Evidence of meeting #81 for Status of Women in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was going.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Gina Wilson  Deputy Minister, Office of the Deputy Minister, Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women
Justine Akman  Director General, Policy and External Relations, Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women
Nancy Gardiner  Senior Director General, Women’s Program and Regional Operations, Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women
Anik Lapointe  Chief Financial Officer and Director, Corporate Services, Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women
Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Marie-Hélène Sauvé

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

I think what we heard, though, when we did our study was that it was there but that even the Auditor General had called out a number of departments for not using it. Before, was there ever a budget that had a gender statement on it?

12:35 p.m.

Director General, Policy and External Relations, Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women

Justine Akman

This is the first time for Canada that there has been a GBA of a federal budget.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Okay. Are you aware if memorandums to cabinet have ever had gender analysis done on them before now?

12:35 p.m.

Director General, Policy and External Relations, Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women

Justine Akman

As I mentioned, doing a gender-based assessment has been a mandatory part of memoranda to cabinet for a long time, but there are variations on that theme in terms of how detailed it is.

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Yes, and where it's done in the process too. That is something we heard: whether it was done early in the process, before it came, or when it arrived.

Thank you. I think I have 10 seconds left, so that's good.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

You do, exactly. Thank you very much.

We're going to now move to our second round, with Rachael Harder for five minutes.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Thank you.

Are you able to confirm for me when the PCO guidance on GBA+ was implemented for all departments?

12:40 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Office of the Deputy Minister, Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women

Gina Wilson

I cannot personally, so unless any of my colleagues are aware of a date, we could certainly get back to you with that.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Was it your department that oversaw that implementation?

12:40 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Office of the Deputy Minister, Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women

Gina Wilson

The development of PCO guidance...?

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Yes, did you work in partnership with them on that?

12:40 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Office of the Deputy Minister, Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women

Gina Wilson

We would not have overseen it, but we would have definitely partnered with them to develop that.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Okay, but you don't know when that was implemented?

12:40 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Office of the Deputy Minister, Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women

Gina Wilson

I don't have a date in front of me.

12:40 p.m.

Director General, Policy and External Relations, Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women

Justine Akman

As I mentioned, there's been some gender-based analysis done on policy proposals for some time. I don't have an exact date. I think we can easily get that for you. It's probably following Beijing and our commitments to gender-based analysis. In the last two and half years, PCO has issued new advice on gender-based analysis, a few times, including by working with us, and how to ensure that it's being done in a way that's meaningful.

November 30th, 2017 / 12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Okay.

In using the authorities and expenditures by vote tool from the Treasury Board, I was looking at this document, and I notice that in 2015-16, you lapsed $1.6 million. Of that, $1.57 million came from the advancing equality for women program activity. In 2016-17, you lapsed an additional $1.1 million, of which more than $600,000 was lapsed under the strategic policy analysis planning and development program activity.

When you answered a member earlier, you said that you understand—I'm actually quoting you—“stretching every dollar”, particularly when it comes to programs. The member was asking you why more money isn't being put into these programs, and you said that the department is already stretching every dollar, but the document I'm referring to tells us that there's actually money left in the pot that isn't even being used in order to advance these programs.

Can you clarify for me why this money is going unused?

12:40 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Office of the Deputy Minister, Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women

Gina Wilson

I can certainly clarify what I understand about lapses, and lapses at Status of Women Canada, and I can ask Anik to provide you more detail.

Certainly, there are always opportunities, and every department will always aim to spend all the money they have, invest all the money they have, or transfer money to other departments. Definitely, that is always the objective of a department, of a deputy minister, and of a CFO; however, there are times where there are lapses for reasons that are unforseen. Certainly, these are lapses that would be, in my view, ones that would be clearly explainable in some of these estimates. Anik can give you more details.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Would it be a valid concern for me? When I look at the $2.9 million that you're seeking authority to spend in the supplementary estimates that this committee has been given, I'm looking at $1.7 million that has already lapsed and has gone unspent. Now you're asking for another $2.9 million.

What kind of faith should this committee or the Canadian public place in your department with regard to spending that money properly and making sure that these programs are well taken care of?

12:40 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Office of the Deputy Minister, Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women

Gina Wilson

Perhaps I can ask Anik to finalize the response to the earlier question on the reason for that particular lapse, and parliamentarians can certainly have a comment on that.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

In the same vein, in the quarterly financial report, the department had spent only about 20% of its annual personnel budget in the second quarter, in June. In the first quarter, it spent only 19%.

At this rate, you would lapse $3 million by the end of the year. Again, we have a lapse of $3 million. Are you planning on ramping up hiring that dramatically over the next six months or are we looking at another significant lapse?

12:40 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Office of the Deputy Minister, Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women

Gina Wilson

You confused me there with a potential lapse of $3 million that I'm not aware of.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

I just want to respond to something. Rachael asked a question. I don't know if Anik had the opportunity to respond to the question.

12:40 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Office of the Deputy Minister, Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women

Gina Wilson

Did you want the response, the details to that particular lapse?

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

That was a question that you would have needed to get back to me on. I didn't realize you had it today, so yes.

12:45 p.m.

Anik Lapointe Chief Financial Officer and Director, Corporate Services, Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women

For the quarterly financial report, we spent 50% of our funding for this fiscal year.

For the lapse of 2016-17, the $1.1 million, there was $150,000 that was lapsed in grants and contributions, and this funding was earmarked for the women entrepreneurs initiative. The minister had explained that it was because the initiative was not yet in place. That's the reason for that $150,000.

Out of the balance, $500,000 was carried forward for this year as part of the 5% that the departments are allowed to carry forward. This is money that is available to spend this year.

The rest is money that was frozen for the collective agreements, so it was a frozen amount that we weren't allowed to spend last year. So not spending it was something that was out of our control, but that was also to allow us to spend it this year when the collective agreement payment came through.