2015-2016 Quarterly Financial Report - ended June 30, 2015

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 2015–2016 and Strategic Plan.

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 2015–2016. 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 22% of its authorities in the first quarter of 2015–2016. Because personnel expenses represent 83% 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 $58,000. Major factors contributing to the net increase include:

  • An increase of $30,000 due to recently signed collective agreements;
  • An increase to the employee benefit plans of $29,000; and
  • A decrease of $245 for late fees.

As Table 1 indicates, the OIC’s total budgetary expenditures decreased by an amount of $612,000 or 26% in the first quarter of 2015–2016, compared to the same period in 2014–2015. There were significant variances within elements of planned expenditures, as follows:

  • The decrease of $89,000 in Personnel expenditures is a result of payments in the 1st quarter of 2014–2015 for Retroactive Salaries that did not occur in the 1st quarter of 2015–2016;
  • The decrease of $185,000 in Professional and Special Services is mainly due to fewer legal fees, less temporary help services and lower Corporate Services –related costs; 
  • The decrease in Rentals of $47,000 is a result of the timing of the rental charges paid to Public Works and Government Services and of the software maintenance charges; and
  • The decrease of $252,000 for Other Subsidies and Payments is due to a one-time transition payment for implementing salary payment in arrears by the Government of Canada.

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 to access federal institution information is jeopardized.

In recent years, the OIC has constantly improved its processes. This has allowed the OIC to get better results from year to year despite budget constraints. However, significant and successive budget cuts have placed the OIC at the limit of its financial and organizational flexibility.

With a Total Authority of less than $12 million in 2014–2015, the OIC fully utilized its limited resources, lapsing only $139,522. This Office has no financial flexibility to augment the investigative capacity or to set aside for contingencies. The OIC's financial situation has a direct impact on its ability to safeguard information rights under the Access to Information Act.

4. Significant changes in Operations, Personnel and Program

There were no significant changes in operations, personnel or program in the first quarter of 2015–2016.

5. Budget 2012 Implementation

This section provides an overview of the savings measures announced in Budget 2012 that are being implemented in order to refocus government and programs: make it easier for Canadians and business to deal with their government; and, modernize and reduce the back office.

With the Budget 2012 implementation, the OIC budget has been permanently cut by $543,000 in 2014–2015 and all future years. This will impact the OIC’s ability to carry out its mandate and progress toward its long-term vision.

Access is one of the tools that make citizen engagement in government and the public policy process possible. When the system is at risk, it is more than just an inconvenience to requesters; ultimately, it is the health of Canadian democracy that is at stake.

Approved by:

Suzanne Legault
Information Commissioner of Canada

Layla Michaud, LL.LCPACMAMBA
Director General, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer

Gatineau, Canada
June 30, 2015

Statement of Authorities (unaudited)

  Fiscal year 2015–2016 Fiscal year 2014–2015
(In thousands of dollars) 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 Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2015*

Used during the quarter ended June 30, 2014

Year-to-date used at quarter-end
Vote 1: Program expenditures 9,927 2,081 2,081 9,898 2,700 2,700
Budgetary statutory authorities: 
Contributions to employee benefit plans
1,332 333 333 1,303 326 326
Total budgetary authorities 11,259 2,414 2,414 11,201 3,026 3,026
Total Authorities 11,259 2,414 2,414 11,201 3,026 3,026

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

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

  Fiscal year 2015–2016 Fiscal year 2014–2015
(In thousands of dollars) Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2016

during the
quarter ended June 30, 2015

used at
Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2015

during the
quarter ended June 30, 2014

used at
Personnel 9,261 2,279 2,279 9,202 2,368 2,368
Transportation and communications 153 17 17 169 24 24
Information 61 15 15 111 19 19
Professional and special services 1,365 64 64 1,429 249 249
Rentals 257 6 6 129 53 53
Repair and maintenance 35 31 15 15
Utilities, materials and supplies 55 3 3 53 14 14
Acquisition of machinery and equipment 72 2 2 77 4 4
Other subsidies and payments 28 28 280 280
Total Budgetary Expenditures 11,259 2,414 2,414 11,201 3,026 3,026
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