Today, Mr. Chairman, I'm going to be focusing on supplementary estimates (A). I'm here with Brian Pagan, Renée LaFontaine, and Marcia Santiago, who is here from the expenditure management sector.
As you know, supplementary estimates are tabled three times a year. They present information to Parliament on spending that was either not ready for inclusion in the main estimates, or that has since been refined to account for new developments in programs or services. With that in mind, we want to make it easier for Parliament to hold the government to account.
However, as noted by the PBO in his most recent report on supplementary estimates (A), preparing the main estimates prior to the budget means that these documents are not aligned. I agree with the PBO on that. That's why we have advanced an agenda on estimates reform designed to properly sequence the budget and estimates processes. I look forward to working with parliamentarians on this agenda in terms of a four-pillared approach of purpose-based budgeting; reconciliation of cash versus accrual accounting; departmental results frameworks; and of course, budget and estimates sequencing.
We are already making some progress in terms of better information and sensible changes to the process. These supplementary estimates (A) provide an online table detailing the activities of organizations participating in horizontal initiatives that span multiple departments. We'll provide more details on those in a moment.
We're also continuing the practice, which started last year, of reconciling funding announced in this year's budget with funding requested through this year's estimates. This comparison makes it easier for Parliament to track government spending and to hold our government or future governments to account.
With respect to budget 2017, this year's supplementary estimates (A) include funding for 26 items announced in this year's budget. Indeed, of the $3.7 billion to be voted by Parliament in supplementary estimates (A), $1 billion is to implement budget 2017 measures.
Mr. Chair, both we and the PBO recognize that this is less than last year. It is still significantly more than what was accomplished two years ago with budget 2015 in supplementary estimates (A).
More importantly, our government has started a significant discussion around the importance of getting the basic sequencing right so that the priorities of the budget are presented before the program plans of the estimates. This would allow a bottom-line reconciliation to the budget in the tabled main estimates of the same fiscal year, which would be a first for any government. It would also eliminate the confusion caused by having Parliament vote on supply bills for both the main estimates and supplementary estimates in the same period.
Through supplementary estimates, the government is asking Parliament to approve spending on programs and initiatives of importance to Canadians.
Mr. Chair, our government is committed to growing the Canadian economy and to strengthening the middle class.
Allow me to detail four of the seven horizontal initiatives involving multiple organizations. They include $221.7 million for the oceans protection plan; $195.8 million to support the targeted admission of 300,000 immigrants under the 2017 immigration levels plan; $146.8 million for the youth employment strategy, which was laid out in budget 2017; and $99.8 million to support infrastructure and programs for indigenous early learning and child care.
Other major items voted in these estimates include $446.5 million for compensation to first nations for specific claims settlements; $400 million for transfer payments with the provinces and territories to support early learning and child care; $235.4 million for national rail passenger transportation services, as announced in budget 2017; $174.7 million for operation return home to repair, rebuild, and re-establish four Manitoba first nations communities that were affected by the catastrophic flooding in 2011; $166.7 million to maintain mission-critical services to Canadians; and finally, $162.8 million to maintain the integrity of Canada's border operations.
I’d also like to draw your attention to the portion of the supplementary estimates (A) that apply to my department.
The Treasury Board Secretariat is seeking Parliament’s authority for $625 million for adjustments made to terms and conditions of service or employment of the federal public administration.
This funding will cover retroactive payments and salary increases resulting from collective agreements that were recently signed or are expected to be signed in the coming weeks.
Our government is also committed to improving and strengthening parliamentary oversight of spending. With the changes we've made so far, we're raising the bar on better openness, transparency, and accountability. This is reflected in the fact that this May, Canada was ranked number two in the global open data barometer survey. It's a global measure of how governments are in terms of publishing and using open data for accountability, innovation, and social impact. We have more work to do, but we are achieving some progress that is being recognized.
It is also reflected in the Government of Canada's recent election to the Open Government Partnership steering committee ahead of 11 other candidates. This is a global organization affiliated with the United Nations.
Mr. Chair, as you know, I enjoy working with parliamentarians and all stakeholders to find ways to improve the estimates process. We can agree that better aligning processes and timing for the budget and estimates will strengthen the clarity and consistency of financial reporting.
Recently, on June 2, I had my 20th anniversary as a member of Parliament. In that time I spent 17 of those years in opposition and three in government. Just to speak of the role of Parliament, every one of those years was valuable, important, and productive, so I come to this place as a minister from the perspective of great appreciation and respect for the work of parliamentarians. On an ongoing basis, parliamentarians make a difference in the lives of their constituents but also, as legislators, in the lives of all Canadians.
I really have great respect for the work of parliamentary committees, which is reflected by my 19th appearance, I believe, before a parliamentary committee in this incarnation as a minister. I hope I'm not overstaying my welcome with you, colleagues.