Evidence of meeting #38 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 question.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Paul Cardegna
Jean-Yves Duclos  President of the Treasury Board
Roger Ermuth  Assistant Comptroller General, Financial Management Sector, Office of the Comptroller General, Treasury Board Secretariat
Glenn Purves  Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat
Karen Cahill  Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat
Rod Greenough  Executive Director, Expenditure Strategies and Estimates, Treasury Board Secretariat
Tolga Yalkin  Assistant Deputy Minister, Workplace Policies and Services, Treasury Board Secretariat

4:55 p.m.

President of the Treasury Board

Jean-Yves Duclos

That's a very good question, and that's why I would like to ask Ms. Cahill to answer it.

June 16th, 2021 / 4:55 p.m.

Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat

Karen Cahill

Thank you for your question.

Under the Phoenix agreements, current funding covers the two existing agreements. We are still working with the bargaining agents on the damages caused by the Phoenix pay system.

I can't tell you yet whether we're going to have to request more funds. However, those that we have received and those that came under vote 10a, as you mentioned, cover the current agreements.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Thank you, Ms. Cahill.

We'll now go to Mr. Green for two and a half minutes.

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Thank you.

A recent report suggested that Hamilton is now less affordable than Los Angeles and New York City. There are also reports that a condo developer is looking to invest a billion dollars in buying up single-family homes.

I know that the honourable minister in his prior role was responsible for the national housing strategy, so I know he'll be able to answer with some degree of specificity, hopefully, the following questions: Under CMHC's request for $1.5 billion under vote 1a, how much of this funding would go toward female-focused housing and how many new affordable housing units would be converted and built with the requested funding?

5 p.m.

President of the Treasury Board

Jean-Yves Duclos

Thank you, Matthew, and thank you for the reminder that in the earlier mandate it was indeed closer to our investment strategy to make it more affordable and more inclusive and safer for Canadians to find a home. I would point out that Minister Hussen has been extremely active on that in the last year and a half.

For the precise details on the estimates number that you mentioned—the $2.5 billion—let me turn to Glenn.

5 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

It's $1.5 billion. It's is under the rapid housing initiative, to help Mr. Purves perhaps find it.

How many new affordable housing units would be converted and how many of them would go towards women-focused housing projects?

5 p.m.

President of the Treasury Board

Jean-Yves Duclos

That's a great question.

Let's see whether Glenn has the information.

5 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

Sure. The funding will support the creation of a minimum of 4,500 new affordable housing units for Canadians. At least 25% of that $1.5 billion will go toward women-focused housing projects, and units will be constructed within 12 months of when funding is provided to the program.

5 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Does CMHC still define affordability at 125% of market value, or are we talking about real affordability, closer to the 80% range?

5 p.m.

Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Glenn Purves

I don't have the answer to that. That's a question for—

5 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Duclos, in your previous role, you were the minister responsible for the national housing strategy. How would you define affordable housing?

5 p.m.

President of the Treasury Board

Jean-Yves Duclos

I believe, again, that you might want to talk to my colleague, Minister Hussen, for the current state of affairs. The right answer is that it's based on local conditions, obviously, and sensitive to local views on what is affordable, because we need to work with provinces and territories.

5 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

But I believe the CMHC—

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Thank you.

5 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

—which is responsible for it, defines it at 125% of affordability.

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Thank you, Minister.

We'll now go to Ms. Harder for five minutes.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Thomas Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Thank you.

Minister, you and Minister Anand have talked a lot about the importance of our relationship with indigenous people. Originally in her mandate letter, it was set out that she would allocate 5% of all procurement contracts to indigenous-led businesses. You've talked about the importance of that, even here today.

Unfortunately, when it comes to procuring anything, really that rate is actually only 2%. It's 2% of all procurements that is being allocated to indigenous-led businesses, which is a tremendous failure in comparison to the 5% set out in the original mandate letter. In the meantime, a sole-source contract was awarded to China for PPE.

Why wasn't there a competitive process, and why wasn't opportunity given to indigenous-led businesses?

5 p.m.

President of the Treasury Board

Jean-Yves Duclos

Thank you, Ms. Harder, for asking the question.

I suppose and suspect you were there at the beginning of the meeting when we talked about the importance of thinking about procurement in a broad way, taking into account both the important advantages of providing services and goods to Canadians through appropriate procurement and also the economic advantages, the fact that we want procurement to be increasingly green procurement—

5 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Thomas Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Minister, my question is very direct, and so a direct answer would be appropriate.

5 p.m.

President of the Treasury Board

Jean-Yves Duclos

That's exactly where I was going, because past the green procurement supply chain that we want to build, there is the social impact of procurement and supporting indigenous—

5 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Thomas Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Why was a sole-source contract given to China instead of an indigenous-led business? They were deliberately ignored.

5 p.m.

President of the Treasury Board

Jean-Yves Duclos

Supporting indigenous businesses and workers is exactly what the objective of this—

5 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Thomas Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Then why was a sole-source contract given to China?

5 p.m.

President of the Treasury Board

Jean-Yves Duclos

Supporting those indigenous businesses, workers and communities is, as I said—

5 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Thomas Conservative Lethbridge, AB

You're supporting them by giving a sole-source contract to China?