Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act (Bill S-12)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Peace River eventually got around Bill S-12. However, I would like to ask him a question.

I am thinking about small business as well in the context of this act. Some commentators have noted that will be difficult for people who are affected by regulations to stay on top of those regulations with the ease with which things can be incorporated by reference. There will be less scrutiny and, while things may be in legislation described as “accessible”, we have seen the Conservative government take labels off cans and say that they are now accessible on a website. We have already seen that under Bill C-38 pharmaceutical drugs will be maintained on a list as opposed to posted in the Canada Gazette for full regulation.

Is the member not just a little troubled that some of the people in business with whom he empathizes, and rightly so, could find themselves on the wrong side of a regulation about which they had much less notice because of Bill S-12?

Chris Warkentin: Mr. Speaker, Bill S-12 does exactly the opposite of what the member describes. In fact, the referencing of regulation happens as a normal practice within much legislation. It is a modern practice. It has been going on for years and years and it has become the regular practice.

What has not been codified within legislation is that it be accessible to those people who are regulated. Now there will be a requirement to do exactly what the hon. member is looking for,

which is first and foremost, and that it be understandable so it not be written in some format that is foreign to those people who are being regulated.

I can assure members that in this bill we go to great lengths to ensure those issues that the hon. member brings to the attention of the House as they relate to small business and those people being regulated.