Evidence of meeting #78 for Procedure and House Affairs in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was million.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Superintendent Jane MacLatchy  Director, Parliamentary Protective Service
Robert Graham  Administration and Personnel Officer, Parliamentary Protective Service
André Gagnon  Deputy Clerk, Procedure
Daniel G. Paquette  Chief Financial Officer, House of Commons
Michel Patrice  Deputy Clerk, Administration
Stéphan Aubé  Chief Information Officer, House of Commons
Andre Barnes  Committee Researcher

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, NL

Okay, thank you.

Does anyone else want to ask a question? That's fine for me.

Filomena would like to go. I'll pass my questions to Ms. Tassi.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Filomena Tassi Liberal Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, ON

Thank you, and thank you all for being here this morning.

Superintendent MacLatchy, I'd like to follow up on something you said to help me better understand the process. The FPSLREB application was filed in 2015, and you can't bargain until that's decided. That's the law.

11:55 a.m.

C/Supt Jane MacLatchy

That's the legal advice we received, yes.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Filomena Tassi Liberal Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, ON

That's the legal advice. Okay.

How long do those applications generally take? What is the holdup in getting that application resolved? What is the process?

11:55 a.m.

C/Supt Jane MacLatchy

On specifically how long they would normally take, I'm afraid I don't have an answer for you there. I'm not aware.

I do know that the expectation of my predecessors was that it would have been resolved much faster than it was. It took us this long to get our first hearing with the labour board, which we had last week. They're the ones who are responsible for scheduling. I don't know if Mr. Graham has anything further to say.

11:55 a.m.

Administration and Personnel Officer, Parliamentary Protective Service

Robert Graham

It's their decision as to which cases they hear on their docket. It's not within our control. Unfortunately, it's for reasons beyond our control, and we don't understand why they didn't hear us until last week. We have no foresight into how long it will take them to make a decision. We've scheduled further hearings based on the availability of our labour board and the four legal teams that are involved.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Filomena Tassi Liberal Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, ON

An application was put in in 2015. The labour board determines what they hear based on what they think is a priority file or issue. Is that what your guess is, but you're not certain of it?

11:55 a.m.

Administration and Personnel Officer, Parliamentary Protective Service

Robert Graham

I can't comment on how they decide which cases to hear. All I know is it took two years to get our first meeting with the board.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Sorry, Ms. Tassi, your time is up.

Our last intervention is by Mr. Richards.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Good. I had indicated earlier that I had a couple of additional questions.

Mr. Paquette, I think it was you who, in response to my question about the 5% increase from last year in the estimates, mentioned the new members being a part of that. The new members would have obviously been here for the previous year's budget as well, the 2016-17 budget, so that certainly accounts for why there was a two-year increase of about 20%, but I'm not sure it would make sense to argue it would account for the 5% increase over last year. I'm wondering if there's something else that's responsible there. I'll give you another chance to respond to that one, because it just doesn't seem like it quite fits for me.

Noon

Chief Financial Officer, House of Commons

Daniel G. Paquette

When we look at even just what we have here in the supplementary estimates (B), which is the big portion, the majority of the amount there is our carry-forward, the 5% over last year, which is basically unspent voted authorities from the previous year that are distributed after that, based on the rules we have, to MPs, House administration, or some of the strategic priorities.

Then we have some of the big projects we just talked about—

Noon

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

I don't mean to interrupt you, but I'm going to.

When you talk about that being the carry-forward amount, that's fine, but you're only asking for the carry-over because there's an intention to spend it on something. What is it? That's more of the concern—what it's being spent on, not what column in the accounting it came from.

Noon

Chief Financial Officer, House of Commons

Daniel G. Paquette

Of the close to $15 million of carry-forward, $6.7 million of it was redistributed to the various MPs' budgets, based on the formula we have for the underspent from the previous year's authorities, for them to use in their current year's expenses.

There's $1.8 million going to various House administration service areas, again on that same formula of the underspending, to be spent on in-year events. The balance of $6.8 million was into some of the key projects. The majority of those are our new HR system that we are investing in, which Mr. Aubé just mentioned. We have our mobile work environment and IT security initiatives going on right now. That covers a big chunk of that $6 million.

Noon

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

I think it's also important to keep in mind—again, I can be corrected if I'm wrong—that in the first year of the new Parliament, the House did experience a bunch of new costs, some of which weren't anticipated, largely because of the 30 new members. You might have seen some of that in the supplementary estimates (B) last year, but it wouldn't have been in the main estimates last year. You would see an increase this year as a result of that.

Noon

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

How much of the new spending we're talking about here would be one-time expenditures, and how much of it is going to become ongoing annual spending?

November 9th, 2017 / noon

Chief Financial Officer, House of Commons

Daniel G. Paquette

For the supplementary estimates (B), the majority of it is one-time. That includes the carry-forward of the $15 million, and about 40% of the balance is one-time funding. It's just the in-year projects and initiatives.

Noon

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

The 40% is one-time.

Noon

Chief Financial Officer, House of Commons

Noon

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

The other 60% is stuff that will become ongoing annual spending.

Noon

Chief Financial Officer, House of Commons

Daniel G. Paquette

Yes, because if you look at the list we have, the economic increases for employees.... We have the pay for the additional employees, who are obviously indeterminate, that we need to keep supporting.

Noon

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Thanks.

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Thank you, Mr. Richards.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and all your staff, and Ms. MacLatchy.

We just have the routine motions.

HOUSE OF COMMONS Vote 1b—Program expenditures..........$32,585,677

(Vote 1b agreed to on division)

PARLIAMENTARY PROTECTIVE SERVICE Vote 1b—Program expenditures..........$14,245,794

(Vote 1b agreed to)

Shall I report the votes of the supplementary estimates (B) to the House?

Noon

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

We'll suspend for a minute to go in camera, but we'll make it very quick because we have a lot of business to do.

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Order.

Before we start, I would like to welcome our honorary guest, Alexandrine Latendresse, who was the vice-chair of this committee last Parliament. Welcome back.