Quarterly Financial Report for the Quarter Ended December 31, 2016
Table of Contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Highlights of Fiscal Quarter and Fiscal Year-to-Date (YTD) Results
- 3. Risks and Uncertainties
- 4. Significant Changes in Relation to Operations, Personnel and Programs
- 5. Statement of Authorities (unaudited)
- 6. Departmental Budgetary Expenditures by Standard Object (unaudited)
- 7. Glossary
This quarterly financial report has been prepared by management as required by section 65.1 of the Financial Administration Act (FAA) and in the form prescribed by the Treasury Board. The report should be read in conjunction with the 2016-17 Main Estimates as well as Budget 2016. In addition, the Departmental Audit Committee (DAC) has reviewed and commented on the report, but no external audit or review has been conducted.The glossary (Section 7) contains definitions for key financial terms that are hyperlinked in the text.
1.1. Justice Mandate
The Department of Justice has the mandate to support the dual roles of the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada.
Under Canada’s federal system, the administration of justice is an area of shared jurisdiction between the federal government and the provinces and territories. The Department supports the Minister of Justice in her responsibilities for 53 statutes and areas of federal law by ensuring a bilingual and bijural national legal framework, principally within the following domains: criminal justice (including victims of crime and youth criminal justice); family justice; access to justice; Aboriginal justice; public law; and private international law.
The Department also supports the Attorney General as the chief law officer of the Crown, both in terms of the ongoing operations of government and of the development of new policies, programs, and services for Canadians. The Department provides legal advice to the Government and federal government departments and agencies, represents the Crown in civil litigation and before administrative tribunals, and drafts legislation.
1.2. Basis of Presentation
This quarterly report has been prepared by management using an expenditure basis of accounting and a special purpose financial reporting framework designed to meet financial information needs with respect to the use of spending authorities. The accompanying Statement of Authorities includes the Department’s spending authorities granted by Parliament and those used by the Department consistent with the Main Estimates for the 2016-17 fiscal year.
The authority of Parliament is required before moneys can be spent by the Government.
Approvals are given in the form of annually approved limits through appropriation acts or through legislation in the form of statutory spending authority for specific purposes.
The Department uses the full accrual method of accounting to prepare and present its annual departmental financial statements, which are part of the departmental performance reporting process. However, the spending authorities voted by Parliament remain on an expenditure basis.
Although the Department has implemented a new advance billing process (as outlined in Section 4), revenues are reported when they are netted against expenditures rather than when they are collected, to ensure consistency of presentation and comparability with prior year reports.
1.3. Department of Justice Financial Structure
The Department of Justice financial structure is comprised of several budgetary authorities:
- Vote 1 - Operating Expenditures;
- Vote 5 - Grants and Contributions; and
- Statutory authorities related to contributions to the Employee Benefit Plan (EBP), salaries and motor car allowances for the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.
2. Highlights of Fiscal Quarter and Fiscal Year To Date (YTD) Results
This section highlights the significant items that contributed to the net increase in resources available for the year and net changes in actual expenditures for the quarter ended December 31, 2016. Graph 1 outlines the Department's gross and net budgetary authorities and expenditures.
For the period ending December 31, 2016, authorities provided to the Department included the Main Estimates, the Supplementary Estimates (B), the 2015-16 Year End Operating Budget Carry Forward (OBCF) and a compensation allocation adjustment by the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS). The Department had no items in Supplementary Estimates (A) in 2016-2017. However, a total of $2 million (vote 1 and vote 5) was requested in Supplementary Estimates (A) in 2015-16. This funding was included in the 2016-17 Main Estimates.
2.1. Significant Changes to Authorities
(Please refer to the Statement of Authorities table presented in Section 5.)
When compared to the third quarter of the previous fiscal year, the total gross budgetary authorities available for 2016-17 are higher by $28.4 million, from $998.9 million to $1,027.3 million. This increase comprises:
- Increase of $1.2 million in Vote 1- Operating Expenditures:
- Increase of $4.6 million for activities related to Division 9 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, as well as the pursuit of enhanced diplomatic assurances against torture or mistreatment in serious inadmissibility cases;
- Increase of $3.8 million due to a Treasury Board Secretariat compensation allocation adjustment, compared to the previous year’s adjustment;
- Increase of $1.7 million in support of Investigative Powers for the 21st Century (IP21C), stemming from the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act and the expected Ratification of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime (Budapest Convention);
- Increase of $0.5 million related to the receipt of the 2015-16 Year End Operating Budget Carry Forward (OBCF), compared to the previous year’s OBCF;
- Decrease of $3.6 million related to the Supporting Families Experiencing Separation and Divorce Initiative;
- Decrease of $3.0 million associated with the Legal Services Review;
- Decrease of $2.7 million related to the sunsetting of temporary funding that had been allocated to enhance activities pursuant to the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, related to the cessation and vacation of refugee status; and
- Decrease of $0.1 million related to other adjustments below $1 million.
- Increase of $25.1 million in Vote 5 - Grants and Contributions (G&C):
- Increase of $9.0 million related to contributions to provinces and territories for the delivery of legal aid in order to ensure access to justice for economically disadvantaged persons (Budget 2016);
- Increase of $7.9 million in support of legislative and non-legislative measures to implement the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights;
- Increase of $4.0 million to assist Indigenous People facing the criminal justice system (Budget 2016);
- Increase of $3.1 million to support culturally-responsive victim services as well as Family Information Liaison Units for families of missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls (Budget 2016);
- Increase of $1.5 million for activities related to Division 9 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, as well as the pursuit of enhanced diplomatic assurances against torture or mistreatment in serious inadmissibility cases; and
- Decrease of $0.4 million related to other adjustments below $1 million.
- Increase of $2.1 million in budgetary statutory authorities:
- Increase of $1.9 million due to a change to the Employee Benefit Plan (EBP) rate (from 16.8% to 17.2%); and
- Increase of $0.2 million due to other adjustments below $1 million.
In addition to the appropriations allocated to the Department through Main Estimates, the Department also has Net Vote Authority (NVA). This authority allows the Department, in a fiscal year, to expend revenues and offset expenditures related to the provision of internal support services, as well as mandatory legal services to government departments and agencies. For both respective quarters ending December 31 of 2015-16 and 2016-17, the Department’s NVA remained unchanged at $296.2 million.
Therefore, the $1,027.3 million gross budgetary authorities available for 2016-17 include $296.2 million of Net Vote Authorities. The net budgetary authorities available for 2016-17 total $731.1 million.
2.2. Significant Changes to Revenues Netted Against Expenditures
(Please refer to the Statement of Authorities table presented in Section 5.)
Total year-to-date revenues netted against expenditures have increased by $11.8 million, from $191.8 million in 2015-16 to $203.6 million in 2016-17. This increase in revenues is mainly explained by changes to the legal services rates.
While revenues netted against expenditures represent $203.6 million, the total year-to-date respendable revenues collected represent $271.4 million. This increase in revenues collected is due to the fact that the majority of the Department’s clients are now being billed in advance instead of on a monthly basis, as outlined in Section 4.
2.3. Significant Changes to Budgetary Expenditures
(Please refer to the Departmental Budgetary Expenditures by Standard Object table presented in Section 6.)
Total year-to-date gross budgetary expenditures increased from $529.8 million in 2015-16 to $532.5 million in 2016-17. This increase of $2.7 million consists of variances associated with the following:
- an increase of $6.3 million in salary expenditures partly due to the recently approved compensation agreement for the Law Practice Management Group (LC) and the temporary issues with the Government of Canada’s Phoenix pay system, which are being addressed by Public Services and Procurement Canada;
- an increase of $1.4 million in transfer payments primarily due to the timing differences in issuing payments to recipients;
- an increase of $1.0 million in office buildings repairs and maintenance;
- an increase of $0.8 million for a variety of small variances in other standard objects;
- a decrease of $5.7 million in other subsidies and payments mainly related to court awards and cost shared agreements with other government departments; and
- a decrease of $1.1 million in transportation and communications expenditures, mainly due to travel costs and communication services.
3. Risks and Uncertainties
In its delivery of legal services to the federal government, Justice Canada must work closely with client departments and agencies, who share joint responsibility for managing legal risks. Decisions by clients to engage, or not engage, Justice Canada shape the Department’s workload (the nature and volume of demands), as well as its overall delivery capacity since a significant portion of service delivery is funded through cost recovery from clients. Consequently, any unplanned or uncoordinated service demands could impact Justice Canada’s ability to deliver effective and fiscally sustainable services, particularly as federal departments seek to contain spending on legal services. For instance, a decision to not seek legal advice on an item of higher legal risk could lead to more costly litigation in the future, and/or a missed opportunity to consider the issue from a government-wide perspective. Conversely, engaging legal counsel on files that have no legal issues could increase costs unnecessarily. In addition, as legal services expenditures are contained or reduced, the Department could face unanticipated imbalances between expenditures and revenues. Moreover, as the Department balances legal service delivery capacity to respond to current demands, it may have limited capacity to respond to any future surges in demands (in either volume or complexity).
To address this risk, the Department has improved its financial forecasting practices and continued joint planning with clients. This collaboration includes sharing information on the effective management of legal risks, the triggers and costs of litigation, and the appropriate role of legal counsel. These activities have been informed by the recent Legal Services Review (LSR) to manage the demand for legal services and to ensure the fiscal sustainability of those services in the long term. Building on the measures implemented through this review, the Department continues to improve efficiency, consistency and innovation in the delivery of legal services. The Department also continues to make improvements to its cost recovery processes to effectively mitigate financial risks.
4. Significant Changes in Relation to Operations, Personnel and Programs
The Department of Justice received Treasury Board (TB) approval to implement a new funding and billing model for legal services provided to client departments as of April 1, 2016. More specifically, Justice moved away from after-the-fact monthly billing for legal services rendered (i.e. service provided in April being invoiced in May) to advance billing for clients above a $200K threshold. The Department now records the funds received in advance from other government departments as deferred revenues. Revenues are recognized against actual costs (legal services rendered) on a monthly basis (in the appropriate accounting period) to ensure that future advance payments are in line with forecasts and to avoid over/under billing. Clients under the $200K threshold continue to be billed for services rendered on a monthly basis and based on actual services rendered. Overall, this should provide more cost certainty to clients regarding their planned legal services, and facilitate discussions between Justice representatives and their clients in relation to the needs and use of legal services. It also allows for planning and decision-making based on sound knowledge of business processes and cost drivers.In addition, the Department of Justice has implemented a small reorganisation to support better integration, consistency and continuous improvement in how it delivers its mandate. These organizational changes will help deliver better results and support a culture of continuous change and innovation by:
- establishing clearer lines of accountability;
- providing coherent, consistent and integrated services and advice, through a whole-of-Justice approach;
- allowing greater flexibility in the use of resources;
- enabling continuous improvement and innovation;
- building increased analytical and strategic strength;
- ensuring employees contribute at their highest added value;
- leveraging technology to improve collaboration, openness and integration.
Approval by Senior Officials
William F. Pentney, Q.C.
Deputy Minister of Justice and
Deputy Attorney General of Canada
Johanne Bernard, CPA, CMA
Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer
Management and Chief Financial Officer Sector
March 1, 2017
5. Statement of Authorities (unaudited)
|Fiscal year 2016-2017||Fiscal year 2015-2016|
|Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2017Table note i||Used during the quarter ended December 31, 2016||Year to date used at quarter end||Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2016Table note i||Used during the quarter ended December 31, 2015||Year to date used at quarter end|
|Vote 1 - Operating expenditures||566,707||135,893||390,110||565,490||134,162||389,905|
|Less: Revenues netted against expenditures||(296,200)||(81,376)||(203,566)||(296,200)||(76,620)||(191,779)|
|Net Vote 1 operating expenditures||270,507||54,517||186,544||269,290||57,542||198,126|
|Vote 5 - Grants and contributions||381,317||23,452||83,393||356,225||43,645||81,996|
|Contributions to employee benefit plans||79,173||19,635||58,907||77,116||19,271||57,815|
|Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada - Salary and motor car allowance||84||21||56||82||15||56|
|Spending of proceeds from the disposal of surplus Crown assets||3||0||0||4||0||0|
|Refunds of amounts credited to revenues in previous years||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Budgetary statutory authorities||79,260||19,656||58,963||77,202||19,286||57,871|
- Table note i
Includes only Authorities available for use and granted by Parliament at quarter end.
6. Departmental Budgetary Expenditures by Standard Object (unaudited)
|Fiscal year 2016-2017||Fiscal year 2015-2016|
|Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2017||Expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2016||Year to date used at quarter end||Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2016||Expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2015||Year to date used at quarter end|
Transportation and communications
Professional and special services
Repair and maintenance
Utilities, materials and supplies
Acquisition of machinery and equipment
Other subsidies and payments
|Total gross budgetary expenditures||1,027,284||179,001||532,466||998,917||197,093||529,772|
|Less revenues netted against expenditures
|Total revenues netted against expenditures||(296,200)||(81,376)||(203,566)||(296,200)||(76,620)||(191,779)|
|TOTAL NET BUDGETARY EXPENDITURES||731,084||97,625||328,900||702,717||120,473||337,993|
Spending authorities are approvals from Parliament for individual government organizations to spend up to specific amounts. Spending authority is provided in two ways:
- Annual Appropriation Acts that specify the amounts and broad purposes for which funds can be spent; and
- Other specific statutes that authorize payments and set out the amounts and time periods for those payments.
- Relates to the coexistence and interaction of two legal systems or legal traditions in a given legal framework. In Canada, this relates to Quebec civil law and Canadian common law, taking into account other sources of federal law, including aboriginal rules and customs.
- Deferred Revenues
- An amount received or recorded as receivable but not yet earned and meanwhile carried forward to be taken into income in future periods.
- Employee Benefit Plan (EBP)
- A statutory item that includes employer costs for the Public Service Superannuation Plan, the Canada and the Quebec Pension Plans, Death Benefits, and the Employment Insurance accounts. Expressed as a percentage of salary, the EBP rate is changed every year as directed by the Treasury Board Secretariat.
- Full accrual method of accounting
- Costs are reported based on their consumption. Revenues are reported when earned.
- Main Estimates
- Each year, the government prepares estimates in support of its request to Parliament for authority to spend public funds. This request is formalized through the introduction of appropriation bills in Parliament. In support of the Appropriation Act, the Main Estimates identify the spending authorities (Votes) and amounts to be included in subsequent appropriation bills. Parliament is asked to approve these Votes to enable the government to proceed with its spending plans.
- Net Vote Authority (NVA)
- The authority by which the Department of Justice has permission to collect and spend revenue earned from the provision of legal and internal services within government.
- Operating Budget Carry Forward (OBCF)
- A Treasury Board centrally managed vote that permits departments to bring forward eligible lapsing funds from one fiscal year to the next in an amount up to five percent of the operating budgets contained in their Main Estimates. (See also Voted and statutory appropriations.)
- Reference level
- The amount of funding that the Treasury Board has approved for departments and agencies to carry out policies and programs for each year of the planning period.
- Respendable Revenues Collected
- Represents revenues that the department has specific authority from Parliament to respend which may be comprised of deferred revenues and revenues netted against expenditures.
- Revenues netted against expenditures
- Represents revenues that are recognized when they are earned (usually when goods are transferred or services rendered).
- Special purpose financial reporting framework
- The Quarterly Financial Report requirements and structure as defined in the Treasury Board Accounting Standard 1.3.
- Standard objects
- A system in accounting that classifies and summarizes records by categories, such as type of goods or services acquired, for monitoring and reporting.
- The end of temporary funding.
- Supplementary Estimates
- The President of the Treasury Board tables three Supplementary Estimates usually in late spring, late fall and early spring to obtain the authority of Parliament to adjust the government's expenditure plan set out in the estimates for that fiscal year. Supplementary Estimates serve two purposes. First, they seek authority for revised spending levels that Parliament will be asked to approve in an Appropriation Act. Second, they provide Parliament with information on changes in the estimated expenditures to be made under the authority of statutes previously passed by Parliament. Each Supplementary Estimates document is identified alphabetically (A, B, C)
- Voted and statutory appropriations
Expenditures made by government require the authority of Parliament. That authority is provided in two ways: annual Appropriation Acts or Supply Bills specify the amounts and broad purposes for which funds can be spent; and other specific statutes authorize payments and set out the amounts and time periods for those payments. The amounts approved in appropriation acts are referred to as voted amounts, and the expenditure authorities provided through other statutes are called statutory authorities.
- Vote 1—Operating Expenditures
- A vote that covers most day-to-day expenses, such as salaries and utilities. It is used when there is a requirement for either a “capital expenditures” vote or a “grants and contributions” vote or both; that is, when expenditures of either type equal or exceeds $5 million. Where they do not, the appropriate expenditures are included in the “program expenditures” vote.
- Vote 5—Grants and Contributions
- A vote used when grants and/or contributions expenditures equal or exceed $5 million.
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