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Policies for Ministers' Offices - January 2011




The Policies for Ministers' Offices took effect on January 17, 2011, with the exception of the following sections, which took effect as of April 1, 2011:

  • 3.2.1.1 (see reference to Exempt Support Staff up to the AS-05 level);
  • 3.2.1.4 (see reference to Chief of Staff to a minister of State at the EX-01 or EX-02 level);
  • 3.2.1.5;
  • 3.3; and
  • 3.7.2.

Sections 3.2.1.1, 3.2.1.4, 3.2.1.5, 3.3 and 3.7.2 of the 2008 Policies and Guidelines for Ministers' Offices were in effect until April 1, 2011.

Sections 3.2.1.1, 3.2.1.4, 3.3.1.1, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 8.1, and Appendix A have been amended on September 20, 2012.

Effective March 28, 2013, Annex E was amended to remove cell phone usage as an expenditure item since these charges are now the responsibility of Shared Services Canada.

Table of Contents



Introduction

The Compensation and Labour Relations Sector of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (the Secretariat) publishes and co-ordinates the preparation of this document based on input provided by the Prime Minister's Office and by policy centres at the Secretariat, National Defence, Public Works and Government Services Canada, and the Privy Council Office. By its very nature, the document cannot be all-inclusive and, as such, source documents are cited where appropriate. Responsibility for interpreting the Policies (this document) as they relate to various policies rests with the Secretariat's policy centres or the departments identified above.

The Treasury Board provides ministers with budgets for exempt staff (personnel exempt from the normal appointing procedures under section 128 of the Public Service Employment Act), a budget for operating their offices, and a budget for departmental staff assigned to a minister's office.

Ministers must be able to differentiate between expenses for activities related to the conduct of their portfolio and other official government business and expenses incurred as members of Parliament and members of a political party.

This document consolidates the various financial, personnel, and administrative rules and regulations that govern expenses incurred by ministers and their exempt staff when they perform duties directly related to their responsibilities, which are therefore justifiably chargeable against the appropriation of a particular department. Unless specifically exempted, ministers and exempt staff are subject to Treasury Board policies and regulations. The first source of help, information, or guidance on these matters is the deputy minister.

The Treasury Board may authorize exceptions to the Policies in special circumstances. All such requests must first be discussed by the minister with the Prime Minister's Office and the President of the Treasury Board.

The policies in this document that refer to a "minister" or to "ministers" will apply to a "minister of state" or to "ministers of state" wherever applicable (unless stated otherwise) subject to the implementation of appropriate delegation authorities (see section 4.5). In addition, text that refers to a minister's "chief of staff" will apply to a "chief of staff to the minister of state" wherever applicable (unless stated otherwise), subject to the implementation of appropriate delegation authorities (see section 4.5).

This document and Treasury Board policies are available electronically on the Treasury Board Secretariat's website.

Part 1 — Conflict of Interest

1.1 Conflict of interest

The highest standards of probity and integrity are expected of all staff of ministers. All ministers' exempt staff is subject to some or all provisions of the Conflict of Interest Act.

The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner administers the Act and applies compliance measures. The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner will communicate with each individual as soon as notification of his or her appointment has been received from the office of a minister.

The requirements of the Act generally cover the following:

  • general principles and specific prohibitions;
  • mandatory reporting requirements, involving both confidential and publicly available information; and
  • post-employment conditions.

The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner can be reached for advice and guidance at 613-995‑0721 or by e-mail at ciec-ccie@parl.gc.ca. The Conflict of Interest Act can be found at the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner's website.

1.1.1 Ministers' exempt staff

As a condition of employment, ministers' exempt staff is subject to the Conflict of Interest Act and are also subject to the Ethical Guidelines for Public Office Holders as described in Annex G of the Accountable Government: A Guide for Ministers and Ministers of State. Ministers' exempt staff who work less than 15 hours per week are public office holders. Ministers' exempt staff who work more than 15 hours per week are reporting public office holders. Public office holders are subject to certain sections of the Act, including sections 33 and 34 of Part III of the Act regarding post-employment measures. Reporting public office holders are subject to all provisions of the Conflict of Interest Act. The minister may also designate any exempt staff members as a reporting public office holder, in consideration of their specific responsibilities.

Political staff members are subject to the instructions issued by the Prime Minister in Accountable Government: A Guide for Ministers and Ministers of State (2011). According to section VI.1:

Exempt staff [members] do not have the authority to give direction to public servants, but they can ask for information or transmit the minister's instructions, normally through the deputy minister.

Accountable Government also provides that:

In meeting their responsibility to respect the non-partisanship of public servants, exempt staff [members] have an obligation to inform themselves about the appropriate parameters of public service conduct, including public service values and ethics, and to actively assess their own conduct and any requests they make to departmental officials in the light of those parameters.

Exempt staff should also be aware of post-employment obligations as referenced in the Lobbying Act.

As soon as they are known, the minister, or his or her delegate designate, is responsible for communicating in a timely and expeditious manner to the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner the names and titles (designations) of all newly hired, and departures and terminations of exempt staff members, as well as the number of hours worked per week. Exempt staff members to whom Part II of the Act applies must comply with its requirements within 120 days.

1.1.2 Departmental employees

Departmental staff assigned to the office of a minister must comply with the requirements of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service. On assignment to such an office, the employee must review his or her circumstances in light of the newly assigned duties and, if necessary, complete a confidential report and submit it to the deputy minister or his or her representative.



Part 2 — Security

2.1 Requirements

All individuals who work in or for the office of any minister, including exempt staff, other employees, contractors, students, and persons on loan, assignment, or secondment, regardless of their work location, require a Level 2 (Secret) security clearance prior to appointment. They must also comply with other requirements for the safeguarding of government information and other assets. Clearances and security briefings are arranged by the deputy minister and the departmental security officer (DSO). The Privy Council Office (PCO) briefs ministers and parliamentary secretaries on applicable security requirements, notably in respect to Cabinet documents (see also section 10.1).

All individuals who work in or for the office of any minister should receive a security briefing from the DSO.

A single senior contact point should be designated within the offices of ministers to co-ordinate security-related matters.

Advice on security clearances and other security requirements under the Policy on Government Security may be obtained from the DSO.

It should be noted that, in cases where contractors are required to obtain a security clearance in order to fulfill the obligations of the contract, this does not imply or constitute an appointment, nor does the requirement to comply with the Government Security Policy imply or constitute an employer-employee relationship.

2.2 Personal security

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) provides material to ministers on security precautions they can take to ensure their safety. The RCMP also provides them with a 24-hour, seven‑day emergency contact number. In the case of a specific threat, the RCMP can offer additional protection (e.g. a driver, vehicle, and bodyguard).

The DSO should be informed of potential threats and future travel in order to liaise with the RCMP and ensure the provision of the necessary level of protection.

The Policy on Government Security requires protection measures for employees under threat of violence. The DSO can provide advice in this regard.



Part 3 — Human Resources Management

3.1 Employment equity

Ministers are not bound by employment equity legislation in the appointment of exempt staff. Nevertheless, the government has expressed its commitment to the principles and to following the spirit of employment equity. Even though the number of exempt staff is small, ministers may wish to ensure that there is a reasonable mix of men and women on their exempt staff, including individuals from designated groups (i.e. Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and persons in a visible minority group).

3.2 Staffing

Members of a minister's exempt staff are appointed by the minister pursuant to section 128 of the Public Service Employment Act and are "exempt" from the appointing procedures of the Public Service of Canada.

3.2.1 Exempt staff position complements

The Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) identifies only one job title for ministers' exempt staff members, that of executive assistant. However, other job titles have been approved by the Treasury Board. The Exempt Staff Position Structure is available in Appendix A.

A minister or minister of state must respect the following conditions:

  • there is a maximum of one chief of staff for any minister or minister of state's office;
  • the appointment of a chief of staff is subject to prior written and ongoing agreement of the Prime Minister's Office;
  • there is a maximum of one director per function (e.g. Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, etc.);
  • there is a maximum of one regional affairs director per region. The appointment of the regional affairs director is subject to prior written and on-going agreement of the Prime Minister's Office;
  • if the position of chief of staff or regional director is vacant, the Prime Minister's Office shall appoint an acting chief of staff or regional director; and
  • rules regarding position titles and respective salary ranges must be observed; and while the number of exempt staff members may vary, subject to section 4.2 the budget for exempt staff granted to a minister or minister of state, as set out via written communication, must never be exceeded without both the prior agreement of the Prime Minister's Office and the approval of the Treasury Board.

Salary maximums for exempt staff are equivalent to the Public Service. A minister or minister of state may only use the salary ranges identified in the table in 3.3.1. Salaries for exempt staff do not necessarily match those of the Public Service. Occupational classification identifiers serve as indicators only.

3.2.1.1 Exempt staff in ministers' offices

Subject to 3.2.1, ministers have the flexibility to configure the complement of exempt staff in their own offices. A minister may use the following positions in the minister's office:

  • Chief of Staff (up to the maximum rate of pay for the EX‑02, EX‑03, or EX‑04 level);
  • Director (to which should be added the area of responsibility, e.g. Director of Policy, Director of Communications, Director of Parliamentary Affairs and Director of Issues Management) (up to the maximum rate of pay for the EX‑02 level);
  • Policy Advisor (up to the maximum rate of pay for the AS-08 level);
  • Press Secretary (up to the maximum rate of pay for the AS-08 level);
  • Senior Special Assistant (to which may, but need not, be added a description of responsibility) (up to the maximum rate of pay for the AS-07 level);
  • Special Assistant (to which may, but need not, be added a description of responsibility, e.g. Special Assistant-Communications, Special Assistant-Issues Management, Special Assistant-Parliamentary Affairs, Special Assistant-Policy, Special Assistant-Regional Desk, Special Assistant-MP Liaison and Special Assistant-Appointments) (up to the maximum rate of pay for the AS-05 level);
  • Minister's Private Secretary (up to the maximum rate of pay for the AS-06 level);
  • Support Staff (up to the maximum rate of pay for the AS-05 level); and
  • Driver (up to the maximum rate of pay for the CR-07 level).
3.2.1.2 Exempt staff in ministers' regional offices (MRO)

The following exempt staff members are specific to ministers with regional representation budgets:

  • Regional Affairs Director (up to the maximum rate of pay for the EX‑01 level);
  • Regional Communications Advisor (up to the maximum rate of pay for the IS-05 level);
  • Regional Press Secretary (up to the maximum rate of pay for the AS-07 level); and
  • Special Assistant (to which may, but need not, be added a description of responsibility, e.g. Special Assistant-Regional Affairs) (up to the maximum rate of pay for the AS-05 level).

Ministers with regional representation budgets have the flexibility to configure their own regional exempt staff complement using existing approved salary ranges for exempt staff; however, they must observe rules regarding position titles and respective salary increments and ranges.

The work location of the regional exempt staff is the MRO, except for a region of ministerial responsibility served from the National Capital Region.

3.2.1.3 Exempt staff in the offices of ministers with a parliamentary secretary

Ministers who have parliamentary secretaries within their portfolio are authorized to hire one exempt staff member dedicated to support each parliamentary secretary. The parliamentary secretary's assistant shall be hired following consultation with the parliamentary secretary. The salary range for the position is up to the maximum rate of pay for the AS-05 level.

3.2.1.4 Exempt staff in the office of a minister of state

A minister of state may employ exempt staff members in any of the following positions using the corresponding salary ranges:

  • Chief of Staff to the Minister of State (up to the maximum rate of pay for the EX‑01 or EX-02 level);
  • Director (to which should be added the area of responsibility, e.g. Director of Policy, Director of Communications, Director of Parliamentary Affairs and Director of Issues Management) (up to the maximum rate of pay for the AS-08 level);
  • Policy Advisor (up to the maximum rate of pay for the AS‑08 level);
  • Press Secretary (up to the maximum rate of pay for the AS-07 level);
  • Senior Special Assistant (to which may, but need not, be added a description of responsibility) (up to the maximum rate of pay for the AS-07 level);
  • Special Assistant (to which may, but need not, be added a description of responsibility) (up to the maximum rate of pay for the AS-05 level);
  • Minister of State's Private Secretary (up to the maximum rate of pay for the AS-05 level);
  • Support Staff (up to the maximum rate of pay for the AS-05 level); and
  • Driver (up to a maximum rate of pay for the CR-07 level).
3.2.1.5 Exceptions to the exempt staff position structure

These policies are intended to give each minister and minister of state the flexibility to configure the exempt staff complement, positions and titles to meet the demands of that minister or minister of state's portfolio. Subject to approved budgetary limits, and only in exceptional circumstances, ministers and ministers of state may require different exempt staff positions than those identified in this section. Each and every exception for an exempt staff position and salary range must first be discussed with and have the prior written concurrence of the Prime Minister's Office and written approval of the President of the Treasury Board.

The salary maximum for such positions cannot exceed the exempt staff salary range of an EX-04 in a minister's office, or of an exempt staff EX-01 or EX-02 in a minister of state's office, or in a minister's regional office.

A minister whose portfolio includes extremely complex or technical policy issues may increase the salary range for the director of policy to the exempt staff EX-03 or EX-04 level.

3.2.2 Status of the exempt staff after a change in Cabinet

A minister's exempt staff employment ceases 30 calendar days after the minister ceases to be a minister of a given portfolio unless, within that 30‑day period:

  • the minister appoints the person as exempt staff to his or her new portfolio;
  • the person is appointed as exempt staff by the new minister in the same portfolio; or
  • the person is appointed to the exempt staff of another minister.

If not reappointed as exempt staff within the 30-day period, all benefits cease (including maternity and parental leave). The former ministers' exempt staff may be eligible to apply for internal advertised appointment processes open to all employees of the Public Service of Canada, pursuant to section 35.2 of the Public Service Employment Act (see section 3.7.6 for more detailed information).

When a minister is appointed to a new portfolio, an exempt staff member accepting an exempt staff position with the minister in a new portfolio is accepting an appointment with a new employer, and as such, new letters of offer should be prepared and signed by the minister in their new capacity. This is also true of exempt staff who accept another exempt staff position with another minister. When an exempt staff accepts a new exempt staff position with a minister, the minister may, at his or her discretion, accept liabilities for severance pay, as applicable vacation leave entitlements and sick leave credits for the previous service as an exempt staff. The exempt staff must receive this approval in writing at the time of hiring.

3.2.2.1 Exempt staff members who remain employed by the same minister
  • When exempt staff members remain in the employ of the same minister, either in the original or a new portfolio, they do not receive severance pay, separation pay, or a salary extension for 30 calendar days because their employment does not terminate.
  • The appointment, reappointment or continued appointment of a chief of staff or regional affairs director, whether or not the minister's portfolio has changed, is subject to prior written agreement of the Prime Minister's Office.
  • Subject to section 3.3.1.2 (principles for setting salary rates) and section 3.3.2 (salary increases), the minister may grant a salary increase for a promotion to a higher level of responsibility as defined in the Exempt Staff Position Structure (see Appendix A). Otherwise, the fact that there has been a change in Cabinet does not provide sufficient justification for salary increases for exempt staff. There should therefore be no salary increases.
  • The cashing out of earned but unused annual vacation leave credits or the transfer of earned but unused leave credits is at the discretion of the minister and is to be done according to the applicable terms and conditions of employment (see section 3.5.1).
3.2.2.2 Exempt staff members appointed by another minister

If another minister employs an exempt staff member within the 30 calendar days:

  • the exempt staff member will continue to receive the same rate of pay if appointed to the same exempt staff position, provided that the duties and responsibilities of the position continue to justify the same rate of pay;
  • Subject to section 3.3.1.2 (principles for setting salary rates) and section 3.3.2 (salary increases), the exempt staff member may receive a salary increase only on promotion to a more senior exempt staff position (see Appendix A);
  • the exempt staff member does not receive severance pay, separation pay, or a salary extension for 30 calendar days because the employment does not terminate; and
  • the cashing out of earned but unused annual vacation leave credits or the transfer of earned but unused leave credits is at the discretion of the minister (see section 3.5.1).

The appointment, reappointment or continued appointment of a chief of staff or regional affairs director is subject to prior written agreement of the Prime Minister's Office.

3.2.2.3 If an exempt staff member does not find employment with any minister within the 30 calendar days

In such cases:

  • he or she is entitled to receive severance pay calculated at the rate of two weeks' pay for each year of service on the exempt staff, pro-rated with respect to part of a year's service; there is no minimum period of employment to receive severance; and
  • he or she may be entitled to separation pay, which is a discretionary payment made only by the minister. Refer to section 3.7.2 for further details.
3.2.2.4 Exempt staff members hired after the 30 calendar-day period

Ministers are encouraged to make decisions as soon as possible within the 30 calendar days after their new appointment or their termination of office to retain or to release exempt staff members. If an exempt staff member is not hired until after the 30 calendar days:

  • he or she retains the full amount of any severance pay received; and
  • he or she must reimburse a proportionate amount of any separation pay if re-hired or engaged under contract, either directly or hired by or engaged under contract with a government contractor, during the period the payment covers (e.g. if paid four months' separation pay and hired two months after her or his minister left or changed portfolio, the exempt staff member would have to repay two months' separation pay).
3.2.2.5 The parliamentary secretary's assistant

When there is an election and Parliament is dissolved, or when Parliament is prorogued the appointments of parliamentary secretaries cease. Likewise, the purpose of the parliamentary secretary's assistant position ceases. At the discretion of the minister any person in the parliamentary secretary's assistant position can be terminated with termination benefits (such as severance and separation pay) or reassigned in the minister's office in another position funded from the minister's exempt staff budget(s). Policies governing transfer among minister's office budgets apply.

3.2.3 Contracting for professional or temporary help services

When contracting for professional or temporary help services, the additional requirements and obligations found under Part 7 of these Policies must also be met. Neither professional services contracts nor contracts for temporary help are employment contracts. No employer-employee relationship can be created when entering into such a contract (see section 7.2 for more information).

3.2.4 Other staffing issues

A minister has discretionary authority to use the services of any member of the exempt staff on public business outside the National Capital Region. The salary or fee for that person is chargeable to the minister's exempt staff budget.

As a general rule, at any one time no more than two exempt staff members shall travel with the minister on public business outside the National Capital Region. This limit shall not be exceeded without prior approval of the Prime Minister's Office.

Exempt staff members' names and the positions they hold are not considered as confidential and could be released under any access to information request.

For information on security issues for employees, please see section 2.2 of this document.

3.3 Pay

3.3.1 Salary maximums

3.3.1.1 Position and salary maximums

Salary maximums for exempt staff for the positions set out below are structured as follows (note: occupational classification codes identifiers are nominal only): there are no minimums and the maximums are equivalent to the current maximums of the Public Service groups and levels (EX, AS, IS and CR). Salary maximums for exempt staff automatically change according to approved changes in the equivalent Public Service groups and levels. That notwithstanding, the increases to exempt staff salary maximums are not economic increases and will not automatically result in salary increases for exempt staff. Salary increases are subject to section 3.3.1.2 and 3.3.2. Current salary information for the Public Service can be found at Rates of Pay (for excluded and unrepresented employees) and Rates of Pay for the Public Service of Canada..

Title Salary range equivalent to the current maximum of the Public Service level (no minimum)
Position (Minister's Office)
Chief of Staff EX-04 or
EX-03 or
EX-02
Director (e.g. Director of Policy, Director of Communications, Director of Issues Management, Director of Parliamentary Affairs) EX-02
Press Secretary AS-08
Policy Advisor AS-08
Senior Special Assistant AS-07
Special Assistant AS-05
Support Staff up to AS-05
Minister's Private Secretary AS-06
Driver CR-07
Position (Minister with regional representation budget)
Regional Affairs Director EX-01
Regional Communications Advisor IS-05
Regional Press Secretary AS-07
Special Assistant AS-05
Position (Minister with a Parliamentary Secretary)
Parliamentary Secretary's Assistant AS-05
Position (Office of Minister of State)
Chief of Staff to the Minister of State EX-01 or
EX-02
Director (e.g. Director of Policy, Director of Communications, Director of Issues Management, Director of Parliamentary Affairs AS-08
Policy Advisor AS-08
Press Secretary AS-07
Senior Special Assistant AS-07
Special Assistant AS-05
Minister of State's Private Secretary AS-05
Support Staff up to AS-05
Driver CR-07

Note:

  1. All salaries for exempt staff will be deemed to include compensation for overtime.
3.3.1.2 Principles for setting salary rates

Subject to section 3.3.2, ministers may authorize exempt staff salary increases up to the permitted maximum. An exempt staff member should not be paid the maximum salary unless it can be fully justified by his or her experience and qualifications. There shall be no resulting salary increase when an exempt staff member is appointed to an exempt staff position at the same level in another minister's office.

As a general rule, the maximum salary range is reserved for employees with a relevant professional qualification, 10 or more years' relevant prior employment experience, or extraordinary skills
and qualifications.

Where an employee has been actively recruited from a position outside the federal government, the salary of the position from which the employee has been recruited should be taken into account in fixing the place where the employee starts on the salary range.

The number of other employees directly reporting to the employee should be taken into account in fixing his or her position on the salary range.

In exceptional circumstances, a minister may, with the prior agreement of the Prime Minister's Office and approval by the Treasury Board, pay an exempt staff member a salary above the permitted maximum. The minister, the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff and the President of the Treasury Board should first discuss all requests for salaries above the permitted maximum.

Following consultation with the Prime Minister's Office, the Treasury Board may authorize other exceptions to these Policies in special circumstances. The minister should first discuss all such requests with the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff and the President of the Treasury Board.

3.3.2 Salary increases

Only a minister has the discretionary authority to award or withhold salary increases. Salary increases are awarded based on fully satisfactory performance.

Subject to the principles in section 3.3.1.2 and provided funds are available in the exempt staff budget, a minister may authorize salary increases as follows:

  • for those exempt staff members whose salaries are below the permissible maximum, a minister has full discretion to increase these salaries, as/when needed subject to the overall cap on ministers' office budgets, not more than once a year until the maximum is reached;
  • when an exempt staff is appointed to a position, the first salary increase after the appointment can occur at any time. That first increase establishes the anniversary date for further annual increases in that position;
  • once a salary increase has been granted, further annual increases can only be granted on the anniversary date of the first increase. This also applies in situations where there is a change in Cabinet as per section 3.2.2;
  • for those exempt staff members whose salaries are at the permissible maximum, a minister may not increase their salaries without the agreement of the Prime Minister's Office and approval by the Treasury Board; and
  • for those exempt staff members whose salaries have been agreed to by the Prime Minister's Office and approved by the Treasury Board above the permissible maximum, a minister may increase their salaries by no more than the most recent percentage increase authorized for the corresponding Public Service group and level. A minister may not authorize such increases before the anniversary date of the exempt staff member's appointment or last increase, whichever is later, unless the Prime Minister's Office agrees and Treasury Board approval is obtained.

3.3.3 Acting pay

A minister may authorize acting pay when an exempt staff member temporarily performs the duties of a higher position. To qualify for acting pay, exempt staff members must continuously perform the temporary duties for a minimum of 10 consecutive working days.

3.3.4 Hours of work

The scheduled work week is usually 37 1/2 hours from Monday to Friday inclusively, and the scheduled work day is usually 7 1/2 hours.

3.3.4.1 After-hours meals and transportation

Exempt staff is not eligible for overtime pay, however, an exempt staff member who works overtime extending beyond the normal meal period or who works at least three hours on a day of rest or on a designated holiday, may be reimbursed based on receipts for one or more meals (depending upon the number of meal periods occurring in the overtime period) in accordance with the amounts prescribed in the National Joint Council Travel Directive or with the meal rate negotiated for equivalent groups and levels under collective bargaining of the Program and Administrative Services (PA) Group. Rates for meals are updated regularly; consult departmental financial services for current rates.

When a staff member is required to return to work or to remain at work after normal and reasonable public transportation has ceased operating, the minister has the discretion to authorize a taxi or the kilometric allowance between the person's residence and the workplace, based on the province in which the vehicle is plated (as per the National Joint Council Travel Directive, Appendix B). Only the portion between work and home is reimbursed for contiguous after-hours work, and this is done only when reasonable public transportation is unavailable.

3.3.5 Prime Minister's Office reporting requirements

All information regarding the employment of exempt staff must be reported to the Prime Minister's Office. This would include information on exempt staff hires, salaries, salary increases, promotions, separation payments and terminations/departures. This shall be reported as soon as the change occurs.

3.4 Employee benefits

This section summarizes the major non‑salary compensation provisions in the areas of pensions and insurance. More comprehensive information on these terms and conditions of employment, and help in administering them, is available from departmental human resources offices.

For the purposes of entitlements under the Public Service group insurance plans, Chief of Staff, Director, Regional Affairs Director, Press Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Minister of State are in accordance with the Executive (EX) Group, and Director to a Minister of State, Policy Advisor, Senior Special Assistant, Special Assistant, Parliamentary Secretary's Assistant, Regional Press Secretary, Regional Communications Advisor, Minister's Private Secretary, Support Staff and Driver are in accordance with the PA Group excluded from collective bargaining.

A minister's exempt staff participates in the following plans:

3.4.1 Compulsory plans

3.4.1.1 For all exempt staff

  • Employment Insurance plan;
  • provincial health insurance plans; and
  • Canada or Quebec pension plans.
3.4.1.2 Compulsory plans, subject to the normal eligibility requirements of each plan

  • Public Service Superannuation Plan;
  • Supplementary Death Benefit (Part II of the Public Service Superannuation Act);
  • Long‑term Disability (LTD) insurance (part of the Public Service Management Insurance Plan); and
  • Public Service Dental Care Plan.

3.4.2 Automatic plans (government‑paid)


  • The following components of the Public Service Management Insurance Plan:
    • basic life insurance equal to twice the adjusted annual salary;
    • accidental death and dismemberment insurance of $250,000; and
    • dependants' insurance.
  • The following components of the Public Service Health Care Plan:
    • single or family Extended Health Care Coverage; and
    • Hospital Benefit, Level III.

3.4.3 Optional plans (member-paid)

3.4.3.1 For those exempt staff positions whose salary maximums are equivalent to the Public Service PA occupational group

  • Public Service Health Care Plan (Extended Health Provision plus Hospital Level I, government-paid; Optional Hospital Levels II and III, member-paid).
  • The following components of the Public Service Management Insurance Plan:
    • basic and supplementary life insurance, both equal to the adjusted annual salary;
    • accidental death and dismemberment insurance up to $250,000; and
    • dependants' insurance.
3.4.3.2 For those exempt staff positions whose salary maximums are equivalent to the Public Service EX occupational group

The following component of the Public Service Management Insurance Plan: additional supplementary life insurance equal to the adjusted annual salary.

3.5 Leave

Costs for leave with pay are charged to the minister's exempt staff budget. Leave for those exempt staff positions whose salary maximums are equivalent to the Public Service EX occupational group follows the terms and conditions of the Executive Group, which can be found in the Directive on Executive Compensation. These terms and conditions are amended from time to time. Any period of leave without pay under the Special Leave or Education Leave provision of the EX terms and conditions of employment in excess of three months will not be counted as service.

For all other exempt staff members whose salary maximums are equivalent to the Public Service PA occupational group, leave follows the collective agreement for that group and can be found at Program and Administrative services, as amended from time to time.

3.5.1 Vacation leave

Vacation leave entitlements

Determination of leave entitlements is in accordance with section 3.5 above, with the exception that service for the accumulation of vacation leave under this clause will include employment or service with the Public Service, as defined in the Public Service Superannuation Act if severance has not been issued upon termination of such employment. Vacation entitlements are as follows:

  • Those exempt staff positions whose salary maximums are equivalent to the Public Service EX occupational group
    • 4 weeks per year on appointment
    • 5 weeks per year after completing:
      • 10 years of service as an Executive Group equivalent and/or as a member of the Executive Group; or
      • 15 years' service, of which 5 years or more are as an Executive Group equivalent or in the Executive Group; or
      • 20 years' service
    • 6 weeks per year after completion of 28 years of service
  • Those exempt staff positions whose salary maximums are equivalent to the Public Service PA occupational group
    • 3 weeks per year on appointment
    • 4 weeks per year after 8 years
    • 4 weeks and 2 days after 16 years
    • 4 weeks and 3 days per year after 17 years
    • 5 weeks per year after 18 years
    • 5 weeks and 2 days per year after 27 years
    • 6 weeks after 28 years

A minister may authorize an advance payment of the estimated net salary for vacations of two or more complete weeks if this is requested in writing at least six weeks before the last pay day before the vacation begins.

When exempt staff is recalled from vacation leave, they shall be reimbursed for reasonable expenses, as the Treasury Board normally defines them, incurred in travelling to the place of duty and back to the place where they were vacationing, if they resume the vacation immediately. They must submit expense accounts with receipts. When the minister cancels or alters vacation leave that was previously approved, the employee shall be reimbursed for any reasonable monetary penalty incurred in cancelling reservations.

If a person on the minister's exempt staff ceases to be employed or dies, the person or the estate shall be paid for any earned but unused vacation leave, except management leave, according to the following formula:

(days of unused vacation) X (daily pay rate on the day service ends)

In the event of the termination of employment for reasons other than death, a change in government or when the minister ceases to be a minister, unearned vacation leave taken by the employee will be recovered from any monies owed upon termination.

3.5.2 Cashing out of vacation leave

Exempt staff may cash out any or all of their earned but unused vacation leave at any time during the fiscal year with the approval of their minister.

3.5.3 Statutory leave

The following are designated paid holidays:

  • New Year's Day;
  • Good Friday;
  • Easter Monday;
  • the day fixed by proclamation of the Governor in Council for celebration of the Sovereign's birthday;
  • Canada Day;
  • Labour Day;
  • the day fixed by proclamation of the Governor in Council as a general day of Thanksgiving;
  • Remembrance Day;
  • Christmas Day;
  • Boxing Day; and
  • one additional day that is recognized as a provincial or civic holiday in the area where the person on a minister's exempt staff is employed or the first Monday in August in any area where no such day is recognized as a provincial, or civic holiday.

Ministers' exempt staff is not entitled to designated paid holidays if they are on leave without pay on the full working day immediately before and the full working day immediately after a designated paid holiday.

3.5.4 Election leave

A member of a minister's exempt staff is required to resign or request leave without pay in order to seek nomination. The leave period may end (and the individual may return to his or her duties) once the nomination race has ended, whether or not that person is successfully nominated.

Any exempt staff member who has been nominated as a candidate in a municipal, provincial or federal election or by-election and wishes to campaign prior to the issuance of a writ must do so on their own time. Any exempt staff member who wishes to campaign as a candidate after the issuance of a writ in an election, must resign or be granted leave without pay, at the minister's discretion.

After the writs are issued or once Parliament or any provincial legislature or territorial council is dissolved, the exempt staff member should avoid declaring or having himself or herself declared by others to be a candidate before he or she has resigned or started the leave without pay.

Should a member of the minister's exempt staff decide to become actively involved on a full-time basis in a federal, provincial, or territorial election or by‑election, the member is required to take leave without pay or resign his or her position. If a member becomes engaged in campaign activities on a part-time basis, his or her involvement must be on his or her own time and not during regular office hours. No vacation leave or any other leave with pay will be permitted for election purposes.

3.5.5 Management leave

When exempt staff members must work overtime hours, or when they work or travel on a day of rest or on a holiday, they may be granted management leave (leave with pay). This leave is granted as a minister considers appropriate, with the appropriate documentation. Management leave should be granted as soon as possible after the period that justifies it and must not exceed the overtime hours worked or spent in travel. In no circumstances shall management leave be granted after an election has been called or as compensation for election activities.

3.5.6 Other leave

A minister may grant leave of absence with pay, for a period of no longer than two weeks, when the place of work has been rendered uninhabitable and the employee cannot perform his or her duties until an alternative place has been found or when the employee is required or urgently needed to help with a community emergency.

3.6 Departmental staff assigned to ministers' offices

The Treasury Board authorizes departmental staff complements and personnel costs budgets to be provided from existing departmental resources. In keeping with the Public Service's non‑partisan tradition, departmental staff assigned to a minister's office may provide only non‑partisan departmental advice or administrative assistance that falls within the scope of the minister's portfolio responsibilities. The duties of the Departmental Assistant assigned to a minister's office would normally include liaising between the minister's office and the department, as well as managing the sharing of information and documents. The duties would also include providing, in collaboration with the deputy minister and senior departmental officials, advice on departmental issues to the minister and his or her exempt staff.

A minister is permitted one Departmental Assistant, which could be classified at a level equivalent to PM‑06, EX‑01, or EX‑02, commensurate with the breadth of knowledge and expertise required for this position; that this one position is not funded from the minister's departmental staff budget, but directly from existing departmental reference levels. All other remaining departmental staff positions, which are funded from the minister's departmental staff budget, are considered to be support staff positions. There can be a maximum of one senior support staff position. All other positions may only be classified up to the AS-04 level. These departmental staff dedicated to a minister's office must be funded from the departmental staff budget allocated to the minister.

A minister may hire as many departmental staff as the departmental staff budget will allow; however, subject to 4.2 departmental staff budget maximums may not be exceeded without prior Treasury Board approval.

Ministers should make available the services of their departmental staff to assist ministers of state.

Maximum levels for departmental staff for ministers' offices are indicated in the following table:

Departmental Employees
Position Titles Public Service Level (up to)*
Departmental Assistant EX-02 or
EX-01 or
PM-06
Senior Support Staff AS-05
Support Staff AS-04

* Public Service classified levels and salary increments within ranges will apply.

Departmental staff assigned to a minister's office are Public Service employees in the employ of their department. These persons cannot transfer with a minister when he or she changes portfolio. Persons whose main duties have been to provide a personal service to a minister however are an exception, since the personal service they provide is more important than their knowledge of departmental organizations or responsibilities. For this reason, two departments may make arrangements to transfer such persons, provided this does not duplicate roles.

The Treasury Board will consider any other requests for exceptions to this policy. In developing proposals for exceptions, ministers should give due consideration to the potential implications for departmental employees who may be displaced by other Public Service employees who may move from the previous portfolio.

Departmental staff may be physically located near the minister's office and normally receive direction from the minister or exempt staff members in the conduct of the business of the minister's office. They are, however, at all times an integral part of the human resources of the department and, as such, are ultimately responsible to departmental authorities.

Departmental staff in ministers' offices should not provide services that are readily available in the department. Ministers should look to the deputy minister for professional advice and support on both policies and operations across the full range of their responsibilities.

3.7 Termination

In all cases (i.e. resignation, death, dismissal, layoff, and retirement), discretionary separation payments are in addition to any severance pay entitlement.

As soon as they are known, the minister, or his or her delegate, is responsible for communicating to the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner the names and titles of all exempt staff members whose employment has terminated or who have left the minister's office. The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner will communicate with all exempt staff members regarding their post-employment obligations under the Conflict of Interest Act.

3.7.1 Severance pay and transferring in previous service

Employees have a right to severance pay when they end their services voluntarily, are dismissed, die, or are laid off owing to lack of work or discontinuance of a function. Severance pay stays the same, whatever the circumstances of termination; that is, the amounts will be the same for resignation, death, dismissal, lay-off, and retirement.

When a person on a minister's exempt staff ceases to be employed, severance pay is calculated at the rate of two weeks' pay (based on salary at termination) for each year of service. "Service" for this purpose refers to service as an exempt staff member only. Calculations are pro-rated in respect of part of a year's service. There is no ceiling on the maximum number of weeks to be paid.

Severance payments are to be funded centrally, through a central Treasury Board Vote, as required.

For severance purposes, in certain cases ministers may recognize (or "transfer in") an exempt staff member's previous service with a member of Parliament's staff.

The exempt staff member must have gone directly from this service to the minister's office (in other words, there must not have been a break in service of more than three months). Furthermore, the exempt staff member must not have received severance payment from Parliament. If the exempt staff member wants to transfer in previous service, he or she must obtain approval in writing from the minister at the time of hiring. The exempt staff member then sends one copy of this approval to the department's pay office and another copy to Parliament. Upon termination of employment, an exempt staff member's severance pay for service as a member of Parliament's staff member will be one week's pay per completed year of service (based on the salary at termination of employment as an exempt staff member) as long as the exempt staff member, with the combined service of the previous employer and service with the minister, has fulfilled the requirements of the previous employer to receive severance pay. The maximum carry over for severance pay related to the previous service transferred in from a member of Parliament's office is 12 weeks.

Note:
For those exempt staff members in their 30‑day period, starting November 4, 1993, and who transferred in to a minister's office from an MP's office (as defined in the PSSA) immediately prior to April 1, 1987 (i.e. without a break in service of more than three months) and who did not receive severance pay for their service from the previous employer, departments are advised that, for severance purposes, this previous service as a member of an MP's staff is deemed to have been transferred in with the employee. Severance for this previous service will be calculated at one week's pay per completed year of service as an MP's staff member (maximum of 12 weeks' severance pay), at the final salary at termination of employment as an exempt staff member. The regular severance pay provisions for their service as exempt staff members will also apply.

3.7.2 Separation pay

Separation pay may be paid at the discretion of the minister when the employee's services are ended. This pay is intended to compensate for possible loss of earnings resulting from an often unpredictable and, at times, abrupt termination of employment. Separation pay is paid as a lump-sum when the exempt staff member ceases to be an exempt staff.

A minister, at his or her discretion, may authorize separation pay taking into account seniority, length of service or other relevant considerations. Examples of situations where this may occur include:

  • the minister dismisses a member of the exempt staff without notice;
  • the minister ceases to be a minister;
  • the minister changes portfolios or responsibilities and does not retain the employee's services;
  • when the minister agrees that the employee can no longer remain employed by the minister for reasons out of the employee's control, such as family-related reasons, or illness.

Examples of situations where separation pay should not ordinarily be provided:

  • to an employee who voluntarily terminates his or her employment and who is commencing alternative employment immediately. For greater certainty a negotiated resignation is not considered voluntary;
  • to an employee dismissed for cause.

A minister must approve separation pay prior to ceasing to be a minister or prior to changing portfolios or responsibilities. Separation pay may be authorized by the Prime Minister's Office when the minister has already left the portfolio.

Separation payments are to be funded through departmental operating budgets and not charged to the minister's exempt staff budget or other operating budget.

3.7.2.1 Amount payable

To compensate for possible loss of earnings, ministers may, at their discretion, authorize a maximum of up to four months' separation pay for a period of service of less than four years and up to six months separation pay for a period of four years or more. While a minister may authorize separation pay up to the maximum set out above, separation pay of one month per year of service is considered reasonable.

3.7.2.2 Reimbursement

Separation pay is not paid when a member of the exempt staff has been granted leave without pay from the Public Service to work in the minister's office. In this case, the person remains an employee in the department that granted the leave without pay, and any subsequent termination benefit would be the responsibility of that department.

If a person who has received separation pay works in or for another minister's office or any federal institution during the period covered by his or her separation pay, whether compensated directly as an employee or contractor, or indirectly, as an employee or subcontractor of a contractor, the separation pay is to be refunded proportionately. This provision averts a duplication of payments out of government funds (i.e. the Consolidated Revenue Fund). Refer to Government of Canada Estimates and appropriations documents to determine organizations funded through the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

3.7.3 Entitlements when a minister ceases to be a minister

When a minister ceases to be a minister, or changes portfolio and does not take a member of the exempt staff to the new portfolio, affected employees continue to draw salary for 30 calendar days, in accordance with section 128 of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA). Where a minister authorizes separation pay, the payment begins at the end of this 30‑day period. When ministers cease to hold office due to a Cabinet shuffle or a general election, members of their exempt staff who are not rehired by a minister or in the Public Service are to be deemed to have been laid off at the end of the 30‑day period for the purposes of the Public Service Health Care Plan and the Public Service Dental Plan.

A member of the exempt staff shall be paid according to the following formula for vacation leave that is earned but unused:

(days of unused vacation) multiplied by (daily pay rate on the day service ends)

Management leave (section 3.5.5) may not be counted as earned vacation leave.

3.7.4 Mobility provision for former ministers' exempt staff

Under Section 35.2 of the Public Service Employment Act, former ministers' exempt staff who have been employed for at least three successive years as exempt staff in a minister's office, in the office of the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, or in the office of the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons, may be eligible to participate in internal advertised appointment processes open to all employees of the Public Service.

This mobility provision is effective for a period of one year after the person ceases to be employed as ministers' exempt staff. As a participant in internal advertised appointment processes, former ministers' exempt staff also have the right to make a complaint to the Public Service Staffing Tribunal.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has retained the authority to determine eligibility for the mobility provision. Applicants will need to complete the Request Form – Confirmation of Former Ministers' Staff Mobility Provision available on the PSC website. The PSC will review the request and advise, in writing, regarding eligibility. Further information is available from internal departmental Human Resources or the PSC website.

3.7.5 Employment assistance: outplacement services

A minister may, prior to ceasing to be a minister or changing portfolios or responsibilities, authorize up to $5,000 to cover fees for professional outplacement services for a member of his or her exempt staff whose employment has ended. An exempt staff member whose employment has been terminated should register with an outplacement firm within 30 days of the termination date or in the 30 days after a minister ceases to be a minister. This should be done within these time frames, even if services may be rendered at a later date. However, in all cases, services must be rendered within one year of the termination date.

Outplacement services usually provide such information as how to prepare a résumé, how to prepare for an interview, and how to present oneself at an interview. Costs for training or skills improvement, such as computer literacy or language courses, are not included.

Typically, the outplacement firm enters into a signed agreement with the member of the exempt staff that stipulates what services will be rendered. Invoices are to be sent to the departmental financial services unit. The cost of outplacement services is charged to the minister's other
operating costs budget.

3.8 Student exempt staff

Ministers have a separate exempt staff budget for hiring students, normally during the summer months. Students are not hired through the Public Service student employment programs, however, these program rates are useful as a guide to remuneration and are available on Treasury Board Secretariat's website: Terms and Conditions of Employment for Students.

Student exempt staff is, in general, subject to some of the same terms and conditions of employment as exempt staff. However, for the purposes of leave, designated holidays, lay-off, and part-time assignments, the Public Service Terms and Conditions of Employment for Students will apply to student exempt staff. Student exempt staff is not eligible for severance pay, separation pay, acting pay or leave with pay, other than bereavement leave, nor outplacement assistance.

3.9 Changes in portfolio

When a minister changes portfolio or when a new minister is appointed to an existing portfolio, any exception(s) to these policies for ministers' offices with respect to the exempt or departmental staff complement (eg. additional or new positions, salary rates) approved by the Treasury Board for that portfolio expire. Exceptions for ministers changing portfolios will require re-approval by the Treasury Board. Should any exception(s) at the time of the portfolio change be approved, the appropriate minister(s) will be informed by written communication.



Part 4 — Financial Management

4.1 Establishing the ministers' office budgets

The budgets for ministers' offices are funded from existing departmental reference levels. The budgets for ministers' offices are intended to cover the costs of conducting portfolio and other official government business. These budgets are in addition to and separate from entitlements that a minister has as a member of Parliament. These Policies do not extend to the entitlements of a minister related to being a member of Parliament; such entitlements are explained in detail in the Members' Allowances and Services Manual published by the House of Commons. Questions related to these entitlements should be referred to the Office of the Comptroller, House of Commons.

Ministers' office budgets are subject to the same provisions of the Financial Administration Act (FAA) that apply to expenditures of other departmental funds. The FAA is intended to assure parliamentary control over public money by prescribing a financial control framework for all financial transactions. Many of the financial management provisions in the FAA are put into force through Treasury Board-approved policies. Therefore, unless specifically exempted, ministers' budgets are also subject to Treasury Board policies and regulations.

Ministers' office budgets are subdivided into components that must be controlled separately as listed in the following sections.

Components of ministers' office budgets include:

  • ministers' exempt staff personnel costs budgets ("exempt staff budget");
  • ministers' other operating costs (i.e. non-personnel) budgets ("other operating budgets"); and
  • ministers' departmental staff personnel costs budget ("departmental staff budget").

4.2 Budget transfers and the carry forward of unspent funds

4.2.1 Budget transfers

Within the overall limit communicated by the Treasury Board regarding ministers' office budgets, funds can be transferred among the exempt staff budgets, the departmental staff budget and other operating budgets. When funds are transferred to an exempt staff budget or to the departmental staff budget from other operating budgets, the department must set aside, from its own funds, an additional amount of other operating funds equal to 20% of the funds transferred. Conversely, when funds are transferred from either a minister's exempt staff or the departmental staff budget to the other operating budget, that budget will only be increased by the amount of the reduction in the personnel costs budget. In this way, the ministers' office budgets will not be impacted by the 20% transfer cost that applies to transfers between personnel and other operating budgets, thereby respecting the spirit of allocating specific budget levels to ministers' offices for personnel and other operating costs. The transfer cost will be managed by the department.

4.2.2 Operating budget carry forward

Ministers may access the departmental operating budget carry forward from one fiscal year to the next for an amount equal to their unspent exempt staff and other operating budgets, up to a maximum of five percent of their most recently approved annual budgets effective on April 1 of the fiscal year. Any increases after the approval of the annual budgets are to be excluded from the calculation of the 5% ceiling.

Where a minister is named to a different portfolio or where a new minister is appointed to an existing portfolio, the budget for the purpose of calculating the 5 % maximum carry forward will be the annualized amount that is determined for the office of the new minister on the basis of section 4.4.6.

4.3 Accountability

Expenditures for the portfolio or for other official government business that are charged against a minister's other operating budgets, or against exempt staff budgets, are expenditures against a "program expenditure vote" or an "operating expenditure vote" in the appropriate department. The expenditure of public funds in these budgets must be made only with the usual high standards of prudence and probity.

Ministers are individually responsible and accountable for dealing with all public inquiries about the expenditures made from their office budgets—whether by them directly, by their staff or on their behalf—including publicly justifying them if the need arises.

4.4 Accounting for expenditures charged to ministers' budgets

Subject to 4.2, the overall budget for a minister's office cannot be exceeded. A minister who wishes to have his or her budget increased must seek approval from the Treasury Board, after discussing the request with the Office of the Prime Minister and obtaining a written approval.

Expenditures against a minister's exempt staff budgets and other operating budgets must be limited to the types of expenditures that can be legally charged against each budget—in other words, the expenditures must clearly fall within budget parameters (scope, purpose, and limits).

There are types of expenditures that should be charged to specific budget components in a minister's office budget. Other types of expenditures will be charged to the department's budget (examples are outlined in Appendix E).

4.4.1 Ministers' exempt staff personnel costs budget ("exempt staff budget")

Ministers, except the Prime Minister, receive a prescribed exempt staff budget to manage their offices. This budget is over and above any budget to which the minister is entitled as a member of the House of Commons. The budget provided by the House of Commons is used to pay for staff in the House of Commons office and in the constituency office.

The Treasury Board periodically sets the size of a minister's exempt staff budget. The President of the Treasury Board notifies each minister of the annual amount in writing, according to the previous written communication. The exempt staff budget is to be funded from within existing departmental reference levels.

Only direct personnel costs can be charged to the exempt staff budget, including the following:

  • salaries (including pay while on leave);
  • pay for unused vacation leave, at the request of the exempt staff with the approval of the minister, on termination of employment, or paid out at the end of each fiscal year; and
  • salary for the 30 days' employment to which exempt staff is entitled when a minister ceases to be a minister (see section 3.7.5).

The following exempt staff‑related costs are to be funded from the personnel budgets of the department:

  • maternity or parental benefits (supplemental employment benefit);
  • vacation pay for unused vacation leave on termination of employment when at termination of employment the employee is eligible for severance pay;
  • severance pay; and
  • separation pay

For Public Service employees, the department will be reimbursed for expenditures in the first three categories through an allocation from a Treasury Board Central Vote. The department must absorb costs related to separation pay.

4.4.2 Ministers' other operating costs budgets ("other operating budget")

The other operating budgets of a minister covers all operating expenditures incurred by parliamentary secretaries, by exempt staff or by departmental staff in a minister's office. Only direct operating expenditures that are related to the conduct of portfolio or other official government departmental business are to be charged to a minister's other operating budgets.

The following costs will be charged to a minister's other operating budgets:

  • official gifts, travel, hospitality, and other services in relation to the department (exceptions for international travel may apply; see section 6.5);
  • conference and training costs for exempt staff;
  • relocation of exempt staff to the minister's departmental office (on appointment only);
  • office furniture and furnishings for ministers and their private secretaries that are over and above normal departmental standards;
  • fees for professional outplacement services;
  • the cost of professional and temporary help services for the minister's departmental office; and
  • all other expenditures directly attributable to the operation of a minister's departmental office. These expenditures could include, but are not restricted to, items such as the use of cell phones, the acquisition of office equipment that is over and above departmental standards, the use of taxi and courier services, and postage. It is expected that all indirect departmental costs such as corporate services costs (e.g. Finance and HR) and other costs for internal service providers will not be charged against the minister's budgets following the funding model used in the department.

Appendix E provides a non-exhaustive list of examples of items that should be charged to a minister's other operating budget and those that should be charged to a budget of the department or agency.

4.4.3 Ministers' departmental staff personnel costs budget ("departmental staff budget")

Costs related to departmental personnel assigned to a minister's office must be charged to the minister's departmental staff budget, with the exception of costs related to the Departmental Assistant, which are funded directly from the existing departmental or agency reference levels. These costs must be accounted for separately as part of the minister's office expenditures. Costs such as bilingualism bonuses and overtime are to be included in the minister's departmental staff budget. Other personnel-related costs, such as training and development, will be funded by the department in accordance with existing departmental practices for Public Service employees.

4.4.4 Budget for parliamentary secretary's assistant

The parliamentary secretary's assistant is a minister's exempt staff member dedicated to supporting a parliamentary secretary. A minister is authorized to hire one parliamentary secretary's assistant for each parliamentary secretary appointed. Only one minister is authorized to hire a parliamentary secretary's assistant when the parliamentary secretary has multiple responsibilities under the jurisdiction of more than one minister. When a parliamentary secretary(ies) is (are) appointed to assist a minister, departments are authorized to provide a parliamentary secretary's assistant (exempt staff) budget and an other operating costs budget for the assistant for each parliamentary secretary appointed subject to Treasury Board approval. The source of funds for these budgets is existing departmental reference levels.

4.4.5 Budgetary increases and exceptions

Ministers' budgets are to be allocated from within existing departmental reference levels. Subject to section 4.2, budgets cannot be exceeded. A minister who wishes to have his or her budget increased or modified, or an exception granted, must first obtain the written agreement of the Prime Minister's Office and the President of the Treasury Board. The Treasury Board must approve the proposal. Budgetary increases and exceptions are to be funded from the existing departmental reference levels.

4.4.6 Budgets as a result of a change in portfolio

When a minister changes portfolio or when a new minister is appointed to an existing portfolio during the course of a fiscal year, the office budgets for the remainder of the year in the new portfolio are to be equal to the outstanding free balance representing the budgets for that portfolio (after outstanding commitments have been paid), as set by the Treasury Board, for the balance of the fiscal year. This will include budget increases and modifications already approved by the Treasury Board for that portfolio. The Treasury Board may rescind, modify, or revise any budget at the time of the portfolio change. If so the appropriate minister(s) will be informed by written communication.

When regional responsibilities are transferred among ministers during the course of the fiscal year, budgets for the remainder of the year are to be equal to the outstanding free balance representing the budget for that responsibility (after outstanding commitments have been paid), as set by the Treasury Board, for the balance of the fiscal year.

When a minister with regional responsibilities changes portfolios during the course of the fiscal year, the budgets for the regional responsibilities, as set by the Treasury Board, are to be equal to the outstanding free balance remaining in those budgets (after outstanding commitments have been paid) as at the date of the change.

Regional representation budgets are to be funded from existing departmental reference levels.

4.4.7 Expenditures of ministers' offices report

On December 12th, 2006 the Federal Accountability Act amended the Access to Information Act with the following provision:

72.1 The head of a department or a ministry of state for the Government of Canada shall publish an annual report of all expenses incurred by his or her office and paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

This report is published in Volume III, Section 10 of the Public Accounts of Canada. Expenditures presented in this report are those charged to ministers' budgets and do not include statutory expenditures, such as the minister's salary and motor vehicle allowance, or employer contributions to superannuation and benefit plans, nor do they include civilian termination benefits.

For further information, please refer to Chapter 15 of the Receiver General Manual, which provides the instructions and guidance to prepare the information required for this report.

All enquiries with respect to this annual report are to be directed to the Financial Management Policy Division, Office of the Comptroller General of Canada by emailing: fin-www@tbs-sct.gc.ca or calling 613-957-7233.

4.5 Financial authorities

Treasury Board policies related to financial management are generally found in the comptrollership policies.

These policies provide directives governing the accounting and control of expenditures and outline the framework for exercising financial authorities to satisfy the requirements of the FAA. Essentially, there are three types of authority related to expenditures—spending authority, certification authority and payment authority.

Two major requirements related to financial authorities are 1) no person can exercise both spending and payment authority for a payment; and 2) no person can exercise spending authority for a payment from which he or she can benefit personally, nor should a person be involved in any of the processing steps with respect to his or her own pay and benefits.

Reference: Directive on Delegation of Financial Authorities for Disbursements.

Deputy heads are responsible for implementing the appropriate delegation instruments to ensure that authorities may be exercised on behalf of "appropriate ministers" as defined in the Financial Administration Act (FAA). These delegation instruments should provide authority to ministers and ministers of state within the portfolio of the appropriate minister, for responsibilities related to their exempt staff and the expenditures related to their exempt staff budgets, their other operating budgets, and other financial obligations identified in this document where the expenditures are charged to the appropriations of their departments.

Appropriate ministers may delegate, pursuant to the Financial Administration Act, financial authorities for these expenditures to their chief of staff or other exempt staff but the persons authorized under the delegation cannot subdelegate these authorities. Likewise, appropriate ministers may delegate, pursuant to the Financial Administration Act, financial authorities for these expenditures to their portfolio ministers or to their exempt staff or to the portfolio minister of state or to the chief of staff to the minister of state, but the persons authorized under the delegation cannot subdelegate these authorities. Nevertheless, a minister may not subdelegate the hiring, determination of salaries and salary increases, or termination of his or her own exempt staff. The appropriate minister may delegate the authority for such decisions concerning the exempt staff of a portfolio minister or minister of state, only to that portfolio minister or minister of state.

4.5.1 Spending authority

Spending authority consists of three elements—expenditure initiation authority, commitment authority, and transaction or contracting authority.

The minister is responsible for, and has spending authority over, the exempt staff and other operating budgets. Often, the minister will delegate some of this authority to the chief of staff or other senior exempt staff. However, this delegation does not apply in instances where a minister wishes to hire, dismiss, or set salaries for exempt staff.

4.5.1.1 Expenditure initiation

This authority is delegated to ministers to initiate expenditures against their budgets, requisition goods and services, hire staff, extend hospitality, and the like. However, before the expenditure is actually made, the contract entered into, or the arrangement made, there must be a confirmation that funds are available—the commitment authority.

4.5.1.2 Commitment authority

Under section 32 of the FAA, ministers, or financial officers acting on their behalf, must control commitments and ensure that funds are available within existing appropriations to discharge the financial commitment that would result from the contract or other arrangement.

Controls over commitments and expenditures must be maintained to ensure that neither the minister's exempt staff nor the minister's other operating budgets are overspent.

Reference: Treasury Board Directive on Expenditure Initiation and Commitment Control.

4.5.1.3 Transaction or contract authority

The authority to acquire material and goods is delegated to the minister from the Minister of Public Works and Government Services. The minister is ultimately responsible to Parliament for all contracting activity. Within a minister's office, the authority to contract may be delegated to the minister's chief of staff.

Officials delegated such authority are to exercise it with prudence and probity so that the responsible minister is acting and is seen to be acting within the letter and spirit of the FAA, the Government Contracts Regulations, and the Treasury Board's contracting directives and policy. Please see Part 7 for further details on contracting.

In March 2004, the Government of Canada announced a new policy on the mandatory publication of contracts over $10,000. Please see Part 7 for further details.

4.5.1.4 Certification authority

Expenditures incurred by ministers and their exempt staff are subject to the account verification process and must be certified under section 34 of the FAA prior to payment.

Under section 34 of the FAA, ministers are obligated to confirm that goods have been received or the work performed satisfactorily and that the price charged is correct. This account verification process includes checking that the relevant contract terms and conditions, including price, quantity, and quality have been met and, if an advance payment is being made, that it is required by the contract and that all relevant statutes, regulations, orders in council, and Treasury Board policies have been complied with. Financial officers with payment authority under section 33 of the FAA are responsible for the quality of the account verification process performed pursuant to section 34 of the FAA.

The account verification process must provide for auditable evidence of verification, including the identification of the various individuals who performed the verification.

Reference: Treasury Board Directive on Account Verification.

4.5.2 Payment authority

Payment authority is the authority to requisition payments. Pursuant to section 33 of the FAA and the Payments and Settlements Requisitioning Regulations, 1997, requisitions for payments may be made only if the payment has been verified under section 34, if there are sufficient funds available in the appropriation to make the payment, and if the payment has not been made previously.

Payment authority is usually delegated to departmental financial officers.

The departmental financial staff verifies the minister's certification (or that of a delegate) under section 34 and any required supporting documentation before requisitioning payment under section 33.

While, for reasons of confidentiality, some payment requests by ministers do not have to be supported by receipts and other documents that provide evidence of goods and/or services received, these supporting documents should nevertheless be retained in the offices of the ministers. In the absence of supporting documentation, there is normally a requirement for an official certification or attestation by the minister, and an original signature (not that of a delegate) is required.

4.6 Internal audit

It is government policy that departments:

  • have an effective, independent, and objective internal audit function that is properly resourced to provide sufficient and timely assurance services on all important aspects of its risk management strategy and practices, management control frameworks and practices, and information used for decision making and reporting;
  • incorporate internal audit results into their priority setting, planning, and decision‑making processes; and
  • issue completed reports in a timely manner and make them accessible to the public with minimal formality in both official languages.

Any charges against the departmental appropriation, including those incurred by the minister or his or her office, fall within the scope of the internal audit function.

4.7 Minister's salary and motor vehicle allowance

A minister's salary and motor vehicle allowance are authorized by separate enabling legislation that does not require annual approval by Parliament. The salary of each Cabinet minister as well as of both Government House Leaders is provided for in section 4 of the Salaries Act and the minister's motor vehicle allowance is provided for in paragraph 63(2) of the Parliament of Canada Act.

The motor vehicle allowance for a minister of state is also statutory. However, salaries for ministers of state are not statutory and are included in the funds approved by Parliament in annual appropriation acts. As noted in section 6.2, the ministers of the Treasury Board have established a directive covering motor vehicles.



Part 5 — Office Accommodation and Supplies

5.1 Office accommodation

5.1.1 Introduction

Ministers have offices on Parliament Hill, as well as constituency offices that are both administered under the House of Commons guidelines and budgets and are completely separate from departmental headquarters offices and ministers' regional offices; these are outlined below.

The entitlements related to being a member of Parliament are explained in detail in the Members' Allowances and Services Manual published by the House of Commons, and questions related to these entitlements should be referred to the Comptroller's office, House of Commons.

5.1.2 Departmental headquarters offices

Office requirements of the minister in the department's headquarters are normally accommodated within the space allocated to the department. The minister's requirements are normally co‑ordinated by the deputy minister.

Public Works and Government Services Canada, in consultation with the departmental facilities management group, is responsible for initial fit-up of this space based on the functional and operational requirements and applicable cost guidelines. Changes to existing offices (during a minister's tenure or on appointment of a new minister) are funded by the department.

5.1.3 Ministers' regional offices

Ministers' regional offices (MRO) have been established for the use of all local and visiting ministers and their officials in conducting government business in regions. These offices are not intended to duplicate the functions of the constituency offices and other support provided by the House of Commons.

Public Works and Government Services Canada is responsible for the establishment and operation of ministers' regional offices, including common operating costs, construction, rent, fit-up, parking, etc.

There are ministers' regional offices in Iqaluit, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Kitchener, Montréal, Quebec City, Halifax, Moncton, and St. John's. New MROs are to be opened in Fredericton, Charlottetown, Whitehorse, and Yellowknife in 2011. The establishment of an individual ministerial office outside the headquarters area requires specific approval from the Treasury Board prior to project initiation.

Ministers are responsible for funding the direct cost over and above the common costs (such as added costs for regional exempt staff, resident exempt staff, hospitality, additional services, and accommodation) of their use of the MROs.

5.2 Office furniture and furnishings

5.2.1 Departmental headquarters offices

All office furniture and furnishings for a minister's departmental headquarters office are subject to the Treasury Board Policy on Management of Materiel (2006). Further guidance on the application of this policy can be found in the Treasury Board Secretariat's Guide to Management of Materiel.

The Department of Public Works and Government Services Act gives the Minister of Public Works and Government Services the mandate to acquire materiel for departments and thus the Act's provisions apply, regardless of who uses the furniture and furnishings.

A minister's department funds the acquisition of office furniture, fixtures and equipment, and their operation and maintenance costs.

5.2.2 Ministers' regional offices

These offices are subject to the provisions of the Policy on Management of Materiel governing office furniture and furnishings. As a rule, all furniture and furnishings purchases are considered overhead or common costs.

5.3 Office equipment and supplies

The Treasury Board Policy on Management of Materiel applies to general office equipment and supplies for ministers' departmental offices. Letterhead and stationery is covered by the Federal Identity Program.

Ministers' staff should refer to the House of Commons Members' Allowance and Services Manual, which outlines in detail the equipment standards and services required to facilitate House of Commons operations.

5.4 Stationery and printed media

5.4.1 Federal Identity Program

The Federal Identity Program (FIP) is the Government of Canada's corporate identity program. The government has an obligation to make evident to Canadians, wherever they reside, how their taxes are used to provide programs, services, and infrastructure. The government must project a consistent and coherent presence and identity to ensure that Canadians recognize, at a glance, their government at work for them. The FIP establishes standards and requirements for managing the government's corporate identity. In 1998, Treasury Board ministers established nine additional FIP requirements aimed at strengthening the presence and visibility of the Government of Canada in all of its activities.

Each institution is responsible for managing its own corporate identity, in compliance with the FIP policy, and related Treasury Board decisions. This information and the FIP design standards are available at Federal Identity Program Policy.

Ministers are required to write to the President of the Treasury Board on all matters related to establishing titles of institutions. Institutions must adopt an approved title (referred to as the "applied title") for their corporate signature and use this title consistently when identifying the institution, except when there is a specific requirement for the legal title. Ministers must also write to the President regarding government‑wide use of special symbols, decisions on FIP symbols (flag symbol or Coat of Arms) in corporate signatures, and for exemptions from the FIP policy.

5.4.2 Stationery

The design of stationery for the offices of ministers is subject to FIP policy and design standards. The present design consists of a 40% screened black Coat of Arms, black text, and a black "Canada" wordmark with a red flag printed on white, recycled permanent paper. Further information is available at Stationery: Ministers, parliamentary secretaries and their offices.

5.4.3 News releases and kit folders

Institutions must use the standard news release form and information kit folder. The Government of Canada's "no‑frills" publishing guidelines call for streamlined government publishing and a common look for various communications products.



Part 6 — Travel

6.1 Introduction

A minister intending to travel in Canada outside the National Capital Region must obtain prior approval from the Prime Minister's Office after reporting the proposed destination and the nature of the event.

Ministers are excluded from the requirements to follow the terms of the National Joint Council's Travel Directive, as explained in the Treasury Board Special Travel Authorities.

Ministers should use the Public Works and Government Services Canada Government Travel Modernization Office / Shared Travel Services Initiative (GTMO/STSI) when booking travel related to departmental business, paid from departmental budgets, or when pre-paid tickets are needed (thereby benefiting from the government-negotiated discounted airfares and flight insurance). Private travel agencies may be used where such use results in direct savings to the taxpayer and/or indirect savings through more efficient travel that better meets scheduling requirements.

Ministers booking directly with carriers or a travel agency or agent can either claim reimbursement following each trip, or charge the authorized expenses to Departmental Travel Expense Cards (DTEC).

Ministers can use their Designated Travel Card (DTC) or their personal credit card and be reimbursed for funds expended or they may request an advance from their department for travel costs. Expenditures claimed, however, should reflect probity and prudence in conducting the affairs of the department or agency.

Information regarding advances, DTECs and DTCs, and other financial matters is available from the senior financial officer in each department. DTECs and DTCs are to be used for official government business only.

Ministers travelling for their constituency should use the House of Commons Members' Travel Service.

6.1.1 Travel expenses

Although ministers are excluded from the requirement to follow the National Joint Council Travel Directive, it is recommended that ministers refer to that document, since it provides good examples of expenditures that are considered appropriate for program-related business travel.

Ministers are required to post on their respective departmental websites all travel expenses incurred on program‑related business. All travel expenses must be posted on a quarterly basis within 30 days following the last day of the quarter and must include the following information:

  • the period covered by the trip and the places visited;
  • transportation expenses; and
  • other expenses (such as accommodation and meals).

All parliamentary secretaries and exempt staff of ministers are also required to post all travel expenses on their respective departmental websites (see section 6.1.3).

Travel expenses for ministers, parliamentary secretaries and ministers' staff on portfolio and program-related business include the following costs that are charged against the other operating budget of the minister (exceptions for international travel may apply; please refer to section 6.5.)

Transportation

  • GTMO/STSI service costs (e.g. airline tickets);
  • fees paid to commercial carriers;
  • fees for the use of privately owned, government‑owned, or rental vehicles;
  • fees for the rental of trains, aircraft, or marine transportation; and
  • other expenses for related services.
Other expenses

  • accommodation;
  • meals and incidental expenses;
  • luggage insurance when not provided by the carrier;
  • passport, visa, and required photo expenses;
  • telephone calls, facsimiles, Internet connections, and messenger services;
  • office services; and
  • other travel‑related services.

6.1.2 Reimbursement for travel expenses

Reimbursement procedures for the travel of ministers on departmental business is governed by a letter from the Minister of Finance dated December 5, 1963, that refers to Cabinet direction (included as Appendix C). Based on the document, ministers are asked to submit as their travel claims a signed statement that includes:

  • the period covered by the trip and the places visited;
  • transportation expenses; and
  • other expenses (such as accommodation and meals).

This statement of expenses may be submitted on a monthly (rather than a per-trip) basis and must include the following certification, pursuant to section 34 of the Financial Administration Act:

"I certify that the foregoing expenditures have been incurred by me on official government business in [month] [year]." [minister's signature]

Along with their signed attestation, ministers are required to submit original receipts and supporting documentation for hospitality and travel reimbursements to appropriate departmental officials. Receipts under the control of government institutions are subject to Access to Information (ATI) legislation and thus obtainable through ATI requests.

The aforementioned 1963 letter also specifies that, where requested advances are greater than the actual costs incurred, the difference should be remitted to the department in the form of cash or a personal cheque made payable to the Receiver General for Canada.

6.1.3 Travel expenses—ministerial staff

When a minister requires a parliamentary secretary[1], an exempt staff member, or a departmental staff member to travel on departmental business, reservations should be made via the GTMO/STSI and expenses shall be in accordance with the Treasury Board Special Travel Authorities and the National Joint Council Travel Directive, Rates and Allowances. Private travel agencies may be used where such use results in direct savings to the taxpayer and/or indirect savings through more efficient travel that better meets scheduling requirements. When travel has been booked directly with carriers or a travel agency or agent, claims for reimbursement can be made following each trip, or the authorized expenses can be charged to the Departmental Travel Expense Cards (DTEC). However, departments are not to be billed directly by the travel suppliers.

Travel expenditures are chargeable to the minister's other operating budget (exceptions for international travel may apply; please refer to section 6.5). They should be authorized by the minister or chief of staff (other than for his or her own travel) and reviewed by a senior financial officer.

Parliamentary secretaries and all ministers' departmental and exempt staff members that are required to travel on department-related business must post on the departmental website all travel expenses incurred. All travel expenses must be posted on a quarterly basis within 30 days following the last day of the quarter and must include the following information:

  • the period covered by the trip and the places visited;
  • transportation expenses; and
  • other expenses (such as accommodation and meals).

When exempt staff members accompany a minister, the appropriate signature is necessary to upgrade travel to business class, in the event that the minister does not personally sign the travel authority.

Expenditures incurred by a chief of staff should be authorized by the minister or the minister's senior delegate for financial matters. Parliamentary secretaries, chiefs of staff, directors, and chiefs of staff to ministers of state have the same travel entitlements as the Executive Group at the EX-02 level and above (refer to the Special Travel Authorities), except when accompanying the minister, in which case the air travel entitlement may be upgraded if so determined by the minister.

Separate claims should be submitted when a member of a minister's staff claims reimbursement for disbursements made on behalf of the minister and his or her own travel expenses. The former should be accounted for separately, included in any reports or ministerial travel expenses.

6.2 Executive vehicles for use by a minister

Unless a minister personally directs otherwise, the department provides a motor vehicle for the minister's official use on government, portfolio, or ministerial business and for personal use. Ministers of state are to be provided the same level of entitlement for motor vehicles as ministers receive.

6.2.1 Official use

Official use encompasses any use of the vehicle for the effective conduct of official business, including constituency business, for which travel would normally be reimbursed by the House of Commons. Official use includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • travel to and from a departmental office, the House of Commons, or any other place where business is transacted;
  • travel to and from airports when proceeding on business travel or when meeting visiting dignitaries;
  • travel to and from diplomatic or other social functions attended in the capacity of a minister;
  • travel under any circumstances when, for personal protection, the presence of a security officer is required;
  • transportation of classified material to, from, and between various work locations, including a minister's residence; and
  • any other use that helps in the discharge of responsibilities as a minister of the Crown.

6.2.2 Personal use

Ministers are authorized to make personal use of the vehicles provided by their departments. Exempt and departmental staff, including the driver, are not authorized for personal use of an executive vehicle. The executive vehicle is also available to the minister's family and household for personal use whenever it is not required for official business. For Income Tax Act purposes, any use of an executive vehicle for anything other than official business generally constitutes a taxable benefit. In accordance with Subsection 5.3.3 of the Directive on Fleet Vehicles: Light Duty Vehicles, departments must ensure that a log book (or other appropriate utilization tool) is assigned to every vehicle in order to track utilization data.

The computation of the taxable benefit is based on a number of factors including amount of use and a standby charge. Details on the calculation of the taxable benefit are available from the following Canada Revenue Agency interpretation bulletin. A deduction is made at source for the use of the vehicle.

6.2.3 Selecting an executive vehicle

The maximum price limit for the purchase of an executive vehicle is adjusted annually by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Information on the current maximum price limit can be obtained at Authorize Maximum Price.

Executive vehicles are to be acquired through procurement arrangements established by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) as detailed in the Directive on Fleet Vehicles: Executive Vehicles, and the Directive on Fleet Vehicles: Light Duty Vehicles. The list of executive vehicles that can be purchased may be viewed at PWGSC's Government Motor Vehicle Ordering Guide. It is important that departments consult with PWGSC headquarters before making any decision on the purchase of executive vehicles. For insurance purposes, departments must also inform PWGSC headquarters when they take possession of an executive vehicle or when such vehicle is transferred to another department. It should be noted that vehicle leases must be avoided.

6.2.4 Maintaining executive vehicles

Ministers and their successors who acquire vehicles are expected to continue using a vehicle over its useful life. If a minister's vehicle becomes surplus to requirements before its useful life is over, arrangements can be made for the vehicle to be redeployed through PWGSC. A vehicle should not be disposed of outside the federal government when there are other eligible executives in need of it.

All the costs of operating and maintaining the motor vehicle are borne by the department, not ministers' budgets. However, no public funds shall be used to pay fines for traffic violations, including parking violations. To ensure that the taxable benefit portion of operating executive vehicles is uniformly calculated, the Treasury Board requires the department to record all information about usage and operating costs in a systematic manner.

Like all other government vehicles, those used by ministers are expected to be registered with a private-sector fleet management company for fuel, maintenance, and repair. This is generally the same company that is used for the departmental fleet. A "fleet" card is provided and should be used to pay for all required fuel, repairs, and maintenance for the vehicle. The use of the card allows automatic capture of vehicle data in the departmental fleet database. PWGSC has awarded a standing offer to a fleet management company, and details on the services offered can be viewed at PWGSC's Government Motor Vehicle Ordering Guide and by accessing Fleet Management Support Services. Notwithstanding the normal government practice to self-underwrite government vehicles, all executive vehicles shall be fully insured commercially. PWGSC is responsible for the purchase and administration of the proper insurance coverage. It pays up front for the coverage and invoices the appropriate departments accordingly on an annual basis. It is important that departments provide PWGSC headquarters with an up to date list of names of those who drive executive vehicles and ensure adequate insurance coverage of these individuals at all times.

Further information on insurance can be found in section 5.5 of the Directive on Fleet Management: Executive Vehicles.

6.3 Air travel

Ministers and ministers of state, with the written agreement of the Prime Minister's Office and with the approval of the Minister of National Defence, may travel on National Defence (DND) flights without charge and, under certain circumstances, may use administrative fleet aircraft provided by DND. Executive aircraft should be used only in cases where commercial air service is not available or suitable. These aircraft are to be used only when the purpose of the trip is to carry out ministerial or departmental business. National Defence Guidelines (Appendix B) for the Use of Government Administrative Aircraft give full details on executive flights and how to arrange for them.

Ministers, officials, and other authorized personnel will not be charged for flights on DND Administrative Flight Services Challenger aircraft that are used for departmental or Government of Canada business. Information on these guidelines is available from DND.

Ministers and ministers of state, with the written agreement of the Prime Minister's Office and with the approval of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities may also travel on Transport Canada aircraft without charge. These aircraft are be used only when the purpose of the trip is to carry out ministerial or departmental business.

When people who travel commercially on government business qualify for financial benefits offered by airlines arising from travel, such as free tickets or compensation for rescheduled flights offered by airlines, these benefits are the property of the Crown. With respect to loyalty points such as Air Miles, the National Joint Council (NJC) Travel Directive has been extended to ministers and their exempt staff. Under the Directive, loyalty points collected during official government travel can be used for business or personal travel. When used for personal travel, they are a taxable benefit. For further information, see Loyalty and other points programs.

Ministers, parliamentary secretaries, their family members and exempt staff may be restricted from travel on non-commercial chartered or private aircraft. Please refer to the Conflict of Interest Act for details.

First-class air travel for ministers has been restricted as a result of the February 1992 budget, as one of the initiatives to reduce government spending. Economy or business class should be selected within the continental United States and Canada.

For overseas flights, first-class travel may be selected in limited circumstances, such as when ministers are obliged to conduct business shortly after deplaning, when there is no business class service on a given flight, for air travel in excess of nine hours, or for specific medical reasons.

Budget 2009 (under "Stronger Departmental Management" in Chapter 4) contained some further restrictions for air travel for ministers and their staff: "…business class travel will no longer be allowed on any flight that is less than two hours for ministers, their staff, and….". This also applies to ministers of state.

6.4 Rail travel

Ministers may use the free railway travel afforded all members of Parliament and their families.

6.5 International travel (government business)

When considering travel arrangements abroad, ministers must seek the approval of the Prime Minister's Office. They must also consult with the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the foreign policy aspects.

The Prime Minister's Office, acting on behalf of the Prime Minister, will authorize the travel, as appropriate, bearing in mind government priorities and other ministerial absences from Ottawa. No trip should be planned or in any way confirmed until it has been cleared through the Prime Minister's Office.

Once the trip is approved, procedural and substantive arrangements for the visit, including contact with host governments and program development, must be made through the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

Costs for international travel incurred by ministers, parliamentary secretaries, and ministers' staff, where the travel is required for departmental operational or program purposes only, may be charged to a special fund centre, created from existing reference levels, within the minister's department or agency. All such are to be publicly disclosed under the normal requirements of proactive disclosure.

6.6 International travel (private)

When considering foreign private travel, ministers should, well before departure, inform the Minister of Foreign Affairs in writing so that the department can advise them about any issues that could complicate their visit. This practice applies especially for countries that are designated by Canada as requiring special consideration or security precautions.

6.7 Ministers' spouses

When the spouse of a minister accompanies that minister on official government business, such travel must be pre-authorized by the Prime Minister's Office and only if the attendance of the spouse at an official function is essential for reasons of protocol. During such events, the spouse is to act as host or hostess, or the spouse is to assist the minister in the conduct of his or her responsibilities.

Travel expenses incurred by spouses on official government business will be reimbursed by the sponsoring department(s) in accordance with the provisions of the National Joint Council's Travel Directive, unless there is another exception authority in place to provide entitlements over and above this directive.

Ministers, at their discretion, may be accompanied by their spouses on government-owned or operated aircraft. There is no charge for the spouse's flight.

As indicated in Canada Revenue Agency's Interpretation Bulletin IT 470R (Consolidated), these reimbursements may be taxable, depending on the circumstances.

6.8 Travel by members of the House of Commons with or on behalf of a minister

Where a member of the House of Commons is travelling either with or on behalf of a minister on departmental business, subject to approval by the minister, these costs may be charged to the department. In accordance with the Special Travel Authorities, when members of Parliament travel on such departmental business, their travel expenses are governed by the NJC Travel Directive, specifically the provisions for "travellers," but such travel is subject to trip approval by the Governor in Council of an order in council submitted to the Privy Council Office, upon request by a minister[2]. In addition, all such travel must be disclosed in accordance with proactive disclosure requirements.



Part 7 — Contracting

7.1 Introduction

Ministers operate in two distinct environments, each with separate budgets (sources of funds) and legislative and policy frameworks. Specifically, requirements for offices and budgets of MPs are subject to special provisions under the Parliament Act; ministerial offices are subject to the Financial Administration Act, its regulations, and Treasury Board policies.

This includes ensuring that the Government Contracts Regulations are respected and that Financial Administration Act requirements are met. These include section 32 of the Act (making a commitment that the funds to pay for the work to be undertaken are available), section 33 (that all the necessary verification has taken place to ensure a payment is valid), and section 34 (that the work was performed in accordance with the contract).

Ministers' staff is encouraged to consult their departmental procurement specialists when making procurements. The complete text of the Contracting Policy is available on the Treasury Board Secretariat's website.

7.1.1 Treasury Board Contracting Policy

The Contracting Policy is based not only on ensuring that the services and products needed to deliver an office's responsibilities are delivered, but also on demonstrating fairness, openness, and obtaining best value in the spending of taxpayers' money. Key legislative, regulatory, and policy provisions govern government contracting activities. Government contracting must ensure prudence and probity, ensure the pre-eminence of operational requirements, and when possible support long-term industrial and regional development, as well as any other national objectives.

The Government Contracts Regulations require the solicitation of bids except where:

  1. the need is one of pressing emergency in which delay would be injurious to the public interest;
  2. the estimated contract expenditure is below $25,000;
  3. the nature of the work is such that it would not be in the public interest to solicit bids; or
  4. only one supplier can do the work.

As well, the government is signatory to three trade agreements that affect government procurement and these establish thresholds for various types of procurement:

  1. the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Chapter Ten;
  2. the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement (WTO‑AGP); and
  3. the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), Chapter Five.

The Government Contracts Regulations are found in Appendix B of the Contracting Policy. References and links to the trade agreements are provided throughout the policy. In addition to outlining key policy aspects of tendering, the policy also sets limits on a department's authority to contract without first seeking Treasury Board approval.

Contracting authorities must not split contracts or contract amendments in order to avoid obtaining either the approval required by statute and the Contracting Policy or appropriate management approval within the department or agency.

7.2 Employer‑employee relationships

Except for those contracts of employment that are exempted pursuant to section 128 of the Public Service Employment Act, ministers shall not enter into contracts for the services of individuals when the terms of the contract or the actual work situation would result in an employer‑employee relationship. Before entering into a contract, ministers should seek the advice of their departmental legal advisor and procurement specialist to ensure that there is no potential employer‑employee relationship in the contract. For guidance in assessing an employer-employee relationship:

  • consult Canada Revenue Agency's publications, e.g. "Employee or Self-Employed," publication number RC4110;
  • refer to sections 16.2 and 16.3 of the Contracting Policy; or
  • seek legal advice from the Department of Justice Canada where it is not feasible for officials to determine whether a contract is a contract for services or a contract of employment in situations where employment status is not easily identifiable.

7.3 Fee guidelines

There are no specific fee guidelines for contracts, which can be established through a variety of mechanisms. Information can be obtained from departmental specialists or PWGSC. When there is no competition, the onus is on the contractor to prove that any fees charged to the government are comparable or similar to those charged to or obtained from the private sector for comparable or similar work. Contracts may also contain standard terms and conditions identifying an audit provision. Appendix J of the Treasury Board Contracting Policy—Selection process and establishment of fees for consulting and professional services—can be found at Contracting Policy.

7.4 Former government officials

Contracts for the services of former government officials must be able to stand up to the closest public scrutiny. No contract for the services of a former official shall be entered into unless the individual minister is satisfied that it would be in the public interest to do so. Potential contractors may be subject to either the Conflict of Interest Act or the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service. Other considerations of a general nature are discussed in the Contracting Policy (section 16.8, Appendix B).

7.5 Temporary help services

Government policy is that employees of temporary help agencies are to be used only in those situations where it is not feasible to assign exempt staff, departmental employees, or other Public Service employees. Temporary services are normally engaged when there is a short-term vacancy, when an exempt staff member or Public Service employee is absent for a short period, or when there is a temporary increase in workload for which staff is not available. Ministers must try to meet their short-term needs with existing staff or term appointments.

When contracting for temporary help services (administrative support and other categories), contracting authorities should give consideration to obtaining these services directly from companies with which PWGSC has entered into temporary help standing offers. Contracting authorities have the option of acquiring temporary help through a standing offer issued by PWGSC or by dealing directly by means of a separate departmental standing offer or a contract with other suppliers. Further information on the existence of temporary help standing offers may be obtained from PWGSC.

It should be noted that contract splitting is unacceptable and forbidden. Separate contracts should be entered into with temporary help firms each time a call-up is made against a standing offer for temporary help services.

Contracts for temporary help may pose the risk of creating employer-employee relationships; these must be avoided, as stated in section 7.2.

Additional information on temporary help services can be found in Appendix I of the Contracting Policy—Temporary Help Services.

7.6 Proactive disclosure of contracts over $10,000

On March 23, 2004, the government announced a new policy on the mandatory publication of contracts over $10,000, in order to enhance the role of Parliament and increase transparency so that Canadians are better able to hold Parliament and public sector officials to account.

The new requirement consists of the disclosure of procurement contracts for goods and services dating back to April 1, 2004, for federal departments and agencies listed in schedules I, I.1, and II of the Financial Administration Act (FAA). Ministers' offices are subject to the FAA, its regulations, and Treasury Board policies.

Departments and agencies listed in schedules I, I.1, and II of the FAA are required to report the data on their websites (even where PWGSC has issued the contract on their behalf), within 30 days of the end of each fiscal period and to update it every three months. The contract information reported must include the vendor's name, the number used in the financial system, contract date, description of work, contract period for services, delivery date of goods, and contract value.

Please note that information that would normally be withheld under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act does not appear on this website. Contracts such as those relating to national security or law enforcement are exempt from the reporting requirement.

Ministerial staff is encouraged to discuss the requirements for proactive disclosure with departmental contracting officials. For more information on the posting of contract information on-line, please see the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's website on Proactive Disclosure.



Part 8 — Services and Hospitality

8.1 Parking

A minister's vehicle, being the property of the Crown, is allotted a parking space at the minister's office.

All exempt staff members must pay for their parking in government parking areas at the same rates paid by Public Service employees.

8.2 Relocation

8.2.1 Relocation

A minister may, at his or her discretion, reimburse the relocation expenses of appointees who accept employment as exempt staff at the EX-02 equivalent and above. Any benefits are negotiated between the minister and the individual. Any negotiated relocation assistance for those individuals is to be paid from the minister's own other operating budget. Relocation assistance may be up to the full provisions of the NJC Relocation Directive.

A third-party service provider provides professional relocation assistance, which is co-ordinated through each departmental national co-ordinator, who should be the first point of contact for any relocation inquiries or assistance. The letter of offer or other correspondence to be placed on the appointee's file should clearly state the specific relocation expenses to be reimbursed to the appointee, including a provision for the pro-rated recovery of expenses for early voluntary termination of employment, consistent with Treasury Board policies. There are no provisions for reimbursing relocation expenses on completion of employment. No relocation expense should be incurred by the appointee prior to obtaining formal authorization.

8.3 Hospitality and gifts

8.3.1 Hospitality—ministers

While events that a minister hosts personally are exempt from the Directive on the Management of Expenditures on Travel, Hospitality and Conferences, the guidelines set out in the directive are appropriate to hospitality extended on behalf of the government. These guidelines list the appropriate occasions, the various forms of hospitality, and the types of facilities that should preferably be government-owned, but that must never be commercial facilities that engage in discrimination practices.

Because it might seem that ministers benefit personally from hospitality functions, they should be aware that high standards are expected of them. They should avoid giving the slightest impression of using public funds and facilities for anything other than purely official purposes.

8.3.1.1 Accounting

When seeking reimbursement for hospitality expenditures, ministers must make a statement that includes the following sentence:

"I certify that the foregoing expenditures have been incurred by me on official business in [month] [year]."

[minister's signature]

This certification is pursuant to section 34 of the Financial Administration Act.

Along with their signed attestation, ministers are required to submit original receipts and supporting documentation for hospitality and travel reimbursements to appropriate departmental officials. Receipts under the control of government institutions are subject to Access to Information (ATI) legislation and thus obtainable through ATI requests.

Ministers are required to post all hospitality expenses on their departmental website. These must be posted on a quarterly basis within 30 days following the last day of the quarter and must include the following information:

  • the total amount of hospitality incurred; and
  • the establishment or restaurant where the hospitality occurred.

All parliamentary secretaries and exempt staff members of ministers are also required to post all hospitality expenses on the departmental website (see section 8.3.2).

Ministers should maintain complete records of each hospitality occasion so that they can respond to any questions that may arise later.

8.3.2 Hospitality—ministers' staff

There may be instances when a minister requires a parliamentary secretary3 or staff member to extend hospitality on behalf of the minister or department. Such hospitality may be necessary because it will economically facilitate the business of the department or agency or because it is considered essential as a matter of courtesy or protocol. In these instances, such hospitality shall be extended in accordance with the Directive on the Management of Expenditures on Travel, Hospitality and Conferences and all the requirements for documentation shall be met. Claims for reimbursement should be approved by the chief of staff or minister, as appropriate.

Separate claims should be submitted when a member of a minister's staff claims reimbursement for his or her own hospitality expenses and for hospitality disbursements made on behalf of the minister. The latter should be accounted for separately, included in any reports of ministerial office expenses, and accompanied by the ministerial certification.

Parliamentary secretaries and ministers' exempt staff are also required to post all hospitality expenses on their departmental website. These must be posted on a quarterly basis within 30 days following the last day of the quarter and must include the following information:

  • the name of the staff or exempt staff member who provided the hospitality;
  • the total amount of hospitality incurred; and
  • the establishment or restaurant where the hospitality occurred.

8.3.3 Gifts, hospitality, or other benefits received

There may be restrictions on ministers, parliamentary secretaries, and exempt staff receiving gifts, hospitality, or other benefits. For details, please consult the Conflict of Interest Act.

8.3.4 Gifts given

It has been government practice that official gifts and mementoes are presented only on occasions where:

  • they further international relations;
  • official hospitality abroad is involved; or
  • foreign visitors or delegations are hosted in Canada.

Whenever any of these circumstances arise, minister's staff should contact the Gift Bank, which is operated by the State Ceremonials Directorate of Canadian Heritage. The Gift Bank also ensures that official gifts are distinctively Canadian. Appropriate gifts include contemporary arts and crafts or items representative of Canadian culture, arts, and cultural products or Canadian manufacturing. The Gift Bank can provide advice on appropriate types of gifts and will ensure that official gifts are of a value suitable to the status of the recipient.

If a gift other than one from the Gift Bank is being considered, and as a last recourse and under exceptional circumstances, certain authorities may be needed. These may include the authority to make the acquisition of the gift a legitimate expenditure of public funds, and the authority to transfer the gift. A submission to the Treasury Board for a recommendation to the Governor in Council may be required to secure such authorities.

8.4 Memberships

In accordance with the Treasury Board Membership Fees Policy, part of employee entitlements, the department or agency may reimburse ministers' exempt staff for memberships and registrations. Memberships are limited to departmental requirements and should be held in the department's name whenever possible. Memberships that are not a legal requirement of the position and whose main purpose is to increase the public's contact with departmental operations should be authorized only in the most exceptional circumstances, at the discretion of the minister. The reasons justifying these memberships must be beyond question, particularly when they include social or recreational facilities, considering exempt staff may have specific requirements in the course of their political duties that are distinct and separate from departmental requirements.

8.5 International conferences

Participation in major international government conferences headed by a minister should be limited to a delegation of eight Canadian representatives, where possible. These eight include the minister's staff, but not essential technical personnel.

The deputy minister of Foreign Affairs should be advised of delegations where representation may include more than one department, in order to co-ordinate the overall Canadian representation.

The lead departmental minister heading the delegation has the final decision as to the number of representatives.

8.6 Legal services

Under the Government Contracts Regulations, contracts to perform legal services may be entered into only by or under the authority of the Minister of Justice.

8.6.1 Indemnification and legal assistance

This protection is currently identical to those covering Crown servants, as set out in the Policy on Legal Assistance and Idemnification. Ministers and their exempt staff will be entitled to indemnification against personal civil liability and will be eligible for legal assistance, provided they meet basic policy requirements, which are to have acted honestly and without malice within the scope of their duties and met reasonable expectations. This need may arise from any act or omission of the minister or exempt staff member in the conduct of portfolio or other official
government business.



Part 9 — Official Languages

9.1 Official languages

Ministers, as well as their staff, must act in accordance with the prescriptions and requirements of the legislative, policy, and program framework described here. Provisions and requirements applicable to ministers' parliamentary, departmental, and constituency offices respectively can differ.

9.2 Background

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that English and French are the official languages of Canada and have equal rights and privileges in all institutions of Parliament and government and sets out several other provisions on official languages.

The Official Languages Act (1988) gives effect to the Charter provisions on English and French as official languages. The Act and the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations govern the provision of service to the public in both official languages. There are also policies concerning the application of the Act and Regulations, as well as mechanisms in support of the Official Languages Program, most notably access to language training and the provision of translation and interpretation services.

Together, the Act and Regulations set out the circumstances in which communication with the public is to take place and services are to be provided in either official language, as the public chooses.

Section 22 of the Official Languages Act applies to those offices of ministers located in the National Capital Region (NCR). The Regulations apply to those offices that are not located in the NCR. The Directory of Offices and Service Points (BUROLIS) identifies all offices and service points obligated to provide services and communications in both official languages.

Also, employees of federal institutions have the right to work in the official language of their choice in regions designated bilingual for that purpose when they are not serving the public, if their position is bilingual or unilingual in their own language.

The Government of Canada is committed to achieving, with due regard to the merit principle, equitable participation, as well as equal opportunities for employment and advancement of English‑speaking and French‑speaking Canadians in federal institutions.

Each institution that is subject to the Act is responsible for its implementation within its area of responsibility.

The Treasury Board Secretariat is responsible for general direction and co-ordination regarding the Act's requirements of service to the public, language of work, and equitable participation in all institutions subject to the Official Languages Act. The Senate, the House of Commons, and the Library of Parliament are subject to the Act, but are not required to follow Treasury Board Secretariat policies on official languages and are not accountable to Treasury Board Secretariat for their performance.

9.3 Service to the public

Ministers' offices located in the NCR must have the capacity to communicate with and serve the public in both official languages. This obligation must effectively be discharged in all aspects of their interface with the public, whether written or oral. Ministers' offices must therefore have enough qualified staff to meet these requirements, which range from simple bilingual reception, in person or on the telephone, to the ability to deal with the public on substantive issues in both official languages.

9.4 Language of work

The NCR is one of the regions designated as bilingual for language of work. In ministers' offices that are located in the NCR, a work environment must be created that allows employees to use the official language of their choice when they are not serving the public. This must be reflected in the conduct and character of meetings, in the acceptance of documents and presentations in either official language, and in the issuing of instructions. Employees occupying bilingual positions or positions requiring the use of either English or French exclusively must be supervised or have supervision available to them in the language(s) of the position(s) supervised so that employees can speak and write in the official language of their choice.

9.5 Equitable participation

The Official Languages Act commits the federal government to ensuring that English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians have equal opportunities for employment and advancement within federal institutions without regard to their ethnic origin or their first language. The composition of the workforce of federal institutions should therefore reflect the presence of both linguistic communities. Ministers' offices should take these principles into account when establishing the composition of the personnel that will enable them to meet their needs and the office's obligations as regards service to the public and language of work.

9.6 Support mechanisms

Ministers' exempt staff should consult the deputy head of their respective department for additional general information on official languages. Departments have a director of official languages or another official responsible for official languages. This person can answer specific questions on departmental official languages programs, policies, and issues.

There are support mechanisms to help meet official-language requirements in federal institutions, including language training and translation services. There are Treasury Board policies on determining the language requirements of positions and the staffing of bilingual positions. Language training can be made available to ministers and their staff to enable those who require knowledge of both official languages to perform their duties. Translation and interpretation services are also available. These services, language training (when required of the position) and translation and interpretation services are funded through departmental operating budgets. Language training for positions not designated bilingual may be authorized at the discretion of the minister and is to be funded from the minister's operating budget.



Part 10 — Information Management

10.1 Information management

Ministers will usually have papers in their offices that fall into four general categories: Cabinet documents, institutional records, ministerial records (as defined in section 2 of the National Archives Act), and personal and political records. Each of these categories has its own set of considerations under the Access to Information Act, the Privacy Act, and the Canada Evidence Act.

Ministers should maintain separate information systems for Cabinet documents, institutional records, ministerial records, and personal and political records. Ministerial records must be transferred from the office of the minister to Library and Archives Canada in accordance with schedules approved by the Librarian and Archivist of Canada. Deputy ministers should advise ministers and their staff on these matters. The Treasury Board policy can be accessed at Policy on Information Management. Advice can also be obtained from the Government Records Branch at Library and Archives Canada, which publishes the Guidelines for Managing Recorded Information in a Minister's Office. Library and Archives Canada also publishes Multi-Institutional Disposition Authorities and Retention Guidelines.

Special precautions must be taken to guarantee the security of Cabinet documents, in accordance with procedures established by the Privy Council Office on the Prime Minister's behalf. Most importantly, when a Cabinet item has been dealt with, the associated Cabinet documents must be returned to the Privy Council Office. Successive prime ministers have also agreed that the Clerk of the Privy Council, with deputy ministers, will ensure that Confidences of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada contained in records left in government custody by Cabinet ministers will be protected from access by successive governments.

Ministers and their staff are also advised to refer to Annex C of Accountable Government.

10.1.1 Information technologies

Guidelines for the use of information technologies, such as e‑mail, the Internet, social media and local area networks, are evolving within the Public Service. Ministers and their exempt staff should seek guidance on their use from the appropriate departmental officials. Ministers and their staff should consider electronic recorded information as identical to physical recorded information such as prints, photographs and documents.

In designing information systems, ministers must provide for the proper processing, handling, and storage of classified and other sensitive information. Advice and assistance on meeting government‑wide standards for physical, communications, and electronic data processing security is available from the departmental security officer.

10.1.2 Leaving office

Ministers and their exempt staff have a responsibility to ensure that all Cabinet documents and official records are left in the custody of appropriate authorities. On leaving office, ministers must use the secure storage facilities and archival services offered by Library and Archives Canada for their personal and political papers. They should also take steps to remind individuals leaving their jobs of their continuing responsibilities to maintain the confidentiality of the sensitive information to which they have had access, cancel all their authorities (e.g. access authorities, keys, and locks), and return all sensitive information to the appropriate authority. The designated security official in the minister's office should terminate employment in person, and the process should be formally documented.

10.2 The Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act

10.2.1 Background

The Access to Information Act gives the public the right of access to information in records controlled by government institutions. A minister's office is considered separate and distinct from the government institution; thus, ministers and their exempt staff are not considered employees or officers of the institution. This interpretation is being examined in light of a recent decision by the Federal Court of Canada. The impact of this judgment is still being assessed and the question of whether or not the Act applies to ministerial records has yet to be resolved. Prior to making decisions on the disclosure of any records (including expense claims of ministers and their exempt staff), ministers' offices should consult with their institution's legal services unit.

Access to information is the public's right. Subject to the Access to Information Act, every Canadian citizen and permanent resident "has a right to and shall, on request, be given access to any record under the control of a government institution."

All ministers have delegated their responsibilities under the Access to Information Act to specifically named public servants. These individuals are responsible for all decisions made under the Act. No political staff member has received a delegation of authority under the Act and therefore no political staff member has authority to make access to information decisions.

It is permissible for political staff members to receive advance notice of the release of records so that they can anticipate the disclosure, brief their ministers and prepare for media and Opposition questions, however, it is impermissible to counsel a public servant to delay giving access, to withhold a document or to deny access.

The Access to Information Act is based on two principles:

  • government information should be available to the public; and
  • necessary exceptions should be limited and specified by law.

The Access to Information Act complements the Privacy Act.

The Privacy Act governs the use, disclosure, collection, retention, and disposal of personal information and expands previous statutory protection of personal information held by a government institution. The Privacy Act gives individuals the right of access to information about themselves that is held by a government institution. While the offices of ministers are not considered to be part of a "government institution" for the purposes of the Privacy Act, the following principles should nevertheless govern those offices:

  1. information should be used or disclosed only for a purpose consistent with the purpose for which it was obtained, unless the individual concerned consents to the new use or disclosure, or the disclosure is required by law;
  2. to personal information should be strictly limited to individuals who have a legitimate need to know;
  3. security safeguards shall be put in place and maintained to protect personal information from unauthorized disclosure; and
  4. information that is no longer needed should be disposed of unless its retention is required by law.

Records relating to ministers and exempt staff that are located in an institution may contain personal information that must be protected under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. Such records should not be disclosed unless in accordance with these acts.

Expense claim records about ministers and exempt staff

All travel and hospitality expenses for ministers, parliamentary secretaries, and exempt staff are to be published on institutional websites to promote transparency and to facilitate public access.

Ministers' offices are required to disclose hospitality and travel expenses publicly, through departmental websites. Reports cover a 90‑day period, and ministers and their offices must report within 30 days of the end of the period being reported. This policy also applies to parliamentary secretaries.

Other records about expense claims of ministers and their exempt staff may contain personal information that must be protected under the Access to Information Act, unless consent to disclose is received from the individual(s). In view of jurisprudence that supports this position, the Secretariat issued Implementation Report No. 78, dated March 30, 2001 and Information Notice No. 2002-2004, dated March 18, 2002 to provide guidance concerning this matter. Copies of these archived documents can be obtained by contacting Treasury Board Secretariat's Information and Privacy Directorate at ippd-dpiprp@tbs-sct.gc.ca or 613 946-4945. As well, in March 2002, the Secretary of the Treasury Board wrote concerning this matter to his counterparts at all institutions subject to the Access to Information Act. All three documents outline the government's position on records relating to ministers and their exempt staff and inform institutions that records relating to expense claims of ministers and their exempt staff may contain personal information, as well as that other information might require protection under another exemption provision, and recommend that institutions take reasonable steps to seek consent for the disclosure of such records directly from the individual concerned.

Canada Evidence Act

The amendments to the Canada Evidence Act, known as Specified Public Interest rules, apply to the disclosure of records in instances where a court of law seeks information from the government that is relevant to a case.

10.2.2 Monitoring disclosure

Decisions on disclosing government information under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act can be reviewed independently of the government. Depending upon the applicable legislation, either the Information Commissioner or the Privacy Commissioner conducts the first level of review. The Federal Court, Trial Division, conducts the next level of review, and cases can be brought before the Federal Court of Appeal and, ultimately, the Supreme Court of Canada.

Within a department or an agency subject to the legislation, a designated departmental co‑ordinator administers one or both acts. This officer receives requests from the public, advises the minister and departmental officials about what should or should not be released, and ensures that a response is prepared. The co-ordinator also ensures that personal information is protected, as required by the Privacy Act. In addition, departmental legal services provide legal expertise on access and
privacy matters.

Both acts specifically recognize the rights of access of individuals with sensory disabilities.

The following suggestions are designed to help ministers meet the requirements of this legislation:

  • assign a single senior contact within the minister's office who is knowledgeable about the acts and their impact on departmental operations, and who can deal directly with the departmental co-ordinator regarding ministerial records;
  • keep institutional records segregated from personal and political records and put in place the conventions set out in this document, especially the accounting procedures;
  • review delegation orders under the acts to ensure that the specific powers, duties, and functions are set out and delegated to the appropriate level;
  • ensure that appropriate reporting on the nature and progress of access requests is in place in the department; and
  • support sound departmental information management practices.

10.2.3 Cabinet confidences

The Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act do not apply to records that fall under the category of Confidences of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada. Confidences of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada are generally excluded for 20 years, while discussion papers are excluded for up to four years. When an access request involves Cabinet confidences, ministers must consult the Privy Council Office before responding. The deputy minister or access to information co-ordinator in each department can arrange this consultation.



Part 11 — Approval and Consultation

11.1 Approval and consultation

Where these policies refer to approval by, or consultation with, the Prime Minister's Office, such approval or consultation shall be by or with the Prime Minister's chief of staff or an official designated by the chief of staff in writing.



Appendix A: Exempt Staff Position Structure

Chief of Staff (EX-02, EX-03, or EX-04)


  • is the most senior political advisor to the minister;
  • is responsible for the overall management of the minister's office, including managing the office budget and staff;
  • is responsible for developing and implementing strategic plans in order to assist in delivering the department and minister's mandate;
  • is responsible, on behalf of the minister, for liaising with senior departmental officials in order to ensure a positive working relationship between the minister and the Public Service;
  • must ensure that the minister is properly briefed and advised on all issues that relate to the government's mandate and the department's objectives; and
  • must liaise, on behalf of the minister, with the Prime Minister's Office and other ministers' chiefs of staff in order to address government‑wide issues.

Director of Policy (EX-02)


  • is responsible, in collaboration with the department, for overseeing policy development on behalf of the minister;
  • is also responsible for advising and briefing the minister on all relevant policy issues;
  • needs to work closely with the Prime Minister's Office and other ministers' offices in order to co-ordinate the development of policies and programs within the government;
  • must ensure that policy development within the minister's responsibilities is consistent with the broad policy goals of the government, as laid out in key documents, such as the Speech from the Throne and the budget;
  • should work closely with the department to ensure that policies and policy development are consistent with the minister's objectives and the government's mandate; and
  • should liaise with key stakeholders in order to inform or consult on important policy initiatives within the minister's purview.

Director of Communications (EX-02)


  • is responsible for providing strategic planning and communications advice to the minister;
  • is also responsible for leading comprehensive communications plans on behalf of the minister;
  • must consult regularly with the Prime Minister's Office in order to better co-ordinate government-wide communications;
  • should oversee, and co-ordinate with the department, the development of communications initiatives to ensure that they are consistent with the minister's objectives and the government's mandate;
  • establishes and maintains a professional relationship with the media; and
  • is the leading official spokesperson for the minister; at the behest of the director of communications, the role of spokesperson to the minister may be assigned to other exempt staff members.

Director of Parliamentary Affairs (EX-02)


  • is responsible for advising and briefing the minister on all legislative issues;
  • is responsible, on behalf of the minister, for overseeing all phases of the legislative approval process from the development of legislation within the department to Royal Assent;
  • is the point person within the minister's office for implementing the government's parliamentary reform initiative, which includes consulting committee members on proposed legislation;
  • is responsible for liaising with caucus and the office of the minister's parliamentary secretary to discuss the department's legislative agenda;
  • must liaise with the Prime Minister's Office, other ministers' offices, and caucus members to ensure co-ordination of government-wide legislative issues; and
  • must work closely with the director of policy to ensure consistency between policy and legislative initiatives.

Press Secretary (AS-08)


  • is responsible, working under the direction of the director of communications, for providing strategic planning and communications advice to the minister on departmental issues;
  • is responsible, working under the direction of the director of communications and in collaboration with the department, for communications products on specific issues;
  • is responsible for managing media inquiries for the minister;
  • is also responsible for advising and briefing the minister on relevant media relations issues;
  • should work closely with the department to ensure that communications products are consistent with the minister's objectives and the government's mandate;
  • establishes and maintains a professional relationship with the media; and
  • may be designated by the director of communications as the leading official spokesperson, for the minister.

Policy Advisor (AS-08)


  • is responsible, working under the director of policy and in collaboration with the department, for policy reviews on specific issues;
  • is also responsible for advising and briefing the minister on relevant policy issues;
  • needs to work closely with the Prime Minister's Office and other ministers' offices in order to co-ordinate the development of policies and programs within the government;
  • must ensure that policy development within the minister's responsibilities is consistent with the broad policy goals of the government, as laid out in key documents, such as the Speech from the Throne and the budget;
  • should work closely with the department to ensure that policies and policy development are consistent with the minister's objectives and the government's mandate; and
  • should liaise with key stakeholders in order to inform and/or consult on important policy initiatives within the minister's purview.

Senior Special Assistant (AS-07)


  • provides political advice and support on particular policy issues, communications, and parliamentary affairs at a greater level of complexity and responsibility than special assistant; and
  • provides political advice and assistance in relation to regional responsibilities.

Special Assistant, Communications (AS-05)


  • is responsible for providing communications support to the minister and director of communications;
  • is responsible for overseeing the timely development of communications products by the department, such as press releases and speeches;
  • must consult, in collaboration with the director of communications, with other ministers' offices in order to better co-ordinate government-wide communications;
  • establishes and maintains a positive relationship with the media; and
  • may report to the director of communications.

Special Assistant, Parliamentary Affairs (AS-05)


  • provides general support to the minister and the director of parliamentary affairs;
  • is responsible for briefing and preparing the minister for Question Period;
  • assists the director of parliamentary affairs in implementing the government's Parliamentary Reform Initiative;
  • liaises with caucus and the office of the minister's parliamentary secretary to discuss the department's legislative agenda;
  • liaises, in collaboration with the director of parliamentary affairs, with the other ministers' offices and caucus members to ensure co‑ordination of government-wide legislative issues; and
  • may report to the director of parliamentary affairs.

Special Assistant, Regional Affairs / Regional Desk (AS-05)


  • is responsible for providing political advice and support to the minister for an assigned specific province or region of the country;
  • will liaise extensively with caucus members within their province or region of responsibility in order to advise and consult them on departmental policies and programs;
  • is responsible for liaising with stakeholders within their province/region of responsibility to ensure a thorough understanding of departmental policies and programs;
  • is responsible for all logistical, travel, and advance operations when the minister travels in the province or region of the assistant's responsibility; and
  • under the guidance of the director of policy, may be required to manage policy files, especially files with a provincial or regional focus.

Minister's Private Secretary (AS-06)


  • provides the primary liaison and communications links between the minister and his or her staff, deputy minister, other ministers, and outside government;
  • manages the minister's schedule in a constant state of changing priorities and high pressure; assesses the need for meetings and manages the planning, preparation, and logistics of appointments, meetings, speaking engagements, and other functions to be attended by the minister;
  • assesses the priority of incoming and outgoing material to ensure the minister receives accurate and relevant information on a timely and often urgent basis;
  • maintains an understanding of an extensive range of current and emerging government-wide issues and an extensive and effective network of contacts within and external to government; and
  • provides timely and quality responses to internal and external clients on a wide variety of issues concerning the minister and the government.

Support Staff (up to AS-05)


  • positions include individually or in combination such administrative functions as reception, scheduling, organizing meetings, record keeping, information management, and document processing and control—salaries should be commensurate with complexity of functions and level of responsibility;
  • positions should require a knowledge of departmental and governmental processes, procedures, systems, and policies; and
  • positions could include chauffeuring responsibilities in combination with administrative functions.

Driver (CR-07)


  • position provides transportation services for the Minister, and, at the request of the Minister, to the staff of the Minister, dignitaries, senior departmental officials, parliamentary and/or government officials;
  • conveys classified papers, cabinet documents, classified messages, and other printed material between the offices of the Minister and a variety of destinations;
  • maintains and services the automobile of the Minister; and
  • provides support services in the office of the Minister.

Parliamentary Secretary's Assistant (AS-05)


  • is responsible for advising and briefing the parliamentary secretary on all legislative issues;
  • is responsible, on behalf of the parliamentary secretary, for working closely with the minister's office on all phases of the legislative approval process from the development of legislation within the department to Royal Assent;
  • is the point person within the parliamentary secretary's office for ensuring adherence to the government's Parliamentary Reform Initiative, which includes consulting committee members on proposed legislation; and
  • is responsible for liaising with caucus and the office of the minister to discuss the department's legislative agenda.

Regional Affairs Director (EX-01)


  • senior ministerial staff member in a minister's regional office assisting the regional minister with the role of senior government spokesperson for the region;
  • is responsible, in collaboration with regional offices of federal departments, for overseeing policy integration on behalf of the minister;
  • is also responsible for advising and briefing the minister on all relevant regional issues;
  • works closely with other ministers and MPs in the region in order to assist in the co-ordination of policies and programs within the region; and
  • is responsible for briefing and preparing the minister on regional issues.

Regional Press Secretary (AS-07)


  • is responsible, working under the direction of the director of communications, for providing strategic planning and communications advice to the minister for the region;
  • should co-ordinate, with the director of communications, the development of regional communications initiatives to ensure that they are consistent with the minister's objectives and the government's mandate;
  • establishes and maintains a professional relationship with the regional media; and
  • is the leading official spokesperson, under the direction of the director of communications, for the minister at the regional level.

Regional Communications Advisor (IS-05)


  • senior communications staff member in the minister's regional office assisting the regional minister with the role of senior government spokesperson for the region;
  • is also responsible for environmental scans and advising and briefing the minister on all relevant regional concerns and threats;
  • works closely with other ministers and MPs in the region in order to assist in the co-ordination of messaging within the region; and
  • is responsible for preparing communiqués, press releases, and communications strategies for the minister on regional issues.

Chief of Staff to the Minister of State (EX-01 or EX-02)


  • is the most senior political advisor to the minister of state;
  • is responsible for the overall management of the minister of state's office, including managing the office budget and staff;
  • is responsible for developing and implementing strategic plans in order to assist in delivering the minister of state's mandate;
  • is responsible, on behalf of the minister of state, for liaising with senior departmental officials in order to ensure a positive working relationship between the minister of state and the Public Service;
  • must ensure that the minister of state is properly briefed and advised on all issues that relate to the government's and their minister's mandate; and
  • must liaise, on behalf of the minister of state, with the Prime Minister's Office and other ministers' and ministers of state's offices in order to address government‑wide issues.

Director to the Minister of State (e.g. Director of Policy, Director of Communications, Director of Issues Management, Director of Parliamentary Affairs) (AS-08)


  • For guidance, refer to descriptions for ministers' offices.

Policy Advisor to the Minister of State (AS-08)


  • is responsible, working under the direction of the chief of staff to the minister of state and in collaboration with the department, for policy reviews on specific issues that are within the scope of responsibility of the minister of state;
  • is also responsible for advising and briefing the minister of state on relevant policy issues;
  • needs to work closely with the Prime Minister's Office, the office of the minister responsible for the portfolio and other ministers' offices in order to co-ordinate the development of policies and programs within the government;
  • must ensure that policy development within the minister of state's responsibilities is consistent with the broad policy goals of the government, as laid out in key documents, such as the Speech from the Throne and the budget;
  • should work closely with the department to ensure that policies and policy development are consistent with the minister of state's objectives and the government's mandate; and
  • should liaise with key stakeholders in order to inform and/or consult on important policy initiatives within the minister of state's purview.

Note: Different areas of responsibility may exist for the positions of Director, Senior Special Assistant and Special Assistant.



Appendix B: National Defence Guidelines for the Use of Government Administrative Aircraft

B.1 Description of administrative flight services

National Defence (ND) operates the Administrative Flight Service (AFS) for members of the royal family, the Governor General, the Prime Minister, former prime ministers travelling for purposes related to their former office, Cabinet ministers, foreign dignitaries visiting Canada, parliamentary committees or delegations on official business and, when authorized by a minister, senior federal officers on government business. The service consists of one 12‑passenger Challenger aircraft and three nine‑passenger Challenger aircraft and is capable of providing air transportation on a national and on a limited international basis.

The AFS will operate throughout the year, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, from 412 Squadron of National Defence, which is located at the Shell Aerocentre adjacent to the Ottawa Airport.

B.2 Guidelines for use

Government administrative aircraft are to be used only for government business and when:

  • the flight is being made to a point where there is no commercial air service, when no space is available on a commercial air service, or when, because of difficulties in routings or timetables, substantial savings of essential time can be made by using administrative aircraft in place of commercial services;
  • official parties of some size need to travel together and significant advantage can be gained by using a government aircraft;
  • where security considerations render commercial travel impractical; or
  • the aircraft is being used to transport visiting foreign dignitaries where it is deemed appropriate and/or the provision of this service is in the best interest of the Canadian government.

B.3 Approving authority

The Minister of National Defence is the sole approving authority for flights conducted under the provisions of these guidelines.

B.4 Charges

Charges are not levied for use of the Challenger aircraft of the AFS or for special flights, those that carry members of the royal family, the Governor General, the Prime Minister, or former prime ministers travelling for purposes relating to their former office.

Charges are levied for flights using other types of ND aircraft (e.g. Airbus, etc.) when a flight is arranged by the Governor General, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House of Commons or the Senate or involves a minister of the Crown, members of parliamentary committees or delegations on official business, foreign heads of state, visiting dignitaries, and senior officials travelling on government business.

The charges levied will be the incremental costs of the flight for the particular aircraft type used, as determined by ND.

B.5 Booking procedures

The office of the minister requesting the flight should telephone the FCC at (613) 990-5085 at the earliest opportunity to give a preliminary indication of the requirement, including a tentative itinerary and the number of passengers to be carried.

The minister requesting the flight must forward a formal written request for the flight to the Minister of National Defence, except in cases of emergency; the written request should reach the minister at least 48 hours before the time of departure.

The written request must include:

  • an itinerary of the trip indicating all points of departure and arrival;
  • the reason why the use of government-owned aircraft is requested;
  • the reason why commercial air service cannot be used;
  • a complete passenger list showing departure and arrival points of passengers and their affiliation;
  • the contact person (and telephone number) in the requesting minister's office;
  • in addition, the following statement must be included immediately above the signature block:
  • "I [or my minister] request[s] the use of this aircraft, fully cognizant of the guidelines for use of the AFS, consistent with the government's commitment to financial restraint and consistent with the Conflict of Interest Act"; and
  • the signature of the minister requesting the flight or the signature of the minister's chief of staff on behalf of the minister.

Flight arrangements will conform to the information contained in the written request to the office of the Minister of National Defence or as subsequently arranged by the FCC (with approval from the office of the Minister of National Defence, if there are substantial changes to the written request).

B.6 Restrictions

Requests will normally be handled on a first‑come, first‑served basis. Conflicting priorities and unforeseen requirements will be referred to the Minister of National Defence for resolution. The order of precedence in the Cabinet will be used to resolve conflicts. To optimize the scheduling of aircraft, restrictions on changes to previously co-ordinated itineraries are necessary. Operational constraints, such as crew duty time and the availability of airport services, could disrupt future schedules and have an impact on the services offered or promised to other ministers.

Additionally, stops not contained in the original itinerary should not be planned at intermediate points to pick up or discharge passengers. If such stops or itinerary changes are necessary, they must be co-ordinated with and agreed to by the FCC (which will in turn contact the office of the Minister of National Defence for approval).

The FCC or the office of the Minister of National Defence will inform ministers requesting air transportation of the availability of aircraft proceeding on compatible flight schedules. Ministers should make every effort to make joint use of aircraft in the interests of efficient use of government resources; however, no more than eight ministers of the Crown are to travel on the same aircraft at the same time.

B.7 Reporting

National Defence will make information on the use of administrative aircraft available to the public in a monthly report that provides:

  • the name of the minister requesting the aircraft;
  • the date(s) of trips and the location(s) visited;
  • the name(s) of the passenger(s);
  • the purpose of the trip(s); and
  • the number of hours flown.

Enquiries regarding any particular trip will be referred to the office of the minister requesting the trip.



Appendix C: Letter from the Minister of Finance to Cabinet Ministers, December 1963


Ottawa, December 5, 1963

LETTERS TO CABINET MINISTERS

Dear Mr.

The Cabinet discussed at a recent meeting the manner in which Ministers should account for moneys advanced and expended for travelling on official business.

In accordance with the decisions reached as a result of our discussions, I would ask that in the future you account for moneys advanced to cover travelling expenses by submitting for each trip a statement under two headings:

  1. transportation expenses (if any); and
  2. other expenses.

The statement should also include the period covered by the trip and the places visited.

The statement, which should be sent to your Chief Treasury Officer, should be certified by you as follows:

"I certify that the foregoing expenditures have been incurred by me on official business."

(signed) ________________

The difference between the amount of the advance and the amount covered by your certificate should be returned to your Chief Treasury Officer in the form of cash or your personal cheque.

Yours sincerely,

(Sgd.) W. L. Gordon.



Appendix D: Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury Board With Respect to Access to Information Requests of Ministerial Expense Claims


I am writing further to the announcement in Parliament on March 15, 2002, by the President of the Treasury Board with respect to the treatment of requests made under the Access to Information Act for records of ministerial expenses under the control of government institutions.

As you are no doubt aware, the Prime Minister asked his Ministers and their exempt staff to consent to the release of information contained in travel and hospitality expense records.

Enclosed is a copy of an Information Notice to Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Coordinators issued by the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) to clarify the government's policy on the handling of access requests for records of ministerial expenses, and to request that Coordinators seek consent for the release of information in travel and hospitality expense records. The Information Notice and the practice of disclosing such records with consent are matters that were discussed at the bi-monthly ATIP Community Meeting hosted by TBS on March 19, 2002.

Each time an access request is received for expense claim information that relates specifically to travel and hospitality claims of Ministers and their exempt staff while on government business, all Ministers and their exempt staff will be asked by their Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator to sign a consent form authorizing the disclosure of such information. This applies only to expense claim records that are under the control of the government institution, and specifically to ministerial expense certificates (a monthly summary record of expenses) and to individual claims of exempt staff. This does not include travel records held exclusively in a Minister's Office, as these are not subject to the Access to Information Act.

Consent means that information such as the names of the Minister along with their monthly summary record of expenses, and the names of the exempt staff members, along with their position titles, travel destinations and reasons for travel, the nature of the hospitality, and amounts will be disclosed. Personal information that does not relate to the position or function of the individual, such as home addresses, personal phone or credit card numbers would continue to be protected.

This practice will ensure that the balance between the public's right to know and an individual's right to privacy is maintained.

Yours sincerely,

Frank Claydon



Appendix E: Ministers' Operating Budgets


  • The operating budgets of a minister cover all operating expenditures incurred by parliamentary secretaries, by exempt staff or by departmental staff in a minister's office.
  • Only direct operating expenditures that are related to the conduct of the portfolio or other official government departmental business are to be charged to a minister's operating budgets.

The following table is to assist in clarifying what should be charged to a minister's other operating costs budget.

Expenditure items * Minister's Other Operating Costs Budget Department's Budget

* This table presents a non-exhaustive but a representative list of operating expenditures items.

Official gifts in the operations of a departmental minister's office Yes No
Travel and hospitality directly related to the operations of a minister's offices Yes No
Costs for international travel where the travel is required for departmental operational or program purposes only (see section 6.5) No Yes
Conference and training costs for exempt staff Yes No
Relocation of exempt staff to a minister's office (on appointment only) Yes No
Office furniture and furnishings for ministers and their private secretaries that are over and above departmental standards Yes No
Office furniture and furnishings for ministers and their private secretaries that are within departmental standards No Yes
Fees for professional outplacement services Yes No
Cost of professional and temporary help services for the minister's office Yes No
Acquisition of cellphones for the operations of a minister's office No Yes
Acquisition and usage of lap-tops for the operations of a minister's office No Yes
Acquisition of office equipment that is over and above departmental standards Yes No
Acquisition of office equipment that is within the normal departmental standards. No Yes
Postage and courier services related to the operations of a minister's office Yes No
Postage and courier services for the operations of the department, outside of a minister's office No Yes
Translation and interpretation services No Yes
Language training for exempt staff when required of the position No Yes
Language training at the discretion of a minister Yes No
Office accommodation within the departmental standard No No
Office accommodation recovered by PWGSC for space required that is over and above the departmental standard No Yes
All other expenditures directly attributable to the operations of a minister's office Yes No
All indirect departmental costs such as corporate services costs (e.g. Finance and HR) and other internal service providers costs No Yes
Administrative costs respecting blind trusts at the recommendation of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner No Yes

Footnotes

[1] A minister of state cannot require a parliamentary secretary to travel.

[2] In this instance, minister does not include a minister of state.

[3] A minister of state cannot require a parliamentary secretary to extend hospitality.



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