Good morning, everyone. I call this meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 26 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
I will start by acknowledging that I am meeting on Treaty 1 territory and the home of the Métis nation.
Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format, pursuant to the House order of November 25, 2021. Members are attending in person in the room and remotely using the Zoom application. Members and witnesses participating virtually may speak in the official language of their choice. You have the choice at the bottom of your screen of floor, English or French.
Pursuant to Standing Order 81(4), 108(2) and the motion adopted on Tuesday, March 22, the committee will commence consideration of the main estimates for 2022-23 and the subject matter of the supplementary estimates (C) 2021-22.
I now call vote 1 under the Canada Border Services Agency.
With us today we have the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, and officials from the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Correctional Service of Canada, the Parole Board of Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Welcome to all.
Welcome, Minister. You have the floor for opening remarks whenever you're ready to begin, sir.
Mr. Chair and honourable members of the committee, we thank you for inviting us to join you today.
I'm pleased to present the 2022-23 main estimates for the public safety portfolio.
I would first like to point out that I am accompanied today by some officials:
We have Rob Stewart, my deputy minister; Anne Kelly, commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada; President John Ossowski of the Canada Border Services Agency; and of course, Brenda Lucki, commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, among a bevy of other officials whom I want to express gratitude to for being here with us today.
I want to begin by stating that I appreciate the committee's studies on matters related to keeping Canadians safe. I've had the opportunity to speak to you on several occasions now on gun control and on gang prevention, both of which I will expand on in a moment. I've also addressed this committee regarding various security issues around the illegal blockades we witnessed in January and February of this year.
I also look forward to speaking with you in a few weeks when you continue your study on Canada's security posture in relation to Russia.
Before I talk about the numbers, I want to once again thank the many dedicated professionals at the Department of Public Safety, who work day and night to keep Canadians safe.
That's especially remarkable during the time of uncertainty with which we are confronted: a global pandemic, an unfolding war in Ukraine, protests around the country and many more challenges affecting Canadians.
Protecting the public is the government's first duty and among the highest of our obligations as parliamentarians. We will continue to stand up for all Canadians. Just this week, the tragedy in Buffalo reminded us of the despicable and deadly threat posed by hate and racism. Canada is not immune. We cannot turn away from the threat of racism and of the ideological extremism that informs it more broadly. It is our duty to share the collaborative efforts in staring this deadly threat in the face and to make good on our commitment to protect the Canadian people.
This commitment is why Canada's public safety portfolio is the largest non-military portfolio in government, and it's what these estimates reflect in my portfolio, ensuring that we live up to that obligation by backing up that work with solid and reliable funding.
On that portfolio-wide basis, the total authorities sought in the main estimates will result in funding approvals of $11.3 billion for the public safety portfolio for this fiscal year. That would result in a net increase of $1.2 billion, or 12%, over last year's estimates. You will see that year over year for the portfolio, funding levels remain stable.
I'll point to four main highlights. For Public Safety Canada, the total funding sought is $883.5 million, representing a net decrease of $172 million over the previous year. For the Canada Border Services Agency, the total funding sought is $2.3 billion, representing a net increase of $294.6 million, which includes compensation adjustments. For the Correctional Service of Canada, total funding sought is $3.1 billion, representing a $257-million increase, and for the RCMP, the total funding sought is $4.2 billion, representing an increase of $794.5 million. That includes a net increase for negotiated salary adjustments stemming from the new national police federal collective agreement and an increase in grants and contributions to compensate members of the RCMP for injuries received in the line of duty.
I will briefly discuss the main elements that this amount encompasses so as to provide a breakdown.
There is a $345.8-million decrease in funding regarding the disaster financial assistance arrangements program, or DFAA. That's based on forecasts from provinces and territories for expected disbursements under the DFAA for this fiscal year. Due to the unpredictable nature of natural disasters, the DFAA funding levels may be significantly adjusted through the course of this fiscal year. For example, departmental reference levels will be increased in 2022-23 in order to provide advance payments to the Province of British Columbia for several flooding events, including the devastating flooding disaster that occurred in November 2021.
Over the past 10 years, the annual DFAA payments have ranged from $99 million in 2012 to over $2 billion planned for this fiscal year. The program has contributed more in the past 10 years than it did in the previous 42 years. It is worth noting that unforeseen circumstances, for example a new disaster or a last-minute amendment to the timing and amount of a province's payment request, can drastically impact the DFAA's annual appropriations.
As I've noted, also in these main estimates are a $305.4-million increase for negotiated salary adjustments stemming from the new police federal collective agreement and a $230.3-million increase to help compensate members of the RCMP for injuries received in the performance of duty.
Mr. Chair, these items represent the most significant changes in appropriations. As Minister of Public Safety, my top priority remains keeping Canadians safe, and I look forward to your questions and comments.
Okay, but you can't say whether you called it out at that time.
In my community, indigenous, Cree and Métis, along with Franco-Albertans and Catholics, were devastated by the destruction of the iconic St. Jean Baptiste Church in Morinville, and we hope that you will work harder to bring justice to these committees.
I have one final question. Numerous witnesses and studies have indicated that foreign interference played a significant role in several constituencies and led to the defeat of incumbent candidates in the 2021 election. CSIS's 2021 reports cites numerous examples of foreign interference in Canada and how it is a risk to our elections, but it makes no mention of the 2021 election.
Do you believe that foreign interference had an impact on the election results in some ridings in the last election?
Minister, thank you for joining us. I want to begin by thanking you for the work you do in helping to keep Canadians safe and, in particular, for your unwavering commitment to ensuring that all forms of hate and extremism are condemned. I commend you and the government for that.
Minister, we've heard from many witnesses from different walks of life, including our security services, that the greatest threat we currently face in the country—
I would like to switch gears a bit. As a British Columbian, as you well know, there is a significant concern related to money laundering, particularly as it relates to the real estate market in British Columbia. I know that budget 2022 provides funding to Public Safety to undertake work to develop, design and, hopefully, implement the Canada financial crimes agency.
Can you speak to your view on the timeline around this and, in particular, some of the areas in which you believe this agency will be able to address some of the issues that we are really concerned about in British Columbia?
Minister, thank you for being here.
I also thank your colleagues who are with you today for their availability.
Minister, I would like to talk to you about guns. We often talk to each other about it during question periods. We also talked about it during your last visit to the committee. My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I have assured you, on several occasions, of our support for better gun control. However, we still expressed our disagreement on how to do it.
We believe that banning military-style assault weapons piecemeal or passing regulations banning thousands of weapons at a time has the effect of making other weapons, available on the market once the regulations are in place, legal. My party and organizations like PolySeSouvient have proposed amending the definition of assault weapon in the Criminal Code. This would prevent some weapons from falling through the regulatory cracks. Other countries have done this, including the United States in 1994.
I'd like you to talk to us about that, because I know that you recently announced investments for police forces, provinces, and municipalities. That is very good and we agree on these investments. That said, I think there is a way to amend the Criminal Code so that more weapons are not allowed to remain unrestricted for the time being.
Ms. Michaud, thank you for your question and your suggestions. We will always be open to new ways to strengthen our laws. Last week, for example, I announced that new obligations would be imposed on firearms dealers. These rules could help prevent gun violence.
As for the question about AR‑15 assault weapons, I hope everyone feels the same way. This particular type of firearm has no place in our communities. That's exactly why we banned it nationwide.
I would like to point out that the order in council applies in perpetuity. New military firearms have been added to the list of prohibited weapons. I therefore hope that the practical application of this government decision will reassure the Bloc Québécois somewhat that this work will continue.
For the rest, I am always ready to look for concrete solutions. I have a lot of commitments with my Quebec counterparts. Just yesterday, I had a discussion with Minister Guilbault. Almost a month ago, I was at the Montreal Forum on Combating Gun Violence, at the invitation of the mayor.
I know that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS, is working on the terrorist entity list, and that's fine. Perhaps the service will need more resources, for example.
In the same vein, yesterday, during question period, it was said that the creation of a registry of criminal organizations could help curb violence in the streets, particularly in Montreal, where there is a gang war. They are the ones shooting almost everywhere in broad daylight and killing innocent people. It was suggested that this proposed registry be linked to the list of terrorist entities, because membership in a terrorist group is a criminal act, while being a member of the Hells Angels or a street gang is not.
Do you believe that the creation of such a registry could help curb violence?
Minister, thank you for joining us at committee today.
We had the systemic racism in policing report presented to the House 11 months ago, and it was retabled in this Parliament. You were handed your mandate letter in December, which includes some instructions from the with regard to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission and establishing a legislative framework for indigenous policing.
Here we are in May, Minister, and I think a number of people, particularly indigenous, racialized and Black Canadians, are starting to get a bit concerned with the pace at which you are moving on this file. You have expressed in the House a number of times how important this is to you, but I would like to know when you are actually going to get moving on some of the systemic reforms we need to see in the legislation regarding how the RCMP conducts itself. When I look at the estimates, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission does not have a budgetary increase that is commensurate with what the agency is expected to be doing.
When is your government actually going to move forward and put forward some real, concrete measures on this?
In addition to my next question, can you make a comment on the legislative framework for indigenous policing? I want to know where we're at with that.
The other broader question is regarding the role of the RCMP in the future. As you know, in my home province of British Columbia, there was an all-party legislative committee of the B.C. legislature that has now recommended that British Columbia start a provincial police force.
In response to Mr. Noormohamed's question, you were referencing the financial crimes agency, which I think is an area that we need to concentrate on. There are muddied waters ahead about what you see the RCMP doing. There are questions about its contract policing. What kind of a role is it going to play with this financial crimes agency? If you can expand on that, I think we need to have some answers.
I would say at the outset that the creation of this new financial agency is still very much in its infant stages. I think we need to contemplate a strong degree of collaboration between this new agency and FINTRAC, for example, which is within the RCMP. I would say that, beyond that, I would be quite keen to talk to you about how you envision the relationship between that agency and other pre-existing law enforcement branches should operate.
Just on contractual policing, I want to take a moment to really impress upon you and the other members of this committee just how important this work is to the RCMP. I think the commissioner would be quite happy to expand on it.
As you know, in your province, British Columbia, the relationship between the British Columbia government and the RCMP is essential in providing public safety, not only in big suburban centres but equally right across rural Canada, including in indigenous communities.
I'm sure you're aware that the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack in the United States effectively shut down that pipeline for several hours, and 17 states, including Washington, D.C., went into states of emergency. This is a very real threat. I'm glad that your department seems to be taking this seriously.
On the other hand, concerning the Coastal GasLink pipeline, as you know, there were 20 assailants wielding axes who terrorized workers at the B.C. work site. It caused millions of dollars of damage. They even set up booby traps for when police came to the site so that police couldn't get there. It's very terrifying, what went on there.
Three months later, the RCMP has announced that there are no leads and no information as to their identities, methods or how they funded these eco-terrorist activities. When your officials, some heads of CSIS and the RCMP, including the deputy commissioner of the RCMP, were at our committee a few weeks ago talking about ideologically motivated extremism, they could not tell me whether anyone had been arrested.
Do you find that concerning, that officials in your department who were here to talk about extremism were not following this violent case of extremism?
—and those who you are in charge of at the RCMP, who are charged with keeping Canadians safe, as are you, were not able to tell this committee if anyone had even been arrested. They're not even reading the news about this, let alone being informed by their officials. I find it very concerning, and we've seen this escalate.
Perhaps as a result of none of these wrongdoers, none of these eco-terrorists, having been arrested or shown that what they've done is wrong, we've seen—as I'm sure you would know or I hope you would know—in Montreal, that former Conservative minister and senior RBC executive Michael Fortier, while he and his family were sleeping at 1:30 in the morning, awoke to his vehicles in his driveway being set on fire. In fact, the RBC Quebec president has also been a target of this. RBC branches have faced vandalism.
This is continuing to escalate and I would say that public safety is at risk at this point. Would you agree?
Thank you, Minister, for joining us today.
Four of the members of this committee are actually from British Columbia, so I was very glad to hear about the availability of funding for disaster response in the province. I want to talk a little bit more about that and how that's going to play out.
Also, we have a minister of natural disasters. I wonder how your two ministries interact.
Perhaps you could start by telling us the kinds of emergencies that this funding will help to mitigate or to recover from, noting that we're going straight into the forest fire season, imminently. Last year, about a month from now in our time frame, we had a heat dome that killed arguably hundreds of people. We have had the floods that you mentioned. I'd really be delighted to see how this funding can help us.
Thanks very much, Mr. McKinnon, for your question and for your advocacy. Having visited your community, I know that you are a very informed and outspoken voice when it comes to addressing extreme weather, including last fall right across British Columbia.
As you pointed out, since 2021, the department has been divided, if you will, into two separate subportfolios. My portfolio deals principally with law enforcement and national security and, of course, focuses on emergency preparedness. There is still a lot of co-operation between our two branches. Specifically, as it relates to requests for assistance and the processing of applications for disaster mitigation and relief, Minister Blair and I and our departments work very closely by function of the way the laws are still on the books.
I will say that the reflections in the main estimates are really a broader reflection of the challenges we face around climate change. The devastating impacts we saw around the atmospheric rivers and the flash floods, just recently in Manitoba as well, are really commensurate with, I believe, both the policies and the federal dollars that are going into addressing those challenges in partnership with your province and all provincial and territorial jurisdictions.
It's a bit of both because the funding is designed to be sustainable over a number of years.
As you heard me say in my remarks, the estimates can be adjusted based on extreme weather events, which can manifest rather abruptly and then lead to devastating consequences including as we saw last fall. I think tens of thousands of British Columbians were displaced from their homes. My recollection is that it was in the vicinity of 18,000 or so.
It is difficult to overstate how important it is to be able to get them back into their houses. It is equally important to rebuild the highways that have been destroyed and put in place the critical infrastructure. On one of my recent trips to British Columbia, I saw some of it around the protection against flooding. Putting that infrastructure in place is so important.
These disaster funds are designed to provide sustainable support for those parts of the country that are hardest hit by extreme weather and climate change.
Minister, I'd like you to tell us about Roxham Road.
When you are asked about it, you often say that it is not possible to close it because migrants will find another way to enter the country illegally. Yet closing Roxham Road is what the Quebec government is asking you to do. You can do it unilaterally by suspending the Safe Third Country Agreement.
You have to be aware that this puts a lot of pressure on the Quebec government. Right now, about 100 irregular migrants arrive every day, and 92% of them do so through Quebec. More than 50% of them are children. So we have to open two school classes a day for these children. It's extremely difficult to house them because of the housing crisis in Quebec and elsewhere at the moment. It's also difficult because many of them don't speak French, and we have to find ways to francize them.
You could close Roxham Road unilaterally. We hear there are discussions with Washington about this.
I'd like to know what the status of this is. Does it remain a solution for you or do you categorically refuse to close this illegal entry route?
Minister, the shooting in Buffalo was motivated by the great replacement theory, where the shooter published his manifesto and really personally thought the Anglo-Saxon race was being replaced through immigration policies and all kinds of racist garbage.
Where did he find that? Where was he exposed to it? It was online. It was through a very toxic ecosystem and echo chambers.
Pat King, one of the lead organizers of the convoy, was spouting off the same garbage and live-streaming on social media. Back then we might have just passed it off as the ranting of an individual. One of your officials during our IMVE study said a lot of what you see on the Internet is awful, but it's lawful.
I understand there's a very fine balance here. At the same time, it can have very real and devastating consequences.
Minister, social media companies have come before this committee and they told us they have very robust terms of service. Those terms of service are failing. It's quite apparent they're failing. What are your thoughts? What is your government's approach going to be on holding social media companies accountable for their terms of service so that they are actually enforced?
I understand it's a very fine line between protecting our charter right of freedom of expression...but at the same time what people are being exposed to online has led to some very tragic consequences. I just want to have your thoughts, Minister, on how your government is approaching this very real problem.
My thoughts are as follows: Words matter. Hate can lead to violence.
The great replacement theory is a conspiracy that is being driven by white supremacists and it is leading to violence, not only in Buffalo but in Canada. We all have to be vigilant, not only within government but right across society, including working with social media. You're right. They have polices. You've seen me in the past call out where I don't think they're living up to those policies, particularly on Twitter, but we have to do this work together.
We have to stamp out hate. We have to stamp out racism.
We have to be sure that we're putting in place the tools that are necessary to prevent these crimes, these awful crimes, from occurring in the first place. I'm committed to doing that work with this committee and all parliamentarians.
That's right, but to be serious for a moment, the director of national intelligence in the United States recently released a report concerning unidentified aerial phenomena or UAP. The report discussed the military sightings of hundreds of these objects that exhibit unusual flight characteristics.
As I'm sure you're aware, on Tuesday the United States Congress held its first congressional hearing on this in about 50 years. During that U.S. congressional hearing, U.S. military officials said that the UAP represent a national security risk, particularly with sightings around nuclear plants.
Again, on the face of this, certainly for me, it seems like a bit of a fringe area that is dominated by conspiracy theories, but given that the United States has recently taken this very seriously—the director of national intelligence is talking about this—do you feel that your government should be taking this as seriously as the American government?
Thank you so much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Minister, for joining us again today.
This committee is focused on keeping Canadians safe, and this committee has an ongoing study to address IMVE in Canada.
Regarding the $5 million in estimated spending allocated to the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, could you explain to this committee the importance of education and community outreach as a tool to combat hate, violence and extremism?
Mr. Chiang, I'm happy to elaborate on that. First, though, let me thank you for your leadership in this space. I know that long before you became a parliamentarian, you worked closely, as a police officer, with communities to keep them safe, including from the kind of awful racism that has beset so many of our communities.
The program that you have referred to is a concrete example of how the government is working in partnership with communities to build more resilience, tapping into local leadership, particularly communities that have been disproportionately impacted and that are at high risk for racism in all of its forms. I would point out that, for the government, this is not just about money. It's about making sure that we listen and make space for leadership from those who have been directly impacted by racism so that we can address it at its root causes.
Whether it's through this program or whether it's through the creation of the security infrastructure program, which is another initiative that is led out of my department, we will continue to work very closely with communities to stamp out racism and hate in all of their forms.
Thank you, witnesses, for being with us here today.
I didn't see who was here from the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. I'm assuming that there is somebody here to hear this question and to provide us with an answer.
I'm from British Columbia, where there was devastating flooding this past winter in the Fraser Valley, touching also in my riding of Langley—Aldergrove. We heard from the minister, in the first hour, that there is some money available in this year's budget under the disaster financial assistance arrangements program.
My question for the officials is whether there is sufficient money in this year's budget to respond to this disaster in terms of short-term recovery but also over the long term to build up our diking systems and drainage.
You're doing a lot more than that, but I shouldn't answer my own question. I actually went to their fundraising dinner, and they were quite pleased with the work that Public Safety is doing to protect them with provincial and territorial authorities, to be able to expand their ability to raise funds, so thank you for that.
Commissioner Kelly, it's always nice to see you here at committee, and you knew you couldn't get away from here without hearing a question from me.
I had the chance to see the mother-child program at Grand Valley Institution, and I was incredibly impressed with the work being done there. As you know, Grand Valley is doing better work than other institutions in providing this program. I met two indigenous moms, one of whom was from Flin Flon, and because of the distance, it was not working as well as it probably should be in order to keep contact with her kids.
StatsCan said in 2011 that 48% of children residing in foster care placements are indigenous, and the majority of those kids have incarcerated mothers. We also know that the mother-child program leads to a reduction in recidivism. I'm wondering, Commissioner Kelly, if you can talk about what you might be doing to enhance the mother-child program, not just for the babies in prisons but, more importantly, to have the mums connect with their children.
Thank you for that question.
Yes, I'm pleased to talk about the mother-child program. As you know, it was implemented in 2001, and it's really to foster positive relationships between mothers and their children. It's available in all of of our facilities, including the healing lodge. In the program, there is both a residential component and a non-residential component. The residential component is offered on a full-time basis as well as a part-time basis. Children up to school age can actually remain with their mothers. Then, they can come in on a part-time basis. There are obviously eligibility criteria that they need to meet, and we work with family and social services.
We have had participants in the mother-child program over the years. When I look at, let's say, the last three years, in 2018-19, we had 17 participating; in 2019-20, we had 15; in 2020-21, we had nine; and currently, we actually have four. There are two part time and one full time in Joliette, and one full time at EIFW. It's—
Thank you. I'm going to have to cut you off there because my time is short and I have to move onto something else.
I know you're aware of the program, Commissioner. My comment would be that we're not doing as well as we should be, and we can take away that we need to be doing better with that program. The numbers are not going up in the way they should be, but I appreciate what you're doing to ensure that more moms are part of the program. I really do. We just need to be doing better.
Committee, I want to bring forward a motion. As you know, the minister spoke in his opening remarks about Ukraine and Russia. I'm going to tie this motion to it. I did give a very quick heads-up to the other parties.
The motion would be that the committee report to the House that the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security:
a) Express its strong support for Finland and Sweden's NATO membership, as Finland and Sweden are among NATO's closest partners; and
b) Call on all NATO members to approve their application for NATO membership as quickly as possible.
I'd like to put that on the floor and hopefully quickly go to a vote.
I think I can speak for all the Conservative members and say that we are in support of the motion, but this is a very interesting procedural tactic. I want your perspective on this, Mr. Chair, because if we set the precedent that literally anything a witness brings up could trigger motions around our standing orders, we're setting a really bad precedent.
The reason we have the 48-hour notice is to give members the time to think about what's being put forward and have time to prepare remarks on it. If we set the precedent that, any item a witness brings up can be used as a justification for putting forward a motion without 48 hours' notice, we're setting a very bad precedent.
If the member is trying to say that she doesn't need unanimous consent to put this forward, I would ask, out of respect for the committee, that we have unanimous consent, rather than accepting the precedent that we can bring up a motion without 48 hours' notice based on what a witness says.
I understand the view of the Conservative members. In the past, I think we've had motions that were put forward without 48 hours' notice, and we all agreed that we should try to come to an understanding quickly, particularly out of respect for the witnesses.
I thought I heard Mr. Lloyd say that he was in favour of the motion. As Ms. Damoff suggested, I think we can proceed with the vote. I have questions for the witnesses before us, and I'm sure my fellow members do as well, so we should go ahead and vote.
I do, however, have a question for Ms. Damoff. I would like to know whether, to her knowledge, the Liberal Party plans to propose a similar motion in other committees. I'm curious as to why it's being put forward in this committee, because it may have been more appropriate for the Standing Committee on National Defence. Other than that, I would be ready to vote.
I just wanted to make the Conservative position very clear on this before we proceed to a vote, so I guess this is debate. I'd like to make it clear that Conservatives strongly support the NATO defence alliance. As a founding member of NATO, the peace and security that Canada has enjoyed for the past 73 years has been backed by the collective security promise that any attack on one NATO country is an attack on all.
Sweden and Finland have been reliable security partners to NATO and in the Arctic. At a time when Putin is engaged in an illegal war and occupation in Ukraine, it is understandable that Russia's neighbours are seeking further security guarantees.
Conservatives believe the alliance would be stronger with Sweden and Finland as members, and Conservatives support their applications if they choose to apply to join NATO, which I believe they are.
There's a request for a recorded vote. Please proceed.
(Motion agreed to: yeas 11; nays 0)
The Chair: Thank you, members of the committee. The motion passes.
Let's quickly move back to questions, because we are running out of time and, as you know, we have some votes on the estimates that have to occur before we break. Question period is looming.
Ms. Damoff, you have finished your block of questions, so I will move to Ms. Michaud.
Ms. Michaud, I think we can give you six minutes. Let's see how far we get. The floor is yours.
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the witnesses for their patience.
My first question is for the Canada Border Services Agency officials.
Just yesterday, Mr. Weber, the president of the Customs and Immigration Union, publicly called on the agency and the to increase the number of border services officers on duty at the border, airports, in particular. In the news this week, we've seen very long lineups and delays in the processing of travellers. In fact, the Conservatives have chosen to raise that issue, and rightfully so, for their opposition day today.
According to the union, not enough officers are assigned to passenger operations, especially at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, where just 300 officers are currently on duty—half the number of officers needed. The union claims that inefficient technologies are also to blame for the delays and lineups.
I want to give the agency an opportunity to respond to the request made by the union yesterday. What does the agency plan to do? Do you think the funding announced is enough to find the necessary solutions?
On an annual basis, the CBSA invests significant effort in planning and preparing for peak periods. It usually begins around this weekend, the May Victoria Day holiday weekend. However, as a result of some of the changes in the public health measures, travel has bounced back. We're in that transition phase. We work with the airports very closely, particularly Pearson, given that it is the largest airport, with the volumes it has.
I would say that certainly the airport authority has informed us that they're moving forward to bring more kiosks online to help expedite passages. In fact, it has proven to us that this is the way to deal with these volumes as they go through.
I would also say that it's important for the committee to understand that, because of the public health measures, we're not opening up the same border we had in 2019. People need to be patient and to make sure they're prepared. There are obviously flight convergence times that we don't have any control over, but we work with the airports and other partners to make sure we're efficient as best we can be. I'm confident that as we get into the summer we'll rebalance and we'll have reallocated to make things as smooth as possible.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I think my question might be best suited to Deputy Minister Stewart. It's a budgetary question and has to deal specifically with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission.
The chair has previously testified before our committee that she is often having to make the decision between dealing with complaints from the public and conducting systemic reviews. I think that over the last five years they saw a 21.73% increase in complaints and a 32.19% increase in review requests, so obviously the demand on the agency is increasing. The chair has testified that difficult decisions often have to be made.
Deputy Minister, given that information, why has the budgetary increase been so small from the main estimates for 2021-22 to these main estimates?
Thank you for the question. I will make two points.
First, we recognize that there are pressures on the agency to do its work, and we would indeed welcome further allocations of resources. That's known in the system. As of the filing of the main estimates 2022-23, we did not have any decision.
In addition, as the noted today, with the tabling of the bill to establish the PCRC, the personal complaints and review commission, there is going to be an incremental amount of resources that are awarded to the newly renamed commission.
My next question is for the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service.
For the last couple of years, CSIS has repeatedly and publicly alluded to the need to update its statute, specifically the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, to ensure it has all the tools that are necessary. I know that the act dates back to 1984. Certainly, we have had some witnesses speak to the same issue.
Maybe I could have the representative from CSIS indicate to this committee what CSIS is alluding to, specifically, when it wants to have that act modernized. What are you looking for from Parliament specifically? I'd like to have that information, please.
Certainly. Thank you for the question.
I'm Michelle Tessier, the deputy director of operations for CSIS.
Obviously, with a very complex threat environment, the requirements to look at the variety of data that's available and the changing technology, there are a variety of tools and authorities that we feel we would benefit from, while recognizing that any of the authorities we request need to be well balanced with the privacy rights of Canadians.
Really, it's looking at our ability to use increased data, our ability to move forward in a more streamlined fashion on a number of requirements that we have under the act and our ability, really, to recognize, given the fast pace of technology, the importance of being able to analyze data and the importance of being able to move forward on obtaining warrants from the Federal Court, where we do need a more modern act to combat the threat today.
Mr. Chair, I could probably kick that off.
I can certainly tell the committee that, over the last couple of years, we've seen a dramatic reduction in fentanyl and its derivatives entering the country, but a dramatic increase in the precursors to make fentanyl in Canada. I was recently on a trip to our designated sampling laboratory, which is located in the Vancouver airport, and I'm very proud that it has intercepted precursor chemicals that could have led to the production of billions of doses of fentanyl.
I'm very proud of the work we're doing. We're also working with Health Canada to ensure that these precursor chemicals, which aren't listed, become listed, so that we can intercept them.
Colleagues, that takes us to the end of the first round, and because of our discussion over the motion, that's all the time we have.
On your behalf, I want to thank the witnesses for their testimony and for appearing for this very important study. This concludes this portion of the meeting.
Do I have unanimous consent to call the votes as a group, and dispose of the votes in one motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Shall all the votes for the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023, carry?
CANADA BORDER SERVICES AGENCY
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$1,958,648,984
Vote 5—Capital expenditures..........$173,061,244
(Votes 1 and 5 agreed to on division)
CANADIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$591,723,683
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
CIVILIAN REVIEW AND COMPLAINTS COMMISSION FOR THE ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$9,376,774
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
CORRECTIONAL SERVICE OF CANADA
Vote 1—Operating expenditures, grants and contributions..........$2,578,846,421
Vote 5—Capital expenditures..........$213,793,715
(Votes 1 and 5 agreed to on division)
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$201,130,701
Vote 5—Grants and contributions..........$663,745,982
(Votes 1 and 5 agreed to on division)
NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE REVIEW AGENCY SECRETARIAT
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$26,523,008
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
OFFICE OF THE CORRECTIONAL INVESTIGATOR OF CANADA
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$4,880,918
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$58,591,187
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$3,016,856,037
Vote 5—Capital expenditures..........$262,730,335
Vote 10—Grants and contributions..........428,273,483
(Votes 1, 5 and 10 agreed to on division)
ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE EXTERNAL REVIEW COMMITTEE
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$5,801,194
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
SECRETARIAT OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE OF PARLIAMENTARIANS
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$3,409,991
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
The Chair: Shall I report the votes on the main estimates for 2022-23 to the House?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Were all decisions as smooth, efficient and easy as that, we'd have a lot more time to play with our grandchildren.
Thank you, everybody. That concludes the business of this meeting.
The meeting is adjourned.