Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
Thank you to the minister and all the staff for being here today. Of course, I give a big thanks to the Canadian Forces for the important work they do every day for all Canadians. I represent one of the larger military ridings in the country and am acutely aware of that.
I was very pleased to see in your opening statement, Mr. Minister, that you said your number one priority has been to look after the women and men on our defence team, so I am going to ask you some questions about that.
You mentioned some very welcome initiatives, such as the settlement for the victims of sexual assault and the settlement of the class action lawsuit on the LGBT purge.
The biggest issue in my riding among employees is, of course, DND civilian employees in the Phoenix pay system. I have been asking you about this for four years and I am going to ask you about it again today. What I hear very consistently and heard over the last week when I was in the riding is that the problems with the pay system aren't going away and that they have an effect on morale, recruitment and retention of the skilled people needed to work in the DND civilian workforce.
The most recent report by the Auditor General said there are more cases—not fewer cases—and that these cases involve more money than they previously did. The last report I saw from DND showed that 63% of DND employees have pay issues. Sixty-three per cent of the 28,000 people is almost 17,000 people.
My first question is: Have you seen impacts on the operations of DND as a result of the failures of the Phoenix pay system?