Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Finance

Issue 7 - Evidence - Meeting of May 6, 2009

OTTAWA, Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance met this day at 6:30 p.m. to examine the following elements contained in Bill C-10, the Budget Implementation Act, 2009: Parts 1-6, Parts 8-10 and Parts 13-15, and in particular those dealing with employment insurance; and to examine the Estimates laid before Parliament for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010 (topic: Part 10 — Expenditure Restraint Act).

Senator Joseph A. Day (Chair) in the chair.


The Chair: Thank you all for coming here this evening, our last intended meeting, at least on Bill C-10.


This evening, we will continue our study of the Budget Implementation Act 2009, previously Bill C-10. At the same time, we will study the Estimates 2009-2010.


This evening, we turn our attention to Part 10 of the act. Honourable senators will know that there are a considerable number of parts, 15, to this Budget Implementation Act. We will focus primarily on Part 10, but of course, if any of our witnesses feel compelled by an urge that is not controllable to discuss any other aspect of this bill, we would love to hear from you on that as well.

Part 10 creates another act called the Expenditure Restraint Act, and we will hear from representatives of two public service unions in relation to that new act and the impact it may or may not have on their work.

We are pleased to welcome Claude Poirier, President of the Canadian Association of Professional Employees; and Marco Mendicino, Acting President of Association of Justice Counsel, who is accompanied by Nick Devlin, Governing Counsel Member for the association.


Claude Poirier, President, Canadian Association of Professional Employees: I thank the Committee on National Finance for receiving the Canadian Association of Professional Employees, CAPE. We are a union representing federal government professionals. Our members are translators, interpreters, government terminologists, economists, statisticians, policy analysts, social science support analysts, and, lastly, a group with whom you are a little more familiar, the Library of Parliament analysts who, I feel sure, provide you with excellent service.

We do not appear here this evening to contest the increases imposed in the Expenditure Restraint Act. In fact, our members voted, albeit under clear duress, in favour of the Treasury Board's final offer.

Rather, we are here to denounce a flagrant injustice in that act. The act prevents CAPE from negotiating salary scales under the classification conversion for members of the EC group that is scheduled for next June 22. The classification standard they are currently working under is 28 years old and dates from 1981.

The employer has spent who knows how much money to develop a new classification standard and has changed the method of determining the value of work. Without going back to the bargaining table, therefore, we have no way of knowing whether the salary scales reflect the new standard. In all other cases, classification conversions have led to salary scale negotiation. To add insult to injury, the employer created an exception for the border services group because negotiations on their conversion were complete.

CAPE had been ready to negotiate an agreement for its members since the end of last summer. Our salary proposal was similar to the government's final offer, but their negotiators had no mandate for the conversion. We therefore waited until September, then October and finally until November, for the final offer.

Contrary to Hélène Laurendeau's remarks before this committee, Treasury Board did its utmost to prevent us from returning to the table. Yet the conversion was more or less the only negotiation remaining and Ms. Laurendeau stated that the door was open. This is not the case. If we had been able to negotiate, we would not be here this evening.

The unfortunate aspect is that, if our members do not see the end of the conversion process, they will never know if the salary they receive reflects the new classification. Also unfortunate is the fact that a classification conversion happens only once in a public servant's career. The last one took place in 1981 and one is happening now. The next will likely be in 2035 or 2040, much too late for the majority of our members.

In the meantime, to correct problems in the salary scales, departments continue to meet their needs by resorting to reclassification.

We are asking you for one very simple response: legislation requiring CAPE and Treasury Board to go back to the table to negotiate salary scales to match the new classification standards. These negotiations would not be subject to the prohibition on salary restructuring. Of course, this initiative would not apply to the annual increments established in the act that our members have already accepted. This should be done in the interests of justice and so that our members are not forced into believing that the employer can use legislation to avoid its responsibilities.

I will be happy to answer your questions.

The Chair: Thank you. We move on to Mr. Mendicino.

Marco Mendicino, Acting President, Association of Justice Counsel: Thank you for this opportunity to present our views. The Association of Justice Counsel represents the working interests of some 2,500 lawyers employed by the Government of Canada. Put simply, we are your lawyers. We are dedicated professionals who play an essential role in the fair, efficient and accessible justice system. We also provide critical legal support to the federal government. We draft legislation, develop policy and litigate cases. We are your lawyers. And we are very good at what we do.


Why are we here? We are here because the passage of Bill C-10, now the Expenditure Restraint Act, stands in opposition to three things that are of paramount importance to you: your ability to keep the best of us working for the public; your ability to recruit other equally talented officials; and, by extension, your ability to ensure that we continue to live in a democratic society that is both just and safe. These direct consequences flow from the passage of Bill C-10. Let me tell you why and how you can help us fix it.

The AJC was formed in July 2001 to speak for federal lawyers, long before we had the right to bargain collectively. The principal objective of the AJC from the outset was to bridge the growing gap between the salaries of federal lawyers and their provincial counterparts. In the eight years since, that gap has only grown wider.

On April 1, 2005, the Public Service Labour Relations Act came into effect. For the first time, it permitted us to bargain collectively.

The work that we do is crucial to a stable and diverse society. It is also increasing, both in terms of volume and complexity. That is why it is imperative that we recruit and retain the best lawyers.

The Department of Justice is sometimes referred to as Canada's largest national law firm. We are frequently at the forefront of issues that influence our social fabric. We hold the pen on important legislation; develop important policies, advise numerous client departments and litigate high-profile cases.

A few brief examples are illustrative. In recent years, federal policy and legislation have been introduced to address family violence; youth justice renewal; the legal recognition of same-sex unions; money laundering and organized crime; and terrorism. Justice counsel litigate for the Government of Canada in complex and delicate areas, including First Nations land claims, veterans affairs, customs and revenue, health regulation, refugee claims, extraditions, commission inquiries and national security certificate cases.

Within the domain of the criminal justice system, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada acts as the prosecuting arm of the federal government. The cases prosecuted by the PPSC involve drugs, organized crime, money laundering and proceeds of crime and terrorism.

We are also the ones who prosecute extraditions and war crimes.

You have heard a little bit about what we do and who we are. Next, I want to discuss what Bill C-10 has done to us. Let me quickly bring you up to speed.

In 2006, the AJC began to negotiate with the Treasury Board Secretariat. We started the process with most of our members paid significantly less than their provincial counterparts. The federal government has now fallen to seventh in the country in what it pays its counsel. We lag behind British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Ontario, where our provincial counterparts earn as much as 40 per cent more, depending on years of experience.

Sadly, the bargaining process was an insult to us and our work. Instead of answering our honest concerns, Treasury Board proposed that we work unlimited hours for raises well below the cost of living. Understandably, our members have been frustrated.

With the failure of bargaining, we are scheduled to arbitrate our agreement in June. However, Bill C-10 has taken the issue of compensation off the table. It prevents the neutral arbitrators from awarding the contract that they believe is fair and instead limits salary increases beyond the meagre rates set out under section 16 of the Expenditure Restraint Act.

Why does this issue matter? Simply put, you are losing your best lawyers. We have serious recruitment and retention issues. In its own report on plans and priorities for 2009-10, the PPSC acknowledged that competition for scarce resources was a problem. The report states that salaries paid to provincial prosecutors and private sector lawyers exceed those paid to PPSC lawyers in certain regions of Canada. This disparity affects the ability of the PPSC to retain both its highly skilled prosecutors and legal agents.

This information comes straight from the PPSC. Similarly, the Department of Justice's 2007-10 Human Resources Plan conceded that it could not attract experienced lawyers to replace those who were nearing retirement. In the area of commercial law alone, a March 2008 presentation made by the Assistant Department Minister of the Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio observed that federal commercial lawyers are undervalued, and that the salary levels are so low that the government cannot compete against the private bar for new recruits.

This issue remains a serious concern, especially since the commercial law group has been identified as a priority by the Privy Council Office in the advancement of developing expertise in this area.

In my own home office, there was an exodus of counsel between the years 2006 and 2007. We shed more than 15 per cent of our total complement. Many of those who left were senior lawyers who took with them over 100 years of irreplaceable legal experience. Where did most of them go? They went across the street to the province.

Our case, therefore, is not an exaggerated tale. These trends are real and they are felt across the country. Bill C-10 has only made things worse. If we cannot recruit and retain top-tier counsel, our ability to provide legal advice of the highest quality and to litigate complex cases will be significantly undermined. In turn, the public good suffers.

What can senators do? Bill C-10 is now law. The problems remain. Please raise this issue. Inform your colleagues in both the Senate and the House of Commons that it matters for Canada to have and retain the best lawyers that it can.

We will return to the bargaining table soon for our next round. This time we want to meet with an employer who values our work and believes that what we do is essential to protecting and bettering this country. Tell them that Treasury Board should come to the table with us as valuable partners in everything you do. Send a message that the government needs to treat its lawyers fairly, in compensation and in nonmonetary terms.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Mendicino. Mr. Devlin, do you have anything you would like to add?

Nick Devlin, Member of Governing Counsel, Association of Justice Counsel: Not unless there are questions from the committee.

The Chair: Section 16, which you referred to, Mr. Mendicino, has five different subsections.

Mr. Mendicino: Yes.

The Chair: In the fiscal year from April 1, 2006, to March 31, 2007, the increase was 2.5 per cent.

Mr. Mendicino: That is correct.

The Chair: If you already had an agreement that paid you more than that, how does that subsection impact you?

Mr. Mendicino: You raise a good point, senator. There was no collective agreement in place at the time of 2006 and 2007. As a matter of fact, the Association of Justice Counsel is the only category of public servant that is affected by the year 2006-07 because we have no pre-existing collective agreement. I want to point out, as well, that 2006-07, which was not a time long ago, was a time when the government ran a record surplus.

The Chair: Did you receive any increase in that year?

Mr. Mendicino: No, our salaries have been frozen since 2006.

The Chair: Mr. Poirier?

Mr. Poirier: We bargained our last collective agreement ending in 2007.

The Chair: What happens for the fiscal year 2006-07? The increase is fixed by statute at 2.5 per cent.

Mr. Poirier: Yes, but the agreement is at the same level, I guess.

The Chair: That is convenient.

Mr. Poirier: Yes.

The Chair: So there is not a problem.

Mr. Poirier: No.

The Chair: Then, for 2007-08, the increase is 2.3 per cent.

Mr. Poirier: Yes, it was 2.3 per cent.

The Chair: Was that at the same level as well?

Mr. Poirier: Yes.

The Chair: There was no problem there.

Mr. Poirier: No.

The Chair: Then you had no collective agreement for 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11, which are all the years covered by section 16. The increases are all 1.5 per cent.

Did you have a collective agreement that impacted on that increase?

Mr. Poirier: We signed a tentative agreement on that 1.5 per cent. We signed.

The Chair: Yes, okay.

Mr. Poirier: We signed in November, so that was long before that legislation was enacted; therefore, there was no problem as far as increases were concerned. The problem was with the salary conversion of the classification system. That is our only problem.

The Chair: There may be other questions on that issue. I am trying to have some clarification so we all understand what we are talking about here.

Mr. Mendicino, section 54 of the act deals with the law group.

Mr. Mendicino: It is section 34.

The Chair: Okay; I am looking at page 356 of Bill C-10, which would probably be the proposed section 54 then of the Expenditure Restraint Act. It is entitled ``Law Group.''

Mr. Mendicino: That is correct.

The Chair: ``The following rules apply in respect of terms and conditions of employment governing employees of the Law Group''; is that you?

Mr. Mendicino: That is correct.

The Chair: And that group includes Mr. Devlin?

Mr. Devlin: Yes.

The Chair: The group is included in all of the section here and all these provisions. Are there points of this section that you wish to bring to our attention?

Mr. Mendicino: I am happy to highlight, in summary fashion, the effect of section 34. First, the agreement and any award — assuming one is awarded in the foreseeable future — cannot be retroactive to a date that is earlier than May 10, 2006, which is the date that the Association of Justice Counsel provided notice to bargain after being certified.

Second, any increase to the rates of pay that begin during the 2006-07 year must be based on the rates of pay set out in Schedule 2 of the act. Those rates are the ones I have begun to summarize for you — so in five years, 2.5 per cent, 2.3 per cent, 1.5 per cent, 1.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent. In other words, the current rates of pay are established as the base rates of pay.

Third, the agreement and the award must provide, for all employees in the Law Group, for the same performance pay plans that were in effect on May 9, 2006. For any employees in the Law Group, however, these performance pay plans may not have any retroactive effect.

Fourth and finally, the agreement award may provide for ``additional remuneration'' — and that is a legal term of art that is defined under section 2 of the act — other than a performance bonus, that applied to any position in the Law Group as of May 9, 2006; the position had to exist beforehand. However, ``the amount or rate of that additional remuneration for a particular position level may not be greater than the highest amount or rate that applied to employees of that position level'' on May 9, 2006.

I hope that answers your question regarding section 34.

The Chair: It may prompt other questions, but Law Group is also referred to in section 54. Can you tell us, does that section impact on you and your group?

Mr. Mendicino: My understanding is that it has the same legal effects; it is the same section as 34.

The Chair: No, there are two separate sections. We will provide you with a copy and maybe you can take a look at it.

Mr. Mendicino: By all means.

The Chair: Then we will go on to questions other than that one, to give you a chance to refresh your memory on that section.


Senator Ringuette: Two or three years ago, Ms. Barrados, the new commissioner of the Public Service Commission, appeared before Treasury Board. She came before this committee and we took the opportunity to ask her questions about the unreasonable delays in the task of reclassification, in other words, the conversion process that you have identified. At the time, she clearly told us that, in 12 years, three attempts had been made to simplify the identification and classification system.

I have to express my clear disappointment at the result. We finally decided on a conversion process for a group of employees. The process took 18 years. Now it is being ignored. Money has been spent, efforts have been made, professionals have been hired and studies, paid for by taxpayers' money, have been conducted in order to simplify the system. And at the very moment the system is arrived at, the government refuses to apply it to your group. I am disappointed with that.

The committee members around this table were looking forward to the implementation of a modern system with a simpler classification, designed also to make recruiting people to the public service much easier. But we have a vicious circle. I understand and I echo your concerns.

How many employees does your group represent?

Mr. Poirier: CAPE represents a little over 12,000 members in Canada. The EC category, the specific subject of the conversion of classifications, has just over 10,000 members. But we are a small group compared to many others.

Senator Ringuette: That is about 5 per cent of the public service.

Mr. Poirier: The PA group, for example, was also involved in classifications. That is a larger group. Our group is quite small. That is why we were one of the first groups the government chose for these experiments.

The classification was established in 1981. The first time the question of changing the classification standard came up, the idea was to use the Universal Classification System — UCS, or NGC in French. That was a resounding failure because it contained far too many professional categories. So, during the 1990s, the government decided to reduce the number of groups. We went from about 70 groups in the public service to 30 or so.

To reduce the number, the government chose groups sufficiently alike that a specialization standard, specific to the group, could be used. The EC classification standard project was the result. The group was created towards the end of the 1990s. But the work began in the early 2000s. At the time, the universal classification standard model was still in use, not the one that was being developed.

We also feel that the process has taken far too much time. I do not have the figures. It would be interesting to ask Treasury Board representatives how much the whole exercise may have cost. I know that, for one particular year, 2007- 2008, they say that $1 million was spent on this exercise in all departments, and in Treasury Board. Over a period of 10 to 12 years, you can imagine the expense.

Yes, our members are very frustrated, because the object of the exercise was to evaluate people's work according to various levels. We have no way of knowing whether their salary scales match the classification. As you say, it is very disappointing.

Senator Ringuette: Of your 12,000 members, how many work in Ottawa, and how many work elsewhere?

Mr. Poirier: I would say that most work in this area.

Senator Ringuette: Could we say 99 per cent?

Mr. Poirier: No, the figure is not that high. We could say perhaps 80 per cent. We have members in all regions of Canada, including the Northwest Territories. I have just come back from a tour of the Maritimes. I met our members in all the provinces. We have members everywhere.

The difficulty with this classification, that in my view is poorly designed, is that it makes the problem trickier in other parts of the country. They find it harder to recruit and retain people there. I was discussing this with Senator Callbeck, from Prince Edward Island. Correctional Service Canada has an addiction research centre in Montague. They have a lot of difficulty keeping staff there because they see no career development.

Salary scales are limited because the category is limited. This is a real problem. Centers like that were very often opened in order to decentralize the Canadian government and to create a level of activity in places that otherwise would have only lower-paid jobs. So it was an attempt by the government to invest in its regions. Unfortunately, it is a little like an empty shell. I do not blame Correctional Service Canada. The idea of opening the centre was a very good initiative. But it will not work if the government does not subsequently support its employees and its professionals. We are talking, not about people with just undergraduate degrees, but about researchers with master's degrees and doctorates. So it is very important to take care of our regions.

Senator Ringuette: You have 12,000 members in your association. Those 12,000 members are full-time employees with benefits. In the professions for which you are responsible, how many public service employees work on contract? I mean contract employees who are not members of yours, but who may work for a higher or lower salary — we do not always know what those contracts are worth. Are you aware of any contract workers who do research, and who should be members of your union?

Mr. Poirier: In the EC group, I really do not know the specific statistics. But I know that it is a trend. Sometimes, they get people who have retired and we are happy to see our former colleagues come back. Sometimes, people are recruited on that basis because the employer does not want to offer permanent positions.

Senator Ringuette: Do you have an idea of the numbers?

Mr. Poirier: I have no idea of specific numbers. But there is a definite trend. Those people are in a precarious situation because, indirectly, regulations and legislation are being manipulated.

Senator Ringuette: More so now than five years ago?

Mr. Poirier: Not particularly in that group. But, yes, for other members of ours, like the Translation Bureau, for example. In some areas, almost 70 per cent of the work for translators, interpreters and terminologists is freelance.

Senator Ringuette: Would you say that the salaries are comparable?

Mr. Poirier: How can you really compare people who earn a fixed salary with all kinds of benefits, annual leave, sick leave, paternity leave, maternity leave, with other people who work for themselves and who depend on a supply of work that sometimes is enough and sometimes is not? There is a lot of work like that in Canada, but the jobs are certainly not secure.

Mr. Mendicino: I would like to go back to the chair's question.


Regarding section 54, my initial answer was correct: The legal import of section 54 is the same as section 34. The only distinction is that section 54 applies specifically to excluded members of our law group whereas section 34 applies to any arbitral award. That is the distinction.

The Chair: Section 34 applies to those who can bargain collectively.

Mr. Mendicino: Section 34 applies to non-excluded members who collectively bargain through their representatives and through binding arbitration. Section 54 deals more specifically with the non-excluded members of our group.

The Chair: Do you have both members?

Mr. Mendicino: Yes.

The Chair: Thank you for the clarification.

Senator Ringuette: For the last thee years since you have been under a collective agreement, has your membership increased or decreased?

Mr. Mendicino: Our membership has increased somewhat, but one of the premises in your question is not entirely accurate, senator. We have not had a collective agreement. That is one thing that distinguishes us sorely as a result of Bill C-10.

Senator Ringuette: We all know that different departments contract trial lawyers, which, you seemed to indicate, your group is responsible for. Have you seen an increase in such contracting for work that your membership should perform?

Mr. Mendicino: I have to clarify one of the premises within your question. The members are the full-time and some part-time employees within the federal government. We hire standing agents at rates that are different from the fixed salary rates of pay that we receive. Those individuals do not form part of our group.

Senator Ringuette: I understand. Has the number of contractors increased over the last three years?

Mr. Mendicino: I do not have a specific number for you but I sense that the number of contracts for agents has increased.

Senator Ringuette: In the budget for 2007and 2008, bonuses paid to employees totalled $52.4 million. I recently asked about that figure in this committee.

The Chair: Yes.

Senator Ringuette: In 2007-2008, were your members entitled to performance bonus, or any part of that $52.4 million?

Mr. Mendicino: To my knowledge, the answer is, no. I refer specifically to performance pay. Perhaps some bonuses applied to executives, who are excluded members. With regard to performance pay as it fits the definition of additional remuneration, the non-excluded members of our group have not been entitled to that within the time frame that you have identified, namely 2007-2008.

Senator Ringuette: The number of public service employees who received such bonuses was in the vicinity of 1,500. Perhaps the researcher from the Library of Parliament can verify that figure. Those 1,500 employees were entitled to $52.4 million in bonuses. I feel sorry for the employees that were frozen. We all know that government services is a pyramid and it requires a solid base of people like you to give us any hope for the upper echelon. We could lose all our good people because we are not prepared to treat them properly and equitably.

Giving millions of dollars in bonuses to only 1,500 employees raises many questions on the quality of our human resource planning, et cetera.

Mr. Mendicino: I agree with the general sentiments on a number of fronts that you have expressed, senator.

First, with regard to the pyramid metaphor that you referred to, there are many building blocks that form part of the relationship between the government and its employees. I refer specifically to Treasury Board. Regrettably, one fundamental building block in our relationship has been removed from us. The extent to which we can have open and fair discussions about what is fair compensation has been significantly undermined as a result of this bill, which is now law.

Senator Ringuette: Can any of you provide us with statistics about contracting out in your job entitlement. That information should be an important component of our report. This trend is detrimental to the future and quality of service that any Government of Canada can provide to its citizens.

Mr. Mendicino: We will be happy to provide you with specific statistics regarding our contractual work and our agents. Your question is timely. Recently, the Director of Public Prosecutions, I believe in consultation with the Attorney General of Canada, issued a statement that there will be a revisiting of how we hire those external counsel in terms of the transparency of that process; specifically how they are compensated and their qualifications. The question is au courant.

Senator Callbeck: Thank you for your presentations.

Mr. Mendicino, when your president appeared before the Finance Committee in the other place, he indicated that he sees a constitutional issue with the provisions in the Expenditure Restraint Act. Can you elaborate on that issue?

Mr. Mendicino: There is a question about whether the effect of the act has so chilled our rights to bargain in a free and good faith environment with the Treasury Board that it cries out for a remedy through the Charter. That question we have considered amongst ourselves. There is no need to be oblique about that.

Specifically, when you consider the year 2006-07 in which the government ran a record surplus, we have ruminated about whether there is a rational connection between the idea of controlling expenses retroactively that far back to the economic downturn the we are currently enduring. Those are some of the questions that we have reflected on and we continue to reflect on.

Senator Callbeck: In The Lawyers Weekly, the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association says in an article that they have postponed consideration of recommendations by the remuneration commission. How long is it since the judges have had an increase? You went back to 2005 or 2006.

Mr. Mendicino: It is since 2006.

Senator Callbeck: Do you know about the judges?

Mr. Mendicino: I cannot answer you specifically with regard to judges. They are obviously not part of your group.

Senator Callbeck: I want to ask both of you about the pay equity sections in this legislation and your thoughts on pay equity.

Mr. Mendicino: May I ask you to be more specific? I want to be able to refer to a provision. Is there a specific section you would like me to reference?

Senator Callbeck: If you have a complaint now, you cannot go to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. You go to the Public Service Labour Relations Board, PSLRB. The union cannot help the person who has the complaint. If they do, they are fined approximately $50,000.

Mr. Mendicino: I am not sure I read the act the same way, but I am happy to take a look at the provisions more closely.

Our members who feel aggrieved in the way you have described have recourse through various fora. They have recourse potentially through the Public Service Staffing Tribunal, PSST, and the PSLRB. Those venues are available and, in some cases, they can seek our association's assistance before the PSLRB. That is our function.

Senator Callbeck: Mr. Poirier, I was amazed when you said that classification is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If the system worked properly, how many years should classification take?

Mr. Poirier: Do you mean to develop a new system?

Senator Callbeck: Yes, a new classification system.

Mr. Poirier: It is probably a matter of a few years to have a basis to work on. Then they will need to test that basis in different departments. We are not looking at 20 years or 10 years. It is probably three, four or five years at most.

The problem is that the government started in the wrong way with the universal classification system, UCS. When they realized that they failed, they looked for another solution and there was none.

They had to go back to the drawing board to find something simpler. They came up with the economics and social services, EC, group. That was the only option left. They failed on that system too. If they try to implement a new classification system and do not go through the process fully, which means going to the bargaining table with the classification standard to see if the classification fits with pay scales, then they have failed again. Maybe we will talk again in another 5, 10 or 20 years. I do not know.

Regarding your question on Part 11 of the new legislation, I would say that our members are shocked that the Budget Implementation Act was used to push that down their throats. We are looking at all our options, but we are not there yet. We are still on the conversion matter for the moment. We will have to talk among ourselves at the national level to see if we can do something or if we will wait.


Senator Chaput: My questions are along the same lines as the ones that Senator Ringuette and Senator Callbeck asked. The first question goes to Mr. Poirier. Am I right to understand that you represent 12,000 employees, of whom 10,000 would be affected by this classification?

Mr. Poirier: Yes.

Senator Chaput: And all the work that was done to establish qualification standards in order to determine the value of the work took a great deal of time and now has come to nothing because you cannot negotiate. The bill has shut the door.

Mr. Poirier: The bill, exactly.

Senator Chaput: This work on classification had to have been recommended by your supervisors, the employer, or by the union. Who thought of it and who wanted it done?

Mr. Poirier: The Treasury Board.

Senator Chaput: The process took place because of a directive from Treasury Board. When Bill C-10 was introduced, did you have the opportunity to discuss it with your members, or did it come as a surprise?

Mr. Poirier: A big surprise. If we take a step back to November, when the final offer was put on the table, we did not know what the bill contained. No one knew. The Treasury Board representatives told us that, if we did not sign an agreement in principle, we would be subject to legislation that would be a lot tougher than the final offer, and that it was in our interests to sign.

That is negotiating with a gun to your head. But, with our members' interests in mind, we decided to sign the agreement in principle anyway. The surprise came much later when the bill was introduced and we realized that there was no room for negotiation on the classification.

Let me repeat. We accepted the offers of 1.5 per cent; no one was really happy with that, but, given the economic situation, our members were ready to accept the 1.5 per cent and tell themselves that, at least, their other problems would be solved at the same time. That did not happen.

Senator Chaput: When you said that the border services members were not included, does that mean, not included in the classification?

Mr. Poirier: For them, the door was left open for salary restructuring linked to the new classification and their conversion to it. So they had the same salary increase as everyone else. But supplementary adjustments were done for certain groups in order for the scale to be more representative of the value of the work.

Senator Chaput: How many members are we talking about?

Mr. Poirier: Several thousand.

Senator Ringuette: So salaries are going up, but, to compensate, people are being laid off in the regions.

Senator Chaput: I have another question for Mr. Mendicino. It is quite quick.


The Chair: Excuse the supplementary intervention by Senator Ringuette.

Mr. Poirier: I am shocked to hear that.


Senator Chaput: Mr. Mendicino, you represent 2,500 lawyers?


Mr. Mendicino: Approximately.


Senator Chaput: Do you have some members covered by the negotiations and other members who are not?


Can you explain what you mean by that?

Mr. Mendicino: A number of senior lawyers who form part of management or who have reached a certain classification within our group have been excluded from the group. That means, in practical terms, that they do not have a direct voice. Their interests are nonetheless represented through our association, but they do not sit on our council and they are not able to be elected. Obviously, they are not able to engage in the kind of direct dialogue we engage in through the agent with the government or with Treasury Board because, for lack of a better phrase, they are notionally part of the management side.


Senator Chaput: Do you hire people on contract?


Mr. Mendicino: Yes, that is correct.

Senator Chaput: Are they included or excluded?

Mr. Mendicino: They are not part of the group.


Senator Chaput: About how many?


Mr. Mendicino: I do not have a specific number. I do not want to mislead the committee about the precise number of agents that we have currently on contract. I have already said to Senator Ringuette that we can provide some hard statistics for you, and we will be happy to do so.

The Chair: Next is a senator from Cluny, Ontario, Senator Nancy Ruth.

Senator Nancy Ruth: I am curious about the lawyers' wages. What is the range for lawyers employed in the federal government, and for those in the provincial governments, as a comparative?

Mr. Mendicino: We have a range of salaries. There are two broad categories within the federal government. There is what is known as the broader national rate, and then there is a rate that applies exclusively to Toronto. It has been referred to colloquially as ``the Toronto differential.''

Senator Ringuette: Tell us about that rate.

Mr. Mendicino: The term is actually defined. Again, it is one of those legal terms under section 2 of the definitions portion.

To return to the substance of your question, for example, in the national range of rates, someone who is at the outset of their career, the initial stages of their career, what we refer to as at the LA1 classification, they make between approximately $54,500 and $77,865. The next range up is what is called the LA2A category. That is more intermediate, if you will. The range there for the national rate is about $76,500 to about $108,500. The LA2B range is starting into a more senior area. That is between $94,100 and about $119, 976 — close to $120,000.

The comparator categories for the Toronto rate, senator, at LA1 —

Senator Nancy Ruth: What I am looking for is the difference between them. I do not need to know the Toronto rates. What are the provincial rates?

The Chair: The rest of us are curious.

Senator Banks: The rest of you who are lawyers, you mean.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Give him his Toronto rates.

Mr. Mendicino: I am glad you are curious because as you heard during my introductory remarks, the gap is a fairly wide. I do not want to speak with any particular specificity regarding the Ontario numbers, because there has been some fluctuation. Roughly speaking, if you were at the outset of your career and a member of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, you are looking at a higher maximum range as beginning counsel; in excess of $105,000 or $110,000.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Are we in Toronto, then?

Mr. Mendicino: Yes, that is Toronto, but it applies to lawyers who work for the province outside of Toronto as well. They have one rate. If you are in the more intermediate category, again the Ontario provincial government refers to it as the CC2/CC3 category, which was combined in the last collective bargaining round, we are looking at something in excess of $160,000 or thereabouts. The gap starts to widen in that intermediate range. Then, there is the CC4 category, which goes above $175,000. I have seen publication of public salaries for those who work for the Ontario government that are in excess of $200,000 now. Once we reach that range, we are talking about a comparatively small number, but the point is that the gap starts to increase as they make their way up through the pay scale.

Mr. Devlin: If I can elaborate on that, in the federal realm, no more than 30 per cent can exceed the 2A or working range, which caps out nationally at $108,000.

In Ontario, approximately 85 per cent of lawyers can rise to the top of that working range. At the end of their present contract, the top of that range will be in the $180,000s. That is the magnitude of the difference. In Ontario, it is extremely large.

Senator Nancy Ruth: What percentages of lawyers leave per annum and what percentage of lawyers come in?

Mr. Mendicino: We are losing more in recent years than we are gaining.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Can you give me some numbers?

Mr. Mendicino: Yes; I think I referred to one specific statistic in my introductory remarks. I am most knowledgeable about my own office. I am from Toronto. By no means should the committee believe that this problem is indigenous to Toronto. There are serious problems in Calgary, for instance, where they lose a lot of their beginner and intermediate lawyers. They simply cannot keep the people there. There are similar problems in other city centres including Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec and Halifax. This problem is national. This is not indigenous only to Toronto, at the risk of repeating myself.

To a certain extent, the problem is exacerbated by the disproportionately higher rates that Ontario lawyers are compensated at. To answer your specific question, senator, in our office, in the years 2006-07, our complement was about 80 lawyers or so. We lost approximately 15 lawyers. That number is staggering. Those lawyers were working on major cases and our appeals work. They were prosecuting guns and gangs cases, which are the scourge of our day, certainly in some of the larger city centres.

When we lose those people, we lose our ability to push back those that would create the chaos that occasionally afflicts our cities.

Mr. Devlin: I can give you one example. The Toronto prosecutions office had funding available under the national policing initiative going back almost two years now, and we advertised for up to 28 positions at the working level. My understanding is that competition yielded either two or three hires over that period of time. Lots of offers were made, but in that working range, we cannot attract mid-career talented legal professionals. That range is where it is the worst.

Mr. Mendicino: To be fair, it has improved somewhat since 2006-07. If you look at the plan for human resource spending that has been stipulated both in documents published by the PPSC and the Department of Justice, it is more or less flatlined. It is like this, but the work is going up like this. That is another way to conceptualize the problem.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Are there many practice lawyers who are in the EX categories? That means more money outside of these scales that you have given, correct?

Mr. Devlin: Generally speaking, the managers within Department of Justice and legal services units are LAs. We are unusual in that almost all of our managers have the same classification as the people they supervise. There are lawyers who are EXs, but they generally are in non-legal functions. I have a colleague at Privy Council who is involved in appointments. She is not an LA, although she is legally trained.

Anyone performing actual legal work will have an LA classification.

Senator Nancy Ruth: These people are counted as part of your number of lawyers in the system, right?

Mr. Devlin: The managers are the excluded who we referred to; that is, those whose principal obligations are management.

Mr. Mendicino: The LA3As and LA3Bs — again, that classification is internal — are the ones that reside just above the LA2Bs. They are the ones that occasionally form part of the non-excluded members of our group. The executives, EXs, are not part of our group.

Senator Nancy Ruth: What is the motivation for Treasury Board to take arbitration off the table for you?

Mr. Mendicino: That is a question you should ask them.

Senator Nancy Ruth: What is your best guess?

Mr. Devlin: Our position was not so much that we should be exempted from a general climate of restraint but that the starting point should be freely determined. Up to this point, we have always been paid what Treasury Board unilaterally determines we should be paid. We saw organizing and seeking a collective agreement as an opportunity to say at the outset, let us reset those scales to where they are nationally. On top of that, most lawyers would say that we do not seek any special treatment from anyone else. We have never been able to determine fairly what those baselines are.

I think Treasury Board is concerned that those baselines would increase dramatically because a normal comparator for us is what a Crown wearing the same gowns in the courtroom, prosecuting the same case but employed by the province rather than the federal Crown, is making. If they are making more, there is no principled reason for that difference. If they are making staggeringly more, there is even less principled reason for that difference. I suspect that Treasury Board felt they were exposed to significant increases in some places.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Mr. Poirier, you said that you felt your group was targeted by government. Am I correct in saying that? If so, what do you mean?

Mr. Poirier: I am not sure what word I used in French to lead you to think that the word was targeted.

Senator Nancy Ruth: That is what I heard in English. Is there any sense in which you feel that?

Mr. Poirier: I do not know. Again, maybe you should ask Treasury Board, why the EC group? Other groups have bargained their classification conversion before the legislation, and some of those groups will bargain it after the restriction period is over. The program and administrative services, PA, group is not ready to bargain that yet. I am sure they will be able to go to the table and bargain fairly when the restriction period is over. We were at the wrong place at the wrong moment, unfortunately for us and for all our members who will be left outside of the process. That situation is unfortunate.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Senator Nancy Ruth. I have a supplementary question from Senator Ringuette.

Senator Ringuette: Yes; I want to know what the Toronto differential is.

Mr. Mendicino: To return again to the question that seems to be right now at the forefront of your mind, at LA1, the entry level category, there is no difference.

Senator Ringuette: It would be $54,000 to $77,000?

Mr. Mendicino: Roughly $77,000 or $78,000. LA2A would be $75,500 to almost $125,000. LA2B would be $98,000 or nearly $99,000 to about $138,000. Those are the categories that I provided.

Mr. Devlin: The history of that differential goes back to the early 1990s when there was such a serious problem of retention and recruitment in the Toronto legal market that Treasury Board unilaterally decided that they needed to adjust those rates because they had lost such a significant component of senior lawyers and were not able to replace them. That difference has stayed in place over the years.

Senator Ringuette: I understood that there was a similar problem in Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax, Quebec and Montreal. The differential does not seem to be applicable to those communities.

Mr. Mendicino: That is correct. The largest statistical gap is between Ontario and any of the two categories.

Senator Ringuette: The provincial-federal categories.

Mr. Mendicino: Correct.

Senator Neufeld: Thank you, gentlemen, for coming here. I know you have read out the numbers. I think you said in some parts of Canada lawyers earn up to 40 per cent more, and you named seven provinces. You named B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

Mr. Devlin: The short answer is that everything to the west and Nova Scotia are now ahead of us.

Senator Neufeld: You named seven provinces. What are they?

Mr. Mendicino: I will restate them for you so we are on the same page. I do not want to misquote them. They are British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Ontario.

Senator Neufeld: Thank you. Having spent time on Treasury Board myself in British Columbia, we were usually told that trying to keep up to the federal government was the problem, so I guess it depends where you are bargaining —

Mr. Mendicino: The tables have turned.

Senator Neufeld: — and what numbers you use.

Senator Ringuette: Someone has negotiated since you left.

Senator Neufeld: I do not say that lightly. That was usually the tune we heard, and not only from the legal profession. I am speaking across the board. That could mean all the other public servants but not the lawyers. I am not disputing your numbers.

I would appreciate it if you would give your numbers that support those things to the clerk, so we can all have them. It is not that I disbelieve you; it is only that it is easier for me getting the information later rather than trying to write it down now.

Mr. Mendicino: Yes, by all means.

Senator Neufeld: The second part is that we found in British Columbia that the issue was not always money, but I got the drift from both of you that money is the big issue. Am I correct in assuming that?

Mr. Mendicino: It is one of the more contentious issues, but it is not the only issue. There are other issues with regard to leave, benefits and grievance procedures. Obviously, those issues are still on the table. We have made progress, to be fair, on the non-monetary conditions. Those issues remain the subject matter — some of them more important than others — that will be arbitrated.

I think the answer to your question is: Yes, money or compensation is obviously a significant issue, but it is not the only issue.

Senator Neufeld: I am glad you said that. We found in British Columbia when we conducted a study that we were losing lots of people that work for the government for a number of reasons. In the ensuing years, it will create a significant problem in British Columbia. I think other provinces are in much the same situation — I am not talking about the federal government so much — and that is because people are retiring and there is not enough uptake coming in. Second, there has been a red-hot economy in almost all of Canada from 2004 until recently, and many people opted to leave for the private sector.

We started a process in British Columbia of trying to rejuvenate the public sector because we knew it had to be done in the long term. I will be interested to see how B.C. fares with the numbers that you provide me because I would like the comparisons to British Columbia. I honestly did hear that we had trouble keeping up with the Joneses here in Ottawa, and that is why we could not hire prosecutors, lawyers, legislative writers and those kinds of people.

There is more to the issue than only money as far as even the federal government goes when we take into account those other things about retirement and red-hot economies. All kinds of things can affect people that you represent. I will be interested to see the results.

Mr. Mendicino: Thank you for those remarks. It does not surprise me that in your relative position some time ago that the tables were turned or reversed. Historically, the federal government was at or near the top of the pay scale. Again, that trend has reversed decisively over time. You now know what our numbers are in a general sense. You have asked for more specific ones. We are happy to provide those numbers to you, but I think the broad numbers speak volumes. To be ranked seventh is a fall from grace.

Senator Neufeld: Going back to the people retiring and moving away from the government because of a red-hot economy, you said that the intake was fairly good. In fact, people were applying, but you were losing some. I remember you saying some of the senior people were obviously either retiring or had lucrative offers that they could hardly turn down and that the federal government could hardly match going forward. I think those things caused problems.

Mr. Poirier, I want to confirm: You said you represent 12,000 people?

Mr. Poirier: Yes.

Senator Neufeld: What percentage of the public service is that number?

Mr. Poirier: It is 10 per cent.

Senator Neufeld: That is 10 per cent of the public service?

Mr. Poirier: It is less than that; 5 per cent. I am doing the math right now.

Senator Neufeld: Your group has not been able to complete the classification process?

Mr. Poirier: We were selected to be among the first to go through the classification process because we were a relatively small group with similar job descriptions and we were easy to compare. That is one reason why our members were selected to go first, or almost first, in the process.

Senator Neufeld: Help me here. I am relatively new to the federal world. You are telling me that no one has been classified in the public service? You are the first group to be classified?

Mr. Poirier: No, we are not the first group. A few others have been through the process. I mentioned that the Canada Border Services Agency officers went through the process because they created new jobs, which was different from our members who have the same jobs they had a few years ago. It is the value of the job that has changed; the way the job is described and the way it is evaluated.

That is where we are right now. The process has been done except that it is not complete.

Senator Neufeld: Help me here a little bit. If you are 5 per cent of the public service, that is — what is the math — about 200,000 or 250,000 employees, then?

Mr. Poirier: Yes, roughly.

Senator Neufeld: Out of 250,000 employees, none of them are classified?

Mr. Poirier: They are classified, but the system used to classify them is 28 years old. It is an old system that was supposed to be changed in the early 1990s. The one I was referring to that failed is the universal classification system project of the federal government. It was abandoned because it was so poorly run that no one could be classified using it. It was supposed to be a standard used all across the board for all work categories, and it did not work.

Senator Neufeld: This project has been going on since the 1990s?

Mr. Poirier: Yes, the early 1990s.

Senator Neufeld: You are saying that numerous governments have taken a crack at this classification?

Mr. Poirier: Yes.

Senator Neufeld: Thank you.

Senator Di Nino: Good evening. Mr. Mendicino, you made a strong presentation about the difficulties and challenges your group faces. Bill C-10 did not create these problems, did it?

Mr. Mendicino: Which problems are you referring to?

Senator Di Nino: The differential in rates between the different cities; some of the issues you talked about existed before.

Mr. Mendicino: Yes.

Senator Di Nino: Bill C-10 may have exacerbated them. Is that right?

Mr. Mendicino: Yes, there is no causal relationship between Bill C-10 and the creation of these differentials that we speak about, both between Toronto and the rest of the country within the federal government, and then as between us and the rest of our provincial counterparts.

Mr. Devlin: We thought collective bargaining would solve these problems. Bill C-10 is preventing that collective bargaining.

Senator Di Nino: I had the impression when you were speaking — and I am not speaking on behalf of my colleagues — that in dealing with this particular piece of legislation you associated these differentials, challenges, and problems. I think you used the word ``problem'' in your commentary in relation to Bill C-10. I want to ensure that this situation did not happen in the last three months.

Mr. Mendicino: No, that is right. You used the word ``exacerbate,'' and I think I might have used that word before.

The point of the matter is this: What Bill C-10 does to the law group is it significantly inhibits our ability to negotiate in a free, fair and good-faith environment with the government. That situation, in turn, has a direct impact on our ability to recruit and retain among the best lawyers. If we cannot retain the top-tier lawyers, then that will have a direct impact on our ability to ensure the proper administration of justice, which will be detrimental to the public good. That is the chain of reasoning.

Senator Di Nino: In our responsibility, we are dealing with a piece of legislation.

Mr. Mendicino: Yes.

Senator Di Nino: This legislation was introduced as a result of difficult economic problems, a dark cloud that is, and has been, hanging over the world. The legislation did not ``target ''— to use Mr. Poirier's word — your group. This piece of legislation includes many groups of people in the public service, including senators, the House of Commons, other administration, et cetera.

I want to be clear that the issue before us is to look at the provisions of Bill C-10 and how they impact on the different components of society, including your people. The challenge that you face in hiring and so forth was not because of Bill C-10.

Mr. Mendicino: No, Bill C-10 was not a response to the recruitment and retention issues that I have identified for you, and I think you follow my reasoning on that, or at least I hope you do.

What it has done is — and I take issue with one of the points within your question — it affects categories of public servants differently.

For example, the Canada Border Services Agency is exempt from the Schedule 2 increases. That group was engaged in earnest negotiations with the Treasury Board right before Parliament prorogued and adjourned. There was a difference in treatment for the CBSA.

We were in a similar situation. We had been in dialogues with the Treasury Board at the same time. Notwithstanding that situation, the way it directly and specifically affects us in a way that it affects no one else is that it imposes on us the 2.5 per cent figure for the year 2006 and 2007.

Senator Di Nino: The one retroactive annual compensation increase.

Mr. Mendicino: Yes, that is correct.

Senator Di Nino: There was no reduction in compensation. There was likely a smaller increase than you had anticipated. Is that statement fair?

Mr. Mendicino: It is fair, particularly in a year when the government ran a historically high surplus.

Senator Di Nino: I also understand that your right to strike was not taken away.

Mr. Mendicino: I think that is an open question. The right to strike is arguably preserved by Bill C-10, but again it is debatable whether a prosecutor or a civil lawyer performs an essential service. I think the simplified answer is that question is an open one.

Senator Di Nino: You retain recourse to the Public Service Labour Relations Board, if not the arbitration.

Mr. Mendicino: PSLRB, primarily.

Senator Di Nino: If you have a grievance you can go to the Public Service Labour Relations Board.

Mr. Mendicino: Before there and before the Public Service Staffing Tribunal as well.

Senator Di Nino: We talked a lot about the differentials between the provinces, the federal government, the City of Toronto and the Ottawa area.

Mr. Mendicino: The National Capital Region, NCR.

Senator Di Nino: There you go.

Has the imposition of the provisions in Bill C-10 made a difference? Have the provisions affected the differentials in a negative way. Are the differentials more than they would be without that legislation?

Mr. Mendicino: I think it has, but that response is more intuitive on my part. The problem with providing you with a concrete answer in that is I think the data that we might be referring to is not yet available. The passage of this bill is recent. We are talking about months, not years. Generally speaking, the kind of data that would allow me to quantify, in a credible way, what I think you are driving at is not there yet.

Intuitively, it should come as no surprise to you or any of the other members of this committee that many of our members are concerned about the effect of this legislation and the direct impact it has had on our negotiations. We recognize that this legislation is law. We have talked about some of the challenges that may lay ahead, but there can be no doubt that in the upcoming arbitration proceeding, presumptively, this building block — as Senator Ringuette referred to — in the context of forming a positive, collaborative relationship with Treasury Board, has been taken away from us.

Senator Di Nino: The provisions affecting this part of the bill, I understand, have a five-year time limitation. Hopefully, five years from now all those rights that were taken away could be brought back.

Mr. Mendicino: Theoretically, but I think that is navel-gazing, to be honest.

Who knows where we will be at the end of 2011? I want to think of myself as an optimist, and hopefully the economic downturn will have sprung up from there. It is far from a certainty to say that we will be in a much more ameliorated position.

Senator Di Nino: The point I am trying to make is I suspect that in five years the provisions will end.

Mr. Mendicino: Yes.

Senator Di Nino: You can speculate either way.

Mr. Mendicino: Yes.

Senator Di Nino: You are in the same position as the core public administration. The legislation does not single you out, other than for particular exceptions that were made, for whatever reason.

Mr. Mendicino: Yes, that is correct.

Senator Di Nino: Members of Parliament do not have the right to strike. The house, the Senate, the RCMP and the military all are covered by this legislation.

Mr. Mendicino: Some members rightfully think that you perform an essential service; that is right.

Senator Di Nino: Very good. I am pleased to hear that. Are we doing that for you this evening?

Mr. Mendicino: You are, and it has been a real pleasure to be here before you.

Senator Di Nino: We appreciate the fact that you came here to educate us about these things. This way, we can better understand what is happening with our colleagues throughout the public service. We thank you for that.

Mr. Mendicino: Thank you for your kind remarks.

Senator Banks: I want to pursue the point that Senator Di Nino made about the egalitarian nature of these impositions, which actually end two and a half years from now.

You mention CBSA as an exception. Are there any other sore thumbs sticking up?

Mr. Mendicino: CBSA is the one that has attracted the most public notoriety because of the contemporaneousness of the negotiations with promulgation as well as — to be frank — the quantity or quantum of increase.

Senator Banks: In your profession, you are taught never to ask a question unless you know the answer. I will ask a question to which I do not know the answer.

I will guess that even though those negotiations with Treasury Board between you, the law group and CBSA were going on at the same time, there was a significant difference. This is the guessing part. I am guessing that some members of CBSA were negotiating a change in the nature of what they do in the course of their negotiation: that they would start carrying guns, operate almost as peace officers, and place themselves in harm's way. A new category was being created. My guess is, that is the reason for which an exemption might have been made.

Mr. Mendicino: I think there has been some fair, I would not want to go so far as to say, speculation on your part because some of the information was discussed in the public domain. The mandate of the Canada Border Services Agency, which is a comparatively youthful agency — I believe it came into effect three or four years ago, at the most — has broadened significantly over the last few years. A lot of that change has to do with the various integrated aspects of regulation. It is not only Customs or whether people fill out their forms properly when they come back over the border. CBSA also facilitates investigations involving some of the offenses that are ultimately turned over to federal prosecutors, for example.

The point is, to the extent that new mandates are being carried out by the CBSA, those mandates are, in many ways, proportionately increasing for your lawyers as well because we are moving into new areas of regulation. I cite, as specific examples, anti-terrorism legislation and whatnot. Those kinds of things go hand-in-hand with the investigative phase carried out by CBSA, and then end up eventually being handed over to the lawyers.

Senator Banks: I do not suggest that when the Crown prosecutes terrorists that there may not be danger involved. I am talking about people who are called upon from time to time to stick their head in the open window of a car door in which they know there is a man with a gun. It is a different category, by comparison.

I have one naive question. With respect to section 14 of the Expenditure Restraint Act on page 340 of Bill C-10, this section is an in-case-we-missed-anyone type of section. Since everyone else is so carefully described in the present act, this section says:

The Governor in Council may, by order, designate any person or class of persons as persons to whom this Act applies, and those persons are deemed to be employees for the purposes of this Act.

As a citizen and as a representative of groups of the citizens — printers, garbage collectors, street fixers and other lawyers — I am hopeful that provision is somehow circumscribed. Can you tell me where and how that section is circumscribed?

Mr. Mendicino: If one looks at the language, I think —

Senator Banks: I said it was a naive question.

Mr. Devlin: The short answer is they would have to be paid by the federal government in some way. It refers to increases of rates of pay by the federal government. Effectively, the section is limited to their employees.

Senator Banks: They will not be able to go to the CAW and say they are limited? I guess that is a bad example this week.

Mr. Mendicino: They may, but they will probably not receive the answer they want.

Senator Banks: That is right.

The Chair: On behalf of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, I thank each of you for appearing and for helping us through Part 10 of the act. It is not easy for us to understand, but you helped clarify a number of points for us. We thank you for that, Mr. Poirier, Mr. Mendicino and Mr. Devlin.

(The committee adjourned.)