduced.

I was not aware of the effects on our Unemployment Insurance Department a year or two ago when it was found necessary to introduce computers into the operation because of the workload resulting from an increased work force. At first glance it meant the elimination of 800 jobs. But when I insisted, quite properly, as the minister charged with the basic responsibility in this area that positions be found for these 800 people, positions were found because the officials realized that they had to help in retraining those people on the job and to look after them in the sense that they had to be reclassified and helped with mobility grants. As the result of a little hard work and co-operation on the part of the work staff, all 800 people were absorbed by the unemployment insurance staff. When we reorganized our unemployment insurance structure in the future in order to improve the service to the people of this country, I hope this again will be the pattern-that we will not reduce our over-all strength but, on the contrary, we will probably add to it.

Without delving too deeply into the philosophy of minimum wages may I say that according to studies I have undertaken increased minimum wages, at one time or another, force companies into making bad decisions. They must decide on occasion whether they will pay increased minimum wages and remain inefficient, or reduce the work staff and introduce a greater degree of automation, thus placing their industry in a more competitive position. The result may be that the company concerned not only may remain in business but may expand its business. This is the concept I have alluded to and essentially I think it is an honest one.

May I say at this point that I agree that labour ought to accept technological change. I also believe that management has a responsibility to consult and negotiate, when it has arrived at a decision to introduce technological change, with the representatives of the work force and as a result of the ready acceptance of technological change labour may be redistributed, absorbed elsewhere or in some cases reduced. I think companies which have adopted this realistic approach have in most instances found labour to be very receptive and co-operative and I think the end results have been encouraging.

In going through some of the research material relating to the effects that minimum wages have on certain labour-intensive industries we usually find that one of several things happens. Surprisingly, one effect of the minimum wage is that it brings about greatly increased managerial competence, which results in higher productivity. Higher productivity makes it easy for the employer to accept or absorb the increased minimum wage. I am

Canada Labour (Standards) Code

talking about industries which have traditionally depended upon inexpensive labour for their survival.

The increase in the minimum wage is quite often offset by increased managerial responsibility and efficiency. This usually results in increased productivity. Sometimes it results in a conscious decision on the part of management to automate plant in order to make it more efficient. As a result, the work force may be reduced temporarily but the economy is better off. In short, I have very little sympathy for businesses which are able to exist simply because there is a pool of cheap labour at their disposal. You will usually find that these industries hide behind high tariff walls. That is unfair to some parts of the country and does not strengthen our position as an exporting nation.

I am sure that when we get to the committee stage there will be the usual well-meaning amendments suggesting 1hat the minimum wage be increased beyond the proposed $1.75. Perhaps what I am about to say will contradict what I have said previously. Having said, on the one hand, a minimum wage is most beneficial, I am also saying paradoxically that in increasing minimum wages in a federal state such as this I must be conscious of the effect that action will have on all the provinces. Our minimum wage law affects industries under federal jurisdiction that can better afford to pay the new, higher minimum wage than other industries. Here I am thinking of chartered banks, radio and television stations, trucking and industries like that. I am therefore not unmindful of the problems of the provinces.

It has been suggested that I am interested in raising the minimum wage because I want to become more popular. I suppose if I were to follow the logic of that argument I could become even more popular by bringing forward a minimum wage of $2, $2.25 or even $2.50 as the hon. member for Crowfoot (Mr. Horner) has been suggesting. I have a sense of responsibility which prompts me to take into consideration the problems of the provinces, particularly the Atlantic provinces where many small communities still engage in labour-intensive industries. Those industries do not lend themselves easily to automated methods of production or to technological change.

While I might like to see the minimum wage raised to $2, $2.25 or even $2.50 an hour if we were legislating in isolation from the other ten jurisdictions, nevertheless that cannot be done. I feel responsible for what happens in the provinces and I have a responsibility to the Ministers of Labour of the provinces-this has nothing to do with political backgrounds-not to distort beyond a reasonable limit wage patterns in industry. In other words, although traditionally industries under federal jurisdiction have paid higher minimum wages than in other industries, we do not want to go ahead so far ahead of the pack as to create embarrassing problems for some communities. That has been the experience in Manitoba. I do not wish to deal too stringently with the things that province has done because the debate so far has been moderate.

The government of Manitoba was elected because of its pro-labour concepts and its concern for people. Neverthe-

April 28, 1971

Canada Labour (Standards) Code

less, that province has had to set its minimum wage at a realistic level. They set it on the high side, which brought about the very real possibility that industries might move from Manitoba to other provinces where the minimum wage is considerably lower or where the distribution of goods is easier than in Manitoba. It is Utopian to set the minimum wage at $2, $2.25 or $2.50 an hour, but one cannot do that realistically and one must take into account the particular problems of each province.

Having said that, I am pleased to say that our minimum wage legislation has had the effect of forcing some of the more conservative members of the business community- I spell conservative with a small "c"-to realize that the minimum wage is really an instrument that can be used in the alleviation of poverty. It has been properly pointed out that you do not get rich if you are paid the minimum wage and it is very difficult, no matter how thrifty you are, to accumulate savings on a wage of $50 a week. Frequently wages paid are so low that people cannot live on them. Low wage rates encourage inefficient businesses and the continuation of cheap labour for certain employers. By permitting low wages we are really subsidizing those employers because their employees, not being able to live on their wages, need help which is often given in the form of supplements of some kind or welfare. Thus the taxpayer is made to subsidize those employers. In this way we are indirectly subsidizing inefficient management and underpaid labour.

Having said this, I propose that we stick to the minimum wage of $1.75 despite the eloquent arguments which have been advanced from all parties, including my own, for the minimum wage to be set at $2. The cost of any increase must be considered. A ten-cent increase in the minimum wage will bring about an additional cost of $2 million. To raise the minimum wage to $2 an hour would cost about $20 million. In reality we are proposing to increase the minimum wage from $1.25 to $1.75 in two stages and in a rather short period of time. On July 1 last the minimum wage was $1.25 and soon it will be $1.75.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA LABOUR (STANDARDS) CODE AMENDMENTS RESPECTING HOURS OF WORK, WAGES, VACATIONS, TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT, ETC.
Permalink
NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, would the minister permit a question? Would he indicate whether the cost figures he referred to just now represent the cost to society as a whole or the cost to the government?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA LABOUR (STANDARDS) CODE AMENDMENTS RESPECTING HOURS OF WORK, WAGES, VACATIONS, TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Bryce Stuart Mackasey (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Mackasey:

Mr. Speaker, speaking subject to correction because I do not have the figures in front of me, it is anticipated that this would be the increased cost to employers who would be asked to absorb the increase in the minimum wage.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA LABOUR (STANDARDS) CODE AMENDMENTS RESPECTING HOURS OF WORK, WAGES, VACATIONS, TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT, ETC.
Permalink
NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mostly private employers.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA LABOUR (STANDARDS) CODE AMENDMENTS RESPECTING HOURS OF WORK, WAGES, VACATIONS, TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Bryce Stuart Mackasey (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Mackasey:

As I mentioned earlier in my remarks, I have no particular brief for chartered banks, radio or television stations. If I have any reluctance to increase the minimum wage to more than the $1.75 it is because I am not unaware of the problems of the provinces, includ-

ing the province of Manitoba, which at some point become realistic and appreciate the effects of minimum wages. Certain provinces may have many labour-incentive industries.

We discussed methods of an adjusting formula. At one time I said, when bringing in the minimum wage of $1.65, that I was hopeful of finding a suitable formula. We can discuss in the committee an acceptable formula that will not be too rigid. The problem is that these formulas have a tendency to work in two directions. Despite the amount of research and effort we in the department have put into it, we have yet to come up with a suitable formula. We have made it possible for the Governor in Council to make increases on the recommendation of the Minister of Labour to his colleagues. Some people have quite properly and gently pointed out the political ramifications of the power given to the Minister of Labour through the Governor in Council to increase the minimum wage a month before an election. I will be quite prepared to accept an amendment at the committee stage which will limit the amount I could increase it by, if someone from the opposition would like to introduce such a formula into the bill.

I will deal very briefly with the hours of work because this is one of the areas where there is a legitimate difference of opinion. This is one of the provisions in the old labour code. Part I basically states the concept that nobody in Canada should work more than 40 hours a week, and if he is obliged to work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week he should draw time and a half. That is a basic concept which I endorse and a philosophy which most people in my party endorse.

Employees can work as many as 48 hours a week without being in violation of the code. The problem is in particular industries-the running trades, the field of transportation, railways, shipping and airline industries. While this concept is Utopian and desirable, it is not practical. It is all right for members opposite to say that the code should be rigidly enforced. The first people who would complain if the code were rigidly enforced would be the trade unions of this country. I know this from representations which they have made.

What we are proposing to do with the new code is introduce a large degree of flexibility, as mentioned by the hon. member for Halifax-East Hants (Mr. McCleave) in his very useful contribution. This bill will permit me for the first time to treat one segment of an industry different from another. In other words, there is no real logic in the shop crafts in the railways not being protected by this basic philosophy of eight hours a day, 40 hours a week. Their pattern is fairly uniform. This is true of a mechanic in the trucking industry who goes to work at eight o'clock and comes home at four or five o'clock, depending on the work pattern. There is no reason why the code should not be stringently enforced in these areas. Because it is virtually impossible to apply the code so narrowly in other areas of the trucking industry we have been unable to apply the code in those areas where it makes sense. The built-in flexibility in the bill will permit me to do precisely that.

April 28, 1971

One of the aggravations of the Minister of Labour, as was quite properly pointed out yesterday by members of the New Democratic Party, is that I seem to spend all my time signing exemptions from the code. After one more inquiry in each industry we propose to set up practical standards for the industry, that is, practical in the sense that if 60 hours is practical, then after representations from employees and employers this will become the standard of that segment of the industry where it makes sense. We must remember, of course, the necessity and importance of the companion piece of legislation, the safety code, where regulations are finally coming to completion after much prodding by interested members opposite.

We have to weigh the number of hours we will permit the transportation field, the trucking industry, to work. We have to couple this with the responsibility to society to make sure that a driver is working under the safest conditions and not running on pep pills or falling asleep at the wheel. The two must be balanced. Under the proposed legislation, which we can discuss in greater detail in committee, this will now be practical. This meets with the approval of the strong unions. I use the word "strong" numerically.

If one looks at the latest representations made by the association representing the railway employees he will see that on one page they recommend complete endorsa-tion of the code and on the next page they say, "But we don't want it applied here". In other words, they would like to have their cake and eat it too. Any member who says that we should limit everyone's work week to 40 hours a week, eight hours a day, is not being realistic. I hate to say this. It may be desirable but it is not realistic. Nevertheless, the introduction of the code in 1965 and the adoption of the basic princ pie by this House has been good. In every industry, with one or two exceptions, we have been able to move from the practice that prevailed in 1965 to a much more enlightened and realistic position in 1971. In the airline, shipping and trucking industries we have been able to reduce the number of hours a person can work without sleep, etc. Rather than the exercise being considered futile, it has been very useful.

There have been many favourabe comments about the concept of equal pay for similar work. Some members more knowledgeable than I, know that legislation introduced in the late fifties attempted to do this. The weakness in that legislation was that the onus was on the alleged aggrieved person to instigate an investigation. Few people were that brave, especially when jobs for women were, and still are, scarce in many industries. Women were reluctant to bring to the attention of the department a formal complaint of alleged discrimination in the field of equal pay for equal work. This will now be rectified. That act will be eliminated and this facet of labour legislation will be introduced into the code.

The basic change will be the added responsibility assumed by our inspectors. They now visit employers under federal jurisdiction and check on wages, hours of work and other features of the code. They will have the added responsibility and duty of digging out these forms of discrimination as indicated by the payroll. By using

Canada Labour (Standards) Code

the term "similar work" we are reducing the possibility of the odd reactionary employer to circumvent the law by saying that the work done by females is not quite equal.

Some hon. members delved into the area of general discrimination against women in the work force. This is more properly treated under the fair employment practices bill. The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) is nodding his head, recognizing his own contribution about the possibility of discrimination in an industry predominantly male or female. He was in reality talking about the provisions that should be included in the fair employment practices bill which will be before the House perhaps this fall and certainly no later than next spring. It will be a companion piece of legislation. The two pieces of legislation cover equal pay for similar work, which will be in the present code, and the fair employment practices bill which will eliminate discrimination practiced against anybody, not just women, discrimination against race, colour, creed or sex.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA LABOUR (STANDARDS) CODE AMENDMENTS RESPECTING HOURS OF WORK, WAGES, VACATIONS, TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT, ETC.
Permalink
NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

As long as you

are working on it.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA LABOUR (STANDARDS) CODE AMENDMENTS RESPECTING HOURS OF WORK, WAGES, VACATIONS, TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Bryce Stuart Mackasey (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Mackasey:

The government is working very hard on it. The hon. member for Hamilton West (Mr. Alexander) referred to the question of public servants. In our department we are working very closely with the appropriate minister and officials in the public service to make certain that this change in the labour code and the present fair employment practices act is applied a little more assiduously and with a little more vigour than has been the case in the public service in the past. As has been mentioned in the debate, Mr. Carson and others who are knowledgeable of the public service have admitted that perhaps we have not been as assiduous as we should have been, but if any of them are listening now they may take my word that we intend to increase our activities in this field and make sure there is no discrimination being practiced in the public service, at least in those areas over which we have jurisdiction.

I do not intend to get into a discussion on equal pay. We can do this when we get to committee. As to the question of annual vacation, let me say I never ridicule the suggestions made by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre. We admit that his suggestions are based, usually, on his convictions and they are usually reflected in the private bills he has brought into the House for many years. He has urged that rather than make provision for two weeks' holiday after five years' employment, the figure should be increased to three weeks. This sounds like a very simple change, but I have approached the whole concept of standards in its relation to the organized sector of the work force.

I happen to be one who thinks this country would be better off if more of the work force were unionized, and for this reason I am not anxious for labour standards to destroy collective agreements or run ahead of the results of collective bargaining. A study of collective agreements carried out by our research branch discloses that less

5320

April 28, 1971

Canada Labour (Standards) Code than 25 per cent of the workers covered by such agreements are entitled to three weeks' holiday after five years. If we were to introduce such a requirement across the board we would be destroying collective bargaining.

Those who understand the collective bargaining process know that a group will often settle for two weeks' holiday rather than three weeks or four weeks in return for something they believe to be more beneficial, perhaps better sick leave arrangements or higher rates of pay. Nothing in a collective agreement can be studied in isolation, so I am reluctant to accept an amendment such as the hon. member proposed, for the reason that it runs contrary to provisions in many of the collective agreements. Moreover, the whole bill is based on minimum standards. The same is true of general holidays, although I am not convinced I am on as good a ground statistically here as I am in connection with the three weeks' holiday proposal.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA LABOUR (STANDARDS) CODE AMENDMENTS RESPECTING HOURS OF WORK, WAGES, VACATIONS, TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT, ETC.
Permalink
NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

So we can

count on your support on that one.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA LABOUR (STANDARDS) CODE AMENDMENTS RESPECTING HOURS OF WORK, WAGES, VACATIONS, TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Bryce Stuart Mackasey (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Mackasey:

I did not say that. It is just that my mind is a little more open on that one. The concept of maternity leave has been well accepted by everybody in the House. Again, it fits in nicely with the proposal in Bill C-229 amending the Unemployment Insurance Act. The period of time, 17 weeks, is of course identical with the provision made in the Unemployment Insurance legislation when one counts the two weeks' waiting period and 15 weeks' insurance.

The proposal here is that the employer be obliged to provide maternity leave for 17 weeks. This is one of the reasons we are definite about the way in which those 17 weeks are to be made up. Some speakers have suggested the arrangement ought not to be so rigid. We are not providing a holiday. Under the Unemployment Insurance Act we are interested in providing income to more than one million women in the work force who work because they have to work, because their wage or salary means the difference between poverty and a decent income.

Here we are seeking to provide maximum protection for the mother and the child. We would be defeating that purpose if we allowed a woman to determine herself how the 17 weeks should be broken up-whether it should be two weeks before confinement and 15 weeks after, or whether it should be 15 weeks before confinement and two weeks after, for example. The studies which have come out of the ILO, carried out in conjunction with the medical profession, indicate that the ideal circumstances for people in general-not, of course, for every individual-are those provided in the formula we have proposed, that is, the nine weeks and the six weeks. Of course, we have added two extra weeks so as to be consistent with the provisions of the unemployment insurance legislation. We cannot leave it up to the mother to decide how these 17 weeks should be broken up if we are to be consistent in our concern for her health and the health of what one might call the new addition.

One of the areas in which I found a real scarcity of information and research involved the question of group

termination. I do not intend to take too long discussing this question. One document which I would recommend to all hon. members who are interested in the subject is a document which was published recently by the research department of the Western Business School and the Ontario Department of Labour. To my surprise-this shows I do not know everything-I find it was financed in part by the federal Department of Labour. It is worthwhile reading.

What these researchers have done is to study objectively the effect advance notice had on a particular group of employees in London, Ontario. Hon. members may recall the decision by Kelvinator to cease operations in Canada entirely. Advance notice was given and there was also severance pay. One of the conditions of receiving it was that workers were to remain on the job despite the fact that advance notice had been given. In the event, the workers did stay on the job in order to get the severance pay.

I shall not even read the conclusion of the report because it would take too long, but summarized very briefly the conclusion was-and this is substantiated by similar studies undertaken in the United States-that advance notice is really meaningful provided the full services of federal and provincial manpower departments and other agencies are given an opportunity to take effect. The irony of this is that the unions, despite many of their statements, are hardly progressive in this field. They failed in this case to co-operate with the departments of manpower, federal or provincial, in the attempt to find work for those affected during the advance period, or to arrange for retraining.

I would appreciate it if some of the labour critics in the House would look at this short but important study. It would indicate that measures to deal with the results of group termination of employment are much more effective if both sides involved, management and employees, accept the services of the proper agencies in order that the people concerned may find new jobs more easily.

One of the sections of the report speaks of the hardship caused by shutdowns of this type to a predictable group of people in the work force, persons over 50, persons whose skills are no longer required. They are virtually paralyzed, without any real chance of being reabsorbed into the work force. This means that the government must assume its responsibility-as I think we have in the case of the textile industry to a limited degree-to provide some income for those who are out of work often for reasons over which they have no control, perhaps as a result of a decision by a corporation whose headquarters are a thousand miles away to close down a branch plant in this country. There has been legitimate criticism with regard to the amendment specifying 50 employees. I believe that in the course of honest discussion during the committee stage we could perhaps vary the figure in such a way as to relate it to the size of the community in which a lay-off takes place. I am flexible in this area and look forward to the observations of hon. members.

April 28, 1971

The hon. member for Lotbiniere (Mr. Fortin) made a very effective speech yesterday. He was a little concerned, as he had the right to be, about the powers at my disposal through the regulations made pursuant to the bill. I have just outlined one of the reasons I need these regulations, in order to make these provisions as flexible as possible-not to help the employer but to make the bill as practicable as possible, something that perhaps was not provided for in 1965.

With regard to individual termination, I think the two weeks that we have suggested is quite in order with private bills that I have studied and quite in order with the findings of the study to which I have made reference, and is sufficient advance notice to enable Manpower to look after the problems of one individual. Taken in conjunction with the provisions of holiday and severance pay, the period is certainly long enough and pretty much in line with the provisions in collective agreements.

Severance pay provisions have been criticized because some hon. members felt they did not go far enough. I suppose such criticism is logical in that in the eyes of some people we never go far enough. I do not mean this sarcastically, but the important thing here is not so much that the provisions do not go far enough but that we have them at all. To the best of my knowledge this is the only Labour (Standards) Code in North America that includes provisions relating to severance pay. So that while hon. members may say the five-year qualifying period is too long, or that the provision of two days' pay for every year's service is insufficient, the fact remains that we have broken new ground with this piece of legislation and we can study it again in depth in committee.

Finally, in discussing garnishment, there is no use belabouring the point. I suppose the general feeling in the House is that in all probability we should have made provision for this a long time ago. I understand that more than one suggestion has been made that another minister look at the concept of garnisheeing wages with a view perhaps to obliterating this social evil entirely.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA LABOUR (STANDARDS) CODE AMENDMENTS RESPECTING HOURS OF WORK, WAGES, VACATIONS, TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT, ETC.
Permalink
NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, would the minister permit a question so as to make clear one point that has not been referred to at all in the course of this debate? In view of the fact that the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1970, which were tabled a few days ago by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Turner) include a consolidation of the Canada Labour (Standards) Code, ihe Canada Labour (Safety) Code, the Industrial Relations and Disputes Investigation Act and three or four other labour acts into one massive statute called the Canada Labour Code, may we assume that at the end of the process this bill will in fact amend that consolidated Canada Labour Code?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA LABOUR (STANDARDS) CODE AMENDMENTS RESPECTING HOURS OF WORK, WAGES, VACATIONS, TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Bryce Stuart Mackasey (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Mackasey:

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to assume anything. The hon. gentleman is asking me a question regarding an area he is much more knowledgeable about than f am. This could be the end result and I might

Farm Products Marketing Agencies Bill presume that the question is really the answer. I can find out if I can enlighten the House.

Yesterday one hon. member on this side made a contribution in the wrong debate. I do not endorse anything he said. The hon. member said we had no labour policy in this House. Our policy is one of fair play to all Canadians no matter whether they are in the work force or on the employer's side. I am prepared to debate this with my colleague when the appropriate piece of legislation is before the House later this session.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA LABOUR (STANDARDS) CODE AMENDMENTS RESPECTING HOURS OF WORK, WAGES, VACATIONS, TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT, ETC.
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Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Labour, Manpower and Immigration.


FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL


The House resumed, from Tuesday, April 27, consideration of Bill C-176, to establish the National Farm Products Marketing Council and to authorize the establishment of national marketing agencies for farm products, as reported (with amendments) from the Standing Committee on Agriculture, and motion No. 1 (Mr. Horner).


IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Before calling on the hon. member for Crowfoot (Mr. Horner) to resume the remarks he was making last evening in connection with the motion now before the House, I might make some brief remarks in connection with the suggestion made by the hon. member for Crowfoot in regard to the possible grouping of the motions.

The hon. member suggested that motions Nos. 1, 5 and 22 be grouped as one and that debate on motion No. 1 cover at the same time motions Nos. 5 and 22. Though it had not appeared to the Chair originally that this might be the logical way to debate the matter, on reconsideration and after studying the argument made by the hon. member last evening this would appear to be a reasonable suggestion and I can see no objection to the grouping suggested by the hon. member for Crowfoot. I believe he also suggested that there be a separate vote on each motion, and with that the Chair is prepared to agree.

It has also been brought to my attention that it has been suggested that motion No. 26 not be grouped with motions Nos. 24 and 25, as had been proposed by the Chair. Again, I would think that this suggestion would be a reasonable one and that motions Nos. 24 and 25 which stand in the name of the hon. member for Crowfoot be considered as one, that motion No. 26, which stands in the name of the hon. member for Timiskaming (Mr. Peters) be considered separately, and that there be separate votes on each of these three motions.

I see the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) indicating that he would like to comment on this suggestion of the Chair and I will recognize him.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker,

my comment is very brief. I simply wish to say that with the change Your Honour has suggested regarding motion

24081-56a

April 28, 1971

Farm Products Marketing Agencies Bill No. 26, the entire line-up of these 30 motions which you have set out meets with our approval.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING AGENCIES BILL
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MARKETING COUNCIL AND AGENCIES
Permalink

April 28, 1971