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

1. Introduction

The Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada (OIC) has prepared this quarterly report under section 65.1 of the Financial Administration Act and in the form and manner prescribed by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. This report should be read in conjunction with the Main Estimates. It has not been subject to an external audit or review.

The OIC conducts efficient, fair and confidential investigations into complaints about federal institutions’ handling of access to information requests. The goal of these investigations is to maximize compliance with the Access to Information Act while fostering disclosure of public sector information. The Commissioner uses the full range of tools, activities and powers at her disposal, from mediation to persuasion and litigation, as 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 culture of openness to ensure government transparency, accountability and citizen engagement.

Further information on the OIC’s mandate, responsibilities and program activities can be found in the OIC’s Report on Plans and Priorities 2016-2017.

1.1 Basis of Presentation

This quarterly report was prepared on an expenditure basis. 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 2016-2017. The authority of Parliament is required before money can be spent by federal organizations. Organizations receive annually approved expenditure limits through appropriation acts or through legislation in the form of statutory spending authority for specific purposes. In light of this, this report was prepared using a special purpose financial reporting framework designed to meet financial information needs related to the use of spending authorities.

The OIC uses the full accrual method of accounting to prepare and present the annual 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 Year-to-Date Results

The Statement of Authorities below shows that the OIC spent approximately 26% of its authorities in the first quarter of 2016–2017. Because personnel expenses represent 82% of planned expenditures, the spending is spread out equally over the year.

This statement also indicates an increase in the Total Available for Use of $32,000. This increase is due to:            

  • An increase to the employee benefit plans of $32,000 in 2016-2017.

As Table 1 indicates, the OIC’s total budgetary expenditures increased by an amount of $508,000 or 21%, in the first quarter of 2016−2017, compared to the same period in 2015−2016. There were significant variances within elements of planned expenditures, as follows:

  • The increase of $260,000 in Personnel expenditures is a result of more full time employees in 2016-2017, due to the timing of staffing actions;
  • The increase of $139,000 in Professional and Special Services is a result of an increase in temporary help services to reduce the inventory of complaints; and
  • The increase of $86,000 in Acquisition of machinery and equipment is to accommodate OIC’s new resources.

3. Risks and Uncertainties

A well-functioning access system is predicated on there being up-to-date legislation, sound administration and robust oversight. In the absence of this foundation, right of access to information held by federal institutions is jeopardized.

In recent years, the growing numbers of access requests and the resulting number of complaints has led to a large increase in the OIC inventory of complaints (over 3000) and consequently, to an unacceptable delay in being able to assign and complete the investigations of these complaints.

Although the Information Commissioner has reallocated and reorganized resources, outsourced services, and implemented continuous business process improvements, the OIC required supplementary funding to avoid further increases in its inventory of complaints and to investigate the complaints it receives in a timely manner. Therefore, the OIC requested and obtained, in June 2016, temporary funding to address immediate pressure across the system, allowing the Information Commissioner to carry out her mandate effectively and ensuring that the rights conferred by the ATIA are respected. 

The supplementary funding of $3.4M will be requested through the 2016 – 2017 Supplementary Estimates (B).

4. Significant changes in Operations, Personnel and Program

There were no significant changes in operations, personnel or program in the first quarter of 2016–2017.

Approved by:

Suzanne Legault
Information Commissioner of Canada

Layla Michaud, LL.LCPACMAMBA
Acting Assistant Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer

Gatineau, Canada
June 30, 2016

Statement of Authorities (unaudited)

 

Fiscal year 2016 – 2017

Fiscal year 2015 – 2016

(In thousands of dollars)

Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2017* Used during the quarter ended June 30, 2016 Year-to-date used at quarter-end Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2016* Used during the quarter ended June 30, 2015 Year-to-date used at quarter-end

Vote 1: Program expenditures

9,927

2,581

2,581

9,927

2,081

2,081

Budgetary statutory authorities:
Contributions to employee benefit plans

1,364

341

341

1,332

333

333

Total budgetary authorities

11,291

2,922

2,922

11,259

2,414

2,414

Total Authorities

11,291

2,922

2,922

11,259

2,414

2,414

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

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

 

Fiscal year 2016 – 2017

Fiscal year 2015 – 2016

(In thousands of dollars)

Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2017

Expended during the quarter ended June 30, 2016

Year-to-date used at quarter-end

Planned expenditures for the year ending  March 31, 2016

Expended during the quarter ended June 30, 2015

Year-to-date used at quarter-end

Personnel

9,292

2,539

2,539

9,261

2,279

2,279

Transportation and communications

148

16

16

153

17

17

Information

63

9

9

61

15

15

Professional and special services

1,409

203

203

1,365

64

64

Rentals

216

58

58

257

6

6

Repair and maintenance

19

1

1

35

Utilities, materials and supplies

61

8

8

55

3

3

Acquisition of machinery and equipment

83

88

88

72

2

2

Other subsidies and payments

28

28

Total Budgetary Expenditures

11,291

2,922

2,922

11,259

2,414

2,414