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Ensuring truth in budgeting with a Parliamentary Budget Authority

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On April 11, 2006, the Government of Canada introduced the Federal Accountability Act and Action Plan, delivering on its commitment to make government more accountable. The Federal Accountability Act received Royal Assent on December 12, 2006. This is one of a series of fact sheets describing proposed actions to respond to this commitment.

The context

Improving the transparency and credibility of the Government’s fiscal forecasting and budget planning process is fundamental to making the Government more accountable to Parliament and Canadians. To that end, parliamentary committees should have access to independent, objective analysis and advice concerning economic and fiscal issues, supported by timely, accurate information from federal departments and agencies.

What this means for Canadians

Together these measures increase transparency in the Government's fiscal planning framework and enable Parliament to better hold government to account.

The Action Plan

Effective December 12, 2006, the Federal Accountability Act:

  • expands the mandate and resources of the non-partisan Library of Parliament by establishing within it the position of Parliamentary Budget Officer;
  • gives this Officer the mandate to:
    • provide objective analysis to the Senate and House of Commons concerning the state of the nation’s finances, the estimates of the Government and trends in the national economy;
    • undertake economic and fiscal research for the Standing Committee on Finance, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, or the Senate Standing Committee on National Finance, on the request of these committees; and
    • estimate the cost of proposals currently or prospectively under consideration in either House when asked to do so by a Member, a committee of the Senate or the House of Commons, or a committee of both Houses.
  • requires departments and agencies to provide the Officer with existing data necessary to fulfill his or her mandate.

In addition, quarterly updates to current year fiscal forecasts are being issued through the Fiscal Monitor, the Economic and Fiscal Update, and the Budget in accordance with the International Monetary Fund’s Code of Good Practices on Fiscal Transparency.

For more information

For more information on this specific measure, please refer to the relevant section of the Action Plan, or contact us.

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