Evidence of meeting #17 for Industry, Science and Technology in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was program.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Richard Dicerni  Deputy Minister, Department of Industry
  • Kelly Gillis  Chief Financial Officer, Comptrollership and Administration Sector, Department of Industry
  • Michael Jenkin  Director General, Office of Consumer Affairs, Department of Industry

3:50 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Industry

Richard Dicerni

Let's consider the executive hierarchy. There's a minister. Mr. Clement is accountable and feels accountable, as much as Mr. Lebel might.

As deputy minister, I feel accountable for what happens in FedNor, the same as my deputy minister colleagues who are responsible for the regional agencies.

So I think there is the same level of accountability, but if it were an agency, there would be more executives and overhead.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

I understand that we have 21 minutes for the four of us.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Sweet

You have 17 minutes and 15 seconds right now.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Okay. I'll ask one more question and then pass it to Mr. Toone.

As for Industry Canada's operational expenses, we see on line 1b that $2.5 million was allocated to the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute to build a cyclotron to produce medical isotopes.

Given that Atomic Energy of Canada reports to Natural Resources Canada, I wondered why this amount was included in the expenses for the operation of Industry Canada.

3:50 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Industry

Richard Dicerni

This decision was made as part of the last budget. We wanted to support an initiative that came in part from the university in Thunder Bay, and we determined that it was the best way to carry out this program.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Philip Toone Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

The Broadband Canada program is subsidized by Canada's Economic Action Plan, so it will end in 2012.

According to Industry Canada, 98% of Canadians have access to service at 1.5 megabits per second. But we know that the needs are increasing, that the technology will continue to evolve and that, normally, 1.5 megabits per second isn't fast enough.

Could you please tell me what Industry Canada plans to do to ensure that the services in our rural communities improve?

3:50 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Industry

Richard Dicerni

It's one of the priorities of the digital strategy that the department is looking into. The goal is to ensure that all Canadians can benefit from Canada's digital revolution. In this context, we are now consulting the provincial authorities because it isn't just a federal responsibility. In Quebec, for example, the government recently announced an intervention program worth $900 million, specifically to attain these objectives.

With the provinces, we are currently carrying out mapping to determine which areas aren't being served. This is also the responsibility of the private sector, which actually has an interest in improving the quality of the networks in order to acquire new clients they can bill for their services. The provinces, regional agencies, the Department of Industry and the private sector are involved.

The CRTC has recently been given the green light to implement a fund that had been put aside over the years. The purpose is to encourage certain companies to invest in broadband to increase the speed.

In short, the responsibility doesn't just fall on Industry Canada. We are working with the other players.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Sweet

Sorry, Mr. Toone.

Now we'll go to Mr. Regan for seven minutes.

November 30th, 2011 / 3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman

Thanks to the witnesses for appearing today.

Mr. Dicerni, on page 94 of the supplementary estimates (B) there are two votes for funding the community access program. It supports funding to individual CAP sites across the country. Those two votes total $14,837,000.

How much CAP funding was in the main estimates, and what's the total for this fiscal year?

3:55 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Industry

Richard Dicerni

Kelly can provide the specifics. There are two components here. One is in the departmental base that supports the network. Another part is in collaboration with the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development, which provides some of the staffing.

3:55 p.m.

Chief Financial Officer, Comptrollership and Administration Sector, Department of Industry

Kelly Gillis

Both of the amounts you see on page 94 under vote 1 represent the operating component to support CAP. The $14.1 million is the total funding for this year to support CAP. It's an annual determination.

The second figure that the deputy minister referred to underneath—the $520,000—is to support the youth portion of the employment portion to support the CAP sites. That is for approximately 13,000 youth across the country. The $9.5 million is the contribution portion for CAP youth employment.

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

My understanding is that although we're eight months into this fiscal year, CAP funding is just beginning to flow. As a matter of fact, CAP sites have been waiting until recently. If that's the case, why is it the case, and what's been the impact of this lack of funding on individual sites?

3:55 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Industry

Richard Dicerni

I'll have to look into this, because I see no reason for which they have not received funding. I recall signing off my part of the contribution agreement some time ago, so I will have to look into this.

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

If you can get back to the committee, I'd appreciate it very much.

What was the total level of funding in the main and supplementary estimates for CAP in the last five years? Can you provide us with that information? Can we have a breakdown of the level of funding for each site for that timeframe? Can you provide that to us? Obviously, I'm not going to expect you to have the answer in front of you at the moment. If you did, I'd be very impressed, though.

3:55 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Industry

Richard Dicerni

You won't be.