2021-2022 Quarterly Financial Report - ended September 30, 2021

Statement outlining results, risks and significant changes in operations, 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 a manner prescribed by the Treasury Board. This report should be read in conjunction with the Main Estimates. It has not been subject to an external audit or review.

The Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada (OIC) is the first level of independent review of government decisions relating to requests for access to information under the control of government institutions. The Access to Information Act (ATIA) requires the Information Commissioner to investigate all the complaints she receives. (With the June 2019 amendments to the Act, the Information Commissioner may now decline or cease to investigate complaints she considers to be trivial, frivolous, vexatious, made in bad faith or otherwise an abuse of the right of access.) The second level of independent review is the Federal Court.

Further information on the OIC’s mandate, responsibilities and program activities can be found in the OIC’s 2021-22 Departmental Plan.

1.1 Basis of Presentation

This report has been prepared by management using an expenditures 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 year ending March 31, 2022.

The authority of Parliament is required before money 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.

The OIC uses the full accrual method of accounting to prepare and present its annual financial statements, which are part of the departmental results reporting process. However, the spending authorities voted by Parliament remain on an expenditure basis.

2. Highlights of Fiscal Quarter and Year-to-Date Results

At the first quarter, the Statement of Authorities below shows that the OIC spent 48.3% of its available authorities for the current fiscal year 2021-2022. This statement also indicates an increase in the Total Authorities of $7,083,000 or 69.4% when compared to the same period in 2020-2021. The net increase is mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic related delays in budget supply approval by Parliament, permanent funding for core mandate, collective agreement compensation, and reprofiling to support investigations.

As Table 1 indicates, the OIC’s total budgetary expenditures as of September 30, 2021, increased by an amount of $2,214,000 or 36.1% when compared to the expenditures reported for the same period in 2020-2021. It is explained by an increase in personnel expenditures and an increase in temporary help services contracts to increase its capacity to conduct investigations and to provide the necessary support.

3. Risks and Uncertainties

An important strategic priority for the Commissioner is to ensure that the OIC remains relevant. That means finding the right balance between old and new files, and those on matters of significant public interest, to investigate at any given time, and providing informed advice to Parliament and others on access matters.

It also means completing investigations promptly. To address the associated reputational risk that could result from the OIC not continuing to improve its response times, it will be reviewing and adjusting its file management approach. It will also be updating systems and processes, templates, guidance and training materials—within both investigations and enabling functions, such as Human Resources—to ensure all are conducive to efficiency.

However, the OIC must also be aware that, by increasing its efficiency and investigative capacity, it risks overwhelming institutions, to the detriment of its work and to institutions being able to respond to access requests. To mitigate this risk, the OIC engages institutions’ cooperation through ongoing communications with institutional officials at various levels and considers institutional workload when assigning files.

Finally, the OIC’s project to migrate its IT infrastructure to the cloud began before the pandemic, but its successful conclusion will be essential to the OIC being able to operate effectively in the post-pandemic work environment. The OIC will seek to mitigate the security risks associated with carrying out all its business electronically—including holding sensitive information on behalf of other institutions during investigations—by reviewing and updating its security threat and risk assessments and taking necessary corrective measures.

4. Significant changes in Operations, Personnel and Program

No other significant changes related to operations, personnel or program in the second quarter of 2021-22.

Approved by:

Caroline Maynard
Information Commissioner of Canada

France Labine, M.P.A., CPA
Chief Financial Officer

Gatineau, Canada
November 24, 2021

Statement of Authorities (unaudited)

(In thousands of dollars) Fiscal year 2021-2022 Fiscal year 2020-2021
Total available for use for the year ending
March 31, 2022 Footnote *
Used during the quarter ended
September 30, 2021
Year to date used at quarter end Total available for use for the year ending
March 31, 2021
Used during the quarter ended
September 30, 2020
Year to date used at quarter end
Program expenditures 15,411 4,282 7,411 9,139 3,227 5,425
Budgetary statutory authority - Employee benefit plan 1,881 471 941 1,070 356 713
TOTAL AUTHORITIES 17,292 4,753 8,352 10,209 3,583 6,138

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

(In thousands of dollars) Fiscal year 2021-2022 Fiscal year 2020-2021
Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2022 Footnote * Expended during the quarter ended September 30, 2021 Year to date used at quarter end Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2021 Expended during the quarter ended September 30, 2020 Year to date used at quarter end
Personnel 15,002 3,559 6,556 8,708 2,891 5,202
Transportation and communications 151 26 45 98 32 69
Information 86 5 6 72 4 6
Professional and special services 1,141 963 1,421 795 257 373
Rentals 381 96 196 263 121 202
Repair and maintenance 27 4 5 17 2 3
Utilities, materials and supplies 58 8 10 41 14 15
Acquisition of land, buildings and works 122 - - 101 - -
Acquisition of machinery and equipment 312 63 80 112 244 249
Other subsidies and payments 12 29 33 2 18 19
TOTAL BUDGETARY EXPENDITURES 17,292 4,753 8,352 10,209 3,583 6,138
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