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Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Finance

Issue 1 - Evidence - Meeting of November 20, 2007

OTTAWA, Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance met today at 9:37 a.m. to examine the Supplementary Estimates (A), tabled in Parliament for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2008.

Senator Joseph A. Day (Chairman) in the chair.


The Chair: Welcome to this meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance.


This is the third meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance. The committee is meeting today to examine the Supplementary Estimates (A) 2007-08 fiscal year, which were referred to this committee by the Senate on Tuesday, November 13, 2007.

The supplementary estimates identify the spending authorities and amounts to be included in the related supply bill. That bill is expected to be introduced in Parliament within the next few weeks. While there can be more, there are normally two supplementary estimates: Supplementary Estimates (A) in the fall and (B) in March 2008.


Today we welcome officials from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.


David Moloney is the Senior Assistant Secretary in the Expenditure Management Sector and Brian Pagan is the Acting Executive Director in the Expenditure Operations and Estimates Division of the Expenditure Management Sector. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat helped draw together all of the government-proposed expenditures. As we all know, government, being the Prime Minister and his cabinet, has no authority to spend money unless approved by Parliament. This is part of that process. The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance is looking at proposed additional expenditures for this particular year.

Welcome, gentlemen. We thank you for being here today. We look forward to your presentation, and we will have a discussion afterwards.


David Moloney, Senior Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat: Mr. Chair, I am very pleased to appear before this committee today in order to discuss the Supplementary Estimates (A) 2007-2008, which were tabled on October 30.


After my brief preliminary remarks, Mr. Pagan and I will be pleased to take your questions and comments.

The 2007-08 Supplementary Estimates (A) provide Parliament with information regarding $13.6 billion in proposed spending. This is supplemental to the requirements identified this past March through the Main Estimates.


Nonetheless, I wish to assure the committee that the current Supplementary Estimates respect the overall level of spending the government set out for 2007-2008 as stated in Budget 2007 tabled by the Minister of Finance in March, and indicated once again in the Economic Statement in October 2007.

You will recall that the Main Estimates 2007-2008 were tabled three weeks before the federal budget 2007. As such, the current Supplementary Estimates, for the very first time, allow the government to request authorisation for spending on many strategic initiatives and priorities announced in Budget 2007, and cabinet decisions stemming from it.


In total, the Supplementary Estimates (A) contain approximately $8 billion in voted appropriations that were not sufficiently developed or known when the 2007-08 Main Estimates were tabled earlier in the year. This includes: $875.2 million to National Defence for implementing the Canada First Defence Plan; $573.8 million for Canada's Strategic Infrastructure Fund for investment in public infrastructure to improve the quality of life in urban and rural communities; $181.9 million to preserve and improve the quality of affordable housing for low-income Canadians; $120.9 million to fund additional RCMP positions, and law enforcement priorities; and $105 million to create new research centres of excellence in priority areas such as environmental science and technologies, natural resources and energy, and health and life sciences.

Of the statutory amount of $5.5 billion, some of the most important items are: $1.5 billion to implement the clean air and climate change trust fund; $1.2 billion for fiscal equalization; $794.6 million in support of the Canada Social Transfer; $614 million for transitional payments related to post-secondary education and training; $612 million to implement the patient wait times guarantee; $401 million for the cost of production benefit to assist agricultural producers; $300 million to assist provinces and territories with the cost of the human papillomavirus immunization; and $250 million for child care spaces.

Also included among the voted appropriations are two new central votes for approval by Parliament. One is for the government-wide operating budget carry forward and the other is for government-wide paylist requirements. The creation of these two new votes represents concrete actions the government is undertaking to fulfill its commitment to renew the Expenditure Management System.

I want to stress, first, that these new central votes do not represent additional spending requirements in the supplementary estimates as these items have previously been funded from other sources. However, they do improve transparency and they will allow us to reduce the size of future years' supplementary estimates. Both of these points deserve further explanation.

The Treasury Board's operating budget carry forward policy is a long-standing means of providing departments with the capability to transfer a portion of any unused funds into the next fiscal year. Once approved by Parliament, the new approach will provide a mechanism by which these routine departmental requests for transfers can be consolidated into a single, more visible, central vote, which will show in Treasury Board's votes.

Through this mechanism, the government will be able to allocate these funds to departments earlier in the fiscal year (i.e., once public accounts are closed in September rather than waiting for supplementary estimates to be voted in December). This will support better planning, program management and business continuity within departments.

This vote will also reduce the number of line items in supplementary estimates and, in many cases, eliminate the requirement for supplementary estimates altogether for many smaller departments. This year, for example, 33 more departments would have had pages printed in Supplementary Estimates (A) if we had not proposed this vote.

The proposed pay list requirements vote will reimburse departments for paylist shortfalls related to certain costs for employee benefits, such as severance pay and parental benefits. Currently, these requirements are met late in the year through permanent allocations from Treasury Board vote 5 — Government Contingencies.

The creation of a separate vote for these requirements means that there will be greater transparency and accounting of personnel costs and a clear identification of the funding source for those costs. It also addresses to some degree the concerns of the Auditor General, who has been critical of the use of vote 5 for routine paylist costs that are the legal obligation of the employer.

Overall, the creation of these votes and their inclusion in the Main Estimates will reduce the dollar value of a typical supplementary estimates amount in future years by over $1 billion and provide timely allocation of resources to support departmental results and value for money.


Mr. Chair, that concludes my preliminary comments. I and my officials would be very happy to take your questions.


The Chair: Mr. Moloney, you indicated 33 departments are not reflected in the supplementary estimates that would otherwise have been because of implementing this new program of a central reporting for carry forward. That is 33 departments that would otherwise be there because the only activity, as I understand your comment, would have been some carry forward request, is that correct?

Mr. Moloney: The only supplementary activity.

The Chair: Yes.

Mr. Moloney: One precision, departments or agencies. In the Supplementary Estimates (A), those items are collected all in one place in the horizontal items.

The Chair: In the Main Estimates, which is the first one that all departments and agencies put in their requests for, how many departments and agencies are there in total?

Mr. Moloney: There are 130.

The Chair: In the Supplementary Estimates (A), all we see are the departments and agencies that have some supplementary, additional requests or a change in how they wish to spend money; is that correct?

Mr. Moloney: That is correct. They are either asking for additional amounts or requesting that sums that had been voted by Parliament in one vote be transferred to a different vote within that department or in another minister's area.

To be specific, in the votes that I was referring to on page 82, senators would find the full listing for the operating budget carry forward, the new proposed vote 22 of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, and the specific votes in departments and agencies to which those amounts — totalling almost $982 million — are being proposed for transfer. Otherwise, all of those amounts would have had to be shown somewhere in an individual page later on.

Senator Murray: Briefly, I note in the carry forward category, multi-year appropriations for the Canada Revenue Agency, the Parks Canada Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency. My curiosity was piqued a bit.

What the Canada Revenue Agency and the Parks Canada Agency have in common is that they are both at some kind of arm's length from government and Parliament. I voted, along with a number of other senators, against the creation of those agencies at the time, for reasons that I need not detain you with now. It occurred to me, seeing Canada Border Services Agency with them, to ask you whether somehow the Canada Border Services Agency is in the same relationship to government and Parliament as those other two, and not just a branch of the Solicitor General's department.

Mr. Moloney: The three agencies in question were created, respectively, Parks Canada Agency in 1998, Canada Revenue Agency in 1999 and Canadian Border Services Agency in 2003. Their enabling legislation in each case proposed Parliament and then gave the authority for them to have what is referred to as multi-year appropriations.

Senator Murray: I understand that, Mr. Moloney. The question is whether they are in the same relationship to government and Parliament. In other words, is the Canada Border Services Agency also rather arm's length in the same sense that the Canada Revenue Agency and the Parks Canada Agency are, or do you know? Those other two got out from under the Public Service Staff Relations Act and a number of statutes like that when they were created as separate agencies.

Mr. Moloney: The Canada Revenue Agency is the one that would have the greatest degree of independence from Treasury Board policies and oversight. The Canada Border Services Agency would be less so, and the Parks Canada Agency as well; each has a different set of independent authorities.

Senator Murray: I do not know how I missed that when they set up the Canada Border Services Agency, but some of us voted against the creation of the first two agencies.

I am always interested in federal-provincial fiscal relations. Is there anything we should know about the $1.2 billion that is described as ``incremental cost of fiscal equalization'' in the Supplementary Estimates (A) — also the CST, Canada Social Transfer, with almost $800 million going there? Is there anything unusual about that?

Mr. Moloney: In the case of equalization, this reflects not only an update to forecasts, but a specific change in provincial entitlements.

Senator Murray: As a result of what?

Mr. Moloney: As a result of changes.

Senator Murray: As a result of legislation or of economic conditions?

Mr. Moloney: It is actually a structural change, senator. I have a note here but I cannot put my finger on it. It relates to the provinces' ability to choose alternative treatments going forward. Nova Scotia elected to take one of two treatments, so that we actually see structural changes in the program, not only the normal changes to population and economic growth.

Senator Murray: Is it a function of the Atlantic accord?

Mr. Moloney: These are changes that were reflected in the March 2007 Budget.

Senator Murray: The $1.2 billion affects Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan; are there also others?

Mr. Moloney: My colleague has put his finger on the note. The Budget 2007 announced in the new formula for equalization, modified the 2004 new framework for equalization. It provided an option to Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador for remaining under the old equalization system or opting for a new formula.

Nova Scotia opted for the new formula. Hence, there was an additional cost for equalization of $1.3 billion or an increase of $200 million over the $1.1 billion anticipated in Budget 2007.

Senator Murray: I will not pursue that now, because we will have officials here tomorrow night, I think, to discuss the Atlantic accord and where we are going with it.

I want to ask you a question about a matter to which there is no requirement or no request for funds in the Supplementary Estimates (A). However, this is the first opportunity I have had to get some senior officials in my sights since the university students were here last week canvassing senators and MPs and others on a number of matters, specifically the Millennium Scholarship Fund and whether it will be renewed.

The last academic year to which it applies begins in September 2008. We all recognize that the Millennium Scholarship Fund began rather awkwardly given the problems with the provinces and so forth, although those problems have been sorted out. The provinces and the students certainly seem happy with it. They would like to see it enriched a bit, but that is another issue.

The question is whether it will be renewed. I do not suppose you have that answer but we would like to know the issues under consideration, as the government reflects on this program, whether federal-provincial consultation is taking place, and what options are being considered. The concern of students and others is that the government might be thinking of converting it 100 per cent to a federal-provincial transfer of funds — a transfer to the provincial treasuries.

Some studies have been done for the government, including several internal ones and one by an outside expert. Could someone identify for the committee what deficiencies, weaknesses and strengths are found in the Millennium Scholarship Fund? I think it would be healthy for us to have a thorough discussion in Parliament and in the country as to its future before the decision is made, which is likely prior to the next budget presentation, and announced. What can you tell us about that?

Mr. Moloney: Unfortunately, senator, I cannot provide much in the way of an answer, other than a commitment to bring those issues to the attention of our colleagues in HRSTC and to officials in Department of Finance, both of whom would be involved in any decision to bring forward any kind of replacement program. To my knowledge, the issue has not come before Treasury Board in the last two or three years, including any sort of evaluation that might have been done to date.

Senator Murray: Treasury Board is not aware of any particular administrative or financial weaknesses in the program.

Mr. Moloney: At this time, that is correct, although I note that, in recent years, Treasury Board would not normally be in receipt of that kind of information. In the course of the strategic reviews that we might have occasion to discuss today or in the future, Treasury Board will be asking for ministers to report on the performance of all of their programming. However, that is not an extra that has taken place with HRSTC.

Senator Murray: Someone is in touch with the foundation that was set up by the government?

Mr. Moloney: That is correct. I believe I am correct in saying, although we will confirm that for the committee as well, that it would be the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Canada.

Senator Murray: I hope we will have an opportunity to follow up on that point.

The Chair: Senator Murray, I thank you for raising that point. We have made note of that area of interest.

Senator Stratton: As I recall, when I met with the students, they were not against the fund, per se, but rather felt that the money was not getting to the students. They felt that the money was being held up on the administration side. This is a comment rather than a question to you. Perhaps we should be taking a look at and reviewing with the foundation whether the money is getting to where it should go, in this case to the students. Certainly, the students were complaining about that problem.

Senator Murray: I must say that the delegation that I met here last week were solidly in favour of seeing a renewal of the program. They understood that new governments might want to dress it up a little bit, give it a new name and put a blue ribbon around it but, essentially, they seemed satisfied with the program and would like to see it enriched.

Senator Stratton: They seem satisfied except for the money flow.

Senator Murray: I take your point.

Senator Stratton: That is a comment.

The Chair: That could be an interesting area for the committee to study. I see new trusts are being creates and we might want to run a parallel to determine whether the same kind of governance structure and oversight exists for each of them.

If I may, I have a supplementary question arising from the multi-year appropriation discussion that you had with Senator Murray. It seems that our review structure is based on an annual review of Main Estimates. If there is a multi- year — two or three years — maybe you could tell us just how many years they are entitled to go out. Is this a move towards an accrual accounting method whereby if an agency wished to purchase some capital assets, it could do so over a number of years rather than having to do it in one year under our current system? Is there a trend? You indicated that 1993 was the last time that we approved this kind of thing but is there some discussion to having more multi-year appropriations?

Mr. Moloney: There are several layers to the question so I will take the response in several layers, if I may.

These three agencies are empowered by legislation to have a two-year appropriation. In that way, as the chair indicated, Parliament would be voting once and then these three departments have the authority to spend in either the upcoming year or the following year.

The Chair: I will interrupt you, if I may, so that it is clear to all senators. Is there something to remind us that after going into the second year, they have not spent all of the multi-year appropriation by April of the second year? Is this reflected in the Main Estimates? Can we see that we have already approved the expenditures into that next year from the previous year or is that information lost.

Brian Pagan, Acting Executive Director, Expenditure Operations and Estimates Division, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat: The proposed schedule to the appropriation bill that you will find at pages 60 and 61, divides the departments into the single-year appropriations, which is Schedule 1, and the multi-year appropriations, which is Schedule 2, covering Canada Revenue Agency, Parks Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency. You will see on page 61 that the appropriations for those three agencies are for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2008. The flexibilities that these departments have provide some additional flexibility in terms of how these appropriations are carried over from one year to the next year. Whereas Schedule 1 departments have a limit of 5 per cent of their budgets that can be carried over from one year to the next, these three agencies would not have that carry over limit.

Mr. Moloney: In response to the chair's other questions, there is no specific linkage to whether the government would be taking an accruals approach to appropriations or, as we currently do, a near-cash approach. This is in the sense of the departments' ability to manage a multi-year capital project. For example, a department might launch into a major purchase, such as a piece of machinery, a machinery purchase program or a physical asset such as a building, which it cannot complete the purchase in one year. For operational efficiencies, these organizations were given that sort of power.

The Treasury Board has been looking at, in consultation with our Department of Finance colleagues, whether or not that sort of approach would improve management in a broader range of departments. We have a number of Schedule 1 departments that make quite a number of capital purchases in the course of their normal business and would typically be involved in a multi-year plan for purchasing a set of assets, whether for defence equipment, building a lab or Public Works in its real property program.

We have undertaken a pilot project, which has been underway for a year or two, with respect to three specific departments. We have worked with those departments in order to allow them to mimic this sort of behaviour through administrative means. Essentially, any department can seek what we call a re-profile of a fiscal authority to spend, to move that from one year to the next if they are not able to use the money well. We would then normally come forward to Parliament and ask for that money and take account of that in the next year's Main Estimates or supplementary estimates. The automatic authority to do so, though, is limited by that 5 per cent limit on the operating budget carry forward and the capital carry forward.

With respect to this small group of departments in the pilot project, we are giving them, with well-constrained parameters — for example, they need a capital plan — the ability to act as if they were able to carry forward appropriations to see the pros and cons in terms of good management, value for money, information control, and oversight ability. We will be reporting those results to the Treasury Board and, should Parliament be interested, I would be happy to report that in the future.

Treasury Board and Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat does not have any intention to propose further multi- year appropriations before we know in practical terms how that pilot project works out.

Mr. Pagan: If I may, I have a supplemental to that response. I have specific amounts for the three agencies that were carried over from last year to this year. This highlights the benefit to the departments.

On page 34, you will see a summary of the supplementary estimates with a footnote indicating that funds for the three agencies that were appropriated in 2006-07 will be spent in 2007-08.

In the case of Canada Revenue Agency, the actual amount of those funds is $167.7 million; for Parks Canada, it is $50.7 million; and for CBSA, it is $170.8 million. These amounts, if you compare them to the more normal carry forwards that are limited by the 5 per cent provision for other departments, are quite a bit larger than what you find in the other departments at pages 82 and 83. Of course, these amounts are conditioned by the actual operating base amount of the departments, but $170 million for CBSA is quite a significant sum of money.

The Chair: This would be an interesting area to pursue at another time. We do have a private member's bill dealing with accrual accounting. Perhaps you will be able to come back and help us more on that relationship.

Senator Mitchell: Under Environment Canada's supplementary estimates, is there any particular specific application or transfer of funds to or from climate change programs?

How does that relate to the $1.5 billion to implement the clean air and climate change trust fund that is a statutory amount? I do not see that amount in here. I am looking at pages 144 and 146.

Mr. Moloney: The clean air trust fund is listed under the Department of Finance. There are no transfers per se regarding climate change under Environment Canada. There are some initiatives that are related to climate change, but there are no transfers.

Senator Mitchell: We hear a great deal about how the government is committed to doing something about climate change, how it will announce additional programs and how they have announced certain programs. We hear many things but we see nothing that relates the program announcements with the announced programs to their objective of I think it is 20 per cent below 2020 levels of CO2.

Is there a requirement within the budgetary process on the part of Treasury Board that there be some stated objectives for programs such as climate change? In other words, if they are announcing X amount of money and they have a target of 20 per cent or below by 2020, is there some requirement that they somehow add up each of these programs' potential impact and it should come to 20 per cent or below?

Mr. Moloney: I would point to two areas where that kind of information should be brought to bear. First, in the Main Estimates for each department, in addition to the vote in the second parts of the Main Estimates, each department is required to list its strategic outcomes and the specific results it is attempting to achieve. We show a matrix in terms of those program activities, as we call them.

The reports on plans and priorities, which are then tabled typically in March, are to provide additional information, taking those program activities and results and offering specific indicators and measures of success. After a year, the departmental performance reports, which, for example, were tabled in October for 2006-07 the President of the Treasury Board tables some 90 of them on behalf of all departments, those are to report on what was achieved. Having said that, according to each of the last two budgets as well as statements by the President of the Treasury Board, it has been clearly stated that with respect to cabinet decisions — he did talk specifically about the budget process — there has not been specifically detailed enough information during the allocation decision.

The renewal of the expenditure management system, which was talked about most recently in Budget 2007, was decided by June and was put in place, has as one of its clear elements to have much clearer statements of results intended, up front, at cabinet. Further, Treasury Board then goes ahead to provide the appropriate authorities as well as assess the performance against those results, which we would expect to see reported through these reports on plans and priorities and departmental performance reports, and also new requirements to report that performance back to cabinet. Going forward, there has been a change in that respect.

Senator Mitchell: That is excellent. Thank you.

If a member of the Canadian public wanted to find out what programs will be directed at climate change, what their projected potential impact is and how they have measured up against that projection, where would they start? Would they start at the Main Estimates?

Mr. Moloney: The most detailed comprehensive statement would be the individual departmental performance reports for those departments that are working in related areas.

In the case of climate change, that would include not just Environment Canada, but also Transport Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Industry Canada, and to some extent, the Department of Finance with the trust fund.

Senator Mitchell: On page 146, for example, there are transfers out to Foreign Affairs and International Trade, PSC, HRSDC and to Fisheries and Oceans.

It seems to me that some of these things would be initiatives that could have been anticipated in the budgetary process; they were not a surprise. I wonder why, all of a sudden, it requires that money be transferred out of the Environment Canada to another department to do this. Was that just an oversight in budgeting, did it end up costing more than we anticipated or was it that the department did not end up doing this thing with the Rotterdam Convention but the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade did?

Mr. Moloney: My notes show that there are quite a series of transfers in the case of Environment Canada. Indeed, in some cases, it would be due to something that had not been expected. Therefore, in this instance, it had to do with a transfer in that related to the restoration of Stanley Park. There was a transfer out from Environment Canada, for example, to something that would have been expected, but this is a very small amount: $142,000. That was to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, as the senator mentioned.

This is related to Canada's assessed contributions as a member of a specific international convention. For example, the Rotterdam Convention on the prior and informed consent for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade, and also the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants. Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is normally the vehicle through which such assessed contributions are paid. We have a case of the Minister of the Environment being accountable for the use of those funds but the payment vehicle, if you like, is through the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

If these things become a standing payment, sometimes the money will be moved into another department's reference level. There is a mix of them here.

Senator Mitchell: I agree that this is not a lot of money. Where does that money come from? This is supplementary estimates, so I presume that this obviously was not anticipated. What program does this money come from in Environment Canada that was over-budgeted or is now short money?

Mr. Moloney: In that particular case, that was money that had been provided in Environment Canada's vote 1, their operating expenditures.

Senator Mitchell: Either they have saved money, presumably, or have they sacrificed something else?

Mr. Moloney: In this case, they may have planned for it but it was simply a payment.

Senator Mitchell: If they planned for it, why would it be in supplementary estimates? Why would there be a special decision to do this if they had planned for it?

Mr. Moloney: It is the transfer between votes. They already had the money in their vote line. They are asking to move that over to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Senator Mitchell: Thank you.

The Chair: Is it possible they did not have enough detail when the Main Estimates came out? Sometimes in supplementary estimates, when you have more detail of a particular initiative, you can put it in the supplementary.

Mr. Moloney: I do not know enough about the details. The fact that it is an assessed contribution suggests that this is essentially the way for the departments to account for it. The Minister of the Environment is accounting for the cost of the use of funds to be a member of this organization, but we need to put it to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to actually make the payment. If this becomes a regular thing, we would just move it over into the Main Estimates of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, usually within a few years. These conventions pop up and their amounts go up and down. The actual amount of the assessed contribution may have changed; I am not sure.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Moloney.

Senator Ringuette: I would like to concur with my colleague concerning post-secondary education. I look at all the provinces east of Ottawa, and the removal of the associated equalization for post-secondary education will have a tremendous effect on cost and therefore, students from those areas will probably be looking for additional funds down the road.

Senator Murray: Ultimately the same applies to the Canada Health Transfer.

Senator Ringuette: Yes. It is the same thing here. Mr. Chair, I think that we need to look into this issue.

The Chair: We have that subject for steering committee consideration.

Senator Ringuette: In these supplementary estimates, I look at different items concerning the Canadian Forces: the military mission in Afghanistan, capital equipment, tanks and aircraft. We are looking at $1.6 billion for supplementary estimates. How much is that in addition to from the Main Estimates?

Mr. Moloney: At the bottom of page 204, it indicates that there were authorities to date for the Department of National Defence: $16.891 billion. We see transfers and then also adjustments to appropriations: $1.558 billion. That brings the total estimates to date to $18.447 billion.

Senator Ringuette: I understand we are looking at $18 billion. For instance, the military mission in Afghanistan shows an additional $340.9 million. How much was the original estimate in the Main Estimates for the mission?

Mr. Pagan: This requirement is an adjustment to the Department of National Defence's Vote 1 which, again, you will see on page 204. It totalled $11.8 million in the Main Estimates. That is the total of vote 1.

Senator Ringuette: That does not answer the specific question on the military mission in Afghanistan. What was the estimate in the Main Estimates?

Mr. Pagan: Using our briefing notes, we are not able to breakdown that vote by the different program elements that DND had in their Main Estimates. We can certainly go back and establish their base to start the mission.

Senator Ringuette: Could you do that for the following: With regards to the national sovereignty and security, we are looking at $875 million; the Afghanistan mission an additional $340 million; purchasing of tanks for an additional $293 million; and funding for Global Peace and Security Fund of $126 million? Could you bring back to us the estimate in the Main Estimates in addition to what is required in these estimates? It would help to have a better picture of these spending amounts.

Mr. Moloney: Yes, we can do that. We have information on what the budget announced in terms of the additional costs but not the base.

Senator Stratton: You keep going through these things and we have been talking about helicopters for years. The government has been committed to spending it since 1993 when the contract was cancelled. When will we see some money being spent for the purchase of these helicopters, which can actually save lives? That is a concern of mine. I do not see anything here. Do you have a page that I can refer to?

Mr. Moloney: No, I do not believe we do. There is nothing specifically requested for that purpose in these estimates.

Senator Stratton: As yet?

The Chair: There is nothing in these estimates.

Senator Stratton: My understanding is that the process is under way for the purchase of these choppers. There is a delivery date announced. You would think you would see some dollars allocated to it.

Mr. Moloney: The dollars would only be allocated here once there is a cabinet decision, when Treasury Board has approved the signing of a contract.

Senator Stratton: We do not know where that is, is that it?

Mr. Moloney: I do not personally, no. We can do a follow-up on that.

The Chair: Mr. Moloney, will you do that for us? Then, if necessary, we will bring the Minister of National Defence in.

Senator Stratton: I am curious. We have been fighting this thing since 1993 when the helicopters were cancelled. I would dearly like to see what we are up to now.

The Chair: We can consider bringing in the Minister of National Defence.

Senator Mitchell: I guess you are saying if the government had made a decision to purchase helicopters, and if they had initiated and started down that road, there would be some specification of expenditure requirement budget in the Supplementary Estimates (A) or in the Main Estimates. In the absence of that, the government, touting itself as it does for having made decisions and being a decision maker, has not made a decision on this, is that correct?

Mr. Moloney: I am not sure that would be a statement that I could agree to.

Senator Mitchell: That is the way I would put it.

Mr. Moloney: The government would need to take a budgetary decision and provide the money. It would then need to issue a request for proposals to determine a precise price. Then they would need to come to Treasury Board and sign a contract and then we would come forward to Parliament. There are quite a few stages to go through before it would actually come forward to Parliament. Depending on the timing, it might be included in the Main Estimates and thus not be specifically brought to your attention the way it would be if it were in supplementary estimates.

Senator Ringuette: I have another comment on the issue of National Defence spending. I think that having the minister here is not a bad idea. There are some questions with regard to procurement, which is different for National Defence than for any other department. I think that we could have more information if we had him as a witness.

You also have here an additional $250 million tagged as creation of child care spaces. Can you provide me with the amount of money that has been invested, where and how with regard to child care spaces in industries and businesses?

I know that it is impossible for you to have that directly in front of you; but if we are looking at additional money, I would like to know where the money for that program has gone.

Mr. Moloney: What I can tell you is that the $250 million for child care spaces that is referred to here was distributed to provinces and territories. The payments were made on June 28 of this year. The provision of those monies for the creation of new child care spaces was following up on a commitment from Budget 2006.

The provinces and territories are guided in their use of the funding for child care by the arrangements in the Canada Social Transfer in 2000 and 2003 — federal-provincial-territorial frameworks on early childhood development, early learning and child care.

Following up on that, in July, Minister Solberg, the responsible minister, sent a letter to the provinces setting out federal expectations. We are not in a position to tell you how the provinces have gone on to use those funds to date.

Senator Ringuette: That was not my question.

Mr. Moloney: I am sorry; I misunderstood.

Senator Ringuette: There is a request for additional monies for the creation of additional child care spaces. There is a current program and funding to provide child care spaces on a business-based program. I would like to know what is happening with these funds. Where have they been allocated? How much of them have been allocated? How many child care spaces were created and in which province and which community? What kind of industry is being granted monies from this program?

I understand that it is impossible for you to have that information at the tip of your fingers right now.

The Chair: Can we get an undertaking that you will provide us with that information?

Mr. Moloney: We will provide that.

Senator Ringuette: On page 191, under ``Industry Canada,'' there are two funds. One is called ``Funding for the Ontario potable water program to invest in urban and rural municipal infrastructure in Ontario'' for almost $20 million. Then there is ``Funding to promote and support rural social economic development in Eastern Ontario communities'' for $9.9 million.

Are these two funds for Ontario, or are they part of a national program? If it is not, how can the provinces other than Ontario have access to the same kind of programs for the potable water programs and for rural social economic development?

I know that is a multi-phased question but if you can supply this information to us, I would appreciate it. When you are talking about investment in water programs, I do not see why we would be looking in this budget at a program for Ontario only. I think there are situations from coast to coast to coast that would need this type of program. What kind of funding is this?

The other is ``Social economic development in Eastern Ontario communities.'' The bottom line is this: Is this political funding?

Mr. Moloney: In the case of the Ontario Potable Water Program, a total of $19.9 million is being proposed. This is to fund project increases experienced by small and rural municipalities. The funding is under the Canada Ontario Infrastructure Program. There are related programs across the country, but this is a specific program that has been put in place within that infrastructure program with Ontario.

In that case, the federal one-third share as per infrastructure programming is going over two years — $50 million over two years. There is $20 million in 2007-08 and $30 million in 2008-09. There are roughly 135 projects in municipalities with a population under 100,000. This is a specific example of the kinds of infrastructure programming that one would see across the country.

Senator Ringuette: Why would it be specifically identified in a separate fund if it falls under the federal-provincial infrastructure program like all the other provinces? In respect of that infrastructure program, I do not see any other provinces specifically identified. The infrastructure program has many targets for the various infrastructure requirements. Why does this one stand out? Why is it not like the others?

Mr. Moloney: Rather than one specific infrastructure investment, this program has been set up to deal with 135 wide-ranging projects. The program has been structured within the infrastructure program to deal with such a large number of communities and reflect the appropriate management and transparency as listed in the supplementary estimates. There would be other kinds of programs across the country but none are proposed or listed in the Supplementary Estimates (A).

Senator Ringuette: This still leaves many questions. For instance, In New Brunswick, we have more than 100 communities of various sizes with no specific infrastructure program. That fact stands out and certainly raises some questions as to why it is so.

Mr. Moloney: The only other point I would make is that typically under these programs, the specific uses come about through shared discussions in terms of prioritizing how these funds are set between municipalities, provinces and the federal government. Certainly, some of the uses vary across the country as befits the local circumstances.

I have not responded to your question in terms of Eastern Ontario. Budget 2004 contained a commitment to provide support for regional economic development in Eastern Ontario, an area not previously covered by a regional development agency as occurred in other areas. Industry Canada is seeking $9.894 million in funding for an Eastern Ontario development program, which was created in 2004-05. This is a continuation of that program dealing with business community development.

Senator Murray: What is the territory covered by Eastern Ontario?

Mr. Moloney: I cannot answer that, senator, immediately. I am sorry. The notes that we have received refer to rural Eastern Ontario, where there are 15 Community Futures Development Corporations that are eligible recipients.

Senator Ringuette: I do not understand because this has been ongoing, given that the program was created in 2004- 05. The amounts of money to operate and fund the programs should be well established by now and should have been reflected in the Main Estimates. Yet, today we are looking at additional funds required. Again, what was the figure in the Main Estimates? If there are no figures in the Main Estimates, then for future budgets, it should be in the Main Estimates.

Mr. Moloney: I believe I am correct in saying that this program was set up with a time-limited funding. There was a decision to extend this program and to provide funding as it is requested.

Senator Ringuette: There was nothing in the Main Estimates for this program.

Mr. Moloney: I believe that is correct.

Senator Ringuette: Could you verify that and get back to the committee?

Mr. Moloney: Yes.

Senator Ringuette: If there was a figure in the Main Estimates, could you identify it and which communities are benefitting from these programs?

The Chair: That would include a definition of Eastern Ontario.

Senator Di Nino: I believe that Mr. Moloney partially answered my question. Unless I am mistaken, Senator Ringuette's question dealt with the matter of special treatment for Ontario and she said ``political programs'' as opposed to ``programs needed.'' I want to ensure that I understood the question, in particular the first allotment of $19 million for infrastructure. This is part of a national infrastructure program whereby each province and territory, in discussion with the federal government and, in some cases, the municipalities, will decide how to spend the money. Each one of those provinces or territories, in effect, would arrange or create the programs that they deem to be most needed in their respective provinces or territories. This is not a special allotment of funds in any way. Is that correct?

Mr. Moloney: I believe, yes, that these funds come under such existing kinds of arrangements across the country. As the senator said, the provinces and municipalities play a role. In the particular case as a result of the Walkerton tragedy, the Government of Ontario undertook regulatory changes in respect of small municipalities. They put a program in place called, Ontario Small Town Rural Infrastructure Initiative, which was their counterpart in response to these regulatory changes. That was a priority for Ontario under this national funding.

Senator Di Nino: Without any special treatment.

Mr. Moloney: None that I am aware of.

Senator Di Nino: The next item is the issue of Eastern Ontario. You said that the program was for 2004-05, which was instituted by the previous government with some time sensitivity attached to it. This government has simply extended the commitment made by the previous government. Is that correct?

Mr. Moloney: I believe that the previous program was in place for three years, 2004-05 through 2006-07.

Senator Nancy Ruth: We are starting to see the results from the Expenditure Management System review put in place by the government. This initiative is across the whole of government, as is the government's commitment to undertake gender-based analysis. How have gender considerations been incorporated into the Expenditure Management System Renewal, in particular with respect to measuring program performance and reporting on results against clearly defined objectives? How will gender-based analysis be incorporated into cabinet review of federal programs?

Mr. Moloney: The changes to the Expenditure Management System to which I referred would apply to any programming results that would be viewed by the department in question as being a central objective of a program. Certainly, there are programs that aim for gender-specific outcomes. I was referring to results and performance-against results coming more centrally into cabinet decision-making, including at the front end in terms of the review.

Senator Nancy Ruth: All programs aim for gender-specific outcomes, not just some programs. That is Canada's commitment, not just a department's commitment.

Mr. Moloney: We require departments to be quite clear about all of the objectives they are aiming to achieve and to assess their performance through formal program evaluation.

At the Treasury Board, as we look at specific initiatives going forward, we have ensured that all of our program analysts have received training in gender-based analysis to ensure that there is an appropriate degree of assessment of initially our gender outcomes, a specific and explicit objective, or if there would be other gender-based impacts.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Can you provide examples of that? You have done the training and told them to assess it, but what have they actually done? What proof is there that it is being done? How does it show up in this management system?

Mr. Moloney: From the perspective of the Treasury Board Secretariat and not from the point of view of departments, it shows up in the ability of our analysts to be able to ask an informed question and have methods by which they can assess where there would or would not be a gender-based outcome.

Through the strategic reviews that I believe the senator was referring to, as we started to assess the performance of programs, for example, if there was to be a change proposed, we look at a variety of specific kinds of impacts, and gender-specific impact would be an aspect that we would explicitly be looking to check against.

Senator Nancy Ruth: We are always looking for examples, so let me push it in terms of wait times.

The Federal Advisor on Wait Times, Dr. Brian Postl, reported in June 2006, and he recommended that issues of gender needed to be considered throughout the wait times initiative. There is significant and growing evidence that women and men are treated differently in many stages of health and in the health care system, including at least some of the five priority areas of radiation for cancer, hip and knee replacement, cataracts, cardiac bypass and diagnostic images.

What explicit requirements are there with respect to gender in the agreements between the provinces and the federal government? What are the requirements with respect to the base funding, the $10 million to each province and $4 million to the territories, and the per capita funding that make this gender stuff happen? How can we be assured that the evidence-based benchmarks for medically acceptable wait times address the needs of both men and women?

Mr. Moloney: I am afraid that when we come to that specific example, it is an example where cabinet has taken decisions and a trust has been put in place. That is not something that has come through the Treasury Board in terms of a federal program.

Senator Nancy Ruth: I will try another example. In the votes pertaining to Industry Canada and both the National Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, other supplementary estimates with respect to the creation of chairs in the five-year periodic reviews of grants and contributions, what provisions have been made with respect to women and other equity-seeking groups?

You know there has been a human rights complaint over the Canada Research Chairs Program and its lack of attention to equity issues. Therefore, I want to know: What has changed in both the awarding of the chairs and the evaluation of the programs that indicates that equity is being seriously addressed and that Canada's performance is more in line with the other OECD countries? Can you answer that question?

Mr. Moloney: I cannot. We would have to direct that question to the department.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Can you give me an example where you have some gender analysis in departments? Do not tell me training.

Mr. Moloney: The training was for —

Senator Nancy Ruth: We need to have proof of what the training has brought. It is like the RCMP and taser guns. What is happening?

Mr. Moloney: We are not training departments in that respect. We are ensuring that our own staff members, who assess the proposals that come from departments, are properly trained.

If the senator wishes, we can refer her question to Industry Canada to see what they have done. They would be the department that we would view as accountable for being able to answer those kinds of questions and ensure they are taking appropriate account of gender in any of their activities.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Let me be clear. Each department must do this, and the Treasury Board has done its own training of its own people. When a department makes a request for monies, you must figure out whether you will grant it or not and how it will be done, et cetera. Part of that, surely, since Canada has this commitment to gender-based analysis, is to ensure that the department has done it. Can you give me three examples of your department having done that?

Mr. Moloney: The one most concrete example I can provide is how we approach departments. The Treasury Board, for the first time in several years, changed its formal guidance and requirements to departments, of how they come to us to make a submission and what needs to be in a submission.

The summer 2007 update of that guide put a clear obligation on departments. When they come in with a submission — now, this is either for a specific new program or to get terms and conditions around a change to an existing one, for example — departments are required to consider gender-based analysis as part of what they bring forward to us.

I must add that it would not be something they would do in respect of their full programming base. This would be where they are coming forward with a new program, a new kind of expenditure or some material change. They are now under a duty to reflect gender-based analysis of any request to the board.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Who evaluates whether they have done so?

Mr. Moloney: The Treasury Board analysts, the ones who have undertaken this training that I have referred to.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Can those people give me some examples of how he or she is satisfied that it has been done in any new program or change of program?

Mr. Moloney: The new guide came into effect on September 1, so we have had something like 150 submissions. We would not have a very good base yet to answer that question, but it is building.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Next time you come here, be prepared.

Mr. Chair, I would be happy to have this committee look at this issue more fully.

The Chair: Thank you. We have made a note of that for consideration by our steering committee. We will be busy in the New Year.

Senator Di Nino: Programs which are, in effect, joint federal-provincial-territorial, how are they evaluated and/or audited? I will take the Clean Air Act as an example, since my colleague, Senator Mitchell, brought up the Clean Air and Climate Change Trust Fund. Who evaluates and audits these programs? Is it the provinces and territories, the federal government or is it a joint effort?

Mr. Moloney: The answer to that would have to be quite specific to the particular kind of program. In the particular case of the clean air and climate change trust fund, the provinces and territories report publicly on their activities and results as well as acknowledge the contribution of the Government of Canada.

Their provincial auditors general review those expenditures from the point of view of financial controls and probity. It is a public reporting, not a reporting to the federal government.

Senator Di Nino: Once the funds have been transferred and the eligibility issues have been dealt with, it is really in the hands of the provincial governments to ensure that these programs are being carried out in accordance with the established terms and conditions, is that right.

Mr. Moloney: For this trust fund, yes.

Senator Di Nino: My second question deals with an issue that Senator Ringuette raised indirectly. In your comments, you touched upon the Auditor General's criticism of the use of vote 5 for the pay list costs.

Generally, she has expressed concerns, I think more than once, about the use of supplementary estimates to finance government operations. We have some statistics that indicate that over the past 10 years or so, this has about doubled or maybe more than doubled. Is this something on which you wish to make a comment, or does your ministry have any concerns?

Mr. Moloney: In the view of the Treasury Board Secretariat, the Auditor General's figures reflect the fact that over this period of time, as the Government of Canada's fiscal situation changed, it was in a position to launch new initiatives in a series of budgets.

As we have discussed at the committee in the past, the timelines involved in preparing estimates for 130 different departments and agencies require us to complete our work typically before a budget is decided and presented to Parliament. If we have a series of budgets bringing forth new expenditure programs, it is quite difficult to avoid seeking supplementary estimates if those programs are to start in the coming year.

To take our current example, within the last week or two, we have more or less had to finalize the contents of the Main Estimates that need to be presented in Parliament by March 1, 2008 for the 2008-09 fiscal year. Treasury Board must approve them in early February. With 130 organizations, we cannot leave that open. Indeed, for this year, for example, the Main Estimates were tabled three weeks before the budget. Hence, there is a clear misalignment of timelines.

As we went through this system renewal, we were trying to improve reporting to Parliament and management in departments, and decision-making in cabinet. We looked at whether there were any things we could do. Our initiative, in terms of the two central votes, is part of our response. As I said, that should remove about $1.5 billion to $1.75 billion from supplementary estimates in future years. We have seen supplementary estimates with voted spending in a $3-billion to $7-billion range. That is a material reduction in terms of our internal management.

We have also looked at the degree to which we can shorten our timeline in terms of preparations of Main Estimates, but we cannot do anything about the standing orders, which require March 1. Parliament does need to be in a position to vote interim supply before the year starts.

We have also considered, and will continue to consider, whether the practice of previous decades of having an initial supplementary estimate in June would be a good practice in terms of not having the large supplementary estimates that only get voted in the eighth month of a fiscal year. That just changes the timing. It changes any big amount. Fundamentally, if governments are bringing forward new programming on the basis of new fiscal information, it will be a fairly standard outcome.

Mr. Pagan: We take quite seriously the interests of this committee and the Auditor General on the use of Vote 5. Over the years, we have made a number of improvements to the presentation of vote 5 information.

The senators will see at page 23 a description of some of the summary tables that are in the supplementary estimates. The description of vote 5 this year is noteworthy because it signals the introduction of these new votes for operating budget carry forward and for pay list, and outlines how we would move forward with revised wording for vote 5 that would make clear its use for temporary purposes unforeseen in the estimates.

It goes on to outline the four new criteria that will be used by the Secretariat to consider all requests for vote 5. These criteria were approved by Treasury Board ministers in May 2007. If the new central votes are created that take permanent charges out of vote 5, we will be able to move forward with the application of these new criteria.

Senator Di Nino: I am not concerned about new programs that would have been difficult, because of the timing, to include in the Main Estimates. My concern, obviously shared by the Governor General, is that there may be some solidifying of operational government expenditure that would be, we will do some now and we will do some in the supplementary estimates. That is the same concern that we have.

I applaud you for introducing the Expenditure Management System, because that should reduce that. I will just put on the record that it is something we will be looking at on a regular basis.


Senator De Bané: In your opinion, will there be other budgets that will follow this first Supplementary Estimates (A) to cover expenditures for the year ending in March?

Mr. Moloney: Normally, any given government will need to table at least two Supplementary Estimates. Initiatives announced in Budget 2007 did not all progress enough in order to be included.

Senator De Bané: Last year, there was a substantial increase in expenditures. Could you give me an idea of the variation you are expecting regarding this fiscal year's expenditures, relative to last year?

Mr. Moloney: In fact, the economic statement made by the Minister of Finance informs us of the fiscal framework and government expectations of growth in overall spending.

In Budget 2007, tabled in March 2007, the Minister of Finance predicted a total increase of expenditures of 4.7 per cent.

Senator De Bané: With respect to expenditure management, what are the Treasury Board's priorities for the upcoming year? What are the two or three major priorities that you would like to have implemented in the year ahead?

Mr. Moloney: Implementing renewal of the cabinet's expenditure management system, including that of Treasury Board, is certainly one of our major concerns. This means that Treasury Board, and the Secretariat of the Treasury Board of Canada are underscoring the need to examine expected results and actual performance in a more rigorous and accurate manner.

For the first time, ministers are now reviewing a certain number of departments in order to assess their overall performance. Over the next four years, the government intends to launch a yearly performance review of these departments.

Our feeling is that within the departments and within the Treasury Board Secretariat, closer attention needs to be paid to how results are obtained and performances evaluated. You have to know how to rate overall performance.

Senator De Bané: That is what Senator Nancy Ruth was saying.


She asked if they evaluate the efficiency of their program. I think that will be music to her ears if it is one of his priorities. Senator Nancy Ruth would be happy to know that the evaluation is efficient in attaining the objectives.


I have three other brief questions to ask you. My first question is on the Francophonie Summit in Quebec City. The Department of Foreign Affairs, for example, is requesting an additional budget of $560,000. Does Treasury Board know how much all of the departments, for example, the RCMP, Heritage Canada, Foreign Affairs, et cetera, will spend on the Francophonie Summit in Quebec City?

My second question is about Lebanon. Two million dollars will be provided for reconstruction in Lebanon. This country has suffered damages that extend well beyond a billion dollars. For more than a century, the Lebanese community has contributed extensively to Canada's development. In return, Canada was extremely generous to the Lebanese community in Canada by affording it hospitality and the opportunity to develop in Canada. However, is $2 million not clearly insufficient for the purposes of rebuilding a country that has suffered extensive damages?

My third question is about the new embassy in Moscow. Why were the programs for this new embassy cut? The $30 million that was allocated to those programs have been reallocated elsewhere; however, do you think it makes sense to remove a new embassy, a new chancery for a G8 member?

Mr. Moloney: Fifty-two million dollars is being allocated to the Francophonie Summit under the 2007 budget. Treasury Board decided that this budget and funds that already existed within the department budgets would be allocated to this summit.

With respect to problems in Lebanon, the Government of Canada has stated that the funding would come out of the budgets of CIDA and other departments. This is simply a transfer or an additional amount.

With respect to Moscow, in 2005, the government authorized the department to undertake negotiations. During that time, funds were set aside. Approval from the Russian government was required. Because the negotiations were taking too long, the promoter decided to end the negotiations. It was a time issue.


Senator Stratton: I really do not have much to say with respect to questions, but what seems to be reverberating around the table as we talk about various things is the issue of staffing and the issue of gender equity. I think it is not so much questions for these gentlemen as for discussion around this table with respect to what we study next. I do not have questions for these gentlemen. However, I would reinforce what I sense out of the meeting this morning what is coming to the fore as issues that we should study.

The Chair: Thank you, Senator Stratton. I agree with you. A number of good points have come out from our discussion today that the steering committee will consider. The steering committee is a subgroup of this group that will look at future work of this particular committee and then bring it back to this committee as a whole.

Senator Murray: Allow me to sum up where we are: We have before us supplementary spending estimates in the amount of $13.6 billion. These were tabled in the Senate on October 30 and referred to this committee. The committee will meet again tomorrow night to discuss them. They were tabled in the House of Commons on or about the same date, October 30, and were referred immediately to the various committees involved.

Have you appeared before any committee of the House of Commons with regard to supplementary estimates?

Mr. Moloney: We have not appeared and the president has not appeared.

Senator Murray: Do you know of anyone who has appeared or expects to appear before committees of the House with regard to these estimates?

Mr. Moloney: Some departments, such as HRSDC, have appeared, as Mr. Pagan is aware.

The Chair: Could we get the questions on the record?

Senator Murray: Allow me to state that there is a drop-dead date, which I believe is in the week of December 3 that these estimates will have been deemed reported back to the House of Commons, whether some committees have ever opened the book. Is that not the case?

Mr. Pagan: Yes.

The Chair: That is an important point.

Senator Nancy Ruth: At page 137, under Status of Women, there is a line for $708,000, which is a forgiveness of a debt to the Native Women's Association of Canada that resulted from an administrative error. Could you tell me a bit about that?

The Chair: We are down to 20 minutes and I have another questioner. Can this question be answered quickly?

Mr. Pagan: Perhaps I could take the question and look for my notes.

Senator Ringuette: For my questions, I will await a response in writing through the chair.

In respect of the Guaranteed Income Supplement payment at page 176, the Supplementary Estimates (A) indicate that there are no additional funds required. I would like to know how many senior citizens are currently receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement; how many should receive the GIS; and what the current outreach programs of the department are to reach those seniors not receiving the GIS for which they are eligible. I will wait for the response in writing.

The Chair: Do you have a quick answer to Senator Nancy Ruth's question on the Status of Women program?

Mr. Pagan: Yes, we have an answer, senator. In May 2005, the government announced funding of $1 million over five years for a Status of Women program. The Treasury Board minister approved that program in October 2005 and Status of Women went on to make the payment of $708,000 to the Native Women's Association of Canada. They did so believing that they were operating within funds approved by Parliament. Subsequently, they learned that the Vote wording in place at the time did not allow them to make that payment and, because we got into an election during that period, they were not able to come back and correct the Vote wording in fiscal year 2005-06. As per our policies and accounting practices, the payment of the contribution was recognized as an account receivable due to the Crown. In 2006-07, the department's Vote wording was adjusted to allow them to do what had been approved for them to do and, in April of 2007, Treasury Board agreed to forgive the debt as a result of the adjustment to the Vote wording.

The Chair: Are there other outstanding matters other than the various undertakings you have given us that you want to comment on at this time, Mr. Moloney?

Mr. Moloney: We could provide some information on what HRSDC is doing in terms of CPP, GIS and OAS eligibility. Through Service Canada, the department is being more proactive to reach out directly to communities in the Service Canada offices. For example, they are partnering with an Aboriginal group, First Nations Social Development Society, to hold workshops for Aboriginal seniors and elders on reserve. They are working with Citizenship and Immigration and with immigrant-serving agencies to ensure that immigrants to Canada are aware of their eligibility. There is an effort in the City of Ottawa to reach the homeless and near-homeless seniors. More generally, they are doing some environmental scans at this time to establish the needs of disabled groups in terms of trying to reach those groups proactively to ensure that they understand. We do not have the specific numbers in terms of the recipients but we will provide that information.

Senator Di Nino: Currently this issue is being discussed in the Senate and a full written response would be useful.

The Chair: Yes, I agree.

This has been a good session. Is the Treasury Board total budget to date about $5 billion?

Mr. Moloney: Do you mean the Treasury Board Secretariat?

The Chair: No, I am looking at the total estimate to date for Treasury Board ministry. What is your annual budget for Treasury Board? Do you think only of the TB Secretariat and not of Treasury Board as a whole?

Mr. Moloney: I will confirm that for you.

The Chair: I am looking at page 241 where it says, ``total estimate to date, Treasury Board ministry summary.''

Mr. Moloney: It is $4.7 billion. The sharp increase reflects the two new Central votes as well as the other Central votes. The actual operating budget is under $200 million at $177.9 million proposed in these estimates.

The Chair: Honourable senators can see that at pages 240 and 241. How many employees are there in total at Treasury Board?

Mr. Moloney: There are about 1,250.

The Chair: You will convey to the 1,250 employees, in particular those at the Treasury Board Secretariat that we appreciate very much the good work that they are doing to help

us through this maze of proposed government expenditure. We appreciate your attendance here today.

The committee adjourned.

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