Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good morning, everyone.
Thank you, members of the committee, for providing us with the opportunity to speak to you about Treasury Board estimates as well as the government-wide mains.
I'm joined today by officials from the Treasury Board Secretariat, including the secretary, Yaprak Baltacioglu; Jim Ralston, Comptroller General of Canada; Daniel Watson, the chief human resources officer for the government. You may recognize Bill Matthews, assistant secretary of the expenditure management sector.
Bill's going to say a few things as well, but I just wanted to give you a brief overview of government-wide 2014-15 main estimates.
Again this year, the main estimates show a significant decrease in the amount of voted expenditures. As you will see, the estimates for the voted amounts are down by almost $800 million compared to last year, which is a clear result of our government's commitment to reducing unnecessary spending and balancing the budget.
Chair, the 2014-15 main estimates provide information on the $235.3 billion in planned budgetary expenditures for the 2014-15 fiscal year. This includes $86.3 billion in voted expenditures, which have decreased from $87.1 billion in 2013-14. This also includes the $149 billion in statutory expenditures.
Mr. Chair, the main appropriations include an increase of $311.7 million for Health Canada in order to stabilize, renew and expand important health programs and services for first nations and Inuit communities,
the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's $253.1-million investment in affordable housing program, as well as a $70-million fund for housing in Nunavut, and an increase of $59.6 million for the National Research Council of Canada to realign industry-focused research.
Parliament will be asked to approve the amount of voted expenditures through interim and full supply bills, of course. I should say that the main estimates continue the steady decrease in the amount of voted spending. Over the past four years, since fiscal year 2010-11, there has been a decrease in the main estimates voted appropriations.
At the same time, statutory expenditures have gone up by $3.53 billion, mostly because of the changes made to the estimates for seniors' benefits and the Canada health transfer.
Overall, these main estimates reflect the results of the government's cost containment measures.
As for my own department, in 2014-15, the Treasury Board Secretariat is asking for $7.4 billion in planned spending. This amount does include certain increases as they're related to an increase in pay, less expenditures, operating budget carry forward, and employer contributions made under the pension program.
The secretariat's reference levels were reduced by $7.6 million in 2012-13. By the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year, ongoing savings will reach $15.1 million and $23.6 million by the end of 2014-15.
Just to give an example, as a follow-up to budget 2012, the Treasury Board Secretariat cut $100,000 from its annual spending on travel to align with our government's commitment to reduce travel expenditures.
Our government remains focused on modernizing and simplifying the administrative systems of government as well as promoting productivity, innovation, and excellence in the public service. Returning to a balanced budget is not an end in itself; it provides a host of benefits that go well beyond the bottom line. It frees up taxpayer dollars that may otherwise be spent on interest costs to lower taxes and invest in the priorities of Canadians. It helps keep interest rates low. Instilling confidence in consumers and investors, these dollars spur economic growth and job creation. It strengthens our country's ability to respond to longer term challenges such as population aging and unexpected global economic shocks.
With your say-so, Mr. Chair, I would now ask Bill Matthews to give you a little more detailed information on the main estimates, and afterwards we'd be happy to take your questions.