Evidence of meeting #63 for Finance in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was changes.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Claude Poirier  President, Professional Serving Canadians Coalition, Canadian Association of Professional Employees
  • Tyler Sommers  Coordinator, Democracy Watch
  • Terrance Oakey  President, Merit Canada
  • Bob Linton  Director, Government and Political Affairs, United Food and Commerical Workers Union

12:45 p.m.

President, Merit Canada

Terrance Oakey

Sure. We're here to support the repeal of the measure that I spoke about earlier. We believe that the federal government doesn't really have a role in regulating wages in what is a high-paying industry. Whether it's a collective bargaining agreement—which the UFCW will enter into—or free competition between employers and employees directly, we think that's the best way to determine wages.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

For the record, he's talking about the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act, which is division 23 of part 4 of the bill.

Thank you.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Thank you.

Mr. Mai, the floor is yours.

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Poirier, you represent some 13,000 economists and social science services employees who advise the government on public policy, 4,600 financial professionals in the public service, 2,700 lawyers, 450 pilots, and so on. I think we can trust your numbers.

Of course, the government is playing a bit with the numbers. They don't trust the figures submitted by the parliamentary budget officer. His figure was 108,000 jobs lost. Do you agree with that number? What are your thoughts?

12:50 p.m.

President, Professional Serving Canadians Coalition, Canadian Association of Professional Employees

Claude Poirier

The parliamentary budget officer has gone through the same exercise as us, but in greater detail. He provided a figure for every year, and, for 2015, he estimated 106,000 or 108,000 jobs lost. It is a general figure that includes the private sector and the federal, provincial and municipal public services. You obviously end up with a lot of numbers, which are difficult to grasp.

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

You talked about 26,155 jobs lost in Ontario, including 18,199 in the private sector. In Quebec, my province, you mentioned about 13,299 jobs, including 9,314 in the private sector. In western Canada, it is some 7,500 jobs, in Atlantic Canada, 6,700, and in British Columbia, 5,800. You have identified those numbers by relying on what was in the budget.

We are really talking about an austerity budget, at a time when the Canadian economy is not running at its full potential—even the Conservatives say so. Could you tell us what impact those job losses will have on the overall economy?

12:50 p.m.

President, Professional Serving Canadians Coalition, Canadian Association of Professional Employees

Claude Poirier

There are all sorts of impacts. The one we are really worried about has to do with professionals who advise the government on the decisions it makes. The federal government has various roles to play. Statistics Canada, for example, provides services to the federal government, but also to the provinces, municipalities, universities and private businesses. If we reduce Statistics Canada's capacity to serve its clients, we are going to end up with a major shortage of information.

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

We are already seeing a lack of information. I think you have referred to some cuts as ideological. We already have that problem. We are also concerned about the services delivered to Canadians.

12:50 p.m.

President, Professional Serving Canadians Coalition, Canadian Association of Professional Employees

Claude Poirier

We are already seeing the impact on employment insurance. The time it takes to process a claim has almost doubled. If you need to make changes to an existing file, the wait time is between 100 to 120 days. Aircraft will no longer be inspected, because the inspectors' operating budget has been cut. The inspectors still have their jobs, but they are not able to travel to inspect the aircraft.

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

So there might even be some problems in terms of safety.

12:50 p.m.

President, Professional Serving Canadians Coalition, Canadian Association of Professional Employees

May 29th, 2012 / 12:50 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

I would like to continue because this is really interesting, but

I'll go to Mr. Sommers.

You know that we've asked to split the bill. We've asked the government to have a look at doing that, but obviously it has refused. The PBO said that the lack of transparency is unacceptable. He has said that even we parliamentarians can't make decisions based on a budget that is not really detailed, where we don't know the consequences of the cuts or anything like that.

Looking at the budget, can you tell us a bit about what you see in terms of the reduction in the Auditor General's oversight, and maybe CSIS monitoring? Have you looked at those issues?

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

You have 30 seconds.

12:50 p.m.

Coordinator, Democracy Watch

Tyler Sommers

Thank you, Chair.

I'll quickly respond on the Auditor General's oversight, as I've looked into that more than the other oversight.

The issue is that there's going to be a reduction in what they're able to do and in the oversight they're able to employ. That's only part of the issue. Democracy Watch, as one group, has been advocating for the Auditor General to take a more proactive role and to do things such as random audits to ensure that everything is done according to legislation and according to policies and guidelines. That's something that is definitely going to fall off the table. There's no way to do that, because to expand the office, you're going to have to re-fund it and pick up all of the areas that are lost. So there are going to be some very difficult cuts that are going to hamper transparency and accountability.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Thank you.

We'll go to Mr. Van Kesteren, please.