Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Good afternoon to members of the committee. It's a pleasure to be with you again to discuss the estimates today.
I have a familiar cast of characters with me. Malcolm Brown is the Deputy Minister of Public Safety. John Ossowski is the President of the Canada Border Services Agency. Anne Kelly is the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada. Jeff Yaworski is the Acting Director for CSIS. Gilles Michaud is Deputy Commissioner for the RCMP.
I would point out that as of last week, Deputy Commissioner Michaud has been elected Delegate for the Americas to serve on the executive committee of INTERPOL, representing our continent in that important organization.
Again, I want to thank members of the committee for the diligent work that you do on matters related to public safety. The volume and gravity of the key pieces of legislation, the policy changes, and the major investments that we have been making are very substantial. Your scrutiny and advice have helped to inform that work, which includes, for example, the new regime that Canada now has in place with respect to cannabis, a modernized national security framework that was developed in the context of Bill C-59 and new strong actions in relation to gun and gang violence. That's just to name a few.
We are in the midst of extraordinary changes to Canada's public safety environment, and Canadians are seeing some direct benefits. This month alone, we have announced millions of dollars in new funding for public safety projects from coast to coast. Those projects help our communities plan and prepare for natural disasters like floods. They improve our collective ability to effectively counter radicalization to violence in new and innovative ways. They help communities steer youth away from criminal and risky behaviour, such as guns, gangs and drugs.
Of course, there is also the $86 million that we announced earlier this month to support both the RCMP and the CBSA in their efforts to combat gun and gang violence. Keeping Canadians safe clearly requires efforts at every level, from communities to NGOs to governments to law enforcement and security agencies and beyond.
Today, in these estimates that are the subject matter for this meeting, we're looking at the spending authorities the portfolio needs to accomplish those objectives. Through these supplementary estimates (A), the Public Safety portfolio is requesting adjustments resulting in a net increase of $262 million. That represents a change of 2.6% over existing authorities. It's largely because several portfolio organizations have now received Treasury Board approval to increase appropriations and have received or are making transfers to and from other organizations.
All told, the approval of these estimates, including in-year adjustments, would result in total portfolio authorities increasing to $10.5 billion for the current fiscal year.
For my part today, I'll try to break down the key highlights of these changes across the portfolio, and I'll speak to just a few current priorities.
First, I note that these estimates provide a great snapshot of just how closely this portfolio must work together. Thirteen of the spending initiatives, with a total value of over $144 million, are horizontal in nature, requiring close collaboration among the organizations within this portfolio. I'll single out three in particular.
One of the most prominent is the $29.9 million requested in these estimates for the initiative to take action against guns and gangs, to which I alluded earlier. The evidence is clear: Gun and gang violence is a growing problem for Canadians.
Last year, I announced a total of new funding of $327.6 million over five years to help address this issue. A portion of that total—over $200 million over five years—will help provinces and territories address gun and gang issues through initiatives specific to the needs of their local communities.
The nearly $30 million that is requested in these estimates will help the CBSA, the RCMP and Public Safety Canada to carry out this collaborative new guns and gangs initiative.
On the theme of collaboration, I would also highlight the $50.3 million requested by my department to be transferred to the RCMP in support of the first nations policing program in various communities across Canada. Indigenous communities, like all other communities in Canada, should be safe places where families can thrive and economies can flourish. Public safety is essential for social and economic development. That's why I announced last year that the government is investing an incremental $291.2 million over five years in policing in first nations and Inuit communities currently served under the first nations policing program. That is the single largest investment in the program since it was first created back in 1991. For the first time, the funding will be both ongoing and indexed so that first nations communities can have the confidence that their police forces will have the resources they need into the future.
A third horizontal initiative is reflected in the $7.1 million requested for CSIS and CBSA to support the 2018 to 2020 immigration plan. As you know, Minister Hussen announced a multi-year plan that would welcome some 980,000 new permanent residents to our country by 2020. Public Safety portfolio organizations are very important partners in the immigration and refugee system, helping determine admissibility to Canada and providing security screening. Again, this funding will support their efforts.
Mr. Chair, that's just a quick snapshot of some of the collaborative work the portfolio is undertaking.
I'll briefly outline some of the other more prominent dollar amounts requested by some of our portfolio partners.
These estimates would provide the CBSA with a net increase in budgetary expenditures of $94.1 million. Along with supporting action against gun and gang violence, as well as immigration activities, that funding will also enhance the passenger protect program and other priorities.
The RCMP is seeking a net increase of $163.3 million in these estimates for the first nations policing program that I mentioned, and the guns and gangs initiative, as well as for G7 security, efforts related to the new cannabis regime, and much more.
Finally, I'll also highlight a requested net increase of $16 million to the spending authorities for CSIS, and an increase of $2.3 million to the Correctional Service of Canada. Minister Blair will have more details to share on today's estimates during the next hour of your meeting.
With respect to immediate priorities, it's safe to say that we won't be slowing down in the near future. For example, you can expect to see new measures responding to the mandate that we have given to the new commissioner of the RCMP. With the new cannabis regime in place, we'll be presenting legislation soon to make things fairer for Canadians who have been previously convicted of the offence of simple possession.
In closing, I understand that this committee will begin clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-83 later this week. I have been following the testimony and your lines of questioning very closely. Even though we are eliminating the practice of administrative segregation through this bill and introducing the new concept of structural intervention units, it is clear that some form of independent review mechanism for individuals who do not take part in programming within the structured intervention units would make stakeholders more comfortable with this very ambitious legislation. As indicated previously, I would be amenable to such a change, and I look forward to your work on clause-by-clause study.
As members likely know, creating a review mechanism would be a new and distinct function that would require a royal recommendation. That includes changing the terms and conditions of the original royal recommendation that was included at the beginning with Bill C-83, which of course would make such an amendment inadmissible at the committee stage.
If members are interested in such an amendment, my office would be more than willing to work with you in preparing such a report stage amendment. I would seek the appropriate royal recommendation from my cabinet colleagues.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to appear, Mr. Chair. Welcome to you in your role as chair today. I'm glad to be here and to have the opportunity to answer any questions.