Policy on Financial Resource Management, Information and Reporting

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1. Effective date

1.1 This policy takes effect on June 1, 2010, except for section 6.7, pertaining to the production of a quarterly financial report, which will come into effect on April 1, 2011.

1.2 The Policy on Financial Resource Management, Information and Reporting supersedes the Treasury Board Accounting Standard 1.1, Policy and Principles; dated April 1, 2001.

2. Application

2.1 This policy applies to all departments and organizations defined as departments in section 2 of the Financial Administration Act. Throughout this policy, the terms "government-wide" and "across government" refer to these organizations.

2.2 Section 7.2, and those portions of sections 8.2 and 8.3 that provide for the Comptroller General of Canada to monitor compliance with this policy within departments and/or request departments take corrective action, do not apply with respect to the Office of the Auditor General, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, the Office of the Information Commissioner, the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages and the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner. The deputy heads of these organizations are solely responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with this policy within their organizations, as well as for responding to cases of non-compliance in accordance with Treasury Board instruments that address the management of compliance.

3. Context

3.1 Canadians expect the federal government to manage public funds well by effectively planning, budgeting and making decisions on the allocation, reallocation and use of financial resources based on reliable information and sound analysis of that information. They also expect timely and reliable reporting that provides transparency and accountability for how government spends public funds to achieve results for Canadians.

3.2 In addition to their assigned duties, deputy heads as departmental accounting officers are expected to organize resources to deliver departmental programs, to ensure that they have taken measures to maintain effective systems of internal control, to sign the accounts required for the preparation of the Public Accounts. Effective financial resource management, which includes the continuum comprising planning, budgeting, monitoring and reporting, essentially supports these responsibilities and achieves departmental and governmental priorities.

3.3 In support of accounting officers, Chief Financial Officers ensure that departmental planning, budgeting, monitoring and reporting processes are effective and consistent with direction from central agencies and the Receiver General for Canada. Chief Financial Officers provide independent advice on the reliability of supporting financial information.

3.4 Senior departmental managers1 also support accounting officers in the effective planning, budgeting, monitoring and reporting on the use of financial resources within their areas of responsibility.

3.5 The Comptroller General of Canada provides government-wide leadership and functional direction for effective financial management, including planning, budgeting, monitoring and reporting of financial information in collaboration with the Receiver General for Canada and other central agencies.

3.6 This policy is to be read in conjunction with the Policy on Management, Resources and Results Structures (MRRS) which sets out the common government-wide approach to the identification of programs and to the collection, management, and reporting of financial and non-financial information relative to those programs. It is also to be read in conjunction with the Policy on Financial Management Governance, the Policy on Internal Control, and the Policy on Internal Audit which set out core requirements relating to effective risk management, controls and governance with respect to financial management and reporting.

3.7 This policy is issued pursuant to section 7 of the Financial Administration Act.

4. Definitions

Definitions of key terms to be used in the interpretation of this policy are provided in the Appendix.

5. Policy statement

5.1 Objective

Management of public funds is supported by effective planning, budgeting, monitoring and reporting which are based on reliable information and the sound analysis of that information.

5.2 Expected Results

Expected results are as follows:

  • Key financial risks that could impact effective departmental financial planning, budgeting and related monitoring and reporting are appropriately mitigated; and
  • Timely signing and publishing of reliable annual financial statements and quarterly financial reports.

6. Policy requirements

The deputy head is responsible for:

6.1 Approving the departmental financial plan and budget.

6.2 Ensuring the timely allocation of approved budgets throughout the fiscal-year to all managers with financial authorities.

6.3 Ensuring effective oversight of the department's financial plan, budget and related allocations of its resources and making decisions based on sound analysis of reliable information. This includes:

  • Financial resources are aligned with the mandate and priorities of the department and the government;
  • Key assumptions, including estimates relative to workload and costs, are reliable;
  • Significant financial risks that could impact effective planning and budgeting are identified and risk mitigation strategies are reasonable; and
  • Monitoring and reporting on the use and performance of financial resources are effective.

6.4 Ensuring the engagement, review and signing by the Chief Financial Officer in meeting requirements under section 6.3, as appropriate. This may involve the review or signing off of Memoranda to Cabinet and Treasury Board submissions and Estimates requirements, including Annual Reference Level Updates.

6.5 Ensuring that all managers with financial authorities have reliable and timely financial information that supports accountability and effective decision making and relative to budget monitoring.

6.6 Signing a complete set of annual financial statements, consistent with Treasury Board Accounting Standard 1.2, Departmental and Agency Financial Statements.

6.7 Signing a quarterly financial report for each of the first three quarters of each fiscal year, consistent with Treasury Board Accounting Standard 1.3, Departmental and Agency Quarterly Financial Report that is made public within 60 days after the end of its reporting period.

6.8 Ensuring that measures are taken so that the department can sustain a control-based audit of its annual financial statements in whole or in part.

7. Monitoring and Reporting

7.1 Deputy heads are responsible for:

  • Monitoring and compliance with this policy and its supporting directives and standards through periodic audits and other reviews to ensure their effective implementation;
  • Ensuring that appropriate and timely action is taken to address any significant reporting issues or issues relating to the production of departmental financial information; and
  • Providing reports or information as requested by the Comptroller General of Canada.

7.2 The Comptroller General of Canadais responsible for:

  • Monitoring compliance with this policy;
  • Ensuring as required that deputy heads take appropriate and timely action is taken to address significant issues over financial management and over financial reporting across government;
  • Requesting that the annual financial statements of a department be audited in whole or in part and, subject to any legislative requirements, establishing the terms and conditions of the requested audit;
  • Providing independent advice on departmental funding initiatives as appropriate;
  • Recommending that corrective action be taken when a department has not complied with the requirements of this policy; and
  • Establishing a framework for the review of this policy, and ensuring that a review is initiated within five years of the effective date of this policy.

8. Consequences

8.1 The deputy head is responsible for investigating and taking corrective actions when significant issues arise regarding policy compliance.

8.2 If the Comptroller General of Canada determines that a department may not have complied with any of the requirements of this policy or supporting directives and standards, the Comptroller General of Canada may request that the deputy head:

  • Conduct an assessment as to whether requirements of this policy or supporting directives or standards have been met, the cost of which will be paid from the department's reference level; and
  • Take corrective actions and report back on the results achieved.

8.3 Consequences of non-compliance with this policy and supporting directives and standards, or of failure to take corrective actions requested by the Comptroller General of Canada, may include the following recommendations to Treasury Board:

  • Limits on the spending authority of the department; or
  • Imposition of any other measures determined appropriate in the circumstances.

9. References

10. Enquiries

Please direct enquiries about this policy to your department's headquarters. For interpretation of this policy, departmental headquarters should contact:

Assistant Comptroller General
Financial Management and Analysis Sector
Office of the Comptroller General
Treasury Board Secretariat
Ottawa ON K1A 0R5

Email: fin-www@tbs-sct.gc.ca
Telephone: 613-957-7233
Facsimile: (613) 952-9613


Appendix – Definitions

Control-based audit (vérification basé sur les contrôles)
Is an audit in which the auditor gains audit assurance through the testing of internal controls over relevant financial statement assertions.
Departmental budget (budget ministériel)
Is the overall budget of the department, based on voted appropriations, to deliver the departmental mandate and priorities of the government. The departmental budget normally sets the baseline for the allocation, and reallocation of resources within the department for a given fiscal year.
Departmental financial plan (plan financier ministériel)
Refers to the rolling three-year plan for delivering the departmental mandate and programs. For a given fiscal year, the first year of this departmental financial plan provides the basis for identifying the elements of the work and priorities to be delivered. It supports the development of the in-year departmental budget and related allocations of resources.
Financial information (information financière)
is any data, information and knowledge used in understanding, managing, and reporting upon the monetary aspects of any activity. Financial information includes but is not limited to forecasts, budgets, expenditures to-date, commitments and budget variances as well as revenues, assets and liabilities needed to support effective decision making and accountabilities at all levels. It can also include cost information that is intended to support the ongoing internal cost information and decision making of management. This cost information is to be timely and tailored to management's information and decision support needs prepared in accordance with the Guide to Costing.
Financial resource management (gestion de ressources financières)
Refers to the continuum of activities undertaken to ensure the prudent, effective, efficient and economical use of public resources and their stewardship. The activities include those of planning, budgeting, accounting, reporting, control and oversight, analysis, decision support and advice, and financial systems.
Financial reporting (rapport financier)
Refers to financial reports and disclosures that are both internal and external to a department. Internal financial reporting can include financial information that supports decision-making, planning, budgeting, resource allocations, accounting, performance assessments and reports. External reporting includes all financial statements, reports or disclosures, including those prepared for Parliament or to be made public.
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