faith | service | social justice

2018 Annual Report – National Chairperson of Legislation

May 31, 2019 | Annual Reports, National

Betty Colaneri
National Chairperson of Legislation

Sub-Committee Chairpersons:
• Life Member Jacqueline Nogier
• Life Member Wilma Vanderzwaag

Legislation is a major part of Canadian life, affecting everything around us. Provincial chairpersons of legislation and members understood this importance and diligently monitored legislation at all levels of government. Chairpersons reported members took the initiative of becoming aware of who federal, provincial and municipal government representatives were and requested to be added to mailing lists in order to be at the forefront on issues discussed at various levels. Monitoring legislation and keeping members informed of the status of bills could be intimidating and time consuming; however, provincial chairpersons rose to the challenge.

Resolution 2018.03 Legislate Designation of Hospice/Palliative Care Services in Facilities to Exclude Medical Assistance in Dying was adopted at the national convention. Parish councils acted by contacting representatives at all levels of government, as well as writing the prime minister and ministers of justice and health. Funding was withdrawn from hospices where medical assistance in dying was offered, along with an explanatory letter to the board of directors. Members were educated on keeping hospice and palliative care free from medical assistance in dying and encouraged to monitor the federal government for response to the request contained in the resolution.

Councils were encouraged to continue to monitor Resolution 2017.03 Zero-Rated Status Under the Goods and Services Tax Provisions of the Excise Tax Act for Child Safety Products and Resolution 2017.04 Protection from Coercion of Conscience for Healthcare Professionals.

Federal Bills monitored and/or acted on nationally:

  • C-11 An Act to amend the Copyright Act (access to copyrighted works or other subject-matter for persons with perceptual disabilities) Intended to enable persons with perceptual disabilities to access published work while ensuring copyright owners interests are protected.
  • C-16 An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code Intended to protect individuals from discrimination and hate propaganda by adding gender identity and expression as a protected right.
  • C-36 An Act to amend the Statistics Act Intended to provide Statistics Canada with greater autonomy.
  • C-38 An Act to amend An Act to amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons) Intended to strengthen provisions dealing with human trafficking.
  • C-45 An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts
  • C-51 An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act Intended to modify/repeal unconstitutional, outdated or redundant provisions. Also amends provisions related to sexual offenses and requires potential effects on rights and freedoms protected by the charter be tabled for new bills introduced.
  • 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-211 An Act respecting a federal framework on post-traumatic stress disorder
  • C-243 An Act respecting the development of a national maternity assistance program strategy
  • C-277 An Act providing for the development of a framework on palliative care in Canada
  • 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-5 An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
  • 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:

  • Ontario Bill 33 Compassionate Care Act, 2018
  • Ontario Bill 56 Keeping Students Safe on School Buses Act (Highway Traffic Amendment), 2018
  • Ontario Bill 63 Right to Timely Mental Health and Addiction Care for Children and Youth Act, 2018

Other Actions Taken by Members:

  • Letters were sent to the prime minister, attorney general and minister of health, regarding the following:
    • ON.18.03 To Fully Implement Alternative Sentencing to Incarceration of Indigenous Offenders
    • hospice and palliative care
  • Chairpersons provided lists of members of parliament and members of the legislative assembly as reference material.
  • Letter writing, telephone calls or personal contact with government representatives were used to inform representatives of resolutions or important issues regarding legislation.
  • Parish councils participated in the Call for Conscience campaign.
  • Members attended public forums sponsored by government at different levels.
  • Speakers and presentations were used to educate parishioners on issues.
  • Chairpersons encouraged members to follow the calendar for the House of Commons and become familiar with bills coming from parliament including what stage they reach, as well as accessing Hansard, a printed record of proceedings for provincial and federal governments.
  • Members circulated and signed petitions.

Councils reported the main challenge faced was filling the position of legislation chairperson. Though many councils did not have an active legislation chairperson, councils were able to ensure tasks referred to the position were fulfilled.

It is essential members put faith in action through legislation. To work together to become a united voice speaking for those who have no voice, for the betterment of parishes, communities, provinces and country.