Quarterly Financial Report

For the quarter ended December 31, 2016

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 53% of its authorities for the current fiscal year 2016–2017. Because personnel expenses represent 70% of expenditures, the spending is spread out equally over the year.

This statement also indicates an increase in the Total Available for Use of $3.75M. The net increase is mainly due to:          

  • an increase to the employee benefit plans in 2016-2017;
  • the 2015-2016 carry forward of authorities;
  • the temporary funding received in 2016–2017.

As Table 1 indicates, the OIC’s total budgetary expenditures as of December 31, 2016 increased by an amount of $593,000 or 7.8% when compared to the expenditures reported for the same period in 2015-2016. The net increase is mainly attributable to:

  • decrease in personal type expenditures related to staffing;
  • increase in professional and other services to assist in carrying out the OIC mandate, which mainly includes temporary help services, management consulting,  and translation service requests; and
  • acquisitions to accommodate staff and improve the network.

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 3,000) 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 temporary funding of $ 3.4M was 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 third 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
December 31, 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 December 31, 2016 Year to date used at quarter end Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2016 Used during the quarter ended December 31, 2015 Year to date used at quarter end

Program expenditures

13,574

3,180

7,153

10,076

2,207

6,584

Budgetary statutory authority - Employee benefit plan

1,585

341

1,023

1,332

333

999

Total budgetary authorities

15,159

3,521

8,176

11,408

2,540

7,583

TOTAL AUTHORITIES

15,159

3,521

8,176

11,408

2,540

7,583

* 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 December 31, 2016

Year to date used at quarter end

Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2016

Expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2015

Year to date used at quarter end

Personnel

10,640

2,626

6,207

9,261

2,031

6,391

Transportation and communications

148

46

101

153

45

91

Information

63

35

94

61

26

64

Professional and special services

3,711

748

1,393

1,514

338

849

Rentals

313

78

160

257

64

107

Repair and maintenance

19

3

4

35

1

3

Utilities, materials and supplies

61

21

39

55

29

41

Acquisition of land, buildings and works

19

Acquisition of machinery and equipment

204

54

142

72

4

14

Other subsidies and payments

(90)

17

2

23

Total Budgetary Expenditures

15,159

3,521

8,176

11,408

2,540

7,583

TOTAL BUDGETARY EXPENDITURES

15,159

3,521

8,176

11,408

2,540

7,583

 

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