Statement made on 24 April 2012 by Senator Dennis Dawson
Hon. Dennis Dawson:
Honourable senators, as Senator Comeau mentioned, this is not a controversial bill. A private company requested this bill in order to move from federal jurisdiction to the provincial jurisdiction of the Province of Quebec. Industrial Alliance Pacific, IAP, is a subsidiary of Industrial Alliance Pacific Insurance and Financial Services, an insurance company incorporated under the laws of Quebec.
In order to make the change between the federal and provincial jurisdictions, a private bill has to be passed since no other provision under the Insurance Companies Act of Canada can transfer a federally regulated company to a provincial jurisdiction. This initiative is similar to the one taken last December to bring another of their subsidiaries under Quebec's jurisdiction. As was the case last December, the parent company is seeking this change in an effort to be more efficient.
It should be noted that the company received approval from both financial market regulating bodies, at the federal and provincial levels.
I would add that this institution is not setting a precedent because, since 1994, four insurance companies have gone through the same process in order to be subject to the laws of Quebec. The last time we passed similar legislation was in December for the same company.
In closing, I would like to add that it is perhaps time to recommend to the Government of Canada that it amend the Insurance Companies Act to allow jurisdictional transfers to be made without taking up the precious time of the House and committees. As I said earlier, I asked that the Library of Parliament look into viable options. One of the conclusions in the report is that the reason there is no clause allowing for a transfer of jurisdiction is to protect the interests of insurance policy holders. We could therefore, for example, include a provision that would allow a transfer of jurisdiction if the minister or the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is convinced that the regime in the new jurisdiction offers policy holders protection similar to that offered by the federal legislation.
I will come back to this soon, honourable senators.
If honourable senators agree, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1), I will now move, and I think that Senator Comeau agrees:
That rule 115 be suspended with respect to Bill S-1003, An Act to authorize Industrial Alliance Pacific Insurance and Financial Services Inc. to apply to be continued as a body corporate under the laws of Quebec.
And that the bill be referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.