CUPW questions about the upcoming consultations and witnesses

I have been getting quite a few questions about the committee’s process in relation to the Canada Post Review consultations (I.e. Phase 2 of the review, as described on the the following website: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/examendepostescanada-canadapostreview/index-eng.html) and am hoping you can help me answer some of these inquiries, which I have summarized below:

1) Your email indicates that you will be extending invitations to prospective witnesses next week. Can anyone request to be a witness at the public consultations being held across the country or do they have to be invited by you on behalf of the committee? That is, what is the process for becoming a witness?

2) Has the deadline for witness suggestions been posted on the committee webpage or Canada Post Review website?

3) As a rule, how many witnesses will appear in each location?

4) Do witnesses have to be from the locations picked by the committee or can they be from the surrounding area?

5) What does the committee expect from the witnesses who appear in the various locations? A 5 minute presentation? A 10 minute presentation? A written version of the presentation? Will they be allowed  to make powerpoint presentations?

6) Does the committee or government have a plan for publicizing e-consolations and real life consultations? And is there a timeframe for this publicity?

7) Will the witnesses have to address the issues raised in the discussion paper produced by the Canada Post Review Task Force, or can they address other issues?

Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

All the best,
Katherine Steinhoff
Research and Communications
Canadian Union of Postal Workers

Clerk of Standing Committee’s responses

Ms. Steinhoff,

Thank you for your follow-up questions. I can understand that interest is high and that you have questions for clarification. The Committee’s study is independent of the government’s review of Canada Post. The Committee will report to the House of Commons by December 2016 and may request that the government respond to the Committee’s report. The Committee may avail itself of any Taskforce report or government document to inform its discussions and consultations with Canadians in the study of Canada Post. I’ll answer your questions in order, and please feel free to further follow up.

1) Anyone can request to be a witness. We compile these requests and advise the members.  As the members decide for themselves whom to invite, anyone wishing to appear may advise me and I will in turn advise the Committee within one business day, or he or she may contact members of the Committee directly to request that they be invited to appear. Contact information for members’ offices is listed on the Committee’s web page.

2) The Committee members will advise me of their lists of requested witnesses in the coming days, and I will be extending invitations to individuals and organizations starting next week. This is an internal administrative process.

3) There is no firm rule for how many witnesses will appear in each location. However, the usual practice is for the Committee to meet with panels of witnesses and for the panels to be composed of enough witnesses so that the Committee may receive useful and significant testimony, but not so many witnesses that no one has a chance to speak and be heard.  We plan to publish notices of meeting this month, to advise the duration and exact venue of the meeting, with witnesses TBD, so that the public will know where the Committee is traveling, and how long each meeting is scheduled to last

4) The purpose of traveling is to meet with witnesses who are from the regions we are visiting. Regrettably, as the Committee cannot visit as many places as warrant visiting, we will have to invite witnesses that represent as much as possible Canada’s many facets. The Committee’s e-consultation is intended to further broaden the access of Canadians to this study, to make their views known.

5) Witnesses ordinarily have time at the beginning of their testimony to make opening remarks.  Witnesses may submit written briefs, however the maximum length will be shortened to ensure that the Committee is able to fully consider each submission. The Committee has not finalized how it will govern proceedings during witness testimony, but this information should be available shortly.

6) The Committee has agreed to hold an e-consultation, which is in the planning stage at this time. The Committee will also travel and hold public hearings outside of the Parliamentary Precinct, as you know. What I can share of the plan at this stage is that e-consultations will run more or less concurrent to public hearings, and will begin in late September. The Committee will issue a news release in advance of the commencement of the e-consultation to announce it.

7) Witnesses may express themselves freely; committee members, too, are unfettered in the relevant questions they may ask of witnesses. In their written briefs and opening remarks, witnesses are not restrained in the issues they address. The Committee welcomes the views and recommendations of witnesses.

I am in the office tomorrow, please feel free to follow or call me if you wish to discuss.

Leif-Erik Aune
Greffier du Comité | Clerk of the Committee
Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates |
Comité permanent des opérations gouvernementales et des prévisions budgétaires

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