Financial Statements

Notes to the Financial Statements (unaudited)

For the year ended March 31

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 Canadian Justice System

Stewardship of the Canadian Legal Framework

The Department fulfils its stewardship role by ensuring a bilingual and bijural national legal framework for the administration of justice that contributes to a safe and just society for all Canadians and confidence in Canada’s justice system. The Department develops and tests innovative approaches to strengthen the legal framework within the following domains: criminal law, youth criminal justice, sentencing, official languages, marriage and divorce, access to justice, and Aboriginal justice. In addition, in view of the federal government’s shared interest in a sustainable justice system, the Department promotes and facilitates ongoing dialogue with the provinces and territories in the areas of shared jurisdiction and provides funding for the delivery of programs that directly support federal policy objectives.

Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime

The Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime (OFOVC) was created to provide a voice for victims of crime at the federal level and to ensure that the federal government meets its commitments to victims. The Office provides direct information, referral, and complaint-review services to its primary clients – victims, victims' family members or representatives, victim-serving agencies, and other related stakeholders. The Office also helps raise awareness of systemic issues amongst all criminal justice and victim-serving personnel and provides related recommendations and advice to the Government of Canada through the Minister of Justice. In order to fulfill its mandate, the Office promotes access by victims to existing federal programs and services for victims; addresses complaints of victims about compliance with the provisions of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act; promotes awareness of the needs and concerns of victims and the applicable laws that benefit victims of crime, including promoting the principles set out in the Canadian Statement of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime; identifies and reviews emerging and systemic issues that negatively impact victims of crime; and facilitates access by victims to existing federal programs and services by providing them with information and referrals. The Ombudsman reports directly to the Minister of Justice and, as such, the Office falls outside the Department's governance framework.

(b) A Federal Government that is Supported by High-Quality Legal Services

Legal Services to Government Program

The Department of Justice provides an integrated suite of high-quality legal advisory, litigation and legislative services to the Minister of Justice and to all federal departments and agencies to support them in meeting the Government’s policy and programming priorities and to advance the overall objectives of the Government. Services are provided through a network of departmental legal services units co-located with client departments and agencies, specialized legal capacities within national headquarters, and a network of regional offices and suboffices providing legal advisory and litigation services to federal departments and agencies across the country.

(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. Internal services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization, and not those provided to a specific program. The groups of activities are Management and Oversight Services, Communications Services, Legal Services (Corporate Counsel), Human Resources Management Services, Financial Management Services, Information Management Services, Information Technology Services, Real Property Services, Materiel Services and Acquisition Services.

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 “Expenses” and “Revenues” sections of the Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position are the amounts reported in the Future-Oriented Statement of Operations included in the 2015-16 Report on Plans and Priorities. Planned results are not presented in the “Government Funding and Transfers” section of the Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position and in the Statement of Change in Departmental Net Debt because these amounts were not included in the 2015-16 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 Federal 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 the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act are to cover the administrative costs of processing each garnishee summons served on the Minister.
  • Common Services revenues are derived in accordance with the Common Services Policy, for specific internal services provided to Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC).
  • Fines, forfeitures and awarded court costs provided for under the Contraventions Act are recognized upon receipt of payment by the Department. 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 expected to maintain accounting control, the Deputy Minister 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, employer contributions to the health and dental insurance plans, and workers' compensation 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 entitled to severance benefits under labour contracts or conditions of employment earn these benefits as services necessary to earn them are rendered. 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 p.c. 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.

Receivables that are not available to discharge the Department's liabilities are considered to be held on behalf of the Government of Canada.

(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 acquisition cost and amortized over their estimated useful life on a straight-line basis as follows:

Tangible capital assets
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.

(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 reported in the financial statements. 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

Reconciliation of net cost of operations to current year authorities used
(in thousands of dollars)
  2016 2015 Restated (note 14)
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 766,705 786,686
Adjustments for items affecting net cost of operations but not affecting authorities:
Amortization of tangible capital assets (note 8) (12,487) (13,550)
Net loss on write off of tangible capital assets (565) (1,346)
Increase in vacation pay and compensatory leave (605) (645)
Increase in employee future benefits (2,604) (8,350)
Adjustments to previous year's accounts payable 13,361 6,920
Bad debt expense (4,907) (4,688)
Services provided without charge by other government departments (note 11) (89,506) (88,398)
Accrued liabilites - 5,800
Revenues not available for spending in the fiscal year 52 45
Total items affecting net cost of operations but not affecting authorities (97,261) (104,212)
Adjustments for items not affecting net cost of operations but affecting authorities:
Accrued liabilities paid in the fiscal year 2,350 -
Reversal of accrual for workforce adjustment - 1,086
Acquisitions of tangible capital assets (note 8) 10,213 7,450
Transition payments for implementing salary payments in arrears 193 17,849
Increase in prepaid expenses 795 (8)
Other (4) 1
Total items not affecting net cost of operations but affecting authorities 13,776 26,378
Current year authorities used 683,220 708,852

(b) Authorities provided and used

Authorities provided and used
(in thousands of dollars)
  2016 2015
Authorities provided:
Vote 1 - Operating expenditures 279,767 296,463
Vote 5 - Grants and contributions 358,446 356,435
Statutory amounts 73,123 77,656
Less:
Authorities available for future years (1) (2)
Voted appropriations lapsed (28,115) (21,700)
Current year authorities used 683,220 708,852

4. Accounts payable and accrued liabilities

The following table presents details of the Department's accounts payable and accrued liabilities:

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities
(in thousands of dollars)
  2016 2015
Accounts payable - Other government departments and agencies 1,871 2,322
Account payable - External parties 24,455 34,631
Total accounts payable 26,326 36,953
Accrued liabilities 37,473 25,298
Total accounts payable and accrued liabilities 63,799 62,251

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:

Family Law account
(in thousands of dollars)
  2016 2015
Family Law account - Beginning of year 5,565 1,503
Receipts 187,397 179,775
Payments (189,832) (175,713)
Family Law account - End of year 3,130 5,565

6. Employee future benefits

(a) Pension benefits

The Department's employees participate in the public service pension plan (the “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/Québec Pension Plan benefits and they are indexed to inflation.

Both the employees and the Department contribute to the cost of the Plan. Due to the amendment of the Public Service Superannuation Act following the implementation of provisions related to Economic Action Plan 2012, employee contributors have been divided into two groups – Group 1 relates to existing plan members as of December 31, 2012 and Group 2 relates to members joining the Plan as of January 1, 2013. Each group has a distinct contribution rate.

For Group 1 members, the expense presented below represents approximately 1.25 times (1.41 times in 2014-2015) the employee contributions and, for Group 2 members, approximately 1.24 times (1.39 times in 2014-2015) the employee contributions.

Pension benefits
(in thousands of dollars)
  2016 2015
Expense amounts 50,338 53,024

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 authorities. 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.

Severance benefits
(in thousands of dollars)
2016 2015
Accrued benefit obligation - Beginning of year 43,640 35,290
Expense for the year 6,411 14,793
Benefits paid during the year (3,807) (6,443)
Accrued benefit obligation - End of year 46,244 43,640

7. Accounts receivable and advances

The following table presents details of the Department's accounts receivable and advances balances:

Accounts receivable and advances
(in thousands of dollars)
  2016 2015
Receivables - Other government departments and agencies 32,580 31,430
Receivables - External parties
Family Law 11,671 11,724
Allowance for doubtful accounts from Family Law (10,977) (11,033)
Total accounts receivable from Family Law 694 691
Other receivables and advances 971 646
Allowance for doubtful accounts on receivables from external parties (208) (122)
Total other receivables and advances 763 524
Gross accounts receivable 34,037 32,645
Accounts receivable held on behalf of Government (751) (807)
Net accounts receivable 33,286 31,838

8. Tangible capital assets

Tangible capital asset class
(in thousands of dollars)
  Opening balance Acquisitions Disposals, Write-Offs and Adjustments Closing balance
Office and other equipment 1,051 41 - 1,092
Telecommunications equipment 1,586 446 - 2,032
Informatics hardware 13,681 2,637 - 16,318
Informatics software 24,839 135 2,568 27,542
Furniture and furnishings 17,787 1,087 - 18,874
Motor vehicles 32 55 (32) 55
Leasehold improvements 36,057 20 (4,047) 32,030
Work in progress - software development 276 4,260 (2,748) 1,788
Work in progress - leasehold improvements 111 1,532 (1,299) 344
Total tangible capital assets 95,420 10,213 (5,558) 100,075
Accumulated amortization
(in thousands of dollars)
  Opening balance Current year amortization Disposals, Write-Offs and Adjustments Closing balance
Office and other equipment 730 106 - 836
Telecommunications equipment 1,135 241 - 1,376
Informatics hardware 7,792 2,458 - 10,250
Informatics software 14,894 4,283 (110) 19,067
Furniture and furnishings 8,674 1,797 - 10,471
Motor vehicles 28 7 (32) 3
Leasehold improvements 26,009 3,595 (4,850) 24,754
Total accumulated amortization 59,262 12,487 (4,992) 66,757
Net book value
(in thousands of dollars)
  2016 2015
Office and other equipment 256 321
Telecommunications equipment 656 451
Informatics hardware 6,068 5,889
Informatics software 8,475 9,945
Furniture and furnishings 8,403 9,113
Motor vehicles 52 4
Leasehold improvements 7,276 10,048
Work in progress - software development 1,788 276
Work in progress - leasehold improvements 344 111
Total net book value 33,318 36,158

Disposals, Write-Offs and Adjustments include assets under construction of $4,048,191 that were transferred to the other categories upon completion of the assets.

9. 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:

Contractual obligations
(in thousands of dollars)
  2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 and thereafter
Transfer payments 291,465 155,156 2,284 2,293 -

10. 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 litigations where it is likely that there will be a future payment and a reasonable estimate of the loss can be made. Claims and litigations for which the outcome is not determinable and a reasonable estimate can be made by management amount to approximately $3,000,000 ($3,250,000 in 2014-2015) at March 31, 2016.

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.

During the year, the Department received services without charge from certain common service organizations, related to accommodation, the employer's contribution to the health and dental insurance plans, and workers' compensation coverage. These services provides without charge have been recorded in the Department's Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position as follows:

Related party transactions
(in thousands of dollars)
  2016 2015
Accommodation 48,071 47,431
Employer's contributions to the health and dental insurance plans 41,364 40,925
Workers’ compensation coverage provided 71 42
Total 89,506 88,398

The Government has centralized some of its administrative activities for efficiency, cost-effectiveness purposes and economic delivery of programs to the public. As a result, the Government uses central agencies and common service organizations so that one department performs services for all other departments and agencies without charge. The costs of these services, such as the payroll and cheque issuance services provided by Public Services and Procurement Canada and audit services provided by the Office of the Auditor General are not included in the Department’s Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position. The costs of information technology infrastructure services provided by Shared Services Canada, following the transfer of responsibilities in November 2011 and April 2013, are also not included in the Department’s Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position.

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 $148,896,311 ($133,157,000 in 2014-2015). The amount is determined based on actual salary and operating expenses attributed to non-recoverable services provided to other government departments.

12. Transfer of the transition payments for implementing salary payments in arrears

The Government of Canada implemented salary payments in arrears in 2014-2015. As a result, a one-time payment was issued to employees and will be recovered from them in the future. Employees that were on leave without pay when the initial one-time transition payments were issued will receive the transition payment shortly after their return to work from their leave without pay. The transition to salary payments in arrears forms part of the transformation initiative that replaces the pay system and also streamlines and modernizes the pay processes. This change to the pay system had no impact on the expenses of the Department. However, it did result in the use of additional spending authorities by the Department. Prior to year-end, the transition payments for implementing salary payments in arrears were transferred to a central account administered by Public Services and Procurement Canada, who is responsible for the administration of the Government pay system.

13. Segmented information

Presentation by segment is based on the Department's program alignment 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:

Segmented information
(in thousands of dollars)
  Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime Stewardship of the Canadian Legal Framework Legal Services to Government Program Internal Services 2016 2015
Operating expenses
Salaries and employee benefits 966 45,329 435,163 109,116 590,574 617,449
Accommodation 56 19,008 22,301 11,607 52,972 52,357
Professional and special services 69 3,119 15,749 12,697 31,634 34,863
Amortization of tangible capital assets - 64 682 11,741 12,487 13,550
Travel and relocation 45 876 5,212 820 6,953 5,951
Utilities, materials and supplies 4 153 1,155 4,098 5,410 5,649
Bad debts - 4,907 - - 4,907 4,688
Other 1 626 65 3,361 4,053 6,947
Information 72 534 2,188 376 3,170 2,966
Rentals 4 129 308 2,148 2,589 846
Claims and ex-gratia payments - - 2,556 1 2,557 (8,568)
Communications 1 63 519 1,464 2,047 1,181
Repairs and maintenance - 5 59 1,124 1,188 1,895
Total operating expenses  1,218 74,813 485,957 158,553 720,541 739,774
Transfer payments
Provinces and territories - 303,436 - - 303,436 305,750
Non-profit institutions and organizations - 35,617 - - 35,617 37,509
International organizations - 463 - - 463 441
Individuals - 225 - - 225 437
Total transfer payments - 339,741 - - 339,741 344,137
Total expenses 1,218 414,554 485,957 158,553 1,060,282 1,083,911
Revenues
Legal services - - 290,260 42,838 333,098 336,854
Family Law fees - 8,132 - - 8,132 7,721
Common Services - - - 3,352 3,352 3,518
Other revenues - 1,723 3,618 20 5,361 824
Revenues earned on behalf of Government - (9,855) (40,473) (6,038) (56,366) (51,692)
Total revenues - - 253,405 40,172 293,577 297,225
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 1,218 414,554 232,552 118,381 766,705 786,686

14. Comparative information

Comparative figures have been reclassified to conform to current year's presentation.

According to Treasury Board Accounting Standard 1.2, revenues earned and expenses incurred on behalf of the government are presented distinctly in the Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position.

In 2015-2016, corrections were made in determining revenues considered as held on behalf of the government. These changes have been applied retroactively, and comparative information for 2014-2015 have been restated.

The effect of these corrections were to increase the net cost of operations after government funding and transfers by $42,872,441 for 2015-16 ($43,146,898 for 2014-2015).

Corrections in prior year financial statements:

Statement of operations and Departmental Net Financial Position:
(in thousands of dollars)
  2015 As previously stated Effect of correction 2015 Restated
Revenue earned on behalf of Government (8,545) (43,147) (51,692)
Total revenues 340,372 (43,147) 297,225
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 743,539 43,147 786,686
Net cash provided by Government 589,466 43,147 632,613
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