President of the Treasury Board appearance before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates (OGGO) – Supplementary Estimates (A) 2022-23 – June 2022
On this page
- A. Scenario Note
- B. Overview of the Supplementary Estimates (A) 2022-23
- C. Estimates & Financial Accountability Reform
- D. Overview of Roles and Responsibilities (TB/TBS)
- E. Strategic Policy Review
- Supply Cycle
- Public Servants, HR Management and Guidance
- Return to Occupancy and Transition to Hybrid
- Other Leave with Pay (699)
- Vaccines – Mandate and HR Guidance
- Mental Health in the Public Service
- Collective Bargaining
- Pay Equity
- Executive Pay and Bonuses
- Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility in the Public Service
- Official Languages in the Public Service and Modernization of the Official Languages Act
- Phoenix-Related Issues
- Values and Ethics
- Hot Issues for TBS
- Second Annual Regulatory Modernization Bill
- Cyber Security Incidents & Roles and Responsibilities
- Privacy and the Use of Data
- Access to Information
- National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP)
- Digital ID
- Federal Procurement and Professional Services
- PSPIB – Revera
Appearance of the honourable Mona Fortier, PC, MP, president of the Treasury Board, and TBS officials before the House of Commons Standing Committee on government operations and estimates on Supplementary Estimates (A) 2022-23
- The President of the Treasury Board tabled the Supplementary Estimates (A) 2022-23 in the House of Commons on May 20 (and in the Senate on May 31st). They were referred to various House of Commons standing committees (OGGO for TBS) and Senate Committee on National Finance (NFFN). House Committees may examine and amend the estimates no later than three sitting days before the last allotted supply day (date not yet known). There is no deadline for NFFN’s study, and they cannot amend the estimates.
- The Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates (OGGO) has invited the President and TBS officials to appear on June 7, 2022, as part of their examination of the estimates.
- The appearance is expected to be hybrid with the President appearing in person supported in person at the table by Annie Boudreau, Assistant Secretary, EMS; Karen Cahill, Assistant Secretary and CFO, CSS; and Marie-Chantal Girard, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of Pensions and Benefits. The remaining officials will appear remotely.
- The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance (NFFN) has not yet invited the President and TBS officials to appear as part of their examination of both the estimates.
Day of – Scenario (OGGO)
- The meeting is expected to begin at 3:30 pm, subject to delays in the Chamber. The President is scheduled to attend for the first hour (3:30-4:30 pm) along with TBS officials, and officials will remain for an additional hour of questioning (4:30-5:30 pm).
- Officials appearing remotely will be asked to log on half an hour before the appearance begins (3:00 pm) to perform a sound and tech test.
- A binder has been prepared in anticipation of the appearance, which the President’s office and supporting witnesses received on May 27. The binder provides an overview of the key government-wide items included in the Estimates. The binder also includes material on key issues such as COVID-19 spending, financial transparency, the ongoing COVID-19 response and the public service, values and ethics, and digital government.
- New issue cards include those on Executive pay and bonuses, declassification of documents (in response to the Information Commissioner’s Report: Access at issue: The challenge of accessing our collective memory), and Digital ID (note: the Members of the Committee have all received a briefing from TBS officials on the progress in Digital ID).
- Annie Boudreau, Assistant Secretary, EMS
- Karen Cahill, Assistant Secretary and CFO, CSS
- Monia Lahaie, Assistant Comptroller General, Financial Management Sector, OCG
- Samantha Tattersall, Assistant Comptroller General, Acquired Services and Assets, OCG
- Paul Wagner, Assistant Deputy Minister (Transformation) and a/CTO, OCIO
- Marie-Chantal Girard, Senior Assistant Secretary, Pensions and Benefits, OCHRO
- Rod Greenough, Executive Director of Expenditure Strategies and Estimates, EMS (after the first hour)
Other Relevant Information
- The OGGO Committee is also expected to hear from the PSPC minister and officials on the estimates on June 10.
- The OGGO Committee heard from the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) on the Main Estimates on Friday, May 13. The PBO re-iterated his desire for the Budget and the Estimates to be aligned - he also acknowledged that the pilot project in the 42nd Parliament was not a success due to no fixed date for the Budget.
- The OGGO Committee continues their study on the National Shipbuilding Strategy and the Air Defense Procurement Projects. The Members have been critical of the Government’s procurement process as a whole but has not directly mentioned TBS (Officials from PSPC & DND have appeared, along with expert witnesses including former Military).
- Both committees remain concerned with the level of transparency and accountability from the government as it relates to the procurement process and the tablings of the financial documents (such as the Public Accounts).
Overview of the Supplementary Estimates (A) 2022-23
Additional spending presented in Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022–23.
- Canadians and the parliamentarians who represent them have the right to know how public funds are being spent and to hold the government to account.
- Through these Supplementary Estimates, the Government is seeking parliamentary approval of $8.8 billion in new voted spending.
- These planned expenditures support a variety of government priorities, including supporting Indigenous children and families, providing financial assistance for provincial and territorial natural disaster response and recovery efforts, protecting public health, supporting Ukraine’s defense, and helping more Canadians purchase zero-emission vehicles.
- Statutory authorities of $860 million, which receive Parliament’s approval through separate legislation, are included in these Supplementary Estimates to provide information on departments’ total estimated expenditures.
The Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022–23 present a total of $9.7 billion in incremental budgetary spending, which reflects $8.8 billion to be voted and a $860 million increase in forecast statutory expenditures.
The majority of the new voted spending is to:
- provide compensation and implement settlement agreements with Indigenous groups ($2.1 billion related to First Nations Child and Family Services and Jordan’s Principle, $900.0 million for specific claims, $146.0 million for Residential Day Scholars and $130.0 million related to Federal Day Schools);
- procure therapeutics for the treatment of COVID-19 ($1.4 billion);
- provide disaster financial assistance to provincial and territorial governments ($823.6 million); and
- support the response to the war in Ukraine ($500 million for military aid and $352.7 million for immigration measures).
These Estimates show, for information purposes, changes in planned statutory expenditures. Statutory budgetary expenditures are forecast to rise $860 million (0.4%) to a total of $208.1 billion.
The increase is primarily due to updated forecasts provided in Budget 2022:
- interest on unmatured debt ($895.0 million increase);
- other interest costs ($254.0 million increase); and
- old age security payments ($371.9 million decrease).
The change in interest costs relates primarily to higher interest rate expectations and increased borrowing requirements. The change in Old Age Security payments is primarily due to a lower projected number of recipients and a higher than expected claw back rate, which is driven by higher net incomes for seniors.
Supplementary Estimates (A) is significantly smaller than last year’s due, in large part, to lower planned expenditures in respect of COVID-19.
Changes made to Estimates and other financial reporting to increase transparency and respond to recommendations.
- The Government of Canada is committed to making it easier for parliamentarians and Canadians to hold the government to account for its spending decisions.
- Ongoing changes have been made to address comments received from parliamentarians, to increase transparency and to make Estimates documents easier to understand.
- The government continues to welcome feedback on its documents and processes.
In particular, I understand the Senate Committee on National Finance (NFFN) will be undertaking a detailed study on the estimates process, and we look forward to reviewing any recommendations brought forward.
If pressed on a set date for the Budget, or tabling the Budget before the Main Estimates or concurrently:
- Setting a specific date for presenting the Budget or introducing the Budget and the Main Estimates concurrently would unnecessarily restrict the Government's flexibility to respond to global and domestic imperatives.
- It is important to note that new spending requirements for initiatives announced in the Budget would not be sufficiently developed in time for inclusion in the Main Estimates.
- We did undertake a pilot project to align the Estimates in the 42nd Parliament. The pilot was not extended and the system reverted to the current standing orders and process.
In 2012 and in 2019, the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates (OGGO) released reports on Estimates and supply processes.
In response, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat made ongoing changes to products and processes, including:
- Tagging items in Supplementary Estimates which stem from a federal budget;
- Development and ongoing expansion of GC InfoBase, an online searchable database;
- Expanding financial data in Departmental Plans and tabling them very soon after Main Estimates; and
- Providing a reconciliation of Estimates to the latest federal budget or fiscal update.
The Senate Committee on National Finance (NFFN) has been authorized to conduct a three-year study of the federal estimates process and other finance issues. They are expected to begin this study Fall 2022.
The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat also conducted pilot projects on aligning Main Estimates with the federal budget and on purpose-based votes.
On aligning Main Estimates and the federal budget:
- In 2017, provisional changes to House of Commons Standing Orders had allowed for Main Estimates to be tabled in the House of Commons by April 16.
- This two-year change allowed for the tabling of an Interim Estimates and a delayed tabling of Main Estimates. Budget implementation votes were then used to include planned spending from the latest federal budget in the Main Estimates.
- This mechanism allowed for complete alignment and reconciliation of the accrual-based Budget with the cash-based Estimates. In response to feedback, the second year of this pilot saw separate votes for each budget measure, and these amounts were included in departmental plans.
- The use of Budget implementation votes also reduced the delay for departments to obtain Parliamentary authority for new spending, by securing the appropriation before the Treasury Board approved departmental submissions. Monthly online reporting ensured transparency on timing of Treasury Board approvals and the release of funds.
- However, there were mixed reviews of the Budget implementation votes. Departments appreciated the flexibility in the timelines for obtaining Treasury Board approvals, and having fewer new approvals to risk-manage through the fiscal year.
- Many Parliamentarians perceived a reduced opportunity to influence or exert control over government spending – which greatly outweighed any process efficiencies the government achieved. One of the concerns with the Budget implementation votes was that parliament was being asked to approve amounts before the Treasury Board.
- The extension of this pilot was not supported by Parliament or external observers, so the system reverted to the current standing orders and process.
- It is not possible to have any budget items approved by Treasury Board before the budget is tabled. Budget announcements can require external consultation before detailed implementation plans can be drawn up and Treasury Board submissions prepared. In addition, the budget can respond to recent developments, for which there is insufficient advance notice to prepare a full TB submission. Lastly there is the issue of budget secrecy, where decisions are closely held until the tabling of the budget.
On the Department of Transport purpose-based vote pilot:
- The Department of Transport also undertook a pilot project on purpose-based grant and contribution votes beginning in 2016–17, whereby it had three separate votes for grants and contributions. The votes were based on the departmental Program Alignment Architecture.
- That pilot ended in 2020–21. Transport has returned to a single vote for all of its grants and contributions programs.
- Transport experienced some challenges in managing its transfer payment programs over the three separate votes. Flexibility to reallocate grant and contribution funding to departmental priorities was limited.
- The pilot has demonstrated that there were risks and costs to the expansion of the pilot to other votes and other departments.
- Additionally, according to Transport Canada, the pilot vote structure has not necessarily strengthened forecasting scrutiny, nor ensured greater expenditure transparency.
On fixing a date for the federal budget:
- OGGO reports in 2012 and 2019 recommended tabling the budget and the main estimates concurrently. The parliamentary Budget Officer has also recommended this.
- In response to both OGGO reports, the Government disagreed with the recommendation as it would unnecessarily restrict the Government's flexibility in responding to global and domestic imperatives.
On setting or amending dates for the tabling of Public Accounts and Departmental Results Reports:
- Recent reports by the Parliamentary Budget Officer have recommended requiring publication of the Public Accounts and the Departmental Results Reports no later than September 30th, and tabling of the Departmental Plans at the same time as Main Estimates.
- Parliament does receive information on actual expenditures prior to tabling of Public Accounts and the Departmental Results Reports (DRRs). The Fiscal Monitor for March 31 is released on the last Friday in May and provides preliminary financial results which include the majority of actual spending for the fiscal year.
- Changing the tabling deadline of Public Accounts of Canada to September 30th is not feasible, especially during an election year when no Parliament is in session. Generally, the completion of the audit of the consolidated financial statements of the Government of Canada occurs the first week of September and the printed copies are received in mid-October. The September 30th deadline does not allow for the administrative tasks necessary for the printing and publishing of Public Accounts.
- Recent federal elections (2019 and 2021) took place in the fall and resulted in delays in the tabling of DRRs. The 2018-19 DRRs would normally have been tabled in fall 2019, but were ultimately tabled on February 26, 2020. The 2020-21 DRRs would normally have been tabled in fall 2021, but were ultimately tabled on February 1, 2022. These delays reflect the time needed for new ministers to review and approve the reports for their portfolios, and the limited window for tabling in the late part of the calendar year.
On tabling of Departmental Plans and alignment with Main Estimates:
- Departmental Plans fully reflect the funding requirements presented in Main Estimates for those departments.
- The 2022–23 Departmental Plans were tabled on March 2, the day after tabling of the Main Estimates.
Overview of Roles and Responsibilities
Roles and responsibilities of the Treasury Board, its President and the Secretariat.
- The importance of the Treasury Board as manager and employer of the government goes back to 1867, when it was first established as the only statutory Cabinet committee.
- The President, as chair of the Treasury Board, is accountable for the principal management, expenditure and employer responsibilities that fall to the committee, and other specific policy-making authorities.
- The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat provides advice and makes recommendations to the Treasury Board on how the government spends money on programs and services, how it regulates and how it is managed, helping ensure tax dollars are spent wisely and effectively for Canadians.
While the primary statute setting out the role of the Treasury Board is the Financial Administration Act, there are over 20 other statutes that also establish its roles and authorities. The Treasury Board’s powers and responsibilities are also set out in regulations, orders-in-council, policies, guidelines and practices.
The Treasury Board has three principal roles:
- It acts as the government’s “expenditure manager”:
- preparing the government’s expenditure plans (the Estimates) and monitoring program spending by government departments;
- approving the use of new money that has been set aside in the budget, including for major procurements, assets, new programs, and grants and contributions.
- It acts as the government’s “management board”:
- setting the rules that establish how people, public funds and government assets are managed;
- reviewing departmental investment plans in support of accountability of government operations.
- It acts as the “employer” of the core public administration:
- entering into collective bargaining for the core public administration;
- determining terms and conditions of employment;
- setting rules on human resources management.
Since December 2003, the Treasury Board has also been asked to serve as the Committee of the Privy Council advising the Governor in Council. This role is often referred to as “Treasury Board, Part B.” The principal role of Treasury Board, Part B, is to provide “regulatory oversight”, reviewing and approving most regulations and orders-in-council.
The management, expenditure and employer responsibilities that fall to the Treasury Board are also the President’s own responsibilities and form the basis for their key accountabilities.
Specific responsibilities assigned directly to the President include:
- coordinating the activities of the Secretary, Comptroller General, Chief Human Resources Officer and the Chief Information Officer of Canada and delegating responsibility to the Secretary or other officials accordingly;
- recommending external members of departmental audit committees;
- establishing the form and tabling of the Public Accounts;
- publishing a consolidated quarterly report on Crown corporations;
- receiving and tabling a wide range of reports under legislation or Treasury Board policies.
Other statutes assign specific authorities to either the President or the Treasury Board. For example, the President has the authority to:
- establish policies and forms with respect to the administration of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act;
- administer components of the Official Languages Act;
- administer components of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.
The Treasury Board’s authority to act as the employer for the core public administration is established under various statutes.
As the Chair of the Treasury Board, the President supports the Treasury Board’s employer responsibilities. Legislation gives the Treasury Board the authority to:
- engage in collective bargaining under the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act;
- make rules respecting deployments, probation and promotion under the Public Service Employment Act;
- set pay levels for Canadian Armed Forces members under the National Defence Act.
The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat supports the Treasury Board by making recommendations and providing advice on program spending, regulations and management policies and directives, while respecting the primary responsibility of deputy heads in managing their organizations and in their roles as accounting officers before Parliament. In this way, the Secretariat helps to strengthen government performance, results and reporting and supports good governance and sound stewardship.
Strategic Policy Review
Budget 2022 includes a Government of Canada commitment to conduct a Strategic Policy Review. Budget 2023 will provide an update on the review’s progress.
- In Budget 2022, the Government of Canada committed to conducting a Strategic Policy Review.
- This Strategic Policy Review has two objectives.
- First, it will assess program effectiveness in meeting the government’s key priorities of strengthening economic growth, inclusiveness, and fighting climate change.
- Second, it will identify opportunities to save and reallocate resources as programs and operations are adapted to a post-pandemic reality, where, among other changes, services are increasingly delivered digitally.
- This is about smarter government and ensuring Canadians’ tax dollars are being used effectively and to ensure that government programs are delivering the intended results.
- It’s about getting value for taxpayer dollars. Focusing on priorities and doing them better – delivering on the government’s goals more sustainably and effectively.
The Government of Canada already requires major programs to be reviewed regularly – at least every five years – to verify that taxpayer dollars are being used effectively and that government programs are delivering intended results.
This approach, along with lessons learned from past strategic reviews that assessed a range of programs and operations at the same time, will inform the Strategic Policy Review to ensure it is effective in meeting the Government’s objectives.
There are two streams for the Strategic Policy Review:
- Stream 1 will assess program effectiveness in meeting the government’s key priorities of strengthening economic growth, inclusiveness, and fighting climate change.
- Stream 2 will identify opportunities to save and reallocate resources to adapt government programs and operations to a new post-pandemic reality. Further areas of focus could include real property, travel, and increased digital service delivery, based in part on key lessons taken from how the government adapted during the pandemic, such as through increased virtual or remote work arrangements.
The review targets savings of $6 billion over five years, and $3 billion annually by 2026-27.
Budget 2023 will provide an update on the review’s progress.
Spending Related to Indigenous Canadians and their Communities
Spending related to Indigenous Canadians and their communities in Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022–23.
- As part of our ongoing journey toward reconciliation, the Government of Canada is committed to making necessary investments to settle claims and support the infrastructure and services that are vital to Indigenous communities’ physical, mental, social and economic health and well-being.
- Together, the departments of Indigenous Services and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs present $3.6 billion in new spending in these Estimates. Among the initiatives addressed by the increase in funding are:
- $2.1 billion to implement compensation agreements relating to First Nations Child and Family Services and Jordan’s Principle programs, including immediate initial reforms in child and family well-being programs and infrastructure;
- $900 million to fund negotiated specific claim settlements; and
- $99 million to address the ongoing legacy of Indian residential schools.
As pointed out in the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s report on the 2022–23 Main Estimates, Indigenous-related spending has increased significantly over the past six years.
In Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022–23, the Department of Indigenous Services is seeking $2.2 billion in additional funding, while the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs is seeking $1.4 billion. Together, the two departments account for roughly 38% of the total (or 41% of the voted) funding in Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022–23).
Department of Indigenous Services (ISC)
The $2.2 billion increase in funding for ISC represents growth of 5.6% over Main Estimates.
This funding relates to two items:
- $2.1 billion for administration, legal, mental health and cultural supports and other implementation costs of compensation agreements relating to the First Nations Child and Family Services and Jordan’s Principle programs, as well as immediate initial reforms to the programs, including major capital projects and activities supporting child and family well-being; and
- $99.3 million to address the ongoing legacy of Indian residential schools.
In January, Agreements-in-Principle were announced relating to:
- compensation for First Nations children on reserves and in Yukon who were removed from their homes, and those impacted by the government's narrow definition of Jordan's Principle, including for their parents and caregivers;
- long-term reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services program and a renewed approach to Jordan's Principle, in order to eliminate discrimination and to reform ISC processes, procedures and practices to prevent the discrimination from recurring.
These Agreements-in-Principle are not final. Canada and the respective parties are now working to reach final and binding settlement agreements on both compensation and long-term reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services program and a renewed approach to Jordan's Principle.
Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs (CIRNAC)
The $1.4 billion increase in funding for CIRNAC represents growth of 24.1% over Main Estimates.
The funding relates primarily to funding to claim settlements:
- $900.0 million for Specific Claims Settlement Fund to provide compensation to First Nations in accordance with negotiated agreements or which has been awarded by the Specific Claims Tribunal:
- $146.0 million for partial settlement of Gottfriedson (Indian Residential Day Scholars) litigation; and
- $130.0 million related to the Federal Indian Day Schools Settlement Agreement (McLean).
- $75.0 million announced in Budget 2022 is also included to support affordable housing and related infrastructure in the North.
When combined with the funding in Main Estimates, the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs plans on spending approximately $3.3 billion on Specific Claims.
Spending related to the government’s response to COVID-19 included in Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022-23.
- The health, safety and well-being of all Canadians are of the utmost importance to the Government.
- $1.4 billion of the voted requirements are to purchase additional COVID-19 treatments on behalf of provinces and territories.
- These estimates also include funding that continues investments for affected Canadian industries, school ventilation improvements, and additional research into the effect of COVID-19 on the Canadian population.
- The government continues to provide the latest financial information on the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan spending through GC InfoBase and the Open Government web portal.
The Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022-23 include $1.8 billion to support the Government’s response to the pandemic. This builds on the $9.7 billion in planned spending for COVID-19 measures (including the Economic Response Plan) that was identified in the Main Estimates, 2022–23.
COVID-19 related expenditures in Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022-23 include:
- $1.4 billion for the Public Health Agency of Canada to procure additional COVID-19 treatments to meet the needs of provincial and territorial health systems;
- $150.0 million for Telefilm Canada to extend the Short-Term Compensation Fund for Canadian Audiovisual Productions until March 31, 2023;
- $102.5 million for the Sero-Surveillance Consortium for studies to determine the extent of COVID-19 infections and immune responses in the Canadian population (Public Health Agency of Canada); and
- $100.0 million for the Department of Finance for school ventilation improvement, proposed statutory spending pursuant to the proposed Economic and Fiscal Update Implementation Act, 2021 (Bill C-8).
In 2021–22, amounts related to the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan were identified in the Estimates, and the authorities and expenditures were reported on in GC Infobase. Budget 2022 pivots the government’s focus away from broad-based emergency COVID-19 expenditures. For 2022–23, the reporting of COVID-19 authorities through GC Infobase will be limited to those items contained in the Economic Response Plan. However, it is expected that there will continue to be a small number of new initiatives with a COVID-19 focus included in the Estimates over the course of 2022-23.
Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022–23 includes funding for Canada’s response to the invasion of Ukraine.
- Canada stands shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine and its people.
- The government has provided humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine and is taking measures to support displaced Ukrainians as they arrive in Canada.
- Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022–23 includes approximately $853 million for Canada’s response to the invasion:
- $500 million in military aid, including non-lethal and lethal equipment, weapons and associated training, maintenance, and management; and
- $352.7 million for special immigration measures for Ukrainian refugees, including chartered flights, temporary hotel accommodations, application processing, settlement, and income support.
Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022–23 includes approximately $853 million for Canada’s response to the invasion of Ukraine:
- $500 million in military aid, including non-lethal and lethal equipment, weapons and associated training, maintenance and management to be provided by the Department of National Defence; and
- $352.7 million for the Department of Citizenship and Immigration for initial costs of the special immigration measures for Ukrainian refugees, including chartered flights, temporary hotel accommodations, application processing, settlement and transitional financial support programs.
Military aid has included the following recently announced items:
- M777 lightweight 155-mm towed howitzers and associated ammunition. While this equipment comes from the inventory of the Canadian Armed Forces, the capability will be replenished. Canadian Armed Forces are training Ukrainian forces on the use of the M777;
- additional Carl Gustaf anti-armour ammunition for weapons provided earlier;
- finalized contracts for eight commercial pattern armoured vehicles which will be sent to Ukraine as soon as possible; and
- a service contract for the maintenance and repair of specialized drone cameras that Canada has already supplied to Ukraine.
After meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine on May 8, Prime Minister Trudeau announced future military assistance of drone cameras, satellite imagery, small arms, ammunition, and other support, including funding for demining operations.
Special Immigration Measures
The government has created a special pathway designed to facilitate the immigration process by eliminating many of the usual visa requirements.
The Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET) helps Ukrainians and their family members come to Canada as quickly as possible and provides them with the opportunity to work and study while in Canada. Ukrainians may apply for a three-year open work permit at the same time, and most of the usual requirements associated with a visitor visa or work permit will be waived.
Ukrainians who are already in Canada have the option to extend their visitor status, work permit or study permit so that they can continue to live and work or study in Canada temporarily.
Other measures include:
- the creation of a dedicated hotline for immigration enquiries;
- the waiving of fees for travel and immigration documents;
- settlement program services; and
- charter flights to Canada for Ukrainians.
Disaster Financial Assistance
$823.6 million in funding for the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements contribution program in Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022–23.
- The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canadians who have been affected by natural disasters.
- The Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements provide provincial and territorial governments with federal support to help cover response and recovery costs.
- The $823.6 million in funding in Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022–23 will be used to reimburse costs for disaster events that occurred across the country over the last decade.
- The government reimburses provinces and territories under the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements once required documentation is submitted and is reviewed by federal auditors.
In the event of a large-scale natural disaster, the Government of Canada provides financial assistance to provincial and territorial governments through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA), administered by Public Safety Canada. When response and recovery costs exceed what individual provinces or territories could reasonably be expected to bear on their own, the DFAA provide the Government of Canada with a fair and equitable means of assisting provincial and territorial governments.
Through the DFAA, assistance is paid to the province or territory; not directly to affected individuals, small businesses or communities. A request for reimbursement under the DFAA is processed immediately following receipt of the required documentation of provincial and territorial expenditures and a review by federal auditors.
Since the inception of the program in 1970, the Government of Canada has contributed more than $6 billion in post-disaster assistance to help provinces and territories with the costs of response and of returning infrastructure and personal property to pre-disaster condition.
Federal funding is based on a cost-sharing formula, with a wide range of eligible expenses, including emergency services, security measures, repairs to public buildings and infrastructure, clean-up, as well as restoration or repairs to individual principal residences, small businesses and farms.
The $823.6 million in funding in Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022–23 will be used to reimburse costs for disaster events which occurred over the last decade, including: the wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alberta (2016) and in Saskatchewan and British Columbia (2017); the Ice Storm in New Brunswick (2017); spring floods in Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec (2017); and spring floods and heavy rainstorms in Manitoba (2020).
On March 22, 2022, the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, announced an advisory panel that will review and make recommendations to update the DFAA program. The increase in the frequency and cost of natural disasters in recent years has led to the growing cost of the program. The DFAA program review is being launched to ensure that an updated, sustainable system continues to be available to provinces and territories for disaster recovery.
Implementation of new measures announced in Budget 2022 and previous federal budgets.
- Budget 2022 presented the Government of Canada’s plan for investments in economic growth, innovation, a clean economy, and measures to support the response to the war in Ukraine.
- The Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022-23 include approximately 10%, or $1.0 billion, of eligible spending announced in Budget 2022.
- Additional authorities to implement programs announced in Budget 2022 will be sought in future Estimates over the course of 2022-23.
- A portion of proposed funding in Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022–23 is for expenditures announced in Budget 2021, primarily to assist provincial and territorial governments with response and recovery costs related to natural disasters.
- Through the Estimates family of documents, the Government of Canada provides insight into how it proposes to allocate taxpayers’ money to help ensure government spending is accountable to Parliamentarians and Canadians.
The Budget forecast covers the complete scope of the Government’s fiscal framework, including revenues, program and tax expenditures, statutory expenditures, and provision for future obligations. The Estimates have a narrower scope than the Budget forecast. Estimates focus on the portion of the government’s cash needs that require annual parliamentary appropriations.
Budget 2022 outlines new spending that focuses on housing, economic growth, innovation, a clean economy as well as measures to support the response to the war in Ukraine. Not all of these measures will appear in Estimates; some measures will be implemented through the tax system or through other legislation. There may also be changes in timing of planned expenditures, as implementation plans continue to develop and evolve.
Funding announced in a federal budget is identified in Supplementary Estimates to aid in review of the Estimates and associated appropriation bills.
The Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022-23 include approximately 10%, or $1.0 billion, of eligible voted spending announced in Budget 2022:
- $500 million for the Department of National Defence to provide military aid to Ukraine;
- $322.5 million for the Department of Transport to extend and expand the Incentive for Zero-Emission Vehicles Program;
- $105.0 million for the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to support special immigration measures for Ukrainians;
- $75 million to the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs for northern housing and infrastructure; and
- $0.9 million for the Department of Employment and Social Development to compensate for rental price increases.
For information purposes, the Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022-23 includes a reconciliation between the 2022-23 Estimates with the Budget 2022 spending projections.
Additional voted authorities to implement programs announced in Budget 2022 will be sought in future Estimates over the course of 2022-23.
Approximately $965 million of the voted funding in Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022–23 is for expenditures announced in Budget 2021:
- $823.6 million for the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements contribution program;
- $60.7 million for Shared Services Canada to modernize information technology networks;
- $49.5 million for the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food in support of the Canadian wine industry;
- $25.5 million for the Parks Canada Agency to manage its capital assets;
- $4.4 million to revive the Law Commission of Canada; and
- $1.0 million for the Parks Canada Agency for the Learn-to Camp program.
Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022–23 funding: Canadian Air Transport Security Authority
$329.7 million in funding for Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) for critical operating requirements.
- The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority’s priority is to protect the public through effective and efficient security screening, and the corporation is committed to meeting that mandate.
- CATSA is currently facing increased demand for air travel and is working with screening contractors to increase staffing levels while providing the highest levels of security screening.
- The $329.7 million in funding in Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022–23 will support the delivery of security screening at the 89 airports where CATSA operates.
Air travellers have experienced delays in the security screening process at Canadian airports.
CATSA is currently experiencing increased demand for air travel. While the corporation’s third-party security contractors – who are responsible for providing the screening officer workforce – have been working to increase staffing levels, they are not immune to the recruitment challenges experienced by the broader commercial aviation industry and many other industries across Canada at this time. CATSA has been actively supporting them as additional measures are taken to recruit, train and certify new, qualified screening staff.
CATSA’s priority is to protect the public through effective and efficient security screening and the corporation is committed to meeting that mandate.
CATSA is continuing to work with screening contractors to take all steps possible to increase staffing levels while providing the highest levels of security screening. Current wait times are available on CATSA’s website. As staffing levels ramp back up, CATSA strongly advises that passengers arrive at the airport well in advance of their flights – two hours for domestic and three hours for US and international destinations.
The $329.7 million in funding in Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022–23 will support the delivery of security screening at the 89 airports where CATSA operates.
Over the last 4 years, CATSA has received average annual authorities of $885 million. The funding in the Supplementary Estimates (A), 2022-23 will bring CATSA’s authorities for 2022-23 to $897 million, inline with its 4-year average.
Treasury Board Role in Granting Spending Authorities
Treasury Board’s approval of federal expenditures.
- Canadians and the parliamentarians who represent them have the right to know how public funds are being spent and to hold the government to account.
- The Estimates support Parliament’s review of proposed new spending of the Government of Canada and the ensuing appropriation bills, which grant spending authorities upon Royal Assent.
- Supplementary Estimates present information on incremental spending requirements, which were either not sufficiently developed in time for inclusion in the Main Estimates or have subsequently been refined to account for recent developments.
- The Treasury Board approves program parameters set out in departmental submissions and any voted amounts to be included in the Estimates and related appropriation bills.
The Treasury Board approves the program parameters set out in departmental submissions, including any voted amounts to be included in the Estimates and the appropriation bill.
The Secretariat’s due diligence includes validating the legal and policy authorities supporting the program, reviewing the implementation approach, and verifying compliance with Treasury Board policies.
While departments provide as much information as possible at the time of Treasury Board approval, there are some details – such as the regional distribution and take-up rate for contribution programs – that may only be roughly estimated at that point. In addition, while Treasury Board submissions can seek contracting authorities, the ultimate recipients of competitive contracts are not known at the Treasury Board submission stage. More complete information becomes available over the course of program implementation.
Individual ministers and their officials are responsible for, and best placed to answer to parliamentary committees on:
- program plans, expenditures, implementation, and performance;
- ensuring that their organizations follow Treasury Board policies; and
- departmental oversight, internal control, performance measurement and reporting.
“Statutory” expenditures are authorized by Parliament through legislation other than an appropriation act, such as a Budget Implementation Act, or a program’s or department’s enabling legislation.
The Treasury Board does not typically approve statutory spending as the legislation is introduced and under the purview of other Ministers. To support such expenditures, the enabling legislation includes specific language to authorize payments to be made from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the stated purpose.
The legislation may also refer to other program parameters, or terms and conditions, that require approval of the Treasury Board. Statutory spending may also be subject to Treasury Board policies, such as contracting and transfer payments.
Statutory expenditures are reported in the Public Accounts and in some cases subject to other reporting, for example the annual Report on Federal Tax Expenditures.
Return to Occupancy and Transition to Hybrid
As public health guidance evolves, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat is planning for gradual increases in occupancy of federal workplaces and a phased transition to flexible, post-pandemic workplace models.
- Public servants can be confident that every measure continues to be taken to ensure their health and safety in the workplace.
- On May 12, 2022, Health Canada’s Public Service Occupational Health Program (PSOHP) updated its occupational health guidance to advise that departments and agencies could return to full building occupancy with appropriate use of workplace preventative practices.
- This does not mean that the Government is reverting to pre pandemic ways of working. Rather, it signals that departments and agencies can now test flexible, hybrid workforce models at scale as part of broader planning for how and where public servants will work in the future.
- There is no-one-size-fits-all approach. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat is supporting Deputy Heads in their transition to hybrid work models by providing guidance and best practices to promote a coherent approach while respecting the different operational realities of federal organizations.
- Canada’s federal public service is committed to creating inclusive, flexible, healthy, and safe workplaces where a hybrid workforce can deliver results for Canadians.
The Prime Minister in his December 2021 mandate letter to the President of the Treasury Board requested that she, “Work with the Clerk of the Privy Council, and in consultation with public sector unions, to strengthen and modernize the Public Service for the twenty-first century by: Bringing forward a coherent and coordinated plan for the future of work within the Public Service, including developing flexible and equitable working arrangements.”
The COVID-19 crisis resulted in an abrupt shift to remote working arrangements for public servants in all jurisdictions as Canadians made every effort to stay home and practice physical distancing. The public service responded quickly to implement unprecedented programs to support Canadians and to support our employees, but also to ensure ongoing operations and the continued delivery of key programs and services to Canadians.
The following principles continue to inform decision making and planning in the current context:
- the health, safety, and wellness of public servants and Canadians are paramount;
- public health advice to contain the spread of COVID-19 will be adhered to; and
- programs and services that Canadians rely on will be maintained.
On November 15, 2021 the full implementation of the Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration Including the Royal Canadian Mounted Policeand updated Health Canada’s Public Service Occupational Health Program guidance allowed departments and agencies to begin gradually increasing occupancy and planning for re-entry into their workplaces.
On December 16, 2021 in response to the COVID-19 Omicron variant, departments and agencies were asked to pause any planned increases to building occupancy, review current occupancy levels and consider increasing remote work, as required.
On February 28, 2022, Health Canada’s Public Service Occupational Health Program (PSOHP) updated the occupational health guidance for the federal public service recognizing the evolving public health measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This update allowed departments and agencies to resume their planning to gradually increase building occupancy, while continuing to respect the appropriate use of workplace preventive practices.
On May 12, 2022, Health Canada’s PSOHP further updated its occupational health guidance to advise that departments and agencies could return to full building occupancy with appropriate use of workplace preventive practices. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat of Canada continues to refine and communicate a post-pandemic planning framework, including enterprise planning principles and planning phases for the short-, medium- and long-term horizons, to support deputy heads. This provides enterprise coherence while allowing deputy heads to adapt plans to their unique context and mandate. As updated occupational health guidance is issued departments and agencies continue their efforts and analysis to determine where and how federal public servants can work based on their operational contexts and the nature of their work.
The immediate and short-term planning efforts will focus on gradually increasing occupancy of federal workplaces, establishing a foundation for hybrid work models and consolidating and sharing lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. Medium and Long-term planning will focus on framing broader transformation towards a future-ready public service.
OCHRO continues to engage with provincial, territorial and municipal counterparts (i.e. Ottawa and Gatineau) as well as networks of international public service officials, particularly through the OECD, on post-pandemic planning issues. In addition, officials across government are assessing the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of what worked well and what could be improved upon as well as researching how best to maintain and maximize flexible work arrangements for employees while maintaining services to Canadians. Engagement with stakeholders, including bargaining agents, partners and communities will continue throughout the current and future phases.
Other Leave With Pay (699)
How has ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ been used in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
- The guidance on ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ has been adjusted in response to the changing circumstances of the pandemic.
- Effective November 15, of last year, ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ is only available under exceptional circumstances that are not already provided for in existing provisions and only for temporary use.
- The government continues to monitor ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ usage to ensure sound stewardship, as well as the health and safety of employees, and will remain flexible as circumstances evolve.
‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ has been made available to federal public service employees who have been unable to work their full hours as a result of the pandemic. Its use dates back to the 1962 Civil Service Regulations, and has always been intended for situations not already covered by other types of leave and where employees are unable to report to work for reasons beyond their control.
A special working group was formed with bargaining agents to consult on clarifications to ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’. Guidance came into effect on November 9, 2020, that clarified its use while respecting collective agreements. Cases were reviewed regularly by managers, and departments were instructed to carefully consider each case to mitigate negative impacts upon women, parents and members of other vulnerable segments of our workforce.
The guidance that came into effect on November 15, 2021 strikes an important balance that keeps in mind our collective responsibilities to Canadians for sound stewardship and the need to adjust to changing and long-term circumstances (such as Canada’s progress in vaccinating its population and in implementing effective public health measures, including widely available COVID-19 vaccines and rapid tests), including the Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The Employer returned to the standard application of the provisions of the collective agreements and terms and conditions of employment. With this guidance, departments must now manage requests for this leave through the departmental processes that were available pre-pandemic. That is, if an employee requests an accommodation, one which triggers the legal duty to accommodate, the Employer must attempt to find an acceptable accommodation up to the point of undue hardship.
Employees may still be eligible for ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ if:
- They require time off to get tested
- Their work requires them to be onsite, and
- remote work is not possible, and
- They have been instructed to isolate or quarantine by a medical practitioner or public health authority
On December 20, 2021, in response to a spike in the Omicron variant and widespread school closures, a temporary provision was granted permitting the use of ‘Other Leave with Pay’ for caregiving purposes. With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in almost all jurisdictions across Canada, this temporary provision ended on March 1, 2022.
‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ will not be available if employees have travelled for personal reasons and are required to isolate or quarantine.
Our data shows that public servants primarily accessed this leave in the early weeks of the pandemic, based on individual need and organizational requirements. There has since been a significant and steady decline in usage.
On March 7, 2022 the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board issued a decision on two Public Service Alliance of Canada policy grievances regarding the employer’s guidance on the “699 leave” for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are in the process of analyzing it.
Vaccines – Mandate and HR Guidance
On October 6, 2021, the Government of Canada announced the details of its plans to require vaccination across the federal public service as well as next steps for the federally regulated air, rail and marine transportation sectors.
- As the country’s largest employer, the Government of Canada has led by example to protect the health and safety of the federal workforce.
- Throughout this pandemic, vaccination has remained one of the most effective means to protect broader public health in the face of COVID-19, along with preventive public health measures such as distancing, masking and testing.
- The vaccine mandate has helped to keep federal workplaces and the communities in which public servants work safer.
- The Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration, including the RCMP requires the review of the need for the policy at a minimum of every six months. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat is reviewing all elements of the policy and results will be communicated in due course. Any decision made will be based on science and the advice of public health officials.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an unprecedented impact on the health of Canadians. Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada advise that COVID-19 vaccines are a critical tool that reduce the risks of COVID-19. To protect the health and safety of public service employees, the Government of Canada announced the details of the “Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration (CPA) including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police” (the Policy).
The Policy came into effect October 6, 2021 and was accompanied by the Framework on mandatory COVID-19 testing for implementation of the Policy, as well as the Framework for implementation of the Policy. A Managers’ Toolkit for the Implementation of the Policy was also created and has been updated five times with more subjects and questions and answers.
Bargaining agents and heads of human resources, as well as the labour relations and occupational health and safety communities, have been engaged throughout the development and implementation of the Policy, facilitating implementation across the CPA.
Employees have an obligation to provide a true attestation, which becomes a record with legal standing. Making a false statement would constitute a breach of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. All attestation information provided by employees is subject to verification and audit. Managers have the right to request proof of vaccination at any time to confirm an employee’s attestation, and it must be in a format that is recognized federally, provincially, or territorially (to be defined by the employer). Organizations are responsible for conducting audits on attestations and consent forms.
Requests for accommodation are assessed on a case-by-case basis, i.e. considering facts and circumstances that may be unique to the individual or the workplace, and always in accordance with the associated Government of Canada policy instruments.
Employers are obligated to ensure that they do not discriminate against individuals based on several prohibited grounds. This is not new: at the federal level, the Canadian Human Rights Act has been in place since 1977, and the public service has long had processes in place for considering requests for accommodation.
Managers are supported by experienced human resources professionals who receive policy guidance from the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, and are supported by legal and privacy advisors. Internal procedures for handling these requests must fully align to the Privacy Act and associated Government of Canada policy instruments. All data on employees’ requests for accommodation and their vaccination status are collected in accordance with the Privacy Act, the Policy on Privacy Protection and its related instruments.
Reported attestations in the Core Public Administration including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as of May 2, 2022
Total Reported Attestations: 281,786
Fully Vaccinated: 98.5%
Partially Vaccinated: 0.3%
Accommodation Requests: 0.9%
Mental Health in the Public Service
Status of mental health of public servants and related supports.
- A number of actions have been taken to support public servants, including making free virtual mental health resources available through the Wellness Together Canada portal and helping Government of Canada employees easily access their departmental Employee Assistance Program.
- With tools like the Public Service Employee Survey, senior officials are also improving the data we collect on employee mental health to better understand where supports are needed.
- And we are exploring other options for improving mental health supports for public servants, with a particular emphasis on the needs of equity-seeking groups who face distinct mental health challenges that can arise from structural racism and inequalities in access to mental health care.
- My mandate letter called for the establishment of a mental health fund for Black public servants. Budget 2022 proposes to provide $3.7 million to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to start Black-led engagement and design of a Mental Health Fund for Black federal public servants.
A psychologically healthy and safe workplace is the foundation of a safe, effective, productive and engaged workforce, built on progress organizations have made on implementing the Federal Public Service Workplace Mental Health Strategy and aligning with the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.
OCHRO supports organizations by:
- providing direct support and guidance on implementing action plans to address mental health and align with the Standard
- building capacity and connection through networks and communities of practice
- strengthening data and business intelligence
- providing access to credible leading practices, resources, and tools
- raising awareness of mental health problems and illnesses and helping to reduce associated stigma
In 2016 the Government of Canada adopted the Federal Public Service Workplace Mental Health Strategy, and we continue to work closely with bargaining agents to implement this strategy and to support a safe and healthy work environment across all federal workplaces.
The Government currently has the following supports in place for all public servants:
- The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a free, confidential short-term counselling service available 24/7 to employees and their immediate family members. Counselling is for personal or work-related problems, as well as crisis counselling. All departments must offer an EAP – Health Canada is the service provider of most departments (87) but not all the federal public service.
- The Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) currently provides coverage for plan members (which include eligible current employees and pensioners) and their dependants for up to $2,000 per calendar year in mental health services provided by psychologists, social workers, psychotherapists, or counsellors. Further information on current Plan coverage and eligibility criteria can be found on the National Joint Council and SunLife websites.
- The Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace has a web page with links to many helpful resources on a wide range of mental health-related topics for public servants, including mental health in the workplace, self-care strategies, coping with stress and financial well-being.
Many departments and agencies offer informal conflict management services (ICMS) to help individuals prevent, manage, and resolve workplace issues. Many also have their own internal mental health resource web pages and may offer further services and resources specific to their own organizations.
Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) & APEX Executive Work and Health Survey (EWHS) Results
- Overall, the 2020 Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) reported improvements in mental health:
- 68% of employees indicated their workplace was psychologically healthy (up from 61% in 2019); and,
- 81% of employees indicated their department or agency was doing a good job raising awareness of mental health (up from 73% in 2019).
- Responses showed increases in work-related stress (17% in 2019 to 18% in 2020) and being emotionally drained after a workday (29% in 2019 to 31% in 2020).
- For management, however, these increases were more significant. At the EX-level, for example, work-related stress went from 21% in 2019 to 30% in 2020 and being emotionally drained after a workday went from 35% in 2019 to 47% in 2020.
- The more recent APEX EWHS indicated two main areas of concern for Executives:
- burnout-exhaustion (75% in 2021 vs. 54% in 2017)
- diagnosis of mental health disorders (17% in 2021 vs. 16% in 2019 and 11% in 2012)
The President of the Treasury Board has a mandate commitment to establish a mental health fund for Black public servants. It arose from the Thompson class action suit (Nicholas Marcus Thompson et al V. Her Majesty the Queen), where on July 9, 2021, the Plaintiffs filed a motion seeking an Order for the establishment of a fund to provide mental health services and counselling for Black public servants who have suffered mental health and physical symptoms associated with experiences of racial trauma and systemic discrimination within the Public Service of Canada.
The government’s negotiation of new collective agreements for public servants.
- The Government of Canada has concluded collective agreements covering nearly 99% of public servants for the 2018 round of bargaining.
- Negotiations with a number of bargaining agents are underway for the 2021-22 round of bargaining and we anticipate starting negotiations with other bargaining agents in the coming months.
- We remain committed to reaching agreements with all bargaining agents that are fair to employees, mindful of today’s economic and fiscal context, and reasonable for Canadians.
If asked about impasse in PSAC negotiations
- We are disappointed that PSAC has walked away from the bargaining table at this stage of negotiations and that they formally confirmed this decision to the Employer through the media.
- PSAC is asking for average annual increases, including pay and other provisions, of up to 14% across their bargaining groups
- We are committed to negotiating in good faith and to reaching agreements that are fair to employees and reasonable for Canadians and will continue to take constructive steps to advance negotiations.
To date, the government has reached 54 agreements for the 2018 round with groups covering close to 270,000 employees or approximately 99% of public servants in the core public administration (CPA) and separate agencies.
The majority of the agreements include pattern economic increases over either three- or four-years, new provisions for caregiving leave, extended parental leave, and a memorandum of understanding on the implementation of collective agreements. Most agreements also include up to ten days of paid leave for domestic violence.
Negotiations to conclude the 2018 round of collective bargaining are ongoing between TBS and two CPA bargaining units: the Police Operations (PO) group represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Ships’ Officers (SO) group represented by the Canadian Merchant Service Guild (CMSG). The SO group has declared an impasse in negotiations and, on May 3, 2022, filed a request for the establishment of an arbitration board with the FPSLREB. Negotiations are also ongoing between the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and two separate agencies: the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) and the Statistics Survey Operations (SSO). The negotiations at SSO have reached an impasse and the establishment of an arbitration board was requested in March 2022. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the PSAC concluded a tentative agreement in December 2021 which was ratified by members of the bargaining unit in mid-April. The tentative agreement is for a three-year duration (2018-21). The Office of the Auditor General also reached and ratified a five-year tentative agreement with the PSAC on April 1, 2022, and that agreement was ratified by the members of the bargaining ended the strike previously declared by the PSAC.
In the context of the 2021-22 round of collective bargaining, six bargaining agents have filed notice to bargain on behalf of 11 bargaining units. This includes the PSAC (for their five bargaining units), CAPE (for their two bargaining units), PIPSC (for one of their six bargaining units), UNIFOR (for one of their two bargaining units), PAFSO (for the Foreign Services group) and IBEW (for the Electronics group). On May 19, 2022, PSAC announced publicly that it is declaring impasse for its five bargaining units.
To date, twelve bargaining units from eight separate agencies have received notice to bargain for the 2021-2022 round of collective bargaining. These include groups represented by three different bargaining agents. PSAC filed notice to bargain with Parks Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Canada Revenue Agency, the National Capital Commission and the Communications Security Establishment. PIPSC filed notice to bargain with OSFI. Finally, the Research Council Employees’ Association filed notice to bargain with the National Research Council Canada. The remainder of the thirty bargaining units in separate agencies are expected to serve notice to bargain throughout 2022.
The Government of Canada’s commitment to ensure men and women receive equal pay for work of equal value.
- The Government of Canada is committed to creating an inclusive public service where women receive equal pay for work of equal value.
- With the coming into force of the Pay Equity Act, TBS will be working with bargaining agents to identify and systematically close any pay gaps that exist by increasing compensation for employees in predominantly female jobs not receiving equal pay for work of equal value.
- The Pay Equity Act has a clear process for all federally regulated employers to follow. Cost estimates will be part of future negotiations with bargaining agents and will be released publicly at the end of negotiations.
With the coming into force of the Pay Equity Act on August 31, 2021, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) will now work with bargaining agents and employee representatives to develop pay equity plans for employees in the core public administration and for members of the RCMP. The pay equity plans will identify gaps between the compensation of jobs held mostly by women and those held mostly by men that involve work of equal value.
Once these plans are in place, TBS will systematically close pay gaps by increasing the compensation of employees in predominantly female jobs not receiving equal pay for work of equal value.
The Pay Equity Act has a clear process for all employers to follow, including timelines to implement the Act. The Act requires employers to finalize pay equity plans within three years after the coming into force of the Act and to close pay gaps once the final pay equity plans are posted. Pay equity plans will then be updated every five years to close any new pay gaps that may have arisen.
Before the new legislation came into force, the system for public service pay equity complaints was under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
The Government is managing its response to existing pay equity complaints filed under the Canadian Human Rights Act, to the extent possible, in a way that is aligned with its agenda for pay equity reform. This includes taking measures to expedite pay equity litigation, reach negotiated settlements whenever warranted, and use informal dispute resolution.
The Treasury Board Secretariat and the Association of Canadian Financial Officers (ACFO) have agreed to undertake a study to help resolve a 2016 pay equity complaint concerning employees in the Financial Management group. The joint study is presently underway.
Executive Salary Increases and Performance Pay
The government of Canada approved retroactive base pay increases for executives and certain other senior levels on April 14, 2022.
- In recognition of the specific nature and scope of their work, executives receive a base salary and may receive additional compensation in the form of performance pay (at-risk pay and bonus), based upon successful achievement of performance expectations during the performance cycle.
- The base salary rates of senior leaders had not been revised since April 1, 2017.
- The retroactive increases of 2.8% in 2018-2019, 2.2% in 2019-2020, 1.5% in 2020-2021, and 1.5% in 2021-2022 to the base salaries of senior leaders reflect those recently negotiated through collective bargaining.
- These increases will support morale and engagement of current senior leaders and assist in the recruitment and retention of talented, diverse, and inclusive senior leaders who will help shape a prosperous future for all Canadians.
If pressed on Performance Pay and linkages to objectives in Departmental Plans:
- Departmental plans set out broad, high-level targets for departments while performance targets for individual employees are set using specific criteria, which include management excellence and corporate objectives. To draw a straight line between the results of a department and an individual ignores many of the important contributions employees are expected to make in the day-to-day operations of their departments.
The government approved retroactive base pay increases for executives and certain other senior levels on April 14, 2022. Executives base pay had not been revised since April 1, 2017. According to various surveys of senior leaders, this delay in providing increases was affecting the morale and engagement of senior leaders who had worked hard to maintain a high quality of service to Canadians especially during the pandemic. The delay in base pay increases had also led to significant compression and/or inversion whereby the maximum of the salary range for the lowest executive level (EX-01) is only marginally higher, and in some cases lower, than the salary maximum of the occupational groups of the employees they supervise, disrupting the incentives to performance and promotion built into the salary structure.
The retroactive salary increases are in line with increases in collective agreements of other occupational groups. The implementation of the increases will proceed in a phased approach and the timeline outlined below could vary for organizations not served by the Public Service Pay Centre.
- The first phase will focus on the completion of the 2021-22 performance pay cycle by the end December 2022.
- The second phase will focus on the implementation of new pay rates. This will begin in fall 2022 and will be completed by the current fiscal year.
- The final phase will focus on processing retroactive payments for executives and will begin in 2023 following the completion of the performance pay cycle. Priority will be given to active executives, followed by retired executives and then employees who acted in executive positions during the retroactive periods. This phase is expected to be completed by the end of 2023-24.
Compensation for executives is different from that of other employees, due to the nature and scope of their work. In addition to base salary, executives may earn performance pay that is composed of at risk pay and, for a few, bonus that reflects the level of achievement of their objectives and the demonstration of the Key Leadership Competencies. Deputy Heads are responsible for managing performance pay in their organizations.
The recently approved salary increases are not changing the rules and policy for performance pay. However, performance is calculated as a percentage of base salary. As such, performance pay will also increase as salary increases, even if there is no change to performance pay policy per se.
Executive performance pay is part of existing departmental reference levels and is already accounted for in the government’s annual appropriation process. Performance pay is an important component of executives’ total compensation package but must be re-earned each year. The at-risk nature of performance pay helps to hold executives accountable for delivery of results and excellence in leadership. Executives who do not meet performance expectations or cannot be assessed are not eligible for performance pay.
Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the public service
In early 2021, the Government of Canada announced its priorities to promote diversity and inclusion in the public service. Further commitments were highlighted in the December 2021 Mandate Letter to the President of the Treasury Board.
- The Government has launched a suite of initiatives to support departments in improving diversity and inclusion, including development and mentorship programs, executive talent management and recruitment, andamendments to the Public Service Employment Act.
- In support of the Clerk’s Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion, and my Mandate Letter, Budget 2022 proposes $3.7 million over four years, starting in 2022-23, for Black-led engagement, design, and implementation of a Mental Health Fund for Black federal public servants.
- The Office of Public Service Accessibility is also implementing its strategy, Nothing Without Us, which includes a commitment to hire 5,000 new public servants with disabilities by 2025.
In the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the Government announced funding for the Centre on Diversity and Inclusion (CDI). CDI’s resources support the evolving diversity and inclusion agenda in the public service.
In January 2021, the Clerk of the Privy Council launched a Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service to all Deputy Ministers, Heads of Separate Agencies, and Heads of Federal Agencies – calling on them to take deliberate actions to address systemic racism and make the public service more diverse and inclusive. At the same time, the former President of the Treasury Board announced five public service priorities on diversity and inclusion:
- disaggregating and publishing data for a more accurate picture of representation gaps
- ensuring the right benchmarks
- increasing the diversity of the senior leaders of the public service
- addressing systemic barriers
- engagement, awareness and education
We made important progress in the past year with the release of unprecedented levels of disaggregated enterprise data that provide first-ever views into the composition of 21 employment equity subgroups, including Black, Métis and Inuit employees, as well as employees with a hearing impairment or mobility challenges. This kind of data responds to requests by stakeholders to enable more granular analysis and is a foundation for better evidence-based decision-making. We’ve been sharing this data publicly on Canada.ca.
To help users easily access and analyze the numbers, we’ve launched an online interactive data visualization tool. This business intelligence tool allows users to manipulate fields and parameters easily while accessing and visualizing human resources demographic and employment equity data on the core public administration.
After 18 months of operation, we put in place several enterprise-wide initiatives, co-developed with equity-seeking employee networks, to address specific barriers. Examples include the Mentorship Plus program, which includes a sponsorship component; the Mosaic Leadership Development program, to address issues of under representation in Executive positions; and the Federal Speakers Forum, which amplifies the voices and lived experiences of diverse employees.
In Budget 2021, the Office of Public Service Accessibility was renewed for three years to help the federal public service meet the requirements of the Accessible Canada Act.
In 2019, the government established an Anti-Racism Secretariat at Canadian Heritage, which has developed an Anti-Racism Strategy for all of Canada. Multiple commitments in the strategy that apply to the public service are geared to ensure that public service leads the charge as a model employer in promoting inclusion.
Official Languages in the Public Service and Modernization of the Official Languages Act
The government is committed to modernizing the Official Languages Act. While Canadian Heritage is the lead department, the Treasury Board Secretariat has key responsibilities under the Act with respect to bilingualism in the public service, and communications and provision of services to the public.
- The Government is committed to promoting official languages and ensuring compliance with the Official Languages Act throughout the public service and in services to Canadians.
- TBS is responsible for communications with and services to the public, language of work, and the equitable participation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians in the public service.
- The modernization of the Act is an opportunity to strengthen TBS monitoring of federal institutions’ compliance with their linguistic obligations. This will further enhance our ability to serve Canadians in the official language of their choice.
The Official Languages Act (Act) is a quasi-constitutional act that aims to:
- Ensure respect for English and French, their equality of status, and equal rights and privileges as to their use in federal institutions;
- Support the development of English and French linguistic minority communities;
- Advance the equality of status and use of English and French.
The last major revision of the Act took place in 1988. Canada's social, demographic and technological realities have changed considerably since then, and the Act must be adapted to Canada's current situation.
Treasury Board's current role in official languages
Under the Official Languages Act, the Treasury Board is responsible for the general direction and coordination of the policies and programs of the Government of Canada relating to the implementation of those parts of the Official Languages Act that are related to:
- Communications with and Services to the Public (Part IV)
- Language of Work in Federal Institutions (Part V);
- Participation of Anglophones and Francophones in the federal public service (Part VI).
The Treasury Board Secretariat is responsible for the implementation of these powers. It establishes and interprets official languages policies, directives and regulations and ensures that federal institutions comply with them.
Following an analysis of stakeholder proposals and the development of options, the Government released a document in February 2021 on its intentions entitled English and French: Towards Substantive Equality of Official Languages in Canada. This document sets out a series of proposed legislative, regulatory and administrative changes to achieve a new linguistic balance. These administrative measures would include, among other things, inclusive second language training so that diverse learner needs are met as well as the revision of minimum second language requirements for bilingual supervisors.
On June 15, 2021, Bill C-32, which reflected the legislative proposals set out in the document, was introduced in the House of Commons. With the dissolution of Parliament in August 2021, Bill C-32 died on the Order Paper.
- On March 1, 2022, the government introduced a new bill, C-13. Bill C-13 builds on and enhances the proposals in C-32. The proposals and changes that directly affect Treasury Board and TBS are to:
- Strengthen existing Treasury Board authorities by making certain existing permissive provisions mandatory.
- Expand Treasury Board's authorities to add a new power to monitor compliance by federal institutions with the provisions of the Act regardingthe obligation of federal institutions to take positive measures to enhance the development of official language minority communities and to foster the full recognition and use of English and French in Canadian society.
The implementation of TBS's new responsibilities related to Part VII would result in the creation of an official languages policy centre for Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Act
Additional and permanent resources would be required to enable the Secretariat to fully assume new responsibilities.
Phoenix-related issues (Damages)
Implementation status of the Phoenix damages agreements reached with unions in 2019 and 2020.
- We recognize that the implementation of the Phoenix pay system has had an impact on many current and former employees.
- Damages agreements have been reached with all bargaining agents to compensate employees for general damages and severe impacts caused by the pay system.
- Both current and former employees have been compensated either in time or in cash, through processes that started in 2019. In addition, a number of processes were launched to allow those eligible to make specific claims.
- In December 2021, the last claims processes were launched. All damages agreements have now been implemented.
If pressed on the need for further compensation for Phoenix damages:
- Unresolved pay issues remain, and we continue to monitor the situation and meet regularly with bargaining agents at Phoenix-related forums where these issues can be raised and addressed.
- We are committed to a continued dialogue to better understand concerns.
In May 2019, the Government of Canada reached a tentative agreement with members of the Senior Level Phoenix Union-Management sub-committee on damages for compensation for employees impacted by the implementation of the Phoenix Pay system. This agreement was ratified in June 2019 by all federal government bargaining agents except for PSAC. Separate agencies have signed similar agreements covering their employees (except those represented by PSAC).
The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) rejected the agreement, stating that the compensation was insufficient.
June 2019 Damages Agreement (all bargaining agents except PSAC)
The agreement reached with bargaining agents (with the exception of PSAC) in 2019 applies to up to 118,000 current and 21,000 former employees.
The agreement includes up to five days of additional annual leave for employees and a cash pay-out equivalent to this leave for former employees or the estates of deceased employees. In February 2020, a claims process was added to provide compensation to current and former employees for financial costs or lost investment income. A claims process for severe personal or financial hardship was launched in January 2021.
2020 PSAC Damages Agreement
The damages agreement was signed with PSAC in October 2020. The PSAC agreement is similar to the June 2019 agreement with the exception of the general damages provided to employees, which consist of cash payments of up to $2,500 instead of leave credits. This includes an additional lump sum of up to $1,000 for the late implementation of the 2014 collective agreements.
The other claims processes for financial costs or lost investment income as well as severe personal or financial hardship are identical.
General compensation for the PSAC agreement was provided to current employees in March and September 2021. The other claims processes for former and current employees were launched in November and December 2021.
As part of the agreement signed in October 2020 with the PSAC, the parties agreed to make payments on a best effort basis and the government proceeded with those payments as per the terms of the agreement. The agreement also mentions that applicable deductions would be applied.
To date, approximately $560M has been paid in damages relating to the Phoenix pay system, including more than $400 million in 2021.
The Treasury Board Secretariat sought an interpretation on the taxability of the payments from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), who administers Canada’ s tax laws for all Canadians.
The CRA confirmed that these payments are taxable and the Employer deducted taxes from the payments in accordance with this interpretation.
2021 Agreement of the catch-up clause related to the June 2019 MOA
The negotiation of the catch-up agreement ratified on March 3, 2021 was triggered following the signing of the PSAC damages agreement in the fall of 2020. The purpose was to align the compensation, as some elements of the 2020 PSAC agreement differed from the agreement negotiated with other bargaining agents in 2019.
Current and former employees covered under the 2019 damages agreement may be eligible for other monetary benefits that are part of the PSAC damages agreement, such as general damages compensation of up to $1,000 for the late implementation of the 2014 collective agreements.
This catch-up agreement applies to about 118,000 current employees and 21,000 former employees/estates of former employees covered under the 2019 damages agreement.
Current employees represented by the PSAC who received leave under the 2019 agreement as a result of working in positions outside of PSAC during the period covered by the agreement, have also received their outstanding catch-up payments.
Catch-up payments were provided to current employees in September 2021 and the claims process for catch-up payments to former employees was launched in December 2021.
Phoenix-related issues (Overpayments)
Recovery of overpayment amounts resulting from Phoenix pay issues.
- Canada’s public servants deserve to be paid properly and on time for their important work.
- Overpayment recovery is a normal part of pay administration and employees understand the need to repay amounts overpaid to them.
- We have taken action on many fronts to provide flexibility and minimize the financial impacts on employees experiencing pay issues.
- Since 2018, flexible repayment options have been in place to provide employees who were overpaid with multiple options to repay the government, and we remain committed to providing employees with these flexibilities, while also fulfilling our duty to taxpayers to recover salary overpayments.
In 2018, measures for more flexible repayment options were provided to employees who received overpayments as a result of Phoenix pay issues, including emergency salary advances and priority payments. The Crown Liability and Proceedings Act places a statutory restriction of six years on the recovery of salary overpayments. This means that outstanding salary overpayments from 2016 will become statute barred in 2022 and will be at risk of being written off.
Phoenix-related salary overpayments and recoveries pose a risk to the Government of Canada (GC) given the size of the outstanding amount owed; and the 6-year statutory time limit on recovery, which would bar the recovery of some amounts as of February 2022.
The Crown has an obligation, as per the Directive on Terms and Conditions of Employment, to recover overpayments, including those relating to salary. This is built on the principles of fairness to taxpayers and the sound stewardship of public funds. Allowing a large number of cases to go unresolved could set a precedent for debtors to ignore a request to acknowledge their debt.
To support the GC in its efforts to recover these outstanding overpayments, and in light of this statutory restriction, the recovery procedures have been modified to include a step for employees to acknowledge their debt or enter into a recovery agreement. Acknowledgement of the debt would then restart the clock on the six-year limitation period. A draft HR information bulletin providing additional information on this process was shared with heads of human resources and bargaining agents for consultation on August 10th, 2021 and was posted on Canada.ca on October 12, 2021.
Starting on October 12, 2021, employees who received overpayments in 2016 and 2017 and do not yet have a repayment plan in place will be receiving a letter detailing the overpayment and options for repayment. They will not need to repay this amount immediately.
If an employee disagrees with the overpayment amount identified in the letter, they will be able to formally dispute this amount while still acknowledging that an overpayment exists. The Pay Centre will then initiate a review of the transaction and provide additional details as required before establishing a flexible repayment plan with the employee.
According to section 4.2 of TBS’ Policy on People Management, through delegated authority by the Treasury Board, Treasury Board Secretariat’s Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) is responsible for the provision of direction, feedback, and functional leadership to deputy heads and heads of human resources regarding human resources management matters, and any associated tools, systems, and oversight. OCHRO is also responsible for the oversight of the overall performance, compliance, and integrity of people management practices for the Core Public Administration. The recovery of overpayments is outlined in the Directive on Terms and Conditions of Employment. When OCHRO last amended this directive, additional flexibilities were added, to what was already outlined regarding the recovery of overpayments.
Conflict of Interest Safeguards
On March 28, 2022, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics (ETHI) re-adopted its report from the 43rd Parliament, entitled: "Questions of Conflict of Interest and Lobbying in Relation to Pandemic Spending”, which includes a recommendation to conduct a comprehensive review of the Conflict of Interest Act.
- The Government is committed to ensuring that federal public office holders carry out their duties with integrity and impartiality.
- The Conflict of Interest Act establishes conflict of interest and post-employment rules for public office holders.
- The Government looks forward to hearing from Parliamentarians should they decide to conduct a full statutory review of the Conflict of Interest Act and bring forward recommendations.
The Conflict of Interest Act establishes conflict of interest and post-employment rules for public office holders. Public office holders covered under the Act include ministers, ministerial staff, and Governor-in-Council appointees such as deputy heads. The Act plays an important role in maintaining public confidence in the integrity of public office holders and government decision-making. Although the Act does not assign responsibilities to a specific Minister, the President of the Treasury Board has been deemed as the minister responsible for the Conflict of Interest Act.
The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner administers the Conflict of Interest Act by establishing compliance measures, investigating possible contraventions of the Act, and providing advice to public office holders on their obligations. The Commissioner is an officer of Parliament. Officers of Parliament are independent from the Government and report directly to Parliament. On January 9, 2018, Mario Dion was appointed as the second Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner for a term that expires January 8, 2025.
The Conflict of Interest Act came into force on July 9, 2007. It created, for the first time, a legislative regime governing the ethical conduct of public office holders. Prior to this date, public office holders were subject to non-statutory codes of conduct. TheAct required a one-time statutory review by a parliamentary committee, which was completed by the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI) in 2014.
There are also safeguards in place to address potential or actual conflicts of interest within procurement. These include standard contract clauses, the requirement for all proposals to be reviewed through a conflict of interest lens, and the need for evaluators to recuse themselves for real or possible conflicts. In addition, Public Services and Procurement Canada has established a Code of Conduct for Procurement and an Integrity Regime for procurements conducted under its authority. Separately, the Directive on Transfer Payments also includes safeguards to ensure that no current or former public servant or public office holder can derive direct benefit from a funding agreement.
On June 10, 2021, ETHI tabled a report entitled “Questions of Conflict of Interest and Lobbying in Relation to Pandemic Spending”. The report offered 23 recommendations regarding, among other things: the federal conflict of interest and lobbying regimes; Government contribution agreements and contracts with the WE group; and ensuring that processes for entering into contribution agreements or contracts are fair, transparent, and comply with the Official Languages Act. Among these recommendations, ETHI recommended that “the Government of Canada conduct a comprehensive review of the Conflict of Interest Act”. The dissolution of Parliament on August 15, 2021, put an end to the requirement to respond to the ETHI report.
On March 28, 2022, ETHI adopted a motion to undertake a new study into issues of conflict of interest and the Lobbying Act in relation to pandemic spending, and re-adopted its June 2021 report. No Government Response was requested. In its dissenting opinion, the Liberal Party of Canada recommended that ETHI conduct “at the earliest opportunity, a full statutory review of the Conflict of Interest Act with appropriate recommendations”.
The Lobbying Act is required to be reviewed by Parliament every five years and the last review was conducted in 2012. On March 28, 2022, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics (ETHI) re-adopted its the report from the 43rd Parliament, entitled: "Questions of Conflict of Interest and Lobbying in Relation to Pandemic Spending”, which included recommendations related to the Lobbying Act and its review.
- Lobbying is a legitimate part of our democratic system and is recognized as an important part of ensuring free and open access to government.
- The Lobbying Act ensures that the lobbying of federal office holders is conducted with the highest standards of integrity and recognizes the need for Canadians to be able to know who is lobbying whom in government.
- The government welcomes all opportunities to hear about how transparency and accountability can be improved in lobbying activities.
- We look forward to hearing the views of Parliamentarians should they decide to conduct a review of the Lobbying Act.
The purpose of the Lobbying Act is to ensure transparency and accountability in lobbying. The Act requires lobbyists to register and file returns on their communications with public office holders, which are published in the Registry of Lobbyists. Although the Act does not assign responsibilities to a specific Minister, the President of the Treasury Board has been deemed as the minister responsible for the Lobbying Act.
The Commissioner of Lobbying administers the Lobbying Act and develops the Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct, which governs the ethical conduct of lobbyists. The Commissioner is an independent Agent of Parliament. Agents of Parliament operate at arms-length from the Government by carrying out duties assigned by statute and reporting directly to Parliament. On December 30, 2017, Nancy Bélanger was appointed to serve as the second Commissioner of Lobbying, for a seven-year term.
In 1989, the first federal lobbying law, the Lobbyists Registration Act, came into force. In 2008, the law was renamed the Lobbying Act and received several major amendments, including a five-year post-employment lobbying ban for certain senior public office holders.
Section 14.1 (1) of the Lobbying Act requires that “A comprehensive review of the provisions and operation of this Act must be undertaken, every five years after this section comes into force, by the committee of the Senate, of the House of Commons, or of both Houses of Parliament, that may be designated or established for that purpose.”
The last review of the Act was conducted in 2012 by the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI). The President of the Treasury Board does not have a legislative requirement or authority to initiate the legislative review required by the Act
In recent years, a series of recommendations have been made to improve the Lobbying Act. First, in February 2021, the Commissioner submitted 11 preliminary recommendations in response to a November 2020 request from ETHI. The Commissioner recommended that the Act require “registration by default” along with other changes to thresholds for registration under the Act. The Commissioner also made various other recommendations related to reporting requirements under the Act and enforcing compliance with the Act.
Second, on June 10, 2021, ETHI tabled a report entitled “Questions of Conflict of Interest and Lobbying in Relation to Pandemic Spending”. The report offered 23 recommendations regarding, among other things: the federal conflict of interest and lobbying regimes; Government contribution agreements and contracts with the WE group; and ensuring that processes for entering into contribution agreements or contracts are fair, transparent, and comply with the Official Languages Act. The dissolution of Parliament on August 15, 2021, put an end to the requirement to respond to the ETHI report.
On March 28, 2022, ETHI adopted a motion to undertake a new study into issues of conflict of interest and lobbying in relation to pandemic spending; and re-adopted its June 2021 report. No Government Response was requested. In its dissenting opinion, the Liberal Party of Canada recommended that ETHI conduct “at the earliest opportunity, a full statutory review of the Lobbying Act with appropriate recommendations”.
Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act Review
In December 2021, the President’s mandate letter included a commitment to continue to take action to improve the government’s whistleblower protections and supports. This includes exploring possible amendments to the Act. Budget 2022 proposes to provide $2.4 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, to the Treasury Board Secretariat to launch a review of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.
- The government is committed to promoting a positive, respectful, and safe public sector culture that is grounded in values and ethics, and where public servants feel safe to disclose wrongdoing.
- The Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act helps to ensure an ethical workplace culture and supports the integrity of the federal public sector.The Government of Canada continues to make meaningful improvements to the federal disclosure process..
- In particular, Budget 2022 proposes to provide $2.4 million over five years to launch a review of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act. It is expected that this review will begin in the summer of fall of this year.
In June 2017, the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates tabled its report on their independent review of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act. The report contained 15 recommendations covering issues such as the definition of terms, training, protection of whistleblowers, research, and assessments.
In October 2017, the government committed to implement improvements to the administration and operation of the internal disclosure process and to protection from acts of reprisal but not legislative amendments.
On February 17, 2021, the Government Operations Committee adopted a motion to readopt the 2017 report and request a government response. Since Parliament was dissolved prior to a government response being tabled, there was no longer a requirement for a response. If the Committee readopts the recommendations and requests a response, the Government will consider the substance of a response at that time.
In December 2021, the President’s mandate letter included a commitment to continue to take action to improve the government’s whistleblower protections and supports. This includes exploring possible amendments to the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.
OCHRO is leading the implementation of activities in support of these commitments. A number of actions to foster an environment where public servants feel safe and protected to come forward with a disclosure have been taken, including:
conducting outreach and education activities to inform public servants about the disclosure of wrongdoing process and protection against acts of reprisal;
- taking steps to address harassment and violence in the workplace, including providing guidance to deputy heads, managers, departmental advisors and public servants on what constitutes harassment as well as how to prevent and resolve harassment in the workplace; and
- completing implementation of the Policy Suite Reset for the Policy on People Management and the Policy on the Management of Executives, which set the foundation for the ongoing adaptation of policies to better support an ethical workplace culture in which public servants feel safe to come forward without fear of reprisal.
In addition, we have kept a pulse on this issue by:
- monitoring departmental activities via the Management Accountability Framework as it relates to people management; and
- monitoring public servant sentiment via the annual Public Service Employee Survey.
To meet the commitment to explore possible amendments to the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer is developing review options, criteria, and a project plan for research and stakeholder consultations. With the budget proposal of $2.4 million over five years starting in 2022-23, it is expected that the review process will begin in the summer/Fall 2022.
Second Annual Regulatory Modernization Bill
On March 31, 2022, the Government introduced new legislation in the Senate, Bill S‑6, An Act respecting regulatory modernization - otherwise known as the Second Annual Regulatory Modernization Bill - to reduce regulatory burden on Canadians.
- The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that federal regulations evolve with changing technologies and reflect current business realities, while continuing to protect Canadian’s health, safety, and the environment.
- Bill S‑6 proposes 46 changes to 29 acts, which address issues raised by businesses and Canadians.
- These changes would namely reduce the burden for business, facilitate digital interactions with government, and make cross-border trade easier.
- Many of the proposed changes may seem small but to Canadian industry and businesses recovering from the pandemic, they matter.
- The process to amend legislation, whether it’s a small change or a significant one, is the same. Grouping relatively minor legislative changes in one bill is both time and cost efficient.
In the 2018 Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada introduced a requirement to ensure that Canada’s regulatory system continues to adapt to changing technologies and reflects the realities of Canadian businesses.
The Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No 1 included a regulatory modernization component that modified 12 pieces of legislation and included changes to digitalize paper-based processes, enable innovation through regulatory sandboxes, and make changes in consideration of zero-emission vehicles.
Business stakeholders, including those involved in the Economic Strategy Tables and the Advisory Council on Economic Growth, have stressed that having a regularized mechanism in place to address legislative irritants is critical to ensuring the regulatory system stays relevant.
The regulatory system includes both legislation passed by Parliament and regulations. Regulations provide support to laws and are enforceable by law. Regulations are made by persons or bodies that have been given the authority to make them, such as the Governor in Council or a Minister. Bill S‑6 modifies legislation, not regulations.
Amendments in this bill are proposed by regulatory departments and agencies through a call letter from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Canadians and businesses also shared suggestions through consultations and targeted regulatory reviews.
Amendments and will be administered by the following 12 organizations: Canadian Food Inspection Agency; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; Natural Resources Canada; Environment and Climate Change Canada; Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Canada Border Services Agency; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada; Health Canada; Transport Canada; and Parks Canada.
Some examples of proposed changes in Bill S-6 include:
- Changes to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act would allow CFIA to deliver services and businesses to interact with CFIA through electronic means rather than having to rely solely on paper-based transactions.
- Amendments to the Canada Transportation Act would enable new mechanisms to be used to more quickly integrate regulatory changes stemming from updates to international transportation safety standards.
- Changes to the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act would enable information-sharing to help administer any federal or provincial law for permanent and temporary residents.
The subject matter of the Bill is currently being studied by the following Standing Senate Committees:
- Banking Trade and Commerce
- Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources
- Agriculture and Forestry
- Fisheries and Oceans
- Social Affairs, Science and Technology
- Foreign Affairs and International Trade
- Transport and Communications
Each standing committee must submit its report to the Senate by May 30, 2022. Following this, the Standing Committee on Banking Trade and Commerce will undertake the legislative review of Bill S-6.
The process to develop the third version of the bill is already underway. A consultation will take place in fall 2022 to inform potential amendments for future Annual Regulatory Modernization Bills.
GC Cyber Security Events - Government of Canada’s Roles and Responsibilities and Recent Events
The Government of Canada’s approach to cyber threats that pose a risk to government infrastructure and services, and the Government of Canada’s response to notable cyber incidents this past year.
- The Government of Canada, like every other government and private sector organization in the world, faces ongoing and persistent cyber threats.
- The government has connected systems and tools in place to monitor, detect and investigate potential threats, and takes active measures to address and neutralize them.
- Together, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Shared Services Canada, and the Communications Security Establishment work with departments to ensure the government’s cyber security risk posture is current and effective.
- The government is continuously working to enhance cyber security in Canada by identifying cyber threats and vulnerabilities, and by preparing for, and responding to, all types of cyber incidents to better protect Canada and Canadians.
The Government works continuously to enhance cyber security in its services by preventing attacks through implementation of protective security measures, identifying cyber threats and vulnerabilities, and by preparing for and responding to all kinds of cyber incidents to better protect Canada and Canadians.
Budget 2022 provided $875.2 million over five years, beginning in 2022-23, and $238.2 million ongoing for additional measures to address the rapidly evolving cyber threat landscape. These measures include:
- $263.9 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, and $96.5 million ongoing to enhance CSE’s abilities to launch cyber operations to prevent and defend against cyber attacks;
- $180.3 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, and $40.6 million ongoing to enhance CSE’s abilities to prevent and respond to cyber attacks on critical infrastructure;
- $178.7 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, and $39.5 million ongoing to expand cyber security protection for small departments, agencies, and Crown corporations; and,
- $252.3 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, and $61.7 million ongoing for CSE to make critical government systems more resilient to cyber incidents.
Departments and agencies have a responsibility to ensure that cyber security is managed within their organization. TBS, SSC, and the CSE are the primary stakeholders with responsibility for ensuring the government’s cyber security posture is effective and able to respond to evolving threats. CSE, in concert with Public Safety, also provides support on cyber security from a national perspective. TBS provides strategic oversight of government cyber security event management to ensure effective coordination of major security events and support governmentwide decision-making. The Chief Information Officer of Canada sets Information Technology security policy, defines cyber security requirements, and executes decisions on the management of cyber security risks on behalf of the GC.
TBS maintains the GC Cyber Security Event Management Plan (GC CSEMP). The GC CSEMP is the whole-of-government incident response plan providing an operational framework which outlines the stakeholders and actions required to ensure that cyber security events are addressed in a consistent, coordinated, and timely fashion across the government. The plan is applicable to all departments subject to the Policy on Government Security. The most recently published plan took effect in April 2020 and is available publicly on canada.ca. The update was made to reflect the creation of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (CCCS) as well as lessons learned since the last update in 2018.
On February 14, 2022, a special report by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) was released following a review of the government framework for cyber defence activities. NSICOP finds that the government has established a robust framework and clear governance mechanisms to support the defence of government networks against cyber attacks. However, these frameworks are weakened by the inconsistent application of policy and the inconsistent use of cyber defence services across the government. The Government of Canada agrees with the findings and recommendations of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliament (NSICOP) and will be undertaking action to review its policy framework to identify options to extend relevant cyber defence policies and services to all federal organizations to the greatest extent possible. Funding from Budget 2022 will help the government expand cyber defences services for small departments and agencies.
Privacy and the Use of Data
The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s role in relation to privacy, breaches, and the use of data in the public sector.
- The Government of Canada is committed to protecting its data, IT infrastructure, and information ensuring that Canadians can rely on a secure, stable, and resilient digital government.
- The Government of Canada takes the privacy of Canadians seriously and supports institutions in managing its information holdings through a suite of policies and directives, including the Policy on Service and Digital.
- The Directive on Privacy Practices requires that institutions establish plans and procedures for addressing any privacy breaches in their institution. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has also developed a range of tools to help institutions fulfill their responsibilities if a privacy breach occurs.
- The policies ensure the government considers principles like openness, privacy, accessibility, and security when designing digital tools and services. The Directive on Privacy Impact Assessment requires that a privacy impact assessment be undertaken whenever personal information is collected and will be used to form decisions about individuals.
- As the government continues its transformation to a more digital government, its approach and actions will continue to be guided by the Policy on Service and Digital and the Policy on Privacy Protection and will ensure respect for the privacy of Canadians.
The President of the Treasury Board is responsible for the overall administration of the Privacy Act, which includes issuing policies and guidance pertaining to the protection of personal information.
The Directive on Privacy Impact Assessment requires institutions to conduct Privacy Impact Assessments for non-statistical programs and activities involving the collection, use or disclosure of personal information that raise privacy, confidentiality or security risks.
A Privacy Impact Assessment is an evaluation process which requires an institution to assess and evaluate privacy, confidentiality and security risks associated with the collection, use or disclosure of personal information, and to develop measures intended to mitigate and, wherever possible, eliminate identified risks. Under TBS policies, institutions are required to provide Privacy Impact Assessments to TBS and to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.
The Directive on Privacy Practices requires that federal institutions establish plans and procedures for addressing any privacy breaches in their institution. The Directive also requires institutions to report material privacy breaches to TBS and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. Material privacy breaches involve sensitive personal information or data (for example, medical or financial information or data) that could reasonably be expected to cause injury or harm to the individual.
TBS records and reviews the breach reports and identifies where additional guidance or training may be required. Where warranted, based on scope and sensitivity, TBS works with the institution on its response and mitigation efforts.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner determines its response to a breach report based on a risk assessment. The approach ranges from an informal review through to a full investigation.
TBS undertook the Privacy Breach Action Plan in 2019 to strengthen privacy breach management and prevention across the government. As part of the Action Plan, TBS has strengthened privacy training and guidance and is currently advancing updates to policy.
Other TBS policy instruments such as the Government of Canada Digital Standards, the Policy and Directive on Service and Digital, and the Directive on Automated Decision-Making set requirements to ensure that personal information and data is protected and is used in a manner compatible with the Privacy Act, and that privacy protection is accounted for in any plans or strategies to manage information or data.
The Policy on Service and Digital holds deputy heads responsible for ensuring that, when managing personal information or data, including in the context of data interoperability, the privacy of individuals is protected, and that privacy is addressed in the context of any plan or strategy to manage departmental information or data.
Access to Information (ATI)
While the Government’s Access to Information Act review continues, workplace measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic have affected institutions’ ability to respond to access to information and personal information requests through Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) requests.
- The Government remains committed to maintaining the openness and transparency of government during this challenging time and in Budget 2021, we committed significant new funding to improving and reviewing the ATI program.
- The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat continues to track operational capacities across federal institutions and has been developing and sharing best practices in processing requests within the public health measures imposed by local health authorities as well as reinforce ATIP as a critical function.
- The government has made important progress with the changes brought by Bill C-58, and we are continuing to work to ensure that the access to information regime continues to reflect the needs of Canadians.
- The current review of the access to information regime is an opportunity to look at how it is working for Canadians, including examining the legislative framework, looking at opportunities to improve proactive publication to make information more openly available and assessing processes and systems to improve service and reduce delays.
- An interim “What We Heard Report” was released in December 2021 provides a summary of the engagement process with key stakeholders, citizens and government institutions to date and TBS continues to move forward with actions to improve access to information in ways that have an immediate impact even as we proceed with our legislative review efforts.
- Officials are currently engaging with Indigenous organizations and peoples, on which the government will also report publicly in 2022. All the input received will be reflected in a final report to Parliament on the ATI review later in 2022.
In response to public health direction on COVID-19, most employees have been working remotely and many had reduced access to documents and information systems that they would usually use to respond to requests. There are no provisions in the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act to extend deadlines or place requests on hold due to an emergency.
In May 2020, TBS issued guidance to institutions to make best efforts to process requests and proactively publish information, in accordance with operational realities. In December 2021, the Chief Information Officer of Canada sent correspondence to Deputy Heads to remind them of their legal obligations under the Access to Information Act as they plan for return to workplaces, and to strongly encourage the inclusion of access to information and privacy as critical services moving forward. Since the onset of COVID-19 measures, institutions have made progress in mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 measures on their ability to respond to requests.
TBS officials will be continuing to work with institutions and support them in developing plans to address challenges faced during the pandemic. As the most recent public health measures are lifted, TBS will double down its efforts to ensure institutions continue their planning on the resumption of activities.
The review of the Access to Information Act was launched to offer an opportunity to have an open exchange on making ATI systems and processes more resilient. The review focuses on three broad areas: reviewing the legislative framework; opportunities to improve proactive publication to make information openly available; and assessing processes and systems to improve service and reduce delays. In addition, the review is examining issues specific to Indigenous access to information. In December 2021, the President of Treasury Board released the interim ‘What We Heard’ report on the first phase of engagement and consultations undertaken as part of the review of access to information.
In the context of the review, the public has been able to provide submissions, register for events and participate in a user-experience survey via an online platform. TBS received 34 submissions, approximately 300 survey responses and heard from 380 participants across five public events. The platform was recently updated with details on Indigenous engagement. The five National Indigenous Organizations (NIOs) have been able to participate in the review and an information session on Indigenous engagement was held in April 2022 which outlined the review process, including details on the support available for participation by interested parties.
TBS has held bilateral discussions with several of the NIOs, and a number of discussions with other Indigenous organizations. In March 2022, the President of the Treasury Board sent letters to 36 Modern Treaty and Self-Government holders to participate in the review. Together with policy and legal analysis, information and input received will inform the President’s final recommendations to Parliament later in 2022.
A number of early actions that can be taken separately and ahead of any future changes to improve access to information were set out online. These actions, be they implemented, planned, or underway, will tackle operational issues and leverage digital service delivery to improve how Canadians experience the access to information process. These include the design and testing of a new version of the ATIP Online Request Service system that will allow users to sign on to the service, create accounts and send and retrieve their requests through this platform securely and efficiently.
The development of a systematic records declassification program for the Government of Canada.
- The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that the access to information process supports the openness, transparency, and accountability of Canadian democratic institutions. We are continuing to take action to improve access to information in ways that have an immediate impact, even as our legislative review efforts continue.
- Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat officials are collaborating with Library and Archives Canada and Public Safety officials to assess potential models for a declassification program within the Government of Canada.
- Through this work, the government aims to improve Canadians’ access to historical records, with the intention of developing an appropriate framework and process for declassification across the federal government next year.
- New funding announced in Budget 2021 will support further improvements to the online Access to Information and Personal Information Request Service, in order to accelerate the proactive release of information to Canadians, and to support completion of the overall Access to Information Act review, which includes work on the Declassification initiative
When government records are created, they are assigned a security category based on the injury associated with the information being improperly disclosed. These can range from risks to an individual’s privacy to those related to Canada’s national interests and security.
Declassification is the process of re-assessing these risks, considering the effect of the passage of time on those risks. This process may result in a record’s security category being downgraded, facilitating broader access to it. In other instances, this may result in removal of the security classification, permitting a record to be opened in whole or in part.
TBS’s Policy on Government Security sets out the requirement for departments to define the requirements to protect information throughout its lifecycle, including ensuring that the time frame for protection of information is kept as short as possible, while accounting for privacy, legal, or other policy considerations. Deputy heads have the discretion to make risk-based decisions regarding the application of the policy, though the originator or relevant authority of a record must always be consulted before declassification, even if it’s held by another institution.
Because of this discretionary aspect of TBS’s policies, Canada is the only one of the “Five Eyes” nations (i.e., the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand) that does not have a systematic declassification program.
In the absence of a mandatory declassification program, the only means of accessing such records is through an access to information (ATI) request. This practice places a substantial burden on the ATI system. It is a significant burden at Library and Archives Canada (LAC), since it has become the repository for millions of records. The challenge is compounded further by the age of the records, which often cover dates ranging from the 1920s to the 1980s.
In recognition of these challenges, Public Safety Canada is leading a pilot project to declassify the historical records of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). Conducted in consultation with Canada’s national security and intelligence (NSI) community, the pilot is intended to conclude in summer 2022. Results of the pilot will be used to inform the further development of an NSI-specific framework for declassification.
On April 26, the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) published the results of a systemic investigation into LAC’s declining ATI performance. The OIC highlighted that more rigorous declassification could reduce LAC’s ATI burden by allowing for more proactive disclosure of NSI records. The OIC also noted that LAC’s consultation burden with the NSI community would be lessened. The OIC has called for declassification on many instances in the past, which is a sentiment echoed by Canada’s research and academic communities.
Consultations with Public Safety, LAC and other TBS policy leads have been ongoing since 2021, with the intention of developing an appropriate framework and process for declassification across the federal government.
National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP)
How is the Government of Canada responding to the recommendations identified in a special report tabled on February 14, 2022, by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, on the government’s framework and activities to defend its systems and networks from cyber attacks.
- The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliament (NSICOP) found that the government has established a robust framework and clear governance mechanisms to support the defence of government networks against cyber attacks.
- Yet, there is more work to be done and a number of initiatives are already underway to respond to these recommendations.
- Specifically, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has begun a review of its policy framework to:
- ensure cyber defence is applied equally to departments and agencies to the greatest extent possible, and
- explore and identify options to extend Treasury Board policies relevant to cyber defence to all federal organizations, including small organizations, Crown corporations, and other federal organizations not currently subject to these policies and directives.
On February 14, 2022, a special report by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) was released, following a review of the government framework for cyber defence activities. The report examines the evolution of the Government of Canada’s cyber defence framework; assesses the role and responsibilities of relevant government organizations; and examines relevant case studies in the period from 2004 to the present.
The Committee found that the government has established a robust framework and clear governance mechanisms to support the defence of government networks against cyber attacks. However, these frameworks are weakened by the inconsistent application of policy and the inconsistent use of cyber defence services across the government.
In response to the findings, the Committee recommended that the government continue to extend and strengthen its framework for defending government networks by modernizing authorities and programs as technology evolves and that the government apply Treasury Board policies relevant to cyber defence equally and more broadly across government organizations, including the extension of advanced cyber services to all federal organizations.
The Government of Canada agrees with the recommendations of the Committee. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat is undertaking a number of initiatives in response to the recommendations of the Committee, including:
- conducting a review of its policy framework to support the alignment between the scope of the Policy on Government Security and the Policy on Service and Digital to ensure that cyber defence is applied equally to departments and agencies (within the current TBS authorities under the Financial Administration Act) to the greatest extent possible.
- undertaking a review of its policy framework to explore and identify potential options to extend Treasury Board policies relevant to cyber defence to all federal organizations, including small organizations, Crown corporations, and other federal organizations not currently subject to its cyber defence policies and directives. This review will take into consideration the Financial Administration Act and the authorities under that Act, as well as any legal considerations, and if deemed feasible, seeking the necessary authorities to extend Treasury Board policies relevant to cyber defence to all federal organizations; and
- strengthening cyber defence measures as part of ongoing updates to the Policy on Service and Digital which includes establishing a a set of minimum-security configuration requirements for whole-of-government IT services.
The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will continue to work with Shared Services Canada and the Communications Security Establishment to support the extension of advanced cyber defence services, including the Enterprise Internet Service of Shared Services Canada and the cyber defense sensors of the Communication Security Establishment, to all federal organizations to the greatest extent possible.
The Government is in the planning stages of developing a national approach to digital credentials, also known as Digital Identity.
- The Government of Canada is committed to providing Canadians with easy, secure, and trusted access to online services.
- The Government is in the planning stages of developing a trusted digital identity platform for services across the country and across governments.
- In the coming months, the Government will request feedback from individuals and businesses on this platform, ensuring that plans and next steps are guided by user needs and considerations.
Currently, it is not easy for individuals and businesses to obtain online services from Government. Individuals and businesses are asked to provide the same information over and over again to prove identity before they can access a service. Sometimes, they are asked to show up in person or to wait 5-10 business days for a letter to obtain their access code. Departments are maintaining redundant systems and processes to verify identities, and duplicating efforts to ensure the security of these disparate systems. Moreover, these fragmented approaches to verifying identities are vulnerable to fraud as they often rely on paper-based processes.
Governments in Canada issue important credentials, such as driver’s licenses, birth certificates and business registration documents, that help individuals and businesses access services. However, these credentials are often provided in paper-form and cannot be easily leveraged to provide digital services.
Digital Credentials, also known as digital identity would act as a Digital Services Pass and make it much easier for individuals and businesses to obtain services online. Digital Credentials are the digital equivalent of government-issued documents that they already hold, such as a driver’s license or a business registration document. Most importantly, Digital Credentials will be a choice and not be mandated. Individuals and businesses can continue to use their physical documents to obtain services.
The Government is in the planning stages of making it quicker and easier for individuals and businesses to obtain and deliver digital services, in collaboration with the provinces and territories. Consultationswith the public and key stakeholders, such as indigenous and small and medium enterprises, will be undertaken to ensure Digital Credentials will be human-centric, secure and will enhance privacy.
Canada plans to pursue a federated approach to Digital Credentials, that parallels how credentials are issued and used in the paper world. Individuals and businesses are able to choose their Digital Credentials provided by the provinces, territories or the banks to access federal services.
Provinces such as BC and Alberta already make it much easier for individuals to prove their identity online. Residents in BC can use a BC Services Card App while Albertans can use the My Alberta Digital ID (MADI) to obtain public services from the province and the federal government. As an example, British Columbians and Albertans can use provincial Digital IDs to obtain social benefits from Employment and Social Development Canada, and to file their taxes with the Canada Revenue Agency. In addition, individuals can also leverage their bank-verified identities to obtain select federal services online.
In addition to BC and Alberta, Quebec and Ontario have announced that their residents will be able to soon hold their provincially-issued credentials in their digital wallets, and use them to obtain services online.
Federal Procurement and Professional Services
The Government of Canada’s use of contracted consultants.
- The Government of Canada is committed to providing high quality services to Canadians, while ensuring the best value for taxpayers.
- Contracted professional services are called upon to maintain operations when short-term specialized expertise is required; to address shortages in certain employment groups or in specific geographic locations; or to meet unexpected and temporary fluctuations in workload.
- Short-term specialized expertise may be required for engineers or architects for a specific time-limited project like the construction of a new building or help to charter planes to repatriate Canadians from conflict areas or for doctors and nurses to provide health care for Indigenous peoples and in northern communities.
- At the same time, the government is taking steps, internally, to address the requirement for long-term specialized expertise. For instance, the Office of the Chief Information Officer is leading on a new approach to address IT and digital needs including support to identify talent resources and help address vacancy rates.
Budget 2016 announced annual reductions of $221 million in professional services, travel and government advertising. This ongoing reduction was applied to departmental reference levels starting in fiscal year 2016-17. Subsequent Federal Budgets announced new initiatives and funding to departments that resulted in a requirement for more professional services.
Government spending on External Professional Services (EPS) (a broad category that includes everything from nursing to engineering to research to management consulting) has increased 42% from $8.35B in 2015-16 to $11.85B in 2020-21Footnote 1 for a total increase of $3.5B mainly related to 4 major types of professional services:
- Informatics Services (Computer services, information technology and telecommunications consultants);
- Health and Welfare Services (Hospital services, welfare services purchased from social and related agencies, physicians and surgeons, paramedical personnel, and dental services);
- Business Services (Accounting and audit services, banking services, collection agency fees and charges, real estate services and other business services); and
- Engineering and Architectural Services (Architectural design, control and plans, construction supervision of buildings, and architecture of naval vessels, services related to assessment, remediation, care, maintenance and monitoring of contaminated sites and engineering consultants).
Federal organizations have the flexibility to be able to address their individual operational context and requirements. Treasury Board policies require organizations to ensure their procurement activities are conducted in a fair, open and transparent manner that ensures best value for money.
The Treasury Board Policy on the Planning and Management of Investments says that departments must ensure that investment decisions are aligned with results, consider areas of significant risk in achieving departmental results, and demonstrate best value while taking into consideration market conditions.
The Treasury Board Guide to Cost Estimating provides guidance for managers faced with Make-or-buy decisions: When decision-makers are considering whether to develop and deliver a program, product, or service or to arrange to have another department or the private sector do the work, they can use cost estimates to determine the one-time and the ongoing costs of each option.
Revera – Public Sector Pension Investment Board
The Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSPIB) and its investments, particularly its relationship with Revera Inc. Revera Inc. is currently facing a class-action lawsuit related to deaths as a result of COVID-19, and unions have called on the Government to transfer ownership of Revera so as to make it public.
- The Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSPIB) operates at arm’s length from the federal government.
- It is not part of the federal public administration and its multi-billion-dollar business and affairs are managed by a board of directors.
- PSPIB makes publicly available its Responsible Investment Policy which informs its investment activities and guides the way it conducts operations.
If Pressed (on Revera):
- We are aware of reports of legal action against this company and I will not comment further on these matters.
Revera Inc. has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the PSPIB (also known commercially as PSP Investments) since 2007. The PSPIB is a Crown corporation established by Parliament in accordance with the Public Sector Pension Investment Board Act in 1999. The PSPIB reports to Parliament through the President of the Treasury Board, who is responsible for PSPIB’s legislation, and includes certain information about Revera Inc. in its annual report.
The PSPIB operates at arm’s length from the federal government. It is not an agent of Her Majesty and its business affairs are governed by an 11-member board of directors. Since April 1, 2000, the PSPIB has been investing the amounts transferred by the Government of Canada on behalf of the pension plans for the public service, the Canadian Armed Forces – Regular, the Canadian Armed Forces – Reserve (since its establishment on March 1, 2007), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
There is an established and merit-based process for nominating members to the Board of Directors of the PSPIB. Pursuant to the Public Sector Pension Investment Board Act, the President of the Treasury Board is responsible for establishing a nominating committee whose mandate is to establish a list of qualified candidates for proposed appointment as a director of the board of the PSPIB. The Chairperson is appointed by the President of the Treasury Board after they have consulted with the Ministers of National Defence and Public Safety. Upon recommendation of qualified candidates by the nominating committee, the President of Treasury Board will make a recommendation for appointment to the Governor in Council.
The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat does not recommend the appointees to the PSPIB board of directors to the President; however, it serves as secretariat to the nominating committee for the PSPIB. Qualified candidates are recommended to the President by this nominating committee.
Through its portfolio of partnerships, Revera Inc. owns or operates hundreds of senior living properties across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, offering seniors’ apartments, independent living, assisted living, memory care, and long-term care.
In January 2022, Revera announced an agreement for AgeCare to assume the operations of 14 of Revera’s long-term care homes in Alberta and British Columbia, and to acquire Revera’s ownership share in the 13 long-term care homes where Revera is in a joint venture with Axium Infrastructure.
In March 2022, Revera entered into an agreement for Extendicare to acquire 15% of Revera’s interest in 18 long-term care homes in Ontario and six in Manitoba, and to take over operations in all 32 remaining Revera long-term care homes in those provinces. The remaining 85% interest will continue to be owned by an affiliate of Axium Infrastructure.
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