Evidence of meeting #20 for Government Operations and Estimates in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was advertising.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Matthew Shea  Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services, Privy Council Office
Ken MacKillop  Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Communications and Consultations, Privy Council Office
Bill Matthews  Deputy Minister, Department of Public Works and Government Services
Lisa Setlakwe  Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Social Development Policy, Privy Council Office
Les Linklater  Associate Deputy Minister, Human Resources-to-Pay Stabilization, Department of Public Works and Government Services
Louise Baird  Assistant Deputy Minister, Intergovernmental Affairs, Privy Council Office
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Paul Cardegna
Glenn Purves  Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat
Karen Cahill  Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat
Alison McDermott  Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Economic and Fiscal Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Soren Halverson  Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance

6:50 p.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Economic and Fiscal Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Alison McDermott

No. Thank you.

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

Steven MacKinnon Liberal Gatineau, QC

Okay.

Mr. Purves, in terms of Treasury Board, you're applying your regular rigorous oversight to spending, whether it be regular spending or exceptional spending under COVID, such as those items contained in these supplementary estimates.

June 16th, 2020 / 6:50 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

Yes, absolutely. Everything that's in these supplementary estimates has been through Treasury Board ministers.

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

Steven MacKinnon Liberal Gatineau, QC

For the benefit of the members of the committee, can you outline the process of how departments would bring these proposals to you, and how they would construct their cases for spending the money that has been allocated to them, either by Parliament or by virtue of a law passed by Parliament?

6:55 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

Sure. It's been a little more unusual this time around, just because of the urgency of the COVID-19 response. Typically, you have statutory authorities that exist for a whole host of different initiatives. Transfers to people and transfers to other levels of government are typically done through statutory authorities. Then a lot of the direct program spending is done, as we say, through the main estimates and through supplementary estimates as additional funding is required.

In terms of dealing with the COVID-19 dislocation, there really was a combination of statutory authorities sought, as well as voted authorities. For the items you see in respect to these supplementary estimates, they've gone to Treasury Board in submissions, as they normally would, and they go through the rigour that they would normally go through. In terms of the statutory items, despite the fact that they may not be getting expenditure authority and then going for voted appropriations in Parliament, if there are programs, terms and conditions that require Treasury Board policy issues, that require Treasury Board oversight, Treasury Board has been doing the regular due diligence and rigour that they normally do on these instances.

I would say that Treasury Board as an institution has been operating very efficiently, has been very busy over the last few months and has been having a lot of rigour on many of these items that go through and that would normally go through Treasury Board, given program authority parameters and so forth.

6:55 p.m.

Liberal

Steven MacKinnon Liberal Gatineau, QC

I want to take this opportunity to extend to all of you and, through you, to all public servants, as a local MP and a member of Parliament for Gatineau, best wishes for a good National Public Service Week. It's been an incredibly extenuating and trying time for everyone, for public servants and, I know, many senior public servants like all of you.

Thank you very much for your perseverance and creativity.

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Tom Lukiwski

Thank you very much.

Colleagues, our colleague Mr. Green will not be with us for the final round, so we only have one intervention left. That would be for Mr. Barsalou-Duval for two and a half minutes.

6:55 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

I am here.

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Tom Lukiwski

Oh, you're back.

We will first go to Monsieur Barsalou-Duval for two and a half minutes, please.

6:55 p.m.

Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Mr. Chair, my question is for the Health Canada officials who are with us today.

Of the requested supplementary budgets, $16.1 million will go to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

In recent months, I have often been approached by citizens who complain that indicating the exact source of processed foods sold at the grocery store is not mandatory. Why does the Canadian Food Inspection Agency not have a policy requiring that the source of products be displayed? People have the right to know what they are buying and where their food comes from.

6:55 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

I'd be happy to pass along those views to CFIA.

I may be mistaken, but I thought I heard you say that Health officials were here.

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Tom Lukiwski

Mr. Purves, that was not a mishearing. I believe Mr. Barsalou-Duval did say there were Health officials here. I'm not sure they are.

6:55 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

Okay.

In terms of that issue—

6:55 p.m.

Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

I'm sorry, I was sure Health Canada officials were here.

I have a second question, and it's about advertising. Earlier, we were told that the initial $50 million was for COVID-19. We then asked why this amount had not been included in another line item, and we were told that it had been included in that way because the funds are not only allocated for COVID-19 and that the advertising could be used for other purposes.

Did I understand you correctly? What else would it be used for?

7 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

This is the $50 million for the Privy Council Office for the funding of communications and marketing. Is that correct?

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Tom Lukiwski

I believe that is correct, sir. Please give a very brief response, if you could.

7 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

Okay.

Again, really it's funding for a whole-of-government communication and marketing response, which I believe is probably consistent with what my PCO colleagues mentioned, in four key areas: public health information, financial support for individuals, financial support for businesses and the economy, and public safety and security information.

I don't know if my Finance colleague wants to jump in on that....

Did we lose sound?

7 p.m.

Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Mr. Chair, are you here? I don't think we can hear the chair.

7 p.m.

The Clerk

Mr. Chair, I believe you are muted.

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Tom Lukiwski

Can you hear me now, Paul? Can you see me or hear me?

7 p.m.

The Clerk

Yes. We can see you and hear you.

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Tom Lukiwski

For some reason, my computer went down for a few moments.

Mr. Green, you are up for two and a half minutes.

7 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Thank you very much.

I was delighted to see that the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations included in one of their major items the request for.... Well, I'm not delighted that the request had to be made, but here we are. The money is finally here. It includes compensation for persons who attended federally established, funded, controlled and operated Indian day schools.

It also includes monies that will be used for legal and administration fees. How much money in this supplementary did the government spend on this litigation?

7 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

Mr. Green, are we talking about federal Indian day schools in terms of the McLean settlement agreement and not the sixties scoop?

7 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Yes, that's correct.