Department of Finance Legislation and Statutory Responsibilities

The Minister of Finance has broad responsibility for the overall stewardship of the Canadian economy. As well, the Minister is responsible for federal fiscal policy, tax policy, the $78.7 billion system of federal transfers to provinces and territories (e.g., the Canada Health Transfer, Canada Social Transfer, Equalization and Territorial Formula Financing), and the regulation of financial sector policies. His/her mandate has a critical pan-Canadian focus, and he/she is a senior leader at the Cabinet table and provides critical support to the Prime Minister.

Statutory Responsibilities

The Minister's statutory responsibilities fall into three categories:

  1. statutes for which the Minister of Finance is named as the responsible minister, or those statutes that although they do not identify a responsible Minister, fall within the Minister of Finance's responsibility (a total of 63 statutes, described in full detail in Section 8 in your binder);
  2. statutes for which another minister is named as the responsible minister but for which the Minister of Finance has policy responsibility by virtue of his/her responsibility under s. 15 of the Financial Administration Act for "the supervision, control and direction of all matters relating to the financial affairs of Canada not by law assigned to the Treasury Board or to any other minister" (a total of 15 statutes, described in full detail in Section 4 in your binder); and
  3. statutes under which the Minister of Finance has assigned powers, duties and functions but for which another minister is responsible to Parliament (a total of 78 statutes, described in full detail in Section 4 in your binder).

Of particular importance are those responsibilities outlined in the Financial Administration Act, the Bank Act, and the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act.

Finance Portfolio Organizations and Responsibilities

The Minister of Finance has statutory responsibility for several crown corporations and agencies:

In addition, there are 6 crown corporations and 2 other organizations for which the Minister has some statutory responsibility. He also has responsibilities flowing from a number of agreements between the Government of Canada and not-for-profit corporations. A full description of the Minister's portfolio is contained in Section 5 of your binder.

Relationships with International Groups and Organizations

The Minister of Finance has a wide range of international responsibilities with respect to international trade, finance and development. The Minister is responsible for Canada's import policy and legislation. The Minister is also the Canadian Governor for the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Together with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Development, he/she is charged with the management of the International Assistance Envelope. In addition, he/she is called upon to attend a range of international meetings of Finance Ministers, including the G7, G20, the OECD, and APEC. Full details of the Minister's responsibilities as they relate to international groups and organizations are included in Section 6 of your binder.

Federal-Provincial Relations

Major federal transfers help provincial and territorial governments finance various programs and services. The Canada Health Transfer is the primary federal contribution to health care in Canada and is the largest major transfer to provinces and territories. The Canada Social Transfer is a block transfer to provinces and territories in support of post-secondary education, social assistance and social services, early childhood development and early learning and childcare. Equalization and Territorial Formula Financing ensure that provincial and territorial governments have sufficient revenue to provide reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation.

In 2019-20, major transfer payments will represent over $78 billion:

The Minister and the Department of Finance have a long-established process for consultations with provinces and territories. The consultative process largely consists of meetings at various levels, including among Finance Ministers once or twice a year. Senior Finance officials chair several committees that serve as a consultative venue for an exchange of ideas, including on taxation, fiscal, and economic issues. A full list of committees is included in Section 7 in your binder.

Structure and Management

A full organizational chart is included in Section 2 of your binder.

Key Stakeholders by Sector

A list of stakeholders by sector is available upon request.

2019-2020 Departmental Budget

The Department has an operating budget of $99.4 million and a staff of 790 full-time equivalents (FTEs), excluding exempt staff working in the office of the Minister of Finance. In addition, the Department is responsible for the expenditure of roughly $98.9 billion in statutory items composed mainly of major transfers to other levels of government (e.g., Canada Social Transfer, Canada Health Transfer, etc.) and public debt charges. A full departmental summary by vote is included in Section 3 of your binder.

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