Report on Annual Expenditures for Travel, Hospitality and Conferences 2015-2016

As required by the Treasury Board Directive for the Management of Expenditures on Travel, Hospitality and Conferences, this report provides information on the total annual expenditures for each of travel, hospitality and conferences for the Health Canada for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016.

This information is updated annually and does not contain information withheld under the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act.

Health Canada’s mandate is to help Canadians maintain and improve their health. The Department is committed to improving the lives of all Canadians and to making this country's population among the healthiest in the world, as measured by longevity, lifestyle and effective use of the public health care system.

First, as a regulator, Health Canada is responsible for the regulatory regime governing the safety of products including food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, natural health products, consumer products, chemicals, radiation emitting devices, cosmetics and pesticides. It also regulates tobacco products and controlled substances, public health on aircraft, ships and other passenger conveyances, and helps manage the health risks posed by environmental factors such as air, water, radiation and contaminants.

The Department is also a service provider. The federal government has provided basic health services to First Nations since 1904. Today, Health Canada provides basic primary care services in approximately 200 remote First Nations communities, home and community care in 600 First Nations communities, support for health promotion programs in Inuit communities across four regions and a limited range of medically-necessary health-related goods and services not insured by private or other public health insurance plans to eligible First Nations and Inuit. The Department also funds or delivers community-based health programs and public health activities to First Nations and Inuit. These activities promote health, prevent chronic disease and address issues such as substance abuse and the spread of infectious diseases.

Health Canada is a catalyst for innovation, a funder, and an information provider in Canada's health system. It works closely with provincial and territorial governments to develop national approaches on health system issues and promotes the pan-Canadian adoption of best practices. It administers the Canada Health Act, which embodies national principles to ensure a universal and equitable publicly-funded health care system. It provides policy support for the federal government's Canada Health Transfer to provinces and territories, and provides funding through grants and contributions to various organizations to help meet Health Canada's objectives.  Lastly, the Department draws on leading-edge science and policy research to generate and share knowledge and information to support decision-making by Canadians, development and implementation of regulations and standards, and health innovation.

More information on Health Canada activities, plans and performance are detailed in the Health Canada Departmental Performance Report.

Health Canada travel, hospitality and conferences costs are associated with activities and events necessary to support the statutory, regulatory and the service provider requirements to deliver services to Canadians and to meet government wide priorities and departmental mandates.

As summarized in the table below, Health Canada’s expenditure for travel, hospitality, and conferences (THC) totalled approximately $240.8M in 2015-2016, and is broken down as follows;

Travel – Patient: The majority (91.4%) of Health Canada’s total THC envelope in 2015-16 is attributed to patient travel for medical transportation amounting to $220.0M. There are two components to medical (Patient Travel) as listed below:

$212.7M is for eligible First Nations and Inuit clients under the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program to access medically necessary health services that cannot be obtained on-reserve or in their community of residence, and,

$7.3M is for eligible former students and their families under the Indian Residential Schools Resolution (IRS) Health Support Program to access mental and emotional support services. The Department is obligated to provide these services under the 2006 Court-Approved IRS Settlement Agreement. 

Regular non-medical expenditure (Public and Non Public Servant Travel): In 2015-2016, regular non-medical expenditures amounted to  $20.2M or 8.4% of Health Canada’s total THC expenditures.  These expenditures are for other essential travel requirements critical to health and safety of Canadians, such as those related to compliance and enforcement activities for various regulatory programs involving food, pharmaceuticals, consumer products, and others.

Hospitality and conferences expenditures: In 2015-2016, hospitality and conference expenditures totaled $0.58M, or less than 1% of the Health Canada’s THC expenditures.  These expenditures are associated with essential activities necessary for delivery of Health Canada programs and services, including conducting business with other levels of government, industry, or public interest groups.

Overall, Health Canada manages travel, hospitality, and conference activities / expenditures with prudence and probity so that they demonstrate value for money and use the most economical options to minimize costs whenever possible.

The total annual expenditures for travel, hospitality and conferences for 2014-15 and 2015-16 for Health Canada are summarized below:

Total annual expenditures for travel, hospitality and conferences of Health Canada for 2014-15 and 2015-16
Expenditure Category Expenditures for the year ending
March 31, 2016(a)
Expenditures for the previous year ending
March 31, 2015 (b)
Variance (1) (a – b)
(in thousands of dollars)
Travel – Patient $219,950 $206,448 $13,502
Travel – Public Servants $17,346 $14,955 $2,391
Travel – Non-Public Servants $2,865 $2,765 $100
International Travel by Minister and Minister's Staff Table 1 footnote * $6 $55 ($49)
Total Travel $240,167 $224,223 $15,944
Hospitality $155 $148 $7
Conference Fees $429 $419 $10
TOTAL $240,751 $224,790 $15,961

Table 1 footnotes

Table 1 footnote *

Includes international travel that is part of a department's program.

Return to table 1 footnote * referrer


  1. Patient Travel: Compared to fiscal year 2014-2015,departmental patient travel expenditures have increased by $13.5M or 6.6% mainly due to:

    • Population growth and the extension of status to new groups which increased medically related travel expenditures in 2015-2016.
  2. Public Servants: Compared to fiscal year 2014-2015, departmental travel expenditures by public servants increased by $2.4M or 16% mainly due to:

    • o The need to ensure adequate coverage of nurses in remote locations which required Heath Canada to move nurses around to various remote communities. ($933K or 37.5% of the increase).
    • o The requirement of Mental Health professionals and counselors being sent into remote communities ($370K or 15.4% of the total increase).
    • o Newer programs that were ramping up activity compared to the previous fiscal year ($640K or 26% of the increase), such as Foreign Site Inspections.
  3. Non-Public Servants: Compared to fiscal year 2014-2015, departmental travel expenditures by non-public servants increased by $100K, or 3.7% due to:

    • The increased cost of travel to remote communities by contract nurses.
  4. Minister and Minister's Staff: Compared to fiscal year 2014-2015, departmental travel expenditures by the Minister and her staff decreased by $49K due to less travel requirements.

HOSPITALITY: Compared to fiscal year 2014-2015, departmental hospitality expenditures increased by a minimal amount of $7K or 4.8% mainly due to increased external client engagement activities.

CONFERENCE FEES: Compared to fiscal year 2014-2015, departmental conference fees expenditures increased by $10K or 2.4% mainly due to an increase in fees for conferences.

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