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Regulations Review (28 November 2006)

Regulations Review

From Economy Committee Hansard - 28 November 2006

The Wildlife Amendment Regulations, 2002

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Mr. Hart: — Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Ring, in your concerns you state that the lack of precision in the regulations could lead to difficulty of prosecution. Are you aware of any instances where this was in fact the case due to the ambiguity of the regulations leading to a, you know, a prosecution that wasn’t successful, or there were perhaps some situations where prosecutions perhaps should have taken place but didn’t because of a deficiency in the regulations?

Mr. Ring: — To the member, no I’m not. And the assessment that I make on the regulations is reading through them. As I look at them I feel, oh, this looks like there could be a little bit too much room to manoeuvre if you’re trying to properly set out a charge, an information in order to commence a prosecution.

And at that point I wrote the minister indicating I felt there may be an issue here, and indeed they felt there was. But I’m not aware of any prosecutions that were undertaken or any prosecutions that did not occur as a result of the regulation.

Mr. Hart: — I suppose, upon reflection, probably that question be better posed to the Minister of the Environment. And I noticed, Mr. Ring, that your recommendation is to continue to monitor the amendments to see if and when the improvements to the regulations do take place. Perhaps I would suggest that perhaps you . . . I would recommend that you perhaps write the minister and pose the question as to . . . Well I suppose, maybe on reflection maybe it’s better if I do that in another committee or in estimates, Mr. Ring.

But no. Perhaps I would suggest that we press this issue a little bit more forcefully, that we perhaps get a firm date as to when, you know, when he’s going to deal with it because if it is a situation we do have problems with in this whole area of perpetrators, you know, not being dealt with properly, and taking advantage of, you know, of some holes in our regulations and that sort of thing.

And we see the Department of Environment’s tips program and so on. People are making calls when they see something happening. And then if we do have a situation where due to lack of proper regulations action can’t be taken because of a deficiency.

I think perhaps maybe we should just agree, monitor the situation, but perhaps write the minister again and try and get a firmer date as to when these changes will take place.

Mr. Ring: — To the member. Members can raise issues in a variety of forums, as you’ve indicated. However I think with respect to the regulation I could write the minister again, indicate that the committees will be vigilant in this area, and inquire as to whether or not there is a set time for addressing the issue. But I think that that would probably be as far as the Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel could go.

Mr. Hart: — No, Mr. Ring, that would be entirely satisfactory and I will use the other means at my disposal to also raise this issue with the minister. Mr. Chair, I don’t have any more questions on this particular matter and I don’t know if any other committee members have, but I’ve concluded my questioning. Thanks.

The Energy-Efficient Household Appliances (Provincial Sales Tax) Remission Regulations

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Mr. Hart: — Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Chair, I guess the only comments that I would have is that we certainly do agree with Mr. Ring’s recommendation. We think that they are very reasonable recommendations dealing with this particular issue. And Mr. Ring indicates that the minister has committed to amending the regulations and suggests that we monitor the amendments and I would certainly concur with that. Once again I suppose it would be helpful if the minister had indicated, and perhaps he has, a time frame for these actions to be taken place. I would suggest that we allow a reasonable period of time, something that is reasonable in dealing with these types of issues to transpire and that if after a reasonable period of time — and I’m sure Mr. Ring is more . . . could define a reasonable amount of time — that if no action has been taken that then the minister, this issue be drawn to the minister’s attention once again. So that would conclude my remarks, Mr. Chair.

The Wild Rice Regulations, 2005

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Mr. Hart: — Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Ring, I think I share some of your concerns in the area. I mean the minister certainly makes a valid argument that most . . . The wild rice industry is in the North and it takes place on Crown land which is regulated by his department.

However the industry itself, I believe as you’d said the Department of Agriculture has an involvement in that industry and I think there could be some ambiguity. However I guess if you feel that it’s not going to cause any problems as far as administration of various . . . of the programming of the Act, I would be prepared to accept your recommendation with just the note that perhaps sometime in the future . . . I believe that we should monitor at least the situation in case that there are some problems do arise in the future that we may want to have another look at it.

Perhaps we could close the file for now and if we close it I believe there is provision if there are some future changes to regulations that we could have another look at it. So I guess I would just make those comments, Mr. Chair.

The Chair: — Thank you very much. Mr. Ring, do you have any response?

Mr. Ring: — Yes, to the member. I’d indicate that the issue’s been raised with the minister. They’re aware of it and instead of committing to changing the regulations that are now in place for I think what is a fairly small or known industry and user of the regulations, that there’s probably less risk of people not knowing which ministry is in charge because it’s, I believe, a fairly defined group of people they’re dealing with, a clientele.

However although the minister didn’t commit to making a change to the regulations, it has been brought to their attention and perhaps next time The Wildlife Regulations are made or changed they may make that change.

The Chair: — Thank you very much, Mr. Ring. Mr. Hart.

Mr. Hart: — Yes, very briefly, Mr. Chair. Yes, I certainly concur. And I think by Mr. Ring raising this concern with the minister, I would hope that they would be cognizant of that. And as Mr. Ring had indicated, any future changes perhaps they could just tidy up this issue at the next regulation change. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Bill No. 1 — An Act to amend The Labour Standards Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts and Regulations

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Mr. Hart: — Mr. Ring, when regulations are changed in this manner through legislation, how are future changes to those particular regulations handled? Do they then need to be changed by legislation or can they be also changed in future by orders in council?

Mr. Ring: — To the member. Doing it this way on occasion does not change the requirement to make regulations in the normal course when there’s a change in policy or larger amendments being made. So this wouldn’t affect the way, or wouldn’t set the standard for changing delegated legislation normally. So the regulations that are listed there — the corrections services administration security regs and The Land Surveys Regulations, The Public Service Regulations, would still be amended and changed in the normal course.

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