This is page numbers 4621 - 4676 of the Hansard for the 18th Assembly, 3rd 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 communities.

Topics

Committee Motion 86-15(3): Ombud Act - Deleting subclause 15(1) and substituting the following, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 4672

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Chair. As I say, there has been a good deal of discussion back and forth. It seemed to us that it was necessary to choose some date and I would be interested in hearing from the Regular Members as to what date they think is reasonable. I thought we had had some discussions that were leading to an agreement with respect to that. Thank you.

Committee Motion 86-15(3): Ombud Act - Deleting subclause 15(1) and substituting the following, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 4672

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Minister. Right now, Mr. O'Reilly has the floor. Mr. O'Reilly.

Committee Motion 86-15(3): Ombud Act - Deleting subclause 15(1) and substituting the following, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 4672

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Chair. I don't want to drag this out. I think there is a real difference of approach and opinion here about this matter.

This is not just coming from me as a Member. We heard this from members of the public. We heard it from the godmother to this bill, Ms. Bisaro. This is not good drafting. I don't think it is consistent with what I had hoped for coming out of this bill. It is not what the public has said to the standing committee, and I think that this should not be supported. Thanks, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 86-15(3): Ombud Act - Deleting subclause 15(1) and substituting the following, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 4672

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Minister.

Committee Motion 86-15(3): Ombud Act - Deleting subclause 15(1) and substituting the following, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 4672

Louis Sebert Thebacha

In discussions with members of committee, I thought we had come to some agreement with respect to this section. As I say, it is not unusual in law that there are limitations. In fact, although it is not quite the same kind of limitation, even section 22(1) talks about complaints, and section 22(1)(a), which is not a hard limitation in the same way, but I think that some limitation on the Ombud going back is reasonable. Thanks.

Committee Motion 86-15(3): Ombud Act - Deleting subclause 15(1) and substituting the following, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 4672

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Is there anything further from Mr. O'Reilly?

Committee Motion 86-15(3): Ombud Act - Deleting subclause 15(1) and substituting the following, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 4672

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

I think there may be a motion coming forward on this. The last point I want to make is that this kind of restriction on the mandate of the Ombud sends out all of the wrong signals to the public, and I think it will deter people from coming to this officer for trying to resolve their issues with our government. I just don't think it serves the public interest. Thanks, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 86-15(3): Ombud Act - Deleting subclause 15(1) and substituting the following, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 4672

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Mr. O'Reilly. Mr. Testart.

Committee Motion 87-18(3): Bill 20: Ombud Act - Deleting subclause 17(3) and substituting the following, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

October 31st, 2018

Page 4672

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Mr. Chair, I move that Bill 20 be amended by deleting subclause 17(3) and substituting the following:

(3) The Ombud may investigate any decision, recommendation, act, order, or omission within the Ombud's mandate that occurred no earlier than January 1, 2016. Thank you.

Committee Motion 87-18(3): Bill 20: Ombud Act - Deleting subclause 17(3) and substituting the following, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 4672

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Mr. Testart. There is a motion on the floor. Has the motion been distributed? The motion has been distributed. To the motion. Mr. Testart.

Committee Motion 87-18(3): Bill 20: Ombud Act - Deleting subclause 17(3) and substituting the following, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 4672

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I hope that this amendment can shed some light to the exchange that my honourable friends from Thebacha and Frame Lake just had.

The committee's initial motion was to remove any such temporal limitations on the Ombud's mandate. The Minister did not concur during the standing committee review. The committee has since worked with the Minister's office to try to find a compromise, understanding the government's concerns around wide backwards-looking powers of the Ombud.

A decision was reached that January 1, 2016, at the beginning of this government's mandate, was an appropriate limitation to the temporal jurisdiction of the Ombud. I am pleased to move this, as it represents collaboration between both sides to find common ground moving forward, and I encourage Members to support this amendment that will allow the Ombud a bit more flexibility to deal with historic cases or complaints that may come forward. Thank you.

Committee Motion 87-18(3): Bill 20: Ombud Act - Deleting subclause 17(3) and substituting the following, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 4672

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. To the motion. Mr. O'Reilly.

Committee Motion 87-18(3): Bill 20: Ombud Act - Deleting subclause 17(3) and substituting the following, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 4672

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Chair. I guess I would like to call on our law clerk to help me understand the effect of this clause. If an individual came forward to the Ombud, and the beginning of their journey, their concern about administrative issues, administrative conduct, started before January 1, 2016, would the Ombud have jurisdiction to look at that complaint? Thanks, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 87-18(3): Bill 20: Ombud Act - Deleting subclause 17(3) and substituting the following, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 4672

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Mr. Clerk.

Committee Motion 87-18(3): Bill 20: Ombud Act - Deleting subclause 17(3) and substituting the following, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 4672

Law Clerk Of The House Mr. Rutland

Thank you, Mr. Chair. It would depend on the specific decision, recommendation, act, order, or omission. An Ombud may determine that it is a continuing act or omission and therefore would look at that, or if it is something that may happen on a repeated basis. While the conduct may have actually first started before a specific date, if that decision is made on an ongoing basis, that recommendation may be made on an ongoing basis, or an order, or even the failure to do something, could be interpreted as an ongoing conduct, that would ultimately be at the discretion of the Ombud.

If, for example, the head of authority felt that the specific act or decision was specifically before January 1, 2016, that would be a basis for saying to the Ombud that that is not within their jurisdiction, and ultimately, the Ombud could go on their own volition to the court to clarify that.

Otherwise, there is a lot of discretion given to the Ombud in looking at that. It would really depend on the specific fact situation.