Effect of Subsection 24(2) of the Interpretation Act on Subsection 155(4) of the Financial Administration Act


TO: Senior Full-time Financial Officers

SUBJECT: Effect of Subsection 24(2) of the Interpretation Act on Subsection 155(4) of the Financial Administration Act

As a result of changes to section 24(2) of the Interpretation Act made in through the Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment, 1991 Act (see Annex A), ministers no longer have to give their personal consent to set offs. Instead, the discretion granted to a minister under section 155(4) of the FAA to consent to or refuse set off could be exercised on behalf of the minister by the deputy minister or a senior person having responsibility for the program whose payment would be affected, such as the responsible program ADM or Director General. If you should elect to take advantage of this, we would recommend that it appear on your delegation document and be formally approved by your minister.

For further information on the change to the Interpretation Act or how it might affect delegations under the Acts your department administers, please contact your Departmental Legal Services Unit. They, in turn, may wish to refer to the article by Henry Molot in the issue of Justice Echo entitled "Codification of the Carltona Doctrine: Amendments to the Interpretation Act".

J.Q. McCrindell
Deputy Comptroller General
Accounting and Costing Policy

Extracts from the Interpretation Act

Sections 24(2) to (5) of the Interpretation Act, R.S.C 1985, c 1 28, as amended by S.C 1991 c. 1 s. 89 read as follows:

"24(2) Words directing or empowering a minister of the Crown to do an act or thing, regardless of whether the act or thing is administrative, legislative or judicial, or otherwise applying to that minister as the holder of the office, include:

(a) a minister acting for that minister or, if the office is vacant, a minister designated to act in the office by or under the authority of an order in council;

(b) the successors of that minister in the office;

(c) his or their deputy; and

(d) notwithstanding paragraph (c), a person appointed to serve, in the department or ministry of state over which the minister presides, in a capacity appropriate to the doing of the act or thing, or to the words so applying.

(3) Nothing in paragraph (2)(c) or (d) shall be construed as authorizing the exercise of any authority conferred on a minister to make a regulation as defined in the Statutory Instruments Act.

(4) Words directing or empowering any public officer, other than a minister of the Crown, to do any act or thing, or otherwise applying to the public officer by his name of office, include his successors in the office and his or their deputy.

(5) Where a power is conferred or a duty imposed on the holder of an office, the power may be exercised and the duty shall be performed by the person for the time being charged with the execution of the powers and duties of the office".

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