Evidence of meeting #31 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 purves.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Tolga Yalkin  Assistant Deputy Minister, Workplace Policies and Services, Treasury Board Secretariat
Karen Cahill  Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat
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
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Paul Cardegna
Sonya Read  Acting Assistant Secretary, Digital and Services Policy, Treasury Board Secretariat
Rod Greenough  Executive Director, Expenditure Strategies and Estimates, Treasury Board Secretariat

6 p.m.

Bloc

Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Ms. Cahill, I talked about a statement of facts earlier. We had been told by Mr. Aylward from the Public Service Alliance of Canada, or PSAC, that this statement of facts was to be signed jointly by PSAC and TBS.

Did TBS sign this statement of facts?

6 p.m.

Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat

Karen Cahill

Thank you for the question.

As Mr. Duclos mentioned, when we reached the agreement with PSAC in October 2020, the clauses were clearly laid out, and PSAC signed the agreement. It is the foundation of everything.

The Canada Revenue Agency has ruled on the terms of the agreement and the taxable nature of the payments.

6 p.m.

Bloc

Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

When you talk about an agreement, are you talking about the statement of facts that was mentioned by Mr. Aylward last Monday, or is it something completely different?

Mr. Aylward told us that the statement also had to be signed by TBS, which has not been done. This delays the Canada Revenue Agency's decision on whether or not to impose compensation.

I'm not accusing anyone; I'm trying to understand.

6 p.m.

Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat

Karen Cahill

Thank you. That's a very good question.

As I mentioned, we agreed on the terms and conditions. As for the statement of facts that Mr. Aylward mentioned, if there were to be new terms and conditions added, the agreement would have to be reviewed and accepted by both parties.

We agreed on an initial agreement. Prior to signing the agreement PSAC was aware of the different payment methods and the tax liability on some of the payment methods.

6 p.m.

Bloc

Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Thank you.

I'm going to have to get more information, because everyone is passing the buck. At the end of the day, the public servants are the ones who are paying the price, and they've already paid a lot. I know a lady who is still waiting for $40,000 in compensation.

Currently, the main estimates don't include EI benefits, the Canada child benefit or the Canada emergency wage subsidy.

Mr. Purves, can you explain this to us?

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Mr. Purves, you're on mute.

May 12th, 2021 / 6:05 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

I missed the translation on that. I'm sorry.

6:05 p.m.

Bloc

Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

The main estimates don't include EI benefits, the Canada child benefit or the Canada emergency wage subsidy.

Can you explain this to us?

6:05 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

The purpose of the estimates is to ensure that parliamentarians have a line of sight on what is being put before them for voting as it pertains to the appropriations for the various votes of the departments. There is funding that is approved through appropriation acts, through the estimates, and there is a spending authority that is approved separately through statutory legislation. EI and the Canada child benefit are items that are supported under separate statutory legislation and that receive their payment authority through separate statutory legislation that is not linked directly to a department.

6:05 p.m.

Bloc

Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Okay.

6:05 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

That's why we include information on voted spending in the estimates document that is for decision by parliamentarians. For information purposes, we include the statutory legislation that's directly linked to that appropriation-dependent organization. Beyond that, if there are tax expenditures or if there is statutory funding that is forecast beyond that, it's typically covered under separate reporting, including for EI, including the tax expenditure report.

6:05 p.m.

Bloc

Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Thank you.

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Thank you.

Ms. Vignola, you have three seconds.

6:05 p.m.

Bloc

Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

I'd like to wish the witnesses a good evening.

I thank them for being with us and having the patience to respond.

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Thank you.

We'll now go to Mr. Green for six minutes.

6:05 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Thank you. Just picking up on the issue around the 1492 Land Back Lane and McKenzie Meadows claim, I'm wondering, just to get a sense, when you're under these types of court proceedings, whether Treasury Board sets aside potential settlement money, just to earmark it, in case there's a chance or a likelihood that a settlement will happen or a judgment will happen.

Through you, Mr. Chair, that's for Mr. Purves.

6:05 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

Mr. Chair, there are contingent liabilities that are identified by departments. Those contingent liabilities are recognized and are managed through the Department of Finance. At Treasury Board, if there's a circumstance where there's a payment that is required to exercise and to make a payment to a group, to a settlement, that would flow through an estimate. It may be that in a supplementary estimate, Mr. Green, you might see a line item about out-of-court settlements and so forth.

6:05 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Would you be aware of or privy to if there have been set-asides for indigenous land claims?

6:05 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

Ours is more about the execution of funding decisions taken through Finance. It would really be the department and the department's—

6:05 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

I'm sorry, sir. I'm unclear on if you've actually answered my question.

Here's my question, specifically through you, Mr. Chair, to Mr. Purves: Would you know if there are set-asides through the Treasury Board on these settlements pursuant to the Department of Finance's policies or reporting mechanisms? It's a direct question through you, Mr. Chair, to Mr. Purves, a personal direct question as to if he would know that or not.

Is there a technical problem? Maybe he's on mute.

I do hope that my time is retained.

6:10 p.m.

The Clerk

I'm sorry, Mr. Chair. I believe Mr. Purves may have dropped out of the meeting, unfortunately.

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Right. I just was looking and I did not see him there.

6:10 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Well, I'm going to ask my good friend.... It's really unfortunate that it dropped out at that point.

Is my good friend Yves Duclos still here?

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

No, the minister is gone as well.

6:10 p.m.

Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat

Karen Cahill

Mr. Purves has indicated that his computer has gone black. I'm really sorry about that.