Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Finance

Issue 21 - Evidence - June 5, 2012 (morning meeting)

OTTAWA, Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance met this day at 9:30 a.m. to examine Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.

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


The Chair: Honourable senators, this morning we are beginning our study of Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.


The committee began its consideration of the Main Estimates for 2012-13 in early March this year, is ongoing and will continue throughout the year. This morning's meeting constitutes the beginning of the committee's examination of the Supplementary Estimates (A).

We are pleased to welcome back officials from the expenditure management sector of Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Appearing this morning are Mr. Bill Matthews, Assistant Secretary; Ms. Marcia Santiago, Senior Director; and Mr. Darryl Sprecher, Director.

Mr. Matthews, I understand that you have a deck that you would like to take us through. We will be pleased to hear from you, after which we will get into some questions and answers.


Bill Matthews, Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector: Thank you, Mr. Chair, for having invited us to this morning's meeting in order to assist the committee in its study of Supplementary Estimates (A) for fiscal year 2012-13.

As you have just mentioned, I am accompanied this morning by two colleagues: Marcia Santiago and Darryl Sprecher. They will help me answer your questions.


I am aware that the committee usually likes to begin its study of any of the estimates documents with a presentation from Treasury Board Secretariat to provide an overview of the whole-of-government picture. We will do our best to give you that this morning and to respond to any questions the committee has. I would remind you that much of the content comes from departments, so if there are detailed questions about certain departments, there may be a requirement to follow up directly with the departments. We will certainly do our best to answer those questions.

I have a short presentation I would like to walk you through to help the committee in focusing its questions. I will start on page 2 of the presentation, which I hope you have it in front of you. Yes, you do.

This will be a quick overview of what I plan to walk through this morning. We continually try to make improvements to the supplementary estimates and estimates documents. I will highlight for you the changes in terms of format in this document. I will give a quick reminder of how this document is organized, and then we will get into the content of the Supplementary Estimates (A) for the year 2012-13 and take you through some of the major items as well as the horizontal items.

On slide 3, we have outlined the changes we have made to the format of this document in an effort to make them more understandable. There are a couple of things we should highlight for you. We have added a new table on page 11, in both English and French versions of the estimates, to highlight the largest dollar changes to individual departments. If you are looking for a quick way to focus on the changes, page 11 gives you the major dollar amounts. This is an improvement, we hope, to this version of the document, and we will continue with it if we get some feedback that it is helpful.

It shows, for instance, that Public Works has an increase of $208 million in their capital vote. That is actually an increase of 72 per cent over what they had in the Main Estimates. CIDA has $162 million for grants and contributions, which is an increase of 5.5 per cent. It gives you a sense of relativity when looking at these estimates.

I appreciate that this may not be overly helpful for Supplementary Estimates (A), because it is a fairly small document, but I think you will appreciate this more when you hit Supplementary Estimates (B), which tends to be bigger than the other estimates. This will let you focus in on some of the greater changes.

Other highlights of our changes can be found at page 18, in both the English and French versions, where we have listed all organizations. In past practice, we included only organizations that were receiving funding in the supplementary estimates. If you have a question or are interested in a certain department, you will see it there, even if there is no money attached to it in Supplementary Estimates (A). It is one-stop shopping in terms of looking for departments and what is going on.

There are a couple of other points. Additional information for Supplementary Estimates (A) is available online. It is a summary of changes to statutory forecasts, of which there are very few this time around, and tables showing funding allocated to departments from central votes. In an effort to keep printing costs down, we put some additional information online.

Finally, the other change we have made is horizontal items, which is not a new thing but does get a lot of attention. We have moved it further forward in the document, so it comes right after the introduction section. The horizontal items tend to show up in multiple estimates documents. If you are looking for horizontal items, you will see them on page 14.


I believe it is on page 13 in the French version.


The Chair: All you have done is moved them closer to the front. Is that right?

Mr. Matthews: That is all we have done. We changed the position, in case you were looking for it.

At slide 4, we have a quick summary of how the document is organized. We have the introduction and major changes to planned expenditures for both voted and statutory items. As I mentioned, we then walk you through the horizontal items and summary tables, followed by the details by department, agency or Crown corporation. The vast majority of this document is the actual page-by-page breakdown for each organization. At the end of the document, you will see the proposed schedule to the appropriation bill, which is based on the content of the Supplementary Estimates (A). That gives you a sense of what will be coming when the appropriation bill is tabled. As it says on slide 4, additional information is provided online.

At slide 5, we can get into the content of the Supplementary Estimates (A). You are seeing a fairly small supplementary estimates of $2.1 billion in voted, $0.2 billion in statutory, for a total of $2.3 billion in budgetary spending for Supplementary Estimates (A). There are no changes to our non-budgetary amounts, which are typically things that relate to assets and liabilities. Budgetary items typically affect the deficit surplus of the government and affect the bottom line directly.


For a comparison of these Supplementary Estimates (A) with those of previous years, we can go to page 7.


As I mentioned, this is a fairly small supplementary estimate. In 2011-12, the voted amount for Supplementary Estimates (A) was $2 billion and this year it is $2.1 billion. The amounts are very similar. I would highlight that 2011- 12 was also an unusually small Supplementary Estimates (A). We restricted that tightly because of the election. We did not have a lot of time on our hands so Supplementary Estimates (A) in 2011-12 was very small at $2 billion.

If you look back to 2010-11, it was $3.3 billion. If you are interested in going even further back, 2009-10, Supplementary Estimates (A) was $6.5 billion, 2008-09 was $4 billion, and if you go back to 2007-08 I believe we were just over $13 billion. This is indeed a very small Supplementary Estimates (A) compared to previous years but consistent with what you would have seen last year.

Slide 7 is a summary of the major voted items. These Supplementary Estimates (A) are fairly easy from a study perspective because some major items make up about 85 per cent of the total. It is fairly easy for you to hone in on what the big dollar amounts are so I will highlight a few of those now. They are also mentioned in the Supplementary Estimates (A) document.

The major voted items, which I suspect many of your questions will relate to today, Treasury Board Secretariat, we have the pay list requirement for cash-out of accumulated severance of $850 million. This is similar to the amount you saw last year for the same purpose of $1.1 billion, if memory serves me correctly. You will recall that this relates to the negotiation to cease the accumulation of severance benefits. As collective agreements have been renegotiated, the accumulation of severance benefits has ceased for voluntary departure.

What that has not changed is the severance benefits that have been earned by employees up to that point. There is a liability to employees for the severance they had earned up to the point they stopped accumulating. With the cessation of accumulation of severance, employees are given the option to cash out their earned benefits now or to wait until a future date to actually receive a cheque.

This amount represents our estimate of how much we feel will be cashed out this year. It is a difficult amount to estimate. This does not relate to workforce adjustment or anything to do with the deficit reduction action plan. This is the cessation of the accumulation of severance benefits for voluntary departure.

The estimate is based on an assumed cash-out rate of 75 per cent. We are assuming that roughly 75 per cent of people who can cash out early will exercise that option. We used the same estimate last year of 75 per cent, and preliminary numbers for 2011-12 tell me we are at about 71 per cent. We have used the same rough estimate in terms of the number of employees who will elect to cash out their severance, and we have an amount of $850 million for this year. That amount, as I mentioned, is difficult to estimate. It depends on two things: the percentage of employees who elect to get cashed out, but also the number and speed with which we negotiate new collective agreements. If a new collective agreement is negotiated more quickly or more slowly than planned, that then will change this estimate. That is our best estimate at this point in time.

As I said, our estimate of 75 per cent cash-out rate turned out to be quite accurate last year so we are using the same estimate this year. That is a fairly significant chunk of the roughly $2 billion in voted spending in the Supplementary Estimates (A).

The second item on your list is Public Works and Government Services Canada. This is the rehabilitation of the parliamentary precinct, $243 million. That includes funds for the rehabilitation work itself, as well as the work required to occupy or secure some swing space. Because of that renovation, people will be moving out of offices and going into new offices, so there is also a need to lease in the short term, at least, some new space. That is a fairly long project, as you are aware, I am sure, of 25 years. The project itself is actually 18 individual projects, but we tend to treat it like one big one when we speak about it, but it is 18 individual projects that Public Works and Government Services is managing. It includes the parliamentary precinct as well as the former Bank of Montreal building and any swing space they need to negotiate and occupy to make that project happen.

In the third item on the list there is a group of departments related to the Copenhagen Accord, which is Canada's commitment under the Copenhagen Accord. The lion's share of the money there belongs to the Canadian International Development Agency. Roughly $171 million of that $203 million belongs to CIDA. The big chunk of that is unconditionally repayable contributions to a couple of international development banks. I believe the total there is about $150 million of the CIDA money goes to international development banks in relation to Canada's commitment under the Copenhagen Accord. As listed, there are a few departments as well that receive money under that item: Environment Canada, Foreign Affairs and Parks Canada. However, the lion's share is with CIDA.

The next item on the list is Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, nuclear laboratory operations and safety upgrades, $160 million. I think senators will be familiar with this item from previous years, but this relates to Budget 2012. There was ongoing funding for isotope production as well as the wind-down of dedicated facilities and Chalk River health and safety type work.

Aboriginal claims settlements of $150 million. I believe we have spoken about that item here before, but I am happy to take questions on that one. A few of these, as I have said, you have seen in previous years. Natural Resources Canada has some money in here for Port Hope waste cleanup of $73 million, which is a project that has been going on for a number of years.

In relation to VIA Rail, we have $68 million for pension requirements, and, lastly, RCMP First Nations community policing for $41 million. There are two small items on the statutory front, which are Agriculture Disaster Relief and Industry Knowledge Infrastructure Program of $53 million.

Mr. Chair, those big items make up roughly 85 per cent of the spending in the Supplementary Estimates (A), so it is probably a good way to focus your attention.

Next is slide 8. I will try not to repeat myself as I go through this because some of these items have shown up on the previous page, but we do have the horizontal items. These are items that you see typically over multiple years and that often have multiple departments impacted or receiving funding under those. I have spoken about the Copenhagen Accord already, but it is there. You also have $51 million for government advertising. There is a group of departments that receive money under that, including Finance Canada, Heritage and HRSDC, to name a few.

There is the Cyber Security Strategy, $31 million. Again, there are multiple departments in there. You have food and safety inspection, $10 million, which relates to both Agriculture Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. There is sustainability and maintenance for the Port of Churchill for $6 million, and then the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games for $3 million. Those games do not start until 2015, but there is some upfront work required to actually make those games happen.

Just to wrap up, Mr. Chair, there are $2.1 billion in budgetary voted expenditures included in Supplementary Estimates (A), as well as a forecasted increase of $0.2 billion in statutory spending. There are 44 departments and agencies represented by that spending, and these Supplementary Estimates (A) do support the appropriation act that will be tabled at some point in June.

I also believe, Mr. Chair, the last time I was here I gave a quick update on the study of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates as they are studying the format and content of estimates. If you want, I can give a quick update on what they have been up to as well.

The Chair: That would be helpful.

Mr. Matthews: As you know, in addition to studying the estimates document, they are spending some time studying the process and content and how we can better improve those documents. They have, to my knowledge, finished calling witnesses. They had quite a variety of witnesses show up at that committee to give them advice on a couple of things. The themes they looked at were how to better align budget and estimates, or is there a need to align them at all? That was a fundamental question — the idea of accrual versus cash and what is the right format for the estimates, which is something we often bump into.

We have accrual accounting for our budget in our financial statements. We have a cash-based system for our appropriations. Does that make sense or should they be on the same basis? They have looked at what the vote structure should be. We currently have a vote structure based on operating capital, grants and contributions.

Since parliamentarians and senators typically think of departments in terms of programs, maybe you should be voting on a program basis. That is one of the other issues that have come up. There was a lot of discussion about time. If you play with the timing of certain documents, does that help the alignment between the budget and the estimates?

Suffice it to say they got a variety of opinions on all issues. There was not really one theme. I will say the vast majority of witnesses advised against moving to accrual appropriations, with one exception. They thought from an understandability perspective, and looking at the experience of other countries, that the cash-based system was more understandable. Certainly they did not see the greater value in moving to accrual. As I said, there was one exception there.

On the others, it was all over the map, to be quite frank. On the alignment of budget and estimates some witnesses said it is absolutely critical that they be aligned. Others were saying that these are two very different documents. A budget is a policy document. An estimates document is a document that outlines the planned spending in a cash basis for the year, and the two of them do not really need to be all that aligned, but maybe there are some things we can do to improve the alignment.

It was all over the map in terms of the advice from witnesses. To my knowledge the committee is now drafting its report. I am not sure of the time frames to actually table a draft report, but the committee has finished calling its witnesses, and I would assume we would see a draft report fairly soon.

The Chair: Can we assume that Treasury Board Secretariat has a preferred approach on some of these issues, or are you just standing back and listening?

Mr. Matthews: We do not necessarily have a preferred approach, chair, but we want to make sure that the committee understands the implications of what they are recommending. If you were to change the vote structure to go to a program-based structure, that is not something that would happen overnight. It might take three to five years. If you moved from cash to accrual, that is, again, a significant change because it means changing all of the systems and controls that we have underlying the appropriations. Departments have strong systems in place to make sure that they do not overspend their appropriations, and that is all built on a cash system. If you change the rules, you are rebuilding systems. There is a cost, but there is also a time constraint. It takes time to do those sorts of things, so we wanted to make sure that that was well understood.

I should also mention that, if you move to a program-based vote, it would be important for members of Parliament and senators to understand that that would involve some allocations. If you have capital, it is pretty clear that it is capital versus operating. If you are moving into a world where you are voting on programs, you have people who are partially occupied, 50 per cent of the time on one program, 50 per cent on another. How exact do you really have to be when you are voting on a program? As long as parliamentarians and senators were okay with an allocation, you could do that.

We spent a lot of time talking about that. We also spent a lot of time talking about the role of Treasury Board itself, how Treasury Board approval is needed to get into the estimates and what better aligning the estimates to the budget might mean. It would potentially mean a fall budget, the concept being that the greater the separation of time between the budget and the estimates, the greater the alignment. Department of Finance colleagues were there as well, and they outlined that, if you had a fall budget, yes, the alignment would improve, but you would be doing your economic forecasts six months before the year started, which would compromise their accuracy to a certain extent. We do not necessarily have a preference in terms of what was recommended, but we did do our best to ensure that the committee members understood the options that they were considering.

The Chair: So that honourable senators will understand, is Treasury Board Secretariat sitting there as an adviser to the committee, or will you just appear as a witness like any other witness?

Mr. Matthews: We appeared as a witness like any other witness. We did spend some time with the committee in advance of their study, more to set the stage and provide an explanation of the current process, and then we were summoned back as witnesses, just like any other witness. It would not surprise me if we were asked for feedback on recommendations, but, as of now, we are just like any other witness.

The Chair: That is helpful. Thank you. Probably at Supplementary Estimates (B) we will ask you for another update as to how that is going. That is helpful to us.

Senator Ringuette: My first question is with regard to the issue you have just been talking about. The Public Accounts book is based on cash. The reports are based on cash, not on accrual?

Mr. Matthews: No. There is a mix in the Public Accounts book. The basic concept we have in our reporting, both at the whole-of-government and at the department level, is that, whatever the basis for the planning document, we come back with actuals on the same basis. If you think about the budget as a planning document, it is on accrual, and it outlines revenues and expenses and projects, in this case, a deficit for the year. Volume I of the Public Accounts is on full accrual, so it would be your companion piece to the budget. The budget projected a deficit of X dollars. You would go to Public Accounts Volume I to see how it actually mapped out. The supporting balance sheet, with assets and liabilities, is on accrual as well. If you think about the estimates as a whole-of-government planning document, which also details by department, it is a cash-basis document. It is important that parliamentarians and senators get information back on how much departments actually spent. If you went to Volume II of Public Accounts, which is the companion piece to the estimates, you would see a cash-basis document because it lines up with the estimates. You will see what departments had for authorities and what they actually spent on a cash basis. You do see a mix in Public Accounts for that reason.

I would make the same comment on any of the individual reports that we have — departmental reports on plans and priorities. The companion piece there is departmental performance reports, so there is the same basis of accounting for the two.

Senator Ringuette: Now to the issue at hand, government advertising programs at $51 million. You said earlier that more than one department was involved in the advertising program. Could you — or maybe you already have — give us a list of the departments, the money involved for each department and what it is advertising?

Mr. Matthews: I can give you a quick run-through. I will start in no particular order. Canadian Heritage has roughly $1.2 million, and I believe that is around the commemorative events for the War of 1812. Citizenship and Immigration has, if I recall correctly, about $5.5 million. I will turn to my colleagues to correct me if I am wrong. That is largely around immigration files and services to new Canadians.

Senator Ringuette: Services for new Canadians?

Mr. Matthews: Citizenship and Immigration has $5.5 million, and $3.5 million of that is for services to new Canadians; $1 million relates to immigration fraud. Anything else?

Darryl Sprecher, Director, Expenditure Management Portfolio, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat: There are a couple of small items in there as well. There is about $500,000 for a citizenship guide campaign and about another $400,000 for the recruitment of foreign skilled workers.

Senator Ringuette: Did you say $400,000?

Mr. Sprecher: Yes.

Mr. Matthews: Department of Finance has $16 million for Canada's Economic Action Plan.

Senator Ringuette: There is no more of that.

Mr. Matthews: I assume it is related to Budget 2012.

Mr. Sprecher: Yes.

Mr. Matthews: I misspoke; I am sorry.

Senator Ringuette: That is to promote the budget?

Mr. Matthews: Correct. My apologies. I am too used to saying  "economic action plan. " It is for Budget 2012.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade has $5 million there. Maybe I can turn to Mr. Sprecher to add detail on that.

Mr. Sprecher: There is $4 million for an information-for-travellers campaign to promote the website. There is another $1 million for the campaign to support Canadian business in foreign markets.

Senator Ringuette: There is $4 million to promote?

Mr. Sprecher: The new website and to better prepare Canadians for travel.

Senator Ringuette: Is that not an ongoing thing? It is on the Internet. It only needs upgrading. There is $4 million for that?

Mr. Matthews: Health Canada has $5 million for protecting the health and safety of Canadians. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has $13 million.

Senator Ringuette: That is for what?

Mr. Matthews: Of the $13 million, $8 million is for the changes related to Old Age Security, and $5 million is for a program around better jobs.

Senator Ringuette: Better jobs?

Mr. Matthews: Yes.

There is $5 million for Natural Resources Canada around responsible resource development. Lastly, there is $250,000 for Status of Women for the prevention of violence against women and girls.

Senator Ringuette: Okay. I will look further into these items. Meanwhile, you have indicated the severance dues. Treasury Board administers those because it is in the collective agreement. Does Treasury Board also administer the two different bonuses for managers, the bonus per se and the other one that is called the pay at risk?

Mr. Matthews: Managing in terms of the cash?

Senator Ringuette: Yes. Well, managing. What is the process? These two items fall under your responsibility at Treasury Board.

Mr. Matthews: The input into the program, broadly speaking — and I believe I had colleagues here from the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, OCHRO, last week or the week before — around executive compensation and bonuses, as you have put it, comes from OCHRO and the Privy Council Office. In terms of detailed management of the program, we do not really have a role in that.

Senator Ringuette: I understand that PCO seems to be spearheading the distribution of these funds, but are these two funds under your administration or under PCO administration?

Mr. Matthews: The actual dollars would be in departments' reference levels. You would actually see departments have money in their reference levels to allow them to —

Senator Ringuette: According to what? Based on what?

Mr. Matthews: The actual broad design of the program would be with OCRO and PCO, but if you are looking for which vote, for a vote in the estimates that will support that, you will not see one.

Senator Ringuette: If a Canadian taxpayer would like to know what it is for this year, and last year, for that matter, the amount of tax dollars in regards to the bonuses and the pay at risk and which department was allotted how much money and who decided on that allotment, where would they go?

Mr. Matthews: To find out what was spent by each department, you would have to inquire with each department.

Senator Ringuette: You have to inquire through each department?

Mr. Matthews: I am not aware of disclosure in terms of —-

Senator Ringuette: PCO, as the head figure in all of this, would not know?

Mr. Matthews: PCO might know how much was set aside, but in terms of how much was spent, I am not aware of any source where it is actually published. It might be a better question to ask PCO.

Senator Ringuette: Chair, could I make a special request that this committee request PCO to appear before us?

The Chair: Based on what part of supplementary estimates?

Senator Ringuette: Based on tax dollar spending.

The Chair: From the point of view of an ongoing study of the estimates, not specifically on some items in this?

Senator Ringuette: Yes.

The Chair: We will make note of that. I will put you on round two.

Senator Finley: Thank you for your presentation. I want to go back to something that Senator Ringuette started, and that is the presentation of the materials. We do not get much time to study these things, as you are probably aware. One always likes to try to prepare for them. I like to work with a computer, and I have gone to the Treasury Board site and downloaded, for example, Public Works data, estimates and so on and so forth. It is in PDF, which frankly is pretty useless in terms of working with it. I have tried all kinds of PDF converters to turn tables back into tables without a great deal of success. Quite frankly, in order to really absorb and analyze some of this data, would it not be helpful if the tables were set aside in either spreadsheet format or a delimited format so it could be converted to spreadsheets to allow senators and senators' staff to apply further analysis as they wish? Is there a way of doing that that would not cost the taxpayer an arm and leg? This data must come from somewhere.

Mr. Matthews: Thank you for the question. We do take the point. We are aware it is a frustration. One of the discussion items we have had with the House of Commons committee as well was how to make this information more user-friendly. One suggestion was that putting it in Excel or something like Excel would be helpful, as well as linking the documents. It is one thing to know what they have actually asked for in terms of spending, but knowing what they spent last year would be helpful in understanding that too, and if you could put it all together, that would be helpful. We are looking at doing that under the open data strategy and putting up data that is more user-friendly and useable. I hope we will have more news on that front soon, but we take the point and agree.

Senator Finley: Thank you. It would be very helpful.

I want to go to the pay list requirements, the $150 million in payment of accumulated severance. I must admit a certain haziness here as to just what this is. You said it has nothing to do with current readjustments of the public service or public service manning, and it is part of collective agreements. It depends on a lot of things, including how quickly we negotiate public service agreements. How many collective agreements are covered by this? Is it possible to obtain a list of the various collective agreements and their expiry enrollment data?

As well, I am getting the picture that the employees receive this either voluntarily or involuntarily, but 100 per cent of them receive it. Is that entirely government-funded, or is there something like a pension contribution factor from the employees themselves?

Mr. Matthews: I will start with the first question. To give you some context, this is severance that was in all collective agreements that I am aware of. There are 27 collective agreements managed by Treasury Board. There are others for separate employers, but let us deal with the 27 that Treasury Board deals with.

The basic formula in the old agreements was you essentially earned one week of severance for every year you worked, and you received that severance whether you left voluntarily or otherwise. That was basically the formula for accumulation. The government was recording a liability for every year that its employees worked, and the liability on the books for severance accumulated, as of last year, was roughly $6 billion, to give you some context.

As I mentioned, there are 27 agreements that Treasury Board manages from an employer perspective, and you also had the EX group as well, which is not a collective agreement but they were receiving the same benefit, and that has been stopped as well.

Of the 27 agreements, eight groups have now signed to have it eliminated, and we are continuing to negotiate away the new ones as they come up for negotiation. We have not reopened any existing agreements to specifically tackle this issue. We are tackling it as the agreements expire.

In terms of a list of the other 20 or so and when they expire, we would have to get back to you with that list in writing. I do not have it with me, but we can certainly provide that list of the 27 and when they expire.

You are going to see this for a number of years, is the bottom line, as agreements expire. There was $1.1 billion, roughly, paid out last year, and we were estimating $1.3 billion. This year, we are saying $850 million and, depending upon the pace of negotiations and what percentage of employees opt for early payout, we will see if that number needs to be adjusted as the year goes on.

As to whether it is solely funded by the taxpayer or a joint contribution, there is no contribution to this from the employees. This was 100 per cent —

Senator Finley: This is like a rainy day program. In private industry, if I decide to step up and change jobs, there is no expectation that my employer will give me a golden handshake. There is an expectation, and sometimes negotiated, that if one loses one's job for reasons outside the person's control, they will get a week for every year or a month for every year or whatever the data is.

This strikes me as very expensive program, and I would like to know, as you negotiate this right away, or this perk, I suppose, what are we giving up in return? Usually, most collective agreements are quid pro quo. If you take $850 million or $6 billion of liability and dissolve it in some way, is there a quid pro quo?

Mr. Matthews: We are not taking the $6 billion away. That is severance earned under existing collective agreements. The way it is being managed is to recognize that that has been earned, and we are not going to go back and retroactively adjust what has been earned. It is only on a go-forward basis that we are stopping the accumulation of severance. We have to pay out the $6 billion, and the question is over what time period. We are leaving that up to the employees as they negotiate things.

You are right: It is an expensive program and that is why it is being eliminated. Once all is said and done, when the last agreement has been negotiated, it will be annual savings of roughly $500 million a year. I cannot comment specifically on what is given up in return for this because, when they do collective agreements, there are all sorts of things in play, such as working hours, general inflation and wage increases. To be able to say we gave up this for that, I cannot comment. However, when all is said and done, there will be a savings of roughly $500 million.

Senator Finley: Are you aware of any other government jurisdictions in Canada, or perhaps anywhere, that have had a similar rainy day payout system?

Mr. Matthews: Yes, a few of the provinces had it. They are in a similar situation and have taken or will take steps to eliminate this as well.

Senator Finley: Are there any internationally?

Mr. Matthews: Not internationally, but I cannot say it does not exist; I am just not aware.

The Chair: As a point of clarification, Mr. Matthews, as you negotiate the end of this severance package, one of the options is to take it immediately. The employee does not have to leave in order to get that lump sum payment immediately.

Mr. Matthews: No. When the accumulation of severance is negotiated, you are left with how much the employee has actually earned. The process is the same in most departments, where the employee gets a letter saying how much they are owed based on past service and asked how they would like to receive it. They can take it now or wait until they retire. I believe that some even had an option to have some now and some later. It is up to the employee. They do not have to leave to receive it.

The Chair: What type of incentive are you giving to leave it with the government and take it later? Is there any interest payment on it?

Mr. Matthews: I assume there is an interest component but I cannot speak to the rate.

The Chair: Is it in the government's interest not to have to pay it out immediately and, therefore, to pay a higher interest rate to keep it in there?

Mr. Matthews: I would have to check the facts, but I am assuming they would have a rate that made it neutral, which would be the logical thing to do.

The Chair: Could you determine what that incentive might be?

Mr. Matthews: Sure.

Senator Nancy Ruth: I want to ask about the $150 million in the Department of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs. It says in our briefing notes that this money is to rectify historical wrongs arising from alleged non-fulfilment of legal obligations or the improper administration of lands and other assets under the Indian Act.

Can you tell me how far back this $150 million is to cover? Is there any more stuff that we have not paid out that we should have paid out? How much will that be? How many times have we done this before? What is this?

Mr. Matthews: I can provide some information. This flows from the 2007 Specific Claims: Justice At Last action plan. One measure in that action plan was to set up the Specific Claims Tribunal Canada, an independent adjudicative body to settle these claims. It is the same issue we bump into with the severance. The amount that is spent every year is driven by how many claims are negotiated and the value of them. The government set aside roughly $250 million per year to pay out these claims. A total funding envelope of about $2.6 billion has been set aside. Depending on the year, some years we are higher than $250 million and some years we are lower. With Supplementary Estimates (A), we are signaling that the department feels that because of negotiations they hope to conclude this year, they will be above the $250 million. Effectively, this will lower payouts in future years because they are negotiating faster than they originally intended. That is because there was an attempt to accelerate and reduce the backlog of these claims.

Senator Nancy Ruth: How many years do the claims go back? Is it 20 years, 50 years or 100 years?

Mr. Matthews: Much longer than that.

Marcia Santiago, Senior Director, Expenditure Information Division, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat: Many of them are breaches of treaty, so they are historic claims. They go as far back as events right after the treaties were signed.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Many governments have been aware that this has been a problem, and this is the first government that has put up the $2.6 billion.

Ms. Santiago: The specific claims policy, per se, goes back to the early 1990s. There have been different attempts under different governments to resolve the backlogs of historic specific claims.

Senator Nancy Ruth: How long do they expect the negotiations to go on? How much of the $2.6 billion have we spent?

Mr. Matthews: As of January 2012, roughly $900 million has been paid out. That means there is roughly $1.7 billion remaining in the fund. Those payments under this action plan started in 2009-10. I have it in my head that this could be another 10 years, but that is my vague recollection.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Should we expect an inflation factor in the amount of settlements; and, therefore, could it be larger than the monies set aside?

Mr. Matthews: The amount, as you said, will depend on the negotiations, and inflation could be one factor. It is one of the items that will depend on the negotiations. It is impossible to speculate whether that is too much, not enough or the right amount. We will see as we get closer to the time.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Thank you.

Senator L. Smith: To follow up on Senator Nancy Ruth's question, is there an estimate of the total outstanding claims?

Mr. Matthews: The funding set aside is $2.6 billion. If you went to the Public Accounts of Canada, Volume I, you would see some fairly fulsome disclosure on the liabilities acknowledged around the claims. The challenge is when a claim is in early days in terms of negotiation, so you cannot estimate a liability.

Senator L. Smith: What would the liability be?

Mr. Matthews: I am not certain. I am sorry, but I cannot answer that.

Senator L. Smith: It probably would be helpful in terms of balancing the negotiations.

Senator Eaton: Funding for the Copenhagen Accord: I see under your horizontal estimates the Canadian International Development Agency, Environment and Foreign Affairs and International Trade. What kind of accountability do we have under the Copenhagen Accord? We are giving this to other countries. Do we give them the money in an envelope and it is kind of goodbye? Do we have follow-up? Do we give it as they do things and bills become due? How do we give it out?

Mr. Matthews: There is a mixture in terms of accountability depending on who the recipient is. Some of these funds are going directly to local NGOs to do the work. The accountability relationship is then with the local NGO. That is the case with most of the money that DFAIT receives under this program. You would base your structure on your history of working with that organization. Depending on the cash flow, you might pay them up front or you might wait until they have done the work.

Some of the larger chunks under CIDA are unconditionally repayable contributions to large international development banks. They are not being given directly to another country, and the relationship is through the international development bank in question. Again, it is unconditionally repayable, but the government is funding up front.

Senator Eaton: Is there any accountability through those banks, or do you simply deposit the money and it is goodbye?

Mr. Matthews: Typically when a decision is made to work with a bank, it is based on track record. The accountability would be with the bank, and it is up to the bank to administer those agreements.

Senator Eaton: Can you tell us which banks you deal with?

Mr. Matthews: There are two in question: One is the Inter-American Development Bank, and I will turn to Mr. Sprecher for the other name.

Mr. Sprecher: The other is the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Senator Eaton: They both have excellent track records, do they? I guess I have been spoiled by too many stories where the money goes to other things.

Mr. Matthews: That is probably a good discussion to have some time with the department responsible for giving out the money. It would be their logic for why this funding arrangement and why this organization. I cannot add much more to it.

Senator Eaton: My next question is on funding for implementation of Canada's Cyber Security Strategy. Obviously, we have a strategy, as the line implies, right? How long has the strategy been in place? Is it ongoing or is this something new?

Mr. Matthews: There are a couple of pieces here. I believe the strategy has been in place for about two years. This particular funding has a couple of purposes. One purpose is to strengthen government networks themselves. The second piece is actually educating Canadians on the risks around cybersecurity. The third piece is actually securing systems from cyberattack.

Senator Eaton: Is some of that classified information?

Mr. Matthews: Some may be. It was very public that Treasury Board itself was the victim of a cyberattack about a year and a half ago or so. We know there was a risk there and it is something that the government is trying to address.

Senator Eaton: There has been quite a bit of fuss about the environmental regulatory system because it is being streamlined. However, it seems here that we are putting more money into the regulatory system for the environment. Am I right in saying that?

Mr. Matthews: Can I ask you to tell me which page you are looking at?

Senator Eaton: I am looking at page 15,  "Funding to support regulatory reviews and to modernize the regulatory system for major resource projects. "

Mr. Matthews: Thank you. That is around streamlining and making more efficient the way we do those reviews for major resource projects. You are right; there is a lot of discussion about the regulatory environment. This is about making the path for those projects more efficient, and it has been in the previous supplementary estimates document as well. I am not sure if there is anything that should be added to that. It is around modernizing for major projects.

Mr. Sprecher: It is major resource projects.

Senator Eaton: In fact, we are streamlining it but we are also putting more money in to make it work better.

Mr. Matthews: We are changing it, exactly, yes.

The Chair: For clarification, the $171 million that the Canadian International Development Agency is transferring to certain banks, would that be a non-budgetary item?

Mr. Matthews: No, it is showing as budgetary.

The Chair: Why would that be? You said it was a loan, intended to be repaid at some time in the future.

Mr. Matthews: It is an unconditional repayable contribution, and you are right, loans typically are non-budgetary but contributions are typically charged as budgetary. When it in fact comes back in, we will make the adjustments to the books accordingly.

The Chair: Did you call it a repayable?

Mr. Matthews: Unconditionally repayable contribution.

The Chair: Even though it is repayable, you are still treating it as budgetary because you are anticipating you may not get this back; is that the reason?

Mr. Matthews: It is money to developing countries. We should keep that in mind. However, there is a difference between a loan and a contribution. Loans typically come with repayment schedules, et cetera. Contribution agreements we charge as budgetary. When the funds come back in, sometimes they are reinvested in other programs, and sometimes they come back to the fiscal framework.

Ms. Santiago: We have a similar arrangement with contributions to businesses. We have had a history with Chrysler, for example, where we have entered into contributions rather than loans. It is just a matter of how the agreement is structured with the recipient.

The Chair: That is interesting. I always thought the operative word was  "repayable. "

Ms. Santiago: It is actually  "contribution " that makes it budgetary.

Mr. Matthews: Mr. Chair, you can think of it this way: If it is part of a contribution program, money that comes back in would then be eligible quite often to be given out again to someone else as part of the contribution program. There is that turning over aspect. The contributions we treat as budgetary and loans as non-budgetary.

The Chair: Okay. Thank you.

Senator Runciman: I have a follow-up question on climate change projects in developing countries.

What kind of measures are in place to ensure accountability of those funds? I am not thinking just in terms of where the money has been spent but whether it has had an impact on climate change. Are their measurement tools in place to deal with those issues?

Mr. Matthews: There are tools. It is difficult to measure, but when a program is developed they do put in place performance metrics for how they it is measured. Most of our funding agreements, whether directly with an NGO or through something like international banks, will contain performance measurement expectations. Again, that would probably be a good discussion with the department about what those measures might be.

Senator Runciman: In the additional monies in the RCMP Public Complaints Commission, you talk about workload pressures and outreach. Have the numbers of complaints related to the RCMP increased dramatically? What is this all about?

Mr. Matthews: I am not certain if the number of complaints has increased. The wording of the workload pressures would imply that. I am going to ask my colleagues if they know anything about volume increase or if we should have a follow-up with the RCMP Public Complaints Commission.

Senator Runciman: I would be interested to get that information.

Senator Finley was talking about the quid pro quo with respect to severance and negotiating these out of collective agreements. It seems to me there should be some kind of standardization with respect to commonality related to all of these contracts if you are negotiating these out. I was reading a news story that referred to Gary Corbett, who is the president of PIPSC, which stated:

. . . he said his members have always been willing to give it up if they can get something worthwhile in return.

It would be interesting to know what the quid pro quo was here and it would seem to me, and I am sure Senator Finley's view, that you would suspect it would be a standardized approach across government in dealing with all of those collective agreements. If it is possible in some way to be better informed with respect to how this is being approached across the government, that would be helpful.

Mr. Matthews: I do not think it is a question of a one-for-one negotiation. That is the challenge in these. When collective negotiations commence there are typically a number of things on the table. Some have been expired for a number of years, so the retroactivity piece is also important, and they are negotiating other things besides just the elimination of severance. When they do this negotiation, it is not a matter of saying  "we will give up this for this, " but they look at the total package. I cannot tell you what the quid pro quo is. I can say, as I said before, that the overall savings once this is said and done will be roughly $500 million.

Senator Runciman: I think the chair raised the issue of the interest rate that is paid if an employee opts to keep the monies in that fund going forward. There must be some calculation with respect to what the implications are for the government going forward in that respect as well. It would be helpful for the committee to have that kind of information.

Mr. Matthews: We have noted a follow-up on that one and will get back to you with the rate.

Senator Runciman: As part of this issue too, and maybe I have this wrong, if someone who has 10 years of experience is laid off, they get 22 weeks of severance and then an additional 40 weeks in transition. Am I doing that calculation correctly? They would get 62 weeks of pay upon departure?

Mr. Matthews: You are now speaking about the workforce adjustment directive.

Senator Runciman: Yes.

Mr. Matthews: I believe there were colleagues here from the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer last week. They are better positioned to answer how that directive works.

Senator Runciman: I think it would strike most folks as very generous indeed.

When were the severance provisions initially instituted in government contracts? Do you have any idea?

Mr. Matthews: The workforce adjustment directive that you are speaking to was put in place I believe in the mid- 1990s after the program review came to pass.

Senator Runciman: Has it been enhanced over the years?

Mr. Matthews: I am not sure if it has been enhanced or if it has been relatively stagnant but, again, those questions are better asked of my colleague in the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer.

Senator Runciman: We have talked about the AECL one with their officials over the course of the last few years. Is the bulk of the $160 million in relation to the isotope production?

Mr. Matthews: There are a couple of things in there. One is around isotope production, the second is some ongoing health and safety work at the Chalk River lab itself, and there is a third small piece that relates to the severance we talked about. AECL faced the same severance elimination cessation of severance accumulation that the core public service did so they were taking steps on that front as well.

Senator Runciman: Has any of it to do with transfer of dollars to the purchaser?

Mr. Matthews: No. In regard to the transfer of dollars to the purchaser, when the CANDU division was sold to SNC-Lavalin provisions were put in place that any of the ongoing projects around nuclear reactor life extension that the Crown had put in place before the sale effectively remained the financial responsibility of the Crown. That funding is handled through statutory funding. That was actually part of the BIA 2011, if I recall correctly.

Mr. Sprecher: I do not have any further details on the breakdowns of the 160.

Senator Runciman: Perhaps we can have that provided as well.

The Chair: We might want to bring in someone to help us with that because there is this transition period, and there are outstanding claims — potential liabilities — at Point Lepreau, in New Brunswick, that you have talked to us about in the past.

Mr. Matthews: Point Lepreau is, I believe, one of those life extension projects that was in place when the divestiture occurred, so the Crown still has an ongoing role there.

The Chair: Are you able to give us some background information on this if you do some research? Then we will take it from there as to whether we should bring in someone as a witness.

Mr. Matthews: We can provide you with a further breakdown of what the funding is for at AECL. That is as far as we can take it.

The Chair: Are you able to tell us whether we are likely to see another $150 million or $200 million in Supplementary Estimates (B) or Supplementary Estimates (C)?

Mr. Matthews: I cannot say whether you will see additional funding in Supplementary Estimates (B) or Supplementary Estimates (C), but I would expect that you would continue to see funding for AECL until things are wrapped up. Whether it will be in B or C or in a subsequent year, who knows?

Senator Tkachuk: Just two questions to follow-up on Senator Finley's and Senator Runciman's points on the severance.

What was the reason for the severance to be established in the first place? Was it to give people incentives to leave the public service?

Mr. Matthews: I think it dates back quite a ways actually. If you go back long enough, government used to accumulate sick leave, and you could get paid out for your sick leave when you actually left the public service. That was eliminated a long time ago. I am going from memory here, so again a better question —

Senator Tkachuk: Sick leave dies every year?

Mr. Matthews: No, sick leave dies when you retire. You cannot say when you retire,  "I have 1,000 days of sick leave; please write me a cheque. " You do not get compensated for it in cash. If I recall correctly, the severance provision came into play roughly when the sick leave cash-out was eliminated. That might be worth confirming with my colleagues at OCHRO, but that is my recollection.

Senator Finley: Can you convert sick leave, in effect, into early retirement? Can you say,  "I have got a thousand days accumulated sick leave; therefore, I am retiring three years early? "

Mr. Matthews: You cannot take sick leave beyond a certain amount without proper notes from doctors and a disability claim. If you are on disability, that is a separate issue, but you cannot basically say,  "I have X number of sick days; you will see me in six months. "

Senator Tkachuk: On the Public Works and Government Services rehabilitation and parliamentary precinct, 243, that money was allotted for the West Block and the Wellington Building and for costs for leasing temporary space. Is that the building right behind here? Is that what we are talking about for the extra space? Is the promenade leased space, or is that government-owned?

Mr. Matthews: I am not certain what the leased space is. I know that, longer term, the plan is to renovate the Wellington Building.

Senator Tkachuk: They are doing that now.

Mr. Matthews: The idea is to use that as a fundamental provision of swing space while they do the major renovations. As you know, the Wellington Building needs additional work before it can be used as swing space, but renovating it is a key part of their swing space plan. I believe there is some other swing space in addition to that, but I am not certain which buildings it is.

Senator Tkachuk: I thought that the Wellington Building would be permanent space for senators and MPs.

Mr. Matthews: It will be permanent for some things, but it will also be temporarily used for other things while they do the major renovations.

Senator Tkachuk: At Centre Block?

Mr. Matthews: At Centre Block, yes.

Senator Tkachuk: Where is the leased space?

Mr. Matthews: I am not certain where the additional leased space is.

Senator Runciman: The Auditor General talked about governance problems in carrying on some of these projects and getting them done in a timely way. Has that issue been addressed, to your knowledge?

Mr. Matthews: Public Works has a fairly aggressive project management plan in place. We tend to think of this as one project. They are managing this as 18 individual projects. It is quite a complex project. It is a 25-year plan, with complex work. That is probably a better discussion to have with them in terms of what the governance structures are. It gets a lot of attention because there are significant dollars here and because it is a complex plan.

Senator Tkachuk: I have another question on this collective agreement. Could you find out for us when this agreement was made? When was the agreement that included the severance package signed? My understanding is that when an agreement ends, it ends. Everything is on the table really. If the government says,  "We want to get rid of this, " they try to negotiate their way out of it, and they do not need to have anything in return necessarily. What they need is the agreement of the union to get rid of this.

Mr. Matthews: Right. It is a negotiated agreement. What goes into the negotiations, I cannot comment on. As I mentioned earlier, there are some 27 agreements that Treasury Board is responsible for, but we will go back and make an effort to find out when severance —

Senator Tkachuk: Usually what happens is that they just follow up and add it up.

The Chair: The Library of Parliament has been able to provide us with some information that may be helpful in relation to the severance and why you would want to leave it in there until you retire. The rule that has been negotiated, apparently, is that, if you leave it in there, the one week per year you are entitled to is based on your salary at the time you cash out. If you anticipate that you will have a higher salary in five or ten years, the amount that you are cashing out could be considerably different and more than it would be if you took it early on. If there is any other factor, that would be helpful.

Mr. Matthews: We will confirm. I forgot that point, but you are correct.

Senator Tkachuk: That is part of it. If you are a younger person, it probably pays you to leave it in. If you are close to retirement — five years, say — you might be better off just taking it and putting it into an RRSP.

The Chair: I think it is starting to become a little clearer for us.

Senator Finley: Is there any tax impact on this money? It is not tax-free money, one would assume, when you cash out.

Mr. Matthews: When you cash out, it is treated like employment income.

Senator Runciman: They spread it over a number of years?

Mr. Matthews: I believe there was an option given to employees to take some now and some later. I do not think that they were allowed to set it up as an annual payment. It was all now, all later or some now and some later.

Senator Runciman: Three to five years probably.


Senator Chaput: My first question relates to the government advertising programs. In your presentation, you mentioned an amount of $51 million, for 8 departments. Does each one of these departments prepare its own advertising plan and choose its own activities, or is it the government that dictates the parameters to be followed by each one of these departments?


Mr. Matthews: My understanding is that the advertising for government is a centrally managed fund. To access that fund, departments have to come in with an approved advertising plan. The reason that we can tell you which departments are actually receiving money from this fund is because they had to have both the purpose of the plan and the plan itself approved to get access.


Senator Chaput: Which one of these departments spends the most money? You mentioned a total of $51 million for 8 departments, and I see, for example, that in the case of Health Canada, the amount is $5 million.


Mr. Matthews: Of the $51 million, the largest amount goes to the Department of Finance — $16 million related to the budget — and the second largest would be to HRSDC — $13 million. I am going from memory here, Mr. Chair, but my recollection is that those two departments are often high up on the list in terms of what gets spent in advertising.

Citizenship and Immigration is next up, with $5.5 million.


Senator Chaput: Some of this advertising is national in scope, but there is also some international advertising; what percentage of these amounts is for international advertising?


Mr. Matthews: I cannot respond to that, chair; I am sorry. By the nature of the advertising program, you can sort of make an estimate as to what is international and what is not. For instance, I am assuming Canadian Heritage, War of 1812, is all national. Promotion of the budget again is national, but when you get into things like Citizenship and Immigration, when you are recruiting foreign skills workers, presumably that would have an international component to it, and that is $5.5 million. With Foreign Affairs and International Trade, there is some promotion in there for some foreign workers as well. Those two would jump out as having international components to them. I cannot speak on the actual percentage.


Senator Chaput: And I assume that this advertising is done in both of Canada's official languages?


Mr. Matthews: Yes.


Senator Chaput: On page 8 of your presentation, you mention $10 million to modernize Canada's food safety inspection.

When I look at the budget, and I am still talking about the Department of Health, on page 56 of the English version of the supplementary estimates, there is an amount of half a million dollars, I believe, for food safety inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

What other department receives funding for food safety inspection apart from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency?

Mr. Matthews: There are three such departments. As you have already stated, on top of the Agency, there is the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food.


You will see some of this horizontal funding. The bulk of the work is Agriculture Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. They are doing some joint work in animal tracking. That is one of the key initiatives.


Senator Chaput: Is that work done by the staff of these departments or do these departments seek outside help, from consultants, for example?


Mr. Matthews: To my knowledge, the inspection is done by food inspectors with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. I am not aware of external help being used, but that would be a better question for the departments themselves. I am not aware of any.

Senator Ringuette: I am looking at the request here for $41 million from the RCMP for First Nation community policing. When I look at the latest item for last year's budget, which was Supplementary Estimates (C), under vote 45, there was $6 million for First Nation community policing services. When I look at the Main Estimates for this year, I do not see anything for the RCMP with regard to the policing of First Nations communities. This is a regular, permanent program. Why is it not, first, in the Main Estimates for this year, instead of coming to us as a supplementary request?

Mr. Matthews: There are a couple of points. It is indeed in the Main Estimates, but for the First Nations policing, the department that gets appropriated for that is Indian and Northern Affairs. Sorry, it is Public Safety.

Senator Ringuette: Yes. That is where I am looking.

Mr. Matthews: You did not see anything in the Main Estimates?

Senator Ringuette: No. There is nothing in the Main Estimates that I saw. Now we have an additional $38 million.

Mr. Matthews: What you are seeing in these supplementary estimates, while my colleague finds the Main Estimates references, is a transfer. That money gets adjusted during the year, depending on the policing needs. It is a transfer in. It is not new money. It is a transfer from one department to another to support First Nations policing. I believe in this case of Supplementary Estimates (A), and going from memory in Supplementary Estimates (C), the transfer was in Indian and Northern Affairs over to RCMP.

Ms. Santiago: In both cases, the transfer is from Public Safety, which is responsible for the program in general.

Senator Ringuette: Yes.

Ms. Santiago: The items you are seeing in both the final supplementary estimates last year and in these are the component of the service that is being provided by the RCMP. PSEP enters into arrangements with the RCMP in these instances to provide these services. You are absolutely right that the total program is not listed specifically by Public Safety in their Main Estimates.

Senator Ringuette: It is not under Indian and Northern Affairs in their Main Estimates either. It is nowhere in there.

Ms. Santiago: The heading is not specifically for First Nations policing. It is included under one of their strategic outcomes that is listed on page 292 of the Main Estimates.

Mr. Matthews: I would suggest that if we had a follow-up, we can maybe ask the department, Public Safety, to tell the committee how much of the money in the Main Estimates is dedicated to First Nations policing and under which strategic outcome. Would that be helpful, so you can at least see it?

Senator Ringuette: It should be done that way on a permanent basis. If you look at the Main Estimates, either under Indian and Northern Affairs or under Public Safety, it is nowhere identified.

Mr. Matthews: It is not identified in the Main Estimates. You are right.

Senator Ringuette: Then you come to us and say,  "We need $38 million to provide this specific service via the RCMP. "

Mr. Matthews: Right.

Senator Ringuette: That is a service, as far as I know, that has continuously been provided by the RCMP. Therefore, it should be, in my perspective, a permanent program and recognized as such either under Public Safety or Indian and Northern Affairs. Nowhere in the Main Estimates is it identified. However, you say it is in there. If it is in there, why are you asking for it in Supplementary Estimates (A)?

Mr. Matthews: In Supplementary Estimates (A), we are doing a transfer. There is funding in there, and then we are transferring in Supplementary Estimates (A). In terms of why it is not showing up as a distinct item in Main Estimates, if we were to list every item at that level of detail, we would be looking at 30,000 pages of estimates. Main Estimates are presented at a very high level. We can do a follow-up to tell you how much of the funds in Main Estimates relate to First Nations policing.

Senator Finley: I have a couple of questions. First, Public Works and Government Services has $208 million for building rehabilitation. I know you have said, and you have made this clear, that there are 18 major, stand-alone projects. However, I am assuming that they are linked together in some fashion or another, and I am assuming that they have got quite clear budgetary guidelines or commitments. Can you tell me if we are on budget? Are we on schedule with this parliamentary thing? I get the impression that there was sort of an unexpected chunk of money because of what had been done this year, and that was short. That may just have been a newspaper thing. I do not know. Are you, as the sort of fundamental controller of the organization, satisfied that we are on budget and schedule?

Mr. Matthews: We do not play the role of being comptroller of the organization in terms of this role. You are quite right; the projects are linked. If you are looking for more information, I believe Public Works' Reports on Plans and Priorities have some detail of what they are doing, either there or on the website. If you are interested in a good discussion about what the projects are and whether they are on schedule, that is a discussion for Public Works, and they are significant projects.

Senator Finley: Are we scheduled to see Public Works, Mr. Chair?

The Chair: We are not at this stage.

Senator Finley: I do not know whether we will or not.

The Chair: We will do our best.

Senator Finley: I would like to address this First Nations community policing of $41 million, which, on an administrative level, I think rightfully, has exercised Senator Ringuette. Do we know how many First Nations we are talking about here under this $41 million? This is surely not — or perhaps it is — for all First Nations communities, or are they very selective? Do we know how many communities and how many people would be covered by this?

Mr. Matthews: I do not know how many communities. I can tell you it is not all communities, but I cannot speak to how many communities or how many people. A better discussion there might be with Public Safety itself. I do not recall seeing anything in their Reports on Plans and Priorities in terms of the statistics here, so it may be a better discussion with the department itself.

Senator Finley: Possibly on the same and continuing note, the money for CIDA particularly, what did you describe it as, the non-negotiable?

Mr. Matthews: Unconditionally repayable contribution.

Senator Finley: So $150 million is to major development banks, one of which was the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the other the Inter-American Development Bank. You said they had operational parameters or metrics. Can you give me an example of what those metrics might be? Have you seen them or do you take the word of CIDA that they are operational?

Mr. Matthews: No. The reason I said they have them is when you do a program design there is a requirement to put in place some metrics. The actual discussion of what the metrics are, I cannot help you with. I just know what goes into the program design itself and what CIDA would do in terms of selecting the proper delivery agent for their dollars.

The Chair: I thank the Treasury Board Secretariat — Mr. Sprecher, Mr. Matthews and Ms. Santiago — very much for being here. We look forward to receiving, at your earliest convenience, those items that you will investigate for us. We will see you again with Supplementary Estimates (B), if not before.

Honourable senators, we will have a hearing tomorrow evening on the Supplementary Estimates (A), and I have heard that you wanted to hear from Public Works. We will try to do that. We are also trying to line up Transport, and there was a request for Privy Council Office on an issue. Are there any other departments or agencies of the government? They are usually easier to get than outside witnesses. This is tomorrow evening. Are there any others that came out of this hearing this morning that you particularly would like to have us try to have here in attendance?

Seeing none, I will just ask our clerk to keep on. Natural Resources Canada and Aboriginal Affairs have also been requested and that will all be tomorrow evening. It depends on what witnesses we can get for that.

Could I have a motion to go in camera?

It was moved by Senator Smith. All those in favour? Contrary-minded? The motion is carried.

(The committee continued in camera.)