STANDING COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT AND
LE COMITÉ PERMANENT DES TRANSPORTS ET DES
[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]
Tuesday, March 20, 2001
The Chair (Mr. Ovid Jackson (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound,
Lib.)): Ladies and gentlemen, I think I see a quorum, and I
would like to commence the meeting. The first order of
business is a motion.
Is Mr. Hill here?
A voice: He's actually in the hallway on his way
The Chair: Mr. Hill, we've started and we're
waiting for you. You have some motions. Do you want
to lead on them?
Mr. Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, CA): Yes, Mr. Chairman.
I guess we'll deal with them in
order, starting with motion number one.
The Chair: Why don't we deal with two? I'm
suggesting this. You don't have to use it. Then we'll
deal with the rest.
Mr. Jay Hill: Okay. Item two
obviously deals with the issue we raised in one of
our first meetings, which deals with the speaking
rotation—the questioning of witnesses. What I have
submitted is a motion for consideration. It is the
speaking rotation or questioning rotation that's
taken from the fisheries committee.
What I'm endeavouring to show here, Mr. Chairman, is
that there is a blatant unfairness with the rotation
we have instituted at this joint committee of
transportation and public works, and that we should
consider changing it. That was the purpose in
putting forward this motion.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Mr. Marcel Proulx (Hull—Aylmer, Lib.): Thank you,
If my memory serves me right, we voted on this the
first time we discussed it, and we arrived at a
proposal that was acceptable to the majority. Now, I
can see where the official opposition party doesn't
agree with the way we have done it. We certainly don't
agree with what they are proposing here, so maybe we
can have a compromise on this.
My proposition would be to rescind—I'll wait until
he's ready to listen so that he knows what he's voting
on, if we have to vote.
My suggestion, Mr. Hill, is
that we rescind the first agreement that we arrived
at, that we reject your motion, and that we leave the
time allocation to the good judgment of the chair.
I'm sure that, depending on the subjects that are on
the table, you will be interested in having more time
or less time. In this way, we can move on with our
business. Instead of painting ourselves in the corner,
so that we have to change this again, let's leave it
to the discretion of the chair.
Mr. Jay Hill: So nobody else wants to know
The Chair: I think there's some movement here, and
if I were you, I would accept it and see how things
work out. At least you are not getting what you were
locked into before. But it's up to you.
Mr. Paul Szabo (Mississauga South, Lib.): I presume
that should the proposal
from Mr. Proulx not turn out to be acceptable, the
committee would entertain a motion to formalize changes
if, as, and when that should occur. Would that be the
The Chair: Okay. So he's saying that if it doesn't
work out, then they'll revisit it.
Mr. Jay Hill: I'd certainly be agreeable to
withdrawing this particular motion on the understanding
that we rescind the existing allocation time, which—as
I have already said—must be viewed by anybody's point of
view as unfair to the Canadian Alliance. I would also be
agreeable on the understanding that there would be
discretion used by the chair in light of that very
point, that within your discretionary powers you want
to try to waive the reality of the House of Commons and
of this committee, namely that the majority of
committee members—half or slightly over half—sit on
the Liberal side and that the Canadian Alliance makes
up half of the opposition in the House of Commons.
Thus, they should be allotted a quarter of the
time—roughly—for questioning of witnesses.
The Chair: Okay. Thank you very much, Mr. Hill.
Procedurally now, so I don't get into trouble, I want
to check with the front here. We did have a motion
before with our organizational meeting. Do we need 48
hours to do this, or could we do that now?
The Clerk of the Committee: If there is
unanimous consent, you can.
You can rescind it now if you want.
The Chair: All right.
Well, do I have unanimous consent...
Oh, Mario. Sorry about that,
Mr. Mario Laframboise (Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, BQ):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would certainly not give my consent to the change. It had
already been agreed, and to my knowledge, every party had the time
needed to ask questions at the previous meetings. The meetings even
ended earlier than anticipated because there were no more
I don't understand what is going on. We have got involved in
a puerile process of the "my father is stronger than your father"
variety. Everything was going well up until then. Why,
Mr. Chairman, are we trying to change everything? A motion was
voted on by everyone, and thus far, we have not been short of time.
If the discussions were ever to become interminable and we
were unable to ask our questions, then I would say yes and we could
look into the matter then. But at this point, no one has been short
of time. I simply don't get it.
The Chair: Okay.
Brent St. Denis.
Mr. Brent St. Denis (Algoma—Manitoulin, Lib.): By
not giving consent, Mario won't allow us to rescind the
other motion. So it would have to go through a notice
for that purpose. But I think Mario does make a good
point. For example, today, if we were to use this
formula—with great respect, we have a couple of
parties that aren't even here. So if we move in the
direction at the next meeting of rescinding the
motion—we can't do it now because Mario has not given
consent—and move towards a system where for the time
being the chair will use his judgment, I think you'll
find that the opposition probably gets even better
treatment than the numbers warrant, simply because of
the situation. I gather that Jay and his colleagues
are prepared to move in that direction.
The Chair: Okay. Again, for the last time, so we get
everything square—I don't want to be accused of any
wrongdoing; I'm the servant of the committee.
Would the member of the Liberal Party... Would that
notice have to be in writing for the next meeting?
The Clerk: That's right.
The Chair: Okay. Somebody will have to do that—if
it's the understanding that it's going to
be notified—so that the other opposition parties have enough
time, and they could do that. Okay?
I think we've dealt with that matter with regard
to the allocation of time. Could we move to the
other topics, Mr. Hill? Do you want to lead off—one,
three, four, and five?
Mr. Paul Szabo: Do we have time to withdraw that
The Chair: He said he did.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick (Prince Albert, CA): I would
like to thank my members for reconsidering that
position. I appreciate that.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Mr. Jay Hill: Mr. Chairman, motions one, three,
four, and five all deal with what I feel is the chair's
unilateral manner of acting both in cancelling the
meeting last week and in summoning witnesses to appear
before us today to enlighten us and to respond to
questions from committee members on Bill S-2. There
was no discussion—that I'm aware of—with all parties.
Indeed there was no discussion about what our future
work agenda is.
My understanding very clearly from the minutes of the
meeting of February 27, which have been circulated to
all committee members, is that we were going to have a
number of briefings from the three departments: the
Department of Transport, Public Works, and Treasury
Board. Then immediately thereafter the committee had
decided collectively that we were going to have a
meeting to discuss, debate, and decide upon future
business the committee was going to deal with and in
which order we would deal with that business.
There was no decision taken by the committee to deal
with Bill S-2 up front, first of all, or whatever.
Furthermore, when that decision was taken to deal with
Bill S-2, if you look at the minutes, the meeting was
already adjourned. A discussion took
place between the chair and the Parliamentary Secretary
to the Minister of Transport that resulted in the
meeting and the witnesses who are appearing today being
That's the purpose of these four motions. I think
that's very clear to all.
The Chair: First of all, I might have
misunderstood that it was my discretion to call the
meeting, and I felt at the time that I needed to have
all the players here. This will not happen again.
Perhaps we should have the clerk explain exactly what
was said in the minutes so that we can clear that up for
the record. I think we should then move on, because I
think to some degree we had agreed to discuss Bill S-2
here today. Paul.
The Clerk: While the chair had
adjourned, he essentially stopped and recognized Mr.
St. Denis, and then later on Mr. Marcil also spoke. The
interpretation I've received on this issue is that in
fact because the chair was still recognizing members
and the members were still seated, the meeting was
still in progress.
Mr. Jay Hill: According to my reading of those
minutes, with all due respect, there was no motion
taken at any point in time that we would
deal with Bill S-2 or any other business before we had
a chance to discuss what the committee collectively
felt were its priorities.
I think that's the whole point
I'm endeavouring to make with these motions.
The Chair: If you look at the minutes, you'll see
that it says the chair will slot S-2 for the 20th.
I recognized Mr. Marcil at that time.
I can tell you that in the future we won't have these
misunderstandings. It was my understanding that we
were to continue the way we did. You had a different
point of view. I'll make it perfectly clear before we
leave here exactly what's going to happen.
I have Serge on my list, followed by—
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: Can I just raise a question
on that as a new member?
The Chair: Yes, Mr. Fitzpatrick.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: It seems to me that if the
process in the committee is going to work effectively
and we're going to get good quality work out of the
committee, it's very helpful to know where we're going.
We shouldn't have an ad hoc approach to decide what
we're going to deal with. I think we should spend some
time as a committee determining what are the priorities
and the things we're going to focus on. We should try
to get an agenda for the whole spring session and get
an idea of where we're going with this committee. I
think that's a point that should not be lost here. I
think we could all agree that would be a good process,
to establish and to try to prioritize what type of
issues and matters we're going to deal with on this
committee, rather than just have it go from week to
week in a kind of guessing game as to what's going to
be dealt with by the committee.
The Chair: Mr. St. Denis.
Mr. Brent St. Denis: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
There's no question that there are some particular
issues of a non-legislative nature that all members
want to see dealt with, and I'm sure time will be provided
But that said, the committee is a master of its own
business, but not 100%. If I understand the way the
system works, I believe that if bills are referred to a
committee by the House, they take precedence over
studies. So even if I want a study, for example, on bus
regulation, I'm not going to get it as long as there
are bills that are referred to us. Right now we have
Bill C-14 was dealt with just
last week, and there are going to be a couple more
transport bills. I'll let the other parliamentary
secretaries speak to their own bills. Soon we're
going to have four here at committee. The House of
Commons has asked the committee to deal with these
bills. If we look at future business as having two
sections, there are bills, which we have to deal with
whether or not we want to, really, and there are
studies over which we do have ultimate
Looking at the program, we're not going to have time
for some weeks to get to studies, so we do have time,
in my view, to massage the agenda as to the kinds of
study items. Legislatively, we don't really have much
choice. We have to deal with stuff referred to us by
the House. I don't think we should confuse legislative
business with study business.
I would argue that we should move on with Bill S-2 and
the other bills, and in future meetings we can
deal with the study issues when we know we'll
have time later on. Thank you.
The Chair: Monsieur Laframboise from the Bloc
Mr. Mario Laframboise: All parties in the House of Commons
decided that Bill S-2 should be referred to a committee. The time
has come, Mr. Chairman, to deal with it, and you are right to say
that we should begin today.
As for the rest, with respect to putting off the meeting, I
place my confidence in you, Mr. Chairman, because you are the
person who is aware of what directions the committee should take.
You have acted in good faith and you have all my confidence on this
With respect to future work, there will probably be an
opportunity to hold a meeting on the subject. It will probably be
the next meeting we hold. I therefore feel that this is the way to
go. Let us discuss bills because all parties of the House of
Commons have told us that Bills S-2 and C-14 are to be studied by
the committees. I hope that we are going to do so. That is our job.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
The Chair: Thanks, Mario. I have Mr. Tirabassi on
my list, and I'll go to Serge after that.
Mr. Tony Tirabassi (Niagara Centre, Lib.): Thank
you, Mr. Chairman.
With all due respect to my colleague from the Alliance
across the way, with which I share the situation of
being a new member, in a perfect situation I think it
would be a great starting point to come in with a fresh
slate and new issues and to start with a briefing
and then to kind of ramp up. The reality is that
there are carry-over issues—and this is just the way I
see it as another new member—from the previous
Parliament that have to be dealt with here, and the
legislation, as was mentioned, is one of them.
I don't see anything wrong with getting right into the
issues. At the same time, time permitting, we can
weave into that some briefings on other issues so that
as new members we have a better understanding. But I
don't think we can hold up the business of this
committee because we want to start with a nice, clean
package and what we believe to be a full understanding
of all issues and then move off the mark from there.
We're four meetings in, and we're still not off
the mark. So I would support a combined
approach, that we move on with the current issues and
bring in some briefings as time permits.
The Chair: Serge Marcil of the Liberals.
Mr. Serge Marcil (Beauharnois—Salaberry, Lib.): Thank you
In my view, the problem is a problem of time. The tradition
here in Ottawa is that federal parliamentary committees only sit
when the House of Commons is in session. There are legislatures
here in Canada, including the Quebec National Assembly, where the
work of the House begins in mid-March and concludes at the end of
June, but where, on the other hand, parliamentary committees only
sit beginning in the month of January. Under such circumstances, it
is only logical that bills should be referred to committees by the
House while it is sitting.
However, the committees may be asked to study all matters that
they can or are required to study at times other than when the
House is sitting. To the best of my knowledge, the Rules provide
that the Transport Committee or any other committee may be called
to sit at any time during the year, and not exclusively during the
period when Parliament is in session. We could thus be asked to sit
in January, August or September. If so, we would be given terms of
reference. It would thus be possible to do that.
At the National Assembly, there are additional per diems when
the committees do not sit at the same time as the House. This does
not exist here, but it could still be done.
The Chair: Thanks, Serge.
I think we'll look for unanimous consent to sit in
July and August.
Mr. Jay Hill: Mr. Chairman, I have a few points to
make in rebuttal to some of those being made by the
So that our guests, the witnesses who were asked to
appear today, are very clear about at least one of the
four motions I put forward, the first motion states
that “the witnesses scheduled for the briefing on Bill
S-2 be dismissed until the future work agenda of the
committee is established and agreed”. The
witnesses should know that I have no intention of
showing any disrespect for them. Their time is
valuable, and I appreciate that fact.
I am trying to make a point here, that it is up to the
committee, not the chairman, to decide, upon the future
business we will conduct.
My understanding was that at the very first meeting we
had—and we can go back to the minutes and check
that—a lot of Liberal members wanted to have briefings
by the various departments. I at that time said I had
availed myself of a three-hour independent, personal
briefing with the Department of Transport last fall.
That was open to anyone who wanted to do it. But it
was the members over there, with all due respect, who
said they wanted to have briefings. Instead of getting
right into the legislation, they wanted to have a
briefing from the department. I agreed to that. I
thought, that's fine. I didn't have a problem with
that, even though in my personal case it was a bit
The second point I want to make, with all due respect
to the parliamentary secretary, is that legislation
gets referred to committees all the time. I don't
believe it takes precedence, that you have to deal with
it in the way in which it's referred to the committee.
The committees are masters of their own destiny—that's
what the government always tells us. If the committee
decides this legislation can be set aside for the time
being, because something is of more importance, then it
sits there until it's dealt with.
So for the parliamentary secretary to leave the
impression with the new members on this committee that
somehow, because the House refers these two bills—and
two more coming pretty quickly—our time is consumed
with the minister's agenda of getting these four bills
through Parliament is a bit erroneous, to say the
The last point I'll make on this is that if the
government hadn't decided to put these bills through
the Senate, we wouldn't have quite the problem, the
immediate backlog at the start of this Parliament, with
bills hitting this committee, bang, bang, bang, bang.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to do the math and
figure out that if we're going to deal with four
transport bills, we're going to deal with nothing on
public works, nothing on Treasury Board, and nothing
else in the transportation portfolio—nothing other
than the minister's agenda and these four pieces of
So if we wanted to have a meeting and call, for
example, Mr. Milton before us to cross-examine him
about some of the problems Air Canada is currently
experiencing and our airline industry is experiencing,
we wouldn't be able to do that, because our time is all
taken up with what the parliamentary secretary views as
The Chair: Mr. Hill, I don't think that's what's
going to happen. I think we'll do some things
concurrently. You'll probably get Mr. Milton here. So
let's just work it out. I don't think that's going to
be the case.
Mr. Jay Hill: Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your
assurance on that. But my whole point is that with any
other committee I've ever sat on, there was a meeting
at the front, and we hashed all this out without having
witnesses cooling their heels waiting to appear before
us. We had a meeting like this, hashed it out, and
decided upon a work agenda—
The Chair: Yes, but if you look—
Mr. Jay Hill: —and we haven't done that.
The Chair: If you look at the minutes, we're going
in accordance with what we've said.
I'll pass this on, exactly what we said. I don't
think today is any different from what we've agreed on.
So you must have a different interpretation from what
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: I can see a major function
of the committee is to review legislation and deal with
it, but with all due respect too, under the Canada
Transportation Act, we have a high-powered
committee that has a mandate to review transportation
policy. They're working on that. They have to come
down with a report on July 1. They're dealing with
some major policy considerations, such as rail
competition, access to rail competition, mergers, and
I watched it on television when Air Canada and
Canadian Airlines had their merger and Ottawa was in a
crisis management mode.
I hope we
can look ahead here a bit and see some things coming
down that we as a committee should be getting prepared
for, doing some meaningful homework before the thing is
dropped in our bucket. I'm sure if that happens, we're
going to quit reviewing legislation. We're going to be
into that sort of thing.
Further, the act mandates these reviews anyway, so
this whole review process is almost like legislation
itself, if it comes down with major recommendations and
so on. I'd like to have a road map. I don't like
driving around without a road map—it bothers me. I
don't like being kept in the dark. I don't like a
crisis being dropped in my lap and having to deal with
it without doing any homework.
Sure, we could put down bills that have to be dealt
with, but let's look at other matters we can see on the
horizon that we should be dealing with, and if we get
time, start dealing with them. But to sit in the dark
on the whole thing, that to me doesn't seem to be the
way to do things.
The Chair: Thank you for your input. Mr.
Mr. Brent St. Denis: Brian's comments are actually
an argument for moving on with legislation, because if
we want time for the studies, we should just get on
with legislation and dispense with it.
Jay is right, the committee could absolutely refuse to
deal with Parliament's business. But we had an
election, and there's a government in place with an
agenda. In fact, the bills we have before us, the two
and others to follow, have a lot of support out in the
stakeholder community, so there's a wish among the
public as well that we get these done with.
I think if we move on and deal with the legislation
expeditiously... Not to say that from time to time we
wouldn't have extra meetings or interject a
non-transport issue. I think Serge's point about
sitting—we don't have to sit exactly when the House
sits—is a good one. I think, with the chair's good
guidance, we will be able to accommodate almost
everyone's wishes at the end of the day.
The Chair: We have these motions. How does the
committee want to deal with them?
Mr. Brent St. Denis: I guess we could vote on
The Chair: Okay.
Mr. Jay Hill: I'm not so naive as not to see the
way it's going. So I don't want to take up any more of
the committee's valuable time going through an exercise
in futility by voting on these motions, when it's very
clear that at least the government members present are
going to vote them down. Why bother?
I'll withdraw the motions for now, with the
understanding that our next meeting after today is a
meeting to discuss future work, so that it isn't just
pulled out of the air that we agreed that on Tuesday
the 20th we were going to do as it's shown in the
minutes. I don't recall that happening. I would like
to know when those minutes were circulated, because I
certainly didn't have them for quite some time
afterwards. If you notice, even in what's been
presented to me here, what was agreed to was that there
would be a meeting to discuss future business on March
15—in other words, preceding any other business,
including the business today, which is scheduled for
consideration of S-2. That meeting did not take place,
and I guess that's the whole point.
I think the committee should meet. We were
supposed—I did it immediately after the February 27
meeting, and I hope other committee members did it as
well—to submit our individual priorities to the chair.
My understanding was that we were supposed to have a
meeting to hash through those and try, as Brian says,
to get a road map of where the committee thought it
wanted to go. That has not happened. I will withdraw
my motions if there's an understanding—and we see it
in the minutes this time—that this will happen at the
The Chair: Just one question. The next meeting is
scheduled with Treasury Board. What are the
committee's wishes with regard to Treasury Board? Mr.
Hill had said that it should be—
Mr. Jay Hill: I'll amend that—after the Treasury
Board, because that's the way it was originally agreed
to, that we would have the individual briefings from
the three different departments, and then have a
meeting to discuss future work. After the Treasury
Board officials appear, we should have that meeting.
The Chair: Mr. St-Denis.
Mr. Brent St. Denis: I can see where Jay is coming
from. But we have S-2 started, and we're going to have
a Treasury Board hearing. Let's continue with S-2, and
at the first opportunity, even before the Treasury
Board briefing, Wednesday afternoon, have our future
But let's get on with Bill S-2. I'm sure
there are witnesses. Maybe the opposition has some
witnesses they want to present, but let's keep moving
with Bill S-2. Again, we've got to use our valuable
The Chair: Yes, Serge.
Mr. Serge Marcil: I have a question. I am confused by some of
the things I heard earlier.
When a bill is introduced in the House, we speak of first
reading. It is then sent for a section-by-section study to the
parliamentary committee. Is this a requirement? Can the committee
refuse to study a bill? I don't think so. It is an obligation. It
constitutes a reading in due form and it is at this stage that
amendments can be made. My question is clear. Does a committee, any
committee, have the power to refuse to study a bill? I would like
The Chair: The clerk informs me that it has never
happened. It is part of the legislative process and
the refinement of a bill to have witnesses, so when a
document goes back to the House, it has had a further
The Clerk: Essentially, it's the will of the House
that the committee study it.
Mr. Serge Marcil: This means that it is the most important
part of the committee's work, even though it has other tasks.
The Clerk: It is a part of the committee's
The Chair: Mr. Hill.
Mr. Jay Hill: Serge, I think you need to
understand the point I'm making, which is that, yes, we
need to deal with the legislation, but when we deal
with it, we have a lot of discretion collectively as a
committee. We don't have to deal with Bill S-2 now
just because it has landed on our desks. Do you
understand? Now we have two bills. Have we had a
meeting to discuss which one we feel stakeholders are
more concerned about? Should we deal with Bill C-14
first or Bill S-2 first? We haven't had a meeting to
discuss that. Pretty soon there will be two more on
our desks. Are we just going to deal with them in the
order they're referred to us, or are we as a committee
going to prioritize them? The point I'm making is that
we do have some discretion as to when we deal with
them. There's no question that they have to be studied
and that we have to deal with them. The question is
Mr. Serge Marcil: Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask another
question. The questions I am asking are very important to me.
The House can order a committee to study a bill. I understand
Mr. Hill's argument. If the House does not specify an order, the
committee can decide on the order in which it will study the bills.
If the Speaker of the House asks that the bill be referred to the
committee for study, this constitutes an order of the House. Is it
the House that sets an order of priority for bills, or is up to us
to do so? If the latter, we could decide to postpone our study of
Bill S-2, or any other bill, until next fall.
The Chair: Yes, the procedure is that it leaves
the House and it comes here. I think Mario alluded to
that earlier on when he said it was the will of
the House that it should come here.
Mr. Jay Hill: Mr. Chairman, I'd like to address
that point. I think if you study history, Serge, you
will see that many times in our history bills have come
to various committees and have died there. It happens
all the time with private members' bills. It even
happens with government bills, where they believe or
find out that there is so much opposition to a piece of
legislation that they're better off to allow it to
languish in committee. Because the government has the
majority of the members on the committee, they can
ultimately do whatever they want when it comes to a
vote. The bill ends up just sitting there until
Parliament is prorogued or until Parliament is
dissolved and an election called. In either case,
the legislation dies in committee, and this happens all
the time. This is just to inform you.
The Chair: Mr. Szabo of the Liberals.
Mr. Paul Szabo: Mr. Chairman, I think Mr.
Hill is quite right in what he's described to the
committee. We can only guess at how much time would be
required for Bill S-2. The fact is that no one person
decides that. The committee has to decide it in
consultation. Every party is going to get an
opportunity to suggest witnesses and so forth. To
organize the calendar you really need that
future business meeting to take place, at least with
regard to the things we see.
What I'd like to suggest to move us along because... I
think there's a commitment to have the
future business meeting. The briefing is set, we know,
for a couple of meetings from now.
There were two other motions that were presented to
us. One was Mr. Burton's, and it was with regard to a
specific study. I suspect that he may want to hold off
on that until the future business meeting in order to
make recommendations or to make his pitch for a
specific study. That might be a better place to do it.
The second one—and I think maybe the committee
might be disposed to agree—was that we would like to
make a request to the appropriate ministers to appear
before the committee with regard to the estimates,
given that everybody has time restrictions. It might
be that the sooner we get this started, the sooner we
can find out when they're available and so organize our
So if you're amenable, I would certainly support the
proposal that we make a request to the ministers to
appear so we can deal with the estimates. I suspect we
may want to seek the concurrence of other parties.
The Chair: Mr. Burton, Mr. Hill has withdrawn his
Mr. Andy Burton (Skeena, CA): Yes. I'm
prepared to go along
with Mr. Szabo's comments. We could leave my
first motion until the appropriate time as long as
we're prepared to consider it at that time.
As to the second one, my motion has basically been
made for me. If it's the will of this group, I put
that motion forward and look for support.
The Chair: Just a minute. For the record, to make
sure we know what we're voting on, do I have unanimous
consent to rescind this motion, based on the
understanding we've agreed to?
The Clerk: I could finish off with Mr. Hill's.
Mr. Hill had asked that there be an understanding that
the meeting following the March 22 meeting will be
convened to discuss the future business of the
Mr. Jay Hill: That the meeting immediately
following the briefing... We can have it at the same
time; I don't care. We can just sit for an hour longer
after we've had the briefing by the Treasury Board on
But whenever we have the next meeting, whether it's
the same day, that night, or on a Sunday, I don't care
so long as that meeting is allocated to the discussion
and establishment of a future work agenda for the
If that's agreed upon, Mr. Chair, I will withdraw
motions one, three, four, and five.
The Chair: Okay.
(Motion agreed to)
The Chair: That brings us to Andy and then Marcel.
Mr. Andy Burton: On my first motion then, if
there's an understanding that this can be brought back
at the appropriate time after we've dealt...
The Clerk: There's no problem with that.
Mr. Andy Burton: There's no problem with that?
Okay. As to my second motion, do I need to read it out,
Mr. Chairman, or is it clear?
The Clerk: What you can do is wait for the next
meeting on future business and bring the two of them
Mr. Andy Burton: I think it might be appropriate
to bring up the second one now.
The Chair: Do we have any discussion on motion
Marcel Proulx, for the Liberals.
Mr. Marcel Proulx: In that second motion it says
“as well as the Presidents and heads of Crown
Corporations”. If this means bringing them along
with the President of the Treasury Board or the
Minister of Public Works, I have no problem. If they
want the presidents and heads of crown corporations
separately, I don't agree because we'll be here until
Mr. Andy Burton: No, the intent is—
Mr. Marcel Proulx: If it means concurrently,
there's no problem.
The Chair: Is that clear? It's written down in
black and white.
All those in favour?
(Motion agreed to)
The Chair: Okay. Can we move on with the business
of the day, then? I would ask the officials to take
their places at the table and give us a ten-minute
briefing, and then we'll go to questions until one
The Chair: I'd like to reconvene the meeting and
ask Jerry to lead off. We'll have ten to twelve
minutes from our visitors and then we'll go to a
round of questions.
Mr. Jerry Rysanek (Director, International Marine
Policy and Liability, Department of Transport): Thank
you, Mr. Chairman. My name is Jerry Rysanek. I am
acting director general, marine policy, in Transport
It is a pleasure for me to appear before your
committee today to present Bill S-2 the new Marine
Liability Act. The purpose of this act is to modernize
Canadian legislation in the areas of passenger
liability and apportionment of liability, and at the
same time to consolidate existing marine liability
regimes into a single statute.
I would propose to review Bill S-2, more specifically
starting with new legislation in parts 4 and 2
respectively. The new regime of a shipowner's
liability to passengers, as set out in part 4, is the
principal policy objective of the new act. This is an
initiative born out of concerns for those passengers
who may be involved in an accident during carriage by
water. Well over 40 million passengers travel by water
in Canada every year and yet there are currently
no statutory provisions in Canadian law that establish a
shipowner's liability for loss of life or personal
injury to passengers travelling by ship.
The result is that the only recourse for passengers is
to file a suit against shipowners and have the claim
determined in accordance with ordinary rules of
The bill also recognizes the importance of ensuring
that shipowners have the financial resources to
compensate passengers. I wish to bring to your
attention, Mr. Chairman, that clause 39 in part 4 of
this bill contains provisions that allow for the
introduction of regulations requiring shipowners to
maintain insurance or other financial security. The
shipowners will have to provide evidence of this
security to ensure that it is sufficient to meet their
obligations to passengers as set out in part 4.
The government will be monitoring the implementation of
this bill very closely. While we are confident that
most shipowners will respond quickly to meet their new
obligations, the current insurance practice will be
studied to obtain a better understanding of the key
elements and structure of compulsory insurance for
passenger vessels, including timelines for its
This initiative, Mr. Chairman, is an important
contribution of Bill S-2 to the protection of Canadians
travelling by ship.
Mr. Chairman, let us now look at the second objective of the
policy contained in this bill, which is to introduce a new act on
the sharing of responsibility. This act is needed to handle various
important aspects of liability in a situation in which the
complaining party is in part responsible for its own losses.
In the past, two rules of common law were a source of major
concern for maritime communities.
The first rule prevents a complaining party from collecting
anything if it is proved that it contributed to any extent
whatsoever to the damage suffered.
The second rule covers situations in which the respondent
party pays for all losses without being able in turn to claim any
contribution from anyone else who may have caused the losses.
Historically, the common-law provinces under their
constitutional power over property and civil rights
recognized the harsh effects of those outmoded common-law
rules. They have replaced them with legislation
that allowed courts to apportion liability and to
permit litigation parties to claim contribution and
indemnity from other persons.
In its 1996 decision of Bow Valley v. Husky and
its 1998 decision of Ordon v. Grail, the
Supreme Court of Canada ruled that it was unjust to
continue to apply the common-law rules to negligence
claims arising from navigation and shipping activities.
In the light of this decision, new legislation is
needed to establish a uniform set of rules that apply
to civil wrongs governed by Canadian maritime law.
Thus this legislation set out in part 2 will eliminate
the uncertainty that currently exists as regards the
legal basis for the apportionment of liability in
As already mentioned, Mr. Chairman, the new act would also
make it possible to consolidate the existing regimes of marine
liability and related matters, which are currently found in a
variety of statutory instruments.
This single-window approach to marine liability would make it
possible to prevent the future proliferation of distinct
legislative measures in the area of marine transport.
When liability to passengers and the sharing of liability were
being considered during work on the new act, it was found that it
was neither practical nor effective to leave the various liability
regimes scattered in a variety of statutory instruments.
Thus we came up with this act, which combines the various
marine liability regimes of into a single act. It will include
provisions on fatal accidents; limited liability with respect to
marine claims, liability for sea shipping; and liability and
compensation for damages resulting from pollution.
Current provisions on fatal accidents are located in
part 14 of the Canada Shipping Act, and they have
been brought forward to part 1 of this bill in
appropriately modernized language.
In the context of this regime, Mr. Chairman, I would
like to add a few words in response to a point raised
during the second reading speech about the definition
of “dependant” in clause 4.
As a result of Bill C-23, which was passed last June,
we were able to improve Bill S-2 by taking into account
the benefits achieved by Bill C-23. You will recall,
Mr. Chairman, that this omnibus legislation amended
various acts, including the Carriage by Air Act.
We therefore followed the latter model to make sure the
definition of “dependant” is consistent in both the
air mode as well as the marine mode.
Similarly, the provisions for limitation of liability
for maritime claims have been transferred here from
part 9 of the Canada Shipping Act. They are set out in
part 3 of this bill, and there are no new changes
proposed in this legislation.
Turning now to part 5, Mr. Chairman, you will find a
regime of liability for the carriage of goods
transferred here from the Carriage of Goods by Water
Act. This act was last revised in 1993, and it
was the subject of a recent review, followed by a
report to Parliament by the Minister of Transport in
No changes are proposed in this regime at the present
time, except for the adoption of a new provision on
Canadian jurisdiction. That provision will assist
claimants to pursue in Canadian courts the recovery of
damage to cargo.
Finally, in part 6, you will find a regime of
liability and compensation for pollution damage. It
has also been transferred from the Canada Shipping Act,
part 16. This regime governs the liability for all
pollution damage caused by tankers and pollution damage
caused by other ships in all Canadian waters.
I would like to add that we are not proposing any
substantive change at this time, except for a
clarification that is required to keep pace with modern
technology in offshore exploration. I am referring,
Mr. Chairman, to the development of floating storage
units intended for use in oil exploration.
Consequently, a new provision has been added in this
bill to make it clear that these units are also covered
under this legislation—in the same manner as other
ships—when they carry oil as cargo.
Mr. Chairman, with this clarification, I can conclude this
overview of the existing regimes that are to be consolidated in the
Marine Liability Act. I nevertheless wish to note that other
liability regimes are being established, in particular those
currently being developed by the International Maritime
Organization, such as the liability regime for spills of ship fuel
and a new protocol for the Athens Convention on mandatory
insurance. I believe that the Marine Liability Act will be very
useful in the future as a logical basis for these new regimes, if
Canada were eventually to decide to adopt them.
Consultations conducted by Transport Canada with
various industry groups also covered the proposed
consolidation of existing legislation. I am pleased to
report to you that industry stakeholders welcome this
initiative, which would provide a comprehensive system
of marine liability regimes in one location.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, let me just briefly mention
that we are also taking this opportunity to deal with a
couple of housekeeping matters. I am referring to part
7 of this bill, which will validate Ports Canada
harbour dues and fees collected by the Laurentian
Pilotage Authority. The purpose of this exercise
is to remove any ambiguity about the validity of the
increased harbour dues and Laurentian Pilotage
Authority's fees collected by the respective
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, the key features of the
proposed Marine Liability Act before you include a
new regime of shipowners' liability to passengers, a
new regime for apportionment of liability, and
consolidation of existing liability regimes.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Rysanek.
We'll go to Jay Hill of the Canadian Alliance for
the first round of ten minutes.
Mr. Jay Hill: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank
you, gentlemen, for appearing today. Again, I'd like
to apologize for the delay you had to experience while
we went through the technicalities of how our committee
functions, or doesn't, as the case may be.
I'd like to start by referring to page 2 of the
submission you just gave. At the end of the third
paragraph, you're referring to clause 39 of part 4.
The last sentence of your English text says:
The shipowners will have to provide evidence of this
security to ensure that it is sufficient to meet their
obligations as set out in Part 4.
I don't see that in clause 39. As I read it in the
briefing book, under the heading “Regulations and
Orders”, clause 39 states:
The Governor in Council may make regulations requiring
insurance or other financial security to be maintained
to cover liability to passengers under this Part.
How can you say in your submission or your speech or
the presentation you just made that shipowners
will have to provide evidence of this security,
yet it very clearly states in the bill that the
Governor in Council may make regulations? Am I
missing something, gentlemen?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: No, you are not
missing anything. I think it's the economy of words in
a speech. It has to be read, of course, in the
subsequent paragraph as well.
Clearly, you are right. Clause 39 provides for
regulations to be adopted in the future for
introduction of compulsory insurance, if it is so
decided. I tried to describe that in the subsequent
paragraph, where I say we first have to monitor the
implementation of the bill, and we have to study what
compulsory insurance would involve and be prepared for
it. Also, I recommend to the government timelines for
its introduction. So perhaps the use of the future
tense, “shipowners will”, is probably not very
accurate. It is subject to the adoption of the
regulations under clause 39 in the future.
Mr. Jay Hill: Okay.
Following up on that, as has been noted, this bill has
been around for quite some time. The issue has
certainly been around since time immemorial, almost
since there have been boats bobbing around on water. If
people suffer injury or some loss, I guess they're
always free to sue the shipowner if they believe the
shipowner was negligent. Since the government brought
this forward, why would it be that they haven't made it
compulsory already? In other words, why hasn't the
study you just referred to already been done?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: You're quite right. This has
been around for some time. The policy work on this
particular regime and the policy paper that the
department published go back a number of years. It was
in that policy paper, when we introduced it, that we
raised the question of compulsory insurance and
received a form of response to it. But I'll be very
frank: The response was largely negative from all
sides, because the issue of compulsory insurance was, I
think, viewed in terms of what problem we're trying to
cure. At the moment, one has to be frank. There are
no major problems in terms of unsatisfied claimants.
We know we have accidents, of course, but I don't think
we could say there is a major problem here in terms of
shipowners not being insured and claimants going
So it's a measure whose time has come. It's being
debated internationally at the moment, as well—that's
what, in the amendments, I refer to as the Athens
Convention that is being discussed. Canada will
have an opportunity to look at this measure and to see
whether we will also follow the international model of
compulsory insurance, or whether we will have our own
in the future.
Mr. Jay Hill: I'll leave that for the moment and
go to part 6. Starting at the bottom of page 6 and
continuing at the top of page 7 in the English text,
This regime governs the liability for oil pollution
damage caused by tankers and pollution damage caused by
other ships in all Canadian waters.
Does this act pertain to pollution other than oil?
Again, I don't want to read anything into the remarks
you made, sir, but it would seem to me that, given the
way you worded that—“the liability for oil pollution
damage caused by tankers and pollution damage caused by
other ships”... What is encompassed in that? Is it
more than just oil?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: Definitely.
Part 6 covers all types of pollution damage. The major
part that I think is more active than others is
certainly oil pollution. I think that's where the
emphasis is placed in my speech. But part 6 also
covers pollution caused by other pollutants.
Specifically, clause 51 of part 6 has that scope and
deals with shipowners' liability for oil pollution
damage, as well as shipowners' liability for pollution
caused by other pollutants.
Mr. Jay Hill: Can you show me where in clause 51
it says it's dealing with pollution by other
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: Yes, but it is due to the
structure of legislation that one has to read a little
bit into it. Paragraphs 51(1)(a) and (b) are devoted
to liability for all pollution damage. It is paragraph
(c) that deals with pollution by other pollutants. But
it is there where you have to make the jump to the
Canada Shipping Act for the source of that
liability. That is in section 678 of the Canada
Shipping Act. Section 678 of the Canada Shipping Act
describes the responsibilities of shipowners for
damages caused by other pollutants. So it's a
combination and a structure of legislation. We didn't
touch it. It's here before you the way it has been in
the Canada Shipping Act for over fifteen years.
As far as I recall, there have not been any problems
in the past with the structure of the legislation, and
I haven't heard anything about the idea that there
might be problems with ambiguity. So we have not
touched it; we have left it as it is. Section 678 of
the Canada Shipping Act will continue to provide the
source of legislation for pollution by other
Mr. Jay Hill: Without getting into a really
technical discussion about how this bill was drafted,
why would it be deemed more appropriate to include oil
under clause 51 at all? Couldn't you have just said,
for example, “for pollution damage from the ship”,
taking out the word “oil”? Further down, instead of
saying “in respect of measures taken to prevent,
repair, remedy or minimize oil pollution damage from
the ship”, just go with “pollution”. It's then very
clear to everyone that any pollutants transmitted to
the oceans, seas, or waterways from a ship are
covered under this act. It would be very obvious to
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: Of course, I wouldn't be able
to speak for the draftsmen or those who structured it,
but when we look at it, again, I think one of the
reasons why it is handy to keep it separate is that the
oil pollution liability regime has a close connection
to Canada's commitments under international
conventions, and specifically the international
convention on our civil liability for pollution damage
and international oil pollution funds. For pollution
caused by other pollutants, it is a strictly domestic
regime that has no connection to any international
I think it is handy—at least, I believe stakeholders
find it handy—to deal with the two types of pollution
separately, largely because of our different
obligations. I haven't certainly drawn to our
attention that it is inappropriate.
Mr. Jay Hill: Do I have any time left?
The Chair: You have about a minute.
Mr. Jay Hill: Make it quick, Brian.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: It seems like this connotes
varying standards. Is the international standard to
deal with oil pollution a higher standard than
domestic? I remember the raising of a ship in the St.
Lawrence here a few years ago that contained some
deadly toxic substance. In its own right, it might
have been more dangerous and more of a problem than
even oil. It just seems to me that pollution is
pollution and environmental disasters are environmental
This thing seems to connote different
standards. I'm wondering if the standards under
international obligations are higher or lower than our
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: The standards for pollution
caused by oil and other pollutants are fairly similar,
but the big difference is the money. Under
international convention, the shipowner's liability for
oil pollution is much higher than for other pollutants.
It's strictly the monetary aspects expressed in the law
that are different.
Just to give you an example, by participating in
international treaties, at the moment the compensation
package following an oil pollution incident by a tanker
would provide Canada with coverage of about $270
million per incident. If the
same-sized ship caused damage by other pollutants, the
limit is around $40 million. So the money is the
difference. But the basis and the conditions for
liability are fairly similar.
The Chair: Thank you very much. We'll move on to
this side of the table. Who wants it?
Dominic Leblanc of the Liberals.
Mr. Dominic LeBlanc (Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, Lib.):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
This is more a technical question. I don't know a
great deal about marine liability law, but I'm just
curious. Am I correct in understanding, from the last
two paragraphs of page 3 of the English version, that
the two common-law rules...
This is perhaps a question for our lawyer colleague, Mr. Gauthier.
Am I correct in understanding that one of the common-law
rules now basically removes any regime of
contributory negligence? Unlike provincial
laws on contributory negligence in regular automobile
accidents, or in other civil lawsuits, that's never
been accepted in marine liability cases. It currently
does not exist at all—any contributory act of a
claimant removes the claimant's ability to recover.
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: If you'll allow me, I'll
respond to that question. I have been with the bill
for some time, so I learned some of the legal questions
That's quite correct. At the moment, that common-law
rule removes any contributory negligence on the part of
the person who might have been partly responsible for
the loss. A simple example: if you are responsible for
slipping, you didn't see the sign properly, and it can
be demonstrated that you really were partly
responsible, even 1%, you will lose 100% of the claim.
Part 2 will change that and will try to establish
proportionate distribution between you and the
shipowner. This will make it a little bit more fair,
which the provincial system has been for a long time.
Mr. Dominic LeBlanc: The intent would be to make it
fairly similar to a provincial law of contributory
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: Exactly.
Mr. Dominic LeBlanc: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chair: We'll move to Mario right away.
Mr. Mario Laframboise: If I have understood correctly, we
moving towards a liability regime, and one of the areas will be
passenger transportation, which is all to the good. This
constitutes a choice. It is something the people want. You are
correct. Canadians statutes are not necessarily the same as those
in the Quebec Civil Code, which already provides for the sharing of
liability and other things by those responsible for an accident.
Part 1 of the bill considers physical injury and fatal
accidents. It establishes that the family may be entitled to
receive compensation for damages caused.
Part 2 of the bill considers the sharing of liability among
all those responsible for an accident. Each must pay in proportion
to the fault. This is a good thing.
On the other hand, the problem arises in Part 4 of the bill,
which genuinely considers liability with respect to the
transportation of passengers on water. There is some mention of
carrier liability, but they are not required to take out insurance.
You stated this clearly.
Section 39 states:
39. The Governor in Council may make regulations requiring
insurance [...] to be maintained...
How can we introduce a liability regime that is completely in
keeping with the will of the people, users, and XXIst century
realities, without requiring carriers to have an insurance regime
that would enable them to pay for damages caused? What would this
mean? It would mean that some would have the financial means to pay
damages and that others would not.
In the end, the industry would end up playing a game. There
would be those who would behave responsibly and set money aside so
that they would be able to pay damages and those who would not be
responsible and would not set money aside. There would also be
those who would not collect the dues required to establish funds
that would enable them to reimburse for damages. There would be
those who would pay for insurance, which would increase the price
of their tickets, and who would do all that in order to be able to
pay for protection, and there would be those who would not take out
insurance, and would nevertheless, of course, compete with other
I am having trouble understanding. I thought that the
government was going to come up fairly quickly with rules to
require the industry to have insurance. You are saying this is
still in the future. You can't tell me... Based on what I
understood of what you just read, you are going to watch how the
industry behaves and then decide whether an insurance regime will
be established. Have I understood properly?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: You have understood correctly. As I
explained earlier, at the moment, in the Act we have, there are no
provisions that make insurance mandatory.
We hope that following the proper studies, when we
understand what is involved with introducing compulsory
insurance, the government will also consider whether to
do it in harmony with other countries. One issue worth
mentioning is that if we do this today, we would be the
only country in the developed world that imposes
compulsory insurance on shipowners for carriage of
So I think this is a question of timing, and also a
question of the problem. As far as we can see, most
shipowners operate in a very prudent manner, and the
expectation is that the majority will certainly insure
against the new liability. But I think you have a
point: some of them might not do it. That's something
the government will have to watch in the future and
decide at the appropriate time whether to introduce
compulsory insurance for ships.
But it's first and foremost a matter of knowing what
is involved here, on a nationwide scale.
Mr. Mario Laframboise: It goes a little further than that. It
is a message that we are sending to all the people of Canada, a
message that says that a liability regime will be established for
marine transport. Whether they travel by ship, plane or automobile,
everyone will now know that they are covered if they ever have
problems or accidents.
The Act implies that we will be covered, but that there can be
no guarantee that the company transporting us will have the money
to reimburse us if there are ever damages. That is the message
When you say that you are going to do an analysis of the
industry, does this mean that there already are analysis plans or
that this is for some time in the future?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: I think we would certainly have
to work through the issue of insurance with the various
industry groups involved, particularly small
shipowners. I don't think we need to worry about the
large shipowners operating in Canada, because we know
they are well protected already. But I think we will
have to deal with some of the associations dealing with
small shipowners and establish some form of
cooperation with them. We will also have to look at the
insurance market, particularly the Canadian insurance
When it comes to compulsory insurance, one of the
important issues is what do you do with an uninsurable
owner. It's one thing to impose insurance on owners and
tell them to get it, but it's another thing to tell
insurers to provide it. That's a question we haven't
Those are the issues we will have to look at. We will
also have to look at the International Maritime
Organization model, which is being developed as we
speak, to see whether it could be a suitable model for
us to follow. There is some work to be done. That is
something for the future, I would have thought.
The Chair: Mario, are you through?
Mr. Mario Laframboise: I have a final small question on that.
So you are telling us that even though an obligation can be
imposed, you did not analyze the insurance market before
introducing a bill on liability that can apply to everyone. You
have not analyzed the insurance market to determine whether marine
transport could be included in the insurance market. That is what
you are telling me.
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: We have not done the work required to
introduce this bill.
Mr. Mario Laframboise: Thank you.
The Chair: I'll go to Serge Marcil.
Mr. Serge Marcil: This is bill on marine liability and it does
not necessarily require all shipowners to take out insurance. I
find that somewhat odd.
I thought that the Act itself would include a section
requiring all firms to have insurance to cover at least liability.
What I understand is that the Act is intended to make owners
liable, but that it is not mandatory. What happens when a small
company that has no insurance has a boat sink, causing a great deal
of damage to the environment or loss of life? Does the Canadian
government have a compensation fund to offset the fact that the
shipowner has no insurance?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: Allow me to add that this bill constitutes
an major change for shipowners. For shipowners who transport
passengers, it is a...
[Editor's note: Inaudible]
according to the Shipping Act, shipowners could
contracting out. At the moment, contracting out is
allowed in marine passenger boats. At the moment,
the shipowners are in a laissez-faire system. We are
bringing the law in such a leap forward that the
simultaneous introduction of compulsory insurance would
certainly meet with certain difficulties.
I think it is also correct to say that there is
compulsory insurance in aviation and for personal
automobiles in most provinces. But this all came
after liability regimes were established. Here we are
doing the first step: we are actually telling the
shipowners, “You are no longer allowed to contract
out, that's gone. You will now be liable for up to a
specific amount. It's not some sort of a fiction
any more; it's before you.” I think it was the gradual
approach that got us the all-round support we needed
from the various stakeholders.
Speaking on behalf of the shipowners, I suppose this
is a major change for them—from a laissez-faire system
into a strict liability regime. But you're right,
insurance is not there yet.
The Chair: Are you through?
Mr. Serge Marcil: I have another question. I understand that
the change being made is enormous. The approach is different and so
on. However, if I have understood correctly, at the moment, any
boat can use shipping lanes or other Canadian navigable waterways
and the Canadian government does not require the shipowner to have
insurance. At the moment, there is nothing to require this.
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: Exactly. It does not exist at the moment.
The Chair: Moving right along, I go to Mrs.
Desjarlais, before I come back to Mr. Fitzpatrick.
Mrs. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP): It never
to rehash a bill that's been around for a while, as has
been indicated, because I think there was somewhat of
an impression given that those regulations would be put
in place so that there would be compulsory insurance,
that it wasn't just a matter of at the whim of or in
So I am concerned that we're now getting wording of:
...the current insurance practice will be studied to
obtain a better understanding of the key elements and
structure of a compulsory insurance...
I think we continue to be misleading if we aren't up
front with the fact that we know the system isn't
there, that we know there needs to be an insurance
system in place.
The following statement right after that is:
This initiative, Mr. Chairman, is an important contribution
of Bill S-2 to the protection of Canadians traveling by
But in reality you're not giving them that
protection within the legislation, simply by leaving it
up to the regulations having to come into place.
So I am concerned now that this bill really wasn't
doing what some of us thought it was intended to do.
After what length of time would you foresee this regulation
coming into place?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: If I could first go back to my
remarks, I think when I talk about important
contributions for Canadians travelling by ship, it is
in regard to the very fact that we actually are
establishing a liability regime, that we're giving both
parties specific rules in order to know exactly what to
expect following an incident, rather than operating in
I think that's the advantage, that's the major plus,
and it seems to work in many other countries without
any problem, and there you don't have a lineup of unsatisfied
claimants complaining that the owners were not insured.
But we are sensitive to it. The regulation was put
there for the government to decide in future.
I'm not in a position to talk about the timing,
obviously, but it's meant seriously and it will have to
be looked at. And statistics should be
looked at in harmony with other countries. Marine is
an international business, and it would not serve us
very well just to start with a domestic regime without
paying attention to what some of our trading partners
or some of our partners in the marine world are doing.
So it's a question of the evidence of problems as
well. The compulsory insurance in other modes of
transport were, I believe, introduced in response to
specific problems, particularly in the automobile mode.
We don't have that experience yet.
Ms. Bev Desjarlais: I have one other short question.
You mentioned something about the possibility that an
owner might not be able to get insurance and wondered
what would they then do. I'm wondering if you would
foresee that there are some owners who wouldn't get
insurance, and what would be the reason why an owner
wouldn't get insurance?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: If the committee will have
witnesses, as I believe you will, and you pose the
question to them, particularly the shipowners, you may
well hear that some of them may be actually legislated
out of business, particularly those small owners who
may be operating with a relatively modest insurance
policy today and who may be looking at a different
insurance policy in the future. Some of them may not
be able to obtain insurance, some of them will be
uninsurable by the standards of the Canadian insurance
market, and some of them may be out of business as a
result of it, if it is a condition of operation to have
insurance. That happens when compulsory insurance is
So whether or not compulsory insurance would provide
a safety net for shipowners of that type, and
whether public money in any way should be involved
in the insurance of shipowners who are not insurable, is
perhaps a matter of future debate. That happens, of
course, in the automobile mode. But those are
questions that are very important to look at in the
The Chair: Are you done? Thank you.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: Yes.
I think there's an area in here that is clearly
defective in my mind. It jumps right out at you. It's
the limit of liability for a passenger on a commercial
carrier. I understand it's $350,000. I think most
members here would know—their financial planners would
probably tell them—that the day you retire you had
better have at least $1 million set aside if you want
to live comfortably in your retirement, assuming, of
course, you don't run into some major diversion in
life, and so on.
The figure $350,000 isn't very much. I can conjure up a
dentist losing his right hand. Not only does he have a
physical handicap and a disaster, but he has a
financial disaster on his hands. If you have a
person who's a paraplegic and is in a wheelchair or
disabled... for their physical needs alone $1 million is
nothing; $350,000 is a drop in the bucket. This
person will still have a family that is dependent on
them and so on, and this is a financial
disaster as well. In my view, this $350,000 cap is very
If I were one of the carriers in the marine
industry, I would smile at the premiums I'd have to pay
for coverage like that. But it's really not much
assurance to the public who use the system. Surely
we could come up with some more adequate limit than
$350,000. It's going to be in legislation
too; it has no flexibility. My understanding is that if it's
in the legislation we'd have to bring it back before
the House some day to update it. We all know we have
inflation in this world. What might look adequate
today can easily be inadequate in five years from now,
so I think there are problems with that.
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: I think there are two points in
response to your concerns.
Certainly $350,000 does not make anyone a millionaire,
I agree with you. But, again, one has to see it in the
context of where it's coming from, where we're starting
from. We're starting from zero with shipowners; we're
starting with shipowners who are allowed to put on
your ticket no liability whatsoever.
Try to recover under that condition. Half of the
legal community says you have no chance of recovering;
half of the legal community says maybe you will. Here
we're providing a figure that is established in law,
and which I may add is similar to the aviation mode. You
wouldn't get much more if you were to be involved in an
airline incident. With the airline regime it's a
little bit all over depending on where you fly,
with whom you fly, and whether it is domestic or
international. But certainly in the international, you
wouldn't get much more. It's a step forward, starting
from zero, of providing some form of guarantee for
everybody who is on the ship, whether it's 20 passengers
or 1,000 passengers, and doing away with zero liability.
I should only add to this that the question of the limit
is one of the issues being discussed at the moment in
the International Maritime Organization, and Canada is
participating, of course, in the debate. The chances
are pretty good that the figure that will come out next
time will be substantially higher. Accidents will not
make anyone millionaires in the future. I don't think
that will be the case.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: I'm not raising that point.
I'm talking about having something reasonably adequate to
take care of the disaster that happens to somebody
who's severely taken out of the picture. I think
$350,000 might not even pay the mortgage on the house.
What's a person going to do? Go on welfare or social
assistance to carry on? He's got a family to take care
of. I'm saying it's just inadequate. I'm not saying
the sky is the limit either, but I just don't think in
this day and age that's a very adequate limit.
The Chair: We're into five-minute rounds now. I'll
go to Larry Bagnell, and then I'll come back to Mario,
and then perhaps to Jay.
It looks like you might have lots of time left yet.
Mr. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.): Other than the
$350,000 limit and the lack of compulsory liability
that you mentioned, are there any other differences
between the regime that air carriers in Canada have to
follow and the one being proposed here related to liability?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: Because the airline industry's
limits are greater, depending on which airline you fly
and where you fly, to do justice to your question I
would say the following. In domestic travel, it is
about the same. It's $300,000 per seat in terms of the
compulsory insurance the airline
must have. We're talking about $350,000 in terms of
On the international carriage, it ranges from $75,000
U.S. to what I believe is unlimited liability by way
of inter-airline private agreement, not legislative
agreement, where some of the major airlines have
agreed not to impose any limit on liability.
In terms of statutory liability, certainly the marine
is about the same domestically and is actually more
than the airline internationally. But in terms of
private agreements, it's a
different ballgame altogether for airlines.
Mr. Larry Bagnell: I was actually asking about the
other provisions, contributory negligence and all those
provisions in this act.
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: I must admit I am not aware
of how contributory negligence provisions operate in
air carriage. I have not studied it. I just know that
in terms of contributory negligence for any torts
in provinces, it's exactly the same as we
have here; it's adjusted according to the percentage of
your fault. But exactly how it is in the aviation
mode, I admit I am not sure.
Mr. Larry Bagnell: I have one more question. Does
joint and several liability apply here?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: I don't think that's the issue.
Joint and several in terms of the tort... yes, those who
are responsible for
the wrong have a joint and several liability, of
The Chair: Thank you.
Mr. Mario Laframboise: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like
first of all to make a final comment on passenger transportation.
What is worrisome is that no analysis of the insurance market
was done. We could end up in a world in which carriers are
responsible, but where insurance is so expensive that the vast
majority of those who engage in marine transport do not carry
insurance. They would be numbered companies which, if legal action
were ever taken against them, would simply go bankrupt. This has
happened in other industries.
What is worrisome for me is that you have not analyzed the
insurance industry to determine whether it would be able, when the
act comes into force, to offer insurance at competitive rates so
that most companies could obtain insurance. If that was not done
and the result turned out completely otherwise, we would have a
serious problem in terms of the liability regime available, or
guaranteed to the people. Lastly, there would be no money for the
vast majority of those who travel by ship. This worries me a great
This is not what my next question is about. My next question
has to do with liability and compensation for pollution. You are
reiterating what appear to be the international conventions on
compensation funds, compensation and amounts to be collected from
shipowners who do not become a party to the convention.
I would like you to tell me what is the percentage of
shipowners who are not a party to the convention and who would be
subject to the act, and what is the percentage of those who are a
party to the convention. What percentage of the industry have
become a party to the convention and are governed by international
standards, and what percentage would come under this act?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: The international conventions on civil
liability for hydrocarbon pollution apply only to ships that
It applies only to tankers, and it has to be a tanker.
If it is not a tanker carrying oil in bulk, the
international conventions do not apply; it is the
domestic regime that applies.
In terms of percentages, I would answer your question
this way. Canada receives in Canadian ports about 30
million tonnes of oil every year. I would have to
look at exactly how many ships are involved in that
transportation. I don't have the details, but I can
provide them later if that is the wish of the
committee. But I certainly know the volume of oil that
is covered by the international conventions. It's a
substantial amount, about 33 million tonnes of oil.
I can certainly tell you that obviously the tanker
trade is not a majority trade. It would
have to be a minority compared to the ships that carry
the rest of our trade.
The Chair: You have a minute, Mario.
Mr. Mario Laframboise: Is the compensation provided in this
act the same as that provided in the convention? By that I mean
what is collected from shipowners, whether by tonnage or capacity.
Is it the same as what is used in the international conventions?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: I thought I had answered that question. The
provisions establishing liability are the same, but the amounts are
For an incident caused by an oil tanker, the amount of
compensation that this law would provide, as I said, is
about $270 million. That's the maximum. It
depends on the size of the ship, and it's graded. I
would have to know the exact size of the ship to tell
you the exact limit, but the maximum is about $270
million per incident.
For all other ships it's a much smaller amount, and
they are of course not covered by the international
convention. I think I used the figure of
around $40 million as the maximum amount under this act
for pollution by other ships.
The Chair: Thank you, Mario.
Serge Marcil of the Liberals.
Mr. Serge Marcil: Is this regime similar to the existing one
in the United States, or is the American regime stricter than the
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: I believe you're referring to
the U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Certainly the
U.S. legislation provides much higher limits of
liability. I believe it goes up to $1 billion per
incident. In terms of the conditions of liability, I
have not reviewed the U.S. one recently, but I
think we're operating on the premise that the
conditions are fairly similar in terms of the basis
under which the shipowner is held liable, the basis
where he might not be liable, and the geographic scope
of application. In our case, we cover up to 200 miles
of shore. So does the United States.
So I think the main difference is again the monetary
figure. The U.S. legislation provides for much higher
liability. I should say, as with the passengers, the
International Maritime Organization just started a
review of these conventions to which Canada is a party.
The review of limits is the first order of business.
The new limit that will come into force in Canada about
two years from now will be over $400 million Canadian
per incident, increased from $270 million per incident.
So that's where we will be in about two years from
now, but it's still different from the United States.
Mr. Serge Marcil: In the United States, must all shipowners
obtain insurance? Does the American government require all ships on
waterways to take out insurance, whether in terms of passenger
transportation between islands for the various ferry boats or in
terms of shipping?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: I am very happy to be able to answer this
question, because I forgot to explain with respect to civil
liability for pollution, that Bill S-2 provides for mandatory
insurance for all shipowners. We do not have mandatory insurance
for passengers, but there is already mandatory insurance for
It is exactly the same as in the United States. There is
mandatory insurance under the Oil Pollution Act. As for passengers,
there is a slight difference.
We don't have any, as I've just explained, for
passengers, neither does the United States, with one
exception: the insurance requirements apply to ships
that have a greater capacity than 50 passengers and
that operate overnight, that have overnight
accommodation. But the limits of that insurance were
established years ago, and it's basically considered a
meaningless system. I don't have the figures in front
of me, but they range from $5,000 to $12,000 to
$17,000 to $18,000 per person. Those are very old and
outdated limits. So effectively, the United States has
no compulsory insurance either, certainly not for
daytime ferries or daytime trips.
The Chair: Thank you. I'll go to Jay Hill, and
then we'll go to Bev Desjarlais after that, unless the
Liberals have something.
Mr. Jay Hill: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I note that you said there isn't a long line-up of
cases—for the courts, I presume you mean by that. Are
you familiar with the tragic incident that took place
at Tobermory in Ontario, I think it was last summer?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: Yes, I know about the incident.
Mr. Jay Hill: Two young children were drowned.
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: Yes, I know—
Mr. Jay Hill: The ship owner didn't have any
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: So I am told, yes.
Mr. Jay Hill: When we're talking about tragedies
such as that, I don't think we should be concerned
about the numbers of lawsuits or litigation that's
pending, because to those two families the fact that no
insurance was carried and they had no recourse, even in
some small way, to compensate for their loss is truly
tragic. I just wanted to make that point.
How many countries, if you have the knowledge, have
signed on to this Athens protocol?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: The Athens Convention is
currently in force, I believe, in 17 countries, mainly
European countries. Canada is adopting the provisions
of the convention, but we are not a party to it.
Mr. Jay Hill: Were there any countries that were
party to the convention, but actually didn't sign on to
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: I would have to research the
question. I believe your question is, are there
countries that adopted the provisions without becoming
contracting parties to it?
Mr. Jay Hill: No, the opposite—that were part of
the process, the protocol, whatever, and then
ultimately didn't accept it, or didn't adopt it in
their country, in other words, didn't pass legislation
to accept it.
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: No, because the 17 are those
who signed the convention and became parties. The two
steps go together.
First, we must understand what is the effect of a
signature for an international treaty. The signature
for an international treaty is simply a symbolic
expression of interest in that treaty. In this
particular case, those who signed eventually ratified
it. This is different from a signature of a final act
of a treaty. Forgive me if I am being too technical,
but if there would be a treaty... This week in
London there is discussion of a new international
treaty; 70 countries are participating in it, including
Canada. They will all come up on Friday and sign the
final act. Perhaps only 15 of them will eventually
ratify the convention. So those are the differences
in respect of signing.
Those who sign subject to ratification, as far as the
Mr. Jay Hill: What I was asking is, did all 17
countries ratify it, so that all 17 countries have the
same cap, roughly equivalent to $350,000 Canadian, on
any claims by passengers that are injured?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: Yes, including those limits. In
fact, I would say some of the 17 still have the old
In the initial
convention of Athens the limit was lower, around
$88,000, and some of them still maintain that limit.
But others have moved to the protocol of 1990 and
adopted as a limit the equivalent of $350,000.
Mr. Jay Hill: My colleague raised the fact of
inflation and what have you. Can you explain to me in
relatively simple terms how it's possible for the limit
on the amount that a company could ultimately be held
accountable for because of oil pollution can go up—you
said that in a couple of years it's going to go up from
the present limit—while the limit per passenger is
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: I think this is a result of a
reality of the last 20 years. As you know, oil
pollution attracts enormous attention. Oil pollution
has been, I think, the bad boy of the marine industry
over the last 20 years, and the international community
has reacted intensively on the various regimes, to make
sure they are in place, to make sure that come the next
Exxon Valdez, there is money to deal with the
pollution. The international community wasn't very
quick to react to the Titanic. It took 50 years
to develop the first regime, in the form of the Athens
Convention in 1974, some 60 years after the
So it is the attention. The fact that in two years we
will have new limits of liability for pollution damage
is the result of intensive work in the international
maritime organization in light of some of the recent
incidents you might have seen. There was the
Erika incident, particularly, off France, which
led to pressure and very quick reaction, so that new
limits will come into force two years from now.
For passengers the debate is still on—another
meeting, a couple more meetings of the International
Maritime Organization before the new figures are
adopted and we know what they are.
So it's a different degree of attention and focus, I
think. Oil pollution always seems to have received
more attention because there are more incidents with
oil pollution than with passenger ships.
Mr. Jay Hill: It's a small consolation for those,
for example, in the tragedy off Greece, when the ferry
sank the other day, that they're not as important as
The last time this bill was being dealt with, part 1,
dealing with personal injuries and fatalities, was
suspended. Why was that?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: In part 1 in the previous bill,
Bill S-17, one of the issues we were looking at, in
terms of modernizing the language, was the definition
of dependant. When we introduced Bill S-17 in March
2000, it was at the same time as the government was
working on Bill C-23, which dealt with issues of family
dependency. So it was difficult to adopt a provision
in a concurrent bill without knowing which way
Parliament, and eventually government policy, would
lead. I think we had no choice but to suspend that
provision, wait for the outcome of Bill C-23, and fix
Bill S-17 in the future. But of course, in the
meantime Bill S-17 was lost due to the election, and
Bill C-23 passed. So we took the benefit of looking at
Bill C-23 to fix Bill S-17 in that provision—
Mr. Jay Hill: Is that where the definition came
from, Bill C-23?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: That's where the definition
comes from, specifically from the Carriage by Air Act
amendments made by Bill C-23, so that the marine and
aviation are now uniform.
The Chair: Okay. You're out of time, Jay.
Mr. St. Denis.
Mr. Brent St. Denis: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I have just a short question. In the spirit of
cooperation, I'll be glad to give up some time to the
Thank you for being here, gentlemen.
We don't have Bill C-14 yet, and I'm not intending
to ask a question on Bill C-14, the Shipping Act 2001,
but I gather from the comments that there seems to be
overlapping jurisdictions—possibly made quite
necessarily—when it comes to marine environment issues
under the Shipping Act and pollution liability under
What is the boundary between the two, so that when we
do have Bill C-14, we will understand where Bill
S-2 ends and Bill C-14 starts with regard to the
environment and so on?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: I appreciate your question
because it would be my sincere hope that the
conclusion is not reached that we do have a bit of a
problem of overlap.
The issue of separating liability and putting it into
one act was designed precisely for that reason, namely,
to make sure that economic measures—what we are
talking about are economic instruments to deal with the
post-mortem effect of an accident—are separated from
technical measures or safety measures, which is what
the Canada Shipping Act will do.
The linkage I referred to—which I think has to be
preserved—is that in this section, which supports the
liability section here, we deal with the
responsibility—in this case of the Minister of
Fisheries and Oceans—to take certain measures dealing
with the pollution caused by other pollutants. I think
that responsibility and the menu of those
responsibilities are properly placed in the Canada
Shipping Act 2000 or 2001 in the future, as part of
other measures dealing with a response to our
So the design of the act to deal strictly with
liability was actually intended to make sure that these
two issues are well understood and that the economic
measures are not mixed up with technical measures.
The Chair: Thank you.
Mrs. Bev Desjarlais: I have a very short question. When
you were commenting on the U.S.'s liability, did you
say that if they had 50 passengers and they had an
overnight, then they had compulsory insurance in place?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: Yes, but I said of such small amounts
so as to make the compulsory insurance meaningless.
Mrs. Bev Desjarlais: Okay. Are you aware of any
other countries that have compulsory insurance in place
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: No, I am not aware of any.
Mrs. Bev Desjarlais: Of any at all?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: None.
Mrs. Bev Desjarlais: Okay. Now since there's
an indication that it really hasn't been a big problem,
why would we foresee that there wouldn't be an
insurance component available for these shipping
companies? We have huge dollars of liability as far as
environmental concerns, so if there really isn't a big
problem out there, certainly there should be an
affordable insurance process available for the few
instances that we obviously do have.
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: If industry is going to be
reporting on the bill to you, I think you probably
will hear two issues.
As far as insurance for large ships—let's take a
1,000-passenger ferry—under this law its limit will be
$300 million per incident. These ships already have
that cover, but not in a Canadian market. There is no
insurer in the Canadian market that can provide that
insurance. That's the first thing you will hear. They
all rely on international insurance markets, largely
the London market. For them the change in this
legislation doesn't mean much, because they're already
protected. They have that cover.
When it comes to the small shipowners—let's take a
100-passenger tour boat doing a day trip—that limit is
$35 million on that ship. You will hear from the
market that they probably can provide that kind of
cover. There may be some problems. The shipowners may
be looking for insurances in offshore markets, as well,
for that kind of limit. It's a matter of capacity. But
one thing you will hear definitely is that they have no
problem. The insurance market is prepared to do it.
The insurance market is prepared to respond to the
legislation, but I don't think—and I wouldn't wish to
speak for the market—that the insurance market is
prepared to insure every ship that comes its way. They
will have the right and choice to decide.
Mrs. Bev Desjarlais: I'm finished.
The Chair: Mr. Hill, and Mr. Fitzpatrick, whoever
wants to go.
Mr. Jay Hill: Isn't having any limit meaningless,
if they're not required to carry insurance?
Take the case that I referred to of the two children
who were drowned and the parents cannot get the
$350,000. They can't get anything. What's the point in
having a limit of $350,000 if they can't get anything
because the shipowner wasn't required to carry any
So what's the point of having a limit if there's no
assurance that they'll get any compensation?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: I think the point is to tell
shipowners that laissez-faire has come and gone. You
now have liability. This is the figure. As prudent
owners I think most of them will go and get the
cover. Now, as to whether or not another tour boat will
operate without insurance, I agree that no amount of
monetary preaching, no limit, will make them insure
unless we compel them to insure.
I understand that. There is no ironclad guarantee
that every owner will do it.
I think the insurance
industry can speak to it as well. They will play a
role. I think they have already said that they will
play a role, not necessarily as a policeman. But it is
the professional liability of insurance brokers and
agents to ensure that their clients are properly
insured. However, the client may say “I won't do it;
$35 million liability insurance is just too much.”
Mr. Jay Hill: I'd like you to explain just a
little bit more, if you can, the point that Bev was
On the one hand, if you're arguing that there isn't a
big problem out there, and that's why we don't need
compulsory insurance—there's not a long line-up of
people with lawsuits pending—then logic would say that
the premiums should be affordable. I think that's the
point Bev was endeavouring to make.
You can't have it both ways. If there's not a lot of
litigation, then an insurance company should have the
premiums down to a level where even if you brought in
compulsory insurance, the shipowner would be able
to afford it, since the premiums would be low enough
because there are not a lot of claims.
Do you see where we're coming from on that?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: If I understand your question,
I think the insurance industry will be better qualified
to respond to it than I am. But I think for some
shipowners—and I can assure you I met a number of
them—the issue is “I don't have any cover now. I have
never had it for years. I didn't need it—zero—or
very limited cover, and very limited premium.”
If you take, for example, a 20- or 30-passenger tour
boat, for them to look at a new cover, which is now
close to $10 million in terms of the liability
exposure, may bring some premium that they have not
seen in the past—some invoices for premiums that they
have not seen in the past. For them it is a very
So again I should leave it to the industry to respond
as to what they expect this would mean in terms of
capacity and cost. But if I were to judge by the
previous testimony of the industry, when the bill was
discussed last year, I think the industry certainly has
not come forward saying this will be enormously
expensive. But it may be expensive for those who have
never done it in the past.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: I have a follow-up. With
regard to this area Jay is raising, it seems to me that
if there's no mandatory insurance, it really depends on
the solvency of the company. If it's a big company
with a nice balance sheet and so on, the person
will be able to recover. If it's Exxon, for example,
they have deep pockets, and you will be able to collect
from them. But if it's somebody else, you're going to
Now in other parts of the insurance industry
itself—life insurance, for example—all the life
insurance companies in Canada participate in
contributing to a pool, so if one of their
companies was insolvent, somebody wouldn't be left holding a
life insurance policy that they couldn't collect on.
We have this in the banking system. The people who
participate in the financial services sector contribute
to the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation. If
something goes haywire, there's a pool of funds.
Looking beyond conventional insurance, it seems to me
there are ways of creating a pool of funds that
wouldn't be a huge economic burden on the carriers in
this country but would ensure there is a pool of funds
for people. Their life has become a disaster as a result
of an accident, and the funding is just totally
inadequate to deal with the disaster they're facing.
They didn't cause the problem, but they have it.
There are other instruments, too, such as bonds and
sureties. There are lots of industries. If you want
to participate in a business or industry, you have to
be able to post a bond. That clears out a lot of the
insolvent or questionable types of people in the
business because they won't get the surety or the bond.
It seems to me there are things that could be
looked at here that would not have a major economic
impact on the industry, if they would look at it a
little bit creatively instead of just putting up
barriers and saying they don't want this, they never had it
before, and so on.
This is a new century. I like the principle of
laissez-faire, but let's be realistic here. The public
in this country would be fairly astounded, I think, to
realize this is what they're getting when they use
a public carrier in our system.
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: Certainly, I think the insurance
industry would be interested in your second point
dealing with pooling and the
efficiency it may produce in terms of the
But you also dealt with a different issue. You dealt
with the issue of solvency of insurers. This is not
involved in this bill, of course. We're not dealing
with it here.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: No, I'm thinking about
solvency of the carrier. The carrier doesn't have the
financial whereabouts to meet its obligations. It's
creditor-proof or judgment-proof. All the victim can
look for is insurance in those cases.
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: I agree. As I said earlier,
one of the issues that has to be discussed with both
the shipping and insurance industries is what
provisions could be made for owners that are not
insurable. That's much along those lines.
There are some models in other
modes of transport. Whether or not they will be
adopted in this case, I cannot say at this time.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: There is an advantage to
having insurance requirements or requiring them to be
bonded or so on. We can have all sorts of safety
regulations in the other bill, but this is a
very effective way of clearing out of the system
carriers that just don't meet adequate standards.
That's a very effective way of policing that and making
sure that people who are carrying passengers
are up to half decent standards. So that's a plus out
of it. My point of view is that the insurer or the person
putting forth the bond won't cover some these outfits if they
feel they're a higher risk or an unreasonable risk.
The Chair: Are you through?
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: Yes.
The Chair: Mr. St. Denis has one question.
Mr. Brent St. Denis: I have just a quick question
along the lines of some of the questions here. On the
basis that under this regime the shipowner would not
yet have a compulsion to be insured, does the aggrieved
passenger ever lose the right to sue? Even if the
shipowner is insured to the maximum of $350,000, is the
aggrieved still able to sue beyond the $350,000 through
the court process, or do they lose that right to sue
through the courts for an amount beyond $350,000? In
the case of a shipowner that has no insurance, can they
sue outside the system through the courts for that
first dollar and up?
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: It's in part a legal question.
Hopefully, there won't be any cases, but if a shipowner
doesn't have insurance, the right of the aggrieved
passenger to sue under those provisions is protected.
You will be heard and you will have your settlement.
But the question is, where will you get it if there was
In terms of suing outside the
regime, I wouldn't see the benefit of it because it is
the law that actually protects those rights to sue
under specific conditions, and hopefully to recover.
In terms of whether there is any provision in this law
whereby a passenger who is dealing with a shipowner who
has insurance can successfully sue and break through
the limit of $350,000, yes, there are specific
provisions whereby under certain circumstances he can
sue, and if he is successful, he can break the limit
and recover more. There are very specific provisions in
the law that deal with those circumstances.
The Chair: Are there any other questions for the
witness? How about the research staff?
Mr. Rysanek, thank you very much for coming. But
next time make sure Louis Gauthier says
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!.
The Chair: We appreciate your input and your help,
and thanks for coming.
Mr. Jerry Rysanek: Thank you.
The Chair: We're adjourned, ladies and gentlemen,