2018-2019 Quarterly Financial report - ended December 31, 2018

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 Actand 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 (ATIA) 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 Departmental Plan 2018–19.

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 2018–19 Estimates. 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

In the third quarter, the Statement of Authorities below shows that the OIC spent 61.5% of its authorities for the current fiscal year 2018-2019. This statement also indicates an increase in the Total Authorities of $1,220,000 when compared to the same period in 2017-2018. The net increase is mainly due to:            

  • An increase in temporary funding for complaint inventory reduction provided by Budget 2018.
  • An increase in compensation allocations due to recently signed collective agreements.

As Table 1 indicates, the OIC’s total budgetary expenditures as of December 31, 2018 increased by an amount of $148,000 or 1.6% when compared to the expenditures reported for the same period in 2017-2018. The net increase is mainly attributable to:

  • A decrease in personnel expenditures due to less retroactive payments related to collective agreements signed in 2018;
  • An increase in professional services, primarily investigative temporary help services;
  • An increase in rentals due to timing in invoicing of the office rent;
  • An increase in acquisition of equipment for a fit-up project to accommodate more staff, as well as the replacement of informatics equipment and the renewal of licenses.

3. Risks and Uncertainties

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 3,500) 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 requires supplementary funding to avoid further increases in its inventory of complaints and to investigate the complaints it receives in a timely manner.

On June 19, 2017, the Government tabled Bill C-58, an Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. On June 6, 2018, Bill C-58 passed Second Reading by the Senate and was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. If passed in its current form, this legislation may impact the OIC’s mandate and the number and nature of complaints.

The OIC continues to take actions to mitigate the issues arising with the implementation of the new Phoenix pay system for its employees and monitor closely any salary payments adjustments that may be required.

4. Significant changes in Operations, Personnel and Program

There were no significant changes in operations or program in the third quarter of 2018-2019. Effective February 18, 2019, the Corporate Services team will be led by a new Chief Financial Officer, Ms. France Labine, appointed as Deputy Commissioner of Corporate Services, Strategic Planning and Transformation Services.

Approved by:

Caroline Maynard
Information Commissioner of Canada

France Labine, M.P.ACPA
Chief Financial Officer

Gatineau, Canada
December 31, 2018

Statement of Authorities (unaudited)

 

Fiscal year 2018–2019

Fiscal year 2017–2018

(In thousands of dollars)

Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2019* Used during the quarter ended December 31, 2018, 2018 Year to date used at quarter end Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2018 Used during the quarter ended December 31, 2017 Year to date used at quarter end

Program expenditures

13,718 3,088 8,273 12,486 3,008 8,116

Budgetary statutory authority – Employee benefit plans

1,236 309 927 1,248 312 936

Total Authorities

14,954 3,397 9,200 13,734 3,320 9,052

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

Table 1: Departmental Budgetary Expenditures by Standard Object (unaudited)

 

Fiscal year 2018–2019

Fiscal year 2017–2018

Expenditures
(In thousands of dollars)

Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2019*

Expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2018

Year to date used at quarter end

Planned expenditures for the year ending  March 31, 2018

Expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2017

Year to date used at quarter end

Personnel

9,577 2,241 6,628 9,434 2,455 6,996

Transportation and communications

144 30 80 163 43 122

Information

105 16 56 88 41 98

Professional and special services

4,335 782 1,837 3,673 830 1,590

Rentals

425 207 313 202 (47) 172

Repair and maintenance

21 3 21 19 -   5

Utilities, materials and supplies

57 17 35 68 23 39
Acquisition of land, buildings and works 200 -   -   -   -   -  

Acquisition of machinery and equipment

89 124 253 87 5 10

Other subsidies and payments

1 (23) (23) -   (30) 20

Total Budgetary Expenditures

14,954 3,397 9,200 13,734 3,320 9,052

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

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