Evidence of meeting #215 for Finance in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was chair.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Maude Lavoie  Director General, Business Income Tax Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Trevor McGowan  Director General, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Charlene Davidson  Senior Project Leader, Financial Crimes Policy, Financial Systems Division, Financial Sector Policy, Department of Finance
Samuel Millar  Director General, Corporate Finance, Natural Resources and Environment, Economic Development and Corporate Finance, Department of Finance
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. David Gagnon
Darryl C. Patterson  Director, Corporate, Insolvency and Competition Policy Directorate, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Department of Industry
Tolga Yalkin  Director General, Consumer Product Safety Directorate, Department of Health
Colin Stacey  Acting Director General, Pilotage Act Review, Department of Transport
Sara Wiebe  Director General, Air Policy, Department of Transport
Joyce Henry  Director General, Office of Energy Efficiency, Energy Sector, Department of Natural Resources
André Baril  Senior Director, Refugee Affairs, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Michel Tremblay  Senior Vice-President, Policy and Innovation, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Ariane Gagné-Frégeau  Procedural Clerk
Karen Hall  Director General, Social Policy Directorate, Strategic and Service Policy Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development
Hugues Vaillancourt  Senior Director, Social Development Policy Division, Social Policy Directorate, Strategic and Service Policy Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

He's just puzzled about how this committee operates, that's all.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

As am I.

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

On amendment CPC-7, all those in favour?

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clauses 238 agreed to on division)

(Clause 239 agreed to on division)

(On clause 240)

We have amendment CPC-8. Have you anything more to add, Mr. Richards?

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

No, that same rationale would apply from the previous one, I think.

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Mr. McLeod, you made the argument on that side as well.

All those in favour of amendment CPC-8 on clause 240?

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 240 agreed to on division)

There are no amendments on clauses 241 to 254.

Shall clauses 241 to 254 inclusive carry on division?

(Clauses 241 to 254 inclusive agreed to on division)

(On clause 255)

There is an amendment, CPC-9. Arguments have already been made, I believe.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

They have, yes. Thanks, Mr. Chair.

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Okay. Arguments have been made on that side as well.

On amendment CPC-9, all those in favour?

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 255 agreed to on division)

There are no amendments on clauses 256 to 291—

Go ahead, Mr. Dusseault.

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

I agree with us going up to section 269, but I would have a few comments to make on sections 270 to 279.

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Do you have some questions on clause 270?

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

I don't really have questions, but I do have a comment.

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Is it on clause 270, Pierre?

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Yes.

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Okay, shall clauses 256 to 269 inclusive carry on division?

(Clauses 256 to 269 inclusive agreed to on division)

Okay, that takes care of the witnesses who are before us.

(On clause 270)

We are starting on division 12 with clause 270. Our officials from Transport Canada are Ms. Wiebe and Mr. Dawson. Ms. Wiebe is Director General, Air Policy with Transport Canada. Mr. Dawson is Director, Airports and Air Navigation Services Policy with Transport Canada.

The floor is yours, Mr. Dusseault.

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

In fact, I may have a question to start.

This is about privatizing the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, an entity that is known—and at the same time little-known—to Canadians. Every Canadian who travels by plane goes through security before boarding. That security is provided by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.

The bill seeks to privatize that entity, which is currently a Crown corporation, unless I am mistaken, but will outright become an independent body. The Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has looked into this issue. That brings me to my first question, which is for the people before us who are very familiar with the file.

Have you taken note of the meetings of the transport committee, the discussions held there and the opinions raised on the idea of privatizing the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority?

1:15 p.m.

Sara Wiebe Director General, Air Policy, Department of Transport

Thank you for the question.

In terms of the consultations we undertook with regard to the proposal that is before this committee today, we did consult quite broadly with the air sector, including both the airlines and the airports. We spoke to them in quite a level of detail about the different types of models we were considering in terms of a future governance state for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. Based on those consultations and on our own analysis, we have determined—and the proposal is before this committee—to take the same approach with airport security screening that we took with the commercialization of air navigation services in the mid-1990s, which resulted in the creation of Nav Canada.

We see that the creation of Nav Canada has been a very important success in that it has resulted in lower fees and greater innovation—and, we believe, greater support for the safety of Canada's air navigation services.

Based on that, based on the consultations and our own analysis, the proposal is before this committee to take the same approach to commercialize aviation security screening at Canada's airports.

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

My question was not really about the consultations you have held. I wanted to know whether you followed the proceedings of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, which considered that part of the bill.

Have you noted that this idea has support or was met with resistance—in other words it was far from having full support? Strong concerns were raised at the transport committee's meetings.

Were you aware of that?

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Ms. Wiebe, I know we have letters from some members who sat on that committee. In short, the response from the chair of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities—the committee we farmed those sections out to—was that the committee had conducted three meetings on this study and heard from 31 witnesses. She went on to say that the committee had received two briefs, which could be consulted on their platform, and that it had been agreed the committee would not submit recommendations or suggest amendments.

This letter has been sent to our committee. It was signed by Judy Sgro, chair of the transport, infrastructure and communities committee.

The floor is yours, Ms. Wiebe.

1:15 p.m.

Director General, Air Policy, Department of Transport

Sara Wiebe

Thank you.

With regard to the witnesses who appeared before the House transportation committee, we did follow those discussions quite closely. There were some concerns raised.

First, I should start by making the point that I believe Canada's airports, as represented by different members and by the Canadian Airports Council, indicated a high level of support for the proposal by the government.

There were also witnesses from CATSA, as well as Nav Canada. CATSA indicated support for the legislation. Nav Canada spoke specifically with regard to its own experience with the commercialization of air navigation services and the legislation that framed that commercialization. They indicated that in their view, the legislation had stood the test of time, and they felt they were well served by the legislative framework. They also noted that the legislative framework for Nav Canada is in large part similar to the legislative framework that the government is proposing with regard to the commercialization of aviation security screening.

We did hear some concerns raised by Canada's airlines. Their concerns were largely focused on the pace of the proposed timeline for the commercialization of CATSA. They indicated that they were otherwise under quite a bit of pressure as a result of recent decisions by the government, including the grounding of the 737 Max 8. We are in ongoing conversation with Canada's airlines with regard to the pace of the negotiations. I believe the airlines are now speaking with the Canadian Airports Council with a view toward developing the industry negotiating team that would then sit down with the government to finalize the negotiations required to complete the commercialization, should this legislation be passed.

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Is that it?

1:20 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Before we wrap up, I want to mention what was reported to us by members who, it is true, are a minority on the Standing Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities—NDP and Conservative Party members.

Based on the evidence heard from CATSA and the airline industry, it appears to us that the path to privatization being taken by the federal government is not the right solution to the organization's problem. We believe instead that the CATSA funding model should be reviewed to make it stable and predictable so that the organization can meet the international standards that it has set for itself and that the industry expects.

During her appearance before the committee on May 7, Nancy Fitchett, Acting Vice-President for Corporate Affairs and Chief Financial Officer for CATSA, said:

The ATSC is collected by the Government of Canada and does not flow to CATSA.... The total amount of the ATSC, if that were to flow to CATSA, would certainly enable us to have a higher budget and deliver a higher wait-time service level, among other things.

I think it's pretty clear from the testimony. What you make of it depends on which side you sit on in this committee, it appears, but I think it was clear for us. I think it was shared from other parties that it was maybe not the best solution to the real problems they face.

That's why I'm asking that we have a recorded vote for clauses 270 to 279: to make sure Canadians who are watching today understand on which side the members stand, and also to understand that this may be the beginning of the privatization of the entire industry, meaning this security screening agency and airports and others that the government is on the path to privatize.

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Go ahead, Mr. McLeod.

May 27th, 2019 / 1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

I have a question on the comment that was just made—

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Yes.

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

—regarding this being televised. My understanding is that it isn't being televised.

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

This one is televised. We have problems tomorrow with the televising, but today's meeting is televised.