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Committees begin review of key Government bills

Bills receive focused study and benefit from the testimony of expert witnesses at committee.

Three key pieces of Government legislation advanced to Senate committees for review this week, including a bill to enact a free trade agreement, another to restore a previous public service labour relations regime and a third to regulate abandoned, hazardous or wrecked vessels in Canadian waters.

Committees have been described as the “heart and soul” of the Senate, where bills receive focused study and benefit from the testimony of expert witnesses.

Bill C-79 implements a trade agreement between Canada and 10 Asia-Pacific countries: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The goal is to help Canada diversify its trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. It was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade for consideration after completing second reading on Wednesday.

Bill C-62 restores a previous public service labour relations regime, including matters related to essential services and the resolution of collective bargaining disputes, along with the right of bargaining agents to negotiate terms and conditions of employment related to sick leave and disability matters. It was referred to the Senate Committee on National Finance for consideration after completing second reading on Tuesday.

Bill C-64 promotes the protection of the public, the environment — including coastlines and shorelines — and infrastructure by regulating abandoned or hazardous vessels and wrecks in Canadian waters and, in certain cases, Canada’s exclusive economic zone, and by recognizing the responsibility and liability of owners for their vessels. It was referred to the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications for consideration after completing second reading on Thursday.

Committees begin review of key Government bills

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