Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I think it's important to remember that this program came about out of a need to assist the students. When the pandemic hit, there were so many concerns raised about not being able to help the students as they work towards saving some money to go back to school in the fall. We also heard a lot from not-for-profit organizations that wanted to provide services and didn't have a lot of people to call on. That includes some of the indigenous governments in the communities.
I think this was a good program. The idea behind it was great: to deal with two issues that were challenging us. As an MP, I certainly raised a lot of concerns with the ministers. It's unfortunate and regrettable that these placements are now on hold. We're at July 21 and there's a possibility that we may not see either these programs or these concerns dealt with.
I certainly agree with Mr. Cumming that we're running out of time. I really share that concern. To this day, I am still getting calls from the communities in my riding or for help to access some of the programs that we have announced. We are very limited in terms of public service in the northern communities. We have Service Canada offices, but a lot of times they're very busy. Our territories are still in the lockdown. We don't have offices for the federal government in every community. There are limits on travel. It's very difficult to access programs.
I'm hearing from municipalities and I'm hearing from community leaders that we need to create more positions to deliver these programs. I also heard very clearly from Gina Wilson, the deputy minister who presented at an earlier committee meeting, about how public servants were working around the clock to implement the programs. She listed a whole slew of programs that we've announced. There is a concern about members of her staff facing concerns about health. As people work from home we're starting to see a backlog on the delivery of programs, and I think outsourcing is a way to get it resolved. I see programs that were announced and are being delivered by the United Way and the Red Cross. They're out there. It's happening.
I'd like to ask Mr. Aylward if he agrees and if he knows what Gina Wilson was talking about and how public servants are being challenged to deliver the many programs that were announced. That's my first question.