Evidence of meeting #6 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 video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Bill Matthews  Deputy Minister, Department of Public Works and Government Services
Arianne Reza  Assistant Deputy Minister, Procurement, Department of Public Works and Government Services
André Fillion  Assistant Deputy Minister, Defence and Marine Procurement, Acquisitions Program, Department of Public Works and Government Services
Stephanie Kirkland  Assistant Deputy Minister, Pay Administration Branch, Department of Public Works and Government Services
Wojciech Zielonka  Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer, Finance and Administration Branch, Department of Public Works and Government Services
James Stott  Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy, Planning and Communications Branch, Department of Public Works and Government Services

November 16th, 2020 / 8:40 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Public Works and Government Services

Bill Matthews

I think that question is probably best suited for Shared Services Canada and maybe some others. In terms of our role at PSPC, when there is a desire to upgrade or refresh or replace a system, obviously we would be involved in the procurement. If there is a competitive process, which for those large-type replacement projects there would be, we would have a role in the competition. But in terms of setting out the vision, that would likely be found elsewhere.

8:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Thank you, Mr. Matthews.

Thank you, Mr. Lloyd, for your questions.

Mr. Jowhari, you have four minutes.

8:40 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Matthews, in the 2020-21 main estimates, PSPC is requesting about $1.5 billion under vote 5, which is capital expenditures. This amount seems to increase about half a billion dollars, or about 55%, compared with the 2019-20 main estimates. Most of the capital expenditure requests in 2020-21 are attributed to property and infrastructure. Can you give us a breakdown of this increase that is planned for capital expenditures compared with the prior year, please?

8:40 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Public Works and Government Services

Bill Matthews

I'll lean on my chief financial officer in a moment, but as we said earlier, it's not fair to do a straight comparison between the two. Last year's main estimates had a special budget implementation vote that went along with it, so the difference isn't quite that stark.

Wojciech, do you want to please take a crack at this one?

8:40 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer, Finance and Administration Branch, Department of Public Works and Government Services

Wojciech Zielonka

Yes, absolutely.

Last year's number was $1.278 billion. This year's number is $1.587 billion. The increase is about $309 million overall. In terms of the main categories or the main drivers of that, it's really in what we call “predictable” capital funding. That's very much around our property portfolio. That's where the bulk of that is. This year it's $547 million, which is by far the largest number. That's an increase of about $307 million over last year.

As the deputy indicated, one of the challenges is that the numbers aren't quite an apples to apples comparison, because some of the numbers last year were mixed between vote 1 and vote 5. This year's numbers are more pure in terms of the vote 5 number, so $547 million is a pure number.

I'm not sure, Mr. Chair, if that covers it.

8:40 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

When we talk about the property infrastructure, an increase of, let's say, $300 million, can you share with us why there is an increase of $300 million, then, when comparing apples with apples?

8:40 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Public Works and Government Services

Bill Matthews

Maybe I'll start.

It's a couple of puts and takes. The most obvious ones to mention would be the federal labs initiative as an increase, which we talked about already from the federal laboratories.

On Terrasses de la Chaudière, there was some work there, and on the West Memorial Building, which will be the temporary home of the Supreme Court. These are just some highlights of some of the ones that are causing increases.

It's decreased by a reduction in the long-term vision and plan for the parliamentary precinct because we completed some projects there, the Senate being one of them, and the first phase of the visitor welcome centre. Those are partial offsets to decrease....

That gives you the highlights.

8:40 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Okay, great. Just quickly—I think I have about 30 seconds—does the PSPC have sufficient funds to carry out the planned capital projects you have for 2021?

8:40 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Public Works and Government Services

Bill Matthews

Wojciech, you should take that as the CFO—

8:40 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer, Finance and Administration Branch, Department of Public Works and Government Services

Wojciech Zielonka

PSPC does have sufficient funding to carry out this plan and to address the existing assets that need the major capital funding in 2020-21.

8:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Thank you, Mr. Jowhari. I appreciate that.

Thank you, everybody, for the questions.

I'd like to thank the witnesses for appearing and answering the questions. It was greatly appreciated that you stayed for the extra 15 minutes and were able to answer all of the questions for us.

For all those who indicated they were going to provide us with further information, if you would provide that to the clerk in a timely manner, it would be greatly appreciated.

With that said, I'm going to ask the committee members to stay on briefly. We have a little business to deal with quickly. While the witnesses are signing off, we'll take about five seconds and reconvene here very quickly.

8:45 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Public Works and Government Services

Bill Matthews

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

8:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Okay, thank you, committee, for being here. I understand there's been some discussion amongst the parties about changing the date of the deadline for the PBO costing analysis report to Friday, February 5, 2021. In order to do so, we need to discharge the old order and replace it with a new one containing a revised date.

The clerk has drafted the following motion which we believe will achieve this, and I will read it to you:

That the order adopted by the committee on Monday, November 2, 2020 pertaining to the request to the Parliamentary Budget Officer be discharged and replaced with the following:

That the committee requests that the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer undertake a costing analysis of building the Canadian Surface Combatants and building the FREMM, the Type 31e and other possible competing ships and that the report containing this analysis be presented to the Chair of the Committee by Friday, February 5, 2021.

Does the committee agree with this motion?

(Motion agreed to)

We have consent.

With that said, thank you, everybody, for bearing with us today.

We are now adjourned.