Attn: Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan
Dear Minister Sajjan
As a retired Captain and concerned member of the Canadian armed forces, I am writing to urge your Government to respond to the call from CATAAlliance, Canada’s One Voice for Innovation Lobby Group (www.cata.ca) for an immediate amendment to the Public Servants Inventions Act to eliminate the unintended consequences to private industry that have been created from a February 5, 2016 ruling by the Federal Court of Appeal that determined that “members of the Canadian Forces do not need to be employed or receive benefits to be included in the definition of “public servants” for the purpose of the PSIA”this ruling.
Background details, including video interviews from experts and a proposed solution to the unintended consequences is presented at: http://www.cata.ca/Media_and_Events/Press_Releases/cata_pr06301601.html
I would now like to offer additional views on this important matter requiring Ministerial support for quick resolution.
Canada appears to be taking the intellectual property from Louis Brown in a transparent use of a legal technicality that cannot survive a somewhat probing test.
The Crown claimed that Louis Brown was a Public Servant because of his' being listed on the Supplementary Reserve Holding list from 1999-2009. That claim is has no mertit for the following reasons:
A retired Canadian Forces member that offers his' life for the nation should not be treated so shabbily. The list is supposed to be used in the event of a war or emergency. Is this how Canada repays those who volunteer? This type of act will surely impact on National Defence public policy as it will make it harder to recruit & retain soldiers;
As a direct comparison, the Government Employee Compensation Act is designed for Public Servants getting compensated if they get injured on duty. Regular Force members are specifically excluded from this Act as they are not Public Servants. Public Servants do not offer their lives for the nation but soldiers do.
To be appointed to the Public Service, the Public Service Commission must do it. There is no such thing as a "de facto" Public Servant. Is Canada not realizing the can of works it has opened by saying Louis Brown was a Public Servant?
He has a valid claim for Severance pay as will ALL veterans listed;
If he was a Public Servant, he is owed pay as no one serves for nothing;
If he was a Public Servant & is owed pay, he will also need his' CF pension adjusted upwards;
If he was a Public Servant, he should have had union representation, depending on his Classification;
Is it the policy of Canada to take the inventions of private citizens via a legal technicality? There are serious questions to be answered:
When was Louis Brown counselled that, as the result of him offering his' life for Canada, he would lose the patent he registered?
There are various definitions of Public Servant located in various Acts. They seem to be at odds to each other & this makes the definition in the Public Servants Inventions Act ambiguous in law. The definition used in the PSIA mentions "employed" & Parliament is presumed to not use superfluous words in an Act. Therefore "employed" must play a part in the analysis. In everyday parlance, to be "employed" means to exchange service for pay. Louis Brown was NOT "employed" as a Public Servant;
The PSIA contains a section which awards compensation to a Public Servant for making something while employed by Canada. How much did Canada pay in compensation to Louis Brown? If Canada failed to pay anything, they are in breach of Federal law. Sort that out;
The Bill of Rights says that there must be due process before property is taken.
Canada's Charter of Rights & Freedoms has several applicable items:
Freedom of thought. Louis used his mind to create this patent.
Freedom of expression. Louis expressed himself in the patent process to protect his idea.
Liberty. Louis might end up in jail which is a loss of Liberty. Is Canada so obsessed with this issue that it wants to punish an innocent inventor? If the Public Servant argument is eliminated, then Canada's case falls apart.
This case seems to be about lawyers for Canada failing to note that they must represent Canada. As such, winning at all costs is not supposed to be the goal. If there is a case like this, it should not go forward. The Auditor General did a very unflattering Audit on the PSIA in 2009. Canada applies the PSIA very inconsistently. The way Louis Brown has been treated is case in point.
As my final point, Canada seems to be ignoring the spirit and intent of the PSIA. It seems patently obvious this is directed towards REAL Public Servants who work for Canada and are paid for their services. Louis Brown was NOT a Public Servant in pith and substance so the PSIA has no application. Therefore the "novel argument" has no place in this issue. The patent was filed by a private citizen who was not a Public Servant.
Matthew Edwards, B. PE, B. Ed., CD