2020-21 Departmental Results Report - Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians

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From the Executive Director

It is my pleasure to present the 2020-21 Departmental Results Report for the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. This document provides a summary of the Secretariat’s notable activities from its third full year of operation.

Since its establishment in 2017, the Secretariat has supported the Committee in conducting a total of seven comprehensive reviews of Canada’s national security and intelligence community covering a broad range of organizations and issues. The reviews have helped strengthen parliamentarians’ and Canadians’ understanding of the security and intelligence community and the broader national security landscape in Canada.

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected the Committee and the Secretariat’s work plan for the 2020-21 fiscal year. The first three months of the year coincided with the nation-wide shutdown, effectively limiting the Committee’s ability to conduct secure meetings in person and affecting its review schedule. During that time, Secretariat staff shifted to remote work and assisted the Committee in modifying its forward agenda in response to the disruption caused by the pandemic.

In the months that followed, the Committee and the Secretariat resumed regular activities, albeit at an altered pace and in a different format. In September, the Committee announced its two substantive reviews to be undertaken in 2021: Global Affairs Canada’s national security and intelligence activities, and the government’s cyber defence framework and activities. Throughout the fall, the Secretariat supported the Committee by facilitating secure, virtual meetings, conducting research and analysis for planned reviews and preparing its 2020 Annual Report. In December 2020, the Committee delivered its third Annual Report to the Prime Minister, which provided a comprehensive overview of the main national security threats facing Canada. The Secretariat spent the early months of 2021 supporting ongoing reviews and assisting the Committee in launching a review of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s federal policing mandate.

I joined the Secretariat as its Executive Director in May 2021. On behalf of the Secretariat, I look forward to continuing to support the Committee’s important work in the year ahead.


Lisa-Marie Inman
Executive Director

Results at a glance

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and its Secretariat were established in June 2017 by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act. The Prime Minister formally established the second iteration of the Committee with his appointment of new membership on February 5, 2020.

The 2020-21 fiscal year marks the third full year of operation for the Secretariat. Despite restrictions put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Committee and its Secretariat maintained an ambitious agenda, completing an annual report and conducting two substantive reviews planned for completion in 2021-22.

Highlights of the Secretariat’s work include:

For more information on the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ plans, priorities and results achieved, see the “Results: what we achieved” section of this report.

Results: what we achieved

Core responsibility

Assist the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians in fulfilling its mandate

Description:

The Secretariat’s core responsibility consists of a range of activities to ensure that the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians receives timely access to relevant information, as well as strategic and expert advice in the conduct of reviews and development of reports, and support to ensure compliance with security requirements.

The wording of the Secretariat’s core responsibility was changed in the 2021-22 Departmental Plan. This updated wording will be reflected in the 2021-22 Departmental Results Report.

Results:

The nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic affected the Committee's plans during the 2020-21 fiscal year. When public health restrictions were put in place in March 2020 to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Committee had only been in place for approximately a month and had yet to determine its review schedule. The lockdown effectively prevented the Committee from conducting secure, in person meetings.

In the following months, the Secretariat assisted the Committee in modifying its work plan. The disruptions caused by the pandemic included a reduced working posture for the security and intelligence community and led the Committee to extend its review schedule. Instead of including its reviews in the 2020 Annual Report, the Committee, with the support of the Secretariat, decided to provide an update to the threat assessment included in the Committee's first Annual Report in 2018. The Committee noted that the government does not provide a comprehensive, interdepartmental threat assessment, and believed that such an overview would increase the public’s awareness of security threats to Canada. During this period, the Secretariat supported Committee deliberations on the two substantive reviews it would conduct through 2020 for completion in 2021-22.

In the fall, the Committee and the Secretariat resumed regular activities. The Committee announced its two planned substantive reviews in September 2020: Global Affairs Canada’s national security and intelligence activities, and the government’s framework and activities to defend its systems and networks from cyber attacks. In the three months that followed, the Secretariat drafted the 2020 Annual Report and began work on the two reviews by conducting research and analysis, engaging relevant departments and agencies for information, and organizing Committee appearances with senior officials. During this period, the Secretariat also supported the Committee’s deliberations on the classified Report on the Assessment of the Critical Election Incident Public Protocol. In November 2020, the Committee Chair and the Executive Director of the Secretariat appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to present the findings and recommendations included in the Committee’s 2019 Annual Report.

In December 2020, the Committee delivered its third Annual Report and its letter on the Critical Election Incident Public Protocol to the Prime Minister. The 2020 Annual Report provided a comprehensive summary of the major threats to Canada’s national security in a period of heightened global instability. In particular, the 2020 Annual Report noted a shift in the terrorist threat landscape towards ideologically motivated violent extremism and that the threats of foreign interference and malicious cyber activities continue to grow. In its letter, the Committee presented its observations on the Report on the Assessment of the Critical Election Incident Public Protocol and made recommendations on how to strengthen the Protocol’s effectiveness in responding to the threat posed by foreign interference in Canada’s federal elections.

For the remainder of the fiscal year, the Secretariat continued to support the Committee’s ongoing reviews by organizing appearances with senior officials and preparing interim reports. In February 2021, the Secretariat supported the Committee’s announcement of its review of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s federal policing mandate and proceeded to initiate requests for information from relevant organizations.

Gender-based analysis plus

The Secretariat is comprised of eight full-time equivalents with diverse backgrounds, professional experiences and competencies and an appropriate mix of research and analytical skills.

In the 2019-20 fiscal year, the Committee completed a baseline review of diversity and inclusion across Canada’s security and intelligence community. The review identified a number of challenges, including the underrepresentation of members of visible minorities across many organizations in the community and inconsistent monitoring and analysis of employment equity goals and initiatives.

In June 2020, the Committee’s chair and members of the Secretariat discussed the Committee’s diversity and inclusion review on the Intrepid podcast.

The Committee continues to be seized with this issue and, with the support of the Secretariat, intends to conduct a retrospective review in two to four years to assess the security and intelligence community’s progress in achieving and implementing its diversity goals and inclusion initiatives.

Experimentation

The Secretariat did not complete any experimentation.

Results achieved

The Secretariat developed performance indicators under its Departmental Results Framework for the 2021-22 fiscal year. These indicators and their results will be reported on in the 2021-22 Departmental Results Report.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2020–21
Main Estimates
2020–21
Planned spending
2020–21
Total authorities available for use
2020–21
Actual spending
(authorities used)
2020–21
Difference
(Actual spending minus Planned spending)
2,800,209 2,800,209 2,948,105 1,806,213 (993,996)
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2020–21
Planned full-time equivalents
2020–21
Actual full-time equivalents
2020–21
Difference
(Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)
9.0 7.8 -1.2
 

The difference between 2020-21 actual spending compared with 2020-21 planned spending is significant. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic affected the work of the Committee, limiting its ability to meet in person. This reduced associated costs, including hospitality expenses and interpretation services. In addition, neither the Committee nor the Secretariat conducted any international travel in the 2020-21 fiscal year due to the pandemic.

The majority of the 2020-21 Core Responsibility expenditures consist of salaries and wages for employees of the Secretariat. Other important expenditures include the provision of secure information technology services that enable the Secretariat to fulfill its mandate, and costs associated with the production of Committee reports (e.g. translation, professional communications services, web publishing).

Financial, human resources and performance information for the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ Program Inventory is available in GC InfoBase.

Internal services

Description

Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are:

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2020–21
Main Estimates
2020–21
Planned spending
2020–21
Total authorities available for use
2020–21
Actual spending
(authorities used)
2020–21
Difference
(Actual spending minus Planned spending)
749,457 749,457 734,605 625,032 (124,425)
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2020–21
Planned full-time equivalents
2020–21
Actual full-time equivalents
2020–21
Difference
(Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)
1.0 0.4 -0.6
 

As in previous years, the Secretariat narrowly defined expenditures associated with its functions and activities. This approach is based on a greater understanding of spending activity and results from three years of operations and greater precision between the allocation of expenditures for the Core Responsibility and Internal Services. Notably, the Secretariat is attributing the following to Internal Services: the memorandum of understanding with the Privy Council Office for corporate, administrative and security support; facility rental costs; and, legal services. All other expenditures are attributed to the Core Responsibility. While these adjustments will provide greater clarity in the long term, they have resulted in short term variances, such as the differences in planned and actual spending for Internal Services and the breakdown of the organization’s human resources profile.

Almost all expenditures incurred under Internal Services in 2020-21 relate to the memorandum of understanding with the Privy Council Office for corporate and administrative support.

Similar to 2019-20, the Secretariat employed legal counsel for part of the year. This individual's responsibilities included providing legal advice on reports and access to information requests. The discrepancy between planned and actual full-time equivalents is the result of the position remaining vacant until later in the year, when the vacancy was filled.

Analysis of trends in spending and human resources

Actual expenditures

Departmental spending trend graph

The following graph presents planned (voted and statutory spending) over time.

Departmental spending trend graph
Text version - Departmental spending trend graph
Fiscal year Total Voted Statutory
2018–19 3,632,272 3,487,129 145,143
2019–20 2,693,543 2,515,480 178,063
2020–21 2,431,245 2,249,180 182,065
2021–22 3,648,039 3,409,991 238,048
2022–23 3,648,039 3,409,991 238,048
2023–24  3,648,039 3,409,991 238,048
 
 

The reduction in spending in 2020-21 when compared to 2019-20 is attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to abide by restrictions put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Secretariat facilitated Committee meetings through the use of teleconference or secure video-conferencing. These activities reduced the cost of meetings compared to the previous year, with fewer requirements for travel, hospitality and simultaneous translation. In addition, neither Committee members nor members of the Secretariat undertook international travel during the year, further reducing costs. While these responses reduced costs, they also had deleterious effects on the ability of the Secretariat to assist the Committee in fulfilling its statutory mandate to conduct reviews of the security and intelligence community: cancelled meetings, deferred work and lost opportunities for engaging officials, civil society and the private sector.

In January 2021, the Secretariat received Treasury Board approval for ongoing funding over four years to continue its operations. As a result, the Secretariat will be able to continue to assist the Committee in fulfilling its mandate.

Budgetary performance summary for Core Responsibilities and Internal Services (dollars)
Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2020–21
Main Estimates
2020–21
Planned spending
2021–22
Planned spending
2022–23
Planned spending
2020–21
Total authorities available for use
2018–19 Actual spending (authorities used) 2019–20 Actual spending (authorities used) 2020–21 Actual spending (authorities used)
Assist the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians 2,800,209 2,800,209 2,751,924 2,751,924 2,948,105 3,369,320 2,083,895 1,806,213
Subtotal 2,800,209 2,800,209 2,751,924 2,751,924 2,948,105 3,369,320 2,083,895 1,806,213
Internal Services 749,457 749,457 896,115 896,115 734,605 262,952 609,648 625,032
Total 3,549,666 3,549,666 3,648,039 3,648,039 3,682,710 3,632,272 2,693,543 2,431,245

2020–21 Budgetary actual gross spending summary (dollars)

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2020–21
Actual gross spending
2020–21
Actual revenues netted against expenditures
2020–21
Actual net spending (authorities used)
Assist the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians in fulfilling its mandate 1,806,213 - 1,806,213
Subtotal 1,806,213 - 1,806,213
Internal Services 625,032 - 625,032
Total 2,431,245 - 2,431,245

Actual human resources

Human resources summary for core responsibilities and Internal Services

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2018–19
Actual full-time equivalents
2019–20
Actual full-time equivalents
2020–21
Planned full-time equivalents
2020–21
Actual full-time equivalents
2021–22
Planned full-time equivalents
2022–23
Planned full-time equivalents
Assist the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians in fulfilling its mandate 8.2 9.4 9.0 7.8 9.0 9.0
Subtotal 8.2 9.4 9.0 7.8 9.0 9.0
Internal Services 0.0 0.0 1.0 0.4 1.0 1.0
Total 8.2 9.4 10.0 8.2 10.0 10.0

Expenditures by vote

For information on the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ organizational voted and statutory expenditures, consult the Public Accounts of Canada 2020–2021.

Government of Canada spending and activities

Information on the alignment of the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ spending with the Government of Canada’s spending and activities is available in GC InfoBase.

Financial statements and financial statements highlights

Financial statements

The Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ financial statements (unaudited) for the year ended March 31, 2021, are available on the departmental website.

Financial statement highlights

Condensed Statement of Operations (unaudited) for the year ended March 31, 2021 (dollars)
Financial information 2020–21
Planned results*
2020–21
Actual results
2019–20
Actual results
Difference (2020–21 Actual results minus
2020–21 Planned results)
Difference (2020–21 Actual results minus
2019–20 Actual results)
Total expenses 3,740,750 2,553,093 2,799,857 (1,187,657) (246,764)
Total revenues 23 0 0 (23) 0
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 3,740,727 2,553,093 2,799,857 (1,187,634) (246,764)
Difference between 2019-20 actual results and 2020-21 actual results:

The department’s actual net cost of operations before government funding and transfers for 2020-21, as compared to 2019-20 decreased by $246,764. This reduction is primarily attributable to the restrictions put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a suspension of in person meetings and a decrease in the associated costs for travel, hospitality and translation services. The bulk of the spending in both fiscal years was attributed to the core responsibilities: Salaries and Wages.

Difference between 2020-21 actual results and 2020-21 planned results:

The department’s actual net cost of operations from continuing activities was $1,187,634 lower than the planned results and is attributable to lower costs associated with cancelled or reduced activities as a result of restrictions put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including reduced hospitality expenses and no international travel.

Condensed Statement of Financial Position (unaudited) as of March 31, 2021 (dollars)
Financial information 2020–21 2019–20 Difference
(2020–21 minus
2019–20)
Total net liabilities 270,697 467,912 (197,215)
Total net financial assets 165,273 412,513 (247,240)
Departmental net debt 105,424 55,399 50,025
Total non-financial assets 16,317 20,905 (4,588)
Departmental net financial position (89,107) (34,494) (54,613)
 

In 2020-21, the department’s net liabilities decreased by $197,215. This decrease is primarily attributable to a decrease in the Department’s activities, resulting in a decrease in accounts payable and in accrued salaries and wages.

Total net financial and non-financial assets were $181,590, a decrease of $251,828 from 2019-20. This variance is primarily attributable to a decrease in amounts due from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which represents authorities available to discharge remaining accounts payable and accrued liabilities.

Corporate Information

Organizational profile

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do” is available on the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ website.

Operating context

Information on the operating context is available on the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ website.

Reporting framework

The Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ Departmental Results Framework and Program Inventory of record for 2020–21 are shown below.

Departmental Results Framework
Text version - Departmental Results Framework

The Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Departmental Results Framework for 2020-2021 consists of the following:

  • One core responsibility: Assist the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians in fulfilling its mandate.
    • The Secretariat’s core responsibility consists of a range of activities to ensure the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians receives timely access to relevant information, strategic and expert advice in the conduct of reviews and development of reports and support to ensure compliance with security requirements. A Departmental Results Framework was developed during the 2021-22 fiscal year and the related results and indicators will be reporting on in the 2021-22 Departmental Results Report.
  • One program:
    • Reviews
  • Internal Services
 

Supporting information on the program inventory

Financial, human resources and performance information for the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ Program Inventory is available in GC InfoBase.

Supplementary information tables

The following supplementary information tables are available on the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ website:

Federal tax expenditures

The tax system can be used to achieve public policy objectives through the application of special measures such as low tax rates, exemptions, deductions, deferrals and credits. The Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for these measures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures. This report also provides detailed background information on tax expenditures, including descriptions, objectives, historical information and references to related federal spending programs as well as evaluations and GBA+ of tax expenditures.

Organizational contact information

Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians
P.O. Box 8015, Station “T”
Ottawa, Ontario
K1G 5A6

Contact the Secretariat online: generalinquiries-renseignementsgeneraux@nsicop-cpsnr.gc.ca.

Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians website

Appendix: definitions

appropriation (crédit)

Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)

Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.

core responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)

An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a core responsibility are reflected in one or more related departmental results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.

Departmental Plan (plan ministériel)

A report on the plans and expected performance of an appropriated department over a 3 year period. Departmental Plans are usually tabled in Parliament each spring.

departmental priority (priorité)

A plan or project that a department has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired departmental results.

departmental result (résultat ministériel)

A consequence or outcome that a department seeks to achieve. A departmental result is often outside departments’ immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.

departmental result indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)

A quantitative measure of progress on a departmental result.

departmental results framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)

A framework that connects the department’s core responsibilities to its departmental results and departmental result indicators.

Departmental Results Report (rapport sur les résultats ministériels)

A report on a department’s actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.

experimentation (expérimentation)

The conducting of activities that seek to first explore, then test and compare the effects and impacts of policies and interventions in order to inform evidence-based decision making, and improve outcomes for Canadians, by learning what works, for whom and in what circumstances. Experimentation is related to, but distinct from innovation (the trying of new things), because it involves a rigorous comparison of results. For example, using a new website to communicate with Canadians can be an innovation; systematically testing the new website against existing outreach tools or an old website to see which one leads to more engagement, is experimentation.

full time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)

A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person year charge against a departmental budget. For a particular position, the full time equivalent figure is the ratio of number of hours the person actually works divided by the standard number of hours set out in the person’s collective agreement.

gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) (analyse comparative entre les sexes plus [ACS+])

An analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people experience policies, programs and services based on multiple factors including race ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.

government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)

For the purpose of the 2019–20 Departmental Results Report, those high-level themes outlining the government’s agenda in the 2019 Speech from the Throne, namely: Fighting climate change; Strengthening the Middle Class; Walking the road of reconciliation; Keeping Canadians safe and healthy; and Positioning Canada for success in an uncertain world.

horizontal initiative (initiative horizontale)

An initiative where two or more federal organizations are given funding to pursue a shared outcome, often linked to a government priority.

non budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)

Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.

performance (rendement)

What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.

performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)

A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.

performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)

The process of communicating evidence based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision making, accountability and transparency.

plan (plan)

The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally, a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead to the expected result.

planned spending (dépenses prévues)

For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts presented in Main Estimates.

A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.

program (programme)

Individual or groups of services, activities or combinations thereof that are managed together within the department and focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes or service levels.

program inventory (répertoire des programmes)

Identifies all the department’s programs and describes how resources are organized to contribute to the department’s core responsibilities and results.

result (résultat)

A consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization’s influence.

statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)

Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.

target (cible)

A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.

voted expenditures (dépenses votées)

Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an appropriation act. The vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, November, 2021

All rights reserved.
All requests for permission to reproduce this document or any part thereof shall be addressed to the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.

ISSN 2561-9837

Aussi disponible en français sous le titre : Rapport sur les résultats ministériels 2020-2021

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