Madam Chair, I am delighted and honoured to address the House today in an extraordinary context.
Thank you for, Madam Chair, for this opportunity to discuss, in particular, supplementary estimates (A) for 2020-21.
As committee members know, every year, the government tables the supplementary estimates, which sets out its spending plan.
These supplementary estimates present information on spending requirements across federal organizations that were either not sufficiently developed in time for inclusion in the main estimates or have since been updated to reflect new developments.
This is the first supplementary estimates to be tabled this fiscal year. It includes a summary of the government's additional financial requirements and an overview of the main funding requests and horizontal initiatives.
The Supplementary Estimates (A), 2020-21, also shows that the government is continuing to invest in people, in workers, in the economy and in support related to COVID-19 to ensure the country's success and economic recovery.
Parliamentarians will have the opportunity to review and vote on these allocations, which seek to provide important services to indigenous communities, safe and secure transportation for travellers and support for Canada's armed forces. This is in addition to COVID-related expenditures.
Specifically, these supplementary estimates include $6 billion in operating and capital expenditures, grants and contributions to be voted on by Parliament for 42 different federal organizations. These voted measures represent a 5% increase over those included in the main estimates for 2020-21 that I tabled on February 27, including more than $1 billion for the government's response to the COVID crisis.
For the purposes of parliamentary information and transparency, the supplementary estimates also includes forecasts of statutory expenditures totalling $81.1 billion. It is important to note the key difference between voted spending and statutory spending. Voted spending requires the annual approval of Parliament through what is called a supply bill, whereas statutory spending is approved through other laws. The current estimates contains information on statutory spending to enable parliamentarians to have the most comprehensive information available on the spending planned by the government.
Canadians and the parliamentarians who represent them have the right to know how public funds are being spent and to hold the government to account. Estimates are brought forward to ensure that Parliament can review and approve the new spending needs of the Government of Canada.
The Supplementary Estimates (A) for 2020-21 include $6 billion in new funding across the government, including $1 billion in continued support for COVID-19 relief.
For maximum transparency, the estimates documents also provide information on spending authorized through the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act and the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, No. 2, which have already been negotiated, discussed and unanimously approved by parliamentarians.
We know that Canadians want maximum transparency from Parliament. These estimates include statutory information on spending that was first authorized through the COVID-19 emergency response acts that were presented, debated and passed in the House. This spending is now helping Canadians.
The health, security and well-being of all Canadians remain critical to our government. As a result, these supplementary estimates include a request for an additional $1.3 billion in voted expenditures to deal with the impact of COVID-19 on Canadians.
This includes $405 million for the national medical research strategy to fund tracking and testing of COVID-19, to develop vaccines and therapies, and to enhance clinical trials and biomanufacturing capacity in Canada.
There is also $302 million to support small and medium-sized businesses.
This also includes $274 million for urgent research and innovation on medical countermeasures, $87 million for the Community Futures Network, and $59 million to help the Canadian Red Cross Society support individuals, families and communities during the pandemic.
Here are some of the other key initiatives included in these estimates that support a variety of Canadians priorities: $585 million for the Department of National Defence to fund the joint support ship project to replace vessels that have reached the end of their lifespans, and $481 million for the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs to fund the federal Indian day schools settlement agreement.
In addition, $468 million is allocated to the Department of Indigenous Services to support the safety and well-being of first nations children and families living on reserve.
There is also $312 million for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and Department of Transport, which will fund aviation security screening services.
For my own department, called the Treasury Board Secretariat, the estimates include $396 million for the disability insurance plan; $82 million for previous requirements, in this case to cover the cost of negotiated wage adjustments; and $9 million to continue the Canadian Digital Service's operations.
The supplementary estimates enable the government to be transparent and accountable for how we plan to use public funds to provide the programs and services Canadians need. In accordance with the government's commitment to transparency, we continue to provide additional important information online regarding these supplementary estimates.
For example, we have published a detailed listing of legislated amounts reported through these estimates and a complete breakdown of planned expenditures by standard objects such as personnel, professional services and transfer payments. Our online information tools reflect our commitment to give Canadians a clear explanation of where public funds are going and how they are going to be spent.
Furthermore, the Minister of Finance committed to reporting to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance every two weeks about the key measures taken by the government to help Canadians.
Lastly, the government remains firmly committed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as these supplementary estimates show.
The new spending plans in these supplementary estimates will help support people affected by the pandemic and maintain support for the economy and Canadians.
As we advance these plans, I would like to acknowledge the crucial work of all parliamentarians as we continue to work together for the future of our country and the wellness of all Canadians. Canadians are counting on us and expect all parliamentarians to be steady in their support as we navigate through these very challenging times. Let us honour their trust.
I would now be happy to answer any questions that members of this House may have.