This is page numbers 115 - 148 of the Hansard for the 12th Assembly, 7th Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was chairman.

Topics

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 132

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Mr. Chairman, I would like to recommend that the committee consider bills 3, 5, 7 and 2 in that order.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 132

The Chair John Ningark

Do we have the concurrence of the committee that we will deal with bills 3, 5, 7 and 2? Mr. Pollard.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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John Pollard Hay River

Mr. Chairman. Bills 3 and 5 involves Mr. Kakfwi and Bill 7 involves Mr. Todd, so I was wondering if we could switch the order so we don't have to change Ministers, Mr. Chairman.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. The Honourable House Leader is asking if we could switch those around so we don't have to change the order of Ministers appearing. Mr. Dent.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 132

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Mr. Chairman, I'm advised by Members of the Standing Committee on Legislation that they would prefer to do the bills in the order in which I listed them.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 132

The Chair John Ningark

Thank you. Any other comments on the suggestion by Mr. Pollard? What is the wish of the committee? We will take a break and come back and deal with the matters after the break. We will take a 15-minute break. Thank you.

---SHORT RECESS

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

February 16th, 1995

Page 132

The Chair John Ningark

I will call the committee back to order. I would like to ask the Minister of Justice to introduce the bill. That's Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Judicature Act. Mr. Kakfwi.

Minister's Introductory Remarks

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 132

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Bill 3 amends the Judicature Act to add provisions providing that post-judgment interest will be calculated twice a year on the basis of the Bank of Canada's "prime business rate" as at January 1st and July 1st in each year. The bill would also amend the existing provisions respecting prejudgment interest

to make them consistent with the post-judgment interest regime.

By way of background, prejudgment interest is usually awarded by the courts when giving judgment for debt or damages. Awards of prejudgment interest are intended to compensate successful plaintiffs for losses they have suffered as a result of the late payment of money owing to them. Post-judgment interest runs from the day of judgment to the day an award under the judgment is paid. It is similarly designed to compensate the plaintiff for the late payment of money owing.

The Judicature Act presently provides for prejudgment interest in the territories, as does provincial and territorial legislation across Canada. For outdated historical reasons, post-judgment interest in the two territories and the four western provinces was fixed at five per cent under the Federal Interest Act, whereas provincial legislation governed post-judgment interest in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.

This was naturally a source of some irritation to the western jurisdictions, and in February 1992, Parliament enacted the Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 1991, which provided for the repeal of the provisions of the Interest Act (Canada) that fixed the rate of post-judgment interest for the western provinces and the two territories. These provisions are to be repealed in respect of each jurisdiction as the jurisdiction brings into force its own legislation governing post-judgment interest. The Interest Act provisions continue to apply in the Northwest Territories, pending enactment of the amendments to the Judicature Act.

Bill 3 amends the Judicature Act to fix the prejudgment and post-judgment interest rate at the "prime business rate" published by the Bank of Canada in the Bank of Canada Review, as prevailing on January 1st for the first six months of the year, and as prevailing on July 1st for the second six months of the year. This approach is intended to strike a balance that would see the rate of prejudgment and post-judgment interest respond to significant shifts in interest rates, while providing for relative administrative convenience by fixing the rate for six-month periods.

This represents a change from the static mechanism presently provided for in the Judicature Act for the setting of the prejudgment interest rate applicable in an action. Subject to being varied at the discretion of a judge, the rate is now fixed at the "prime rate" for the month preceding the month on which the action is commenced, and does not vary as interest rates change. This can work to the considerable disadvantage of the defendant if the action is initiated at a time of high interest rates that subsequently decline, or to the disadvantage of the plaintiff if there is an opposite trend.

The draft amendments deviate as little as possible from the existing provisions set out in section 55 of the Judicature Act, and similar provisions are found in provincial legislation across Canada. Other than the provisions establishing the new system for fixing the prejudgment interest rate, and a specific provision relating to the calculation of interest on special damages, the provisions respecting prejudgment interest rates remain unchanged, except for some minor non-substantive adjustments in wording and organization. The term "prime

rate," for instance, has been changed to "prime business rate," which is the term now used in the Bank of Canada Review.

The proposed amendments contain transitional provisions specifying how the bill will apply to pre-existing causes of action, actions and judgments. These transitional provisions will ensure that the amendments contained in the bill would apply to all causes of action and actions and to all unsatisfied judgments as of the day the amendments come into force, but not before that day. This mechanism avoids retroactive changes to the amounts accruing in an action or owing under a judgment, and ensures that all actions and judgments will bear interest at the same rate as of the day the amendments come into force.

Mr. Chairman, I would be pleased to try answer any questions the committee may have.

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair John Ningark

Thank you, Mr. Minister. On behalf of the Standing Committee on Legislation which reviewed the bill, Mr. Koe, I believe, is going to make opening remarks to the bill. Mr. Koe.

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Fred Koe Inuvik

I just want to ask the Minister, what did he say in plain English?

---Laughter

Anyway, we would appreciate a copy of the Minister's statement before we get into the line-by-line review, if it's available. There are a lot of technical words in there.

The other thing I would like to mention before we start, since the passage and review of legislation is one of our most important functions, I would appreciate it if we had a quorum.

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair John Ningark

Thank you. I will follow your instructions, Mr. Koe, and ring the bells on your behalf.

Thank you. Mr. Koe, please proceed with your opening remarks.

Standing Committee On Legislation Comments

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 133

Fred Koe Inuvik

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As you know, our illustrious chairperson of the Standing Committee on Legislation has changed jobs and the committee doesn't have a chairperson at this time, so I will proceed to report on Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Judicature Act.

The Standing Committee on Legislation has completed its review of Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Judicature Act. The committee held its public hearing on this bill on December 13, 1994. The committee did not receive any presentations from the public regarding the amendments proposed in this bill.

In February 1992, Parliament enacted the Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 1991, which provided for the repealing of provisions of the Interest Act of Canada that fixed the rate of post-judgment interest for the western provinces and the territories. These provisions are to be repealed as each jurisdiction brings into force its own legislation governing post-judgment interest. The Interest Act provisions will continue to apply in the Northwest Territories, pending the enactment of the amendments contained in this bill.

The committee reviewed the amendments proposed in Bill 3 and supports the changes to the calculation of prejudgment and post-judgment interest rates proposed in the bill.

Therefore, on December 13, 1994, the Standing Committee on Legislation passed a motion that Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Judicature Act, was ready for consideration in committee of the whole. Mahsi cho.

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 134

The Chair John Ningark

Thank you, Mr. Koe. Mr. Minister, before I open the floor for general comments, I would like to ask the honourable Minister if he would like to bring in the witness or witnesses. Mr. Kakfwi.

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Yes, if I could.

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair John Ningark

Thank you. Sergeant-at-Arms, would you escort the witness or witnesses, please?

Thank you. Mr. Kakfwi, it is our tradition that we introduce the witness for the record.