ARCHIVED — Vol. 147, No. 5 — February 27, 2013

Registration

SI/2013-17 February 27, 2013

JOBS, GROWTH AND LONG-TERM PROSPERITY ACT

Order Fixing March 1, 2013 as the Day on which Certain Provisions of the Act Come into Force

P.C. 2013-139 February 14, 2013

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development,

  • (a) pursuant to section 303 of the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act, chapter 19 of the Statutes of Canada, 2012, fixes March 1, 2013 as the day on which Division 7 of Part 4 of that Act comes into force;
  • (b) pursuant to section 314 of that Act, fixes March 1, 2013 as the day on which sections 304 to 308 and 310 to 312 of that Act come into force; and
  • (c) pursuant to section 696 of that Act, fixes March 1, 2013 as the day on which section 685 and sections 687 to 695 of that Act come into force.

EXPLANATORY NOTE

(This note is not part of the Order.)

Proposal

This Order sets the coming into force date of legislative changes that support three initiatives found in the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act (JGLP Act), as March 1, 2013. This will give effect to the following three initiatives:

  • (1) Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s (HRSDC’s) Privacy Codes will be amalgamated under the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act (DHRSD Act). This is reflected in sections 282 to 302 of the JLGP Act.
  • (2) The production of Social Insurance Number (SIN) cards will be allowed to end, and the SIN and Social Insurance Register (SIR) provisions will be transferred from the Employment Insurance Act (EI Act) to the DHRSD Act. This is reflected in sections 304 to 308 and 310 to 312 of the JLGP Act.
  • (3) The Department of Social Development Act (DSD Act) will be repealed and the powers, duties and functions of the Minister under that Department will be transferred to the DHRSD Act. This is found in section 685 and sections 687 to 695 of the JGLP Act.

Objective

The objective of amalgamating HRSDC’s Privacy Codes is for HRSDC to be in a continued position to manage effectively the large repositories of personal information under its control. This will assist the Department in proactively managing the risk of inadvertent release of personal information.

The objective of ending the production of SIN cards is to support the Government of Canada’s commitment to improve and modernize service, and generate savings. This will allow the Government to implement good management practices of personal information that identifies individuals and reduce the risk of identity theft by deterring inappropriate uses of the SIN. Transferring the SIN/SIR provisions to the DHRSD Act will reflect the fact that the SIN is used in the administration of many programs, and not solely the Employment Insurance program. The objective of this transfer is to allow for more effective management and administration.

The objective of repealing the DSD Act is to reflect in the Department’s legislation the Government of Canada’s decision in 2006 to amalgamate the former Department of Social Development and the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development.

Background

All of these legislative amendments assist HRSDC to meet the evolving needs of the Department with respect to the accountability for the privacy protection of personal information of individuals.

Currently, there are five HRSDC Privacy Codes that apply to the protection and making available of personal information by the Department:

  • (1) Part 4 of the DHRSD Act;
  • (2) Part 2 of the DSD Act;
  • (3) Sections 104–104.11 of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP);
  • (4) Sections 33–33.1 of the Old Age Security Act (OAS Act); and
  • (5) Subsection 139(5) of the EI Act.

These Privacy Codes contain a set of rules that go beyond the basic requirements of the Privacy Act with respect to the disclosure of personal information. They contain additional statutory rules, such as provisions placing conditions on secondary release of information.

Because HRSDC’s Privacy Codes vary somewhat across the five statutes, they require ongoing attention and rigor to manage proactively the risk of inadvertent release of personal information, depending on which code is applicable. Amalgamating these Privacy Codes into a single legislative framework under the DHRSD Act will allow HRSDC to be in a continued position to manage effectively the large repositories of personal information under the control of HRSDC. This risk is magnified by the size and complexity of HRSDC and its work with partners within the Government of Canada, other levels of government and community service providers, among others.

In addition, the EI Act currently requires the Canada Employment Insurance Commission (the Commission) to assign a SIN and issue a SIN card to each person registered with the Commission. The requirement for a SIN card dates from an era when a physical card was the most convenient way for recipients to use and remember their SIN — in a wallet-sized format. The Government of Canada has been encouraging clients to keep their SIN cards safe by avoiding carrying them on their person, but given their convenient wallet-sized shape, many people tend to overlook such warnings. The termination of the issuance of the SIN card will result in savings to the Government and also contribute to the reduction in identity theft. SIN cards currently in circulation will continue to be valid, while new SINs will be issued in letter format.

At the same time, the SIN and its database, the SIR, are currently used by more departmental programs than just EI (such as Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security [CPP/OAS], Canada Student Loans Program, Canada Education Savings Grant Program, Grants and Contributions programs, Wage Earner Protection Program and Apprenticeship Grants). Given the expanded use of the SIN/SIR since its creation, the authorities governing the SIN/SIR will be transferred from the EI Act to the DHRSD Act.

Finally, in February 2006, the Government of Canada decided to amalgamate the Department of Social Development and the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development under one minister and department (i.e. HRSDC). As a result, all the powers, duties and functions of the former Minister of Social Development under the DSD Act are transferred to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development (HRSD) under the DHRSD Act, and the DSD Act is repealed.

These measures, which were part of the JGLP Act that received Royal Assent on June 29, 2012, come into force on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council. The coming into force date of March 1, 2013, is being designated so as to allow sufficient time to make the necessary consequential amendments to relevant regulations.

Implications

Bringing into force the above-mentioned legislative changes gives the Minister of HRSD the authority to be in a continued position to effectively manage these large repositories of personal information. In addition, making the disclosures from the SIR subject to the DHRSD Act will provide this program with the same privacy requirements and safeguards as other HRSDC programs. The legislative amendments will also give the Commission the authority to end the production of the SIN card. This initiative will result in savings to the Government and also contribute to a reduction in identity theft. The impact on individual Canadians will be negligible. SIN cards currently in circulation will continue to be valid, while new SINs will be issued in letter format.

Finally, these legislative amendments reflect the Government of Canada’s decision taken in 2006 to amalgamate the Department of Social Development and the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development under one minister and department (i.e. HRSDC).

Consultation

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has consulted with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC), who is a public advocate for the privacy rights of Canadians, concerning the legislative changes to amalgamate the HRSDC Privacy Codes. These legislative changes were also tabled in the House of Commons and then subsequently discussed at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance as part of the JGLP Act. Similarly, these legislative changes were discussed at the Senate Standing Committee on National Finance. Both members of these House of Commons and Senate standing committees were reassured that the OPC had been consulted on the amalgamation of the HRSDC Privacy Codes under Part 4 of the DHRSD Act.

In addition, the House of Commons Committee hearings raised public awareness about the ending of the production of the SIN card. Since the SIN will continue to be issued, the substitution of the letter with the SIN for the SIN card will have no material impact on citizens/stakeholders.

Departmental contacts

For more information, please contact

  • Jackie Holden
    Director
    Access to Information and Privacy
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    140 Promenade du Portage, Phase IV, 1st Floor
    Gatineau, Quebec
    K1A 0J9
    Telephone: 819-934-8879
    Fax: 819-934-8871
    Email: jackie.holden@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

  • Joanne Roy-Aubrey
    Director General
    Identity Policy and Programs
    Service Canada
    165 De l'Hôtel-de-Ville Street
    Gatineau, Quebec
    K1A 0J9
    Telephone: 819-934-2243
    Fax: 819-953-4144
    Email: joanne.royaubrey@servicecanada.gc.ca