Report on Annual Expenditures for Travel, Hospitality and Conferences, 2012-2013

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, 2013.

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 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 $222.6M in 2012-2013 as follows:

  • Travel - Patient in 2012-2013 amounting to $198.0M or 88.9% of Health Canada's total THC envelope was for medical transportation.  There are two components to medical (Patient Travel):
    • $190.0M  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;
    • $8.0M 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.
    Excluding medical transportation, there was a net decrease for non-medical travel, hospitality and conference fees.  The 2012-2013 expenditures for these categories were $24.6M.  This is a $5.5M decrease from the 2011-2012 expenditures of $30.1M.
  • Regular non-medical expenditure (Public and Non Public Servant Travel) in 2012-2013, amounting to $23.8M or 10.7% of Health Canada's total THC envelope, was 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 2012-2013, totalling $0.8M or less than 1% of the Health Canada's THC envelope, was associated with minimal, essential activities that were necessary for delivery of Health Canada programs and services, including conducting business with other levels of government, industry, or public interest groups as well as departmental business meetings and working sessions.

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.

Total annual expenditures for travel, hospitality and conferences of Health Canada for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013
Expenditure Category Expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2013
Expenditures for the previous year ending March 31, 2012
VarianceTable 1 footnote 1
(a - b)
(in thousands of dollars)

Table 1 footnotes

Table 1 footnote 1

The columns for the previous year ending and variances are only necessary for the second and subsequent years of reporting (i.e. fiscal year 2011-2012, or until the second year of a department's existence where the department did not exist prior to March 31, 2011).

Return to table 1 footnote 1 referrer

Table 1 footnote 2

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

Return to table 1 footnote 2 referrer

Travel - Patient $197,961 $189,981 $7,980
Travel - Public Servants $20,976 $25,370 ($4,394)
Travel - Non-Public Servants $2,814 $3,489 ($675)
International Travel by Minister and Minister's StaffTable 1 footnote 2 $35 $15 $20
Total Travel $221,786 $218,855 $2,931
Hospitality $275 $523 ($248)
Conference Fees $507 $683 ($176)
TOTAL $222,568 $220,061 $2,507

Significant variances compared to the previous fiscal year

This section is used to provide a brief explanation of significant variances from the previous year's annual expenditures for each category.


  1. Patient Travel: Compared to fiscal year 2011-2012, departmental patient travel expenditures have increased by $7.98M mainly due to:
    • Growth in medically related travel expenditures in 2012-2013 resulted from population growth and the extension of status to new groups.
    • The increased travel costs with respect to travel by former Indian Residential Schools (IRS) students and their families to access professional counselling and cultural support services.
  2. Public Servants: Compared to fiscal year 2011-2012, departmental travel expenditures by public servants decreased by $4,394K mainly due to:
    • Public servants travel costs were reduced as a result of general fiscal restraint during fiscal year 2012-2013 across the department, including a decrease in the overall number of trips taken. The department also avoided travel costs where possible by increasing the usage of video conferencing rather than in person meetings.
  3. Non-Public Servants: Compared to fiscal year 2011-2012, departmental travel expenditures by non-public servants decreased by $675K mainly due to:
    • The reduction in Non-public servants travel costs was a result of general fiscal restraint during fiscal year 2012-2013 across the department.
  4. Minister and Minister's Staff: Compared to fiscal year 2011-2012, departmental travel expenditures by the Minister and her staff increased by $20K mainly due to:
    • The increase for the Minister and Minister's Staff was due to additional travel requirements during fiscal year 2012-2013 compared to the previous fiscal year.


Compared to fiscal year 2011-2012, departmental hospitality expenditures decreased by $248K mainly due to:

  • The decrease in hospitality was due to a reduction in the number and the size of events requiring hospitality. There was also a concerted effort to minimize the use of hospitality.

Conference Fees

Compared to fiscal year 2011-2012, departmental conference fees expenditures decreased by $176K mainly due to:

  • Reduced expenditures in conference fees, is a result of a review process that was implemented by senior management to reduce the number of instances where the department was represented by a number of attendees at conferences.
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