Thank you very much, Mr. Chair and committee members.
Thank you for welcoming us here today. I am pleased to appear before you to present the 2018-19 Interim Estimates and address the funding required to maintain and enhance the administration's support to members of Parliament and to the institution.
I am joined today by the executive management team from the House administration: Charles Robert, clerk of the House of Commons, Michel Patrice, deputy clerk of Administration, and Daniel Paquette, chief financial officer.
I will also be presenting the interim estimates for the PPS, and so I am accompanied by Chief Superintendent Jane MacLatchy, director of PPS, and Robert Graham, the service’s administration and personnel officer.
As a result of an amendment to the Standing Orders, the interim estimates must now be tabled. This will provide Parliament with the information it needs to align the federal budget and the estimates.
The 2018–19 interim estimates include an overview of spending requirements for the first three months of the fiscal year, with a comparison to the 2017–18 estimates, as well as the proposed schedules to the first appropriation bill.
The House of Commons’ interim estimates, as tabled in the House, total approximately $87 million dollars.
Further to the tabling of the main estimates in the House, I anticipate that we will meet again in the spring, at which time I will provide an overview of the year over year changes, as has been the practice in previous years.
Today, I'll cover the main themes of the House’s requests for funding and priorities. The operating budget for the House covers members’ and House officers’ budgets and expenditures, committees, House participation in parliamentary diplomacy, and funding for the House administration.
The House administration's first priority is to support members in their work as parliamentarians, focusing on service-delivery excellence and ongoing modernization.
Key initiatives include the digital strategy on modernizing the delivery of parliamentary information and the implementation of the new constituency connectivity service for constituency offices, new householder formats in support of members' communications with their constituents, and optimized food services in the Parliamentary Precinct.
The renewal of our physical spaces and services provided within them is another key priority for the House administration. Public Services and Procurement Canada, the House of Commons, the team of builders and architects and senior officials are overseeing a number of large-scale projects, most notably the reopening of the restored West Block and the closure of Centre Block.
Upon the completion of the restoration of West Block there will be massive planning required to move critical activities and accommodations from Centre Block to West Block while ensuring that Parliament continues to function seamlessly.
The operation, support, maintenance and life-cycle management of equipment and connectivity elements in buildings are closely linked to the long-term vision and plan. Those key elements are essential to the implementation of a mobile work environment for members and the administration. The expected outcome is that heritage buildings are protected but refurbished with modernized technological infrastructure, a bit like this one has been.
The House of Commons and its security partners continue to collaborate on an enhanced emergency management and security approach. The institution's collective vision is the result of ongoing security awareness and education efforts.
The various groups responsible for security on the Hill and in satellite offices work together to prevent, respond to and manage disruptive events. They also build communication and awareness with all stakeholders around new physical and IT security approaches.
In keeping with evolving cybersecurity threats and information technology developments, it is imperative that the House be equipped with a robust cybersecurity infrastructure and a renewed IT security policy.
These are the current House administration priorities in support of members and the institution.
I will now turn to the interim estimates for the PPS.
The PPS is requesting access to $20.7 million in these interim estimates, which will cover regular operations and the continuation of the external video surveillance improvement project over the first three months of the fiscal year 2018-2019. Regular operations include employee salaries and operational funding required to maintain our current service levels. The external video surveillance improvement project will introduce technical upgrades to existing infrastructure and ensure better coverage of the parliamentary precinct. Funding for this project was previously set aside in the fiscal framework by the RCMP and was recently allocated to the PPS.
Following the tabling of the 2018–2019 Main Estimates, the PPS will return and explain the changes from the 2017–2018 Main Estimates.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my presentation. My team and I would be happy to answer any questions.