ARCHIVED - Financial Statements For the year ended March 31, 2009


Notes to the Financial Statement (unaudited)

2. Summary of significant accounting policies

The financial statements have been prepared in accordance with Treasury Board accounting policies which are consistent with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles for the public sector.

Significant accounting policies are as follows:

(a) Parliamentary appropriations
The agency is financed by the Government of Canada through Parliamentary appropriations. Appropriations provided to the agency do not parallel financial reporting according to Canadian generally accepted accounting principles since appropriations are primarily based on cash flow requirements. Consequently, items recognized in the statement of operations and the statement of financial position are not necessarily the same as those provided through appropriations from Parliament. Note 3 provides a high-level reconciliation between the two bases of reporting.

(b) Net Cash Provided by Government
The agency operates within the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), which is administered by the Receiver General for Canada. All cash received by the agency is deposited to the CRF and all cash disbursements made by the agency are paid from the CRF. The net cash provided by government is the difference between all cash receipts and all cash disbursements including transactions between departments of the federal government.

(c) Change in net position in the Consolidated Revenue Fund
The change in net position in the Consolidated Revenue Fund is the difference between the net cash provided by government and appropriations used in a year, excluding the amount of non respendable revenue recorded by the agency. It results from timing differences between when a transaction affects appropriations and when it is processed through the CRF.

(d) Revenues
Revenues are accounted for in the period in which the underlying transaction or event occurred that gave rise to the revenues.

(e) Expenses
Expenses are recorded on an accrual basis:

  • Grants are recognized in the year in which the conditions for payment are met. In the case of grants which do not form part of an existing program, the expense is recognized when the government announces a decision to make a non-recurring transfer, provided the enabling legislation or authorization for payment receives parliamentary approval prior to the completion of the financial statements.
  • Contributions are recognized in the year in which the recipient has met the eligibility criteria or fulfilled the terms of a contractual transfer agreement.
  • Vacation pay and compensatory leave are expensed as the benefits accrue to employees under their respective terms of employment.
  • Services provided without charge by other government departments for accommodation, the employer's contribution to the health and dental insurance plans and legal services are recorded as operating expenses at their estimated cost.

f) Employee future benefits

  1. Pension benefits: Eligible employees participate in the Public Service Pension Plan, a multiemployer plan administered by the Government of Canada. The agency's contributions to the Plan are charged to expenses in the year incurred and represent the total obligation to the Plan by the agency. Current legislation does not require the agency to make contributions for any actuarial deficiencies of the Plan.
  2. Severance benefits: Employees are entitled to severance benefits under labour contracts or conditions of employment. These benefits are accrued as employees render the services necessary to earn them. The obligation relating to the benefits earned by employees is calculated using information derived from the results of the actuarially determined liability for employee severance benefits for the government as a whole.

(g) Accounts receivable
Accounts receivable are stated at amounts expected to be ultimately realized. They are mainly comprised of amounts to be recovered from other government departments and the recovery is considered certain. As a result, no provision has been recorded as an offset against these amounts.

(h) Contingent liabilities
Contingent liabilities are potential liabilities which may become actual liabilities when one or more future events occur or fail to occur. To the extent that the future event is likely to occur or fail to occur, and a reasonable estimate of the loss can be made, an estimated liability is accrued and an expense recorded. If the likelihood is not determinable or an amount cannot be reasonably estimated, the contingency is disclosed in the notes to the financial statements.

(i) Tangible Capital Assets
All tangible capital assets having an initial cost of $10,000 or more are recorded at their acquisition cost. The agency does not capitalize intangibles, works of art and historical treasures that have cultural, aesthetic or historical value, assets located on Indian Reserves and museum collections.

Amortization of tangible capital assets is done on a straight-line basis over the estimated useful life of the asset as follows:

Asset Class
Buildings 25 years
Works and infrastructure 25 years
Machinery and equipment 8-12 years
Computer equipment 3-5 years
Computer software 3 years
Other Equipment 10-12 years
Motor Vehicles 4-7 years
Other Vehicles 10 years
Other construction or work in progress Once in service, in accordance with asset type

(j) Measurement uncertainty
The preparation of these financial statements in accordance with Treasury Board accounting policies which are consistent with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles for the public sector requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses reported in the financial statements. At the time of preparation of these statements, management believes the estimates and assumptions to be reasonable. The most significant items where estimates are used are the liability for employee severance benefits and the useful life of tangible capital assets. Actual results could significantly differ from those estimated. Management's estimates are reviewed periodically and, as adjustments become necessary, they are recorded in the financial statements in the year they become known.

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