Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, members of the committee.
It's a pleasure to be back before your committee in my role as Speaker of the House of Commons to present our supplementary estimates (A) for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
This appearance is an opportunity for the House of Commons to present the approved additional funding for previous planned initiatives, which are designed to maintain and enhance the administration's support to members of Parliament and to the institution itself.
I will also present the supplementary estimates (A) for the Parliamentary Protective Service, or PPS.
You've introduced the people with me this morning, so I won't go through those. I'm happy to have these folks with me this morning.
I'll begin my presentation by highlighting key elements of the 2018 supplementary estimates (A) for the House of Commons. These total $15.9 million in additional funding. The amount allocated for members and House officers is $6.9 million. The remaining $9 million was distributed to House administration service areas to fund in-year strategic priorities, bringing the House of Commons' estimates to $522.9 million for the fiscal year.
As you'll note, the line item falls under the broad category of voted appropriations.
To begin, our line item confirms that temporary funding in the amount of $15.9 million has been sought for what is technically known as the operation budget carry forward.
I would like to highlight that no additional funding is sought as part of the supplementary estimates other than the carry forward, contrary to what has been done in previous years.
The Board of Internal Economy's carry-forward policy allows members, House officers and House administration to carry forward unspent funds from one fiscal year to the next, up to a maximum of 5% of their operating budgets in the main estimates. Members will know that this is to avoid what's known as “March madness”. This practice follows that of the Government of Canada and gives members, House officers and House administration more flexibility in planning and carrying out their work.
The House of Commons' carry-forward has been approved by the Board of Internal Economy and, further to a Treasury Board directive, is reflected in our supplementary estimates.
I would now like to turn to the Parliamentary Protective Service.
Since the beginning of the 2018-19 fiscal year, the Parliamentary Protective Service, or PPS, has continued to deliver its mandate to ensure the physical security within the parliamentary precinct and on Parliament Hill.
In support of the PPS' progress to date, and to ensure its continued ability to deliver its protection mandate, I'm here to present to you PPS's supplementary estimates (A) requests.
I'll begin with an overview of PPS's supplementary estimates (A) request for 2018-19, which totals $7.6 million. This includes a voted budget component of $7.1 million and a $502,000 statutory budget requirement for the employee benefits program.
The voted authorities to date for the PPS total $76.7 million from the 2018-19 main estimates. Adding the 2018-19 supplementary estimates (A) voted amount of $7.1 million will bring the PPS voted appropriations to a total of $83.8 million for the 2018-19 fiscal year. Including statutory requirements, the total estimates to date for the PPS are $91.1 million.
It's important to note that the total estimates to date of $91.1 million for 2018-19 include $6.75 million for initiatives that will be completed by the end of the current fiscal year. These include the camera project for the West Block, a crash barrier replacement at the vehicle screening facility or VSF, the acquisition of vehicles and several IT projects. These are one-time things. Obviously, in due course, we will eventually have to replace some of these again, but for a while, they are one time.
The vehicle screening facility (VSF) is the primary access control point for the vehicular traffic on Parliament Hill. Following an internal review, PPS is requesting two additional supervisory positions at the VSF to oversee the personnel for this twenty-four-hour, seven-day-a-week operation.
PPS is requesting funding to acquire seven law-enforcement-rated vehicles to be used within the parliamentary precinct. These vehicles will be PPS assets and will blend in with the parliamentary precinct's vehicular fleet in support of PPS operations. Currently, PPS personnel use RCMP minivans that are nearing the end of their life cycle and do not meet PPS's operational requirements.
Protection agencies around the world are amending their training policies to ensure that the closest first responders are able to engage a threat as quickly as possible. Currently not all of PPS's protection personnel have such training. The PPS intends to apply proven tactics and training methods to empower all its protection personnel to neutralize threats. PPS would also like to build on the success of the lockdown drills with multidisciplinary, collaborative emergency management exercises. To that end, it is requesting six additional training personnel: four to certify protection officers and ensure these skills are maintained, and two to design and carry out ongoing emergency management exercises.
Ensuring that our operational employees are properly equipped is a priority for PPS. PPS is now requesting $144,000 in funding to equip all recruits for the next constable training program.
Funding has also being requested to ensure all PPS employees have licenced copies of the emergency notification system which sends alerts to all parliamentarians and parliamentary employees when specific incidents take place that may affect their security.
Over the last few years, the role of protection officers has evolved. As a result, a new role profile was revised and updated by management, operational employees and human resources professionals. After consultation with the associations, these profiles were evaluated by a third-party job evaluation consulting firm, which recommended that these positions be reclassified one level higher, leading to a salary increase. This reclassification represents an approximate 6.5% salary increase for all PPS protection officers, supervisors and managers, and requires a $2.8-million increase to the PPS's annual salary budget.
When the PPS was first created, it worked closely with the Senate and House administrations to leverage existing corporate systems and administrative tools. While these administrations continue to work closely with PPS, some areas, such as finance and procurement, require additional resources to meet the specific requirements of the PPS. As such, the PPS is requesting an additional two full-time equivalents, FTEs, for the procurement team to manage competitive processes and complex negotiations with suppliers.
PPS is also requesting an additional resource to develop and manage its financial policies in consultation with its parliamentary partners. These initiatives support the sound financial stewardship of funds and resources.
You'll be glad to hear that this concludes my presentation. Thank you for your attention. My team and I are happy to answer questions you may have, or to try to at least.