March 27, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


The MINISTER OF FINANCE (Hon. W. S. Fielding).

The resolutions before the Committee, on which a Bill is to be founded, are designed to remove a small difficulty which has been created by a recent ruling of the Auditor General, a ruling which is strictly in accordance with the law, but which nevertheless is at variance with the practice of the government and parliament for the long period of 32 years. The Superannuation Act passed in 1870 made provision for the retirement of officials upon pensions, which should be in proportion to the amount of their salaries and the length of
their services. Immediately after the passing of that Act, an Order in Council was passed as a regulation, making provision respecting fractions of a year. By that Order in Council it was determined that where an official on his retirement had a few months service beyond the year to his credit, if it was less than six months, it should not count in his superannuation, but if it was more than six months, it should count as a full year. That continued to be the practice of the government from 1870 down to a very recent date. Two or three months ago the Auditor General objected to a superannuation which was based upon that rule, and although we have been following that practice for 32 years, he raised a question as to the validity of these proceedings. Upon an appeal to the Department of Justice, it was decided that as a strict matter of law the Order in Council passed 32 years ago was void, inasmuch as it was beyond the authority of the Act. Still, I think the House will agree with me that the practice established in 1870, of dealing with a fraction of a year in the way I have described, was fair and equitable, though perhaps a little liberal towards the official. The object of this Bill will be to confirm the superannuations of the past as respects those fractions of a year, and to provide that henceforth the same rule shall apply and be a legal proceeding-practically confirming the Order in Council of 1870.

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