We're here to discuss the department's 2016-17 main estimates, supplementary estimates (A), and our reports on plans and priorities.
When I appeared before this committee on March 10 we discussed a range of important initiatives, including the rehabilitation work in the parliamentary precinct, successes in real property management, Canada Post, and the modernization of IT infrastructure.
As critical players in the day-to-day operations of the Government of Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada and its portfolio are key to ensuring the government delivers on its ambitious agenda. Our work is under way but much more has to be done to achieve needed changes and improvements.
Today I'm happy to report to members on five key areas: greening government, service delivery, innovative practices, modernizing procurement, and budget investments.
I'll begin with our initiatives to support the greening of government. Greening initiatives received considerable support in budget 2016, which contained measures to strengthen the middle class and investments in infrastructure to boost the economy. Among the budget's many green investments, I draw your attention to the $2.1 billion to allow Public Services and Procurement Canada to repair its large portfolio of properties and to green government operations. Of this amount, $1.2 billion has been allocated to upgrade the outdated energy system that heats and cools over 100 buildings in the national capital region. Much of this energy infrastructure, which includes several plants, was built in the 1950s. This investment in modern technology will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost one-third and reduce annual operating costs by up to 20%. It will result in a safer and more reliable system.
When we talk about green initiatives, and in particular green buildings, most people think about construction that protects the health of the environment. To me such a building should also protect the health of its occupants. That is why Public Services and Procurement Canada has, as of April 1, prohibited the use of asbestos in its new construction and major renovation projects. In addition, beginning this summer, the department is posting an online inventory of the buildings it owns or leases that contain asbestos.
When it comes to service delivery, Canadians are at the heart of everything we do. We are continuously looking for ways to use evidence, facts, and research to better meet public needs. The Canada Post review, which I announced earlier this month, clearly illustrates this approach. We are undertaking this review to ensure that Canadians get quality postal service at a reasonable cost. All options including those related to home delivery are on the table. We want to hear from Canadians on the future of Canada Post.
We are taking a phased approach to examine this important issue. In the first phase, an independent task force is conducting research, analyzing data, and reviewing international best practices. Task force members were selected based on a range of factors, including their specific experience, expertise, and skill sets. They come from various geographic locations across the country and bring unique perspectives to this important work. By the end of the summer they will produce a comprehensive discussion paper on viable options for Canada Post. Engaging stakeholders and gathering their ideas and views are key to this process.
Mr. Chair, as I mentioned during my last appearance before this committee, the second phase will focus on providing Canadians the opportunity to tell us about their needs for postal services. Seniors and those with disabilities will be heard. Canadians will be consulted from coast to coast to coast. This committee will be asked to engage the public in an informed discussion on how Canada Post can deliver quality service at a reasonable price. In addition to this important committee work, I encourage all members of Parliament to find ways to bring their constituents into this national conversation. Our government is determined to build a new and respectful relationship with all parliamentarians to move this issue forward.
Organizations of all sizes and from all sectors are seized with the challenge of keeping pace with technology and embracing new, innovative ways of doing business. These challenges are particularly pronounced within governments where complex, outdated systems are common. Thankfully modernization efforts are under way on a number of fronts.
Until recently, the government was using a pay system developed over 40 years ago. It had become inefficient, incompatible with other systems, and provided limited functionality. In response, after extensive testing, the government launched a new system called Phoenix, which is now available in 101 departments and agencies. This system provides employees with a more automated, stable, and modern tool to process pay requests. The implementation of Phoenix is a major undertaking, and we are working directly with departments to identify and solve problems before paycheques are even issued. As well, we have brought new staff on board to help with the transition.
To further ensure that this project is heading in the right direction, we have engaged unions in a open relationship, held regular briefings for departments and media, and provided updates on issues and resolutions online. Since it was first implemented on February 24, 601 formal complaints were received out of nearly 1.2 million transactions. As of last week, 524 of these complaints have been resolved, and we are addressing the remaining 77. In addition, we are closely tracking feedback from Phoenix users. As we continue to use the system and better understand it, we will see opportunities for further improvements and efficiencies.
Innovation is a key driver at Shared Services Canada. The Government of Canada's IT infrastructure is the backbone of the effective delivery of services to Canadians, such as employment insurance, social benefits, and national security, including border security and policing services. Modernizing and transforming this IT infrastructure is a key priority of Shared Services Canada.
The budget allocates $384 million over the next two years to support a multi-year, whole-of-government IT transformation, with a focus on upgrading mission-critical infrastructure. Another $77.4 million was provided over five years to strengthen cybersecurity and ensure robust protection for networks and systems that support not only the delivery of employment insurance and other benefit programs, but also digital communications and open data initiatives.
These budget commitments will also enable Shared Services Canada to continue to improve the security of Government of Canada systems and networks, contributing to the government-wide response to the horizontal and internal audit on IT security recently completed by the Office of the Comptroller General.
Shared Services Canada is also engaging its partners, stakeholders, and IT industry experts to help validate its plans for modernization and transformation of the government's email, data centre, and network services. This initiative has also drawn the attention of this committee, and I appreciate it that you took the time to study this complex file.
Government does not have a monopoly on good ideas, and we cannot do everything we need to do alone. We must work with partners and stakeholders. Engagement and collaboration are critical. We are strengthening relationships at all levels, from my ministerial colleagues to partner and client departments, suppliers, unions, and aboriginal and indigenous groups, as well as green and youth stakeholders. For instance, many of these individuals and groups have told us that the federal procurement system is still too complex and cumbersome. We are committed to modernizing procurement, simplifying government purchasing, and cutting red tape for both clients and suppliers.
As well, working with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Shared Services Canada will help revitalize weather services and develop new solutions for better coverage of the north to improve shipping safety in the Arctic.
Meaningful engagement requires us to bring greater transparency to what we do. The national shipbuilding strategy is a case in point. We should and can be much better at sharing with Canadians both the good news and the challenges that come with the strategy. We have to be straightforward with Canadians about the progress of individual projects, shipyard investments, contract awards, and other pertinent data. I am committed to publishing an annual report to Parliament starting this fall, as well as providing quarterly updates.
Turning now to the 2016-17 main estimates, Public Services and Procurement Canada's total spending is expected to remain stable at $2.87 billion. The department is also seeking $351.6 million in additional funding through supplementary estimates (A) for the recapitalization of engineering assets and maintenance and repairs of federal buildings, as well as the maintenance and upgrade of federal infrastructure.
Total spending by Shared Services Canada for this fiscal year is expected to be $1.55 billion, an increase of $105.8 million, or 7.3%, over last year. This includes expenditures of $53.6 million to help retrofit the Carling campus for National Defence and $26.4 million for cybersecurity, along with investments to support our partners across government on key initiatives, such as strengthening digital infrastructure for Canada's research, education, and innovation communities.
Shared Services Canada is also seeking $272.1 million in additional funding through supplementary estimates (A) to implement budget 2016's commitments to cybersecurity and upgrading mission-critical infrastructure for high-performance computers in support of Environment and Climate Change Canada's weather services, as well as for Shared Services Canada's contribution to the resettlement of Syrian refugees.
Mr. Chair, both organizations have been allocated significant funds to deliver programs and services to the benefit of Canadians. There is much to do, but I know we are up to the challenge.
I've met hundred of employees throughout these organizations. They are energized, committed, and eager to deliver. As I have discussed, they are pursuing a greener future. They are embracing innovation and a commitment to service, and they are working not only for but with Canadians and other key stakeholders. I am proud to have the opportunity to keep this committee informed of the results of their efforts.
Thank you. I am pleased to be able to take the committee's questions.