Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I am pleased to be here today to present to you the 2018-19 year-end financial report, and to obtain your approval to include the operational budget carry forward in the 2019-20 supplementary estimates.
This financial report has been prepared using the expenditure basis of accounting, consistent to the Public Accounts of Canada that will be published in the fall. It provides the final authorities and expenditures for 2018-19, along with comparative information from the previous fiscal year.
Parliament provides the House with authorities to enable it to support members according to the normal parliamentary calendar. The authorities for 2018-19, totalling $506 million, are $6.7 million or 1.3 % lower than the authorities for 2017-18.
The most significant changes are the $25-million decrease for members' pension plans, and the $10.6-million increase for continued investments in our LTVP project.
In 2018-19, expenditures totalled $487 million, compared with $490 million in 2017-18. That decrease of $3 million, or 0.6 %, is consistent with a decrease in authorities for 2018-19.
The expenditures are also presented by type of cost. Compared with previous years, salaries and benefits increased by $1.8 million. This is due to the one-time adjustment of $25 million made in 2017-18, as directed by the actuarial report of the pension plans for the members of Parliament.
This reduction was offset by significant investments made in staffing in support of major initiatives, such as the food modernization and optimization of services, the House officer expenditure disclosure, digital strategies to modernize the delivery of parliamentary information and the long-term vision plan.
Other factors that also contributed to the increase in personnel costs are the cost-of-living increase for House administration, along with increasing staffing action for members' staff.
In addition, expenditures related to rentals and licences decreased compared with 2017-18. That decrease is mainly attributed to changes associated with payment periods owing to the renewal of various licences to meet the terms of our agreements.
In addition, the decrease related to repairs and maintenance in 2018-19, compared with the 2017-18 expenditures, is mainly attributed to investments made in 2017-18 in security measures and resources.
Moreover, 2018-19 revenues increased modestly over the previous year's revenues. In total, our revenues increased by $1.8 million owing to services provided to federal government departments and organizations, and other parliamentary institutions, based on our cost-recovery system.
Finally, the report also provides comparisons of the utilization of our authorities between the two fiscal years. This does show a slight increase of 0.7% over the previous year.
It's important to note that the House of Commons promotes the efficient use of resources, and continuously strives to minimize requests for incremental funding, whenever possible. For example, the surpluses generated by the delay in the move to the West Block were reallocated to offset costs associated with other initiatives, such as our retroactive payment for the economic increase of House administration staff.
As mentioned, our authorities for 2018-19 were $506 million, while expenditures amounted to $487 million. This leaves us with a surplus of $19 million. This amount will correspond to the lapse that will be reported in the public accounts this fall.
Note that the surplus reflects the fact that the authorities received are intended to support 338 members. Due to the fact that by-elections were held in five constituencies during the past year, there were fewer MPs, and therefore less support was required, resulting in reduced spending overall.
This surplus represents 5.5% of the 2018-19 main estimates voted authorities. The House of Commons typically follows the government's practice of carrying forward any lapsed funds, up to a maximum of 5% of our voted main estimates. I'm seeking your approval today to include in our 2019-20 supplementary estimates a carry-forward of $17.4 million, representing that 5% of our last year's voted main estimates.
Mr. Speaker, this concludes my presentation.
I am ready to answer your questions.