Management Statement of Risks and Significant Changes in Operations, Personnel and Programs (2016-2017, Q3)

For Quarter ended December 31, 2016

Introduction

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s (the Agency) third quarterly financial statement report for the period ended December 31, 2016 has been prepared by management as required by section 65.1 of the Financial Administration Act and in the form and manner prescribed by Treasury Board under the Treasury Board Accounting Standard (TBAS 1.3). It should be read in conjunction with the Main Estimates and Supplementary Estimates for the current year.

This report has not been subject to an external audit or review.

The Agency is the responsible authority for all projects subject to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) except for those that are regulated by the National Energy Board or the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. In accordance with the transitional provisions of CEAA 2012, the Agency is also responsible for managing the environmental assessment (EA) of most projects that are required to be completed under the former Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

In addition, the Agency advises and assists the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in establishing review panels and supports panels in their work. It also supports the Minister in fulfilling responsibilities under CEAA 2012, including the development and issuance of enforceable EA decision statements.

The Agency administers a Participant Funding Program that supports individuals, not-for-profit organizations, and Indigenous groups participating in federal EAs.

The Agency also has responsibilities for reviewing projects of a federal nature under the environmental and social protection regimes set out in sections 22 and 23 of the 1975 James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. The President of the Agency is designated by Order-in-Council as the federal administrator of these processes.

The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals establishes a self-assessment process for conducting a strategic EA of a policy, plan or program proposal. The Agency supports the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in promoting the application of the Cabinet Directive and provides training and guidance for federal authorities.

The Agency's activities are carried out under three different programs: Environmental Assessment Delivery, Environmental Assessment Policy and Internal Services.

Environmental Assessment Delivery program ensures that high-quality EA of major projects are conducted and completed in a timely and predictable way, supporting economic growth while preventing or reducing adverse environmental effects. The most appropriate means of avoiding duplication of assessment activities with other jurisdictions is applied, thereby increasing efficiency and providing certainty for all participants in the process. The Agency will promote, monitor, and facilitate compliance with CEAA 2012. The EA provides for meaningful participation of the public and Indigenous groups. Indigenous consultation obligations are integrated to the greatest extent possible with the federal EA process. As such, the Agency consults with Indigenous groups during the EA process to assess how the proposed project may adversely affect potential or established Indigenous or treaty rights and related interests, and find ways to avoid or minimize these adverse impacts.

The EA Policy program develops and promotes robust policies and practices for high-quality EA in accordance with CEAA 2012. This is achieved by: building and reinforcing policies, procedures and criteria for the conduct of federal EAs; promoting cooperation and coordinated action between the federal government and other jurisdictions; promoting communication and cooperation with Indigenous peoples; and developing instruments and training for EA practitioners. The EA Policy program enables continuous improvement through research, monitoring, analysis and advice. Recommendations inform the development of new regulatory and policy approaches as well as the revision of guidance, training and knowledge-based instruments. The program also provides support for the conduct of EAs through various means, such as federal-provincial agreements and policy criteria.

Internal Services comprises related activities and resources to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations of the Agency. These include Management and Oversight Services, Communications Services, Legal Services, Human Resources Management Services, Financial Management Services, Information Management Services, Information Technology Services, the Access to Information and Privacy Office, Real Property Services, Materiel Management Services, Acquisition Services, and Travel and Other Administrative Services. Internal Services includes activities and resources that apply across an organization, not those provided specifically to a program.

The Agency was established in 1994 and is led by a President, who reports directly to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. It has its headquarters in Ottawa and regional offices in Halifax, Quebec City, Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

Basis of Presentation

This quarterly report has been prepared by management using an expenditure basis of accounting. The accompanying Statement of Authorities includes the Agency's spending authorities granted by Parliament and those used by the Agency consistent with the Main Estimates and Supplementary Estimates (as applicable) for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. This quarterly report has been prepared using a special purpose financial reporting framework designed to meet financial information needs with respect to the use of spending authorities.

The authority of Parliament is required before moneys 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.

When Parliament is dissolved for the purposes of a general election, section 30 of the Financial Administration Act authorizes the Governor General, under certain conditions, to issue a special warrant authorizing the Government to withdraw funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. A special warrant is deemed to be an appropriation for the fiscal year in which it is issued.

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

Highlights of fiscal quarter and fiscal year-to-date (YTD) results

This section highlights the significant items that contributed to the net increase in actual expenditures for the 3 months ended December 31, 2016.

Figure 1 outlines the net budgetary authorities ($41,274,789 in 2016-2017 and $31,259,325 in 2015-2016), which represent the resources available for the year as at December 31, 2016 net of the revenue that is forecast to be collected. The 2016-2017 annual authorities presented include sunsetting initiatives that were renewed in 2015-2016 for a period of 5 years. This impacts the comparison of expenditure authority because the sunsetting funds had not been renewed as at the same period in the previous fiscal year. In addition, in Budget 2016, the Agency received additional funding for four years ($5.2M in 2016-2017) to restore robust environmental assessments as highlighted in the Minister of Environment and Climate Change mandate letter in November 2015.

Figure 1: Annual Authorities compared to Third Quarter Year-to-Date Expenditures

Figure 1: Annual Authorities compared to Third Quarter Year-to-Date Expenditures

Figure 1 also outlines the Agency’s third quarter year-to-date budgetary expenditures net of revenues have increased by $4.6M from the previous year ($24,909,728 in 2016-2017 and $20,297,403 in 2015-2016). This is comprised of a $4.24M increase in expenditures offset by a $0.38M decrease in revenues. The budgetary expenditures increased by $4.24M in comparison with 2015-2016 due to following reasons:

  • An increase of $1.98M in personnel and benefits costs due to change in operational requirements
  • An increase of $0.5M related to the Agency’s Participant Funding Program;
  • An overall increase of $1.05M in professional service, mainly due to legal services adopting a new payment structure for fiscal year 2016-2017.
  • An overall increase of $0.7M in transportation and telecommunications, information, materials and supplies and the acquisition of machinery and equipment.

Risks and Uncertainties

The Agency is funded through annual appropriations. As a result, its operations are impacted by any changes in funding approved through Parliament. The Agency has two initiatives, Aboriginal Consultation ($6.8M per annum) and Major Projects Management Office ($8.0M per annum), which were renewed in Budget 2015 for five years starting fiscal year 2015-2016.

The Agency’s expenditures and revenues are also influenced by the number of EAs conducted during any given fiscal year and are heavily influenced by economic conditions outside the control of the Agency. To off-set portions of its expenditures, the Agency has vote-netted authority to recover certain costs from proponents in the conduct of review panels. The timing of revenue collection is uncertain and may impact the Agency’s overall financial results.

In addition, the timing of requests for participant funding for consultation varies and is unpredictable. A commitment to participant funding may be planned in one year but could be realized across multiple fiscal years depending on the progression of the environmental assessment. Unused commitments are carried forward from one year to another and are honoured by the Agency as they become due.

The Agency is also subject to litigation, the extent and costs are difficult to predict and are normally covered by the Agency’s annual appropriations.

Significant Changes in Relation to Operations, Personnel and Programs

In Budget 2016, the Agency received additional funding to undertake a review of environmental assessment processes through an independent expert panel. This additional funding is the only significant change to planned expenditures for this quarter.

Approval by Senior Officials

Approved by:

_____Original signed by_____
Ron Hallman
President

_____Original signed by_____
Alan Kerr, CPA,CA
Vice-President, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer
Ottawa, Canada

March 1, 2017

Statement of Authorities (unaudited)

Fiscal Year 2016-2017 (in dollars)
  Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2017 Used during the quarter ended December 31, 2016 Year to date used at quarter-end
VOTE 15 - Net Operating Expenditures $ 37,113,293 $ 7,798,171 $ 22,360,885
Statutory Authorities - Employee Benefits $ 4,161,496 $ 849,614 $ 2,548,843
Total Authorities $ 41,274,789 $ 8,647,785 $ 24,909,728
Fiscal Year 2015-2016 (in dollars)
  Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2016 Used during the quarter ended September 30, 2015 Year to date used at quarter-end
VOTE 15 - Net Operating Expenditures $ 29,156,074 $ 6,643,333 $ 18,977,215
Statutory Authorities - Employee Benefits $ 2,103,251 $ 440,063 $ 1,320,188
Total Authorities $ 31,259,325 $ 7,083,396 $ 20,297,403

Note 1: In Budget 2016, the Agency received additional funding for four years ($5.2M in 2016-2017) to restore robust environmental assessments as highlighted in the Minister of Environment and Climate Change mandate letter in November 2015.

Note 2: The 2015-2016 authorities as presented as at September 30, 2015 do not include amounts related to the Major Projects Management Office Initiative ($8.0M per annum funding which was renewed in Budget 2015). The Agency requested the funding authorities for fiscal year 2015-2016 as part of the normal Supplementary Estimates Appropriation process later in 2015-2016. For the remaining 4 years, these funding authorities will be part of the Main Estimates.

Agency Budgetary Expenditures by Standard Object (unaudited)

Fiscal Year 2016-2017 (in dollars)
  Planned Expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2017 Expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2016 Year to date used at quarter-end
Expenditures
Personnel $ 27,879,159 $ 6,937,809 $ 18,949,438
Transportation and Telecommunications $ 1,847,296 $ 514,224 $ 865,088
Information $ 555,130 $ 90,729 $ 159,334
Professional Services $ 4,620,516 $ 537,738 $ 3,498,454
Rentals $ 392,041 $ 71,944 $ 129,704
Purchased Repair and Maintenance $ - $ 1,491 $ 2,377
Utilities, materials and supplies $ 156,816 $ 57,904 $ 113,360
Acquisition of Machinery & Equipment $ 1,177,690 $ 6,553 $ 180,905
Transfer Payments $ 5,715,000 $ 438,558 $ 1,080,400
Other expenses $ - $ 0 $ 0
Total Gross Budgetary Expenditures $ 42,343,648 $ 8,656,946 $ 24,979,058
Less Revenues netted against Expenditures
Planned Revenues (Note 1)
Environmental assessment and training services -$ 1,068,859 -$ 9,161 -$ 69,331
Total Revenue netted against expenditures -$ 1,068,859 -$ 9,161 -$ 69,331
Total net budgetary expenditures $ 41,274,789 $ 8,647,785 $ 24,909,728
Fiscal Year 2015-2016 (in dollars)
  Planned Expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2016 Expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2015 Year to date used at quarter-end
Expenditures (Note 2)
Personnel $ 19,195,934 $ 5,835,879 $ 16,968,374
Transportation and Telecommunications $ 1,808,158 $ 218,090 $ 491,610
Information $ 543,368 $ 29,612 $ 101,008
Professional Services $ 4,773,897 $ 948,593 $ 2,442,764
Rentals $ 383,735 $ 19,926 $ 58,698
Purchased Repair and Maintenance $ - $ 785 $ 9,010
Utilities, materials and supplies $ 153,494 $ 32,643 $ 57,859
Acquisition of Machinery & Equipment $ 1,152,739 $ 6,423 $ 33,418
Transfer Payments $ 4,715,000 $ 268,724 $ 580,781
Other expenses $ - $ - $ -
Total Gross Budgetary Expenditures $ 32,726,325 $ 7,360,676 $ 20,743,525
Less Revenues netted against Expenditures
Planned Revenues
Environmental assessment and training services -$ 1,467,000 -$ 277,280 -$ 446,122
Total net budgetary expenditures $ 31,259,325 $ 7,083,396 $ 20,297,403

Note 1: The Agency has authority to collect up to $8,001,000 in vote-netted revenue

Note 2: For the year 2015-2016, an amount of $8,000,000 is excluded in the planned expenditures relating to the Major Projects Management Office Initiative; this funding was approved later during 2015-2016 fiscal year as part of the normal Supplementary Estimates Appropriation process.

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