Good morning, colleagues. I call the meeting to order.
Welcome back. I hope everybody had a productive weekend. We're resuming our study of the Access to Information Act. This is meeting 13.
We are very pleased to have with us again, from the Treasury Board Secretariat, Ms. Jennifer Dawson, deputy chief information officer. From Public Services and Procurement Canada, we are pleased to have Sarah Paquet, the assistant deputy minister. Welcome. You have with you Mr. Simon Fradette—that's the best I can do en anglais, monsieur—director general of specialized services.
We'll go in the order in which I introduced you, and you'll have up to 10 minutes for your opening comments.
We have one hour, and then we'll proceed to the rounds of questioning, and we'll get as far as we can. I'll remind colleagues at the table that in the second hour we are going to return to the estimates. We'll have both the Information Commissioner and the Commissioner of Lobbying here, and then we'll have to proceed to the votes on those estimates.
Without any further ado, please go ahead, Ms. Dawson, for up to 10 minutes.
I'd like to thank the committee for inviting me to talk about information management in the Government of Canada today.
Like financial and human resources, information represents a critical strategic asset to the Government of Canada.
Making high-quality, trustworthy information available to decision-makers helps to deliver effective programs and services. Departments can then be more responsive and accountable to Canadians.
The government also recognizes that information needs to be protected for such reasons as privacy, confidentiality and security. Deputy heads are responsible for the management and administration of information under the Financial Administration Act. Section 7 of the act provides the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat with the authority to issue management policy.
To help departments and agencies manage their information, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat issues information management policy, directives, standards and guideline documents.
The policy on information management applies to 93 departments and agencies identified in schedules I, I.1, and II of the Financial Administration Act. This policy doesn't apply to crown corporations.
To support the implementation of the policy, the secretariat provides advice and guidance to departments and agencies. The secretariat also supports policy compliance and the Government of Canada information management community through outreach and engagement activities.
The Secretariat is charged with monitoring how closely departments follow the information management policy.
Information management is a shared responsibility among all Government of Canada employees. In 2007 TBS issued its directive on information management roles and responsibilities, which provides direction on managing information to them.
Other key partners in information management include Library and Archives Canada, mandated to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations, and the Canada School of Public Service, with a role in developing and delivering a core learning program, which includes information management, for all public servants.
Finally, Public Services and Procurement Canada is responsible for providing common government-wide IT solutions.
My colleague Sarah Paquet, assistant deputy minister, will provide more information about the role of PSPC.
As the Government of Canada moves forward strengthening our information management practices, our enterprise-wide content management solution, GCDOCS, being delivered by PSPC, is going to be a critical enabler.
I will now let Ms. Paquet speak to you on the status of the GCDOCS program government-wide.
Good day, Mr. Chair. My name is Sarah Paquet and I am the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Integrated Services Branch of Public Services and Procurement Canada. As my colleague from the Treasury Board Secretariat has just explained, the GCDOCS system is a major transformation with respect to information management in the federal public service.
I would first like to describe my department's role. Public Services and Procurement Canada is responsible for providing GCDOCS to Government of Canada departments and agencies. Our department fulfills that role in collaboration with its partners, including the Treasury Board Secretariat—in particular Ms. Dawson's team—Shared Services Canada and the Canada School of Public Service.
Teamwork and collaboration with all our partners and clients are key elements of our identity. GCDOCS, which is a tool based on the business platform of the OpenText company, helps organizations to manage their information more effectively. It is a central system that organizes all of the information generated in daily operations in accordance with the established security level, including files, emails, images, videos, and more.
Using a single system is a best practice in this field, yielding many advantages. The organization's information is contained within a single database, which facilitates access to and production of records. Information is continually updated. Records conservation and disposal management is streamlined. Using the system considerably reduces the size of emails because only links are exchanged rather than attachments. The system allows users to work always with the latest version of a record, until the final version, always with the same link, without losing previous versions.
The GCDOCS tool has evolved considerably since last year. Consultation and collaboration with our clients has helped us to establish a cost model ensuring total funding for the system by client departments and agencies. In other words, it is a full cost recovery model. Moreover, through collaboration with Shared Services Canada, we have implemented a platform that will be able to be used by all our clients.
In December 2015, employees in my department were the first to use that platform, through a Shared Services Canada enterprise data centre. There are now 11 departments and agencies on the platform, comprising some 25,000 users. There are also some 100,000 people using previous versions of the tool.
In the coming years, we will be rolling out GCDOCS in various Government of Canada departments and agencies. To achieve that goal, our department, in collaboration with the Treasury Board Secretariat, has set up a governance structure with all clients and partners.
Like any computer system, GCDOCS is continually improving and new functionalities will be added to the current offer. For example, within a year, users will be able to easily use GCDOCS on their BlackBerrys and tablets.
In closing, I am pleased to say that the rollout of GCDOCS is on track. This tool is part of the work to overhaul the Access to Information Act, as it facilitates access to and production of records, reliability and conservation of information. It also makes it possible to search quickly and comprehensively for available information.
Thank you. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Thank you for your question.
When I talked about cost recovery, that was really for the system. As I said before, to maintain the system, we have to assume the costs of maintenance, technical support and service provision, which includes the ongoing development of the solution. We have to make sure that Shared Services Canada installs the solution in the data centre and stabilizes it. That is a constantly evolving job because the solution has to be improved, tested, developed, and so on.
During the 2015-2016 financial year, we reached an agreement with our partners to distribute these costs per user. Basically, the costs that I mentioned earlier for the 2016-2017 financial year, that is the $125 per user for Shared Services Canada partners and $95 for those who are not partners, are the real costs that our clients pay to the program to use the GCDOCS solution.
If I understood your question correctly, you were referring to the number of access to information requests. That is a completely separate budget. I hope that answers your question.
In terms of the interim directive, we are applying it now.
Going back to your earlier question, I apologize that I didn't have the numbers at hand, but the amount of fees that we had been collecting were in the range of about $57,000 annually, so given the costs associated with processing, we're anticipating that it is going to be helpful to the system to introduce these changes right now and we are moving forward with them.
That said, again this is captured in a directive, and it is possible to change course if there's something that proves to be wrong with this approach. What I would say is that the feedback that we've had from external stakeholders has been positive to date in the initial responses that we've had.
We're moving into new territory, and the feedback that we gather will grow, but in terms of the internal implications, we think they're manageable, and the external feedback so far has been positive, so that seems to be the track that we're on.
Thank you for your question.
Departments have to be properly prepared. To that end, we are working with our partners so that they can develop their migration plan and their documentation plan. In that way, their migration to GCDOCS will be more successful and the access to their information will be easier. There has to be preparation, and that is what the program is doing with the various departments.
We are working in parallel with our infrastructure service provider, Shared Services Canada, so that they can support us and provide us with available space on the platform as and when our needs become clear.
This work is really being done with our clients and our partners through constantly evolving discussions. By considering the needs of the departments and our ability to respond to them as the solution evolves, we decide our priorities together, so that the money allocated is well spent.
Currently, we have to be fully prepared in order to provide the solution as it is intended and in order that departments can benefit from it and move forward. The fact that we have succeeded in having a program in a modern and successful data centre has been very well received in the community. We are seeing people wanting to invest in the system much more quickly.
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and welcome back. I knew if I wore this shirt that I would probably be noticed and get to ask my questions earlier this time, so thank you.
I've been asked by my side to concentrate on times, timelines, timeliness, or lack of timeliness, an aspect we've certainly heard about in a lot of cases over the past few months. We've had witnesses who talked about the culture of delay and said that government departments are laggards.
I was just reading up last night on some information you certainly know from the Library of Parliament's submission, entitled “Review of the Access to Information Act”. It says that during 2013–14, 998 requests were in progress. Of these, 828 were completed during the year. Of the completed requests, 73% were released in whole or in part. More than 255,000 pages were reviewed and 175,000 pages were released. It says that 55% of the requests required extensions.
To Ms. Paquet or Ms. Dawson, could you just tell me about the extensions, how long the extensions were, and what happened there?
In terms of open by default, I think it's important to recognize that there will always be some information that isn't open, for example because we need to protect it for reasons of privacy, and there are other sensitivities, security being another obvious one. It's not that every document can always be open.
I see it very much as a service. There's information that government has created that was funded by Canadians and could be of use to them, but not everything we have is of use. Some of it is transitory and it's barely of use to us. Other information, though, has a real public value to it.
To the extent that we can be leaning towards openness and thinking about useful information that Canadians have funded and that can be shared, making that information available can have a positive benefit by reducing requests to the government for specific pieces of information.
What we need to do is be analytical in our approach. We need to look at what kind of information our individuals or businesses or others are requesting and how we can make the connection between that and our early efforts in sharing information. We can't share all of it all at once. We do need to be strategic in terms of making sure we're moving to greater openness, that we're leaning towards asking ourselves “Why can't it be shared?” instead of why it shouldn't be shared, and over time making more and more available, but doing it in a way that's responsive to what people are interested in.
Colleagues, we have to proceed. We're running out of time this morning. We have very urgent business in regard to the main estimates pursuant to Standing Order 84(1), and we have to get to some votes.
We're very pleased to have with us this morning, from the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada, Madame Suzanne Legault, who is the commissioner. She has with her Layla Michaud, acting assistant commissioner, and Nancy Bélanger, general counsel and director of legal services.
We also have with us, from the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying, our commissioner, Karen Shepherd. With her is Mr. René Leblanc, deputy commissioner and chief financial officer.
Commissioners, I'll start in the order which I announced you, so I'll start with Madam Legault and move to Madam Shepherd. We'll have opening comments for up to 10 minutes and then proceed to questioning.
If we do it right, we should be able to get in two rounds of questions and then have enough time for the votes.
Please go ahead, Madame Legault.
Mr. Chair, thank you for inviting me to discuss the main estimates of the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada.
One of the fundamental components of the right of access is the independent review of the government's handling of access requests. The Access to Information Act established the Office of the Information Commissioner as the first level of independent review. Requesters who are not satisfied with how institutions handled their access request have the right to complain to my office. My office's primary responsibility is to conduct efficient, fair and confidential investigations into these complaints. I am required by law to investigate all complaints that fall within my jurisdiction. I have no discretion under the law to refuse to investigate any complaint.
The overall main estimates for my office is $11.3 million, including employee benefit plans. Of that amount, 78% is spent on the program and 22% on internal services. I have 93 employees to assist me in carrying out my mandate.
My office, Mr. Chair, receives two types of complaints: simply said, administrative complaints, which relate to matters such as delays in responding to requests, and refusal complaints, which relate to matters such as the application of exemptions or exclusions that are used to withhold information.
The number of complaints the office has received has ranged in the last six or seven years from 1,689 to 2,047, with a high of 2,081 in 2013-2014. Over the same period, the number of complaints the office has closed has ranged from a high of 2,100 in 2009-2010 to a low of 1,281.
We always strive for efficiencies. In the last few years, for example, we updated and rolled out a comprehensive training suite for all new investigators, we developed a pilot project for mediation of complaints, and we trained all of our investigators in mediation. We took strategic approaches to closing complaints, including investigating large groups of complaints together.
These efforts have led to results. For example, the average number of files closed per investigator has gone from 39 in 2011-2012 to 52 last year. The overall median turnaround time for closing complaints in 2015-2016 from the date the file is assigned to an investigator was 84 days: 48 days for administrative complaints, which are generally simpler, and 166 days for refusal complaints.
Currently there is a delay before a file can be assigned to an investigator. The median delay was 127 days as of March 2016: 83 days for administrative complaints and 230 days for refusal complaints. As of March 2016, the inventory at the office stands at 3,000 files.
We are continuing to implement changes in 2016-2017 to improve our investigations. For example, we are implementing a simplified process for investigating administrative complaints, we are rolling out our mediation project to all investigators and we are developing a code of procedures, an investigator manual and an online complaint form. We are also continuing to take advantage of shared services opportunities.
At our current resource level, I expect that the inventory of complaints will continue to grow, but I am hopeful that ongoing discussions with the government on additional funding will be successful.
I have submitted the following information for the committee's consideration this morning: an organizational chart of my office, a breakdown of expenditures by program and internal services over the last several years, a summary of our caseload, and the status of our inventory.
In closing, Mr. Chair, I would like to say that I am extremely fortunate as Information Commissioner to have a very dedicated and high-performing team. Together we continue to strive for excellence and for the protection of Canadians' right to know.
Thank you. I am ready to answer your questions.
Mr. Chair and members of the committee, I am pleased to be here today to discuss the main estimates and to outline my priorities for the coming year. I am joined by René Leblanc, the deputy commissioner and chief financial officer.
My mandate is threefold: to maintain a registry of lobbyists, to develop and implement educational programs to foster awareness of the Lobbying Act, and to ensure compliance with the act and the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct.
The 2016-17 main estimates for my office are about $4.5 million, which is essentially the same amount as last year. I have a complement of 28 full-time employees, and salaries continue to represent about two-thirds of my expenditures.
I run a lean but effective organization. In past years, I was able to streamline operations without compromising the effectiveness of my office or my ability to deliver on my mandate.
Some of the accomplishments I would like to highlight for last year include the transfer of the registry of lobbyists and the OCL website to a more modern infrastructure and a new host. New tools were made available to lobbyists to facilitate the registration and the reporting of their activities.
While there were many significant accomplishments, the achievement I am most proud of in the last year is the new Lobbyists' Code of Conduct, which came into force on December 1.
The code outlines the high ethical standards expected of lobbyists when they interact with public office holders. I published guidance to help lobbyists comply with the code. I also used other methods to educate lobbyists about the code, such as information sessions, webinars, and one-on-one meetings.
In the last year, I was able to broaden our compliance verification approach to make it more effective. Following the election of the new government, I processed a higher-than-usual number of requests for exemptions to the five-year prohibition on lobbying that applies to former designated public office holders. We also started using a more robust case management system, which replaced the previous method that was used to track files.
The first program I would like to talk to you about is the registry of lobbyists. The registry is the primary source of information on who is lobbying federal public office holders and about which topics. A small team develops and maintains the online system behind the registry. It also provides guidance and advice to support registrants. I have allocated seven full-time employees and about $1 million to this program.
Following the reduction of my budget in 2013-14, I put the system in maintenance mode. Enhancements to the system were deferred, and funds were allocated both to ensure that it remained reliable and to protect the integrity of the information.
However, given the importance of the registry, deferring system development and upgrades is not sustainable for long. One of my priorities this year is to implement cost-effective solutions to ensure that the registry is supported by a modern and reliable technological foundation. The recent move of the registry to a new host will allow us to take advantage of new technologies and provide us with more control over the system's development. I expect to see efficiencies in the long term. That said, I believe additional funding may be required to modify and upgrade the registry if the act is amended.
Reaching out to lobbyists, public office holders, and other stakeholders to educate them about the requirements of the Lobbying Act and the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct is a significant component of the work conducted by my office. I believe individuals are more apt to comply with the act and the code when they understand their obligations.
As public office holders are the targets of lobbying, the program also provides outreach to them to ensure that they are aware of the lobbying regime and their obligations.
A budget of about $800,000, including salaries for seven full-time employees, has been allocated to the outreach and education program. My staff and I conduct a wide range of outreach and education activities. We regularly offer group presentations and individual meetings to educate lobbyists and other stakeholders about the act. In the last few years, we began organizing webinars for new registrants. These online presentations are a cost-effective method to reach people, particularly when you are located outside of Ottawa.
I continue to look for ways to make outreach and education activities more effective. For example, last year we began surveying participants in outreach sessions to gather feedback on our approach. This data will help in the evaluation of the program plan for 2016-17. It is expected that this evaluation will help identify opportunities to further enhance the effectiveness of our outreach and education activities.
I believe that the resources I invest in education and prevention are essential to compliance. Lobbyists must know and understand the act and the code before they can comply with their requirements. Likewise, when public office holders understand the lobbying regime, they are able to contribute to compliance.
The third component of my mandate is to ensure compliance with the act and the code. I have a team who conduct administrative reviews and investigations into suspected or alleged breaches of the act and the code. Suspected breaches may be identified internally through the review of media reports and other public sources of information. Allegations may also come from complaints I receive from external sources.
I take all allegations seriously and will initiate an administrative review to find out more about suspected breaches. When an allegation is founded, I decide on the appropriate compliance measure, including whether a formal investigation is necessary. Since becoming commissioner, I have initiated 160 administrative reviews, tabled 10 reports on investigation of Parliament, and referred 14 cases to the RCMP. In July 2013, the first conviction was obtained for a breach under the Lobbying Act.
The act provides me with the authority to prohibit an individual from lobbying for up to two years if convicted of an offence under the act. I therefore decided to prohibit this individual from lobbying for a period of four months. Three other individuals are before the courts on various charges under the Lobbying Act.
My office also reviews requests for exemption from the five-year post-employment prohibition on lobbying. I grant exceptions when to do so would not be contrary to the purposes of the act. Last year, my office completed 15 exemption reviews, and I granted 11.
In 2016-17, my priority in enforcement is to take a more integrated and proactive approach to verify compliance. The performance agreements of my executives will thus include a focus on more strategic compliance efforts and better support for the integration of compliance activities across OCL programs.
A budget of about $1.1 million, including salaries for eight full-time employees, has been allocated to manage the compliance and enforcement program.
Finally, a range of internal services support the programs I just discussed as well as my corporate obligations. A budget of about $1.5 million has been allocated to internal services. This amount includes salaries for six full-time employees. It also covers the cost of agreements I have with other organizations to provide services such as staffing and other human resource services, financial management and support for the information technology infrastructure.
Approximately two-thirds of the budget allocated to internal services is spent to acquire services from other government institutions. This approach has been adopted by most small organizations because it provides access to a broad set of expertise in a cost-effective and timely manner. It also allows me to meet my accountabilities as deputy head under the Financial Administration Act.
My office collaborates effectively with its counterparts working for other agents of Parliament. This year I will continue to look into the possibility of expanding the agreement I have with the Privacy Commissioner with respect to hosting our IT services. This will provide us with a strong foundation to continue to streamline information management and business processes within the office.
At my last appearance before this committee, a member asked me if my funding was sufficient. My response was that I'm able to meet the demands of my mandate. I do this by allocating my resources and making the appropriate trade-offs to deliver on my mandate effectively and efficiently. However, additional funding would allow me to spend more on education, which would eventually pay off in greater compliance and reduced enforcement costs.
I want to conclude my remarks by saying that I am proud of the work my staff has done over the years. None of my accomplishments would have been possible without their dedication and professionalism.
Mr. Chair, I welcome any questions you or the committee members may have.
A great idea to save us money. That's a good one.
When we were facing the problem of having to cut back, we had the challenge of finding where we would take out the money. It was decided we would find the money from the development of the system, so it wouldn't be as cutting edge as it was. That's not sustainable in the long run, so we needed to figure out a way to re-fund it in a manner that would allow us to continue with the development. We decided to find a new service provider that would be cheaper and would provide us with better value. That's when we decided to go with the Privacy Commissioner to fund the infrastructure of our system. Saving money and finding more value is what it's about.
It's always important to consider security in our business, because there's a lot of sensitive information. That was also part of the equation.
We've also developed a case management system to make the processing of files easier, faster, and more secure. We didn't save money per se, but we invested it in a way that would benefit the organization greatly.
We are moving to—I wouldn't say paperless, because it hasn't happened yet—a reduced paper environment. We streamline the processes on an ongoing basis. With our registration system, when some lobbyists register, they don't have to submit any papers anymore. By going that way, we avoid printing, and that saves money.
It's an option. There's no question about that. I think worldwide most offices are combined. Nationally, most offices are combined.
Would you get a lot of efficiencies in terms of internal services? I think you would get some. I think they would be minimal. In terms of the investigative cadre, in terms of service to Canadians on the core mandates of both institutions, I think both institutions are actually struggling to deal with their level of complaints. You would save a commissioner. You may gain some assistant commissioners in terms of handling the different portfolios.
It's certainly feasible. If the committee wants to have a study of the cost savings or the synergies, that's possible. Historically they were separated, then joined, and then separated again. The law allows for the Information Commissioner, however, to be the head of both institutions. That's already provided for in the law. The finances are already joined. In fact, it really does require a decision rather than any legislative changes or any changes to the financial administration, so it's definitely possible.
What you lose is the tension between the advocacy of my office and the position of my office in relation to what constitutes personal information and what the Privacy Commissioner would see as constituting personal information. You have to understand that personal information is the exemption that is most used at the federal level to deny disclosure to Canadians.
So there is a tension. It can be reconciled, but I think that's what you would lose the most in joining the two offices—having two strong advocates for very different portions of a system. You would lose a strong advocate for transparency and a strong advocate for privacy.
It's definitely something that is an option for the government and for this committee. It's not for me to decide. I'm just saying it's definitely a possibility. It's already provided for. It could actually be quite easily done.
First of all, the offices were together, and they were separated after a court case found institutional bias happening between the two offices because the same individual on charge was found to be responsible for both the Conflict of Interest Act and the code of conduct for lobbyists. As a result, they were separated.
I think the two acts deal with very different groups in terms of what they're looking at. On the Lobbying Act side, about 300 people, from public office holders to lobbyists, are actually subject to the act, but that said, there is overlap in some things. Where the two universes overlap—with members of Parliament, for example, or ministers—there could perhaps be some synergies in having MOUs in place that would allow for joint interpretation bulletins, for example, and possibly concurrent investigations, without joining the two offices. I could see synergies in that universe.
I think, as my colleague said with regard to joining access to information with privacy, that aside from that comment on institutional bias, you lose two very strong advocates for both sides of the legislation. When you're thinking about Canadians having confidence in the integrity of government decision-making, the more advocates there are who are ensuring these things, the better.
I would hope to be consulted as soon as a proposal for specific legislative changes to the act begins making its way through cabinet for approval. Until then, it is not possible for us to make any kind of estimate.
I can tell you that we have consulted with the Ontario office, which functions with an order-making model. They are similar size in terms of the workload that comes in. That is useful for us, because we have also looked at the way they are structured, what their adjudicative function looks like, and what the cost is for that office. If I remember correctly, their full budget is $15 million, roughly speaking. That is what I remember.
Because a lot of the work in an adjudicative model gets done at the outset, which is very similar to what is going on now, a lot of it—in fact, most of it—actually gets resolved before adjudication, which is exactly where you want to be.
That is why we have been spending efforts on mediation. We had someone from the Ontario office do specific training for our office on interest-based mediation.
We are developing these tools, which are useful in our current context and will be useful if the government moves to an order-making model. At this point, assessing the cost is really not possible until we see...nor would it be possible for the institutions that would perhaps be governed by the act now and not before. It is the same—
There was a very significant increase in the total number of requests across the system during that period of time. In the last three years I think we've seen something like a 57% increase overall in the number of requests being made to the system. The complaints have gone up at the same time.
I've been asked this question many times. I have seen no specific reason for the increase. It could simply be people being more aware of their rights under the act. We've talked a lot about open government. It could be that there wasn't enough transparency. People made more access requests because of that. It's not possible to know.
What we have seen is there was an increase in requests coming from the members of the public. Members of the public are about 47% of our complainants, as well, at this time. There is a correlation with what's going on in the system and what's going on in our complaints.
I was very pleased over the first few years of my mandate to see that we were actually making a dent in the inventory. We started at 2,500 and went down to 1,700. Since then we've had a double whammy. We had a cut in resources—we have 13 fewer people than we did at that time—and an increase in volume of 30% to 40% over that same period of time.
Unfortunately, we're really where I didn't want to go when I started my mandate, but at least we know that what we were doing was working, in terms of diminishing the inventory. That's good news. Hopefully we'll be able to make some dent in that 3,000 under our current resource level if we don't experience another spike in complaints.
Thank you. That does it.
Colleagues, I just want to remind you that we have a few minutes left to get to one more question from Mr. Jeneroux for five minutes. It will take us about two minutes to get through the votes, as long as there are no issues with reductions of budgets or anything like that, which, I'm sure, is going to be of great comfort to the commissioners.
I have to advise you, colleagues, that there is a time allocation motion before the House, and we're expecting bells at about the time we would adjourn. I'm seeking requests from you that, if we need to, we could take a few more minutes. I don't think there's anybody here with any issues on getting to the House in 25 minutes instead of 30, so if it's okay with you, we'll just continue on through the bells, if we need to, to make sure we have the time.
Is that okay? Does everybody agree with that?
Okay. We'll go to Mr. Jeneroux, then, for up to five minutes.
Great. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
No pressure and fewer questions, whether or not your budget is approved.
I do again want to thank you guys for coming and your staff for preparing for today, as well.
Ms. Legault, you've been a popular name around the table here in the last few months, as you can imagine. We'll start with you.
Thank you for providing the organizational chart. That helps a lot.
I want to return to the line of questioning my colleague, Mr. Long, started in terms of the cost savings in certain aspects. It touched on some of the material savings in terms of the building, security, IT, and that sort of thing. My apologies if any communications people who are in the room are on the phones, but when I look at the chart, there are three communications people. There appear to be two and an assistant public affairs person, along with a director position.
Are these things that have been talked about in terms of cost savings and moving together with other agencies on some of these initiatives? A lot of the departments are now doing a number of the shared services model, and I was wondering if you guys have dived down a bit more into some of that.
I'm sorry, Mr. Jeneroux. That the five minutes is up and we have other pressing matters.
I want to thank the commissioners and your staff for coming today. I bid you continued good work on behalf of Parliament and on behalf of Canadians.
Colleagues, we're going to turn our attention immediately to the votes on the estimates, understanding that the process that we're doing right now is to approve the budget, from the committee's perspective, less the amount of money that's already been approved under interim supply. The money that we've already been operating under has already been approved.
I do not expect it, but if anybody wants to, let me know. Will there be anybody who's going to move a motion to reduce any of the budgets for the commissioners?
No. That makes this process a lot simpler, then.
Shall I just proceed?
Some hon. members: Agreed
OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER OF LOBBYING
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$4,026,414
(Vote 1 agreed to)
OFFICE OF THE CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND ETHICS COMMISSIONER
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$6,178,280
(Vote 1 agreed to)
OFFICES OF THE INFORMATION AND PRIVACY COMMISSIONERS OF CANADA
Vote 1—Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada—Program expenditures..........$9,927,361
Vote 5—Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada—Program expenditures..........$22,036,920
(Votes 1 and 5 agreed to)
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$1,059,500
(Vote 1 agreed to)
The Chair: Shall the chair report the main estimates 2015-16, less the amounts voted in interim supply, to the House?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: That was excellent.
Colleagues, I remind you we resume our study on Thursday with the access to information legislative review.
We'll see you Thursday morning.
Thank you very much. This meeting's adjourned.