Thank you, Mr. Chair, for the opportunity to provide input into the standing committee's study of the main estimates.
I am joined by Mr. Roch Huppé, the agency's chief financial officer and assistant commissioner of the finance and administration branch, and Mr. Ted Gallivan, the assistant commissioner of the international, large business and investigations branch.
First off, I would like to highlight that the agency is seeking $4.2 billion through these main estimates—$3.2 billion of which requires approval by Parliament. This number represents a 1.9% increase from last year’s main estimates. The agency will use these funds to successfully continue its important work.
In November, when I last spoke to this committee, I gave an overview of the Canada Revenue Agency’s efforts to combat aggressive tax planning and tax avoidance, as well as how the agency is improving services for Canadians. I would like to take a few minutes, Mr. Chair, to update the committee on these two fronts and the ways they are being addressed by the agency.
As you know, the Canada Revenue Agency is an increasingly client-focused agency that exists to serve Canadians. As it says in my mandate letter, my overarching goal as Minister of National Revenue is to ensure that the agency is fairer and more helpful, and that its services are easier to use. The agency is currently overhauling its service model so that people who interact with it feel like valued clients, not just taxpayers.
The agency is committed to ensuring that Canadians have access to the information they need about taxes and benefits—on its website, through its call centres, or through written correspondence.
Since my last appearance, the agency has responded to the public’s needs by making it easier to get help over the phone. To make sure that Canadians understand the information they're receiving from the agency, we have simplified the language in 75% of the correspondence we send to Canadians, making it easier to read and understand.
The agency is also ramping up its outreach efforts to ensure that taxpayers understand and meet their tax obligations. These efforts improve tax compliance through a “get it right from the start” approach to educate, inform, and support taxpayers by improving service and encouraging voluntary compliance.
As you are well aware, we have just completed the 2017 filing season. Over 22.8 million T1 returns were received from February 20 to April 30. Close to 90% of returns were filed electronically. Roughly 58% of those returns were filed by tax preparers through EFILE, and 32% were filed by individuals through NETFILE.
New services were launched to help individuals and tax preparers submit their returns electronically for the 2017 tax filing season. The Auto-fill my return service automatically fills in parts of tax returns, making filing online easier. This tax season, additional slips and prior year returns are available for Auto-fill. Tax preparers can also amend their clients' returns electronically by using the new ReFILE service.
I'm pleased to tell this committee that our service improvements that benefit all Canadians will not stop there.
The agency is developing a new service for February 2018 that will fully prepare returns for Canadians with simple tax situations, low or fixed income, and whose financial situations are unchanged from year to year.
In addition, in order to meet our commitment to provide the best possible service to Canadians from coast to coast, the agency’s service renewal plans are well under way. With more Canadians than ever filing their taxes online, the resources needed for the agency to deal with paper returns are decreasing. So, we are reviewing and reorganizing workloads in order to work smarter and more efficiently.
That means we are improving our call centres and creating national verification and collections centres. These changes mean the Canada Revenue Agency will be a more efficient organization and provide better service to Canadians.
Still, we always strive to do better, prioritizing Canadians in everything we do. As our prime minister says, we can always do better.
Since my appointment as Minister of National Revenue, I have been committed to ensuring that Canadians get the benefits to which they're entitled. That's why the agency is proactively contacting Canadians who are not receiving the tax credits or benefits they should, to make sure that the government is supporting the most vulnerable and ensuring Canadian families have the support they need.
The agency is also expanding the community volunteer income tax program; now, more Canadians than ever with low and modest incomes will benefit from free tax preparation clinics.
Mr. Huppé will speak to the details of the main estimates, but before I yield the floor to him, I would like to briefly touch on the agency’s accomplishments on the compliance front and our plans for the way forward.
Most Canadians pay their taxes in full and on time. But some do not pay what they owe. This is not right; this must change. By combatting offshore tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance, as does our government, we are protecting the important public services that Canadians rely on.
Since my last appearance before this committee, the agency has taken concrete and effective steps to crack down on tax cheats. We are currently conducting audits on over 820 taxpayers and criminally investigating over 30 cases of tax evasion specifically linked to offshore tax havens.
Through Budget 2016, the agency increased its information-gathering capabilities and improved the tools at its disposal. The agency now has access to more of the information it needs to fulfill its obligations.
In the last year, the agency has increased the number of auditors reviewing offshore tax schemes, promoters and large multinational corporations. It has started reviewing all taxpayers in certain segments of the population identified as high risk. The agency is using external data and publicly available information to maximize its efforts to identify non-compliance. It has expanded its efforts specifically geared towards intermediaries, making promoters a focus of our criminal investigations, with several under way.
As well, the agency is taking a much harder stance on taxpayers who appear on leaked lists of offshore holdings. For example, with the Panama Papers, the agency has over 122 taxpayer audits under way and is reviewing a treasure trove of data linked to these taxpayers. It has also executed search warrants, and several criminal investigations involving both participants and facilitators are under way.
Audits of the highest-risk taxpayers moving money between Canada and four foreign tax administrations of interest are under way, with more to come. So far, a total of 41,000 transactions have been analyzed, totalling over $12 billion. The Canada Revenue Agency continues to build its capacity to detect and crack down on tax cheats. It is developing a powerful business intelligence infrastructure and risk assessment system to target cases of high-risk Canadian and international tax evasion and abusive tax avoidance.
It is clear, Mr. Chair, that our government is committed to protecting the integrity of the Canadian tax system by combatting offshore tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance on all levels. As Minister of National Revenue, I am committed to ensuring that the agency has all the tools and resources it needs to fulfill its role and meet Canadians' expectations.
Good afternoon, and thank you for the opportunity to appear before the committee to present the Canada Revenue Agency's main estimates for 2017-18 and to answer any questions you may have on the associated funding.
As you are aware, the Canada Revenue Agency is responsible for the administration of federal and certain provincial and territorial tax programs, as well as the delivery of a number of benefit payment programs. Each year, the agency collects hundreds of billions of dollars of tax revenue for the governments of Canada, and distributes timely and accurate benefit payments to millions of Canadians.
As the mentioned earlier, in order to fulfill its mandate in 2017-18, the CRA is seeking a total of $4.2 billion through these main estimates. Of this amount, $3.2 billion requires approval by Parliament whereas the balance of just under $1 billion represents statutory forecasts that are governed under separate legislation. The statutory items include children’s special allowance payments, employee benefit plan costs, and, pursuant to section 60 of the CRA Act, the spending of revenues received for activities administered on behalf of the provinces and other government departments.
These 2017-18 main estimates represent a net increase of $77.2 million when compared with the 2016-17 main estimates authorities. The largest component of this change is an increase of $164.9 million to implement and administer various measures announced through budget 2016. This includes $62.1 million for measures aimed at enhancing the CRA's efforts to crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance.
The incremental funding will be used to hire additional auditors and specialists, develop robust business intelligence infrastructure, increase verification activities, and improve the quality of investigative work that targets criminal tax evaders. This includes $50.9 million for measures aimed at enhancing tax collections by increasing the resources available to tackle the inventory of debt; and $43 million for measures to further improve the agency's capacity to deliver client-focused services for Canadians and Canadian businesses. These include improving telephone accessibility, delivering correspondence and other communications that are clear and easy to read, increasing outreach efforts, and improving the CRA's capacity to resolve taxpayer objections in a timely manner. Funding includes $8.9 million for various tax measures including country-by-country reporting, efforts to protect the charitable sector from the risk of terrorist financing, the new small business quarterly remitter initiative, and consultations on the rules governing political activities for charities.
Other increases to the agency's budget include the following: a $51-million adjustment in forecasted payments under the Children’s Special Allowances Act due to an increase in the per-child benefit amount under the new Canada child benefit program, implemented in July 2016; $36.3 million for collective bargaining increases associated with employees represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, or PSAC, bargaining unit; $30 million related to the administration of the goods and services tax, recognizing the deferral of a savings proposal originally identified as part of the Budget 2012 spending review—this represents the ongoing amount of the adjustment included in the CRA's 2016-17 supplementary estimates (B); and $9.9 million—a net increase—in resources for the implementation and administration of enhanced compliance measures, as announced in Budget 2014 and Budget 2015.
These increases are partially offset by a $128-million reduction in projected statutory disbursements to the provinces under the Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006, as a result of the expiration of the agreement in October 2015; $42 million less in statutory contributions to employee benefit plans and in the forecast of cost-recovery revenues, pursuant to section 60 of the CRA Act, for initiatives administered on behalf of the provinces and other government departments; a $24.4-million adjustment related to accommodation and real property services provided by Public Services and Procurement Canada; and finally, a $20.5-million adjustment associated with changes in the funding profile for various measures announced in previous federal budgets. This includes a $9.5-million reduction in professional services, advertising, and travel, announced in budget 2016.
The CRA's 2017-18 main estimates do not yet reflect incremental resources for announcements made by the in the March 2017 budget. The funding required for the implementation and administration of these measures is currently being evaluated by the CRA and will be presented to Treasury Board ministers through formal submissions in the coming months. Any incremental funding required for the 2017-18 fiscal year as a result of the Treasury Board submissions will be sought through the supplementary estimates process.
In closing, the resources being requested through these estimates will allow the Canada Revenue Agency to continue to deliver on its mandate to Canadians by making it easier for the vast majority of taxpayers who want to pay their taxes, and more difficult for the small minority who do not, as well as ensuring that Canadians have ready access to the information they need about taxes or benefits.
Mr. Chair, at this time we will be pleased to respond to any questions you may have.
I think she should probably try to explain that to some of the campgrounds that are currently taking her department and the Canada Revenue Agency to court over some of the reassessments they have received on their tax bills. I'll list about three of them. I'm not going to name the businesses specifically, but I know of one in the GTA area that was audited for the 2012 through the 2014 tax years and has been sent a tax bill for approximately $250,000 in taxes. I have a whole list of services that it provides and it is certainly not a passive business.
I have another one in the Kitchener area that was audited for 2013 and 2014 and received about a $40,000 bill. Again, I have a whole list of services that generate anything but passive income. I have another one in the Kawartha Lakes area that was reassessed for 2012, 2013, and 2014 and presented with a tax bill of about $75,000.
One of these businesses at least has been put out of business as a result of the actions of your department, so I wonder if you could maybe try again to explain to us how you're not affecting any of these businesses, how nothing has been changed. The agency has, in fact, changed its interpretation of these rules. They have, in fact, targeted some of these businesses and they are putting them out of business, Minister.
I have asked you this over a series of months. You should be well aware of the problem. You should have gone back and checked this out. You clearly haven't done that. I would hope you're going to take this seriously and stop just repeating a talking point to the effect that you think small businesses are important and that somehow they need to pay their fair share.
I hope this doesn't go back to the comments the made during the election campaign that small businesses are just a way for rich people to avoid paying taxes. This is a serious matter. These businesses are being put out of business, and you need to take a look at this and be serious about it and realize that you need to be doing something to prevent it.
When we were in government, we recognized there was an issue here. We put in place a review of this in our last budget in 2015. Your government cancelled it in your first budget in 2016, and then Revenue Canada started to go after these businesses, these campgrounds. I've given you a few examples. There are others.
After 12 of the 13 submissions we received under that review indicated that these rules were unfair and needed to be changed, I wonder if you can tell me why you feel this is not an issue.
Can you please tell me when you'll stop this war on small businesses? Can you tell me if you're just going to keep repeating these talking points or if you're actually going to get serious and address this?
I have a more serious question.
The committee produced a report with 14 recommendations. A number of them came with timelines. In your response to the report, you committed to a lot.
The first recommendation I would like to deal with is recommendation 3, which deals with negotiated settlements. You said that you were going to review the way in which you handle negotiated settlements.
That clearly is a result of the KPMG affair, when KPMG clients were able to negotiate settlements. In fact, it seems that we have to call it a “negotiated settlement” rather than an “amnesty”.
On the subject of negotiated settlements, your commitment was “for the CRA to be transparent about the process of negotiated… settlements”. Consequently, “the CRA will review its guidelines by March 31, 2017”.
Today is May 3, 2017. Can you update us on the new guidelines for negotiated settlements?
Thank you all for being here.
Minister, I want to start off by asking a question. My questions, frankly, will be similar to what I've asked in the past, because I am interested in the progress.
First off, regarding this committee's recommendations on tax evasion and tax avoidance, I want to thank you and acknowledge that you accepted all of this committee's recommendations. I look forward to seeing how that unfolds.
Specifically, I want to talk about the tax gap. I've raised this issue before. Previous to our government taking over and your being appointed minister of the CRA, Senator Downe had done a lot of work in regard to the tax gap. In the previous government, he had asked the PBO to bring forward the tax gap number: what is this number? Under the previous government, the CRA refused to work with the PBO and provide that information.
How can we tackle the issues of tax avoidance and tax evasion if we don't know how big the problem is? Are you doing anything or dealing with anything to finally release the information about the tax gap, so that we can properly assess the areas of tax evasion and tax avoidance?
I thank my colleague for his question.
As my mandate letter mentions, one of the agency's priorities is customer service. Our government is committed to having the agency provide Canadians all across the country with the best service.
The objective of streamlining the services is to concentrate processing activities in the three national verification and collection centres.
I have been able to tour the agency's offices all over Canada. Actually, the tour is just coming to an end. I have been meeting with employees to see how the streamlining of services is going in the trenches, because streamlining means change. Employees and management are working together and are committed to serving Canadians. I was extremely surprised to hear employees all over the country tell me that they had never seen a revenue minister in their offices and in their regions. Streamlining the services has allowed us to consolidate our services in the regions. As I see things, all the regions of the country are important.
The only office that was closed was in Toronto, but there are already three other agency offices in that city. We made sure that we worked with the unions to support employees through all the changes that were implemented.
Everywhere I went, I met Canada Revenue Agency employees who are committed to customer service. I always take the opportunity to tell them how much of a priority customer service is for me. I am a social worker by training and, as I see it, everyone must be treated the same, from the poorest to the richest.
Minister, I guess I'll continue. I had a chance to share with you the perspective of the interpretation bulletin. Maybe you've had a chance to reflect on that. By the way, that was from August 2016, so it was not a Conservative government. It was in fact your government.
I will reiterate that in our last budget in 2015 we initiated a review of these rules, and there was a reason why that review was initiated. Twelve of the 13 submissions we received indicated that they felt the rules were unfair and recommended that there should be some change. Then, of course, the interpretation bulletin from August 23, 2016 made that change. Then these campgrounds started to be assessed and reassessed with a different interpretation of the rules about active versus passive income. Frankly, the idea that a business is too small to be a small business is quite ridiculous, but that was the interpretation.
I gave you a list of a few businesses that have been affected because of this change in the interpretation. There are others, and some of them are being put out of business. Also, I know there are a lot of businesses out there that are in fear right now, because they wonder if they'll be the next business model to be approached and attacked under these changes, which really seem to be quite arbitrary.
As my colleague Mr. Aboultaif read to you earlier in this own committee's pre-budget report for the 2017 budget, the recommendation was:
||That the Government of Canada recognize the income earned by campgrounds and storage facilities as “active business income” for the purpose of determining eligibility for the small business deduction.
Minister, it seems to me that the only thing your Liberal government isn't ignoring is another attempt to be able to punish small businesses. I want to give you another chance, Minister. Will you take another look at this? Will you actually try to make sure this war on small businesses stops, or are you just going to keep repeating these talking points about people paying their fair share?
My thanks to the minister for being here. That's very kind of her.
I would like to ask you a question that has two parts.
The Canada Revenue Agency's budget includes a $51-million adjustment in forecasted payments under the Children's Special Allowances Act. This is due to an increase in the per child benefit amount under the new Canada child benefit program, implemented in July 2016.
The Children's Special Allowances Act pays government money when children are held in the care of the state, so essentially, instead of the money going to the children, it actually goes to provincial governments and agencies. The state, though, seems to be a very poor type of parent, because I've met individuals who have been bounced around from foster family to foster family in my riding, up to 77 times. One individual I met last week was in over 100 foster families throughout his life, in 18 years, which is an incredible number.
I was just wondering why we give the money to the state. Why does it not go to these children who need it most, who don't have the social and family structures that many of us enjoy? Why do we give it to governments that really don't need it? Why not place it in a trust, so that these children—at some point in the future, when they turn 18 or 21—can access these funds to pay for education or for housing? Often, what happens is they end up in a homeless shelter, where I meet them, because they're kicked out of foster families when they turn 18 and they're not valuable to anyone anymore.
That is not to say there are not good foster families, but it seems we are doing a disservice to some of these children, and so I was wondering if your deputy ministers had any intention of looking at this and trying to understand what problems are related to this.
Then I just had one final question related to that. Could you give the number of people in the country who are actually using the Canada child benefit? Have all families applied? What is the penetration rate related to that program?
I take note of your remarks. I can't give you more information, because these areas are under provincial jurisdiction.
The other question that you asked me is whether all the families have received the Canada child benefit. I will take this opportunity to convey a message that's important to me. I say this wherever I go.
Those who have not filed their tax returns are not entitled to the Canada child benefit or any tax credits. At the meetings I have, when I go to indigenous communities and when I meet with community organizations—I do some fieldwork, because it's important for me to involve the public—I tell those in charge that it's important that they talk to their people. That's the responsibility of every elected official, be they in Parliament, the provinces, municipalities and grassroots organizations, which are much closer to people and families. I tell them to check whether the people have filed their tax returns so that they are entitled to the Canada child benefit.
This is not about penalizing people. For those who have not filed their tax returns, they may go as far back as 10 years for some programs. So some people have received $15,000 or even more in tax credits, from the money they were entitled to. I therefore strongly encourage you to check in each of your ridings with your organizations and to ensure that the people file their tax returns so that they get what they are entitled to.
In terms of the agency, as long as I'm there, it will not make money on the backs of the poor. However, when it comes to the wealthiest who hide their money abroad, let me tell you—and I have said it before—I will not let them off the hook.
I would first like to thank you, and then go back to the question that was asked by my colleague, Ms. O'Connell, on the tax gap.
I do understand fully that you've probably been hesitant to come up with any figure in that regard. However, to go back to this point, one thing that struck me, Mr. Gallivan, when you were talking about the ROI, was that you didn't seem to be very keen or confident that the ROI is going to be satisfactory from a business stance. At the end of the day, this is a huge investment by taxpayers to the CRA, so if you're hesitant on the ROI, that means you're not releasing any figures on the tax gap.
I can see it from a taxpayer's perspective. At least come up with some figures—you must have some idea about the tax gap—and then when you finish the investigation and the study on it, you can come back to Canadians with some of that. I'm hoping that with you I can get a better answer than I would be getting from the minister.
So far, we haven't been able to get anything from the minister, although I've addressed her in writing. After 45 days, I have nothing back. It's the same answer that she gave today. Could you please elaborate on this at some point?
First, I'll go back to this idea of revenue generation. We have a number that we call revenue impact. Last year, it was just under $13 billion, at $12.8 billion. This year, it is well over $13 billion. That number is up roughly 46% over the last four or five years.
Tactically, that's successful. We're getting more taxes for the Canadian public. Strategically, if we continue to find people not complying, we haven't deterred them. The other number we have is the $460 billion that comes in voluntarily, overall. That's the number that really needs to go up. In other words, if we continue to perform audits and we continue to find that taxpayers are non-compliant, there must be something about how we audit or the consequences of audit that isn't getting through, which goes back to the point about criminal investigations and extra penalties for preparers.
In terms of the tax gap, our challenge is about how we allocate those resources. How much do we resource to multinationals? How much do we resource to small and medium-sized businesses? How much on aggressive tax planning? We have to make those judgments, so for us, it's more a question of identifying the eight or nine different tax gaps. How much is in the underground economy? How much is offshore and moving it around? Therefore, for us, it's not necessarily determinative to know how big it is. It's the relative size because our job is to reallocate those resources.
For those countries that do have a measure of tax gap, we have consulted those tax authorities and they haven't found performance lists. Their results aren't up by 46%, after they started measuring the tax gap, so we have been reluctant. Now, under this new government, we have been working and taking steps to understand those challenges and find solutions, so the Department of Finance and the CRA partnered last year to release a number on GST. We're holding a conference this June with experts, academics, and statisticians to understand how we can produce something that might be useful—for you and for the agency—that would make us more transparent.
If we had the answer, the agency would have done it sooner, so now, all I can talk about is our process to come up with an answer.
The budgets were quite specific and quite clear that our points of focus were multinational enterprises, aggressive tax planning, particularly offshore tax planning, criminal investigations, and the underground economy. In fact, we were able to increase our level of focus on all of those areas, while at other times and in other years, we've had to make reallocation decisions, so those sectors are the sectors that we're focused on.
I had also talked about making increased use of technology and data. We now have access to electronic funds transfers over $10,000. Country-by-country reporting by multinationals is coming in two years. Something called the common reporting standard, to which 100 countries have signed on, will give us worldwide banking information on Canadian citizens around the world.
In addition to those priority areas, our priority approach is to leverage data to be much more targeted, so we're not on the doorstep of compliant small businesses, but really focus on those that are most aggressive.
The final thing that I'll say is a big focus is on the promoters or facilitators, like those firms' accountants or lawyers who are the facilitators and the wholesalers.
Hopefully I have answered your question.
I'll come back to the ROI, again, this year in my branch, we had a target of $380 million. We're at $500 million. We are confident of being able to meet those revenue generation targets.
What we want to do is meet those targets and deter to ensure there are sufficient consequences that we don't see the same people still non-compliant two or three years down the road.
That was going to be one point, so if that's changed, I have no problem supporting that as well.
I'll deal with the last recommendation because I think it's easiest. It refers to part 4, division 18, and it's regarding the infrastructure bank, which is a finance program. I have concerns about asking the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities for this one, when it's been this committee that's talked about the infrastructure bank. I understand the rationale behind getting further input from the committees that might oversee these topics generally, but this one is a finance issue.
I'll just say that, and if Ron or anyone else has comments, I'd be happy to hear them.
The only other one is point (ii), which refers part 4, division 13, to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. I read that section, which is quite small, and it's just dealing with visas. I'm wondering what the rationale is to get that additional feedback, because it wasn't very comprehensive in terms of a policy.
Perhaps you could provide some more rationale for at least those two, although I certainly don't have an issue in principle with what you're asking.
Mr. Chair, perhaps I could respond in reverse.
With respect to point (ii), citizen and immigration, our member of that committee, , has written a letter to the chair. It states:
|| As you know, it has become customary for the various Standing Committees to review sections of budget legislation that pertain to their particular mandates. Division 13 of Bill C-44 contains amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the primary statutory instrument governing immigration to Canada.
||I trust this is something you and the Committee will wish to examine once the Bill has passed Second Reading.
I don't know much more about it than that, but I would suggest that it's up to the chair of the citizenship and immigration committee whether or not they should study it. They will be responding to this particular letter in some form anyway. On this one, then, I would suggest that if we could leave it on, it would then be up to the chair to determine whether it's worthy of further study at citizenship and immigration.
Looking at (ii), which mentions part 4 relative to the infrastructure bank, I don't disagree that the infrastructure bank discussion belongs here. But I think it would be helpful to also have.... We are finance, and we will be talking about the structure of the infrastructure bank. I think our thinking here with transportation and infrastructure is that those areas will be the beneficiaries of the infrastructure bank.
Maybe, in the letter from the chair, we could differentiate between the witnesses who come before the transportation and infrastructure committee and the witnesses who come before our committee. It would be an opportunity to have that committee, which will really deal with the beneficiaries of the infrastructure bank, have as witnesses what I would call “their” clients or “their” stakeholders, and we could concentrate on the financial side of the infrastructure bank.
You voted in favour? Okay.
(Motion agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: My mistake. That one is carried, so we'll send a letter there.
Part 4, division 10, has to do with the pay for the chief justice of Canada and others. That's what it is spelling out there. Is there any discussion? All those in favour of sending that to the justice committee?
(Motion negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: Part 4, division 11, is on human resources. It's the special benefits and benefit periods.
Is there any discussion, any point you want to make, Pierre?
(Motion negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: Okay, we'll add part 4, division 4, to the letter. We're agreed on that.
Thank you for the time you are giving me.
This is a notice of motion that I submitted on March 22, 2017. It deals with the testimony obtained by CBC/Radio-Canada from employees of the major Canadian banks. They gave testimony about questionable, sometimes even completely illegal, commercial activities.
Following that evidence, the public reacted to the behaviour of Canada's major banks. That's why I'm encouraging the members of the committee to call as witnesses representatives from those banks, namely TD Bank, Royal Bank, Bank of Montreal, CIBC and Scotiabank. It would also be appropriate to invite the Canadian Bankers Association, as well as anyone whom the committee deems appropriate.
A subcommittee could discuss it and decide which witnesses would be appropriate to invite. The committee must ensure that there is compliance with the Bank Act, that consumers are protected and that those sorts of activities will never happen again. We must determine how those activities can be prevented by enforcing the legislation.
So I invite all my colleagues to support the motion. I'm not constrained by tight deadlines. I'm open to any proposals. I don't intend to insist that we delve into it at the next meeting, but I would at least like the committee to show a sign that it's interested in the issue and that, in due course probably after the study of Bill , it might be able to undertake the study. This will mean inviting representatives from the banks in question and recommending amendments to the Bank Act. I hope to obtain the support of all my colleagues to do so.