Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Just by way of introduction, I thought I would take a little time to go through our mandate, our three strategic outcomes, and a few words on the Industry portfolio and the main issues at hand.
Overall, Industry Canada helps create a strong business environment that promotes competition and instills investor and consumer confidence.
We do this by working with Canadians in all areas of the economy and in all parts of the country to create a fair and efficient marketplace, to encourage innovation, and to provide support to business.
The department basically has three business lines.
First is marketplace frameworks or the regulatory frame, if you like. The industry department is responsible for about 25 acts of Parliament that set these rules, including the Telecommunications Act, the Investment Canada Act, the Copyright Act, the Trade-marks Act, the Competition Act, and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. Key objectives of these marketplace rules include providing businesses certainty through predictability and stability of the rules, achieving fairness of outcomes, incentivizing innovation, providing confidence in the marketplace, and aligning with international approaches and practices while recognizing unique Canadian interests. We try to promote well-functioning marketplace frameworks that generate positive outcomes for Canadians overall to create an innovative, entrepreneurial, and dynamic economy.
The second line of business is science, technology, and innovation. In the area of science and innovation we've seen a shift in governments focus and support. The Jenkins panel of 2011, and its review, took a hard look at overall levels of R and D spending, at the breakdown in federal innovation funding between direct and indirect investments, and at how to get more bang for our buck in terms of the effectiveness and impact of our federal support.
We've moved forward to implement the recommendations of the Jenkins panel. Whether it's transforming the NRC into a more business-oriented research organization, or changing the balance in SR and ED expenditures from indirect to direct support, we have truly been in implementation mode, and we'd be happy to talk about that.
Industry Canada also recently launched two important initiatives that will help shape support in the knowledge-based economy.
The updated science, technology, and innovation strategy announced in December 2014 focuses on three key areas. The first is people, attracting and retaining highly qualified and skilled individuals. The second is knowledge, strengthening support for excellence across discovery-driven and applied activities. The third is innovation, helping to bring new ideas and knowledge from the laboratories to the marketplace.
The second initiative of note is the Canada first research excellence fund. This $1.5-billion investment will enable Canadian post-secondary institutions to excel globally in research areas that create long-term economic advantages for Canada.
The third line of business is support for business overall. This last business line focuses on the importance of boosting the global competitiveness of key Canadian sectors. Typically we focus on the manufacturing sector, and historically Industry Canada's direct support is mostly geared towards the aerospace and automotive sectors.
Following the 2012 aerospace review by David Emerson, Industry Canada has implemented the report and its many measures to support the aerospace sector including, for example, the technology demonstration program; stable funding of close to $1 billion for the strategic aerospace and defence initiative, otherwise known as SADI; and the launch of the Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada, otherwise known as CARIC.
In any case, support for the automotive sector, on the other hand, is largely sourced from the automotive innovation fund, a program that supports significant, new, strategic, large-scale research and development projects to build innovative, greener, and more fuel-efficient vehicles in Canada. Budget 2015 recognized the important role of supply chains in the auto sector in terms of the future sustainability and competitiveness of the sector with the announcement of the automotive supplier innovation program.
Industry Canada aIso provides intelligence, analysis, and advice on key sectors, as I said earlier, primarily in the manufacturing area but including pharmaceuticals; information, communication, and technology; and some resource-based areas like food processing, which in the manufacturing area creates so many jobs.
Tourism is also a major source of employment in Canada and we will continue to examine ways to increase the attractiveness of domestic tourism to Canadians.
Lastly, Industry Canada has an entire team dedicated to small business. Whether it's supporting business through the Canada small business financing program, providing information to entrepreneurs through the Canada Business Network, or supporting the implementation of the venture capital action plan, we as a department are helping small and medium-sized businesses to compete and grow.
Before concluding, while I don't have any of the heads of agencies with me here today that are part of the industry portfolio, this is a diverse group of 12 organizations and indeed other affiliated bodies such as Statistics Canada, the Canadian Space Agency, the Business Development Bank of Canada, the granting councils such as NSERC and SSHRC, and the Canadian Tourism Commission, to name a few of the elements from my portfolio and the department's portfolio.
The entire portfolio, including Industry Canada, has a budget of $6.1 billion and about 16,100 FTEs.
We work in partnership with members of the industry portfolio as a department to leverage resources and to use synergies in a number of areas to further the government's goal of building a knowledge-based economy.
Let me just conclude with a few short words on the main estimates themselves. Industry Canada will receive $1.2 billion in the 2015-16 main estimates, which represents an increase of about $93 million from last year, the majority of which are in the grants and contributions area. The lion's share of this increase is from new funding from budget 2014, and specifically the largest item is $80 million for the connecting Canadians program.
Regarding the main estimates for the industry portfolio, the organizations will receive a total of $3.7 billion in the 2015-16 main estimates, representing an increase of $170 million over last year. The single largest increase in this total is $146 million for Statistics Canada to deliver on the 2016 census of population and agriculture programs. There are aIso significant increases to support SSHRC, NSERC, as well as space programs at the Canadian Space Agency.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. We look forward to questions.