Thank you very much, Chair, and thank you to committee members. Good afternoon.
I'll be as brief as I can to allow for as much time for questions as possible.
Again, thank you for inviting us today to speak about the estimates. The main estimates present financial requirements for the 2019-20 fiscal year, including but not in addition to the amounts already shown in the interim estimates.
Part I of the document, the Government Expenditure Plan, gives an overview of spending requirements for 2019-20 and comparisons to previous fiscal years.
Part II, the departmental Main Estimates, provides information on planned spending by each federal organization requesting authority through the appropriation bill.
Additional details are available online, including forecasts of statutory spending, allocations from Treasury Board central votes, and expenditures by program or purpose.
Finally, I would remind the committee that the Government of Canada Infobase is also available to provide you with more information on authorities and expenditures.
Mr. Chair, the main estimates for 2019-20 present a total of $299.6 billion in planned budgetary expenditures. Of this amount, $125.6 billion is for voted expenditures, while $174 billion is forecast to be spent under statutory authorities.
Of the $125.6 billion in voted spending, the largest departments are the Department of National Defence, at $20.5 billion; the Department of Indigenous Services Canada, at $12.2 billion; Treasury Board Secretariat, at $7 billion; the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, at $6.9 billion; and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, at $6.4 billion.
Voted expenditures are approximately $12.7 billion higher than the previous main estimates, including $6 billion for budget 2019 initiatives.
The increase in voted expenditures also reflects funding decisions made prior to budget 2019, including additional funding to settle outstanding claims, advance reconciliation and improve services and infrastructure in indigenous communities; the ramping up of infrastructure spending under the investing in Canada plan and the new building Canada fund, as well as the Gordie Howe International Bridge; increased capital spending for Canadian Coast Guard ships and VIA Rail trains; and increased funding to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect species and habitat.
Of the $174 billion in statutory spending, the largest components are benefits for the elderly, at $56.2 billion; the Canada health transfer, at $40.4 billion; public debt charges, at $24.7 billion; fiscal equalization, at $19.8 billion; and the Canada social transfer, at $14.6 billion.
The estimates do not include payments from the employment insurance operating account or expenditures legislated through the Income Tax Act, such as the Canada child benefit.
In terms of individual departments, four have increases of over $3 billion in comparison to last year's main estimates.
For the Department of Finance, the $5 billion increase relates to a $2.1 billion increase in interest on unmatured debt due to the upward revision of forecasted interest rates by private sector economists, and increases in the Canada health transfer, fiscal equalization and the Canada social transfer.
The Office of Infrastructure of Canada sees a $4.6 billion increase, due mostly to an additional $2.2 billion through the gas tax fund to address short-term priorities in municipalities and first nation communities as announced in budget 2019, and an increase in $2.1 billion in contributions under the investing in Canada plan, the P3 Canada fund and the new building Canada plan.
The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development increase of $3.9 billion relates to settlements for federal day schools, the sixties scoop and specific claims.
The $3.8 billion year-over-year increase for the Department of Employment and Social Development relates primarily to a $2.8 billion increase in benefits to the elderly, due to changes in the average monthly rate and in the number of beneficiaries. The department also has a total of $333 million in budget 2019 funding for a wide range of initiatives.
There is one particularly significant decrease, $6.6 billion, for Treasury Board Secretariat, which relates to the one-year funding of budget 2018 initiatives across the government.
With that, Mr. Chair, I will hand it over to you for questions.