Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thanks, Mr. Fonseca, for bringing this forward. You and I had some conversations when this was being debated in the House, and I want to reiterate the concerns I had at that point.
Even though we voted to support the motion, I would have rather seen something with a larger scope. The fact that this has a pinpoint focus on the GTA and Hamilton area, and only in the construction industry, I think does a disservice. As you said in your presentation, this is an issue that impacts the entire economy. We in rural communities certainly hear about it in the agriculture sector, especially in food processing and large greenhouse operations, just to name a couple. I think this would have been a better motion had we been able to expand it to include other industries, but we are here and will deal with what's in front of us.
I found it interesting to hear you in your presentation speaking very proudly of the $180 billion that the Liberal government has committed for infrastructure spending. I think it's worth noting for the record, however, that only 6% of that $180 billion has actually been earmarked for any new project. That's well behind the pace you should reach.
I have had ministers in my neck of the woods multiple times announcing projects over and over again, including ones that were done by the previous Conservative government, such as the Green Line in Calgary. I would rather see resources put to addressing some of the concerns you have than pay for ministers to travel across the country re-announcing projects.
That being said, there is one thing I would like to ask you, and I would hope we get some resolution to it. We were trying to get the minister here to talk about the supplementary estimates.
One thing in the supplementary estimates that I find interesting is that $35 million has been set aside for a program about worker protections, which is basically an audit system whereby Service Canada auditors will go into businesses. They don't have to give notice; they can just walk onto the business premises, walk into the office and start going through computers and files.
The audits that are done on some of these businesses that are using the temporary foreign worker program specifically, or maybe even express entry, are very stressful. Some of our stakeholders have gone through this process, and the audit can take up to two years in some cases, which many times can bring a business to a screeching halt. If we are looking at ways to improve the temporary foreign worker program.... This is scaring some businesses off from even applying for it.
I would like your opinion on this $35 million that is in the supplementary estimates for this worker protection program, to increase the audits and inspections of businesses that use the temporary foreign worker program.