I'll just make a few short opening remarks.
Good afternoon, Mr. Chair, and honourable members of the committee.
Well, you've introduced me, Nick Leswick, the assistant deputy minister of the economic and fiscal policy branch, with overall responsibility within the department for economic and fiscal forecasting and the production of the federal budget.
Andrew Marsland is our assistant deputy minister of tax policy. Evelyn Dancey is our associate ADM of the economic development and corporate finance branch.
I have other officials from the Department of Finance behind me who can assist us in providing responses to your questions.
I will speak briefly about the preparations currently under way at the department for budget 2020. Every year, the Department of Finance organizes its own pre-budget consultations in addition to the consultations that you, the committee members, are hosting.
Through town halls, focus groups and online surveys, and by receiving emails and regular mail, the consultations allow the Government of Canada to hear directly from Canadians on what measures could be included in the upcoming budget.
This year's pre-budget consultations are focused on the themes from the Speech from the Throne, themes that we know are important to Canadians and that the government has stated as its clear priorities: strengthening the middle class, protecting our environment, keeping Canadians safe and healthy, and reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
These pre-budget consultations were launched on January 13. The objective was clear: inviting Canadians and experts to share their ideas and help build the upcoming budget.
Also, 15,000 Canadians have responded so far to online surveys on our website, and responses come in every day.
The consultations are ongoing; therefore, there is still time for Canadians to share their ideas and their priorities with the government, whether that is online or at events across the country. The government wants to hear from as many Canadians as possible.
With that, Mr. Chair, we will be happy to answer any questions the members of the committee may have as they pursue the various themes under this year's pre-budget consultations.