Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada Quarterly Financial Report For the quarter ended December 31, 2012

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 the Office’s 2012-13 Report on Plans and Priorities and Strategic Plan.

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 2012-2013 fiscal year. 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.

As part of the Parliamentary business of supply, the Main Estimates must be tabled in Parliament on or before March 1 preceding the new fiscal year. Budget 2012 was tabled in Parliament on March 29, after the tabling of the Main Estimates on February 28, 2012. As a result the measures announced in the Budget 2012 could not be reflected in the 2012-13 Main Estimates.

In fiscal year 2012-2013, frozen allotments have been established by Treasury Board authority in departmental votes to prohibit the spending of funds already identified as savings measures in Budget 2012. For the OIC, this amounts to $109,000 for this fiscal year. In future years, the changes to departmental authorities will be implemented through the Annual Reference Level Update, as approved by Treasury Board, and reflected in the subsequent Main Estimates tabled in Parliament.

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

Significant variances of the quarterly expenditures are in line with year to date expenditures. The Statement of Authorities below shows that the OIC spent approximately 68% of its authorities in the first three quarters of 2012–2013. Because personnel expenses represent 80% of planned expenditures, the spending is spread out equally over the year.

As Table 1 indicates, the OIC’s total budgetary expenditures have decreased by $794,000 when comparing the first three quarters of 2012−2013 to the same period in 2011−2012. The variance in expenditures is consistent with the previous quarterly report and is primarily attributable to:

  1. A significant decrease in personnel expenditure of $762,000 as a result of extraordinary payments made in 2011-2012 for civilian severance pay and termination benefits, due to specific collective agreements.
  2. An increase in professional and special services of $142,000 mainly due to the agreement signed with Public Works and Government Services Canada – Shared Human Resource (SHRS) Services in April 2012. As per the agreement, the Office is outsourcing all its human resources activities to SHRS. The agreement should allow the Office to gain efficiencies and obtain a high quality of service.
  3. Acquisition of information technology equipment eased off as the OIC enters into the 4th year of a five-year Information Management/Information Technology (IM/IT) renewal strategy. This resulted in a decrease of $207,000 in acquisition of machinery during the first three quarters of 2012-2013. By the close of 2011-2012, IT had completed one of the major projects identified in the strategy and commenced other renewal projects, including a newly identified IM requirement. The IM/IT renewal strategy is on schedule and should be completed before the end of 2013-2014.

3. Risks and Uncertainties

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

Since 2009-10 the OIC has been implementing program delivery and efficiency improvements in order to ensure that it can continue to perform its mandate within the resources provided. Included in this has been the 2010-11 salary strategy aimed at ensuring the OIC will have sufficient Operating and Maintenance (O&M) funding over the next 3-5 years to sustain its operations and program delivery. This strategy addresses the chronic shortfall in our salary budget which has historically been subsidized with operating funding, and the pressures created by the government–wide cost containment measures imposed in 2010-11.

The OIC is now facing financial uncertainty with regards to the PWGSC mandated relocation of our Office in 2013-14. In addition to the one-time costs planned in 2013-14 (to be paid in the form of a loan whereby the Office is required to pay back over 15 years), the relocation of these premises will impose new ongoing incremental costs. Even with a loan arrangement, the financial impact of this move will add to the existing stress and financial pressure on this Office.

Notwithstanding this, the OIC is vulnerable to unexpected spikes in workload triggered by events outside of its control such as an influx of complaints or unexpected court cases. The OIC does not have flexibility within its funding envelope to respond to increases in its workload or any other unexpected situation.

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

The Assistant Information Commissioner of Canada was appointed to a five year term by the Governor General in Council on October 18 2012.  A process is underway to permanently staff the General Counsel position.

5. Budget 2012 implementation

The OIC plans to achieve its assigned budget reduction of $500,000 by 2014-15 through efficiency measures and reductions that further aligns resources to its core mandate. Since the OIC is already a streamlined Office, the decision to cut senior level positions to keep the Program intact has added additional stress to the OIC. The OIC is aiming to complete most of its Budget 2012 implementation plan by the end of the current fiscal year.

The OIC has been able to achieve optimal program results and demonstrate fiscal responsibility over the years. However, with the current financial situation, the OIC’s ability to carry out its mandate and progress toward its long-term vision remains at risk. Ultimately, the OIC is concerned that the rights conferred by the Access to Information Act will not be adequately safeguarded.

Approved by:


Suzanne Legault
Information Commissioner of Canada


Layla Michaud, CPA, CMA, MBA
Director General, CFO Corporate Services

Ottawa, Canada
February 15, 2013

STATEMENT OF AUTHORITIES (unaudited)

Fiscal year 2012-2013 Fiscal year 2011-2012
(In thousands of dollars) Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2013* Used during the quarter ended
December 31, 2012
Year to date used at quarter end Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2012* Used during the quarter ended
December 31, 2011
Year to date used at quarter end
Vote 40 - Program expenditures 11,284 2,692 7,569 11,758 2,928 8,340
Budgetary statutory authorities – Contributions to employee benefit plans 1,434 340 1,019 1,390 347 1,042
Total budgetary authorities 12,718 3,032 8,588 13,148 3,275 9,382
TOTAL AUTHORITIES 12,718 3,032 8,588 13,148 3,275 9,382

*Includes only Authorities available for use and granted by Parliament at quarter-end. Also includes frozen allotment related to budget 2012 of $109,000.

View Text Version

Statement of Authorities

Vote 40 – Program expenditures:

The total authorities available for use for the year ending March 31, 2013 was $11,284 thousand. The total authorities used during the quarter ended December 31, 2012 was $2,692 thousand. The year to date authorities used at quarter-end was $7,569 thousand.

The total authorities available for use for the year ending March 31, 2012 was $11,758 thousand. The total authorities used during the quarter ended December 31, 2011 was $2,928 thousand. The year to date authorities used at quarter-end was $8,340 thousand.

Budgetary statutory authorities – Contributions to employee benefit plans:

The total authorities available for use for the year ending March 31, 2013 was $1,434 thousand. The total authorities used during the quarter ended December 31, 2012 was $340 thousand. The year to date authorities used at quarter-end was $1,019 thousand.

The total authorities available for use for the year ending March 31, 2012 was $1,390 thousand. The total authorities used during the quarter ended December 31, 2011 was $347 thousand. The year to date authorities used at quarter-end was $1,042 thousand.

Total budgetary authorities:

The total authorities available for use for the year ending March 31, 2013 was $12,718 thousand. The total authorities used during the quarter ended December 31, 2012 was $3,032 thousand. The year to date authorities used at quarter-end was $8,588 thousand.

The total authorities available for use for the year ending March 31, 2012 was $13,148 thousand. The total authorities used during the quarter ended December 31, 2011 was $3,275 thousand. The year to date authorities used at quarter-end was $9,382 thousand.

TABLE 1: Departmental budgetary expenditures by Standard Object (unaudited)

Fiscal year 2012-2013 Fiscal year 2011-2012
(In thousands of dollars) Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2013* Expended during the quarter ended
December 31, 2012
Year to date used at quarter end Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2012 Expended during the quarter ended
December 31, 2011
Year to date used at quarter end
Personnel 10,128 2,497 7,335 10,017 2,743 8,097
Transportation and communications 150 37 98 216 39 130
Information 117 47 83 194 12 46
Professional and special services 1,974 378 919 1,994 380 777
Rentals 131 52 97 82 16 59
Repair and maintenance 16 3 8 106 9 19
Utilities, materials and supplies 41 13 34 83 10 27
Acquisition of machinery and equipment 52 5 14 456 66 221
Other subsidies and payments - - - - - -
TOTAL BUDGETARY EXPENDITURES 12,609 3,032 8,588 13,148 3,275 9,382
View Text Version

Table 1 - Departmental budgetary expenditures by standard object

Personnel: The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2013 was $10,128 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2012 was $2,497 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $7,335 thousand.

The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2012 was $10,017 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2011 was $2,743 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $8,097 thousand.

Transportation and communications: The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2013 was $150 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2012 was $37 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $98 thousand.

The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2012 was $216 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2011 was $39 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $130 thousand.

Information: The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2013 was $117 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2012 was $47 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $83 thousand.

The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2012 was $194 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2011 was $12 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $46 thousand.

Professional and special services: The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2013 was $1,974 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2012 was $378 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $919 thousand.

The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2012 was $1,994 thousand.  The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2011 was $380 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $777 thousand.

Rental: The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2013 was $131 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2012 was $52 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $97 thousand.

The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2012 was $82 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2011 was $16 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $59 thousand.

Repair and maintenance: The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2013 was $16 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2012 was $3 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $8 thousand.

The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2012 was $106 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2011 was $9 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $19 thousand.

Utilities, materials and supplies: The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2013 was $41 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2012 was $13 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $34 thousand.

The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2012 was $83 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2011 was $10 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $27 thousand.

Acquisition of machinery and equipment: The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2013 was $52 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2012 was $5 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $14 thousand.

The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2012 was $456 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2011 was $66 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $221 thousand.

Other subsidies and payments: The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2013 was $0 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2012 was $0 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $0 thousand.

The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2012 was $0 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2011 was $0 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $0 thousand.

Total budgetary expenditures: The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2013 was $12,609 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2012 was $3,032 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $8,588 thousand.

The total planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2012 was $13,148 thousand. The total expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2011 was $3,275 thousand. The year to date used at quarter-end was $9,382 thousand.

*Planned expenditures exclude frozen allotment of $109,000.