Welcome, everybody. I call this meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 15 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. Pursuant to the motion adopted in committee on December 16, the committee is meeting for its pre-budget consultations in advance of the 2022 budget.
Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format pursuant to the House order of November 25. Members are attending in person in the room and remotely using the Zoom application. The proceedings will be made available via the House of Commons website. Just so that you are aware, the webcast will always show the person speaking rather than the entirety of the committee.
Today's meeting is also taking place in the webinar format. Webinars are for public committee meetings and are available only to members, their staff and witnesses. Members enter immediately as active participants. All functionalities for active participants remain the same. Staff will be non-active participants and can therefore view the meeting only in gallery view. I would like to take this opportunity to remind all participants in this meeting that screenshots or taking photos of your screen is not permitted.
Given the ongoing pandemic situation and in light of the recommendations from the health authorities, as well as the directive of the Board of Internal Economy on October 19, to remain healthy and safe all those attending the meeting in person are to maintain two-metre physical distancing, must wear a non-medical mask when circulating in the room—and it's highly recommended that the mask be worn at all times, including when seated—and must maintain proper hand hygiene by using the provided hand sanitizer at the room entrance. As the chair, I will be enforcing these measures for the duration of the meeting, and I thank members in advance for their co-operation.
To ensure an orderly meeting, I'd like to outline a few rules to follow.
Members and witnesses may speak in the official language of their choice. Interpretation services are available for this meeting. You have the choice at the bottom of your screen of either the floor, English or French. If interpretation is lost, please inform me immediately and I will ensure interpretation is properly restored before resuming the proceedings. The “raise hand” feature at the bottom of the screen can be used at any time if you wish to speak or to alert the chair.
For members participating in person, proceed as you usually would when the whole committee is meeting in person in a committee room. Keep in mind the Board of Internal Economy's guidelines for mask use and health protocols.
Before speaking, please wait until I recognize you by name. If you are on the video conference, please click on the microphone icon to unmute yourself. For those in the room, your microphone will be controlled as normal by the proceedings and verification officer. When speaking, please speak slowly and clearly. When you're not speaking, your mike should be on mute. I will remind you that all comments by members and witnesses should be addressed through the chair. With regard to a speaking list, the committee clerk and I will do the very best we can to maintain a consolidated order of speaking for all members, whether they're participating virtually or in person.
The committee agreed that during these hearings the chair would enforce the rule that the response by a witness to a question take no longer than the time taken to ask the question. That being said, I request that members and witnesses treat each other with respect and decorum. If you think the witness has gone beyond the time, it is the member's prerogative to interrupt or to ask the next question. To be mindful of other members' time allocations during the meeting, I also request that members not go much over their allotted question time. Though we will not interrupt during a member's allotted time, I'd like to keep you informed that our clerk has two clocks to time our members and witnesses.
I'd like now to welcome our witnesses.
From the Canadian Mental Health Association, we have Margaret Eaton, national chief executive officer; from the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, Charles Milliard, president and chief executive officer, and Mathieu Lavigne, director of public and economic affairs; and from the Green Budget Coalition, Andrew Van Iterson, who is the manager there. We also have with us the director of conservation for the Canadian Wildlife Federation, David Browne; Doug Chiasson, senior specialist, marine ecosystems and government engagement, World Wildlife Fund-Canada; and Vanessa Corkal, policy adviser for the International Institute for Sustainable Development.
We also have with us, from the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Yves Giroux, Parliamentary Budget Officer; and, from Tahinis Restaurants, Aly Hamam, co-founder.
Members, if you were with us earlier, you may have heard from the clerk that, unfortunately, due to an emergency, Mariam Abou-Dib, director of government affairs for Teamsters Canada, is unable to join us today.
We're now going to hear opening statements from witnesses. Each of the witnesses—one per group—will have up to five minutes to make their opening remarks before we move to members' questions.
We'll start with the Canadian Mental Health Association.