2019 Annual Report – National Chairperson of Legislation

June 22, 2020

Betty Colaneri
National Chairperson of Legislation

Sub-Committee Chairpersons: Life Members Jacqueline Nogier and Wilma Vanderzwaag

Legislation impacts nearly every aspect of life—it organizes and protects the rights of everyone in the community, province and country. As members of society, it is an obligation and responsibility to be educated and aware of existing legislation. In doing so, members can develop an understanding of how it affects municipalities, the country and the environment.

The provincial chairpersons of legislation and members worked together in understanding the importance of this position and were conscientious in monitoring legislation at all levels of government. Where the position was vacant, parish councils worked as a team to report to members the initiatives the federal, provincial and municipal governments took. Parish councils requested to be added to the mailing lists of their political representatives so they could be at the forefront of issues discussed at the various levels. Keeping current on the status of bills or monitoring legislation could be a time consuming and daunting task, however the provincial chairpersons diligently persevered.

Resolution 2019.02 Canadian Support for the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted at the national convention and fell under the legislation standing committee. Parish councils acted on this resolution by writing letters to the prime minister and local members of parliament indicating support of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as well as monitoring the federal government’s response to this resolution. Members were also given a list of websites and printed materials to increase knowledge of the hazards of nuclear warfare.

Councils at all levels were encouraged to continue monitoring the federal government and writing letters to the prime minister and the minister of justice and health regarding Resolution 2018.03 Legislate Designation of Hospice/Palliative Care Services in Facilities to Exclude Medical Assistance in Dying funding.

Federal Bills monitored and/or acted on nationally:

  • C-45 An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts
  • C-48 An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast Intended to formalize a crude oil tanker moratorium on the north coast of British Columbia and set penalties for contravention of this moratorium.
  • C-50 An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (political financing)
  • C-57 An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act
  • C-69 An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
  • C-75 An Act to Amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
  • C-76 An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (Elections Modernization Act)
  • C-87 An Act respecting the reduction of poverty
  • C-211 An Act respecting a federal framework on post-traumatic stress disorder
  • S-215 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sentencing for violent offences against Aboriginal women)
  • C-233 An Act to respecting a national strategy for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia
  • C-243 An Act respecting the development of a national maternity assistance program strategy
  • C-255 An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (appeal process for temporary resident visa applicants)
  • C-257 An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (sugar content labelling)
  • C-262 An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • C-277 An Act providing for the development of a framework on palliative care in Canada
  • C-316 An Act to amend the Canada Revenue Agency Act (organ donors) Intended to authorize the Canada Revenue Agency to enter into an agreement with a province or territory regarding the collection and disclosure of information required for establishing or maintaining an organ and tissue donor registry in the province or territory.
  • C-326 An Act to amend the Department of Health Act (drinking water guidelines)
  • C-332 An Act to provide for reporting on compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • C-336 An Act regarding the right to know when products contain toxic substances
  • C-404 An Act to amend the Assisted Human Reproduction Act Intended to decriminalize payment to surrogates and donation of sperm or ovum.
  • C-418 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying) Relating to Resolution 2017.04 Protection from Coercion of Conscience for Healthcare Professionals.
  • S-228 An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (prohibiting food and beverage marketing directed at children)
  • S-240 An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs)

Provincial Bills:

  • Alberta Bill 207 Conscience Rights (Health Care Providers) Protection Act
  • British Columbia Bill M210 Tobacco and Vapour Products Control (Vulnerable Adolescents Protection from E-Cigarettes (VAPE)) Amendment Act, 2019
  • Nova Scotia Bill 152 Plastic Bags Reduction Act
  • Nova Scotia Bill 185 Affordable Hearing Aids for Seniors Act
  • Ontario Bill 13 Time to Care Act (Long Term Care Homes Amendment, Minimum Standard of Daily Care, 2018 Intended to require long-term care homes to provide its residents with at least four hours a day of nursing and personal support services, averaged across the residents.
  • Quebec Bill 21 An Act respecting the laicity of the State
  • Ontario Bill 58 Family Caregiver Day Act, 2018
  • Ontario Bill 63 Right to Timely Mental Health and Addiction Care for Children and Youth Act, 2018
  • Ontario Bill 74 The People’s Health Care Act, 2019
  • Ontario Bill 82 Single-Use Plastics Ban Act, 2019
  • Ontario Bill 91 Peter Kormos Act (Trillium Gift of Life Network Amendment), 2019 Intended to change tissue donations requirements from a consent required approach to an implied consent approach, with opt out ability.
  • Ontario Bill 128 An Act to amend the Ontario Water Resources Act

Other Actions Taken by Members:

  • Chairpersons provided lists of members of parliament and members of the legislative assembly as a reference.
  • Presentations were made to educate members and parishioners.
  • Petitions were circulated and signed.
  • Members were encouraged to follow the calendar for the House of Commons and become familiar with the bills coming from parliament and what stage they were achieved.
  • Hansard, a printed record of proceedings for the provincial and federal government was used as a resource.
  • Members were informed of the pending federal election and where the candidates stood on critical issues.
  • The Laudato Si’ encyclical was read as a reference as it related to legislation pertaining to the environment.
  • Parish councils accessed the League’s provincial and national websites as a reference to inform members of the League’s position on issues of concern.

A large majority of councils expressed the challenge of filling the position of chairperson of legislation. Though many did not have an active chairperson, they were still able to ensure the tasks that referred to the position were fulfilled. Parish councils continued to stress the importance of keeping abreast of legislation regardless of the vacant position.

Recommendations:

  • Have sub-committee chairpersons to help with the time restraint of monitoring and researching federal and provincial government legislation.
  • Have a sub-committee chairperson to interpret proposed bills, their contents, how they work and an explanation of legislative terms.
  • Prepare a flow chart of how bills go through parliament, outlining the stages so members have a better understanding of the process.
  • Stimulate interest with ongoing issues to update members.
  • Hold a workshop for better understanding.
  • Seek members that have a specific interest in politics.
  • Educate members on how to search for information on legislation.
  • Look for interesting ways to convey information to the members.
  • Join with other standing committees to try to influence government action.
  • Invite younger members that would have interest in legislation and computer research to assist.
  • Focus on an important major issue rather than be overwhelmed by many.
  • Create a way of explaining the terms that are referred to in the bills, so members have a better understanding of what is being referenced.
  • Hold more workshops on the importance of legislation and how it affects daily life.
  • Legislation topics should always be included on the agenda for meetings (even if the position is vacant), to bring issues of concern to members for discussion and action.

Legislation was a way for members to create social change. By working together, with a united voice, members could make a difference that could impact society. It was essential that members put their faith in action through legislation for the good of their parishes, communities, provinces, country and for the Care of Our Common Home.