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THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL AFFAIRS, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

EVIDENCE


OTTAWA, Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, to which was referred Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, met this day at 10:30 a.m. to give consideration to the bill.

Senator Chantal Petitclerc (Chair) in the chair.

[English]

The Chair: Good Morning. Welcome to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.

[Translation]

My name is Chantal Petitclerc, and I am a senator from Quebec. I am pleased to be chairing today’s meeting. We are wrapping up our study on Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada. We have heard from 20 or so witnesses, and received just as many briefs as well as considerable input, which we very much appreciate.

[English]

I would like to advise all those attending in person today that our hearings are being interpreted into American Sign Language and Langue des signes du Québec. Closed captioning is also available in the committee room in both official languages.

For those watching us online, versions of the broadcast in ASL and LSQ will be available the following week after each meeting on Bill C-81.

[Translation]

Before we get started, I’d like to make a few things clear, because we are going to begin clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-81. If, at any point, you have questions or you aren’t sure where we are in the process, feel free to ask, as it is a fairly complex bill and we have a number of amendments to consider.

On a procedural note, I would remind senators that, when more than one amendment is proposed for the same clause, the amendments must be introduced in the order of the lines being amended. It should be noted that, if a senator is opposed to an entire clause, standard committee procedure dictates that the senator vote against keeping the clause in the bill, as opposed to proposing a motion to delete the entire clause. If the idea is simply to delete a clause, voting against the clause is enough. Again, you may ask questions if the situation arises.

I would also like to remind senators that some of the proposed amendments can have major repercussions on other parts of the legislation. It is very important that the committee be consistent in its decision-making and deal with subsequent provisions accordingly. It would therefore be helpful for senators proposing an amendment to advise the committee of any other clauses that m’say be impacted by the amendment.

As chair, of course, I will do my best to make sure that all senators wishing to speak have the opportunity to do so. I would appreciate your help in keeping the discussion respectful and collegial, as always.

Lastly, I want to let senators know that, if they have the slightest doubt as to the outcome of a voice vote, the best thing to do is to ask for a recorded division. That way, the result will be clear. As senators know, in the case of a tie, the motion is defeated.

[English]

Does anyone have a question on that? If there are no questions, we will proceed and start clause by clause.

I want to mention to my colleagues that to help us today with this process we have, from Employment and Social Development Canada, James Van Raalte, Director General, Accessibility Secretariat.

[Translation]

From the same department, we also have Benoît Gendron, Director, and Erik Lapalme, Senior Policy Analyst, both from the Accessibility Secretariat as well. Thank you for being here.

We can now get started.

[English]

Is it agreed that the committee proceed to clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Is it agreed, with leave, that the clauses be grouped according to the 12 parts of the bill as described in the Table of Provisions of Bill C-81, except for those parts where an amendment has been submitted to the clerk? Clauses in those parts will be dealt with individually.

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall the title stand postponed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall the preamble stand postponed?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

[Translation]

Senator Forest-Niesing: I appreciate the opportunity to provide a bit of context. Since the preamble of a bill provides the underpinnings, before we vote to let the preamble stand postponed for the purposes of our discussion and reasons that make total sense, I wanted to let my fellow senators know that I would be proposing a motion to amend the preamble to introduce a time frame. Specifically, the amendment seeks to add the wording “without delay.” I know that other senators will be raising the time frame issue as we go through the various clauses. I will explain my rationale for the wording when the time is right, but I just wanted to let my fellow senators know what I plan to do so they can be ready when I explain my reasoning.

The Chair: Thank you, Senator Forest-Niesing.

Honourable senators, shall the preamble stand postponed?

Hon. senators: Agreed

[English]

The Chair: Shall clause 1, which contains the short title, stand postponed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 2 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 3 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 4 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: We are on clause 5.

[Translation]

As you can see from the information package, we have five proposed amendments to deal with.

[English]

The Chair: Shall clause 5 carry?

Senator Seidman: No.

Daniel Charbonneau, Clerk of the Committee: The motion is on the table for clause 5, and now amendments can be moved.

The Chair: Shall clause 5 carry? There is an amendment.

Senator Seidman: Clause 5 on page 3.

Senator Dasko: Thank you very much. I want to start by saying this is a very exciting day for me, my colleagues and many others, because we are dealing with a bill that is very important for Canada and will make our country a better one.

Let’s dive right into the weeds. I think everyone has a copy of the amendment I’m proposing. I want to note that Senator Seidman has proposed an identical amendment.

The Chair: I believe you have to move the amendment before you speak to it.

Senator Dasko: I move the amendment that is titled “DD1” in our package.

This amendment deals with placing a timeline in the bill.

The Chair: I apologize, Senator Dasko. You need to actually read the amendment.

Senator Dasko: The amendment reads that it is moved by me:

That Bill C-81 be amended in clause 5, on page 3, by replacing line 13 with the following:

“ers, on or before January 1, 2040, particularly by the identification and removal of bar-”.

So it involves inserting “on or before January 1, 2040” in clause 5.

The Chair: You can speak on the amendment.

Senator Dasko: Okay. Thank you.

We have heard from many witnesses over the course of our deliberations, and we have read many submissions. The issue of a timeline has come up many times, particularly last evening when we heard statements from witnesses, some of whom said that having a timeline was the most important thing that we could do to improve this bill.

These statements were made during presentations by witnesses and also in response to questions asked by Senators Seidman and M. Deacon. I think we learned that this is important. It gives accountability to the bill. This gives a goal to the actions that are being undertaken within the bill. It gives motivation to those working in this area to achieve this goal.

Now, the year 2040 is something that is not fixed in stone. We can pick any number of different years as a timeline, but this one fits very well with this bill. The reason is that if we look at the comparable bill in Ontario, that bill had a 20-year timeline for fulfilling the obligations to create a barrier-free Ontario. This does approximately the same. This is a 21-year time frame, and I think this is a very reasonable amendment. This is something I hope the government and the minister will think is reasonable. It gives a good time frame, it’s a reasonable amendment and I really hope that the government will accept this.

There are many people in the disability community who have said a timeline is important, and I think we received that message loud and clear.

I would ask Senator Seidman if she has any other comments to make, but I think those are the main reasons why we really must consider putting this in. It’s a very reasonable proposal and a very positive one. It will make this a better bill for people with disabilities in Canada.

Senator Seidman: Thank you. I, too, have put forward an amendment so that this bill has a clear timeline and deadline for achieving a barrier-free country. There are in fact four places in this bill that have to be changed in order to achieve this particular amendment. This is just one of three more to come.

It’s funny, because I had looked through our transcripts to see how often this timeline or deadline issue was referred to. At the outset you can look at Steven Estey’s comments expressing disappointment that the bill was silent on timelines. You can look to others as well, but yesterday was really the crowning achievement for solidifying my own feelings about a timeline and a deadline. When I put the question to our witnesses, if there was one thing they could change about this bill, one addition they could make, what would that one thing be? All of them said timelines. To me, that confirmed and solidified my commitment to this particular amendment.

It was interesting that the Honourable David Onley spoke strongly yesterday about timelines, and he said he was surprised. Initially he said he thought you could leave it to goodwill, but in Ontario it turned out not to be the case, that you can’t really leave it to goodwill. He said a definable date was necessary for implementation.

The other thing that was important and we heard was that in order to measure progress on this piece of legislation, in all the reviews that are foreseen, you need a timeline. You can’t measure anything without deadlines.

I’m urging that we do this. I know the minister was fairly reluctant to establish timelines. She said that it would impose an unnecessary situation that could result in some kinds of complications because things change over time. I think we had witnesses who spoke to that issue. I’m convinced we have to do it.

I support the deadline of 2040. I think it’s not too restrictive, it doesn’t impose things too soon, so there is time for the change to happen, but also it’s a time frame that we can hope to see in our lifetimes. It’s not too unrealistic. It doesn’t push it down the road for too long a period of time. I agree with the 2040 time frame as well.

Senator Munson: I have a question for the officials to refresh us on what the minister actually said about timelines. There is another school of thought. I’m somewhere in between. This timeline could put some folks off in the government to say, “Well, we have until 2040 to do this so let’s take our time and work it out to 2040.”

So I’m in a bit of a spot here. I’d like to get from you, Mr. Van Raalte, what the minister told us a month or so ago. Why she is against these times lines?

James Van Raalte, Director General, Accessibility Secretariat, Employment and Social Development Canada: Thank you, Madam Chair.

I think the minister, if I recall correctly, raised two points. One of them has been referenced. Point number 1 is the evolution of a disability as a concept and accessibility as a concept. One of the examples the minister used is about the real concept around curb cuts. Curb cuts are the dip in the sidewalks that allow wheelchairs to go down on to the road surface and back up on to the sidewalk. Everybody talks about curb cuts. That’s code in the accessibility world as something that benefits everybody: it benefits strollers, seniors and everybody from a mobility perspective. It’s not just a benefit for people who may use an assistive device like a wheelchair.

The fact is that in northern climates, curb cuts are a problem. Ice accumulates and snow does too if it is not plowed fast enough. The new way to construct intersections is to raise the intersection so it’s a flat surface for people with mobility issues to go across.

Technology and the evolution of the concept of accessibility are always evolving. We will run into issues in 2040 when the accessibility solution of today is actually an accessibility barrier of tomorrow.

The second point that the minister raised was that 2040 — or whatever date that this committee may recommend — is so far away that there is no momentum. People will say, “Oh, I don’t have to do something until 2035.”

Senator Forest-Niesing: As I mentioned earlier, it will be my intention to move in this same clause in favour of an amendment to not make mention of a specific date but, rather, to insert the words “without delay” — words that have been inserted in many legislative texts and which have received the attention and interpretation of the courts numerous times.

I certainly concur with my colleagues and those who have spoken to date with respect to the need for time to be accounted for in the implementation of the provisions of this very important and life-changing act. Where I disagree, as I have mentioned, is with the introduction of a specific date.

If we were talking about something other than the ever-evolving notion of accessibility, if we were talking about one change, I would not have the same difficulty with the insertion of one date. However, we are not talking about one change. We’re talking about several changes that are inserted into a constantly evolving notion and implementation measures that will result from this act being passed. There will be changes that can be made and that probably already exist. I believe the minister made reference to that in response to one of the questions put to her when she testified before us. There are measures that practically already exist and can be enforced and implemented immediately.

Much more extensive plans will be developed and implemented over the course of time, and that may very well take the 21-year timeline that is being discussed in the context of this motion.

However, I would discourage us from making use of the one date. The argument in favour of the use of the term “without delay” is just that: we have different measures that will require different timelines. We may have something that, over a two-year span, is ultimately considered to be taking too long because it was considered, in all of the circumstances of that particular measure, to be unreasonable. Likewise, we might have, 20 years from now, something that is not considered to have taken too long because of the extent and complexity of the design and implementation of those measures.

So in order to preserve the necessary fluidity that accompanies the evolving context of the implementation of this act, I strongly urge my colleagues to consider making no mention of a specific date. The issue of momentum was spoken to by the minister, and it is one that I share. Look, I’m guilty; I was that student in university who took note of the deadline and started working about 12 or 24 hours before that deadline until it was looming and threatening my hours of sleep.

So I don’t want us to see any lost momentum. I don’t want us to see any delay in the implementation of the simplest of the measures. I do want us to respect the fluidity that this implementation requires. For those reasons, I will be bringing my motion and I will not be supporting this motion.

Senator Seidman: I think it’s important to note that, as I mentioned at the outset, my particular proposal needs to change three other places in this legislation, one of which will be to add a new clause, 5.2, after line 5 on page 4, and to state:

Nothing in this act should be construed as requiring or authorizing any delay in the removal or prevention of barriers . . . as soon as reasonably possible.

So the addition of this clause would speak to the point you are making, senator, and it would ensure this “no delay” concept.

In addition to that, it would provide an end point. Quite frankly, I do appreciate the ever-evolving argumentation. However, I would say to that: Then do we just wait forever, as things are always changing, and never impose any deadlines or do anything? Do we always push it out and say, “That’s going to change in two years” or “That will change next week” or “Oh, there is new technology coming for that in three years? ”

Things are always in a state of flux and always changing. Unless you impose some end point, I believe, as we heard yesterday in testimony from the former Lieutenant Governor, that simply expecting goodwill is simply not going to work.

Senator Forest-Niesing: May I respond?

The Chair: Briefly.

Senator Forest-Niesing: I think it’s important to respond to that last point. There is no possible doubt that, with the use of the terms “without delay,” we would be doing anything other than imposing an end point. In fact, the use of that terminology sends the very clear message that every action that can be taken immediately must be taken immediately unless circumstances would render that unreasonable, non-feasible, undoable.

So it’s quite the opposite, in fact. If I’m not talking about a finite date and replacing that with the terminology “without delay,” in my view it becomes even stronger because it imposes the responsibility of implementing every measure, at the earliest, immediate possibility, as it continues to evolve, in the evolving context. We don’t lose momentum; we implement as we go along; and we allow the necessary fluidity for those measures that will require more time to take the time.

The test will be: Is the delay reasonable? That will remain to be considered, but in each case, on a case-by-case basis, which I would argue is the appropriate way to look at things.

The Chair: Thank you. I think both approaches are very clear. I will ask Senator Dasko and Senator Deacon, especially if you have something new to bring.

Senator Dasko: I want to add that there is a five-year review built into this bill. I think that’s a very good time frame for focusing on achieving positive results in the short term. That is part of this bill.

I think that just using the phrase “without delay” leaves it entirely open-ended. I don’t think there is any dynamic there to move quickly on anything. It’s a phrase that has no accountability attached to it, that can be endlessly avoided by those who want to avoid action, and I just don’t think it’s helpful. However, I do think it would be helpful in the preamble, actually. That is a very good spot for it, and also in clause 5.2. I think that’s a very good place to put this phrase.

I’ll just say one thing. I think we really must listen to the leaders of the disability community who came to say this to us, particularly the former Lieutenant Governor, because he has worked in this field his entire life. He is highly respected in his community and in this country and in my province.

We must listen to them. They have made their voices very clear that a timeline is needed and is a positive addition to this bill. I think we must listen to them; they are the ones who live with this and who know what is best for their community.

Senator M. Deacon: Thank you for that. Absolutely, momentum is critical. We have heard that piece on the language, and the language as we understand it for Canadians. Urgency and fatigue came across very strongly, particularly with our final witnesses. In talking to some of them offline and outside of yesterday’s testimony, the critical piece is what functionally would be most helpful for Canadians. Frankly, what is it? How can we hold people accountable and how do we litigate? That term and timeline is a clear piece.

I am guilty or innocent, depending on how we look at it. We have 10 years invested in AODA. When we first heard the timelines, we thought, “Oh, my gosh. Oh, my, my.” Yet those timelines we are thankful for, we are critical of, particularly in looking beyond — I mentioned this earlier — the built environment. People look at the physical pieces fairly quickly, but you need to set in place a good strategy and an incremental plan to cover those seven areas.

Senator Omidvar: I see merit on all sides of the two arguments. I can see the strength in what Senator Forest-Niesing is proposing. I see clearly the strength in what Senators Seidman and Dasko are proposing in light of yesterday’s testimony. Is it not possible to merge the best of the two ideas and have a subamendment to your amendment that says “without delay but no later than January 1, 2040,” in order to muddy the waters a little further.

Senator Seidman: I understand what you are saying, and I would suggest my amendment does exactly that. That would be a new clause on page 4, clause 5.2. It’s part of four amendments that would enforce the 2040 date, but it would add a new clause. It’s “JS2” in your package. It states, new clause, 5.2, page 4:

That Bill C-81 be amended on page 4 by adding the following after line 5:

5.2 Nothing in this Act should be construed as requiring or authorizing any delay in the removal of barriers or the implementation of measures to prevent new barriers as soon as is reasonably possible.”.

That is exactly the spirit of what Senator Forest-Niesing is proposing in the “without delay” clause.

Senator Forest-Niesing: I will draw your attention to the following page, “JFN3,” and point out I, too, have a similar amendment at 5.2. The only difference is that after the word “act” there is a comma and the additional words:

. . . including its purpose of the realization of a Canada without barriers . . .

We can cross that bridge when we get to that.

I wanted to draw to your attention that was also part of my approach to the introduction of the timeline. It is my intent to support that, certainly.

Am I amenable to a compromise? Yes, of course. Is it a reasonable compromise? Yes, of course, unless there is a strong sentiment that you share my view that the introduction or just the mere mention of a date that is 21 years away can be a deterrent to initiatives that can be undertaken immediately. I don’t want to slow this process down.

I want the message to be clear. The words “without delay” have been interpreted by the courts to mean “immediate,” unless circumstances warrant.

My final concern with respect to the insertion of a specific date is that, when asked, the minister was very clear that, although the issue had been very carefully considered, their thought process brought them to the conclusion that it would not be wise to make mention of a specific date.

I want us, in our committee work, to propose amendments that are likely to be accepted by the ministry. That remains a concern for me. However, can I support that if it is the view of my colleagues? Of course, I can.

Senator Seidman: I have every respect, senator, for what you are saying. I empathize to some extent with what you are saying, but I have to react to the last point that you made which was, that you want to propose amendments that you think the minister will accept. I really don’t think that’s our job. Our job is to propose amendments that we think will make this the best possible legislation. Whether the minister accepts them or doesn’t is up to her, ultimately. It’s up to the House of Commons to accept or reject the amendments we make, but I don’t think that should be the underlying rationale for what we do here today.

Senator Forest-Niesing: May I clarify? I want to apologize if I have given anyone the impression that that would be my only consideration. We’re all in agreement that we need to introduce a notion of time. Where we disagree is simply on the best way to achieve that. I think we’re all well intended. I believe that the amendment, however it lands, will be one that has my support. I wanted to clarify that. I apologize if I have given you the wrong impression.

The Chair: I will let Senator Dasko speak and we can regroup on what we have heard.

Senator Dasko: I want to make one last statement. If we have a strong showing from this committee on this amendment, I think the minister herself will realize that there is strong support for this notion. It’s a reasonable notion. I certainly agree that we’re not here to consider how the government will view this; that is secondary. But I think that if we have a strong showing on this amendment that the minister will take that into consideration and the government will possibly take the leap to accepting this amendment. I’m really hopeful we can see that. If we pass it at this committee, I hope she will see there is support coming from the Senate and also certainly from the disability community.

The Chair: Thank you. This has been a good discussion. I know it was a long discussion, but timeline is very important. It appears many times in the amendments we have before us. We have heard that the “without delay” approach will come back in the preamble, so we will need to pronounce ourselves on that later on.

It will also come back in clause 5.2 with two amendments from Senator Seidman and Senator Forest-Niesing. We now have in front of us the amendment from Senator Dasko. I believe we are ready to vote on this, unless I hear otherwise.

Senator Forest-Niesing: Senator Omidvar suggested the possibility of a compromise. Is it present in all of our minds that there might be a possibility of a subamendment which would indicate, “without delay but by no later than January 2040”?

The Chair: Someone would need to move a subamendment. Is there a will to move a subamendment in that regard?

Senator Dasko: We have that covered already in 5.2 and in the preamble, if we decide to go there. I believe it’s completely covered.

Senator Omidvar: I’m satisfied with Senator Seidman’s explanation.

The Chair: Of course, anybody has the right to move a subamendment. It’s your own individual decision.

Are we okay to vote? Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Carried.

An Hon. Senator: On division.

Senator Munson: On division.

The Chair: On division.

Shall clause 5, as amended, carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Carried.

We are now moving to the introduction of an amendment on clause 5.1. It is the amendment in your documents referred to as “JFN2.”

Senator Forest-Niesing, I would ask that you move the amendment first, and then you may speak on it.

[Translation]

Senator Forest-Niesing: I move that Bill C-81 be amended by replacing lines 1 to 5 on page 4 with the following:

Clarification

5.1 (1) The area of communication referred to in paragraph 5(c.1)

(a) includes the use of American Sign Language, Quebec Sign Language and Indigenous sign languages; and

(b) does not include broadcasting as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Broadcasting Act or telecommunications as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Telecommunications Act.

Recognition

(2) American Sign Language, Quebec Sign Language and Indigenous sign languages are recognized as the primary languages for communication by deaf persons in Canada.

[English]

I have a very short explanation in support of this. We heard an abundance of testimony that I believe respectfully brought to our attention that this may have been an oversight. This amendment is being suggested in order to correct this apparent omission. You will see that, although the testimony dealt mainly with American Sign Language and LSQ as the sign languages of communication by Deaf persons in Ontario, my amendment proposes the addition of Indigenous sign languages, whose existence I did not know of until recently. Given it is the language of a significant and important component of our population, I believe it’s important to recognize that language as well and to add it, in equal standing, to American Sign Language and LSQ as communication languages of Deaf persons in Canada.

[Translation]

The Chair: Before I open up the floor….

[English]

It is moved by Senator Forest-Niesing that Bill C-81 —

An Hon. Senator: Dispense.

The Chair: Thank you. Any questions or comments?

Senator Seidman: Thank you, senator, for your amendment, one with which I fully agree. I, too, have proposed that amendment. You’ll find that in “JS3.” It is not as inclusive as yours, and so I would fully support your addition of “Indigenous sign languages.”

I have one question about it, and that is the location. I specifically asked that question yesterday of Mr. Folino when he proposed this exact amendment.

I’m wondering about the way it’s placed in the bill. You’ve placed it under “clarification,” and I see that you have changed the communication aspect. Yesterday, our witness was very clear that he would prefer to see it under “principles” and, in fact, you’ll notice that I suggest putting it in clause 6 on page 4 under “principles.”

Do you have a rationale for the location that you chose?

[Translation]

Senator Forest-Niesing: I think where in the bill the communication languages of deaf persons in Canada appear matters less than the fact that they be included. I’m not especially attached to where in the bill they are mentioned, but I can say that I worked with the law clerk’s office to figure out the best way to include them as well as the best place to do so. I agree with the recommendation I received from the law clerk’s office. However, as I listen to you, Senator Seidman, I wonder whether it might be a good idea to repeat them in the objectives set out

[English]

— in the “principles” section. I don’t see any harm in repeating it in accordance with the amendment that you propose at “JS3” in the principles of the act.

Senator Seidman: I think we may need to refer it to the officials in the department or to the law clerk, because yours is a more fulsome amendment and clarifies issues about communication. It speaks to it in a somewhat different way. I’m not so sure, but we may need guidance on that and I would be more than willing just to let that guidance happen.

The Chair: Maybe we can ask someone at the table. Mr. Van Raalte, can you help us with this?

Mr. Van Raalte: We’re seeing these amendments for the first time in terms of an opportunity to comment, but the proposal before you now is grounded, for us, from an interpretation perspective, in a much stronger way in terms of making standards and regulations in the areas that are articulated under that purpose clause.

The principles are guidance. They’re strong guidance. Accessibility plans will have to take into account the principles in the legislation, but if I look at the two competing proposals, the one that’s before you now is stronger from a legislative interpretation perspective. It’s clearer.

The Chair: Thank you. That’s helpful.

Senator Munson: I was going to ask the same thing.

Senator Seidman: I would be prepared to withdraw my amendment in support of Senator Forest-Niesing’s.

The Chair: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Carried.

We are moving to the next amendment, in 5.2, the one referred to as JS2.

Senator Seidman, would you like to move the amendment?

Senator Seidman: I move:

That Bill C-81 be amended on page 4 by adding the following after line 5:

5.2 Nothing in this Act should be construed as requiring or authorizing any delay in the removal of barriers or the implementation of measures to prevent new barriers as soon as is reasonably possible.

This is the additional clause that I referred to before when we were discussing the time frame of 2040. In my opinion, this brings in the essence of the point Senator Forest-Niesing was making about trying to ensure there are no delays, that people don’t wait until 2039 to start doing what they need to do, but rather unnecessary delay should not be in the minds of those who must enforce and prepare for this legislation.

The Chair: It is moved by the Honourable Senator Seidman that Bill C-81 be amended —

An Hon. Senator: Dispense.

The Chair: Comments or questions?

Senator Forest-Niesing: Senator Seidman, I feel we are competing on every amendment, but we should take comfort in the notion that great minds think alike.

I have no disagreement whatsoever with your proposed amendment except to point out that my amendment, although I prefer the latter portion of yours, in the former section of mine — which I would refer you to, it’s “JFN3” on the following page — would include after the comma in the first section the words, “including its purpose of the realization of a Canada without barriers. . .” I think that drills the point in even further. Perhaps as a subamendment we might consider a compromise that would include those words of mine and otherwise, in every other respect, retain yours. So it would read:

Nothing in this Act, including its purpose of the realization of a Canada without barriers, should be construed as requiring or authorizing any delay in the removal of barriers or the implementation of measures to prevent new barriers as soon as is reasonably possible.

Senator Seidman: I would be very prepared to accept that as a subamendment to my amendment.

The Chair: Any other comments on the amendments and/or the possibility of this subamendment?

Senator M. Deacon: With the language that’s being married, which is great, does it also ensure that we aren’t putting funds into any work that will cause barriers? There is nothing about money at this moment, but one of the pieces we heard loud and clear was ensuring that any work we’re doing, using any kind of federal funding, is not creating a barrier. We have heard evidence of this happening in other areas. That’s my question.

Senator Seidman: I will respond to that, if I might. It is a totally different amendment. You’re right that we did have a proposal for an amendment that would ensure the government not provide grants to any agency or organization, government agency, that would create new barriers or continue to enforce existing barriers. However, when you look at that potential amendment, you see an enormous number of unintended consequences, because that would be cross-department and have such a mammoth impact on every single piece of work that we can’t even possibly imagine.

I decided that, because of the potential unintended consequences, across departments and right across the entire government — I couldn’t imagine, if you get my meaning here. I can’t go with that amendment, even though in theory, it’s a wonderful concept.

I don’t think you could stretch this amendment to include that, and I don’t think that’s what we mean here in any way.

Senator M. Deacon: I wanted that clarification, and I hear what you’re saying. How do we protect ourselves from what has been learned from these other AODA projects where millions of dollars have gone to the building and barriers were created?

Senator Seidman: I think the committee can write an observation without an amendment that potentially endangers things that we don’t understand. I’m sure all of us, from what we heard, think it’s a very noble objective to strive for. Certainly, someone can put it forward in an observation in the report.

The Chair: Do I hear that Senator Seidman and Senator Forest-Niesing would like to propose a subamendment?

[Translation]

The Chair: We are ready to vote on the subamendment to Senator Seidman’s amendment.

[English]

It is moved by the Honourable Senator Forest-Niesing that the clause in amendment be amended by adding, after the word “act” “including its purpose of the realization of a Canada without barriers.”

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the subamendment?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: I will read the amendment in its entirety.

It is moved by the Honourable Senator Seidman:

That Bill C-81 be amended on page 4 by adding the following after line 5:

5.2 Nothing in this Act, including its purpose of the realization of a Canada without barriers, should be construed as requiring or authorizing any delay in the removal of barriers or the implementation of measures to prevent new barriers as soon as is reasonably possible.”.

Questions or comments? Are we ready to vote?

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Carried.

Senator Forest-Niesing, are you withdrawing your amendment?

Senator Forest-Niesing: Yes, Madam Chair.

[Translation]

The Chair: We will now move on to clause 6.

[English]

Shall clause 6 carry? There is an amendment to it.

[Translation]

Senator Mégie, would you kindly move and speak to your amendment?

Senator Mégie: Madam Chair, I move that Bill C-81 be amended in clause 6. In the information package, it’s the amendment labelled MFM1. Clause 6 lays out the principles, so I am proposing that lines 12 to 14 on page 4 be replaced. The text in question reads as follows:

all persons must have the same opportunity to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have regardless of their disabilities

It would stop there, and the end of line 12 and lines 13 to 14 would be removed. That’s the first change.

The next change involves replacing lines 22 to 26 on page 4, so that paragraph 6(e) would read as follows:

laws, policies, programs, services and structures must take into account the disabilities of persons, the different ways that persons interact with their environments and the multiple and intersecting forms of marginalization and discrimination faced by persons.

That’s paragraph 6(e). Then, the subsequent lines would become paragraph 6(f).

The Chair: Senator Mégie, I would ask that you read the amendment as it is written. That’s the usual procedure. Then, you can explain your rationale and provide clarification if you wish, but to keep things running smoothly, I would ask that you read the motion.

Senator Mégie: Here it is then:

(a) replacing lines 12 to 14 on page 4 with the following:

wish to have regardless of their disabilities;

(b) replacing lines 22 to 26 on page 4 with the following:

must take into account the disabilities of persons, the different ways that persons interact with their environments and the multiple and intersecting forms of marginalization and discrimination faced by persons;

(f) persons with disabilities must be involved in the development and design of laws, policies, programs, services and structures; and

It would add paragraph 6(g): the development and revision of accessibility stan-

[English]

The Chair: Is it moved by the Honourable Senator Mégie that Bill C-81 be amended —

An Hon. Senator: Dispense.

The Chair: Thank you.

[Translation]

Senator Mégie, could you now provide some context for your amendment?

Senator Mégie: As you know, a number of the organizations whose representatives appeared before the committee, mainly the ARCH Disability Law Centre and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, as well as others, underscored the fact that the bill did not sufficiently take into account that persons with disabilities often face multiple and intersecting forms of marginalization. They may belong to communities that are subject to discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, race and so forth. Therefore, the bill needs to mention that somewhere so that all decision-making is informed by those intersecting identity factors.

Other witnesses noted that persons with disabilities should be at the table when decisions are being made to ensure they reflect the experience and reality of persons with disabilities. We therefore considered the various principles as they relate to the purpose of the bill and the basis for those principles in coming up with the amendment.

The end of line 12 and lines 13 to 14 would be removed from paragraph 6(b), so that it would read as follows:

all persons must have the same opportunity to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have regardless of their disabilities;

Paragraph 6(e) would then read as follows:

laws, policies, programs, services and structures must take into account the disabilities of persons, the different ways that persons interact with their environments and the multiple and intersecting forms of marginalization and discrimination faced by persons;

It’s an addition, then.

Still with a view to recognition, a new principle would be added, new paragraph 6(f), which would read as follows:

persons with disabilities must be involved in the development and design of laws, policies, programs, services and structures;

Furthermore, paragraph 6(f) would become paragraph 6(g) and read as follows:

the development and revision of accessibility standards and the making of regulations must be done with the objective of achieving the highest level of accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Those are all of the changes being proposed.

The Chair: Thank you, Senator Mégie. Are there any questions or comments on the amendment?

[English]

Are we ready to vote?

Senator Munson: Yes.

The Chair: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Carried.

We are continuing with clause 6 and the amendment in your documents referred to as “DD2.” This is an amendment from Senator Dasko.

Senator Dasko, if you would like to move your amendment.

Senator Dasko: I will move the amendment. It is “DD2” in your forms.

I move:

That Bill C-81 be amended in clause 6, on page 4,

(a) by replacing line 6 with the following:

6 (1) This Act is to be carried out in recognition of, and in”; and

(b) by adding the following after line 29:

This would be section 6.2.

(2) For greater certainty, in the event of any inconsistency between the provisions of this Act and the provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the provisions of that Act prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.”

The Chair: It is moved by the Honourable Senator Dasko that the Bill C-81 be amended —

Senator Munson: Dispense.

The Chair: Thank you. Senator Dasko, if you want to put it into perspective.

Senator Dasko: Thank you very much.

Colleagues will remember, when the minister came to speak to us about the bill, she said that it was her intent that this bill should not create any situation where the rights of persons with disabilities were diminished from where they are today. And yet the bill itself doesn’t include this notion, this intent or perhaps hope. The bill itself doesn’t include anything along these lines in any other parts of it.

This provision ensures that nothing in this bill will diminish the existing human rights of persons with disabilities. That is what it does.

With respect to the Human Rights Act, which is the key part of this amendment, we have to remember that the Human Rights Act is mature. It is a mature system in this country. It has built up a body of case law that is important, and in the Human Rights Act disability is a protected ground. The act includes, and is one of the intents of the act, a full duty to accommodate those with disabilities. It’s an established area, whereas the new bill, of course, is not.

Our bill includes provisions that are rather new. It gives jurisdiction across many areas, it gives jurisdiction to the CRTC and the Canadian Transportation Agency and so on, but these agencies, as we have heard from many witnesses, don’t have a lot of experience in these areas. We don’t exactly know what they are going to do with this.

This provision provides an anchor to what the minister has said such that, if there is an inconsistency, the Human Rights Act can be the place where those with disabilities can go — between the provisions of this act and that act — to the body of case law and the provisions of that act for support in adjudicating a number of cases.

In a sense, this says there is no less protection than what we have today. As I said, we are going from the known into the unknown, and this gives a floor, a certainty, an assistance, particularly in the transition period, until this act and its case law becomes established and mature, and that will build a base of regulation, decisions and so on.

That is the purpose of this amendment. I think it will help. It has been proposed by a number of groups in the disability community, in particular the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance made a very strong case for this. It’s not coming from me alone. It helps this bill and gives it a good grounding, and I think it will be of great assistance in a number of cases that we will see over the next few years with respect to this bill.

The Chair: Senator Munson wants to speak. I want to bring to your attention, so you keep it in mind, that Senator Munson will also be introducing an amendment that addresses the same issue.

Senator Munson: First of all, thank you, Senator Dasko, for your amendment. It is a very important issue, and that’s why I have one as well down the road here in our process. You are on the right track, absolutely, where we want to go and where it should fit within the bill.

I would like to ask the officials if it conflicts with the duty to accommodate and give us some clarification on that, please.

Mr. Van Raalte: Thank you, Madam Chair.

In looking at the two motions, I would start by saying I do not believe they are in conflict, that the committee could pass both amendments. I would say that an amendment similar to the amendment you have before you was debated in the other place and defeated. Part of that is there has been regular advice from the Department of Justice that this amendment is unnecessary and redundant. The Canadian Human Rights Act is quasi-constitutional. As you say senator, it has been in place and is mature. No legislation is introduced in Parliament without a review by the Department of Justice to ensure that clauses are not in conflict and that there is alignment. The courts will look at the CHRA in that quasi-constitutional perspective and from a primacy perspective. It’s unnecessary, but there is nothing wrong with it, if I may say that.

Senator Munson’s proposal, which is I think in page 9 of the page JM2 is specific in that it zeroes in on the issue raised by the disability community around the duty-to-accommodate piece and what other jurisdictions were facing in terms of precedent and the fact that even provincial legislation had the primacy of provincial human rights legislation, yet organizations were still contesting before the courts the duty-to-accommodate provisions. That is where I think Minister Qualtrough was raising her concerns — I don’t want to speak for the minister — and then goes more broadly at the other end to ensure that the duty-to-accommodate provision goes broader than the Human Rights Act. It applies to all acts of Parliament.

To summarize, they are not in conflict. They would both be feasible. I think Senator Munson’s goes both to the heart of the issue and gives you a lot more coverage across other pieces of legislation and doesn’t just focus on the Human Rights Act.

The Chair: Any other comments, concerns or questions?

Senator Seidman: Thank you for that explanation, because I think it’s really helpful. This particular amendment that we’re looking at now states very clearly that if there is an inconsistency the Human Rights Act prevails. Does that create any potential problems?

Mr. Van Raalte: It creates problems in other legislation where that doesn’t exist. So because Parliament has decreed, should Parliament adopt this amendment, then you have other pieces of legislation that are silent in this area, and the courts could say that Parliament was active in this area and was silent in that area, and there is always a purposeful interpretation of Parliament’s action in that area. That is why the Department of Justice continues to tell everybody that it is unnecessary because it’s not throughout the full book of legislation.

Senator Seidman: Just for me to be clear, does that mean that if it’s written in this act but not in other acts, it could be interpreted that the Canadian Human Rights Act would not prevail in other acts?

Mr. Van Raalte: There is that legal risk. I’m not a lawyer; I can’t tell you the significance of that risk. It’s a consistency issue, rightly, for the Department of Justice, and it is the Minister of Justice who is responsible for the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Senator Seidman: Thank you. I appreciate that.

Senator Dasko: What is before us is this act, and if it creates issues with other acts, I think that’s really not for us to consider. I think that we’re looking to make this act the best we can. I think we’re looking at this act, and we’re looking at the compatibility of this amendment with Senator Munson’s amendment around accommodation, and from what you’ve said, they are compatible. They can both exist and, therefore, according to this argument, I think we are on good ground to go ahead with this as an added protection with respect to Bill C-81.

The Chair: Thank you. Any more comments?

Senator Forest-Niesing: Given my legal experience with the interpretation of acts, where no words are necessary, they should not be added, if I can just state it that plainly. Although I support entirely, Senator Dasko, the reason and the intent of the amendment, I feel quite strongly that the amendment being proposed by Senator Munson is the better mechanism by which we can achieve the desired result.

My concern with adding those words is, although we can agree they are compatible, believe me, someone will disagree with that at some point in the future. I would not want in any way, shape or form to dilute the impact of the Canadian Human Rights Act in any future context by having added words that we don’t absolutely have to add to achieve our purpose.

Senator Seidman: Just for the record, because I would like to say that I fully agree with the intent of the amendment you are making, Senator Dasko, but for the reasons just expressed by Senator Forest-Niesing and because of the explanation from the officials, I would prefer to go with Senator Munson’s amendment just to have that insurance that we are not creating unintended consequences.

Senator M. Deacon: I would like to hear Senator Munson repeat, if you don’t mind.

The Chair: Repeat the content of his amendment?

Senator M. Deacon: Yes, please.

The Chair: Don’t move your amendment, please, but just explain the difference a little more.

Senator Munson: The disability community has noted that experience with provincial accessibility legislation suggests — we are working on this — that regulated entities may neglect to provide accommodations under the mistaken belief that meeting accessibility regulations fulfills or overrides their duty to accommodate, so that’s basically it. As best of my notes I have here, it talks about the amendment, so it really is about greater certainty and not overreaching — it’s just there. It’s extremely important.

The Chair: No more questions, I see. Comments? Are we ready for a vote?

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Chair: The motion is defeated.

With that, shall clause 6, as amended, carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 7 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 8 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 9 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 10 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: We have amendments in Part 1, which include clauses 11 to 16. We will deal these clauses individually.

Shall clause 11 carry?

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Chair: We have a couple of amendments in clause 11. I will refer to the first one, an amendment from Senator Forest-Niesing, JFN4, in your documents.

Senator Forest-Niesing: Thank you, Madam Chair. For the reasons that I previously stated, I felt strongly that the use of the words “without delay” were the appropriate manner in which we could introduce the notion of the timeline or a deadline.

I move:

That Bill C-81 be amended in clause 11, on page 6, by replacing line 5 with the following:

11 (1) The minister’s mandate is the realization, without delay, of a”.

— and the sentence goes on.

Coming back to what I was saying, I’ve already stated my reasons. I won’t repeat them except to point out that although I have accepted a compromise and would submit to the will of the majority on the committee, this is an opportunity to use those words without contravening any other section and to use them in a very appropriate section of the bill, which is the minister’s mandate. It is a responsibility that would befall the minister. I shouldn’t defeat my own argument while I’m making it, but I will tell you in advance that I would be amenable to a compromise here, as well, that would combine the words “without delay, but by no later than January 2040.”

The Chair: It is moved by the Senator Forest-Niesing that Bill C-81 be amended —

An Hon. Senator: Dispense.

The Chair: Thank you. Comments and questions?

Senator Seidman: Here we are again, in the sense that this involves the next amendment in that series of deadlines. We’ll have to ask Senator Dasko as well, since we both have the same amendment in this series of amendments for 2040. It amends the same clause on page 6.

The only question I would have — and I would need the officials again — is to be sure there are no competing issues here or any problem with the language, if you say “without delay, but on or before January 1, 2040.”

I want to be sure that that would not create some kind of unintended consequence again, to use that language.

The Chair: Any comments from the officials?

Mr. Van Raalte: We don’t see any unintended consequence.

The Chair: Thank you.

Senator Dasko: We had a very full discussion about this earlier. I believe we decided to take a certain approach to this and that we would deal with the delay issues in the preamble and in clause 5.2.

If we start to play around with this one, then it will raise questions as to why we didn’t change it in the earlier one with respect to the amendment where we put the date in. So we would not have “without delay” in the first one but we would add it here, thus raising questions as why we didn’t put “without delay” in the earlier one.

There is a consistency here that we should achieve, and the consistency is to not include the word “delay” in the amendments that Senator Seidman and I have put forward, to not add that other phrase. We should be consistent; otherwise, we will raise questions about why we are not being consistent and whether it means something in this clause because it doesn’t have it when this one does.

I strongly suggest that we follow along the lines we had decided on earlier and not keep revisiting this, although perhaps there is another issue with respect to this. That’s really a discussion, but at the moment I don’t see any difference here from what we had discussed earlier. Thank you.

Senator Omidvar: I’m going to ask the officials the question: This change would impact on the clause relating to the minister’s powers, duties and functions. So we are asking the minister to, “without delay,” do A, B, C, D, and not later than 2040. Does it make a difference that we have it in this section of the bill in order to underline some urgency in terms of what the minister does?

Mr. Van Raalte: I believe there are a series of amendments around a date deadline that are intended to address the different powers, duties and functions of the different officers or representatives outlined in the bill.

The Chair: Senator Seidman wanted to speak on that.

Senator Seidman: I think that’s a great question, but my understanding is based on what the law clerk told us. When you tell the law clerk that you want to put in a deadline of 2040, the law clerk then creates the amendment by looking through the entire bill to make sure we’ve corrected it every place it has to be corrected in order to make that amendment do what it is supposed to. This was the law clerk putting it in here, so I’m assuming, based on his judgment and expertise, that it needs to go here in order to enforce the 2040 deadline.

Senator Forest-Niesing: I have no major disagreement with what I have heard. I won’t be brokenhearted if this particular amendment does not pass. I just wanted to go on record to make my argument in support. I’m quite happy with what I understand will be the outcome.

The Chair: Are we ready to vote on the amendment from Senator Forest-Niesing? Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?

Hon. Senators: No.

The Chair: Defeated.

We will move on with the amendment from Senator Dasko, referred to as “DD3.”

Senator Dasko: I move:

That Bill C-81 be amended in clause 11, on page 6, by replacing line 6 with the following:

“Canada without barriers on or about January 1, 2040.”.

The Chair: It is moved by the Honourable Senator Dasko —

An Hon. Senator: Dispense.

The Chair: Thank you.

Questions or comments?

Senator Seidman: This just follows along, again, you’ll see my amendment underneath Senator Dasko’s. Again, this is where this has to be. I don’t have to say much other that it enforces the year 2040 in all the right places in the legislation.

Senator Dasko: I want to enforce what Senator Seidman said earlier about the advice we both received from the law clerk in terms of dealing with this issue of the timeline. We both received the same advice, and that’s why we have come up with the very same amendment with respect to where this phrase should go.

The Chair: Comments?

Senator Forest-Niesing: I wanted to reassure colleagues that I’m in full support of this motion. Given the defeat of the earlier motion, if it is the will of this committee to adopt the deadline of January 1, 2040, then it should be consistent throughout the legislation. I do support that.

The Chair: Thank you for this, Senator Forest-Niesing.

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Thank you.

We are moving to an amendment proposed by Senator Forest-Niesing. It is referred to as “JFN5.”

Do you wish to move this amendment?

Senator Forest-Niesing: Yes, I do.

[Translation]

I will read it. I move that Bill C-81 be amended in clause 11, on page 6, by replacing lines 7 and 8 with the following:

(2) In carrying out his or her mandate, the Minister must,

[English]

The Chair: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Forest-Niesing that Bill C-81 be amended —

An Hon. Senator: Dispense.

Senator Forest-Niesing: Briefly, the amendment would simply strengthen the bill by introducing the notion of “must” versus “may.” We heard numerous witnesses tell us how important it is to give this piece of legislation the strength that is required, and I believe that this amendment would go further in strengthening it.

The affected persons or levels, I’d like to speak to briefly. While there are responsibilities that befall the commissioner and the four agencies that will be tasked with the implementation, the proposed amendment leaves the notion of duty or “must” with the minister and at the ministerial level. That’s in full appreciation of the fact that everything starts and stops with the minister and, through the minister’s direction, the commissioner and the agencies will act. I didn’t feel that it was necessary to broaden the scope and, for that reason, you won’t see me making numerous amendments wherever the words may appear. But they do change from “may” to “must” and, in my respectful submission, should change from “may” to “must” where we speak of the minister’s responsibilities.

The Chair: Thank you very much.

Senator Munson: Just a question for the officials. What does that word mean? What does that change for the minister? It’s obvious it’s there, but I think we like governments to do things; governments “must” do things and not “may” do things. I’m just curious.

Mr. Van Raalte: The “may” provisions are legal drafting precedents around the observance of not tying the hands of the Crown. Effectively it removes discretion on the part of the requirements of the minister.

Senator Seidman: I will go back to the officials for a moment.

I was going to ask the same question that Senator Munson asked because I remember discussing this in another piece of legislation on this committee at some point over the years. Somehow, I thought I heard — and I may not be recollecting correctly — that from a legal perspective this was the language that is generally used and that ultimately, in terms of the legislation, it’s being enforced and carried through on and makes very little difference. Is that the case?

Mr. Van Raalte: You are correct, senator. From a drafting perspective, the drafting tradition is “may.” It does not diminish the requirements of any of the provisions within that legislation. I apologize if I misspoke in a certain way.

Senator Seidman: No, it was correct. I wanted to be clear, because this isn’t the first time we discussed the language “may” and “must” in legislation on this committee, so that’s very helpful.

Senator Forest-Niesing: In my respectful opinion, many cases have hinged in the courts on the distinction between “may” and “must.” Cases have succeeded on the basis of the inclusion of the word “must.” I have no concerns with this minister’s exercise of discretion, her commitment to the objects of this law and to the implementation of this act as quickly as possible. I have no doubt. But “may,” although it’s done for all the respectful reasons, introduces some discretion, and the exercise of discretion leaves it less strong than it could be.

The Chair: Do we have any more questions or comments? Are we ready to vote?

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?

Hon. Senators: No.

The Chair: The motion is defeated.

Senator M. Deacon: Logistics-wise, as we’re moving through this and our timing, will we go until we’re finished? We are not stopping at 12:30? I want to understand this because of some really important stuff at the end.

The Chair: This is a very good question and we do have the possibility to go over 12:30, but we also have the possibility to adjourn and finish the job that we want to do very well at the next meeting.

Senator M. Deacon: Thank you.

The Chair: We will continue until 12:30, which is very soon, and then we will make a decision.

Shall clause 11, as amended, carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Agreed.

Shall clause 12 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 13 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 14 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 15 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 16 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 17 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 18 carry? We have some amendments to clause 18.

Looking at the time, to come back to what you were saying Senator M. Deacon, we have those three amendments in clause 18. My suggestion is that we stop after that, because we want to give time for everyone to speak on the other amendments coming. I believe that everyone agrees on that, and we will continue next week with clause by clause.

For now, we will proceed with the amendments in clause 18.

We begin with an amendment from Senator Dasko, “DD4” in your documents.

Senator Dasko: Thank you, chair, this is part 3, the final of my amendments with respect to the date. I will read the amendment. I move:

That Bill C-81 be amended in clause 18, on page 7, by replacing line 14 with the following:

“tribute to the realization of a Canada without barriers, on or before January 1, 2040.”.

That is the proposed amendment. And this is the same set.

The Chair: It is moved by the Honourable Senator Dasko that Bill C-81 be amended —

An Hon. Senator: Dispense.

The Chair: Questions and comments?

Senator Forest-Niesing: I can indicate that it will be my intention to withdraw my proposed amendment for all of the reasons already stated. That will simplify the discussion and the vote, I believe.

The Chair: Do we have any more comments on this amendment? We will vote on it.

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Carried.

Honourable senators, I would propose, given what we have left and the content of the amendments coming and looking at the clock, we have 10 minutes but we have some — we want to continue? Do we agree that we continue? Perfect.

We are moving with amendment JS5 — sorry, it is exactly the same.

Senator Seidman: It’s the fourth part of the same amendment. We already voted, as far as we’re all concerned on that.

The Chair: Perfect. Sounds good. We are now moving on with an amendment from Senator M. Deacon referred to as “MD1.”

Senator M. Deacon: I would draw your attention to page 7. I move that Bill C-81 be amended in clause 18(c), and to the memo’d change to 18(c): The provision of information, training guidelines, products and services in relation to accessibility standards that is developed or revised.

The Chair: I would ask that you move your amendment and read it the way it is scripted, if you wish.

Senator M. Deacon: I would be absolutely delighted to. The amendment as scripted would be the provision — this is as it is right now.

The Chair: We need you on the record to read that you move that Bill C-81 —

Senator M. Deacon: Yes, okay. I move:

That Bill C-81 be amended in clause 18, on page 7, by replacing line 20 with the following:

(c) the provision of information, training guidelines, products and ser-”.

The Chair: It is moved by the Honourable Senator Deacon that Bill C-81 —

An Hon. Senator: Dispense.

The Chair: Thank you. Would you like to explain?

Senator M. Deacon: Thank you. On a number of levels I think we heard from our witnesses and from the minister that in order for us to really take a look at our culture, our culture shifting in this area, being inclusive, the variety of our witnesses, that training can’t be just inherent and embedded but it needs to be stated in this piece of legislation.

I’m not sure if you recall, but some of our speakers, we had Ms. Bergeron and another couple of examples of where they talked about communications and the kinds of significant but also subtle changes in communication, that involves training. It’s something that the AODA taught us in the leadership in Ontario was that training became a significant piece, particularly in the area around invisible disability and trying to get it right in the areas beyond the built environment.

The Chair: Thank you. Questions or comments on this amendment?

Senator Seidman: Thank you. I have one question, because you’re clearly adding training guidelines. Do you feel that the current provision doesn’t include training guidelines, or are you trying emphasize?

Senator M. Deacon: Agreed. Not only does it not bring enough strength to it, it does not include it. My fear is that by not including it, making it succinct and clear, it can be diluted.

The Chair: Thank you.

Senator Omidvar: Are the words “training guidelines” anywhere else in the bill?

Senator M. Deacon: In this bill, I have not seen them anywhere. This is the first time. This is it.

The Chair: Are we ready to vote?

Senator Munson: I’d like to get a clarification of what this means from the officials.

Mr. Van Raalte: My concern with this amendment is training with respect to what? So the mandate of the Canadian accessibility standards development organization at its core will be to produce accessibility standards that then will be recommended to the minister. That recommendation can be accepted, amended or rejected in terms of turning them into regulations.

There’s the possibility of creating a conflict in providing training guidelines on a standard which isn’t equivalent to the regulations that will be put into force. That’s my one concern. The “information” wording provides a lot more flexibility in terms of how the Canadian accessibility standards development organization will be able to, in consultation with the community, determine how it can best support the needs of the community and the needs of the regulated entities.

Senator M. Deacon: Understood, and I checked that out as we were going through this process.

We need something stronger than “information.” So if the wording has to be adjusted to respect that, we need something stronger than just information. I understand the latitude that that provided, but in my opinion we need something stronger. Also, as it works through, I totally understand the difference between a national policy and a working document at the provincial level. I get that the language they can use is different, but I still believe we need to have something here that reflects training.

Senator Seidman: Given Senator Omidvar’s question, which I think was an important one, what you said is this language is not used anywhere else in this legislation, and then followed up by the clarification from the officials. Could we write an observation if this language isn’t good enough, because it could confuse or have unintended consequences? Would it be possible to write an observation about the training issues that you bring forward?

Senator M. Deacon: It’s possible, absolutely. And that’s where I started, to be candid. I moved to this. At the will of the group, we need it stronger and we need to make sure it’s stronger and it follows the path of strength throughout implementation and fruition. I’m trying to go about that the best way we can.

Senator Seidman: Would you be willing, based on what we have heard now, to withdraw your amendment and instead write an observation and put it forward in an observation?

Senator M. Deacon: I will do that with reservation for sure. Not tears, reservation.

Senator Seidman: Then we should proceed with the amendment.

The Chair: The amendment has been moved, so we need unanimous consent to actually withdraw the amendment.

Do we have unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment? Is that agreed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Agreed.

Shall clause 18, as amended, carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 19 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 20 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 21 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 22 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 23 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 24 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 25 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 26 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 27 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 28 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 29 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 30 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 31 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 32 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 33 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 34 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 35 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 36 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: We are now on Part 3. Shall Part 3, entitled “Accessibility Commissioner,” which contains clauses to 37 to 41 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall Part 4, entitled “Duties of Regulated Entities,” which contains clauses 42 to 72 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall Part 5, entitled “Administration and Enforcement,” which contains clauses 73 to 93 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: We have amendments in Part 6, which includes clauses 94 to 110. We will deal with these clauses individually.

Before we move to that, I want to seek agreement to continue. We have the room and the possibility to continue. We have four more amendments. Are we in agreement that we continue?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Thank you for this.

Shall 94 carry? We have an amendment, and the amendment is from Senator Munson. It is referred to as “JM1.”

If you could please move this amendment.

Senator Munson: Yes, Madam Chair.

I move:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 94, be amended by

(a) replacing lines 9 to 17 on page 54 with the following:

Exception — Public Service Employment Act

(4) An individual is not entitled to file a complaint in re-

(b) replacing line 22 on page 54 with the following:

Notice

(5) The Accessibility Commissioner must cause a written

The Chair: It is moved by the Honourable Senator Munson that Bill C-81 be amended in clause —

An Hon. Senator: Dispense.

The Chair: Thank you.

Senator Munson: Very briefly, and I will ask the officials as well to comment. This deals with the RCMP. Bill C-81 requires that federal public sector employees address accessibility complaints through existing grievance complaint processes. However, as set out in the bill, there is an inconsistency for members of the RCMP who are unable to receive the same compensation through their existing grievance process.

With clause 94(4) deleted, RCMP members would be able to file a complaint with the accessibility commissioner. Should their complaint be substantiated, they would be eligible to receive the same compensation as the rest of the federal public service.

So that’s basically it. If the officials want to add to that, they can; if not, that is my explanation.

Mr. Van Raalte: Senators, with apologies, this is a drafting error. This was an omission that has been caught by a legal review. The purpose of the bill is to treat everybody consistently. We want to be able to do that, so that is the amendment before you.

The Chair: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Senator Munson, you have the next two amendments.

Senator Munson: Senator Dasko, this is where this will have greater certainty, I think.

I move:

That Bill C-81 be amended by adding before line 21 on page 67 the following:

Duty to accommodate not limited

121.1 For greater certainty, nothing in any provision of this Act or the regulations limits a regulated entity’s duty to accommodate under any other Act of Parliament.

The Chair: It is moved by Honourable Senator Munson that Bill C-81 be amended by adding —

Hon. Senators: Dispense. Agreed.

Senator Munson: In dealing with this amendment, as I mentioned before the disability community has noted that experience with provincial accessibility legislation suggests that regulated entities may neglect to provide accommodations under the mistaken belief that meeting accessibility regulations fulfills or overrides their duty to accommodate. This amendment would clarify to regulated entities that nothing in the proposed “Accessible Canada Act” would lessen their obligations under any other act of Parliament.

The Chair: Questions or comments?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Honourable senators, in my haste to hear the second amendment, I jumped a number of clauses that we need to go back to and carry, clauses without amendments. My apologies for that. We will, with your agreement, go back to clause 94, as amended.

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall clause 95 carry?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall clause 96 carry?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall clause 97 carry?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall clause 98?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall clause 99 carry?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall clause 100 carry?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall clause 101 carry?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall clause 102 carry?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall clause 103 carry?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall clause 104 carry?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall clause 105 carry?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall clause 106 carry?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall clause 107 carry?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall clause 108 carry?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall clause 109 carry?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall clause 110 carry?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: Shall Part 7, entitled “Chief Accessibility Officer,” which contains clauses 111 to 116, carry?

Hon. Senators: Carry.

The Chair: We have amendments in Part 8, and we just dealt with one, I believe. We will continue going through those clauses.

Shall clause 117 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 118 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 119 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 120 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 121, as amended, carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 122 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 123 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 124 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 125 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 126 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 127 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 128 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 129 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 130?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 131 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 132 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 133 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: We have amendments in Part 9, which includes clauses 134 to 146. We will deal with these clauses individually.

Shall clause 134 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 135 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 136 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 137 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 138 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 139 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 140 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 141 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 142 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 143 carry? We have an amendment from Senator Munson.

Senator Munson: Thank you. This is back to the RCMP.

I move:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 143, be amended by replacing line 10 on page 77 with the following:

subsection 94(5), 96(1), 100(2), 101(2) or 103(3), the Ac-

I don’t have an explanation in front of me. Basically cleaning it up.

The Chair: It is moved by the Honourable Senator Munson that Bill C-81 —

Some Hon. Senators: Dispense.

The Chair: Thank you.

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 143, as amended, carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 144 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 145 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 146 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: We have amendments in Part 10, which includes clauses 147 to 199. We will deal with them individually.

Shall clause 147 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 148 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 149 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 150 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 151 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 152 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 153 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 154 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 155 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 156 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 157 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 158 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 159 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 160 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 161 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 162 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 163 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 164 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 165 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 166 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 167 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 168 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 169 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 170 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 171 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 172 carry?

We have some amendments. Senator Munson.

Senator Munson: Thank you.

I move:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 172, be amended by

(a) replacing line 37 on page 88 with the following:

172 Section 172 of the act is replaced by

(b) replacing lines 3 to 12 on page 89 with the following:

Remedies

(2) On determining that there is an undue barrier to the

(c) replacing lines 34 and 35 on page 89 with the following:

Compliance with regulations

(3) if the Agency is satisfied that regulations made under subsection 170(1) that are applicable in relation to a matter that have been complied with or have not been contravened, the Agency may determine that there is an undue barrier in relation to that matter but if it does so, it may only require the taking of appropriate corrective measures.

(d) replacing line 25 on page 90 with the following:

Annual Adjustment

172.2 (1) For the purpose of paragraphs 172(2)(d) and

(e) replacing the line 5 on page 91 with the following:

graphs 172(2)(b) and (c) and 172.1(2)(b) and (c) may in-

(f) renumbering the remaining clauses and amending all references to them accordingly.

The Chair: It is moved by the Honourable Senator Munson that Bill C-81 be amended in clause 172 —

Some Hon. Senators: Dispense.

Senator Munson: I have just a few speaking points on this, Madam Chair. Organizations such as AODA Alliance and ARCH Disability Law Centre have expressed concern over subsection 172(2) of the Canada Transportation Act, as it may prevent the Canadian Transport Agency from considering whether a company has met its duty to accommodate to the point of undue hardship. This amendment will respond to concerns in the disability community by ensuring that the Canadian Transport Agency can determine an undue barrier even if a company is complying with regulations. Should the Canadian Transportation Agency determine an undue barrier, the agency would also be given the power to order corrective measures.

Basically, the effect of this motion is a new clause that replaces the existing text of 172(2). If the officials would like to add more, they can, but that is the explanation.

Mr. Van Raalte: Just by way of further explanation, in the absence of this amendment, should somebody seek a duty to accommodate under transportation regulations, they would have to go to court. They would have to go above and beyond the tribunal powers of the Canadian Transportation Agency. This corrects and makes consistent across the different tribunal powers that the Canadian Transportation Agency, as a tribunal power, would be able to hear and decide cases around duty to accommodate, above and beyond what the regulations prescribe under the Canada Transportation Act.

Senator M. Deacon: Perhaps I’m seeking some support or help here. We’re talking about amendments. For the purposes of duty to accommodate and human rights, I would love to repeal section 172, but that’s the next one on the list. I’m trying to think about the order and sequence here. If the group agrees with amendments, then we’re not going to have the next conversation, I think, about a possible repeal of section 172. I’m just trying to understand it from a sequential point of view.

The Chair: I understand your question. Yes, we have the amendment from Senator Dasko coming next. It is the order they are in. Senator Dasko’s amendment repeals 172.

I don’t know, Senator Dasko, if you wanted to speak on that now?

Senator Dasko: Yes, this is the time to do it. It seems to me that the amendment introduced by Senator Munson helps. It would make ig a better bill. Of course, I think repealing section 172 would make it even better. I’m trying to understand. Maybe the officials or Senator Munson could tell us in real terms: What do you see? With examples, or however you can describe it, tell us what your amendment will do.

Obviously it has been accepted. It’s something that the government has moved on, which I very much appreciate. I really appreciate this recognition and effort to make some changes and make it better. I need to have a little more substance, if somebody could please explain.

The Chair: Maybe the officials can help us, because it is a situation where we have those two amendments. Senator Dasko’s amendment is coming after Senator Munson’s amendments. It would, in fact, repeal the section.

Senator Dasko: It would repeal all the work here. That’s true.

The Chair: We need for everyone to be conscious of that. I would like to hear the officials on that issue.

Senator Dasko: Be forthcoming.

Mr. Van Raalte: I have two aspects in response to the motion before you and the motion that may come afterwards. The first issue is that no regulations under the Canadian Transportation Act have been promulgated to date, vis-à-vis accessibility. The work of the Canadian Transportation Agency to date has been working with both transportation companies as well as the disability community and other stakeholders on a set of voluntary guidelines. That has recently changed, and the Canadian Transportation Agency has the first set of accessibility regulations through the Canadian Gazette publication process.

This clause has not yet been tested to date. It has been in existence for quite a number of years but, from a regulatory perspective, it has yet to be tested. I don’t have any evidence for you within the transportation sector.

The amendment and the balancing act proposed in the amendment mirror the balancing act on the concept of duty to accommodate; it sets a threshold. In this act it is the threshold of undue barrier, and then the test beyond the undue barrier is whether there is a duty-to-accommodate requirement. If you were to repeal 172(2) of the Canadian Transportation Act, you would lose that test.

There’s a similar test — it’s not exactly the same — within the Canadian Human Rights Act. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission also has a similar test, and that is to provide some guidance and assurance to the regulated industry about meeting the rules and then going above and beyond those rules.

Senator Munson: I couldn’t say it any better.

The Chair: Do we have more comments or questions?

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: We are moving to your amendment, Senator Dasko.

Senator Dasko: Which I haven’t moved yet.

I’m willing to take mine off the table. Anyway, that’s my inclination.

The Chair: Thank you, Senator Dasko.

Shall clause 172, as amended, carry?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Senator Deacon, I see you have a comment.

Senator M. Deacon: Yes. So this was Senator Dasko’s amendment to repeal. We voted. I think all the protocols happened. I would have loved even to have deferred this last amendment to consider what I heard this morning from the clerk. So I can’t do that?

The Chair: Can you repeat that?

Senator M. Deacon: I was hoping to be able to defer the conversation on the amendment to repeal section 172(2), based on the information shared today, but I think that ship has sailed.

The Chair: If I understand correctly, you want to defer the discussion?

Senator M. Deacon: Yes, based on the information that was just shared with us today, but I believe that this has already proceeded. There wasn’t time to get my hand up.

The Chair: We have voted already.

Senator M. Deacon: Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you.

Senator Deacon, the clerk has advised me that can record that vote “on division” if you’re more comfortable with that.

Senator M. Deacon: Thank you.

The Chair: It is on division.

Honourable senators, is it agreed that all remaining clauses carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 1, which contains the short title, carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall the preamble carry?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: We have an amendment, if you will remember, to the preamble.

Senator Forest-Niesing: I won’t repeat my reasoning. You’re all well aware it. We have discussed it from every possible angle. I will just remind my colleagues that prior to coming to the discussion about the amendments on the timeline — sorry, you want me to read it in.

The Chair: You have to move the amendment.

Senator Forest-Niesing: I move:

That Bill C-81 be amended in the preamble, on page 1, by replacing line 15 with the following:

“bility without delay complements the rights of persons with disabil-”.

The Chair: It is moved by the Honourable Senator Forest-Niesing that Bill C-81 be amended in the preamble.

Senator Forest-Niesing: We will dispense with the reading. We will dispense with the argument except to say that I came into the discussion today having already canvassed my dissenting colleagues as to whether there would be support for including those words in the preamble, and I believe there is support for that. I would encourage you to consider including those words in the preamble.

The Chair: Questions or comments? Are we ready to vote?

Senator Omidvar: I have a question, and it’s to the officials. It’s the only time in the bill that we use the word “without delay.” I wonder whether that creates any conflict in the body of the bill, where we have not used the words but we’ve used a date. I just have to ask you that question, and then I’m happy to proceed.

Mr. Van Raalte: No conflict, senator.

Senator Omidvar: No conflict. All right.

The Chair: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall the preamble, as amended, carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall the title carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall the bill, as amended, carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Does the committee wish to consider appending observations to the report?

Some Hon. Senators: Yes, please.

The Chair: Any other observations?

Senator Seidman: Have we received them? Do we have them?

Senator M. Deacon: I’m just finishing them now, literally. I can send them to you or do you want me to read them to you?

The Chair: I think what we will do is adjourn this meeting, and we will finish the clause-by-clause study of this bill at the next meeting. That will give you time to properly voice what you would like to. Does everybody agree with that?

Senator Seidman: Just one question. We finished the clause-by-clause of the bill.

The Chair: Yes.

Senator Seidman: So now we’re merely talking about observations.

The Chair: Observations to the report.

Senator Seidman: I’m not sure, but I’ll just put the question out there. Is it possible for you to submit the observations to the clerk and for the clerk to circulate them for us to look at them and decide whether we agree? I know that we have Bill C-83 and budget sections of the bill to deal with starting next week. I might ask the clerk to make a ruling on the procedures of doing that.

The Chair: Dear clerk, I cannot read your writing. It’s on the record.

In order to do this, and I suggest that we do, I need senators to delegate the approval of the final wording and observations to the steering committee. Is that agreed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator M. Deacon: The observations have been sent to Dan.

The Chair: Thank you, Senator Deacon.

Is it agreed I report this bill, as amended, with observations to the Senate?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: This concludes clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-81. I want to thank you, my colleagues, for the good work done.

Senator Munson: I just want to say that it’s an exhausting but important process. I want to thank every member of this committee, as the sponsor of this bill, for the journey that we’re on, because it truly is history in the making. When it comes back, we’ll see what it looks like with our amendments.

I always get emotional, but I really feel that this is a committee that really pays attention to the issues. We work so closely together and I see the art of compromise and consensus. Listening to the debate, and having been a senator for 15, 16 years, this is a defining moment when it comes to human rights and social justice. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Senator Munson, for your kind words, and it is history in the making.

Thank you to all the witnesses who have been part of this process. The bill called for “nothing about us without us,” and this committee really tried to make it true.

Senator Dasko: I want to thank you, Madam Chair, for your very hard work, patience, intelligence and your ability to be inclusive of points of view.

The Chair: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Senator Ravalia: I’d like to acknowledge the tremendous support that we get from our staff. Because they do a lot of work in the background, and it’s sincerely appreciated.

The Chair: Absolutely.

(The committee adjourned.)