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Government of Canada to Start Fiscal Year off Right with $4.9-billion Decline in Planned Voted Expenditures - Minister Clement Tables the 2013-14 Main Estimates

For immediate release

February 25, 2013

Ottawa – The Honourable Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board, today tabled Main Estimates for 2013-14 that reflect the Government of Canada's ongoing commitment to finding savings and returning to balanced budgets.

“Our Government is focused on respecting taxpayers' dollars by keeping costs down and controlling program spending,” said Minister Clement. “We are starting this fiscal year on the right track with a reduction of $4.9 billion over last year in planned voted budgetary expenditures – the amounts Parliament will be asked to approve.”

The 2013–14 Main Estimates provide information on $252.5 billion in planned budgetary expenditures for the 2013-14 fiscal year. These include $87.1 billion in planned voted expenditures, which have decreased from $91.9 billion in 2012-13 and $165.5 billion in statutory expenditures. Statutory spending has increased by $5.5 billion largely due to changes in the forecast of elderly benefits, the Canada Health Transfer and employment insurance payments.

The Main Estimates support the Government's request for Parliament's approval of expenditures that were already planned for in Canada's Economic Action Plan 2012 or in previous budgets. The Main Estimates reflect the Government's resource allocation priorities for the fiscal year. The voted amounts represent maximum, “up to” ceilings or estimates, and may not be fully spent during the course of the year. Actual expenditures are found in the Public Accounts

These estimates, combined with the Public Accounts and Departmental Performance Reports, help inform Parliament and hold the Government to account for the allocation and management of public funds.

This year the Government of Canada is making it easier for Parliamentarians to assess the information contained in the Main Estimates. In response to feedback from Members of Parliament, information on 2011-12 actual expenditures and 2012-13 Estimates to date has been added to provide context. Bar charts and graphics have also been added to provide a visual summary of information in the tables.

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Backgrounder

Tabling of 2013-14 Main Estimates

The Main and Supplementary Estimates provide information on the planned spending levels for each federal department and agency. Main Estimates must be tabled by March 1 and are followed by the Supplementary Estimates, which are normally tabled three times a year — in May, late October and late February. The financial information found in the Estimates is presented in support of an Appropriation Act seeking Parliamentary approval for expenditures incurred throughout the year.

Budgetary expenditures include the cost of servicing the public debt; operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations, or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.

Non-budgetary expenditures (loans, investments, and advances) are outlays that represent changes in the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.

The 2013-14 Main Estimates tabled on February 25, 2013, provide information on $252.5 billion in planned budgetary expenditures for the 2013-14 fiscal year, including $87.1 billion in voted and $165.5 billion in statutory expenditures.

Total 2013-14 Main Estimates ($ billions)
  Budgetary Non-Budgetary
Voted Appropriations 87.06 0.07
Statutory Expenditures 165.48 (41.02)
Total 252.54 (40.95)

Voted Appropriations are those for which parliamentary authority is sought through an appropriation bill. The “Vote” sets out the maximum “up to” amount that may be spent in the fiscal year as well as the broad funding purpose. An organization cannot exceed the amount of the Vote, but may spend less. The Public Accounts of Canada, as well as the quarterly financial reports for departments and agencies can be used to compare planned and actual expenditures as well as comparative information for the preceding fiscal year.

Statutory Expenditures are those authorized by Parliament through specific legislation that authorizes payments and sets out the amounts and time periods for expenditures such as payments to Provinces under the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act.

There has been a decline in Main Estimates voted appropriations over the past four years reflecting the success of strategic reviews and other cost containment exercises undertaken by the Government of Canada.

Main Estimates Voted Budgetary Appropriations by fiscal year ($ Billions)
2013-14 $87.06
2012-13 $91.95
2011-12 $91.80
2010-11 $96.25
2009-10 $85.63
2008-09 $79.02

The Main and Supplementary Estimates, as well as Budgets and Updates of Economic and Fiscal Projections, reflect the Government's financial plans and resource allocation priorities at different points in the fiscal year. In combination with the subsequent reporting of financial results and actual expenditures in the Public Accounts and of results achieved in Departmental Performance Reports, Estimates documents help Parliament hold the government to account for the allocation and management of public funds.

Upon tabling, the Main and Supplementary Estimates are referred to various standing committees by subject matter, and to the Senate Standing Committee on National Finance. In considering Estimates, committees may approve, reduce, or deny a “Vote”. A committee may not increase a Vote, or transfer funds to another vote. The necessary appropriations bill is considered on the last Opposition day in each supply period.