Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni):
Mr. 6peaker, I should like to congratulate the hon. members of the committee and its chairman for this excellent, useful and practicable report. If implemented it will remedy grievances and injustices, and perhaps certain inequalities, from which civil servants in these days and for many years have been suffering. They had almost despaired of having any
action taken on their behalf. Other hon. members and myself have appeared before committees from time to time in years gone by, and in many cases the result was a mere stalling report. In some instances the matter was referred to officials who had nothing at all to do with it, and in other cases there was the statement that there was not time to consider the matter. But this is a real, practical and comprehensive report, dealing without fear or favour, apparently, with a lot of cases.
I am particularly interested in paragraph No. 8, which states:
8. That provision be made in the statute to render prevailing rates employees eligible to become contributors subject to designation by governor in council on the recommendation of the treasury board of the various classes and individuals to be so rendered eligible.
I presume that that will apply to and cover a class which for many years has been overlooked, namely, the masters, mates, officers and petty officers on board government boats. That is certainly a very necessary thing and I am sure it will be appreciated.
I have only one note of criticism to add with respect to the whole report-and possibly my criticism arises from the fact that I do not sufficiently understand it. Paragraph 21 is as follows:
21. That provision be made in the statute to limit the counting of past non-contributory service of any new contributor or of any additional past non-contributory service allowed to any present contributor under the amending act to such service in whole or in part as in respect of which the contributor elects to pay contributions.
Let us assume that certain employees are receiving $90 a month, as some of the men on the steamers do. We will say that they have put in thirty-four years. Under the old act they could come into seventeen years' superannuation without making any payment. If they elected to come in for the whole period they had to pay the arrears. I believe that was a proper procedure. But if I read this aright it will mean that any man coming in now will have to pay up, in full, the whole sum, a procedure which he would be quite incapable of doing, and he would thereby be prevented from coming in at all. It may be that the paragraph in the report is subject to the clause now appearing in the present act whereby a man or woman who wishes to pay up his or her arrears is permitted to do so by making monthly payments, which would carry over not only their period of service but after their superannuation. If that is to be understood it would be satisfactory. But
Civil Service Superannuation Act
if it is, as I fear it is, it would mean that it would have to foe taken care of in some way, or it would not be of much value to some people.
I join with the hon. member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Heaps) in impressing upon the government the necessity of taking steps, even this late in the session, to implement the report. If necessary they could do so by legislation, or if the Department of Justice rules that it may 'be done by order in council or through the Civil Service Act, a pronouncement should be made so that the people concerned may have their long anxieties set at rest so far as their future is concerned.