Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
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
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,
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
The Chair: Can we assume that Treasury Board Secretariat has a
preferred approach on some of these issues, or are you just standing back
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 travel.gc.ca website.
There is another $1 million for the campaign to support Canadian business in
Senator Ringuette: There is $4 million to promote?
Mr. Sprecher: The new travel.gc.ca 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Senator Eaton: I am looking at page 15, "Funding to support
regulatory reviews and to modernize the regulatory system for major resource
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The Chair: I think it is starting to become a little clearer for
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.)