I call the meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 32 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. The committee is meeting today to begin its study of diversity in procurement. We have representatives from Public Services and Procurement Canada with us today. The last 30 minutes of the meeting will be be devoted to committee business.
Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format, pursuant to the House order of June 23, 2022. Members are attending in person in the room and remotely by using the Zoom application.
Regarding the speaking list, the committee clerk and I will do the best we can to maintain the consolidated order of speaking for all members, whether participating virtually or in person.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind all participants who are here at this meeting that taking any screenshots or taking photos of your screen is not permitted.
I would like to welcome the witnesses here today, and Ms. Royds again, who was with us on Monday. It's good to see you again.
You will each have five minutes for an opening statement.
I understand, Mr. Mills, that you will begin.
Good afternoon, Mr. Chair and members of the committee.
Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.
I would like to thank the committee for giving me the opportunity to speak to Public Services and Procurement Canada’s commitment to diversity in procurement in my role as the assistant deputy minister of procurement.
I’m joined today by my colleagues Mollie Royds, PSPC’s associate assistant deputy minister of procurement; Levent Ozmutlu, director general of our strategic policy sector; and Clinton Lawrence-Whyte, the director general of Procurement Assistance Canada.
As you are aware, PSPC procures goods and services on behalf of federal departments and agencies. Those procurements range from office supplies to military ships and everything in between.
The department buys approximately $24 billion worth of goods, services and construction each year from nearly 10,000 suppliers.
It is part of PSPC's responsibility to use our purchasing power to support Canada's economic, environmental and social policy goals. That includes ensuring a wider diversity of suppliers from under-represented groups, which have historically faced systemic barriers to success.
Mr. Chair, I would like to take the next few minutes to explain our actions to attract a wider diversity of suppliers. Consultations with indigenous peoples, Black and other racialized Canadians, women, 2SLGBTQI+ Canadians, Canadians with disabilities, and other communities have been critical to their development.
In January 2022, PSPC launched its supplier diversity action plan, which includes concrete steps to increase the participation of businesses from under-represented groups in federal procurement.
Recent pilot projects were critical in informing this action plan. For example, PSPC administered a Black business procurement pilot to expand procurement opportunities for Black entrepreneurs.
A cornerstone of this supplier diversity action plan is our policy on social procurement. This policy has broadened the definition of value for money of federal contracts in order to foster greater economic and social opportunities for under-represented groups, and it empowers our procurement specialists to pursue their objectives in their day-to-day work. This policy demonstrates our commitment to continue to promote federal procurement with under-represented suppliers.
By enacting this policy, we are making it clear that including more under-represented groups among our suppliers is now a core objective of our procurement function.
To support the department's efforts, we are currently developing a supplier diversity program, which will outline concrete actions to support increased participation from under-represented suppliers.
In addition, Mr. Chair, PSPC has also been working towards addressing the inequalities that exist between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
In August 2021, the minister of PSPC announced the implementation of a mandatory requirement for federal departments and agencies to ensure that a minimum of 5% of the value of their contracts are being awarded to indigenous businesses. PSPC is working in close collaboration with indigenous partners and other government departments to develop tools and guidance to support the implementation of the 5% target across government.
By increasing contracting opportunities, we are able to help generate economic prosperity in communities that have not traditionally shared in this country‘s economic wealth.
PSPC is also modernizing its procurement practices by making procurement easier, faster, and more accessible for suppliers, particularly those from under-represented groups.
As part of our modernizing efforts, a new electronic procurement solution was launched in 2021, and more recently, CanadaBuys replaced Buyandsell as the official source for tender and award notices for federal procurement. These innovative tools will give us access to better procurement data, which will further support our decision-making processes.
These are some of the examples of how PSPC has been modernizing the federal procurement processes, and is working towards a world-class procurement system that drives value for money and simplifies its procurement process.
In conclusion, PSPC is committed to moving forward on this very important work of modernizing procurement and diversifying the federal government's supplier base to ensure that it better reflects the Canadian population. And while we have taken important steps, we recognize that more needs to be done.
I'd be pleased to answer questions from the committee.
Witnesses, thanks for joining us today.
Over four years ago, this committee tabled a unanimous report called, “Modernizing federal procurement for small and medium enterprises, women-owned and Indigenous businesses”. Fifteen of the 40 recommendations were specifically toward indigenous and women-led and women-owned businesses.
How may of those 15 recommendations, keeping in mind it was well over four years ago, have been implemented?
Okay. This may give you a sense of déjà vu, because I asked the identical question probably about two years ago in this committee, and we got back nothing, actually. We got word salad back. I would like concrete information on when you're getting back to us.
I'm going into this because, again, it was over four years ago that we presented very clear, straightforward information. One item was on tracking how much business is going to women-led or indigenous businesses.
When I look at GC InfoBase, the most recent numbers for results, under “Percentage increase in participation to procurement processes by businesses owned by women”, I see that the date is to be determined. Here we are, four years and three months after we recommended it, and it's “date to be determined”. If you look for indigenous, and this was right from Treasury Board, you see it's “date to be determined”.
I have to ask what PSPC is doing when, four years and three months after the fact, we're still looking at date to be determined.
Why does it take so long to just simply track that? Again, it's been four years and three months. If you were in the private sector and someone said, “You know, you've got four years and two month to get this done”, you would have had it done. Why is it that four years and three months later, we're still implementing?
I look at your “2022 to 2023 Departmental Plan” and “Percentage of participation in procurement processes by Indigenous suppliers”, and of course it goes back several years. For 2018-19, it's “Not available”; 2019-20, “Not available”; 2020-21. The “2022 to 2023 Target” is 11%, but it says “This target has been established in accordance with the following baseline data” as a guess of what it was for previous periods.
You have unlimited resources, it seems. You've added thousands and thousands of bodies to PSPC. It's a priority. It was recommended by this committee. It's a priority from this government in the mandate letters. Why does it take so long to get done?
I'll be blunt here. I'm doubting the sincerity of PSPC's desire to actually get this done if we're seeing four years and three months and you're just now kicking off an action plan.
The journey began back in 2018 when we started a continual process of gathering more information and testing for improvements in relation to supplier diversity. This is one of the cornerstones of the supplier diversity action plan.
As you've indicated, since that time we've taken significant steps in establishing the social procurement policy and we are working towards establishing a social procurement program that will further allow us to implement the measures that we're looking at with respect to leveraging procurement for the benefit of all Canadians and for increasing supplier diversity in the businesses with which we do business.
We're expecting to see progress as it relates to data collection, which is yet another element of this process. My colleague could also elaborate on some of the steps that we're taking with respect to outreach with under-represented suppliers and the coaching services, as well as other supports that are being provided.
As we start implementing the steps, we'll be looking at the impacts that we have with respect to the number of contracts that are awarded to under-represented suppliers, both in terms of participation of these suppliers in the procurement process, by bidding on them, as well as the number of contracts that are awarded.
As was indicated by Mr. Mills earlier, data collection is now under way. We've launched the supplier profile questionnaires in the EPS system, and CanadaBuys is now up and running. As we start collecting more data on the businesses we do these transactions with, we'll be in a better position to understand more fully what their profiles look like, and from there establish baselines that we can further analyze.
I'll go back to make sure that I understand. We have rolled out programs, and you talked about the different programs. You've indicated that there are measures in place. Do you have targets for measures for a specific period of time that we could get as part of the regular reporting?
Let's say we are trying, for example, to achieve 5%. You talked about benchmarking. If we are at 2% for indigenous, do we have, as an example, concrete steps to take if we are planning to achieve 4% by this time, 5% by this time? Are such measures and such targets available?
Thank you, Mr. Chair, for the question.
Indigenous procurement is one area where we can talk about some concrete targets. The 5% mandate, as you may be aware, was announced by the government, and we're implementing that as we speak, in a phased approach. We will have departments essentially meeting those targets in a three-year time period.
We have the first phase, which is ending at the end of this fiscal year, and within six months of the end of the fiscal year, we will have indicators as to what percentage of the business was actually awarded to indigenous firms. That includes contracts that were directly awarded to indigenous suppliers as well as subcontracts, because, as you know, the ecosystem is quite important as it relates to procurement.
Thank you for being here, gentlemen, and for working to make procurement more accessible to everyone. That's important not just to me, but also to thousands of small and medium-sized businesses, or SMEs.
This is always a sensitive subject.
My background is in history, which I used to teach. A historian's worst fear is that history will repeat itself. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and sometimes, we repeat the mistakes of the past—unintentionally. I'm going to choose my words carefully.
It's important to ensure that everyone has equal access to federal contracts. Is it necessary to intrude on people's privacy to achieve that?
Isn't there a way to keep discrimination and segregation from resurfacing in the process so that no one is affected, since the intention is to include everyone? I'm just putting that out there.
What can we do to prevent a situation where everyone is seemingly put into their own little box, off on their own little island?
It's a mistake I don't ever want to see repeated. Obviously, Canada isn't the U.S., but Canada and Quebec have made mistakes in the past. I don't want to see the same problems resurface.
I'm bringing this up because I read that LGBTQS2+ business owners didn't want to identify as members of that community.
If they don't want to self-identify, will they be lumped in with the majority and end up being rejected?
How can we make sure that we aren't engaging in segregation, despite our good intentions, which are to give everyone equal access?
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, for the question.
First, can I just apologize for not being there in person with my colleagues? Unfortunately, I'm recovering from a cold, so an in-person attendance wasn't possible today.
In terms of the question, I very much appreciate the concerns that have been raised. Certainly those are things that we have been focused on as we've been developing the supplier diversity program. Specifically, we have been engaging in consultations with the different under-represented communities in relation to their concerns and the things that would be a priority for them to see in our program. In fact, I as well have heard the same concerns that the member has indicated here.
As was indicated in the opening remarks, certainly it is our intention with the program to create opportunities for under-represented groups to increase their participation as well as to socio-economic benefits to those under-represented communities, and quite frankly, to remove or lighten barriers in procurement that we are aware exist.
We've discussed a little bit, as well, the social procurement policy and the importance of—
Sorry to cut you off, Ms. Royds. Everyone agrees on the objectives. They are commendable, and I support them.
What I wanted to know was how we could achieve those objectives, or apply these criteria, without engaging in segregation.
In practical terms, how can we be sure we aren't putting in place a system that reproduces what we are trying to avoid?
I understand what the objectives are, and we can all agree that they are appropriate. My question is about what we can do to ensure that we aren't engaging in segregation if we seek out very sensitive information and open up a contract to women or members of the Black community.
To make contracts available to certain groups and not others is to engage in segregation.
How can we avoid practices that cause segregation so that everyone feels included and free to submit a bid, knowing that it will be seen, read and considered?
Okay. Would you just provide us with more precise...?
Mr. Michael Mills: We'll be providing it.
Mr. Kelly McCauley: Getting back to the original study, would you be able, when you inform the committee on our recommendations from 2018, to identify which ones have been accomplished and which ones are halfway through or almost done, as well as a date by which the other ones will be achieved or whether there's no intention of following that specific recommendation?
I want to walk through some of the barriers. I know from the previous study and from other studies we've done here about the difficulty in filling out the procurement forms. Sometimes you need one or two full-time people to fill out an RFP to sell a single pen.
What other barriers are you seeing for indigenous businesses in being able to procure from the government?
Thank you again for the question.
Maybe I'll start off and then I can turn to my colleague Clinton Lawrence-Whyte, who can elaborate a little bit more from the perspective of Procurement Assistance Canada.
What I was alluding to was that when we have procurement opportunities, they are typically not limited to any particular region. Even if, for example, there is a requirement for a goods procurement in the national capital region, you don't have to be in the national capital region to fulfill that requirement. With that view, we are looking at representation across the country.
I'll turn it over to my colleague Clinton, who can elaborate a little bit more about the services they provide in different offices across Canada.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, for the question.
We've talked about my organization, Procurement Assistance Canada. It has the mandate to aid small and medium-sized businesses to participate in federal procurement and to support efforts to increase supplier diversity in the federal base.
As mentioned, recognizing that there is a diversity across the country, Procurement Assistance Canada has a network of six regional offices that we were able to leverage to work closely with community partners to help them secure the support they need. We also establish partnerships with key players in the regions and we're able to put in place different types of supports, including educational supports. We provide direct assistance and we do webinars. All of this is with the goal of helping these different communities to be more comfortable in their ability to actively participate in federal procurement.
Our intent at the end of the day is to have these different businesses ready to bid and confident that they can participate in federal procurement.
Thank you very much for the question.
In terms of ensuring that we are targeting the right under-represented groups, there are various means of certification. One is self-certification. Another is some increased form of validation, and the third is having a third party certify the under-represented suppliers. As part of the supplier diversity action plan, we're currently evaluating our options in relation to that, and that will form part of the program as we move forward.
A big key component of this for us, obviously, is increasing our understanding of our supplier base, and my colleagues have already spoken about the e-procurement system we have launched and about CanadaBuys. One of the pieces of that is a supplier questionnaire, which collects disaggregated data in the way that we are asking for suppliers to identify themselves, and it will allow us to work in partnership with StatsCan to ensure that we have a good understanding of our supplier base. That also goes to the question of understanding it regionally as well as well as in terms of a specific under-represented supplier group.
The final point I would raise is in relation to the procurement strategy for indigenous businesses, for which our colleagues at Indigenous Services Canada have the lead. The criterion there is to be registered in the indigenous business directory, so that particular one has a specific process in place to support that policy.
I don't know if any of my colleagues have anything they want to add.
Forgive me, but I have to cut you off again.
I realize that awareness of procurement opportunities can be a challenge for SMEs. What I want to know is how that particular problem would affect the SME owned by a member of an under-represented group, but not affect the SME owned by a member of an overrepresented group, when both businesses are similar in size.
In that specific scenario, how would the barrier of procurement opportunity awareness affect the businesses differently?
You seem to be saying that, if a business belongs to a member of an overrepresented group, even if that business is a SME, that business owner is aware of all procurement opportunities, whereas the SME belonging to a member of an under-represented group isn't aware.
How do you explain that? How does that barrier affect one business, but not the other?
Everyone should be affected by that barrier when you're talking about SMEs. How does it become a criterion that incorporates judgment, and if it is, why does it apply to only one group?
Thank you for the question.
In particular, in relation to under-represented groups, again, we have various supports. My colleague Clinton, who's at the table, can speak more on Procurement Assistance Canada supports available to those that do not have the same experience or success in our procurement processes. Some of these are about awareness of opportunities and some also relate to the complexity of our processes.
We have complex statements of work and requests for proposals that we put out into the market. Many of the companies that are more familiar with the procurement process and are broadly represented within it, as was already discussed, have bid-writing units as part of them, and a lot of—
Thanks for the question.
I think we're waiting for the end of this reporting cycle to have clarity on who is the best, but from more anecdotal notes, recently Health Canada has had very strong results in terms of their indigenous procurement.
I believe what I heard was that they're in the teens in terms of their percentage of procurement from indigenous businesses. I was involved in some of their code procurements and I know that they took a strategy to try to ensure that if there were indigenous suppliers, they were included, and that helped contribute to it.
We have engaged with Indigenous Services Canada to bring in their chief financial officer, who's responsible for procurement for that department, to a committee of multiple departments to explain what their strategies have been in order to achieve those results and to try to replicate them in other departments.
I would have to say that when it comes to businesses owned by persons with disabilities, this is actually a challenge economy-wide for Canada.
When we look at the general number of businesses owned by persons with disabilities, we see that it's very low relative to the percentage of the population. There's more work to be done with our partners at Innovation, Science and Economic Development, as well as the regional development agencies, to look at how we might build to increase the overall community of businesses owned by persons with disabilities in Canada and then make procurement.
From the procurement perspective, there are real challenges. As we move to an electronic procurement solution, one of the things we're very concerned about is the accessibility of those technologies and the barriers we could unintentionally create. That's one area that we're very focused on. We're trying to set a high bar in terms of accessibility standards for our web presence and whatnot, as well as look at how we make available other sources of interaction with businesses owned by persons with disabilities, if need be, because of that technology that has happened.
I will ask Levent to talk also a bit. We are concerned about this enough, and we haven't put as much discussion in today about what we're doing specifically on accessibility internally from an organizational perspective to try to address this.
That means francophones are not an under-represented group for federal procurement purposes.
Mr. Lawrence-Whyte, my understanding is that it's hard for SMEs to access information on Buyandsell.gc.ca. Just for fun sometimes, I look at the site, and on average, I see 840 contracts a day. A SME with some 40 or 50 employees at most would likely find it onerous to check the site every day to find out which contracts are still posted, which ones keep coming up.
How can we make it easier for a SME to stay on top of available contracts and realize that they are open to everyone, regardless of skin colour, religion or gender?
All types of businesses should be able to apply.
Not very many people look at newspapers anymore. Is it better to go through chambers of commerce?
What can we do to make the process easier for businesses?
Thank you for your question.
One of PSPC's priorities is to reach out to businesses all over Canada to help them better understand how things work in government. Ensuring that websites and other such tools are fairly user-friendly is also very important.
We work directly with businesses to teach them how to use the tools, so they can do things like sign up for notifications to find out when certain procurement contracts or tender opportunities are available. We help people create that capacity. We also help people in searching for tender opportunities.
For us, it's really about helping small and medium-sized businesses, mainly, navigate the system with greater ease, and we provide that service across Canada.
With that, we have come to the end of our questions.
I would like to thank the witnesses for being here today. Thank you to those here in person and to Ms. Royds for being with us again virtually.
Ms. Royds, we hope that you're feeling better soon and are able to come in person next time.
Mr. Mills, Mr. Lawrence-Whyte and Mr. Ozmutlu, thank you very much for being here.
With that, I will dismiss the witnesses.
We'll now move on to the committee business. Just so that the committee is aware, I will remind you that we are in public.
We have a couple of things I want to cover. The first is that Ms. Vignola has her motion on the table. She has now presented another motion. My understanding is that there have been discussions among everybody that there's general agreement on accepting the new motion as she's presented it. Is that correct? We need you to move that first, if that's the case.
Other discussions took place today.
Initially, I reworked my motion in light of the suggestions I received. I was told that it shouldn't be a problem.
Since I didn't get a response within 48 hours, I figured I wouldn't run into any problems.
Today, however, new amendments were brought to my attention. I'll let my fellow members move those. Then we can quickly discuss them. The changes concern what is being submitted and when, as well as what we are asking for and when.
We all agree that we want the documents. I think what my fellow members want to revisit are the dates.
Mr. Chair, I'm going to try to put all of the different amendments that we discussed into the motion. I can maybe give a synopsis of what we propose beforehand and then we can go with the discussion.
There will be one amendment, but I'll read it all together as I've drafted it.
Basically, we would propose that this be limited to foreign travel of the Governor General, not domestic travel. We would ask for production by October 31, in number 4, “the invoices associated with the...trip to the Middle East”, and we would add to number 4 “a list of all the foreign travel undertaken by the current Governor General and the two previous Governor Generals.”
When the committee receives that document on the travel taken by the current and former Governors General, we would select two years from each Governor General and ask that the travel be produced for those years, once we see what travel took place in what years. Instead of asking for all of the voyages since 2015, we would pick two years for each Governor General so that there would be a comparison.
The first thing would be to get a list of all the foreign travel taken by the Governors General in each year since David Johnston first became Governor General.
Those documents—because that would be complex and that's not easy—that are set out in number 3 don't exist right now in a synthesized format, that we know of, anywhere. It would mean that the Office of the Governor General would need to put it all together and compile it. Those documents would only have to be produced in January, before the House returns, before we have our last two meetings on the subject.
Basically, October 31 would be for copies of the invoices for the trip on March 22, 2022, and a list of all the foreign travel of each of the current and two previous Governors General. The committee would then decide the years for which we wanted production of all of the documents—presumably two years for each Governor General—and then that would be due in January.
That's what we discussed with Ms. Vignola.
Mr. Chair, I've gone through the paragraphs. In order for this to make sense, what I would suggest is reading the amendments, and then we could have the discussion.
Of course. I've only written it in a scattered fashion right now, so I'm hoping that we can better produce it.
Number 3 would now read at the beginning, “For the years selected by the committee,” that Department of National Defence.... Nothing will change other than that. Then, in the third line, instead of “trips”, it would say “foreign trips”, and instead of “the Governors General from 2015 to present”, it would say, “of the current Governor General and the previous two Governor Generals....”
I'll just wait until you're clear on that, Mr. Clerk, and then I'll go to the next amendment.
Would you like me to read it back as it would read completely?
I tease you about this, but what you're asking for does seem over-complicated.
A lot of this stuff we can get from an order paper question, and the National Post was able to get their ATIP request back within a month, so I question the desire to only say two years here. We can do an order paper on the costs and the breakdown—liquor, food, security and travel—and get that back in 45 days.
The other items are the actual paperwork, and if the National Post was able to get it within a month or two, I'm told, I'm not sure why we'd want to limit any of it.
I'd hate to also exclude trips inside Canada. I'd like to get an idea of expenses in Canada, something they can show us that says, “Well, this is what the costs in Canada are—nothing.” Great, and if it's nothing, let's not bother, but I don't want to exclude them out of hand.
If it's one trip from each or even the last couple of trips within Canada that show normal numbers, then okay, they have it fixed for Canada, but I'd hate to exclude internal travel until we know for sure what their cost controls are like.
I'm not proposing any changes to Ms. Vignola's motion or what you have. I just feel that it's a bit over-complicated.
I would be fine with asking for a list of all the trips, including domestic ones, but I think we should focus on international trips for the time being and use the Order Paper questions to find out more about the trips within Canada. If we see anything inappropriate on that side as well—so not just in international travel—we could decide to include that in our study.
As for the list of years, it's not that I disagree. It's simply that I don't understand which criteria we would use to determine what is an appropriate baseline trip or year and what isn't. Would it be 2014, 2015 or 2017? Call me a bookworm, if you like, but I prefer to have all the documents, as opposed to just half. The period referred to in my motion is from 2015 to 2022. That's my criterion: seven years. You're proposing six. Would that make a big difference in the number of documents? I don't know.
I appreciate that this covers a large number of documents, some of which are archived and would need to be compiled, analyzed and so forth. Anything having to do with the Governor General is kept. After all, we still have documents pertaining to King John and Richard the Lion-Heart, so I understand that. What concerns me, though, is how we are going to determine which years and trips constitute appropriate baselines, when we could do an initial analysis and then decide which trips we are going to focus on.
For that reason, I'm going to keep my motion as is. I'm fine with removing the reference to Canada, as long as we not rule out the possibility that we may need to examine domestic travel at some point. I need clarity on how we are going to determine which years and trips we're going to look at.
First, in light of the numerous amendments that were proposed, I'd like to have the clerk send us the amended version so we know exactly what we are voting on.
Second, I want to discuss the amendment pertaining to the two years for each Governor General. Since the period referred to in the motion is from 2015 to today, let's start with January 1, 2015. David Johnston was the Governor General then, right up until October 2017. That's about a year and three-quarters, so nearly two years for Mr. Johnston. Ms. Payette's term began in 2017 and ended in 2021, when she resigned three years and four months later. One of those years was during the pandemic, and since she didn't really travel during that time, we can round it down to almost two years. Ms. Simon took office in 2021, a year and two months ago.
I don't see why we need to specify a period since the time frames more or less line up, with Ms. Payette not travelling for a year because of the pandemic. She was having Rideau Hall renovated, but that's another story.
The expenses are posted on the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General's website. You can even find charts showing the variations in spending. It's public information, so there's no reason why we wouldn't be able to get the supporting documents quickly.
You said that the information wasn't easy to pull together, but at the very least, some information is already available on the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General's website. The departments of national defence and foreign affairs would have to do some work to provide the rest.
My comment really has to do with the two years. I think it should be January 1 to today, regardless of how long each Governor General was in office.
First, Mr. Chair, I was hoping that this amendment would be an amicable one. I've given it to the clerk, and he can't disseminate it until it's translated. I'm not going to be able to draft it and translate it in five minutes. That's not plausible or possible right now.
I listened carefully to what my fellow members had to say.
My point was that Mr. Johnston was the governor general for a long time, not just in 2015 and 2016. The trips he took in 2010 and 2011 may be particularly relevant. It's not just that the governor general is linked to this government or that government. Former governor general Johnston took trips in different years, so we may not necessarily want to look at the expenses for two years in a row.
What isn't difficult to put together is the list of trips the governors general took. My understanding is that information on trips taken in previous years is located in more than one place. The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General has a fairly small team, so its capacity to find all this information for the committee is limited.
The date for producing the documents should be postponed until January because they can't be produced by October 31. It is possible, however, to provide the information related to the 2022 expenses and the list of trips, of course.
Then, the committee can decide whether it wishes to review the information for each year. That would be up to the committee. My preference would be to look at two years for each governor general. Once the committee sees the list of trips, it may not be unreasonable for the committee to decide that it wants to look at Mr. Johnston's expenses for 2011 and 2012, instead of 2015 and 2016. It's really everything, because the other expenses, generally speaking, don't change from year to year, except for international travel.
If the honourable member wants the list of international and domestic trips, I'm fine with that, as long as the supporting documents we request pertain solely to international trips for those years.
I realize that my fellow members want to take a look back in time, but former governor general Johnston was in office for nearly a decade, if my memory serves me correctly.
I think it's reasonable to have the study go back to 2014. That would give us three years for Mr. Johnston, three years for Ms. Payette, and the rest of the time for Ms. Simon. That would be fair. If we select a period of more than 10 years, we are going a long way back and we could talk about Michaëlle Jean.
We could look at the last three years of each governor general's time in office. We could go back to 2014. Then, we could decide what information we want for the 2014 to 2017 period. That's three years. We would also have three years for Ms. Payette, which would include time during the pandemic.
I realize what my fellow members are trying to do, but we need to be fair about the period we examine from each one's time in office.
There are no more hands up.
I'm looking at members around the room and virtually. We're all in agreement with the amendment. Is that correct?
(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: Is there any discussion on the motion as amended? I'm hoping not.
We're all in agreement with the motion as amended. Is that correct?
(Motion as amended agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: Thank you.
The next thing we'll go to is from Mr. Johns, but before we do, we can resume consideration of that or we can still leave it—
Okay. We will leave that on the table.
Mr. Gord Johns: Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
Voices: Oh, oh!
The Chair: All right.
We have two others things to follow up on. One, as you may be aware, is on the issue of travel. Ultimately, for the travel we've talked about, the clerk has to redraft the new agenda. We will be getting that out to you so that so we can resubmit it. We're talking a winter-spring time frame.
The second thing is the work plan. At this point in time, we have five studies. I'll ask around the room to make certain that members are still comfortable with the chair and the clerk coordinating and moving forward with the two studies, adding in these other amendments as we see fit, and recognizing also that we may have supplementary estimates coming in that we'll have to fit in as well.
Are you comfortable with that?
There are nods around the room. I'm seeing “yes”.
Great. Thank you very much.
With that, happy Thanksgiving. I declare the meeting adjourned.