Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and I can assure you I'll be definitely less than 10 minutes.
Mr. Chair and honourable members, again, thank you very much for inviting the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, or TSB, to appear today.
My two colleagues with me have a wealth of experience with our activities.
Let me introduce Jean Laporte, our chief operating officer, and Luc Casault, our director general of corporate services and chief financial officer.
Given that officials from the Transportation Safety Board, the TSB, have appeared before this committee twice in the past year, I believe that you are familiar with the TSB and its mandate. I will therefore proceed directly to the reason for our presence here today, the 2018-2019 Supplementary Estimates (A).
The 2018-19 main estimates show TSB appropriations of approximately $27 million and statutory contributions to employee benefit plans of $3 million, for a total of just over $30 million. Add to that the $2.9-million permanent increase that we're seeking in the supplementary estimates (A) and you get a total of $33.5 million to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the TSB's program.
Allow me to briefly provide some context.
Over the past few years, the TSB has faced a number of growing funding pressures that made it increasingly difficult for the organization to deliver on its mandate and achieve its performance targets. The TSB has not received any new permanent funding since 2003.
Since then, public expectations and the complexity of the TSB's work have changed significantly. The TSB has also faced increasing costs that add up year after year. In 2017-18, the TSB reached the point where the integrity of its program was put at risk due to insufficient resources.
Last fall, the TSB put forward a request seeking approval of interim funding in the amount of $1.8 million to address its immediate program integrity issues for 2017-2018, while a longer-term solution was identified.
The funds we seek today will provide financial stability to the organization for the next few years; however, this will not increase our capacity. These funds will help us sustain the current number of investigations that we conduct, the number of outreach activities and the timeliness of our investigations, meet performance targets and improve the availability of information to the public.
Put another way, that's the first substantive and permanent funding increase in 15 years, and it is less than 10% for an organization that has pushed tirelessly for transportation safety from coast to coast to coast.
On that note, and in closing, last week on October 29, the TSB published Watchlist 2018. This is our list of the key issues that need to be addressed to make Canada's transportation system even safer. A brochure featuring the Watchlist issues has since been emailed to all members of Parliament, and no doubt some of you have read it. If you have questions about the Watchlist today, we'd be very happy to answer them, as well as any questions you may have about the supplementary estimates.