I notice in paragraph
(b) of section 1 that there is a reference to a stated annual salary and that in subparagraph (i) of that particular paragraph there is another reference to salary as follows:
(i) is in receipt of salary computed at an annual rate of at least six hundred dollars.
I was wondering whether there was anything contemplated in the different language that is used in these two definitions. Will the minister deal with that angle when he is replying? Along with others may I urge the minister to see to it that the group of permanent temporaries who have been spoken of so frequently here to-night and yesterday shall be taken care of. I do not think we should pass this definition of civil servant until we are absolutely sure that that very large representative group of civil servants who have rendered excellent service over a long period of years are included in the benefits of this act.
Mr. ST. LAURENT: It would seem that
some hon. members are viewing this bill with a considerable degree of suspicion as to its purpose and what it can do. I can assure the hon. members that it was prepared in a sincere attempt to meet the reasonable representations that had been made by the officers of the various civi\ servant bodies, and that if it had not been the desire of the government to meet those representations and to give satisfaction to this class of citizens of Canada and to recognize their very efficient and patriotic service to the state, no bill would have been introduced. It was not prepared for the purpose of giving occasion to bring before the house any indefinite number of specific cases; it was intended to meet the situation which had been carefully considered by the officers
Civil Service Superannuation
of these various associations and about which they had made representations to the treasury board, and then to the minister in charge of the civil service commission and afterwards to a special committee of the cabinet appointed to meet them and to discuss with them those representations and the manner in which they could best be met in the interest not only of the personnel of the civil service but of the public, because the members of the special committee-I had the honour to be one of them-felt that it was in the interest of the Canadian public that reasonable satisfaction be given to the thousands who perform such an important function in the life of the nation. Perhaps it will allay some of these suspicions if I place on Hansard an appreciation I received this morning from the president of the civil service federation of Canada; he had gone over the bill very carefully and compared it with the representations that were submitted, and, after doing so, he wrote in the following terms:
May I refer to bill 171, an act to amend the Civil Service Superannuation Act.
Our executive realizes that this bill represents a very broad study of the general question of superannuation as well as a study of the present superannuation act, made by the parliamentary committee of 1938 and 1939, by the advisory committee on the Civil Service Superannuation Act, by the treasury hoard and by the government. We are convinced, not only that the bill represents very careful thought, but that it will make for improved superannuation administration, and in the course of time, for improved administration in the public service generally, while at the same time rectifying several of the shortcomings of the present act to which we have called attention from time to time.
It is our very sincere hope that the amending bill may commend itself to both houses of parliament, and that its enactment into law may be a matter of only a short while.
Taking the bill as a whole, though not all features of it are by any means to the advantage of civil servants, we feel that the measure should be highly satisfactory, both to the government and its employees, and we very much appreciate the fact that the government found it possible to proceed with this matter at this time.
I think the very competent gentleman who is president of the civil service federation of Canada, and who made a careful study of this bill just as soon as it became available to him, was right in the view he took. Just to illustrate, let me answer the point made by several hon. members who have referred to the fact that the words "a stated annual salary" are still used in section 1. If hon. members will take the trouble to read the whole of paragraph (b) down to (i) they will see that it provides for three classes who may be placed under the superannuation act. In the first class are permanent employees
with stated annual salaries. As to those nothing further needs to be done. The second class is:
. . . any other officer, clerk or employee in the civil service who is certified or determined pursuant to regulations made under this act, or who is designated individually or as a member of a class by the treasury board under this act, to be for the purpose of this act a permanent officer, clerk or employee, if such permanent or other officer, clerk or employee . . .
Then the other conditions are set out. Therefore those who have stated annual salaries are in. There are regulations which will take in classes. There may be still, then, some individual cases, probably some of those which have been referred to by hon. members, this evening or like cases which have merit and which would not fit into a general regulation or classification. For the purpose of the superannuation fund they shall be deemed to be, "for the purposes of this act, a permanent officer, clerk or employee," because of course the principle of superannuation is compensation on retirement from a permanent position. Whatever they may be called for other purposes, any officer of the civil service may, for the purposes of the superannuation act, be treated as a permanent officer; that is to say, may be made a contributor and consequentially a beneficiary under the superannuation act. Evidently the president of the civil service federation, when coming to that conclusion, had looked at a section which will come before hon. members a little later, commencing on page 8 of the bill and going over on page 9. That section authorizes the governor in council to make regulations. For what purpose?
(g) prescribing in respect of officers, positions or employments in the civil service for which salaries other than stated annual salaries are paid, the manner in which such offices, positions or employments shall be certified or otherwise determined to be positions the duties of which are of continuing indeterminate duration.
Then paragraph (h):
(h) prescribing in respect of officers, clerks or employees in the civil service who are in receipt of salary other than a stated annual salary.
(i) the manner in which their appointments shall be certified . . .
And the manner and conditions under which they will be classed, for the purposes of superannuation, as permanent officers, clerks or employees. I think that might well be considered by the committee as a bona fide attempt to meet the situation and to determine those who shall receive the benefits of the superannuation act. Parliament has already said that it should include permanent employees with stated annual salaries, and as to
Civil Service Superannuation
that class there can be no question at all. Others have been designated in practice by those words which are contradictory in terms, "permanent temporaries." That is an absolute contradiction in terms; nevertheless, because [DOT]of arbitrary usage, those words do designate a certain class. It would hardly be proper to provide in the statute that "permanent temporaries" were to be included under the superannuation act. The regulations will prescribe classifications which will bring them in; they will use language that will be appropriate to include those who are to receive such benefits. Then it may be that there are certain individual cases for which it would be difficult to prescribe by regulation and classification, but which, because of the special circumstances, it would be proper to describe the employees as persons who had been or are to be for a continuing indeterminate duration in the service *of the crown. They can be dealt with by a minute of the treasury board.
For a good many months now I have been a member of the treasury board. In my experience it has not been the one-man institution some hon. members seem to believe. My [DOT]experience has been that decisions are arrived at by the members of the treasury board, which, after all, is nothing other than a committee of the cabinet. Someone has said that the treasury board has no legal existence. It is the only committee of the cabinet that is provided for by statute and is given by statute some special functions. There are officers who attend the meetings of the treasury board, but in my experience the information they [DOT] supply to the members of treasury board is not as to the merits or demerits of the question that has to be decided, but as to the effect such a decision may have upon other matters that are not immediately involved. That is something for which it is necessary that we have expert advice and recommendations. I would not venture to express an opinion as to whether such a case which is submitted should be dealt with in a certain way, without having information about the class from which that case comes, how large a class will be affected, and in what way it will be affected. From my experience that is the information which is supplied to members of the treasury board by the officials thereof for the purpose of assisting them in coming to their conclusions.
Here, of course, I would not attempt to deal with some of the cases to which hon. members have referred. I have not come prepared to do that. I came prepared to discuss matters which are directly pertinent to the amending legislation. But as to the merits or demerits of the special cases concerning which there has been long correspondence with the Department of Finance, I am sorry I am not in a position to give any opinion. I have not one. I do not know the
The hon. member for Cape Breton South will notice that, while I did not feel at the resolution stage it would have been proper to read the bill, the matter he wished to have included is in this section now under consideration. He will find it at line 5 of page 2.
Topic: QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic: CIVIL SERVICE SUPERANNUATION