Constitutional Conference, Report from the Continuing Committee of Officials, Paramountcy as Applied to Public Retirement Insurance (14-15 September 1970)
By: Continuing Committee of Officials
Citation: Constitutional Conference, Report from the Continuing Committee of Officials, Paramountcy as Applied to Public Retirement Insurance (Ottawa: 14-15 September 1970).
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THIS DOCUMENT IS THE PROPERTY OF THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
Second Working Session, Constitutional Conference
September 9, 1970
Report from the Continuing Committee of Officials
Paramountcy as Applied to Public Retirement Insurance
A. Federal Objectives in the Discussion of this Subject
1. To have the report of the CCO approved, with further
consideraton to be given the subject in the CCO.
2. To seek a consensus that the protection of port-
ability of entitlement to benefits in public retire-
ment insurance plans should be a constitutional goal.
B. Discussion Guide
Federal position – While the CCO report should be
approved and further study undertaken of the means
to ensure portability, the Conference might at this
session record agreement on the desirability of the
constitution assuring portability of entitlement to
Provincial position – Many, if not most, will
probably support this proposal. Probably Ontario
and Quebec will argue that even without any consti-
tutional provisions re portability, it can be ad-
equately provided for by intergovernmental agreement,
or by the influence of the federal government because
of its concurrent power in the field.
Comment – Should Canadians have to rely on the
possibility of intergovernmental agreement, when
they have at stake perhaps their major life savings?
And may there not be conflicts of interest between
provinces of emigration and immigration which will
inhibit agreement? (See also Income Security and
Social Services, pp. 86-90).
1. CCO Report – The Continuing Committee of Officials
is still engaged in examining this subject, as
directed by the Constitutional Conference in December
1969. Its progress report to the Conference is
attached. The report outlines the nature of the
CCO’s study of the problem and the approaches which
it has identified. The CCO proposes, subject to
direction from the Conference, to continue its work
with a view to reporting more extensively to the next
meeting of the Conference. Because the CCO is not
yet ready with a final report, it is suggested that
the second working session would not want to enter
into substantive consideration of the paramountcy
As the CCO Report indicates, there has been
general agreement on the desirability of ensuring,
as far as it is possible to do so in the constitution,
the portability of entitlement to benefits in public
retirement insurance plans. The difference of
opinion has only with respect to the best means
for achieving this end.
2. Federal Proposal – Also attached is a copy of a
memorandum submitted by the federal delegation to
the CCO and considered at the recent CCO
This memorandum emphasizes that the main concern
of the federal government in advancing the proposal
for federal paramountcy last December, was, and remains,
to ensure the portability in the transfer of benefit
rights under public retirement insurance plans.
The memorandum reviews the possible means of
achieving portability which have been examined by the
The federal memorandum also proposed for con-
sideration a further means of ensuring portability:
a constitutional provision (perhaps attached as a
condition to the grant of concurrent federal and
provincial powers over public retirement insurance)
requiring that such powers be used in a manner that
would ensure portability of entitlement to benefits.
The federal delegation considered that this further
proposal would avoid the problems associated with
paramountcy, and would avoid the setting out of
detailed criteria in the Constitution.
This proposal was put forth by federal officials
for discussion purposes only. The CCO expressed
interest in it, but considered that further study
should be given in relation to the other under
examination. Some governments, notably Quebec,
wanted further opportunity to consider the latest
suggestion. As it appears to be of some interest to
provincial governments, we will also require more
time in order for Cabinet to consider this alternative.