BOIE
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 301 - 400 of 1240
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you for your intervention.
Are there any other questions or comments? Does everyone agree on item 2?
Since everyone is in agreement, we now move on to item 4.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'm sorry, Mr. Richards. Please go ahead.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
While we're on the topic of interpretation, it might be a good time to discuss the point that I want to raise as well. As you know, Chair—and I'm sure others are aware—I had raised a question of privilege in the House about this issue. You didn't find a prima facie case for it, but it doesn't mean that it isn't an issue and one that maybe we should discuss. It centres around the resources that are available for committees.
We're finding that committees are being prevented from continuing their meetings or finishing items of business they're needing to finish, particularly when there ends up being a filibuster or something like that. We even had it go so far that one day when there was only the one meeting, there we still not resources available apparently.
I think we do need to have a discussion about this and how we might find ways to ensure that those resources can be made available. Maybe it's a question for some of our folks in administration. Are there ways that we can find to address these things so that they don't occur?
Whether it was considered a breach of privilege or not, it certainly is problematic to the workings of Parliament when a committee is prevented from continuing its work based on a lack of interpretation available or rooms, or things like that. Is there something we could do to be looking at ways to focus the resources or to bring in new resources to help address these challenges?
I'm not sure if there's someone here who is able to address those points, but I think it's something that we do need to have a conversation about.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I believe Mr. Patrice and Mr. Gagnon have some comments on that, but if it's okay, we'll go to Mr. Julian first. He may have some points, and then they can answer all the questions at once.
Mr. Julian.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
I agree with Mrs. DeBellefeuille and Mr. Richards. It is problematic.
Our country advocates the equality of the two official languages. This means that in committees and in Parliament, we must have access to interpretation services at all times. Interpreters are extremely dedicated and they work hard. However, there is a significant lack of resources, which has already been recognized, but is now critical.
Unfortunately, in all likelihood, there will be a third wave of the pandemic. This means that resources will have to be in place for parliamentarians to continue their work in virtual mode.
The issue that has just been raised is crucial. It is important that we respond by putting the necessary resources in place to ensure that employees are treated well and that their health and safety are not jeopardized.
In addition, committee members must be able to meet while having the resources to work.
For all these reasons, I stress the importance of responding to this urgent need, as my colleagues have done.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Gagnon, can you answer the questions that have been asked?
André Gagnon
View André Gagnon Profile
André Gagnon
2021-02-25 11:25
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you, Mr. Richards.
Thank you as well, Mr. Julian.
Following the Speaker's ruling on the events in the health committee that led to the question of privilege raised by Mr. Richards, there was a protocol that was shared with all of the parties that would essentially guide the administration with respect to requests from committees either to pursue—
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.
The interpreter tells me that Mr. Gagnon's microphone is not near his mouth and that this makes interpretation difficult.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
All right. If I may, I would like to point out that when Skype is running in the background, it causes problems. This is what I have found with my own computer. When Skype, Teams and Zoom are running, there is interference between them.
You can check on your computer whether Skype is working.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
This is not the case for me.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
On our side, it is more when we talk. I just wanted to share this information with you.
I give the floor back to Mr. Gagnon.
André Gagnon
View André Gagnon Profile
André Gagnon
2021-02-25 11:27
I am sorry for all this.
I was, I believe, on the issue of protocols issued to the parties to manage requests arising from extensions, extensions of [Technical difficulty].
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Gagnon, we can't hear you at all because of technical problems.
We will therefore give the floor to Mr. Patrice, who is here.
Michel Patrice
View Michel Patrice Profile
Michel Patrice
2021-02-25 11:27
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
I am not going to presume to know what Mr. Gagnon was going to talk about. He can continue along the same lines later on.
Indeed, the question of resources is of great concern to us in the administration. We are in further discussions with our partners to try to assess and determine the extent to which we could add slots for committee activities, particularly when the House is sitting. As you are aware, committee resources and activities have increased significantly, particularly since November.
According to the figures and statistics, which I will be happy to provide to the board members, the rate of time slot usage is much higher than in previous years. The House Administration and its partners are doing their utmost to meet the needs of members and provide them with the time slots they require.
As for the weeks when the House is not sitting, I want to report, with respect to resource issues,
the unfortunate incident at the Friday meeting when there was only one committee meeting, when we could and should have supported that committee. It was a miscommunication that occurred. We own that mistake. The protocol will no doubt avoid a situation like that recurring.
In the non-sitting weeks, there's definitely more availability of sitting time, whether it's for committees or associations, because the utilization rate of those weeks is not as high as during sitting weeks.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are there any other questions or comments?
Are we ready to move on to the next step or the next item?
I see that we are.
We'll go on to item number four, which is the extension of certain temporary COVID-19 measures to the fiscal year 2021-22.
We'll go to Monsieur Paquette, chief financial officer.
Monsieur Paquette.
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2021-02-25 11:30
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
This presentation follows up on the analysis with respect to temporary measures in effect due to COVID-19 that was presented to the board last December. At that meeting, the House administration advised the board that we would continue to monitor the use of those various policies, the expenses that members were incurring and how they were to evolve. We would then return here to the board for any recommendations, if any were needed.
I must note that these temporary measures are all set to expire on March 31, 2021.
We have observed that the use of these temporary measures has continued since the last analysis I presented to you in December. Despite the pandemic, members of Parliament continue to provide services to their fellow citizens. As a result of our consultations, we understand the need to maintain these measures for an extended period of time.
The House administration recommends that the board, as part of the measures taken to address and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic, approve extending the temporary measures through March 31, 2022. These temporary measures include the purchase of consumable items to ensure that COVID-19 preventive measures are in place in constituency offices, and an increase to the advertising limit to communicate with constituents.
Mr. Speaker, this concludes my presentation. I'm open to any questions the members may have.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Do we have any questions or comments?
Mr. Julian and then Mr. Richards.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to thank Mr. Paquette and the House administration.
I certainly support the extension of these measures. In our case, in downtown New Westminster where my constituency office is, those measures have allowed us to put up plexiglass panels to protect our employees. We're in a very high-traffic area in the downtown area. Even though our office is largely functioning virtually, when constituents do need to come in, my staff are protected.
I think that these measures have been sensible, and they've been effective, allowing members of Parliament to make the important adjustments that come with this pandemic.
The new variants of COVID-19 are worrisome, as we all know, and many people are predicting a third wave coming this spring. It makes sense, then, I believe, for us to extend the measures so that members of Parliament and their employees can be protected and can continue to serve their constituents in a way that protects everybody.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Very good.
Mr. Richards.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
I agree. There's been some usage or take-up of these measures. I would certainly agree with extending them.
I guess where I would have an issue is this. We're talking about an extension to March 31, 2022, and we're hearing from the government that by the end of September we will have all Canadians vaccinated who want to be vaccinated. One would assume, then, that at that point we'd be able to make some kind of a shift in terms of Parliament's moving back towards more normal sitting scenarios, or certainly something closer to that. Obviously, some of these measures, then, would no longer be needed as well.
If the government does fail to meet that target, we can always look at extending it beyond September—that is, if the government isn't able to live up to the promise it's made. If it does, then we should be able to see some change in these things in September.
Perhaps what we should do right now is to set the renewal date as September, and we can always look at it again, if needed, in September.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I now give the floor to Mrs. DeBellefeuille. Mr. Deltell and Mr. LeBlanc will follow.
You have the floor, Mrs. DeBellefeuille.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I do not agree with what my Conservative colleague just said. In fact, I rather agree with the proposal before us that it be extended until March 31, 2022, that is, the end of the fiscal year.
It is important for members to be in a position, as of April 1, to set their budget, to include the amounts in their budget planning. I think it makes sense to allow the extension until March 31, 2022. I would find it strange if we told members to be careful with their budget because the measures are in effect until September 30. Some of the measures relate to advertising costs and may be part of community support planning. As we know, the pandemic does not affect all provinces the same way.
I think the proposal to extend is logical in light of what we have experienced this year. According to the statistics and the results, the cost won't be higher for the House Administration if we save on certain budget items to be able to finance these measures.
Personally, this makes sense to me and is respectful of the members who want to plan their budget for next year. I think it makes sense that decisions of a parliamentary nature should be in effect at the end of September.
I second Mr. Julian, who also agrees with the proposal. In addition, I encourage the members of the Board of Internal Economy to join us.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We will now go to Mr. Deltell, followed by Mr. LeBlanc and Mrs. Petitpas Taylor.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I think it's also important to understand that—and we've all done this in our ridings—most of the significant spending on internal infrastructure has already been committed, which is normal, by the way. All of us may have some adjustments to make, but a lot of the spending has been done. I think being able to adjust that for September is very consistent, as well, with what we decide in the House. Our measures are in place until September because we operate on a semi-annual basis. Normally, we adjust our spending very well when we see that the need is still there.
I believe that we do not deprive ourselves of anything. It's worth considering this option, given that we've already spent a significant part of our budgets in this regard and that we're also consistent with our work in the House six months at a time. If, by any chance, we find in September that people who have not been vaccinated want to be vaccinated and the third wave of the virus hits hard—no one is safe—we can reverse the decision and extend these measures without any difficulty.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. LeBlanc, you have the floor.
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I also agree with Mrs. DeBellefeuille and Mr. Julian.
I accept Mr. Paquette's recommendation.
I get Blake's comments if the government fails to vaccinate people by the end of September, etc. I get all of that. That should maybe be reserved for question period.
I think we have to be careful. The idea that certain public health requirements, as Mr. Julian said, to protect the staff who work for us or protect constituents who may visit constituency offices.... Some of those decisions, as advised by public health officers, may be separate and apart from the vaccination schedule.
I wouldn't suggest that this committee has views on appropriate public health measures. I would suggest that those decisions that MPs need to make to protect the people who work with us and constituents who visit us would coherently be subsumed in a financial year. That's why I accept the recommendation put forward by Monsieur Paquette and endorsed by Mr. Julian and Madame DeBellefeuille.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We will now give the floor to Mrs. Petitpas Taylor and then to Mrs. DeBellefeuille.
Mrs. Petitpas Taylor, you have the floor.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you so much, Mr. Chair. I will be very brief.
I'm just wondering if we know how many offices have required a deep cleaning as a result of COVID exposure within their offices. In asking that question, I'm also wondering if we have a workplace health and safety protocol in place in the event of workplace COVID exposure.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
On the first question, we'll go to Monsieur Paquette.
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2021-02-25 11:40
I'll transfer that to our CHRO. She's the one responsible for the health and safety programs.
Michelle Laframboise
View Michelle Laframboise Profile
Michelle Laframboise
2021-02-25 11:40
Thank you, Mr. Paquette.
Yes, we do have that information. I don't have it at hand right now, but I absolutely will follow up and make sure that the members of the board get the information requested.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I believe Monsieur Patrice has an answer for part of that question.
Michel Patrice
View Michel Patrice Profile
Michel Patrice
2021-02-25 11:40
Up to this time there have been no expenditures submitted for the deep cleaning of an office.
For the protocol, we'll provide that information to the board.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mrs. DeBellefeuille, you have the floor.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
We all know that, traditionally, we try to get along with each other. So, if the position of our Conservative colleagues does not change, given my little training as a mediator, I propose a compromise. The document before us contains seven recommendations. What I understand from what my colleagues said is that recommendations 1, 2 and 3 seem to be of particular concern to them, being directly related to contamination, decontamination and equipment purchase. In contrast, recommendations 4, 5, 6 and 7 are more related to the efforts of members in their ridings to support organizations that provide essential services, advertize their work, and promote their services. One recommendation even allows members to solicit donations for food banks or United Way agencies.
Here is my counter-proposal. If we could agree at least on recommendations 4, 5, 6 and 7, which I think are appropriate for the whole of next year, we could maintain them. If you are concerned about recommendations 1, 2 and 3, perhaps we could look at them together and see if we can remove them from the proposal. That way, together we could come to a compromise and accept some of the recommendations we have before us.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
All right, thank you.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
That seems reasonable, frankly. My concern was that we're talking about putting in place measures related to COVID, but if we expect the entire population to be vaccinated by September, those measures would no longer be needed.
I think what we're talking about here, Claude, is some of the advertising and things like that. That was where your concerns were, that people be able to plan ahead for things like that. I think that's actually a sensible compromise and one that would satisfy me that we're not putting measures in place that will no longer be needed beyond September.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I believe Mr. Julian has a comment as well.
Mr. Julian.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I would like to thank Mrs. DeBellefeuille for proposing this compromise.
Health specialists are saying very clearly that we probably won't be out of the woods for another year. So I don't think that vaccination dates should be part of our decisions today.
We should decide to put all possible measures in place to protect the public and our employees and to continue our work as parliamentarians. It is for this reason that I fully support the recommendations of Mr. Paquette and the House Administration. However, as Mrs. DeBellefeuille said, I understand that we are an entity that advocates unanimity and consensus, so I am prepared to support her proposal.
I am not ready to say that we will be out of the woods in September. I hope so, but I don't think so. If we rely on projections, especially if we take into account the new variants of the virus, we may unfortunately have to wait at least a year before we can say that we are out of this pandemic.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mrs. DeBellefeuille, you have the floor.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, allow me to summarize my proposal.
I propose that items 1, 2 and 3 be extended to September 30 and that items 4, 5, 6 and 7 be extended to March 31, 2022. The Board of Internal Economy could reconvene around August to determine whether items 1, 2 and 3 should be extended beyond September 30.
It is not because I am proposing this compromise that I feel that it is not necessary, but given the way we operate, I think it is an acceptable compromise, as long as we give ourselves the means to re-evaluate recommendations 1, 2 and 3 around the month of August or before the start of the fall session in September.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Is everyone in agreement?
Voices: Agreed.
Hon. Anthony Rota: Therefore, items 1, 2 and 3 will end on September 30, subject to revision, and the following items will remain in effect for the remainder of the fiscal year, until March 31, 2022.
We will now move on to the fifth item on the agenda.
On the financial report for the third quarter of 2020-21, again we have Monsieur Paquette making the presentation.
Monsieur Paquette.
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2021-02-25 11:47
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I am going to present the quarterly financial report for the third quarter of 2020-2021.
Quarterly financial reports compare year-to-date financial information for the current fiscal year to the same quarter the previous year. As with the first quarter and second quarter reports presented earlier this year, we are once again comparing two atypical years.
This year, the pandemic is affecting our spending trends, while the previous year was marked by a general election. As a result, our comparisons will be influenced by the atypical spending patterns that you may have already noted in our reports.
Let us now turn to the report. As of December 31, the approved authorities for fiscal year 2020-2021 were $539 million. There have been no changes to our approved authorities since my second quarterly report to you in December.
Expenses to December 31 totalled $344.2 million, a decrease of $6.2 million, or 1.8%, from the previous year.
The most significant decreases in expenditures relate to the continuing decrease in travel as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Decreases have also been seen in the areas of training and hospitality across the whole organization, as well as the reduction of temporary help services for members and House officers—also all as a result of COVID-19.
The temporary closure of some of the food services facilities and the printing facilities earlier in the year has led to reduced costs for materials and supplies, which have been partially offset by the purchase of consumable items such as face masks and hand sanitizers that are used across the House of Commons.
Expenditures for computers, office equipment, furniture and fixtures have also decreased, primarily due to changes in the timing of some of our life-cycle activities. This decrease was partially offset by costs incurred for purchases to support virtual House proceedings and committees, and costs incurred for equipment that enabled House administration employees to work remotely during this COVID pandemic.
On the other hand, expenditures for salaries and benefits have increased, mainly due to additional spending on members' employee salaries and the cost of living increases for members and House administration staff. These increases have been partially offset by the reduction in the number of employees for members and House officers, delays in some of the staffing and a reduction in part-time costs and overtime as a result of the pandemic.
Finally, the report does provide a comparison of the utilization of our authorities, which shows a decrease of 3.4%, which is not unexpected given the current situation. Also, given this current situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we are closely monitoring and considering any potential savings, as well as any financial impact that may have on our funding decisions due to this truly exceptional year.
Mr. Speaker, that concludes my presentation.
I am ready to answer questions from members of the committee.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Do we have any questions or comments?
If everyone agrees, we will take a two-minute break and then we will continue in camera.
[Proceedings continue in camera]
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Let us start the meeting.
The first item on the agenda is to adopt the minutes of the previous meeting. Are there any comments about the minutes? Shall we adopt the minutes?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Hon. Anthony Rota: We now move to business arising from the previous meeting.
Mrs. DeBellefeuille, did you want to make a comment? You have the floor.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Great.
Is the raise hand button working? Can you see it?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We now move to business arising from the previous meeting.
Mrs. DeBellefeuille, did you want to make a comment? You have the floor.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Yes, I can see your hand is raised.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Okay.
I can hear an echo of my voice. I can hear myself speaking. I don't know whether it is supposed to be like that.
I hear myself with a delay, like an echo. I am probably hearing the sound in the meeting room.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Yes, we're having that issue today, but I believe it has been resolved here.
It happens to me a lot. When it does, I remove my headset and hold it in my hand to speak into the microphone. Then I put my headset back on. It is a bit of a chore, but until the issue is resolved, that is what we can do.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Is that better now?
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
No, it's not working.
So I will try to concentrate.
Mr. Chair, I would like to ask you a few questions to follow up on business arising from the previous meeting.
At the last Board of Internal Economy meeting in December, we closed the meeting with a recommendation that [Technical difficulty].
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Excuse me, Mrs. DeBellefeuille, but we are having trouble hearing you. I don't know what is wrong.
Am I the only one hearing the sound cut in and out? The interpreters appear to be hearing that too. So we have a problem.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Would you like me to try removing the headset, Mr. Chair?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Apparently, the problem is on Parliament's end. The problem is over here.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Okay.
Should I go on?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I believe we will have to suspend the meeting. I don't know what else to do until the issue is resolved.
Could you continue speaking, please?
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Okay.
I wanted to ask you something about Mr. Janse's appearance. The Board of Internal Economy authorized the letter to be sent to the Liaison Committee, that is, to Ms. Sgro, who was then to forward the letter to all chairs of [Technical difficulty].
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
It's very hard to understand what you are saying. We will therefore suspend the meeting for a few minutes.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
I will try without the headset, Mr. Chair.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I don't think the problem is on your end. It is here in the room.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Is that better, Mr. Chair?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
It is still the same.
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2021-01-28 11:14
It is not on your end, Mrs. DeBellefeuille.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We will suspend the meeting temporarily. I don't know how long it will be, but please wait. We will see what happens.
We will leave it in the hands of the technicians.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We will pick up where we left off.
We dealt with the first item on the agenda. We were on the second item, business arising from the previous meeting.
We will proceed with Mrs. DeBellefeuille.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I can still hear the echo of myself, but I hope the sound is clear on your end.
Mr. Chair, I was referring to the letter that the clerk assistant, Mr. Janse, was authorized to send in your name on behalf of the Board of Internal Economy to the chair of the Liaison Committee, Ms. Sgro. The purpose of the letter was to communicate certain recommendations and observations with respect to interpretation.
The observations were that interpretation into French is hard to do at the moment because of issues with the technology. From the time committees began to meet until the end of September, 86% of witnesses testified in English. That put pressure on the technology to make high-quality interpretation available to francophone members.
Ms. Sgro forwarded the letter to all committee chairs on December 8. How many committee chairs sent the letter to the other members of their committee?
Was the letter well received, Mr. Janse?
Did the chair of the Liaison Committee feel committed to a mission of awareness and promotion with the other committee chairs? Did she impress upon them just how significant the proposals were to ensuring quality interpretation for francophone members?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Janse, you have the floor.
Eric Janse
View Eric Janse Profile
Eric Janse
2021-01-28 11:27
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you for your question, Mrs. DeBellefeuille.
Ms. Sgro's office sent the letter to the chairs of all other standing committees. Most chairs forwarded it to all members of their committee. A few did not, but we are following up with them to urge them to send the letter to the other members.
Because the letter went out in mid-December, not many committee meetings were left before the House adjourned for the holidays. Committees are starting to sit again this week. So we are hoping to obtain some feedback to find out whether things are better now than they were before the holidays.
We are planning to hold a Liaison Committee meeting in the coming weeks. All committee chairs, including Ms. Sgro, will be able to discuss it.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Do you have a question, Mr. Julian?
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
My question is on the same subject.
If the letter has not been forwarded to all committee members, it's important that it be sent to them right away. We must ensure that Parliament works well in both official languages and that high-quality interpretation services are available to everyone. I am a little concerned to find that some committees have not yet discussed it.
It is really important that the letter besent to all members so that steps can be taken to ensure that the two official languages are on equal footing during virtual sittings of the House and the committees.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Janse, do you have anything to add?
Eric Janse
View Eric Janse Profile
Eric Janse
2021-01-28 11:29
We will urge committee chairs who have not forwarded the letter to do so in the coming days. We hope that all members sitting on committees will have received the letter within the next few days.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are there any other comments or questions?
We’ll go on to number 3, the printing and mailing services program enhancement proposals, and we’ll turn it over to Ms. Rebekah Kletke, chief operations officer.
Ms. Kletke.
Rebekah Kletke
View Rebekah Kletke Profile
Rebekah Kletke
2021-01-28 11:30
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Members of the board, as you know, the current operating environment resulting from the pandemic has required the House administration to adapt and find solutions to ensure that members of Parliament and their teams are able to continue to perform their parliamentary functions. One such example has been in the area of printing and mailing services.
On April 17, 2020, the Board approved that, from April 17 to July 30, 2020, members be authorized to provide their constituents with information on COVID-19 using external printing services, with costs to be charged to the central House administration budget.
A report distributed to board members on December 14, 2020, provided an assessment of the way access to external suppliers worked this past spring. This report showed that costs for the initiative were higher compared to in-house equivalents, that the level of service varied across Canada and that the external production time frames were the same or longer than in-house production time frames.
I am here today with a submission seeking direction from the board on initiatives to enhance and improve the printing and mailing services available to members of Parliament. These areas for improvement are aligned with the discussion held at the previous board meeting and the feedback we have received during this challenging period. With these objectives in mind, the House administration recommends that we proceed to examine the following aspects as prioritized by the Board of Internal Economy, with a view to identifying potential changes to our printing and mailing services.
We would look at internal processes and tools to determine the measures needed to decrease the current average internal production timeline of 12 days. We would look at the possibility of setting up framework agreements with printing facilities across Canada in consultation with Canada Post so that internal production time frames can be supplemented and enhanced with external search capacity during peak periods, and we would also look at access to broader external services through existing mechanisms, building on the lessons learned from the spring of 2020.
Our goal is to gain approval in the spring for a comprehensive analysis, with proposals aligned with the priorities set by the Board.
I would be happy to answer any questions you may have and take note of any improvements you suggest.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Very good. We'll continue.
I believe Mr. Richards has a question or a comment.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
I suppose it's probably more of a comment.
I'm hearing that you're going to come back with a proposal, and that's great. I think that's wonderful. I have had a number of caucus members come forward to me with issues that they've had. I guess one thing I want to make clear for when proposals are being developed is that, although there have been some issues that have developed in terms of the length of time it's taking to get things printed, I don't know that it should be the singular focus of the efforts to make improvements.
The focus that I think I've heard more from members who have spoken to me has been more about lack of certainty in terms of the production times. I understand that there are fluctuating levels, so addressing that is important. I like the suggestion you're making about having some ability to have arrangements with outside suppliers where there are higher periods of time.... Obviously just before Christmas would be one of those examples. I think that's a great idea.
However, the other issues that arise, in the same vein, are more the inconsistency. Sometimes there have been issues where people are told to get something out for a certain date. You have to have it in.... I'll choose some dates out of the hat. Let's say they're told that in order to have it out by mid-December, it has to be in by the end of October. The member is intending to have it go out mid-December, but then things are ahead of schedule and it goes out mid-November and it's not an appropriate message to be going out in the middle of November, for example.
It's working with members to ensure that the service is provided as stated. That might mean needing to ensure that the production timeline is respected and hasn't gone over, because maybe if it goes over, now the member is sending something that's no longer appropriate to send. In other cases, it might be putting it out at an inappropriate time, too soon, because production was ahead of schedule.
It's really working with the member to ensure they're given a date for when their piece would go out, when it goes to production, and that date is respected and adhered to, whether that means rushing the process or whether that means, in some cases, storing it for a few weeks because it's been produced ahead of schedule. It's really about meeting those service schedules.
I'll give you one other similar example, and I'm talking about my own example. I've had times where we have requested certain folds on a product—I've gone so far as to ask that I see the folds as part of the proof—and then they still go out with a different fold.
Those are service standards that aren't related to length of printing, but it's an expectation by a client, and the member of Parliament, I would believe, should be seen as the client. If they're asking for a certain fold on a product, or they're asking for a certain date that they want the product to go out, we should seek to do that. It's making that clear.
Those are some of the issues that I've had raised in my caucus. I like some of the suggestions you're making, but to make it clear, it's looking at ways to improve those service standards and have more of a customer service focus model that is being sought.
I appreciate your taking this back and looking at ways that we can make improvements.
Rebekah Kletke
View Rebekah Kletke Profile
Rebekah Kletke
2021-01-28 11:37
Thank you very much, Mr. Richards, for your comments.
Certainly the three items that we brought today require some potential investment.
Further to your comments regarding the planning process, we started following our holiday card and peak period this past December, looking at making some changes to our planning process to get exactly at some of the issues you raised today. We're already working on that. They are internal process changes. The team has some really great ideas in that respect, and to bring that flexibility around planning to the table and more clarity around when products will be going out.
We'll certainly take back your other comments, and we'll work internally to meet what you're asking for.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you. That's appreciated.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We'll go to Mr. Julian.
He will be followed by Mrs. DeBellefeuille.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
There are some laudable suggestions in the document. My own experience, anecdotally, with the external suppliers, the local suppliers, was that what made the difference, and why we were able to get things out more quickly—during a pandemic, of course, it's vital to get information in the hands of my constituents—was the mailing delay that came from Ottawa.
We have very talented staff in Ottawa, they do a terrific job in the printing centre, but often, it's a two-week delay getting it from Ottawa to New Westminster—Burnaby. For the external suppliers, in our case, even though it's correct to point out that they may not be as efficient and may not understand the Canada Post preparation as well as staff in Ottawa, the reality is that, once it's actually dropped at the post office, it's a one- or two-day delay, as opposed to a one- or two-week delay.
That needs to be taken into consideration. We have a vast geography, and the mailing times add complexity to mailings that are particularly tied to specific events. It makes a difference to be able to use local suppliers for certain types of mailings.
I agree with enhancing the printing team in Ottawa. There's absolutely no doubt that would mean that things could be produced more quickly for our constituents, but I also believe local suppliers definitely have a place. In the case of a British Columbia MP, it means that the overall length of time is quicker, even if it takes twice as long to produce the printing, because it takes 10% of the time to actually do the mailing and get it into the riding.
I wanted to give you that feedback, because that needs to be taken into consideration as well when we're looking at the overall proposal that comes to the BOIE.
Rebekah Kletke
View Rebekah Kletke Profile
Rebekah Kletke
2021-01-28 11:40
Thank you, Mr. Julian.
We certainly appreciate your comments and will take that into consideration. We're also looking at adjusting our planning practices, as I mentioned following Mr. Richards' comments, so that instead of first in, first out, we would plan according to the location of the constituency, so that those that might be farther from Ottawa would get done sooner rather than later in our planning process, to hopefully shorten the time frame.
We'll certainly take that into account. Thank you for your comments.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We will continue with Mrs. DeBellefeuille.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Good morning, Ms. Kletke.
First, I would like to acknowledge the fact that, within your department, you directed two of your managers to consult the whips of all caucuses on what could be improved and therefore to gather information from all recognized parties in the House.
I want to thank you for that because it shows me that you are committed to improving your department and better serving members in the House of Commons. I also want to thank you for the fact that I felt I was heard. I know that the two managers I met with last week accepted and even appreciated some of the recommendations, the improvements, that I wanted to see. I am therefore very grateful to you for that good practice that other departments will hopefully choose to adopt.
I fully agree with your recommendation. I don't know if it is the fact that we are close to Ottawa, but we noticed that the 12-day service standard was often exceeded. The average was about nine days. We are quite satisfied with the timeframes. Of course, we would like to bring them down from 12 to nine or even between five and nine, as you suggest. In the age of social media, we often want to communicate quickly with our constituents about situations or activities, or even about information related to the pandemic. Everything moves so quickly these days. I feel that, while maintaining its quality, its thoroughness and its professionalism, our printing service must do the best it can to reduce its turnaround time throughout the process, from submission to mockups, production and mailing to the public.
I want to thank you because I'm sure we will be pleased with your proposals and those that you will make in the spring, since you have understood how important it is for members to send out quality information [Technical difficulty] and that meets the need for more urgent communications.
I also noticed that you paid special attention to publications of 5,000 copies or less, which are perhaps not being used optimally. Members may benefit from becoming more familiar with this type of publication since it is a much shorter process. If you opened it up to local businesses, we might be able to use this parliamentary tool more often for more urgent publications. It's a tool that may be underused, at least by my caucus.
So I thank you once again, and I agree with the recommendation you have submitted to us today.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are there any other comments?
Are we okay to go ahead with the recommendation presented in the report?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Hon. Anthony Rota: We're going to suspend temporarily to go in camera. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes. I want everybody to stand by if you don't mind, as we make sure everything goes in camera.
[Proceedings continue in camera]
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
This is meeting number 12 of the Board of Internal Economy in this session. It will be televised and available by video conference.
Is there anything arising from the minutes of the previous meeting? Are we okay with those?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Is there any business arising from previous meetings?
Mr. Richards.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
I wanted to touch base on one item where a follow-up was required. We had sent a letter and there was a deadline of December 18 for a response. Would we be looking at scheduling a meeting sometime shortly after that, or early in the new year, to discuss that item, based on any response we receive?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
The letter has been sent. I don't believe we have received a response yet.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
I understand, but we gave a deadline of December 18. Are we planning to schedule a meeting shortly after that to discuss our response?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We'll have to wait until a response comes back. The letter has gone out, and we'll see what happens from there, if that's fair.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
I was just trying to get a sense as to what we thought.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
The letter did go out within a couple of days of when we met last. It's all taken care of.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
All I'm getting at is that it leaves a long time after the response would be received. I wouldn't want to leave that hanging over anyone for a long period of time. I know we ordinarily wouldn't meet for some time after that. I just wondered if we were giving some consideration to meeting sooner, so that it wouldn't be left hanging.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I think that's fair. If it's okay with everyone, we'll wait until the response comes back, and then we'll deal with it when we have the facts in front of us. Is that fair?
There's consensus around the room. Perfect.
Our first presentation this morning concerns the LTVP working group recommendations. The presenter is Mr. Bruce Stanton, co-chair of the Joint Interparliamentary Council and Deputy Speaker par excellence.
Before Mr. Stanton, Ms. DeBellefeuille, please go ahead.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
If I may, Mr. Chair, I'd like to thank Mr. Janse for having provided some details about the questions I had asked him.
I had asked how many witnesses gave evidence in French in parliamentary committees. What I'm trying to do is document the technical problems that sometimes come from failing to wear a headset. These problems mainly occur when unilingual francophone MPs are speaking.
At the last meeting, I said that I thought 90% of francophone witnesses gave their evidence in English. I was wrong by 4%. It would seem that 86% of francophone witnesses who appear before parliamentary committees do so in English. We've been saying from the outset that interpretation and technical problems have been having more of an impact on interventions by francophone MPs. And now we have facts and documentation to support our claim.
Mr. Chair, there have been many recommendations and suggestions. For example, it was suggested that the chair of the Liaison Committee should require an internal economy motion for the parliamentary committees asking each committee to adopt an internal economy motion to have witnesses do some technical tests before giving evidence in order to ensure that sound connectivity and quality are satisfactory.
Would House Administration and the clerk move this suggestion forward or should we take a position on it? I'd like some specifics on this point.
Is it up to us to do the follow-up or will it be delegated to the Liaison Committee? Are the clerks going to follow through on these suggestions made in the letter sent by the deputy clerk to the Committees and Legislative Services Branch?
Once again, I'd like to thank the team of clerks for having documented the problem and passed the information on to us. It'll be very useful to us in our future work.
Results: 301 - 400 of 1240 | Page: 4 of 13

|<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>|
Export As: XML CSV RSS

For more data options, please see Open Data