Policy on Service Standards for External Fees
This policy replaces:
1. Effective date
This policy comes into effect November 29, 2004.
This policy applies to all departments listed in Schedules I, I.1 and II of the Financial Administration Act (FAA). It does not apply to interdepartmental fees (i.e. fees charged by one department to another).
3.1 The government recognizes the importance of service quality, and has made clear that this is a key responsibility in Results for Canadians: A Management Framework for the Government of Canada and the TBS Management Accountability Framework. Consistent with this, service standards represent an important management tool for measuring, assessing, communicating and improving service performance. Consultation is critical to service standard development in order that government and stakeholders gain an understanding of their respective needs and challenges.
3.2 Moreover, service standards represent the government's commitment to those who use its services, in a framework of transparency and accountability. This is particularly true when users are charged a fee.
3.3 This perspective is reinforced by the provisions of the User Fees Act, which was given Royal Assent on March 31, 2004. The Act created a legal framework within which departments are required to manage user fees, including the establishment and reporting of standards.
4. Policy Statement
It is the policy of the government that those who pay fees for government services are entitled to fundamental information on the services being provided and any associated service standards.
5. Policy Requirements
5.1 The provision of services external to the federal government, for which fees are charged, must be accompanied with service standards that are:
- Measurable; and
- Relevant at the level of the paying stakeholder.
5.2 These service standards must be developed in consultation with paying and non-paying stakeholders.
5.3 These service standards and a summary of stakeholder feedback from consultation must be reported annually to Parliament, no later than the 2005-06 Departmental Performance Reports, in a format to be determined by Treasury Board Secretariat.
These requirements do not apply where the government and the paying stakeholder have negotiated a contract or formal agreement stipulating the service standard (or some equivalent provision).
6. Specific Requirements
6.1 Departments will establish monitoring mechanisms, to ensure that all fee-related activities are subject to audit and evaluation practices.
6.2 Treasury Board Secretariat will monitor implementation of this policy on a government-wide basis through review of the Departmental Performance Reports.
Enquiries related to the policy should be directed to the official designated as responsible for overseeing the specific departmental fee activities. When necessary, further questions or points of clarification can be directed to the appropriate Treasury Board Secretariat program analyst.