Financial Statements

Notes to the Financial Statements (unaudited)

For the year ended March 31, 2012

1. Authority and objectives

The Department of Justice was created by an Act of Parliament in 1868 to be responsible for the legal affairs of the Government of Canada and to provide legal services to individual departments and agencies. The Department's work reflects the duties of its Minister's dual role as Attorney General of Canada and as Minister of Justice. The Department is established under the authority of Schedule I to the Financial Administration Act and is funded through annual appropriations.

The department conducts its two priorities along four program activities:

(a) A fair, relevant and accessible justice system that reflects Canadian values

Justice policies, laws and programs

Under Canada's federal system, the administration of justice is an area of shared jurisdiction between the federal government and the provinces. Through this program activity, the Department fulfils its constitutional responsibility to ensure a bilingual and bijural national legal framework for the administration of justice by developing policies and laws and testing innovative approaches to strengthen the framework within the following domains: criminal law, youth criminal justice, sentencing, marriage and divorce, access to justice and Aboriginal justice. Through this program activity, the Department also provides significant ongoing funding to provinces and territories in support of their constitutional responsibility for the day-to-day administration of justice.

The Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime

This program activity raises awareness of the needs and concerns of victims in areas of federal responsibility, provides an independent resource that addresses complaints of victims about compliance with the provisions of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act that apply to victims of offenders under federal supervision, and assists victims to access existing federal programs and services.

(b) A federal government that is supported by effective and responsive legal services

Services to government

As a common service provider, the Department of Justice provides an integrated suite of legal advisory, litigation and legislative services to departments and agencies to help them meet their policy and programming priorities and advance the overall objectives of the Government. Through this program activity, the Department also provides legal services to the Justice Portfolio and supports the Minister as legal advisor to the Cabinet on complex, whole-of-government issues.

(c) The following program activity supports all strategic outcomes within this organization

Internal Services

Internal Services are groups of related activities and resources that are administered to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations of an organization. These groups are: Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Materiel Services; Acquisition Services; and Travel and Other Administrative Services. Internal Services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization and not to those provided specifically to a program.

2. Summary of significant accounting policies

These financial statements have been prepared using the Government's accounting policies stated below, which are based on Canadian public sector accounting standards. The presentation and results using the stated accounting policies do not result in any significant differences from Canadian public sector accounting standards.

The significant accounting policies are as follows:

(a) Parliamentary authorities

The Department is financed by the Government of Canada through Parliamentary authorities. Financial reporting of authorities provided to the Department do not parallel financial reporting according to generally accepted accounting principles since authorities are primarily based on cash flow requirements. Consequently, items recognized in the Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financal Position and in the Statement of Financial Position are not necessarily the same as those provided through authorities from Parliament. Note 3 provides a reconciliation between the bases of reporting. The planned results amounts in the Statement of Operations are the amounts reported in the future-oriented financial statements included in the 2011-12 Report on Plans and Priorities.

(b) Net cash provided by Government

The Department operates within the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), which is administered by the Receiver General for Canada. All cash received by the Department is deposited to the CRF, and all cash disbursements made by the Department are paid from the CRF. The net cash provided by Government is the difference between all cash receipts and all cash disbursements, including transactions between departments of the Government.

(c) Due from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF)

Amounts due from or to the CRF are the result of timing differences at year-end between when a transaction affects authorities and when it is processed through the CRF. Amounts due from the CRF represent the net amount of cash that the Department is entitled to draw from the CRF without further authorities to discharge its liabilities.

(d) Revenues

  • Revenues are derived from the provision of advisory, litigation and legislative services provided by Department of Justice's law practitioners and they are recognized in the year the services are rendered. These revenues are based on legal services rates approved annually by Treasury Board in accordance with the Common Services Policy, for non-appropriated mandatory legal services to Government departments and agencies as well as legal services to Crown corporations and non-federal and international organizations.
  • Service and administration fees revenues under the Family Law programs are recognized based upon the services provided in the year, such as upon validation of the garnishment application or upon issuance of the divorce clearance certificate. The fees prescribed by Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act are to cover the administrative costs of processing each garnishee summons served on the Minister.
  • Fines, forfeitures and awarded court costs are recognized upon receipt of payment by the Department. Fines and forfeitures include two groups of payments: those provided for under the Criminal Code (s.734 through s.737) and those provided for under the Contraventions Act. Fines and forfeitures are in effect penalties for illegal actions, rather than fees. These revenues are reported in "Other revenues".
  • Revenues that are non-respendable are not available to discharge the Department's liabilities. While the Deputy Head is expected to maintain accounting control, he or she has no authority regarding the disposition of non-respendable revenues. As a result, non-respendable revenues are considered to be earned on behalf of the Government of Canada and are therefore presented in reduction of the entity's gross revenues.

(e) Expenses - Recorded on the accrual basis:

  • Transfer payments are recorded as expenses when authorization for the payment exists and the recipient has met the eligibility criteria or the entitlements established for the transfer payment program. In situations where payments do not form part of an existing program, transfer payments are recorded as expenses when the Government announces a decision to make a non-recurring transfer, provided the enabling legislation or authorization for payment receives parliamentary approval prior to the completion of the financial statements.
  • Vacation pay and compensatory leave are expensed as the benefits accrue to employees under their respective terms of employment. The liability is calculated based on salary levels in effect at March 31 and the number of days remaining unpaid at the end of the fiscal year. Payments of these obligations are funded through future year appropriations.
  • Expenses related to the provision of legal services are limited to those costs borne and settled directly by the Department. The cost of legal services which are paid directly by client departments to outside suppliers such as legal agents, are not included in the expenses of the Department.
  • Services provided without charge by other government departments for accommodation, the employer's contribution to the health and dental insurance plans, and workers' compensation coverage are recorded as operating expenses at their estimated cost.

(f) Employee future benefits

i Pension benefits

Eligible employees participate in the Public Service Pension Plan, a multiemployer pension plan administered by the Government. The Department's contributions to the Plan are charged to expenses in the year incurred and represent the total departmental obligation to the Plan. Current legislation does not require the Department to make contributions for any actuarial deficiencies of the Plan.

ii Severance benefits

Employees are entitled to severance benefits under labour contracts or conditions of employment. These benefits are accrued as employees render the services necessary to earn them. The obligation relating to the benefits earned by employees is calculated using information derived from the results of the actuarially determined liability for employee severance benefits for the Government as a whole.

(g) Receivables

Receivables are stated at the lower of cost and net recoverable value; an allowance for doubtful accounts is made for receivables where recovery is considered uncertain. The allowance for doubtful accounts represents management's best estimate of probable losses in receivables. The allowance is determined based on an analysis of historic loss experience and an assessment of current conditions. The allowance is increased for losses and reduced by amounts written-off.

Under the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act, remission order PC 1994-269, outstanding receivables are written-off once the garnishee application has terminated. The application terminates when the five-year life of the garnishment summons has expired or when the province or territory has requested that the application be cancelled.

(h) Contingent liabilities

Contingent liabilities are potential liabilities which may become actual liabilities when one or more future events occur or fail to occur. To the extent that the future event is likely to occur or fail to occur, and a reasonable estimate of the loss can be made, an estimated liability is accrued and an expense recorded. If the likelihood is not determinable or an amount cannot be reasonably estimated, the contingency is disclosed in the notes to the financial statements.

(i) Tangible capital assets

All tangible capital assets and leasehold improvements are recorded at their cost and amortized over their estimated useful life on a straight-line basis as follows:

Asset class Acquisition cost
equal or
greater than
Amortization period
Office and other equipment $10,000 5 to 8 years
Telecommunications equipment $10,000 4 to 5 years
Informatics hardware $1,000 3 to 5 years
Informatics software $10,000 3 to 5 years
Furniture and furnishings $1,000 10 years
Motor vehicles $10,000 5 years
Leasehold improvements $10,000 Lesser of useful life
or remaining term
of the lease
Work in progress In accordance with
asset class
Once in service, in
accordance with
asset class

Assets under construction are recorded in the applicable capital asset class in the year that they become available for use and are not amortized until they become available for use.

Amortization of the tangible capital asset commences the month following the date the asset is put into service.

(j) Measurement uncertainty

The preparation of these financial statements requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses. At the time of preparation of these statements, management believes the estimates and assumptions to be reasonable. The most significant items where estimates are used are contingent liabilities, the liability for employee severance benefits, allowance for doubtful accounts, and the useful life of tangible capital assets. Actual results could significantly differ from those estimated. Management's estimates are reviewed periodically and, as adjustments become necessary, they are recorded in the financial statements in the year they become known.

3. Parliamentary authorities

The Department receives most of its funding through annual parliamentary authorities. Items recognized in the Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position and the Statement of Financial Position in one year may be funded through parliamentary authorities in prior, current or future years. Accordingly, the Department has different net results of operations for the year on a government funding basis than on an accrual accounting basis. The differences are reconciled in the following tables:

(a) Reconciliation of net cost of operations to current year authorities used (In thousands of dollars)
  2012 2011
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 772,751 798,354
Adjustments for items affecting net cost of operations but not affecting authorities:
Amortization of tangible capital assets (Note 8) (12,386) (11,389)
Vacation pay and compensatory leave (96) (1,075)
Employee future benefits 4,441 (1,220)
Adjustments to previous year's accounts payable 13,918 8,022
Bad debt expense (4,640) (4,941)
Employee benefits recovered 46,579 40,361
Services provided without charge by other government departments (Note 11) (86,419) (85,396)
Accrual for workforce adjustment (5,707) -
Accrual for collective agreements (4,609) -
Contingent liabilites (60) (8,600)
Other 67 83
Total items affecting net cost of operations but not affecting authorities (48,912) (64,155)
Adjustments for items not affecting net cost of operations but affecting authorities:
Reversal of accrual for collective agreements - 12,176
Acquisitions of tangible capital assets (Note 8) 20,935 15,023
Change in prepaid expenses 54 (15)
Other 180 100
Total items affecting net cost of operations but not affecting authorities 21,169 27,284
Current year authorities used 745,008 761,483

(b) Authorities provided and used (In thousands of dollars)
  2012 2011
Vote 1 - Operating expenditures 323,545 323,036
Vote 5 - Grants and contributions 395,699 397,956
Statutory amounts 78,447 79,429
Less
Appropriations available for future years (3) (16)
Voted appropriations lapsed (52,680) (38,922)
Current year authorities used 745,008 761,483

4. Accounts payable and accrued liabilities

(In thousands of dollars)
  2012 2011
Federal government departments and agencies 2,008 15,030
External parties
Accounts payable 38,485 38,267
Accrued salaries 3,400 1,770
Total accounts payable to external parties 41,885 40,037
Accrual for workforce adjustment 5,707 -
Accrual for unratified collective agreements 4,706 -
Other liabilities 8,660 8,600
Total accrued liabilities 60,958 48,637
Total accounts payable and accrued liabilities 62,966 63,667

In Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2012, the Government announced savings measures to be implemented by departments over the next three fiscal years starting in 2012-2013. As a result, the Department has recorded at March 31, 2012 an obligation for termination benefits for an amount of $5,707,000 as part of accrued liabilities to reflect the estimated workforce adjustment costs.

5. Family Law account

Under the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act, the Department assists provinces and territories in the enforcement of family support orders and agreements by providing garnishment assistance through the interception of designated federal moneys payable to individuals owing family financial support. These intercepted moneys (consisting of garnisheed moneys such as income tax refunds, employment insurance benefits, etc.) are deposited into the Family Law account from which payments to the provinces and territories are then made. The provinces and territories distribute these payments to the beneficiaries:

(In thousands of dollars)
  2012 2011
Family Law account, beginning of year 4,962 6,578
Receipts 165,852 165,362
Payments (167,641) (166,979)
Family Law account, end of year 3,173 4,962

6. Employee future benefits

(a) Pension benefits

The Department's employees participate in the Public Service Pension Plan, which is sponsored and administered by the Government of Canada. Pension benefits accrue up to a maximum period of 35 years at a rate of 2 percent per year of pensionable service, times the average of the best five consecutive years of earnings. The benefits are integrated with Canada/Quebec Pension Plans benefits and they are indexed to inflation.

Both the employees and the Department contribute to the cost of the Plan. The expense presented below represents approximately 1.8 times (1.9 in 2010-11) the employees' contributions.

(In thousands of dollars)
  2012 2011
Pension expense 56,274 55,631

The Department's responsibility with regard to the Plan is limited to its contributions. Actuarial surpluses or deficiencies are recognized in the financial statements of the Government of Canada, as the Plan's sponsor.

(b) Severance benefits

The Department provides severance benefits to its employees based on eligibility, years of service and salary at termination of employment. These severance benefits are not pre-funded. Benefits will be paid from future appropriations. Information about the severance benefits, measured as at March 31, is as follows:

As part of collective agreement negotiations with certain employee groups, and changes to conditions of employment for executives and certain non-represented employees, the accumulation of severance benefits under the employee severance pay program ceased for these employees commencing in 2012. Employees subject to these changes have been given the option to be immediately paid the full or partial value of benefits earned to date or collect the full or remaining value of benefits on termination from the public service. These changes have been reflected in the calculation of the outstanding severance benefit obligation.

(In thousands of dollars)
  2012 2011
Accrued future benefit obligation, beginning of year 91,517 90,297
Expense for the year 21,560 6,265
Benefits paid during the year (26,001) (5,045)
Accrued future benefit obligation, end of year 87,076 91,517

7. Accounts receivable and advances

(In thousands of dollars)
  2012 2011
Restated
(note 14)
Federal government departments and agencies 22,304 22,980
External parties
Family Law 12,420 12,058
Less: allowance for doubtful accounts (11,588) (11,271)
Total accounts receivable from Family Law 832 787
Other receivables and advances 892 913
Allowance for doubtful accounts on receivables from external parties (31) (192)
Total other receivables and advances 1,693 1,508
Gross accounts receivable 23,997 24,488
Accounts receivable held on behalf of Government (10,181) (10,290)
Net accounts receivable and advances 13,816 14,198

8. Tangible capital assets

Tangible capital assets

(In thousands of dollars)
  Opening balance Acquisitions Disposals and transfers Closing balance
Office and other equipment 1,012 265 (13) 1,264
Telecommunications equipment 4,134 923 (999) 4,058
Informatics hardware 24,045 3,165 (1,399) 25,811
Informatics software 23,160 3,275 (6,476) 19,959
Furniture and furnishings 24,264 2,283 (65) 26,482
Motor vehicles 63 - - 63
Leasehold improvements 24,571 - 4,307 28,878
Work in progress - software development 3,792 4,850 (4,576) 4,066
Work in progress - leasehold improvements 1,219 6,174 (7,393) 0
Total tangible capital assets 106,260 20,935 (16,614) 110,581

Accumulated amortization

(In thousands of dollars)
  Opening balance Current year amortization Disposals and transfers Closing balance
Office and other equipment 533 166 (13) 686
Telecommunications equipment 2,276 688 (483) 2,481
Informatics hardware 16,934 3,060 (1,115) 18,879
Informatics software 16,236 2,789 (11,053) 7,972
Furniture and furnishings 12,361 2,452 (65) 14,748
Motor vehicles 7 13 - 20
Leasehold improvements 13,997 3,218 (2,950) 14,265
Total accumulated amortization 62,344 12,386 (15,679) 59,051

Net book value

(In thousands of dollars)
  2012 2011
Office and other equipment 578 479
Telecommunications equipment 1,577 1,858
Informatics hardware 6,932 7,111
Informatics software 11,987 6,924
Furniture and furnishings 11,734 11,903
Motor vehicles 43 56
Leasehold improvements 14,613 10,574
Work in progress - software development 4,066 3,792
Work in progress - leasehold improvements - 1,219
Total net book value 51,530 43,916

Amortization expense for the year ended March 31, 2012 is $12,386,000 ($11,389,000 in 2010-11).

Disposals of assets under construction represent assets that were put into use in the year and have been transferred to the other capital asset classes as applicable.

Effective November 15, 2011, the Department transferred tangible capital assets with a net book value of $799,000 to Shared Services Canada. This transfer is included in the disposals and transfers column (refer to note 12 for further detail on the transfer).

9. Contingent liabilities

Claims and litigation

Claims have been made against the Department in the normal course of operations. These claims include items with pleading amounts and other for which no amount is specified. While the total amount claimed in these actions is significant, their outcomes are not determinable. The Department has recorded an allowance for claims and litigation where it is likely that there will be a future payment and a reasonable estimate of the loss can be made. Claims and litigation for which the outcome is not determinable and a reasonable estimate can be made by management amount to approximately $113,930,000 ($63,937,000 in 2010-11) at March 31, 2012.

In this regard, it should be noted that due to a specific file, an amount of $60,000 has been recorded in 2011-12 ($8,600,000 in 2010-11).

10. Contractual obligations

The nature of the Department's activities results in some large multi-year contracts and obligations whereby the Department will be obligated to make future payments in order to carry out its transfer payment programs or when the services and/or goods are received.

Significant contractual obligations that can be reasonably estimated are summarized as follows:

(In thousands of dollars)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
and thereafter
Transfer payments 188,350 - - - -

11. Related party transactions

The Department is related as a result of common ownership to all Government of Canada departments, agencies, and Crown corporations. The Department enters into transactions with these entities in the normal course of business and on normal trade terms.

Also, during the year, the Department received without charge from other departments, accommodation, the employer's contribution to the health and dental insurance plans, and workers' compensation coverage. These services without charge have been recognized in the Department's Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position as follows:

(In thousands of dollars)
  2012 2011
Accommodation provided by Public Works and Government Services Canada 47,005 45,799
Employer's contributions to the health and dental insurance plans paid by Treasury Board Secretariat 39,336 39,520
Workers’ compensation coverage provided by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada 78 77
Total 86,419 85,396

The Government has structured some of its administrative activities for efficiency and cost-effectiveness purposes so that one department performs these on behalf of all without charge. The cost of these services, which include payroll and cheque issuance services provided by Public Works and Government Services Canada, are not included as an expense in the Department's Statement of Operations.

In addition, the Department of Justice has provided legal services, such as advisory, litigation and legislative services, without charge to other government departments for a total amount of $172,244,000 ($186,177,000 in 2010-11). The amount is determined based on actual salary and operating expenses attributed to non-recoverable services provided to other government departments.

12. Transfers to other government departments

Effective November 15, 2011, the Department transferred responsibility for the control and supervision over the Email, Data Centre and Network Services Unit to the Shared Services Canada in accordance with Order-in-Council 2011-1297, including the stewardship responsibility for the assets and liabilities related to the program. Accordingly, the Department transferred the following assets on November 15, 2011:

(In thousands of dollars)
Assets
Tangible capital assets (net book value) (note 8) 799
Adjustment to the departmental net financial position 799

In addition, the 2011 comparative figures have been reclassified on the Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position to present the revenues and expenses of the transferred operations. Planned amounts are not presented since they are not determinable.

During the transition period, the Department continued to administer the transferred activities on behalf of Shared Services Canada. The administered expenses amounted to $5,937,000 for the year. These expenses are not recorded in these financial statements

13. Segmented information

Presentation by segment is based on the Department's program activity architecture. The presentation by segment is based on the same accounting policies as described in the Summary of significant accounting policies in note 2. The following table presents the expenses incurred and revenues generated for the main program activities, by major object of expenses and by major type of revenues. The segment results for the period are as follows:

(In thousands of dollars)
  The Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime Justice policies, laws and programs Services to government Internal Services 2012 2011
Restated
(note 14)
Operating expenses
Salaries and employee benefits 1,102 51,658 424,360 139,500 616,620 587,676
Accommodation 56 19,084 20,288 11,392 50,820 48,897
Professional and special services 65 4,895 20,921 11,871 37,752 42,733
Amortization of tangible capital assets 12 166 775 11,433 12,386 11,389
Travel and relocation 42 1,380 6,709 1,080 9,211 10,931
Utilities, materials and supplies 10 561 4,096 2,779 7,446 7,833
Bad debts - 4,640 - - 4,640 4,941
Repairs and maintenance 1 60 375 3,986 4,422 3,273
Information 52 294 2,490 252 3,088 8,741
Communications 3 131 1,027 552 1,713 2,029
Other - 786 38 299 1,123 1,069
Rentals 3 63 514 203 783 808
Claims and ex-gratia payments - 7 142 321 470 10,876
Total operating expenses 1,346 83,725 481,735 183,668 750,474 741,196
Transfer payments
Provinces and territories - 335,084 - - 335,084 342,642
Non-profit institutions and organizations - 28,684 - - 28,684 26,315
Individuals - 6,249 - - 6,249 9,664
International organizations - 710 - - 710 666
Total transfer payments - 370,727 - - 370,727 379,287
Total expenses 1,346 454,452 481,735 183,668 1,121,201 1,120,483
Revenues
Legal services - - 311,615 38,137 349,752 328,641
Family Law fees - 7,653 - - 7,653 8,091
Common Services - - - 6,145 6,145 6,277
Other revenues - 340 261 19 620 914
Revenues earned on behalf of Government - (7,993) (261) (19) (8,273) (9,005)
Total revenues - - 311,615 44,282 355,897 334,918
Net cost from continuing operations 1,346 454,452 170,120 139,386 765,304 785,565

14. Accounting changes

During 2011, amendments were made to Treasury Board Accounting Standard 1.2 – Departmental and Agency Financial Statements to improve financial reporting by government departments and agencies. The amendments are effective for financial reporting of fiscal years ending March 31, 2012, and later. The significant changes to the Department's financial statements are described below. These changes have been applied retroactively, and comparative information for 2010-11 has been restated.

Net debt (calculated as liabilities less financial assets) is now presented in the Statement of Financial Position. Accompanying this change, the Department now presents a Statement of Change in Net Debt and no longer presents a Statement of Equity.

Revenue and related accounts receivable are now presented net of non-respendable amounts in the Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position and Statement of Financial Position. The effect of this change was to increase the net cost of operations after government funding and transfers by $8,273,000 for 2012 ($9,005,000 for 2011) and decrease total financial assets by $10,181,000 for 2012 ($10,290,000 for 2011).

Government funding and transfers, as well as the credit related to services provided without charge by other government departments, are now recognized in the Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position below "Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers." In previous years, the Department recognized these transactions directly in the Statement of Equity of Canada. The effect of this change was to decrease the net cost of operations before government funding and transfers by $776,373,000 for 2012 ($790,244,000 for 2011).

(In thousands of dollars)
  2011 As previously stated Effect of change 2011 Restated
Statement of Financial Position:
Assets held on behalf of Government - (10,290) (10,290)
Departmental net financial position (78,742) (10,290) (89,032)
Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position:
Revenues 337,646 (2,728) 334,918
Government funding and transfers
Net cash provided by Government - 725,345 725,345
Change in due from Consolidated Revenue Fund - (20,497) (20,497)
Services provided without charge by other government departments - 85,396 85,396

15. Comparative information

Certain 2011 comparative figures are reclassified to conform to the current year's presentation.

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