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Results: 501 - 600 of 1240
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Five and six are close but I plan on doing them separately. I believe it was Mr. Paquette who brought it in. We will be dealing with it in the next step.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-12-03 12:06
Item seven will be presented separately.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Let me clarify, then.
Monsieur Paquette, are we doing five and six together?
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-12-03 12:06
Yes, since one is a variant of the other. It's just a little more elaborate. It will be easier to talk to them together.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Okay. We've covered both.
Please go ahead. It's for information's sake. There's nothing to approve there.
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-12-03 12:06
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
We'll be talking about the temporary measures regarding COVID separately, then.
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-12-03 12:06
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay.
I guess the first question is that I don't know if there was maybe as much detail as I had hoped. Regarding the reassigned staff, I'm still a little unclear. I know that this was a question I asked previously. I think this is partly in response to that. I'm still a little unclear on those reassignments.
Can you give us a bit more of a breakdown on those? Are we talking about ongoing reassignments? Were these only temporary assignments? What sorts of reassignments did we see? I'm not asking for every bit of detail, but maybe you can give us some of the greatest in number in terms of the reassignments. What types of reassignments were they? What sorts of areas were people reassigned to and for what length of time?
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-12-03 12:07
Given that most of the reassignments that have been taking place relate to our DSRP team, I'll ask Mr. Stéphan Aubé if he wants to elaborate a bit more on what they basically are not doing or doing less of and doing now.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2020-12-03 12:07
Thank you for the question, Mr. Richards.
There are about 120 people within the DSRP, which is our shop here, who had to be reassigned from a roles perspective. Some of their duties had to be reassigned towards the support of the virtual Parliament, and we basically took a lot of the technical people that we had in operational issues. We had to stop some of the services so that we could reassign them to the support of virtual committees and the virtual chamber, sir.
That number represents around 120 people within my organization, who we reassigned from their existing responsibilities to their new responsibilities, recognizing the need that was created by the virtual committees and the virtual chambers.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay.
That would be the biggest bulk.
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2020-12-03 12:08
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
How much of that would be dedicated to other things? Obviously we're still making plans for other things such as a voting app and other ways to adapt. What sort of a percentage of these reassignments would be related to the development of future responses we're still working on?
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2020-12-03 12:08
I can give you a breakdown for them.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2020-12-03 12:08
I've categorized in three buckets the resources that we've assigned to the virtual Parliament. There's the virtual chamber, and we have a group of around 30 people who have been reassigned and are dedicated to supporting the virtual chamber. There's a group of 77 that has been assigned to supporting the virtual committees. Also, then, there's currently a group of 13 that has been reassigned to the voting aspect.
For the voting aspect, there were different phases to it. At the beginning, from May to June, we had five people working on validating the concept. After that, it evolved, after the motion, from five to 13 in the fall, sir.
Specifically with the voting compared to the other one, I wouldn't say these are permanent resources assigned there. I'd say these are people who are working on that in addition to virtual chamber support and virtual committee support.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
That's understood. Okay.
Where have these people typically been reassigned from? In other words, what sorts of things are being left to the side or not being done to maybe the capacity we would have liked as a result of reassignments?
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2020-12-03 12:09
I'll give you an example that you probably know. The ambassador service that we offer to members in the committees and also for their offices is a group of fewer than 20 people. We took that group and had to reassign them to the onboarding for members for virtual committees and also for the virtual chamber. That's an example of the changes we've made.
We've also had to reassign some of our security force to work on specific items relating to ensuring the security for these virtual meetings. We did some changes there. We also looked at the support that we offered for some applications to people who were working in that area. We basically also reassigned them to specific operations roles related to the virtual chamber and virtual committees. That's the type of decision we had to make in order not to increase costs to the organization, because the incremental costs from our perspective for virtual Parliament, as of September, were really around $1.2 million. We were able to maintain that incremental cost load because of the reassignments we've done.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
While we're on the topic of virtual Parliament, with regard to committees, we've obviously been told that with logistical issues and maintenance issues with the systems, the approach that we've been using, this hybrid approach for committee meetings, is going to have to stop for about a month during the upcoming winter adjournment. If I remember correctly—I might be off a little bit—but roughly from December 19, for about a month, we would see a shutdown. What we're told is that this would prevent committees and even Parliament, if it needed to be recalled, from being able to sit in any kind of a way, even if there is an emergency situation that develops.
We've seen that in the past this sometimes does happen while the House is in adjournment. Can we get a bit more of an explanation, especially for Canadians who might be following the proceedings today? What exactly is going on there? Why is it happening? What could be done to ensure that there is an ability for emergency situations to be dealt with? Could it be done in some kind of a staggered fashion so that even one committee could be accommodated where there might be an emergency? Obviously, there are reasons that needs to happen and we certainly wouldn't want to shut down our Parliament completely for a month if that was necessary.
Can we get some explanation on what's happening there and also an indication of what could be done to ensure that there is an ability to function in a limited capacity if an emergency situation arises?
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2020-12-03 12:12
Mr. Richards, I will just make one comment to start. I can guarantee you that if there would be an emergency, the House would be able to return. That's the first point that I want to make. We pride ourselves on ensuring that the House sits, and we will guarantee that this happens if ever there is such an emergency.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Could I just add to that? In relation to committees, there are obviously times when an emergency committee meeting is required. Can we have the same assurance and guarantee that it would be possible, if needed?
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2020-12-03 12:13
If there would be an emergency and the Speaker would require us to make this happen, Mr. Richards, we'd certainly find a way to make this happen.
Having said that, what we're planning to do is maintenance that we usually do when the House is not sitting. This year has been an extraordinary year. We haven't had a chance to do the maintenance that is required to some of our core systems. When I'm speaking about maintenance, I'm not talking about general IT maintenance of a network and stuff like that. I'm talking about the broadcasting systems that support the chamber and the committees. We need to do the necessary maintenance in order to prevent failures to these systems this winter, sir.
The approach that we've taken in order to minimize risk is that we're going to focus on the core systems at the beginning, during the Christmas period. We're going to be working over the Christmas period from the 28th through to the fifth in order to update and maintain these systems and replace the systems that need to be replaced during that period. Then after that, our plan, sir, is to start focusing on committee rooms, one at a time, in order to start ramping up the systems as we can.
We are taking a staggered approach in order to minimize risk to the organization, but it does have an impact on our ability to offer services to all the committees, as I have just mentioned, due to the changes we need to make.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
I understand. I want to just make sure to make it clear that we appreciate that there's been a lot of change and adaptation required. You guys have done a really good job of trying to ensure that we're keeping pace with what's required under very difficult circumstances. I do understand that this can sometimes involve stuff that's far beyond my comprehension in terms of technical capabilities.
I appreciate the work that you're doing. I really do appreciate the assurances you've just given us that there would be some way found to ensure that, in those urgent and emergency type situations.... That was my big concern. I'm really glad to hear that there will be ways to accommodate that, if needed.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We'll now continue to Mr. Holland.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2020-12-03 12:15
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'll just note that I'm noticing that these meetings are running a lot longer. The frequency of meetings is starting to increase significantly because we're taking a long time to get through the business.
I would encourage members to avail themselves of the opportunity before the meetings to try to go through as many of these questions as possible. We typically move through these agenda items a lot more rapidly. I'm just concerned that we're not getting through these items with how much time we have. I'm concerned about the frequency of meetings we're having with BOIE. We're going to start turning it into a weekly meeting here, Mr. Speaker.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you for the comments.
We'll now go to Mr. Julian.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
I agree with Mr. Holland on this. We have some extremely important decisions to get to. I've found the staff are very good at providing answers on the financial records.
There are also questions that really are a matter for House leaders and whips to discuss in another forum. We need to focus on the work that we need to do as a board of internal economy. For example, today I can't go past one o'clock and we're not going to get to the end of the agenda, which means we'll have to meet again next week. We're meeting now on a weekly basis.
Mr. Holland's comments are very valid. We have to be concise and focused. We have to do the work we have and ask the important questions, but there are many ways of asking those questions beforehand and also of making sure that the issues that are a part of another domain, like House leaders and the whips' meetings, are kept there.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you to both of you.
I just want to encourage all members, on a granular level, to maybe take a step up and look at what pertains to the Board of Internal Economy. That might be some good advice to look at. I'll leave it at that.
We'll move on to item number seven, which is support for members' employees' telework arrangements and temporary measures in effect due to COVID-19.
This seems to be the Monsieur Paquette show today. I'll let him continue.
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-12-03 12:17
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I'll let José Fernandez present this topic for me. He's my deputy CFO. He manages the team that reviews all these policies and has worked on it.
At this point here, since we're working remotely, I'll mention to him quickly that there's a lot of material in this next section. We'll abbreviate the presentation so that we can get to your questions as quickly as possible, given the time that we have going forward.
You have the floor, Mr. Fernandez.
José Fernandez
View José Fernandez Profile
José Fernandez
2020-12-03 12:18
Thank you, Daniel.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
This presentation follows up on an analysis requested by the board at its meeting of October 8 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are two parts to this presentation. The first part is the support of members' employees' telework arrangements. The second part is on the temporary measures in effect due to COVID-19.
For the first part, the House administration reviewed its application of current bylaws and policies related to equipment typically required by an employee to perform their duties and the flexibility provided to members in the use of House resources to be more responsive to this exceptional situation. Just to shorten it a bit for the time, I won't go into the specifics here, but it's talking about the mobile computing and the portable computing devices and those used for printing.
As well, from a mental health and well-being perspective, the House administration has reminded members and their employees of resources available on the source website through the different webinar series that were offered there.
Last May, the board also approved COVID-19 temporary measures in constituency offices to support the implementation of the necessary preventative measures in accordance with the guidelines issued by public health authorities. This provided support to reopen constituency offices and for their employees to return to the office.
This brings me to the second part of the presentation.
Now I will address the temporary measures in effect during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the pandemic, members continued to serve their fellow citizens from their constituency offices, which are particularly important in these times of crisis. The Board of Internal Economy had approved several measures, the first being the purchase of consumable items up to a limit of $1,500 per constituency office. That means non-medical masks, hand sanitizers and stickers to be applied to floors. These are items that we're now used to seeing when we enter establishments open to the public.
The second measure was the purchase and installation of plexiglass barriers to enforce physical distancing guidelines. Here the limit was $2,000 per constituency office. Where the situation required, the limit could be raised to a maximum of $3,500 with advance approval. These expenditures were charged to the House administration central budget. We note that the trend was the same for both measures: approximately 90% of members spent less than 75% of the maximum allocated amount.
Lastly, the third measure concerns the cost of professional emergency cleaning and disinfecting services that were to be used in the event a confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported in a member's constituency office. Here again, we have received no requests for reimbursement for these services as of November 23 last.
With respect to advertising to enable members to communicate with their fellow citizens, the Board of Internal Economy had approved a limit increase to 20% of their budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Greater flexibility was also allowed with respect to advertising content. In particular, members were informed that they could distribute information about COVID-19 from certain organizations that might be of interest to their fellow citizens. As of November 23, nearly all members had used less than half that new limit, although there are slightly more than four months left in the fiscal year.
We have also assessed the impact of these measures on members' office budgets.
Finally, I will explain our assessment of the impacts of these temporary measures on members' office budgets for the current fiscal year.
We have compared the budget utilization with two previous fiscal years, given that the last fiscal year was an election year and its expenditure patterns are not typical. As of October 31, which is a little more than half a fiscal year, 99% of members used less than 60% of their office budget. We have seen here overall that the budget utilization is lower than in the last two fiscal years we compared it to. Restrictions on travel and gatherings imposed by governing bodies and public health authorities have contributed to a significant decrease in travel and hospitality expenditures.
In our review, we do not recommend any changes at this time to the temporary measures. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the House administration will continue to monitor members' overall expenses and the specific impacts of the temporary measures. We would like to come back to you in the winter with our recommendations for measures for the next fiscal year. At that point, we would have almost a full year's worth of data, so we'd be better positioned to provide our recommendations to the board for these or other measures.
That concludes my presentation. I will be available for questions or feedback from the board. Thank you.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
That's very good.
Are there any questions or comments?
Mr. Richards.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
I have just one thing I want to touch on.
After the last presentation, my colleague Mr. Deltell was asking about printing and mailing. I've had certainly a number of complaints, for lack of a better way of putting it, from my caucus in terms of capacity constraints. There are longer periods of time required to get things completed, which is making it so that things aren't really being received by constituents in a timely enough fashion. It's almost, for lack of a better way of putting it, old news by the time they receive it.
I wonder if, in this context of the pandemic, you would be able to bring forward on a priority basis some type of proposal for our consideration to renew the temporary measure that allowed for external printing. I had a lot of very positive feedback about that, and I think many members were finding it very helpful in this context. We should be looking at renewing that.
Is there any way we could have a proposal brought to us on how that could be done?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We'll go to Mr. Patrice on that one.
Michel Patrice
View Michel Patrice Profile
Michel Patrice
2020-12-03 12:25
I have heard the same concerns as you have. I can guarantee you we'll look at quickly making a proposal that will allow us to address those concerns.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you. That's much appreciated.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Go ahead, Ms. Petitpas Taylor.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
During the pandemic, we've all had to equip our home offices so we can perform our professional duties.
Mr. Paquette or Mr. Fernandez, can you say how many devices, such as laptops and telephones, were purchased to equip our home offices?
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-12-03 12:26
We've seen an increase in overall office equipment expenditures. Computer equipment purchases are governed by a very restrictive policy, and those expenditures are closely monitored.
The upward trend isn't necessarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We often see this trend in office equipment and furniture purchases in the year following an election, as new members need to adapt their offices or change equipment to suit their new duties. We've noticed an upward trend, but there's nothing alarming about it.
We don't have the inventory figures. In any case, when expenses are allocated, we don't always track the number of units purchased, such as the number of chairs. For computer purchases, we're still within the limits prescribed by the Board of Internal Economy's policy.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
You have the floor, Mr. Deltell.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you for your presentations, gentlemen.
Have you done a comparative evaluation of the average cost per member for the production of householders by the House of Commons printing service and by local printers?
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-12-03 12:27
An analysis is under way. I'll let Ms. Kletke tell you about that. I know that the evaluation should be forwarded to the members of the Board of Internal Economy in the coming weeks.
Rebekah Kletke
View Rebekah Kletke Profile
Rebekah Kletke
2020-12-03 12:27
Thank you, Mr. Paquette.
We've just completed that analysis. As Mr. Paquette said, we'll send you the results of the evaluation as soon as possible next week.
With respect to the comparison of services used, the House printing service processed 87 householder requests, whereas outside suppliers handled 269.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much for your response in French, Ms. Kletke.
Rebekah Kletke
View Rebekah Kletke Profile
Rebekah Kletke
2020-12-03 12:28
Thank you.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I would like to ask a question.
Will the analysis include information on turnaround times for both the private sector printers and government printing services?
Rebekah Kletke
View Rebekah Kletke Profile
Rebekah Kletke
2020-12-03 12:28
Thank you very much for your question.
The analysis focuses on three points. We've included a comparison of costs and turnaround times, as well as other information on service levels across Canada. We observed that there were indeed different levels of service depending on the regions.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Ms. Kletke.
Go ahead, Mr. Julian.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
I'd like to know the date when we'll receive the report.
We'll of course have to mail out other householders early next year. Since we're still in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, knowing whether our offices can do business with local printers could make a difference.
If we don't receive the report within a few months, we'll lose that opportunity to mail householders to our fellow citizens.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Go ahead, Mr. Patrice.
Michel Patrice
View Michel Patrice Profile
Michel Patrice
2020-12-03 12:30
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
We intend to send you the results of the analysis in the coming weeks.
As a result of the concerns expressed and Mr. Richards' question, we also intend, as soon as possible, to send the members of the board a written submission concerning the decision that must be taken with respect to access to external printing services.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Now we will turn the floor over to Mrs. DeBellefeuille.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Chair, first I would like to congratulate printing service employees because they meet their standards. Every member's office is well informed of the entire process. From the start of that process to the mailing of their householders, standards are met, including those respecting the number of days or weeks.
I have exhausted my householder budget despite the pandemic, yet the printing service hasn't failed to meet its standards even once. It's important to know that. Part of the responsibility for meeting turnaround times falls to the teams that create householder content, both in the ridings and on the hill. These people have a deadline to meet, a period of three weeks from start of process to mailing. That may not be fast enough for some, but the fact remains that established standards are met. I want to emphasize that.
The advantage of using a local printer is, first, that it would support a local business. That's a positive. We would also have control of the process and the number of days involved. That varies locally, but it's true that it also varies across Quebec and, I imagine, across Canada. Back home, in less than five days, I can get 46,000 copies of a householder of the same quality as that of the House printing service, and turnaround times are shorter.
I'm eager to see the analysis. We're always somewhat reluctant when we discuss privatizing printing services. What will happen to employees if the work is farmed out to businesses in our constituencies? Using our printing service guarantees uniform quality. Formats must be used and graphic standards met, and there's the whole issue of householder standards. Because those standards are applied, all members are put on an equal footing. I care about the fact that 338 members can come and go through the same door, and all of them are treated equally.
The supply of services in the private sector is excellent in some regions and less so in others. In this case, are we going to create a two-tiered system? Some members from urban areas may have access to better services in the private than the public sector, and others may have less leeway and have to navigate the House printing service bottleneck.
I'm eager to read your analysis. These are matters that concern me. They require a fair and equitable decision, but they must especially take into consideration taxpayers' ability to pay. Ultimately, I'd like to know whether it will cost taxpayers more money to print our publications in the private sector or whether the price the House printing service charges is reasonable for all taxpayers.
I just wanted to set the tone for the debate we'll soon be having.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much.
Mr. Deltell, you have the floor.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
It's entirely fair and relevant to recall that the work the printing service does here in the House of Commons always meets all the requirements that Mrs. DeBellefeuille has rightly mentioned. Quality is never sacrificed. It is always there.
If many members wish to deal with local businesses, that will free up time for those who prefer to use the House service. We could thus save time. If you make this proposal, it might be good to know what percentage of members are involved—20% or 50%, for example. Could we estimate the production time that could be saved? Could we shorten it from three weeks to two weeks, one week or eight days? I'm asking a good question. It would be a good if your evaluation could answer it.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
Are there any other questions or comments?
Since there are no comments or questions, we will break for three minutes and then continue the meeting in camera.
[Proceedings continue in camera]
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We are now in a public meeting.
We're at item three in the minutes of the previous meeting. I see that everyone agrees with what they received.
Let's move on to item four, business arising from the previous meeting.
We'll go to Ms. DeBellefeuille now.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
I'd like to thank Mr. Janse for having answered our questions. Some members of the Board of Internal Economy, or the BOIE, had questions about some of the reports that were tabled.
I asked a question about the headsets worn by witnesses appearing before the committee, but the answer, while not unsatisfactory, could have been more detailed.
It says here that 400 headsets were sent to witnesses. In fact, approximately 20% of the witnesses received a headset. I'm sure you understand, Mr. Chair, why I'm drawing attention to this.
The hybrid format being used for House sittings and committee meetings is creating problems for francophone MPs from all the parties. The headset problems are one thing, but trying to get witnesses to understand how to change the interpretation channel is another. I'd like Mr. Janse to have an answer for us at the next meeting of the BOIE. I would like to know how many witnesses spoke French, and I'll tell you why.
Here's what I think. Approximately 90% of witnesses speak English, which means that it's essential to have interpretation into French. When a witness gives evidence in French and no English interpretation is available,there's sure to be a point of order within 30 seconds to correct the situation. I'd like to see these technical and interpretation problems dealt with. I don't feel that the situation is improving quickly enough.
Yesterday, I was a bit exasperated, or I should say discouraged—that's the better word for it. In a meeting of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship appeared to discuss the main estimates, but did not have the right headset and interpretation was impossible. It's rather discouraging to see that the minister's officials didn't go to the trouble of making sure that he had the right equipment and knew how to work the interpretation channels to make interpretation into both official languages possible.
If Ms. Normandin, our spokesperson, had been a unilingual francophone MP and had not understood anything in English, what would have happened? It's easier for the technicians to tell the witnesses to speak English, because then they don't have to do anything with the interpretation channel, which we all agree has been a problem and a hindrance.
In the report that was tabled, I'd like the number of witnesses who gave evidence in French to be recorded, so that we could see whether the technological problems have been having more of an impact on members who speak French.
Yesterday, a witness at the fisheries and oceans committee did not have a headset and the interpretation was not working in either direction. When he spoke French, the anglophone MPs said that the interpretation was not working and when he spoke English, it too was not working. The Bloc Québecois member had to ask questions in English because she could not ask them in French owing to these problems.
I don't know who to tell about the problem. The clerks and the committee chairs certainly need to be made aware that it's unacceptable for francophone MPs to be told they can't ask their questions in French because the witness does not understand or because the interpretation or the equipment is not working. There are francophone MPs in every party. The MPs can't understand the witnesses because things are not working in either direction.
We had an exploratory discussion yesterday about the French situation.
It's rather sad to see that we still have some hiccups in terms of access to French.
We received a solid report about the committees from Mr. Janse and we are going to use it to look into this matter at the Bureau of Internal Economy more thoroughly because it' s too important and we have to find answers to the problems that francophone MPs are currently experiencing when they sit on the various committees.
I am aware of all the efforts being made by House staff members and by the IT teams. I'll be the first in line to thank them. I know that everyone is working hard on it, but we' re running out of time. We know that we'll still be operating as a hybrid Parliament for some time to come and that we can't carry on for long until this situation about access to interpretation in both official languages has improved.
I know that some witnesses are called only on the day before they are to give evidence. Headsets can't be teleported, and have to be sent to them, which is impossible at the moment through House services, particularly when a meeting is called only the day before. However, I do find it unacceptable when ministers and others don't have the right equipment when they appear.
If the witnesses don't have the required equipment, then we need to find another solution. We can't tell the francophone MPs that there are problems and limitations and that that's just the way it works. I'm going to do battle on this important issue. If we don't, who will? It's up to all of us to find a solution.
I have no complaints about House Administration; quite the contrary. However, we need to work harder to make the committee chairs more aware of the situation. They need to demonstrate flexibility in allocating time. If a francophone MP from any of the parties is asking questions in French and needs to repeat them because the witness did not understand as a result of an interpretation problem, then the speaking time needs to be adjusted.
We've already discussed this. I clearly remember that the government House leader said that speaking time would be adjusted. He mentioned that the chairs should be flexible about the idea of allowing a little more time to avoid penalizing an MP who is losing speaking time because of having to repeat things three times for witnesses who did not understand the question in French because of interpretation or technological problems.
At the next Board of Internal Economy meeting, I would like an update on how much of the evidence was presented only in French, because that would show us the scale of the problem.
Here is an example of what can happen when evidence is only in French. Last week, the member for Mr. Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, NDP) was interrupted in the middle of asking a question in French to an anglophone member who rose on a point of order because he didn't understand the question. You allowed the member to repeat the question. In question period, when a member is interrupted in the middle of a question, it has an impact on spontaneity. Some people don't hesitate to interrupt a member when they don't understand.
We're trying to be understanding and willing to compromise. There are some exceptional circumstances in which we will compromise by listening to evidence in English. For example, there was moving evidence at a meeting of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. We understand that there can be exceptions, but they should be just that – exceptions. At the moment, it's happening all too often.
At the next meeting of the Bureau of Internal Economy, I'd like us to get together to try to find ways of improving the situation on the basis of Mr. Janse's report.
Thank you for taking the time to hear me out.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Ms. DeBellefeuille
Over to you, Mr. Julian.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Chair, I fully agree with Ms. DeBellefeuille's comments.
On some of the committees I sit on, when there is an interpretation problem, the committee's work simply comes to a halt. This is what should be happening for all committees and witnesses. Our technical capabilities should definitely enable us to handle both official languages. The practice needs to be introduced just about everywhere to ensure that both official languages are always respected.
Even though I have never experienced this situation myself, I know that when there were problems at some committees, the chair just carried on. In some instances, not all arrangements were in place to ensure that both English and French could be treated equally. I think something could be done, including in our respective caucuses.
Yesterday evening, there was a four-hour debate in the House of Commons. It was about the use of French in Montreal and concerns about the issue from all the parties. The concern expressed was unanimous. Throughout the entire evening, everyone spoke only in French, making it a francophone evening in the House of Commons. It's ironic that we should find ourselves here this morning facing the same problems, which are occurring within the House of Commons' own institutions.
It therefore needs to be taken seriously. I believe that the suggestions Ms. DeBellefeuille just made could steer us in the right direction.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Rodriguez, over to you.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm fully in favour of Ms. DeBellefeuille suggestions. I believe that we all want to strengthen French. This commitment was expressed yesterday, but it needs to be heard every day. I think that we're all sincere, whether in the New Democratic Party, the Conservative Party, the Bloc Québecois or the Liberal Party. But we need to do even more. We all agreed on this yesterday. We need to say it again today and say it again tomorrow. And it needs to go beyond mere words, and transformed into concrete action.
I think that some of this responsibility unfortunately falls to the committee members. We spoke about it earlier. I therefore suggest that when a problem of this kind arises, the MPs themselves, out of respect for both official languages, should ask that discussion cease until the problem is solved.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Deltell, you're next.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
I am 100% behind everything my three colleagues have said. It goes without saying that we need to be able to express ourselves in both official languages and to be understood no matter who is speaking, or where and how they are speaking, our comments need to be be understood and we have to be able to understand what others are saying.
For three months now, we have been in unknown territory with the hybrid Parliament. In the first few days, and even the first few weeks, we put up with a situation that might on occasion have been tentative. After two months, the train is moving forward and making progress. However, it is not moving in the right direction. As Mr. Rodriguez was rightly saying just now, the responsibility is now over to us. As francophones, whenever we don't have access to French interpretation, we should rise on a point of order. And our anglophone colleagues need to do the same.
It's also up to us as parliamentarians to call to order or complain about any colleagues who show up with an inappropriate headset. It's a bit awkward to do this when it's a witness, but we can certainly call out a colleague. We could even apply some rough and ready rules and tell those who don't have the right headset that they simply can't speak.That's all. There are rules and they need to be followed. I would never, for example show up here wearing a cockeyed tie. As an MP, I'm required to wear a tie and I'm also required to wear my headset. Otherwise, I don't have the right to speak. I think we should give this some consideration.
My final point is more technical. If, for one reason or another, a witness is asked only a few hours before the meeting to appear and doesn't have the required equipment, then we should be more flexible. Is it technically possible in cases like that for a person to give evidence by telephone? I don't know whether this is possible. If so, and if we find that they can't give evidence because they don't have a headset, then we could give them give them 20 minutes to find a phone and call us at a number like “1-800-House of Commons”. In the meantime, we could hear another witness.
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2020-11-26 12:52
We'll look into that, Mr. Deltell.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Aubé.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Deltell.
Go ahead, Mr. Gagnon.
André Gagnon
View André Gagnon Profile
André Gagnon
2020-11-26 12:52
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the discussion and thanks to Ms. DeBellefeuille for having raised the question.
You raised another point that 's just as important for us, and that is the service provided in both official languages to parliamentarians and witnesses. There is no reason for me to go into detail about why we had problems in certain instances, because you're thoroughly familiar with the situation.
Several of you have pointed out that part of the solution resides in the decisions that the committees will make. Thus far, the role that the Liaison Committee could play has not been mentioned in the discussion. We need to approach them to inform them more directly about the problem. The guidelines provided by the Liaison Committee could be very useful in solving some of the problems you raised with respect to official languages and technical support.
I've noted the issues raised by Ms. DeBellefeuille, as well as the requests for information about the number of witnesses who speak in French. I think that we can come up with this information, and with the percentage of French spoken.
We'll work with Mr. Aubé'sTeam on other configurations for appearing, as suggested by Mr. Deltell. We'll get back with answers to these questions as soon as possible.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Gagnon.
Now we have Mr. Richards.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Thanks.
Just to add to this, there have been a number of issues, certainly for translation or interpretation, with regard to the headsets. However, probably the most serious breaches of it has been when we've had instances with ministers appearing at committees or committees of the whole where there have been delays related to either their not having a proper headset or their not having secured a proper location to have a good Internet connection.
It is absolutely incumbent upon ministers of the Crown to ensure that they are putting themselves in a position where they will have the proper equipment, connections and so on. They know often well in advance when they're appearing at these things to be held accountable in committees.
Where this is happening, I won't indicate the motives behind it and there may not be any, but without a doubt, it should be expected of ministers that they be prepared for their committee and committees of the whole with proper connections and proper headsets. In instances where committees are being delayed or held up as a result of these kinds of issues, I really believe the minister should be expected to make up that time at the committee.
If anyone should be expected to be clear on these things, it should be ministers of the Crown. I point that out as well for the deliberations that are being held in terms of how we can address some of these issues. Ministers should be very clear on the need for a headset and a connection that is not problematic. We've seen far too much of this, and it seems to me as though it's limiting the ability of members of all parties to hold the ministers accountable, so this has to be addressed as well.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
That's very good. Are there any other comments on this?
We'll be getting some information back.
I notice we have all the whips here, so I'll ask the whips to reiterate with their caucus to wear headsets when they're asking questions, when they're answering and when they're at committee. I know it's frustrating, even when we're in the chair. I like the suggestion by Monsieur Deltell that maybe if you don't have the right equipment, you can't play the game. It might be something we'll have to consider. I can't make that decision unilaterally, but if the House were to decide that, I would be more than happy to enforce it.
Next is item five: sustaining the end-user software subscriptions for the House of Commons. I notice that we have only four and a half minutes left. Do we want to start it, do we want to extend the session or do we want to wait until the next session to actually embark on this in a fulsome manner?
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
I cannot go past 1 p.m., but this may be a very quick item.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Aubé, you're on the clock. Go as fast as you can.
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2020-11-26 12:57
I'm going to change my presentation.
We are here today to ask for permanent funding for subscriptions to the software used on personal computers in the House of Commons and on smartphones. The goal is to give you a brief description of how funding has worked over the past few years. In 2015, the companies that supplied these goods and services made a major change in their business methods.
Previously, during an election, we would ask the Board of Internal Economy, through a bidding process, for funds to purchase software and updates. Every four or five years, more or less, with a list in hand to indicate the life cycle of the software and personal computers, we requested the funds from the Board of Internal Economy, and funds for capital investments as well. However, in 2015, the system changed. The industry and our suppliers moved to a subscription model. Today's request reflects this major change.
There are other factors too, including an increase in the number of users on the hill. There is also a growing number of services that we now offer owing to the explosive increase in Internet use and security requirements. That's why we're requesting permanent funding of almost $2 million per year for items to be used by MPs. We are requesting permanent funding of approximately $1.2 million for House of Commons Administration in connection with these items.
That then is a summary of the prepared presentation.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are there any questions or comments?
I believe that everyone is in agreement on the recommendation. Good.
That's all for today then. Thank you.
The meeting is adjourned.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Welcome to the 10th meeting of the Board of Internal Economy.
We'll start off with the minutes of the previous meeting.
Everything is acceptable. Does anybody have any comments to make on that?
I see that there are no comments about the minutes.
Are there any comments about business arising from the previous meeting?
Okay. Everything is clear.
Item three is on sustaining the information technology systems and facility assets from the long-term vision and plan, LTVP.
We'll have Stéphan Aubé, chief information officer, and Daniel Paquette, chief financial officer, present to us this morning.
Before we continue, I want to remind everyone that we do have a lot of material to cover this morning. I want to make sure you keep your questions concise, very thorough but very concise, if possible.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Aubé, you have the floor.
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2020-11-19 11:04
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and members of the board.
We're here to obtain approval for permanent funding for the operations, maintenance, support and life-cycling of building connectivity assets that are transferred from PSPC to the House as part of the long-term renovations.
This business case is not a new business case. It's actually an update to a previous approval that was made by the board. The House administration came to this board in 2014 to seek approval for connectivity assets. It came back in 2015 to seek approval for components assets. It also came back in 2017 to seek approval for both connectivity and components assets.
The board had approved $24.6 million in temporary funding at that time. In addition to the $24.6 million that we're now seeking as permanent funding, we've also updated the life-cycling plan to include the assets of $6.7 million that have been transferred since 2017 to the House. The $6.7 million represents the budgeting that is required to sustain $77 million of assets that were transferred from the renovations to the House.
I would like to give you a bit of the history of the funding and the approvals that were previously received, because some members of this board might not have been here at that time.
The 2014-2015 submission to the Board of Internal Economy primarily involved assets transferred in connection with the renovations, which you see in yellow on the diagram.
After 2007, the goal of the long-term renovations was to get people out of the Wellington Building, the Valour Building and the Sir John A. Macdonald Building in order to renovate those buildings. So we renovated the Justice Building and, through Public Works, we acquired space on Queen Street so that we could relocate the House Administration people there.
The first submission focused on those buildings and some of the BCC projects, the building components and connectivity program, that we had put in place. Because we knew that Parliament Hill was growing at that time, we had plans to network all those buildings together, like a campus. We had projects like the massive conduit work on Sparks Street. A multimedia operations centre was also established for all broadcasting requirements.
In 2017, we returned to the Board of Internal Economy to request the necessary funds to support the renovations to the Wellington Building. The building at 180 Wellington Street houses 60 members of Parliament, and has about 10 committee rooms. We had also requested funds to support assets related to the Sir John A. Macdonald Building and the Valour Building. We also needed two other buildings so we could relocate House Administration staff.
Today, when we say $6.6 million, we are mainly referring to assets associated with the operation of the West Block. As you know, that's the building currently in use. We also have the Visitor Welcome Centre.
These primarily make up the requests for permanent funding we are presenting today to the Board of Internal Economy.
When we talk about assets throughout this presentation, we are basically talking about two different categories of assets. We talk about connectivity assets, such as the cable TV network that's on the Hill, the integrated security system, the networking aspects and all the multimedia aspects. We also talk about component assets. These are assets that are linked to the facilities, but they are basically mobile within the facilities, such as the furniture, the art and artifacts and any specialized equipment such as broadcast lighting and air conditioning that are related to technologies. These are the particular assets we're talking about that are under the responsibility of the House.
This chart depicts the amount of assets that have been transferred as part of the renovations to the House. As you can see, there are $205 million of assets that have been transferred since 2000. Over the last four years, since 2016, the $77 million basically represents the assets that weren't part of the 2017 approval that we sought from the board. What you're seeing through this chart is a depiction of the changes. The changes that we're seeking through this business case are basically linked to connectivity. You see the variances. We've demonstrated the variances across the different areas of investments, which total up to $6.6 million.
From a components perspective, as I said, for the assets that are linked to the buildings, we're not seeking any additional funding. The reason for this is we believe with the funding that we have, and also based on the current situation due to COVID, we'd like to defer any changes to that element of the funding that we received in the past because there could be possible changes in the future. We just want to focus on the connectivity assets because this is where we actually have an understanding of what possible funding requirements we'll have in the future.
Lastly, I'll give you a bit of the history. Why are we responsible for this? When the long-term renovations were launched in the late 1990s, there was an agreement between all partners, the parliamentary partners being the Senate and the House, and PSPC, which outlined the roles and responsibilities. Basically, for these projects, such as the West Block, Public Works is accountable for the overall project scope and delivery of them, but they're also responsible for the capital funding. They provide the funding when we need to actually acquire these assets, but we are accountable for the operational funding, so the maintenance, the support and also the life cycle of it. This is a key element of why we're here today, because we are accountable for making this happen, so it is our obligation to actually fund these assets.
I just wanted to outline some of the benefits of why it's important for the House to actually receive this funding. I put these pictures there and some of you might remember these facilities. As you see, the picture in the middle is an actual committee room pre-renovation. This was a committee room in the Valour Building. I have pictures also of the West Block. They're very similar. You can see the tables, the layout of the facilities and the amount of technology that was in these facilities. The picture on the right is actually the broadcasting facilities that we've had to provide services to the chamber and to the committees from a television perspective. There are many temporary facilities. These buildings weren't equipped with the equipment that we had to put forward to actually offer 21st century meetings. I just wanted to give you guys a bit of history from a benefit perspective.
You'll also see the cabling arrangement in these facilities. This is actually a picture of Centre Block. It shows the security systems, how they were actually installed because we didn't have the infrastructure to support them. Basically now, with these renovations, we've allowed members to have facilities that enable them to interact and have proper meeting facilities for the caucuses, the committees and the chamber.
Finally, there's been a lot of investments in order to enable parliamentarians to better communicate and serve their constituents in the chamber, as well as from an infrastructure perspective behind the walls.
Having said that, the final recommendation is that we're here to recommend that the board move forward with the investment required, and also that we move forward with the permanent funding as of 2023-24 of nearly $30 million for these assets that have been transferred to the House.
Mr. Speaker, I'll just open it up for questions.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Very good. Are there any questions?
Mr. Julian.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thanks very much. I appreciate the detail that is in the documents.
I want to be sure that this allows for the transition and acquisition of both the capital and staffing required and that there won't be further funds required in coming years. This issue, as you've mentioned, Mr. Aubé, has come back repeatedly to the BOIE over the last few years. I think that certainly Canadians want to know that we're actually putting into place a plan that works for the long term and that is sustainable.
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2020-11-19 11:14
Thank you, Mr. Julian, for the question.
There are two parts to your question. We have came back every three years because in 2014 we made a commitment to the board that we would come back every three years. We had recognized that there were a lot of renovations under way and we weren't ready to actually commit to permanent funding because we didn't have the clear picture at that time. This is why we came back every three years. I can attest, sir, that we feel with a high level of confidence there won't be requirements for the existing assets we have.
Having said that, there are facilities that will need to be onboarded in the future, sir, such as at Centre Block. We're starting the renovations of Centre Block. We're also starting the renovations of the Confederation Building. We're in planning. We're also looking at the renovations on Sparks. These would be separate elements, sir, but for all the elements that I've shown you, we are not planning to come back to the board. We feel that we have a very sure understanding of the requirements of the funding for the assets that we've transferred. We feel very confident.
I would ask my colleague Dan, the CFO, to comment on that. We've done our due diligence, sir, from a financial planning perspective on all these assets.
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-11-19 11:15
I want to comment on that also.
We've done our homework. We've done due diligence on best practice for this kind of technology and the pieces here. That's why we were coming back every three years. We wanted things to be stabilized. As Stéphan outlined in his presentation, we have had oversight and control of some of these buildings in their renovated state for a couple of years or more. We're able now to actually sit down and do those estimates with some level of assurance.
Obviously, none of us have a crystal ball. Unless some really unusual event occurs or changes occur in how Parliament wants to do business, for these buildings and these assets, this is our best estimate of what we feel is needed long term.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
There will be additional funding in the coming year or two, on Centre Block and Sparks Street, potentially.
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2020-11-19 11:16
That would be in the long run, sir. We don't see that over the next six years, at least. We see that in a longer time period.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are there any other questions?
I'll just follow on Mr. Julian's question, if I can. It's the prerogative of the chair to ask a question.
Just to clarify, I think we're mixing hard assets and operations here. They're two separate issues. What we have here is operations, correct? Salaries? That has nothing to do with purchasing new assets.
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2020-11-19 11:17
It's not only salaries, sir. It's the ability to maintain and support the assets, such as the cameras in this facility. We have to life-cycle them over the years. What we're seeking is the money to life-cycle them whenever the end of life will come to them. We're also seeking the money to support them and maintain them during their expected life cycle. We had sought some original money for salaries in the previous periods. We're not seeking any additional funding for salaries.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Very good. Thank you.
Are there any other questions?
There are two recommendations. Are we okay with those recommendations?
Very good, we're in accordance.
We are moving on to item 4.
It concerns funding stabilization.
The first witnesses will be Mr. Paquette and Ms. Laframboise.
You have the floor.
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-11-19 11:18
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I'm here today on behalf of the administration to present two submissions. They're both seeking the board's approval for funding to stabilize the capacity that is needed to maintain certain initiatives that have been undertaken to support members in the fulfillment of their parliamentary function.
The first request is for funding to stabilize enhanced services provided by financial services and human resource services to support legislative and policy changes or to improve our service delivery.
The second request is for funding to stabilize resources following the implementation of a comprehensive enterprise resource planning and business renewal initiative that was undertaken to replace the outdated financial and human resource platform.
I'd like to provide a bit of context here. There have been several legislative and policy amendments over the last few years that have driven changes in the area of finance and human resources. These include the coming into force of Bill C-44 and Bill C-65, in addition to many bylaws and policy amendments. In addition to this, we've been making significant investments to better assist members in the fulfillment of their parliamentary functions, including but not limited to the LTVP that we've just finished talking about, which changed how we do business on the precinct. It modernized and enhanced our technology and telecommunications. We also need to manage the sustainability of those various assets across facilities.
There have also been the investments around the security enhancements, the increase in broadcasting and webcasting for committees, the modernization of our food services, the HR services for members as employers and the managing of computing in the constituency that has been going on for the last couple of years. That's just to name a few of the investments that have been going on.
These changes and investments have led to increased complexity in the management of budgets and have increased the need to enhance our financial analysis and planning. This means there's an expanded role for the financial planning and resource management team, including addressing the challenging administrative funding requests; working with partners to ensure that all business cases and related financial requirements are accurate and thoroughly documented; and providing accurate and timely financial information and analysis to allow senior management to make the appropriate decisions around the budgets, reallocation and use of the internal resources. This is also the team that's been developing the new reports that we've been bringing here to the board, which are then made public on the website. Sustaining this increased capacity is required to maintain the initial workload associated with the new reporting requirements and the strengthening of our financial advisory services.
The funding request here is for four FTEs, for a total amount of $518,000. Also, the establishment of the constituency office lease services has allowed the administration to better support members in the management of office leases. The board approved a policy change where constituency office leases would be assigned to the administration if a member was not seeking to be re-elected or was not re-elected. Taking effect with the 2019 general election, the new assignment clause allows assets to remain in offices and newly elected members to occupy those offices as soon as the former member vacates those premises.
To address operational needs, a team with the appropriate knowledge and skill sets was created to develop the tools and processes to manage this new responsibility. Following the lessons learned in previous and past elections, this three-person team now actively provides the members and the House administration with the various tools, guidance and support needed for constituency office tenancy.
In addition to supporting members in quickly becoming operational in their constituency offices, this team has also achieved savings through facilitating the transition after an election and the ongoing relationships between members and their landlords. Given the success in assisting members in managing their complex commercial leases, we are seeking approval to retain this team and asking for the annual cost of $273,000 to fund these three FTEs.
The next piece is the increased resources needed to respond to the coming into force of Bill C-65, the act that amended the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act. The act extends the health and safety obligations under part II of the Canada Labour Code to parliamentary entities, including the House administration and members as employers. This program requires the development and maintenance of policies and programs to ensure that both members and House administration meet their legal obligations under the code and that members are helped to meet their obligations as employers.
Resources are also needed to support the 17 different corporate prevention and compliance programs related to this initiative. These resources will contribute to the safety and well-being of House administration and member employees, the development of resources and tools for members, and the cost savings that could be incurred in relation to work injuries. To accomplish this, we are seeking the permanent funding for the 4 FTEs at a total annual cost of $318,000.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are there any questions?
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-11-19 11:23
I was not finished. I am simply going to switch languages.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I am sorry.
Go ahead.
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-11-19 11:24
With respect to the second submission, the House Administration replaced the organization's outdated enterprise resource planning systems with a more modern and sustainable client-focused platform that consolidates financial and human resource management. Implementing the HR management model resulted in significant changes to the business process and to the organization's practices, roles and responsibilities. Because of this, a core team was established to support the new platform, and the Human Resources Service Centre was created.
The core team was created in January 2020. It manages the products, the system and the related maintenance support, in addition to the lifecycle of the new platform. The Human Resources Service Centre is a centre of expertise that brings together the many HR services and operations for members of Parliament, their employees and House Administration employees.
The two teams were created from existing resources out of various House Administration teams, but a few new additional positions had to be created. To date, funding has been obtained through budget surpluses, but that solution is temporary and needs to be stabilized. To ensure funding for these essential positions, we are requesting permanent funding to support the teams over the longer term.
As a result, funding of $866,000 is requested to support the four FTEs of the enterprise resource planning team and the five FTEs on the human resources team.
That concludes my presentation. The other members of the management team and I are available to answer your questions.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
Are there any questions?
Mr. Rodriguez, you have the floor.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would just like to go back to the funding request of nearly $273,000 for the three full-time employees and the office rental service.
It seems necessary, since you're asking for it, but three full-time employees to work in this department between two elections seems like a lot to me. I'd just like to understand the value of the service and how essential it could be between elections, since generally there are few transactions or changes.
Could you tell us more about it?
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