Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada
Quarterly Financial Report
For the quarter ended June 30, 2011

Statement outlining results, risks and significant changes in operation, personnel and program

1. Introduction

This quarterly report has been prepared by management as required by section 65.1 of the Financial Administration Act and in the form and manner prescribed by the Treasury Board. This quarterly report should be read in conjunction with the Main Estimates. This quarterly report has not been subject to an external audit or review.

The Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada (OIC) conducts efficient, fair and confidential investigations into complaints about federal institutions' handling of access to information requests. The goal is to maximize compliance with the Access to Information Act while fostering disclosure of public sector information using the full range of tools, activities and powers at the Commissioner's disposal, from information and mediation to persuasion and litigation, where required.

The OIC also supports the Commissioner in her advisory role to Parliament and parliamentary committees on all access to information matters. In delivering its mandate, the OIC promotes information rights and advocates a pro-disclosure culture to ensure government transparency, accountability and citizen engagement.

Further information on the mandate, responsibilities and program activities can be found in Part II of the Main Estimates.

1.1 Basis of Presentation

This quarterly report has been prepared by management using an expenditure basis of accounting. The accompanying Statement of Authorities includes the OIC's spending authorities granted by Parliament and those used by the OIC, consistent with the Main Estimates for the 2011-2012 fiscal years. This quarterly report has been prepared using a special purpose financial reporting framework designed to meet financial information needs with respect to the use of spending authorities.

The authority of Parliament is required before moneys can be spent by the Government. Approvals are given in the form of annually approved limits through appropriation acts or through legislation in the form of statutory spending authority for specific purposes.

When Parliament is dissolved for the purposes of a general election, section 30 of the Financial Administration Act authorizes the Governor General, under certain conditions, to issue a special warrant authorizing the Government to withdraw funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. A special warrant is deemed to be an appropriation for the fiscal year in which it is issued.

The OIC uses the full accrual method of accounting to prepare and present its annual departmental financial statements that are part of the departmental performance reporting process. However, the spending authorities voted by Parliament remain on an expenditure basis.

2. Highlights of fiscal quarter and fiscal year to date (YTD) results

The Statement of Authorities table below shows that the OIC spent approximately 22% of its authorities in the first quarter of 2011-2012. Because Personnel expenses represent 75% of planned expenditures, the spending is spread out equally over the year.

As Table 2 indicates, the OIC's total budgetary expenditures have decreased by $372,000 when comparing the first quarter of 2011−2012 to the same period in 2010−2011. The significant variance in expenditures can be attributed mainly to a decrease in professional and special services of $258,000 or 63.5%. This decrease results first and foremost from a change in our outsourcing strategy for ongoing complex cases. Further to a productivity analysis, we noted that it would be more efficient to acquire consultant services after the summer months. The decrease in outsourcing services also reflects an increase in staffing of lawyer positions with complementary competencies to proceed with specialized court proceedings.

Lower expenditures for transportation and communications, information, as well as utilities, materials and supplies can be attributed to the streamlining of our corporate processes over the last two years. Those changes have provided good results and better control. For example, we completed our shift from print-based publications to Web publishing for all special and annual reports. The acquisition of information technology equipment also eased off as we entered year 3 of our five-year IM/IT renewal strategy. By the close of 2010-2011, approximately three quarters of the projects identified in the strategy, including some of the most complex projects, had been completed on schedule and within reduced budgets.

3. Risks and Uncertainties

The OIC is funded through annual appropriations. Consequently, its operations are impacted by any changes in funding approved by Parliament.

Lately the OIC's limited budgetary flexibility has been compounded by the cost containment measures introduced by the Government of Canada Budget 2010. In particular, the OIC will not be funded for the 2010−2011 to 2012−2013 salary increases resulting from new collective agreements. It must find efficiencies within its operating vote to fund these increases. Management is considering various options to address the funding gap for 2012−2013.

Because of the lack of budgetary flexibility, the OIC is also highly vulnerable to any new pressures that may arise from an increase in complaints or court proceedings, or from other urgent and unexpected requirements. In 2010-2011, we obtained access to a special purpose allotment of $400,000 to acquire specialized legal and investigative services for ongoing court proceedings and complex cases. Without the approval of this special purpose allotment, the OIC would have not been able to carry out these activities.

Another ongoing challenge is to maintain staffing at a level sufficient to compensate for departures and retirements. Given the OIC's small size, the departure or hiring of employees in one quarter can have significant impact on the quarter's expenditures. To mitigate this risk, our investigative units are now almost fully staffed and benefit from targeted training geared to our business requirements. In addition, our career development opportunities enable us to effectively prepare junior investigators for more complex and challenging investigations.

4. Significant changes in relation to operations, personnel and programs

The OIC underwent a reorganization at the beginning of the fiscal year to follow the CFO model. The former Policy, Communications and Operations Branch (now known as Corporate Services) was streamlined with a view to enhancing controls and accountability for all corporate functions.

Approved by:

Original signed by


Suzanne Legault
Information Commissioner of Canada

Original signed by


Layla Michaud, CFO
Acting Director General, Corporate services

 

 

 

 

Ottawa, Canada
August 29, 2011


Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada
Quarterly Financial Report
For the quarter ended June 30, 2011

Table 1: Statement of Authorities (unaudited)

  Fiscal year 2011-2012 Fiscal year 2010-2011
(in thousands of dollars) Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2012 * Used during the quarter ended June 30, 2011 Year to date used at quarter end Total available for us for the year ending March 31, 2011 * Used during the quarter ended June 30, 2010 Year to date used at quarter end
Vote 40 - Net operating expenditures 10,615 2,323 2,323 10,750 2,714 2,714
Budgetary statutory authorities 1,390 347 347 1,312 328 328

Total budgetary authorities 12,005 2,670 2,670 12,062 3,042 3,042

TOTAL AUTHORITIES 12,005 2,670 2,670 12,062 3,042 3,042

*Includes only Authorities available for use and granted by Parliament at quarter-end.


Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada
Quarterly Financial Report
For the quarter ended June 30, 2011

Table 2: Departmental budgetary expenditures by Standard Object (unaudited)

  Fiscal year 2011-2012 Fiscal year 2010-2011
(in thousands of dollars) Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2012 Expended during the quarter ended June 30, 2011 Year to date used at quarter end Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2011 Expended during the quarter ended June 30, 2010 Year to date used at quarter end
     
Expenditures    
Personnel 9,109 2,405 2,405 9,030 2,417 2,417
Transportation and communications 216 35 35 290 50 50
Information 194 2 2 99 44 44
Professional and special services 1,994 148 148 1,765 406 406
Rentals 82 18 18 45 10 10
Repair and maintenance 106 8 8 118 7 7
Utilities, materials and supplies 83 7 7 65 32 32
Acquisition of machinery and equipment 221 47 47 650 73 73
Other subsidies and payments - - - - 3 3

TOTAL BUDGETARY EXPENDITURES 12,005 2,670 2,670 12,062 3,042 3,042