I call the meeting to order.
Good morning to those in the west and good afternoon to those in the east. Welcome, everyone, to meeting number five of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.
Pursuant to the orders of reference of March 24, April 11 and April 20, 2020, the committee is meeting for the purpose of receiving evidence concerning matters related to the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As you know, today's meeting is taking place by video conference. The proceedings will be made available via the House of Commons website. The webcast will always show the person speaking rather than the entirety of the committee.
In order to facilitate the work of our interpreters and ensure an orderly meeting, I would like to outline a few rules to follow.
First, interpretation in this video conference will work very much as in a regular committee meeting. You have the choice at the bottom of your screen of floor, English or French. Before speaking, please wait and I will recognize you by name. When you are ready to speak, you can either click on the microphone icon to activate your mike or you can hold down the space bar while you are speaking. When you release the bar, your mike will mute itself, just like a walkie-talkie or the mikes we're accustomed to when we meet in person.
As a reminder, all comments by members and witnesses should be addressed through the chair. Should members need to request the floor outside of their designated time for questions, they should activate their mike and state that they have a point of order.
If a member wishes to intervene on a point of order that has been raised by another member, they should use the “raise hand” function. This will signal to me your interest to speak. In order to do so, you should click on “participants” on the bottom of the screen. When the list pops up, you will see next to your name that you can click “raise hand”.
When speaking, please speak slowly and clearly. When you are not speaking, your mike should be on mute, and as you've already heard, the use of headsets is strongly encouraged. If you have a microphone on your headset that hangs down, please make sure it's not rubbing on your shirt during your questioning time.
Should any technical challenges arise in relation to interpretation, for example, or if you are accidentally disconnected, please advise the chair or clerk immediately, and the technical team will resolve the issue. Please note that we may need to suspend during these times, as we need to ensure all members are able to participate fully.
Before we get started, could everyone click on their screen in the top right-hand corner to ensure they are on gallery view? With this view you should be able to see all the participants in a grid view. It will ensure that all video participants can see one another.
With that, we are ready to begin.
I would like to welcome our first panel of witnesses. We have Graham Flack, deputy minister; Lori MacDonald, senior associate deputy minister of ESDC and chief operating officer for Service Canada; and Benoît Robidoux, associate deputy minister.
We will proceed with the usual 10-minute period for opening remarks, followed by rounds of questions.
Will you be delivering the remarks, Mr. Flack?