To increase transparency around Government spending, the Financial Administration Act was amended in 2009 requiring that departments, agencies and Crown corporations prepare and make public quarterly financial reports beginning in fiscal year 2011-12.
Quarterly financial reports (QFR) for departments and agencies consist of financial tables comparing planned and actual expenditures for both the quarter and year-to-date as well as comparative information for the preceding fiscal year.
The financial statements in quarterly financial reports of Crown Corporations are prepared using an accrual basis of accounting.
The reports also contain a narrative section which provide a concise discussion on the significant changes affecting both the quarter and year to date financial results, and changes in relation to operations, personnel and programs.
Quarterly financial reports supplement existing year-end reporting by federal institutions. Each report includes spending authorities granted through the Main and Supplementary Estimates as well as any allotment transfers approved by Treasury Board that have become available for use by the institution at the end of the quarter.
Departments, agencies and Crown corporations must publish a quarterly financial report on their website for each of the first three quarters of the fiscal year within 60 days of the end of the reporting period.
Departments and agencies incorporate their fourth-quarter figures in the annual results found in Volume II of the Public Accounts of Canada while fourth-quarter figures for Crown corporations are part of the annual financial statements.