Evidence of meeting #20 for Government Operations and Estimates in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was spending.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Paul Cardegna
Glenn Purves  Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat
Roger Ermuth  Assistant Comptroller General, Financial Management Sector, Office of the Comptroller General, Treasury Board Secretariat
Karen Cahill  Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat
Sonya Read  Acting Assistant Secretary, Digital and Services Policy, Treasury Board Secretariat
Rod Greenough  Executive Director, Expenditure Strategies and Estimates, Treasury Board Secretariat
Raphaëlle Deraspe  Committee Researcher
Tolga Yalkin  Assistant Deputy Minister, Workplace Policies and Services, Treasury Board Secretariat

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Thanks, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Purves and others, it's good to see you again.

I have a question for Mr. Purves.

How is TBS tracking COVID spending department by department? You talked about publicizing the authorities and planned spending, but with the actual spending, the cash that's gone out the door, how are you tracking that?

5:45 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

Different departments, of course, are responsible for their implementation of the initiatives. When you—

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

The data is making its way to TBS, is it not?

5:45 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

Through the CFMRS, certainly, as departments report and so forth, and we have our own informal tracking that we—

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

How frequently are they reporting that?

5:45 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

We are trying to get departments to provide us with a rough sense of what they're doing on the basis of when information is available. For transfers, for instance, it's much easier for departments to report that, because it's easier to be able to track that. With respect to programs that have implementation issues and so forth, it is more lagged, because it's based on the CFMRS system with the receiver general.

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Are the department CFOs reporting the spending to Treasury Board?

March 10th, 2021 / 5:45 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

With departmental CFOs, on an informal basis, we have started asking them what it is that they are spending. That is an initiative that we're working through with the CFO community. We don't have a system that talks to all the other systems, where you could just press a button and be able to get this instantaneously.

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

I understand that.

I'm glad you were talking about trying to be more transparent to parliamentarians about various programs, whether with GC InfoBase and that.

In that light, Mr. Chair, I'd like to introduce a matter-at-hand motion in this regard. I'll read it into the record right now.

I move that the Treasury Board Secretariat provide the committee with all monthly COVID-19 expenditures reports and COVID spending data as disclosed by the chief financial officers of all respective departments, and that they provide this information to the committee no later than March 17, 2021, and update this committee on a monthly basis by the 15th of the month.

While I respect that there's information on GC InfoBase, it's not actual spending. It's the authorities or planned spending. I think we owe it to this committee, but also to Canadians, to see the actual spending on COVID.

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Thank you, Mr. McCauley.

Is there any discussion on that matter-at-hand motion?

Ms. Vignola, I see your hand up.

5:45 p.m.

Bloc

Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Could I receive Mr. McCauley's text by email?

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

I'll send it to our clerk right now.

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

While Mr. McCauley is doing that, I see Mr. Fergus has his hand up.

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I just want to support Ms. Vignola's efforts. We need an accurate text in French so that we can see it and review it. It would be good if a translation could be done quickly and distributed to members.

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

It was translated for you as I was reading it into the record, as matters at hand are. This is a continuing trick by people on your side, Mr. Fergus, to try to delay things. We've seen it repeatedly, but it was translated as I read it into the record.

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Thank you, Mr. McCauley.

I will reread the motion.

Mr. Kusmierczyk, did you have your hand up?

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Irek Kusmierczyk Liberal Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Yes, Mr. Chair.

I just wanted to request that the motion be reread, if possible.

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Certainly.

Mr. McCauley, can you reread the motion, please.

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Sure.

It is that the Treasury Board Secretariat provide the committee with all monthly COVID-19 expenditures reports and COVID spending data as disclosed by the chief financial officers of all respective departments, and that they provide this to the committee no later than March 17, 2021, and update us monthly by the 15th of the month, each and every month.

5:50 p.m.

The Clerk

Mr. Chair, I apologize for interrupting, but I have received the French text of the motion. If you wish, I can read that into the record now.

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Please, Mr. Clerk, if you would do that, I think that would also be beneficial for those on the committee.

Thank you.

5:50 p.m.

The Clerk

The French text is as follows:

That, in the context of its study of the Supplementary Estimates (C), 2020-21, the committee send for, from the Treasury Board Secretariat, all monthly COVID-19 Expenditures Reports and COVID-19 spending data as disclosed by the chief financial officers of all respective departments and that these documents be provided to the committee no later than Wednesday, March 17, 2021.

I have the text in English as well. I can try to distribute it to the members by email now, if the committee wishes.

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Yes, please. Thank you very much.

While that is happening, I see your hand is up, Mr. MacKinnon.

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Steven MacKinnon Liberal Gatineau, QC

I'm happy to have Mr. McCauley speak to his motion if he so wishes.

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

No.