President of the Treasury Board appearance before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates - Supplementary Estimates (C) 2021-22 on March 1, 2022
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On this page
Overview of Supplementary Estimates (C), 2021–22
In this section
Additional spending presented in Supplementary Estimates (C), 2021–22
- 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.
- These Supplementary Estimates (C), 2021–22 present a total of $17.1 billion in incremental budgetary spending, which reflects $13.2 billion to be voted through the related appropriation bill and $3.9 billion in forecast statutory expenditures.
- These planned expenditures support a variety of government priorities, including addressing the impacts of climate change, investments in infrastructure and services to address the specific needs of Indigenous communities, and the Government’s ongoing response to the COVID‑19 pandemic.
The Supplementary Estimates (C), 2021–22 present a total of $17.1 billion in incremental budgetary spending and a decrease of $399.8 million in non-budgetary expenditures.
The $17.1 billion of budgetary expenditures includes $13.2 billion in voted expenditures for Parliament’s approval and a $3.9 billion increase in forecast statutory expenditures.
Most of the $13.2 billion in voted budgetary spending is to:
- combat COVID‑19, including for procurement of rapid tests, vaccines and therapeutics;
- address the impacts of climate change;
- support housing, education, water treatment, health services and emergency response activities for Indigenous Canadians and their communities;
- fund housing and infrastructure projects; and
- support military operations and personnel.
Roughly $6.9 billion (53%) of the voted requirements relate to the Government’s response to the COVID‑19 pandemic.
These Estimates show, for information purposes, changes in planned statutory expenditures. The increase of $3.9 billion in budgetary statutory expenditures is mainly due to:
- the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit ($2.4 billion);
- an increase in interest on unmatured debt ($1.6 billion);
- payments to provinces and territories pursuant to the proposed Economic and Fiscal Update Implementation Act, 2021 for proof-of-vaccination initiatives ($300.0 million) and ventilation improvement projects in schools ($100.0 million);
- an increase to Canada Student Grants ($209.1 million); and
- the updated forecast from the Economic and Fiscal Update 2021 for Old Age Security ($406.6 million decrease) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement ($419.6 million decrease).
The Supplementary Estimates (C), 2021–22 also present a $399.8 million decrease in statutory loans, investments, and advances, mainly due to:
- an increase related to the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility ($320.0 million) which provides short-term loans to large employers affected by the pandemic; and
- an updated forecast for student and apprenticeship loans ($719.8 million decrease).
In this section
- Emergency measures related to the pandemic (Health Canada & Public Health Agency of Canada)
- Funding to help developing countries address the impact of climate change (Global Affairs Canada)
- Funding for the P3 Canada Fund (Infrastructure Canada)
1. Emergency measures related to the pandemic (Health Canada & Public Health Agency of Canada)
Combined, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada are requesting approximately $6.8 billion in funding in Supplementary Estimates (C), 2021-22, of which, $6.7 billion is directly linked to the COVID‑19 pandemic response.
- The health, safety and well-being of all Canadians are of the utmost importance to the Government.
- Approximately $6.7 billion of proposed voted spending in Supplementary Estimates (C) is for the Government’s ongoing response to the COVID‑19 pandemic.
- This amount includes $4.0 billion for the procurement of rapid test kits to meet increased demand in provinces and territories as well as $1.0 billion for additional therapeutics to treat COVID‑19, and $1.0 billion to support emergency measures related to the pandemic.
- Supplementary Estimates (C) also include other COVID‑19 response activities, such as mental health services, contact tracing and data management.
The items with the largest funding requirements in Supplementary Estimates (C), 2021-22 support Health Canada (HC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) in their response to the pandemic:
- $4 billion for procurement of additional rapid test kits (HC: $3.2 billion, PHAC: $750 million);
- $1 billion for procurement of additional therapeutics (PHAC);
- $1 billion to support various emergency measures related to the pandemic (HC: $500 million, PHAC: $500 million); and
- $687 million for procurement of vaccine and personal protective equipment (PHAC).
There are also smaller amounts in Supplementary Estimates (C), 2021-22 related to other COVID‑19 response activities, such as mental health services, proof of vaccination credentials, contact tracing and data management.
In addition, other organisations are requesting $235M in voted funding related to the COVID‑19 response.
The Government of Canada has committed to support provinces and territories through the pandemic, with the procurement and distribution of COVID‑19 rapid tests being one of the support mechanisms. With the spread of the omicron variant, demand for rapid tests has grown, causing existing inventories to deplete at a faster rate than predicted. Supplementary Estimates (C), 2021-22 includes new funding of approximately $4.0 billion to support the procurement of COVID‑19 Rapid Self-Testing Kits to meet requirements identified by provinces, territories and employers.
Health Canada has received an allocation of $646 million from Treasury Board Vote 5 to meet urgent cashflow needs related to this procurement. The $646 million will be reimbursed by Health Canada this fiscal year.
Several potential treatments for COVID‑19, including oral antivirals, are undergoing various stages of development and study, and global demand is competitive. Access to effective treatments for infected individuals could reduce the severity of COVID‑19 for individuals and reduce the strain on the healthcare system. Supplementary Estimates (C), 2021-22 includes new funding of $1 billion specifically for therapeutics. In addition, the $500 million identified for emergency measures will serve as a contingency fund and may be used for the purchase of additional treatments. Funding may also be used to exercise options under advanced purchase agreements, as well as funding for secondary costs associated with storage, distribution, and deployment logistics. Procurement of pharmaceutical products in short supply, such as PAXLOVID and molnupiravir, are done by the Government of Canada under the authorities of the Minister of Health. Treatments procured will support provincial and territorial healthcare systems.
The $1 billion in Supplementary Estimates (C), 2021-22 is to account for a wide range of possible needs, including contracting, staffing or acquisition of assets needed to respond to the pandemic. As noted above, PHAC’s $500 million may be used for additional therapeutics.
Supplies of COVID‑19 vaccines continue to be required for booster shots, as well as for those not fully vaccinated. Supplementary Estimates (C) includes $687 million to support acquisition of additional COVID‑19 vaccines and development of second-generation vaccines against variants of concern. To ensure COVID‑19 vaccines continue to be available, the federal government has entered an advanced purchase agreement with Pfizer Canada.
2. Funding to help developing countries address the impact of climate change (Global Affairs Canada)
Global Affairs Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada are requesting $653.7 million to help developing countries address the impact of climate change in the Supplementary Estimates (C), 2021-22.
- Canada recognizes that climate change is a global challenge that requires global solutions.
- Funding in these Estimates will increase support to developing countries to transition towards low-carbon, climate-resilient, nature-positive economies, in support of the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
- The Government will continue to identify and seize opportunities with Canadians and countries around the world to mitigate, and adapt to, climate change.
As part of its 2015 Paris Agreement’s commitment, Canada provided $2.65 billion in climate finance between 2016 and 2021 to support climate actions in developing countries.
In June 2021, the Prime Minister announced that Canada would contribute an additional $5.3 billion over the next five years to continue supporting climate actions and reduce biodiversity loss in developing countries.
Funding in these Estimates will scale-up support to developing countries to transition towards low-carbon, climate-resilient, nature-positive economies, in support of the goals of the Paris Agreement. Departments will also receive operating funds to increase their capacity to deliver Canada’s new climate finance commitment.
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) will continue to focus its support on climate governance (i.e., building the capacity of developing countries’ institutions to implement their climate change plans), and on initiatives that develop policy, gather data and build capacity for clean energy and the phase out of coal use in energy production. In support of clean energy transition and coal phase out, ECCC will support international efforts such as the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program and other initiatives led by the International Energy Agency [This information has been redacted]. To support sustainable biodiversity and ecosystems, ECCC will support initiatives such as the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance and the Global Fund for Coral Reefs, which promote sustainable use of ocean resources, coastal resilience and coral reef conservation.
Global Affairs Canada’s (GAC) programming under Canada’s $5.3 billion commitment to climate finance will build on the work from Canada’s previous programming to help developing countries to transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient, sustainable economies by:
- Supporting climate financing initiatives that recognize the role and impact of the most marginalized and vulnerable people (such as women, girls, Indigenous peoples, local grass roots organizations, local communities) affected by climate change and biodiversity loss and include their involvement in mitigation and adaptation initiatives.
- Tackling climate change and biodiversity loss in an integrated manner by applying a nature positive screen to all programming to ensure projects not only do no harm to the environment, but also contribute to positive environmental and biodiversity outcomes.
- Collaborating with a range of international organization partners, including developing country governments, non-governmental organizations in Canada and around the world, multilateral organizations, and dedicated climate funds and financial mechanisms, such as the Green Climate Fund, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the Global Environmental Facility.
To further support the global community’s efforts to phase out coal-fired electricity, the Prime Minister also announced in November 2021 up to $1 billion for the Climate Investment Funds Accelerated Coal Transition Investment Program, to help developing countries transition from coal-fired electricity to clean power as quickly as possible. The program is a multi-donor initiative that will provide financing for public-sector led investments to help developing countries transition away from coal-fired electricity to clean energy. The Philippines, Indonesia, South Africa, and India have already been selected for the first phase of the program. GAC will negotiate and oversee Canada’s participation in the program.
3. Funding for the P3 Canada Fund (Infrastructure Canada)
The Office of Infrastructure of Canada is requesting $349.3 million for the P3 Canada Fund in the Supplementary Estimates (C), 2021-22.
- The Government is committed to developing infrastructure while ensuring sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
- The $349.3 million of proposed expenditures in Supplementary Estimates (C) will support the delivery of the remaining approved ongoing projects that Canada has legally committed to under the P3 Canada Fund.
- The P3 Canada Fund was established in 2009 for federal investments in provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous communities’ infrastructure.
- PPP Canada Inc. was a federal Crown corporation established in 2008 to build public-private partnership (P3) procurement knowledge and capacity federally, and leverage greater value for money from federal investments in provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous communities infrastructure through the P3 Canada Fund.
- In 2017–18, the Government of Canada determined that PPP Canada successfully fulfilled its mandate to improve the delivery of public infrastructure and to develop a strong P3 market in Canada. PPP Canada Inc. wound down its operations and was dissolved effective March 31, 2018.
- Following the dissolution of PPP Canada, the Office of Infrastructure of Canada took over the legal responsibility to continue managing 24 existing P3 agreements that were not yet fulfilled.
- This request relates to reprofiled funds that will support the delivery of the remaining approved ongoing projects that Canada has legally committed to under the P3 Canada Fund. The need for a reprofile is attributed to deferred project cost claims and adjustment of construction schedule as well as ensuring appropriate funding is available upon completion of remaining projects.
- The P3 projects for which the reprofiled funds are being requested:
- the Agence métropolitaine de transport Pointe-Sainte-Charles Maintenance Project, Montreal;
- Edmonton Light Rail Transit; and
- the Tlicho All Season Road in the Northwest Territories.
In this section
- Compensation Adjustments (Treasury Board Vote 15)
- Paylist Requirements (Treasury Board Vote 30)
- Access to Information Review and Action Plan
- Class action settlement
- Centre of Expertise for Real Property
- Federal procurement from Indigenous-led businesses (horizontal item)
4. Compensation Adjustments (Treasury Board Vote 15)
The Treasury Board Secretariat is requesting $206 million for compensation adjustments in the Supplementary Estimates (C), 2021-22.
- The Government of Canada respects the collective bargaining process and negotiates with unions to reach agreements that are fair to employees and to taxpayers.
- These Estimates reflect the collective agreement recently reached with the FB group at the Canada Border Services Agency.
- The government remains committed to bargaining in good faith at all tables.
Treasury Board Vote 15, Compensation Adjustments, is a centrally managed vote that supports the role of the Treasury Board as the employer of the federal government.
This funding is used to compensate appropriated organizations for salary adjustments arising from negotiated collective bargaining agreements and other changes to the terms and conditions of employment of the public administration.
As the employer, Treasury Board requests funding for all organizations under its purview.
When Parliament approves the appropriation act for these Supplementary Estimates, funds will be distributed from Treasury Board Vote 15 to applicable organizations, and the details will be reported online.
The funding in these Supplementary Estimates will cover agreements signed and other adjustments made between August 7, 2021, and November 16, 2021, including:
- $194.7 million for one recently concluded collective agreement for the Border Services Group (FB) represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).
- $9.8 million to compensate employees for the extended implementation timeframes of collective agreements during the 2018 round of collective bargaining.
- $1.4 million for temporary recruitment and retention incentives for compensation advisors.
5. Paylist Requirements (Treasury Board Vote 30)
The Treasury Board Secretariat is requesting $200 million for paylist requirements in the Supplementary Estimates (C), 2021-22.
- The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring accountability and transparency in the use of public funds.
- Treasury Board Central Votes help the Government address pressing issues and responsibly implement needed programs and services.
- The funding in these Estimates will provide the Government with additional capacity to reimburse organizations for eligible paylist expenditures such as parental allowances and severance pay, as well as compensation pertaining to collective agreements which may be ratified by March 31, 2022.
Treasury Board Vote 30, Paylist Requirements, is a centrally managed vote that supports the role of the Treasury Board as the employer of the federal government.
This central vote can be used to reimburse organizations for eligible costs associated with maternity and parental allowances, as well as severance pay. This central vote can also be used to reimburse organizations for collective agreements and other compensation adjustments finalized between the Supplementary Estimates (C) and the end of the current fiscal year.
Eligible expenditures are reimbursed through a direct transfer to departmental appropriations during the fiscal year in which costs are incurred. The details of these transfers will be reported online.
This funding will provide the Government with additional capacity to reimburse organizations for eligible paylist expenditures such as parental allowances and severance pay, as well as compensation pressures pertaining to collective agreements which may be ratified by March 31, 2022.
6. Access to Information Review and Action Plan
How much is TBS seeking in the 2021-22 Supplementary Estimates (C) for Access to Information Review and Action Plan?
- Access to information should continue to reflect today’s digital world and Canadians’ expectations for accessible, timely, and trustworthy information.
- Our government has made important progress with the changes brought by Bill C-58.
- Budget 2021 committed $14.2 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to support further improvements to access to information, including the proactive release of information to Canadians, and the Access to Information Act review.
- Of this $14.2M, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) is seeking parliamentary approval to use $5.5 million of these funds for 2021-22.
TBS will be seeking parliamentary approval to increase its Vote 1, Program expenditures authorities in 2021–22 by $5.5 million for the Access to Information Review and Action Plan (Budget 2021).
In 2015, the government committed to modernizing the Access to Information Act (ATIA) in two phases, starting with targeted changes through Bill C-58, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act (Phase I), followed by a full comprehensive review (Phase II).
In Budget 2021, the government announced $14.2 million, on a cash basis, starting in 2021–22, to improve service delivery in the Access to Information program, as well as to fulfill the legislative obligation to review the ATIA.
This funding will be used for Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) program improvements to improve the existing Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Online Request Service; accelerate proactive release of information to Canadians through the Open Government Portal; and enhance performance monitoring and reporting.
Additional priorities for action include the launch of a Community Development Office to support external recruitment activities; as well as training and professional development for the GC-wide Access to Information and Privacy communities; extending the retention of ATI request summaries online beyond two years; establishing contracting vehicles for a new ATIP Request processing software; and establishing a new Standard for Systems that Manage Information and Data.
This funding will also support the Access to Information Review to undertake a comprehensive review of access to information, including the ATIA, proactive publication, and the systems and processes of the ATI regime, with a broad engagement process in respect of the President of the Treasury Board’s legislative requirement.
An interim What We Heard Report on public engagement to date is available via the Review website.
TBS is also taking the time required to fully understand access to information issues in the context of the government’s broader commitment to Reconciliation. TBS is committed to listening to Indigenous peoples and organizations prior to bringing forward a report on this legislative review.
In 2022, the Government will publish a What We Heard Report, which will include Indigenous perspectives on how to improve access to information, and a Final Report on the Access to Information Review which will be tabled by the President in Parliament.
7. Class action settlement
How much is TBS seeking in the 2021-22 Supplementary Estimates (C) for the White Class Action settlement agreement?
- The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that accountability and transparency underpin its use of public funds.
- The use Vote 1, Program expenditures authorities helps the Government address pressing issues and responsibly implement needed programs and services.
- TBS will be seeking parliamentary approval to increase its Vote 1, Program expenditures authorities in 2021–22 by $2.8 million.
- These expenditures are required to meet the government’s obligations under the court-ordered White Class Action settlement agreement and to ensure that settlement payments are not interrupted.
TBS will be seeking parliamentary approval to increase its Vote 1, Program expenditures authorities in 2021–22 by $2.8 million to settle claims arising from the White Class Action settlement agreement (reprofile).
The White Class Action settlement agreement allows discharged members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to be reimbursed as a result of being disadvantaged because their long-term disability benefits were reduced by the disability benefits received under the Pension Act. Of the $97.4 million in total funding received to date since April 2014, $94.6 million has been advanced to Canada Life (formerly Great-West Life), the insurer of the RCMP long-term disability plan, to settle eligible claims.
The reprofile of funds from 2020-21 to 2021-22 was necessary to meet the government’s obligations under the court-ordered settlement and to ensure that settlement payments are not interrupted.
8. Centre of Expertise for Real Property
How much is TBS seeking in the 2021-22 Supplementary Estimates (C) for Centre of Expertise for Real Property?
- The Government of Canada is committed to the effective management of its real property portfolio to align resources with Government priorities.
- Through Supplementary Estimates (C) 2021-22, TBS is seeking parliamentary approval of $1 million in Vote 1, Program expenditures authorities, to establish a Centre of Expertise for Real Property to improve federal real property management.
- The Centre of Expertise will implement recommendations from the Government’s Horizontal Fixed Asset Review that was completed in 2021, and support departments in responding to real property changes resulting from the COVID‑19 pandemic.
TBS will be seeking parliamentary approval to increase its Vote 1, Program expenditures authorities in 2021–22 by $1.0 million to establish the Centre of Expertise for Real Property to improve federal asset management (Budget 2021).
This funding will be used to implement some of the recommendations from the Horizontal Fixed Asset Review, including the establishment of a real property centre of expertise and helping departments respond to real property use changes resulting from the COVID‑19 pandemic.
The pandemic and the increased use of technology provides the government an opportunity to create a flexible and right-sized real estate portfolio for the future. It also presents an opportunity to re-envision the government’s portfolio to achieve broader government objectives such as protecting the environment and stimulating the economy.
The centre of expertise will support portfolio management by providing advice on real property solutions to support program and service delivery, and achieve value for money. It will also establish and support a new Deputy Minister Real Property Committee, and establish and implement an enhanced accountability framework for real property.
9. Federal procurement from Indigenous-led businesses (horizontal item)
How much is TBS seeking in the 2021-22 Supplementary Estimates (C) for federal procurement from Indigenous-led businesses (horizontal item)?
- The Government of Canada is committed to working towards reconciliation and creating more opportunities for Indigenous businesses through the federal procurement process.
- Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) is seeking parliamentary approval to increase its Vote 1, Program expenditures authorities in 2021–22 by $258,000 to support the commitment that a minimum of 5% of the total value of federal contracts are awarded to Indigenous businesses.
- TBS is developing policy guidance and training as well as establishing reporting requirements to ensure this commitment is met.
- The Government will also continue to work with Indigenous partners in the development of a more transformative Indigenous procurement strategy to ensure sustained effort and outcomes for Indigenous business.
TBS will be seeking parliamentary approval to increase its Vote 1, Program expenditures authorities in 2021–22 by $0.25 million to increase federal procurement from Indigenous-led businesses (horizontal item).
The Minister of Indigenous Services, the President of the Treasury Board, and the Minister of Public Services and Procurement are working together to implement a phased-in mandatory government-wide approach to Indigenous procurement. This includes the following changes to the Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Business:
- broadening the definition of “Indigenous business” and expanding the size and number of geographic areas where procurements are limited to Indigenous businesses;
- setting a government-wide mandatory target of at least 5% of the value of federal contracts for Indigenous procurement;
- implementing a mandatory public reporting framework; and
- continuing engagement with Indigenous partners to develop a longer-term transformative approach to Indigenous procurement.
This funding will be used by TBS in its role of setting the administrative procurement policy framework for increasing Indigenous procurement in the near-term and engaging with Indigenous partners to develop a transformative approach for the long-term.
In this section
- Financial Reporting and Transparency / Reporting on COVID‑19 Expenditures
- Role of Treasury Board in granting spending authorities
- Cash Management by Departments
- TBS 2020-21 Departmental Results Report
10. Financial Reporting and Transparency / Reporting on COVID‑19 Expenditures
Government reporting on planned and actual spending, and recent comments on the tabling of Public Accounts and the Departmental Results Reports for 2020–21.
- Openness, transparency and accountability are guiding principles for financial reporting in the Government of Canada.
- The Estimates documents, as well as reporting mechanisms such as Departmental Results Reports, Quarterly Financial Reports, and the Public Accounts ensure Parliamentarians and Canadians have details on the government’s spending.
- These reporting mechanisms are in addition to the latest financial information--including planned spending authorities and estimated expenditures, for COVID‑19 response measures--which is publicly available on GC InfoBase and Open Government.
- Demonstrating the high quality of the Government of Canada’s financial reporting, the Auditor General has, for the past 23 years, provided an unmodified opinion on government financial statements, which are prepared according to independently established, Canadian public sector accounting standards.
The Government actively supports Parliament’s scrutiny of the use of public funds by producing and sharing a wide range of financial information and reports throughout the year.
Before introducing the first appropriation bill of the fiscal year, the Government tables a Main Estimates, which presents Parliament with information on planned spending. Additional funding requirements during the fiscal year are presented in Supplementary Estimates.
The Government also tables the Departmental Plans of individual organizations, at the same time as the Main Estimates or soon afterwards, presenting the results expected over the next three years.
The Estimates documents include information on planned spending, which is approved by Parliament either through an appropriation bill or through separate legislation. They also show how departments will spend their funding on various categories of goods and services (standard objects), and by program or purpose.
The Government reports actual spending during the fiscal year through the Fiscal Monitor, a report prepared by Finance Canada that consolidates financial results monthly.
After the end of the year, financial and program results are published in the Public Accounts and in individual Departmental Results Reports.
Ministers and departmental officials appear regularly before standing committees, to support parliament’s scrutiny of government spending by answering questions and providing supplemental information.
Due to the unprecedented levels of spending in response to the pandemic, Parliament has been provided with information beyond what is normally prepared.
Additional reporting has been provided in Main and Supplementary Estimates, most recently Supplementary Estimates (C), 2021–22, including:
- A summary of financial authorities under COVID‑19 related legislation; and
- A COVID‑19 online annex which reconciles the amounts shown in Estimates with the expenditures announced in the COVID‑19 Economic Response Plan.
Information on COVID‑19 authorities by response measure is available on GC InfoBase. It will continue to be updated regularly, providing Canadians with an easy-to-use, government-wide view of spending in response to COVID‑19.
The Government has also made an additional, exceptional effort to collect information on the use of these spending authorities. This information is available on GC InfoBase and the Open Government portal. Estimated expenditures presented online only include the cash payments that have been made to suppliers for goods and services or to grants and contributions recipients and do not represent the implementation status or results achieved for a measure. Federal organizations are best placed to speak to the overall implementation status of their measures.
Tabling of Public Accounts and Departmental Results Reports
The Public Accounts of Canada 2021 was tabled in the House of Commons on December 14, 2021. The Departmental Results Reports were tabled on February 1, 2022.
In his report “Economic and Fiscal Update 2021: Issues for Parliamentarians”, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) remarked that:
- this was the latest publication of Public Accounts since 1993-94
- Canada was among the last of G7 countries to publish their financial accounts for the 2020-21 fiscal year, even when factoring in the differences in fiscal year closing dates
- the delay in the Government’s release of its audited financial statements undermined parliamentarians’ ability to meaningfully scrutinize proposed Government spending (Parliament was considering Supplementary Estimates (B) in November and early December).
The PBO recommended that Parliament consider legislative amendments to require tabling of the Government’s financial statements and release of the Departmental Results Reports no later than September 30. Also, in cases where Parliament is not sitting during the fall, permit the Government to release audited Public Accounts prior to their tabling in the House of Commons.
The Public Accounts of Canada 2021 were tabled in Parliament on December 14, 2021. Under the Financial Administration Act, the President of the Treasury Board must table the Public Accounts by December 31. Over more than the last decade, in cases of a fall election, Public Accounts have been tabled in December.
The Government of Canada is committed to transparency and responsible financial management and oversight.
A Federal Court decision on September 29, 2021, altered the estimated contingent liability that was reported in the original completed September 9 financial statements, part of the Public Accounts.
The government considered the impact of the court ruling and concluded that the change in estimated liability warranted an adjustment, and the Financial Statements were revised accordingly to include the impact of the court ruling.
This revision is aligned with best practice, as well as Public Sector Accounting Standards and Canadian Auditing Standards. In fact, Standards require the Auditor to consider facts up to the time that the financial statements are issued.
The Auditor General then audited the revised estimated contingent liability, dual dated her audit report date to reflect the extension of her audit and maintained the unmodified opinion on the government’s financial statements.
The transmittal letter was signed by the President of the Treasury Board on November 29, 2021 in anticipation that the Public Accounts 2021 would be tabled as soon as the necessary adjustments were made to the government’s financial statements in response to the September 29, 2021 court decision, explained in Note 22Footnote 1 in the Public Accounts 2021, followed by the required printing of the books. The earliest possible week was therefore the week of December 12.
Main and Supplementary Estimates are prepared and tabled independently of the Public Accounts of Canada and the Departmental Results Reports (there is no set order for tabling).
Parliament receives information on actual expenditures prior to tabling of Public Accounts and the Departmental Results Reports. 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
There is no legal deadline for the tabling of the Departmental Results Reports.
The President of the Treasury Board is responsible for securing a date for tabling these reports in Parliament, on behalf of the government. The reports are tabled concurrently in the House of Commons and the Senate. These reports are ordinarily tabled soon after the Public Accounts in the fall, and before the Departmental Plans for the coming fiscal year (tabled by convention before the start of the fiscal year).
Tabling timelines necessarily take into account the time needed for new ministers to review and approve the reports for their portfolios, and as well as the House of Commons calendar, in which there is typically a limited window for tabling in the late and early parts of the calendar year.
11. Role of Treasury Board in granting spending authorities
Does Treasury Board approve all 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.
- 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 the program parameters set out in departmental submissions, including 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, more complete information, including the ultimate recipients of competitive contracts, 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 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.
12. Cash Management by Departments
How can Departments implement new program spending while waiting for Parliament’s approval of funding?
- The Government respects the principle of Parliamentary authority over the spending of public money. The government cannot and does not make payments without Parliamentary approval.
- Departments have received funding for 2021-22 through the appropriation acts for Main Estimates and Supplementary Estimates (A) and (B).
- Where departments have the legal authority to make payments, they may use funding which has already been approved to do so. In this way, departments use available funds for the highest priority expenditures.
- In addition, the Financial Administration Act allows departments to make financial commitments – such as signing contracts and contribution agreements – against funds set out in an Estimates that has been tabled in Parliament. This allows departments to be ready to make payments soon after the appropriation act receives Royal Assent.
The Financial Administration Act provides a legal basis for organizations to risk manage spending authorities proposed in Main and Supplementary Estimates. Specifically, section 32 allows organizations to make financial commitments, including commitments for items “included in Estimates then before the House of Commons to which the payment will relate.”
These commitments are conditional upon approval of supply from Parliament.
Departments can also use previously appropriated funds to make time-sensitive and high priority payments. Funding approved in appropriation acts can be spent under the terms set out in the wording for that particular vote or votes – the acts do not limit spending to a particular program or initiative. As long as the expenditures for a new program are a legal charge to a vote, previously approved funding may be used.
It’s normal practice for departments to prioritize expenditures and employ cash management strategies to allow them to fulfill their obligations while awaiting supply.
Not all payments for the 2021–22 fiscal year need to be made by March 31, 2022. Through the payables-at-year-end (PAYE) process, departments recognize the expenditures for goods and services received and transfer payments for which the necessary conditions are met by March 31, even if the payment is not issued until April or later.
13. TBS 2020-21 Departmental Results Report
Key results reported in the TBS 2020-21 Departmental Results Report.
- The government is committed to strengthening the oversight of spending and to improving the clarity and consistency of reporting, ensuring Canadians and parliamentarians can better monitor the planning, spending and results achieved by their government.
- The annual Department Results Reports outline what departments and agencies set out to achieve in their Departmental Plans. It also measures progress made over the year and how resources were used to achieve results.
- TBS will work with departments to address areas where results did not meet performance targets.
- Data on targets for which data was not available at the time of publication will be published in TBS’s upcoming Departmental Plan.
The TBS 2020-2021 Departmental Plan outlined 11 departmental results with progress measured against those results through 28 performance indicators. All of those indicators have targets.
The 2020-2021 Departmental Results Report reports that:
- 13 of these indicators met their target (for example, indicators related to employee wellness and regulatory oversight).
- 4 were on track to meet their targets which are linked to dates after March 31, 2021 (for example, indicators related to the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions).
- 7 did not meet their target (for example, indicators related to service delivery and the clarity of reporting on government spending). TBS will work with departments to address these areas that are lagging – See Annex for details.
- 4 had targets for which data was not available at the time of publication (these are indicators related to employment equity targets). This data will be published in TBS’s upcoming Departmental Plan. Results for these employment equity related targets were not available in time for publishing and are included in TBS’ Departmental Plan 2022-23.
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s (TBS) total actual spending was $3,230.8 million and its total actual full-time equivalents was 2,330:
- $340.8 million (11%) TBS Vote 1, Program expenditures
- $2,890.0 million (89%) TBS Vote 20, Public Service Insurance, for which TBS is responsible as the employer of the core public administration
The variance between the 2020-21 planned spending of $6,035.7 million and the actual spending of $3,230.8 million in relation to TBS core responsibilities is mainly attributable to a significant decrease in Spending Oversight and offset slightly with a moderate increase in Employer.
The Spending Oversight core responsibility spending decreased due to the way Government-Wide Funds are transferred between TBS and other government organizations. Each year, TBS includes funding in its reference level to be transferred to government organizations once specific criteria are met. If they are not needed, the unused balance is returned to the fiscal framework at the end of the fiscal year. TBS does not incur any actual spending under Government-Wide Funds.
The Employer core responsibility spending increased as a result of funding for Public Service Employer Payments announced in 2020–21. This provided ongoing required incremental funding for the public service insurance plans and for the Disability Insurance Plan for the public service.
Annex: Departmental Results Indicators – Explanations of Missed Targets
|Departmental results||Performance indicators||Target||Date to achieve target||2018–19 Actual results||2019–20 Actual results||2020-21 Actual results||Explanation if lower or not met|
|Reporting on government spending is clear||Degree to which visitors to online departmental planning and reporting documents found the information useful (on a scale of 1 to 5)||Average rating 3.5 out of 5||March 2021||Average rating:
3.3 out of 5
|3.8||3.3||TBS will work with departments to make Departmental Plans Departmental Results Reports more useful based on readers’ feedback.|
|Departmental results||Performance indicators||Target||Date to achieve target||2018–19 Actual results||2019–20 Actual results||2020-21 Actual results||Explanation if lower or not met|
|Canadians have timely access to government information||Number of new datasets available to the public||At least 2,000 (new neo-geo-spatial datasets)||March 2021||3,168 new datasets published
(11,340 total non‑geospatial datasets available in 2018–19 on open.canada.ca)
|Published 1,258 new records (non-spatial) on the portal for 2019–20||1,613||The 2020–21 result is below the 2020–21 target of at least 2,000 but above the 2021–22 target of at least 1,000. TBS set a lower target for the current year because it wants to focus on the quality and usefulness of the data rather than on volume.|
|Percentage of access to information requests responded to within legislated timelines||At least 90%||March 2021||73%||67%||69%||Of the access to information requests that institutions responded to in 2020–21, 70% were responded to within legislated timelines, up from 67% in 2019–20. About half of the institutions that responded to access to information requests met this target (69 out of 140, or 49.3%). Seventy-one institutions did not meet the target, mainly because of restrictions and workload pressures stemming from the COVID‑19 pandemic. TBS is working with the institutions that did not meet the targets to help determine how to improve their performance.|
|Percentage of personal information requests responded to within legislated timelines||At least 85%||March 2021||77%||79%||63%||Of the personal information requests that institutions responded to in 2020–21, 63% were responded to within legislated timelines, down from 79% in 2019–20. About half of the institutions that responded to personal information requests met the target (50 out of 99, or 50.5%). Forty-nine institutions did not meet the target, mainly because of restrictions and workload pressures stemming from the COVID 19 pandemic. TBS is working with the institutions that did not meet the targets to help determine how to improve their performance.|
|Government service delivery is digitally enabled and meets the needs of Canadians||Percentage of Government of Canada websites that deliver digital services to citizens securely||100%||March 2021||N/A||57%||72%||To improve on the 2020–21 result, TBS will work with departments’ designated officials for cybersecurity to make government web sites more secure and to provide tools like the Security Playbook for Information System Solutions and patch management guidance in order to improve the delivery of secure and trusted digital services.|
|Percentage of Government of Canada priority services available online||At least 80%||March 2021||74%||69%||72%||To improve on the 2020–21 result, TBS will work with departments to identify more services that could be digitized and take steps to digitize them.|
|Percentage of priority services that meet service standards||At least 80%||March 2021||69%||70%||69%||To improve on the 2020–21 result, TBS will work with departments to increase the use of client feedback and user consultations to design and continuously improve government services.|
Public Servants, HR Management and Guidance
In this section
- Return to Occupancy
- Other Leave with Pay (699)
- Vaccines – Mandate and HR Guidance
- Mental Health in the Public Service
- Collective Bargaining
- Pay Equity
- Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the public service
- Official Languages in the Public Service
- Phoenix-related issues
14. Return to Occupancy
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.
- Organizations continue to align their plans with the current public health context, taking into consideration their respective operational needs and obligations.
- The Treasury Board Secretariat continues to work with Health Canada to monitor the evolving public health context and communicate any updates to guidance while we work with organizations to develop a sustainable roadmap for the future of work.
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.
As vaccination rates increase across Canada, it is expected that public health advice and public behaviour will continue to evolve accordingly. Further, as vaccinations become available internationally, certain sectors such as international travel are also expected to adapt current operating procedures which will impact various elements such as our border security, global affairs, health and food safety, and public safety program portfolios.
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 Public Service Occupational Health Program guidance allowed departments and agencies to begin gradually increasing occupancy and planning for re-entry into their workplaces.
In December, departments and agencies were asked to pause any planned increases to building occupancy, review current occupancy levels and consider increasing remote work, as required. Deputy heads continue to monitor and adapt to the public health context while planning for the future.
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, 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.
15. 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 changing circumstances of the pandemic; including Canada’s progress in vaccinating its population and in implementing effective public health measures.
- Effective November 15, of last year, ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ would only be 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, 2021strikes 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 relative decline in the Omicron variant and easing of COVID‑19 restrictions in almost all jurisdictions across Canada, it is anticipated that this provision will end shortly.
‘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. In the last months, based on data available up to October 31, 2021, there has been a significant and steady decline in usage.
16. 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.
- We asked more than a quarter million federal public servants in the Core Public Administration, including members and reservists of the RCMP to attest to their vaccination status.
- Almost all employees have now attested to being fully vaccinated and vaccination is now a condition of employment for the CPA.
- The few employees who have refused to attest or be fully vaccinated were placed on administrative leave without pay as early as November 15, 2021.
It is difficult to overstate the global impacts of COVID‑19, the infectious and potentially fatal disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 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 implemented a “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 Manager’s 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 not making these decisions on their own. They 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 February 7, 2022
Total Reported Attestations: 276,575
Fully Vaccinated: 98.2%
Partially Vaccinated: 0.4%
Accommodation Requests: 1.3%
 Taylor v Newfoundland and Labrador, 2020 NLSC 125 at para 1.
17. Mental Health in the Public Service
Status of mental health of public servants and related supports.
- COVID‑19 has had a major impact on mental health and a number of actions have been taken to support public servants, including improving health care resources and raising awareness to reduce mental health stigma.
- With tools like the Public Service Employee Survey, senior officials are improving the data on the mental health of employees to better understand where supports are needed.
- The focus now is on exploring options for improving mental health supports for public servants, with a particular focus on equity-seeking groups, including black public servants.
The President of the Treasury Board has a new mandate commitment to establish a mental health fund for Black public servants. This new mandate commitment 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.
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
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 to some new questions were also broadly positive:
- 70% of employees indicated senior managers were taking adequate steps to support their mental health during the pandemic;
- 84% of employees felt their department or agency was effectively communicating the mental health services and resources available to them; and,
- 69% of employees indicated they would feel comfortable sharing concerns about their mental health with their immediate supervisor.
- 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)
18. Collective Bargaining
The government’s negotiation of new collective agreements for public servants.
- The Government of Canada has concluded collective agreements covering approximately 99% of public servants for the 2018 round of bargaining.
- Negotiations with the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada are underway for the next 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.
To date, the government has reached 53 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 agreements include pattern economic increases over either three- or four-years, new provisions for caregiver 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. Negotiations are also ongoing between the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and three separate agencies: the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), the Statistics Survey Operations (SSO) and the Office of the Auditor General (OAG). The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the PSAC concluded a tentative agreement in December 2021 which is currently pending final ratification and approval.
In the context of the 2021-2022 round of collective bargaining, the following bargaining agents have filed notice to bargain:
- PSAC filed notice to bargain for four collective agreements that expired in 2021: Program and Administrative Services (PA), Technical Services (TC), Operational Services (SV) and Education and Library Sciences (EB). The parties exchanged bargaining proposals in June 2021 and participated in negotiations during the summer and fall of 2021 and winter 2022. Negotiations are scheduled to continue in the March.
- PIPSC filed notice to bargain for the Information Technology (IT) – formerly named the Computer Systems (CS) - agreement that expired in 2021. The parties began negotiations in February 2022.
- CAPE filed notice to bargain for the Translation (TR) agreement that expires in April 2022. The parties are scheduled to begin negotiations in March 2022.
- UNIFOR Local 2182 filed notice to bargain on February 9, 2022, for the Radio Operations (RO) agreement.
The PSAC also filed notice to bargain with five separate agency groups: Parks Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Canada Revenue Agency, the National Capital Commission and the Communications Security Establishment. Negotiations began in January at the Canada Revenue Agency and will begin in the coming weeks and months for the other separate agencies.
Core Public Administration – Ongoing Negotiations
In the context of the 2018 round of bargaining, negotiations with two remaining groups are underway:
- Exchange of non-monetary proposals for negotiations with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) for a first collective agreement for the RCMP Police Operations Support (PO) group took place on May 27, 2021, and negotiations are ongoing.
- Negotiations with the Canadian Merchants Service Guild (CMSG) for Ships’ Officers (SO) started in July 2021. The parties will proceed to mediation on March 1-3, 2022.
Separate Agencies – Ongoing Negotiations
In the context of the 2018 round of bargaining, the status of negotiations between the remaining three PSAC groups in the following separate agencies is as follows:
- Statistics Survey Operations (SSO): Negotiations with the PSAC are ongoing.
- Office of the Auditor General (OAG): The PSAC is in a legal strike position and has engaged in sporadic labour action. The OAG remains at the bargaining table and is prepared to continue negotiations to conclude a tentative agreement.
- Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI): Negotiations with the PSAC are ongoing.
19. Pay Equity
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 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.
20. 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.
- The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat launched a suite of initiatives, co-developed with equity-seeking employee networks, to support departments in improving diversity and inclusion.
- Major initiatives include the release of disaggregated data, the launch of the Mosaic Leadership Development Program, the Mentorship Plus Program, and executive talent management and recruitment.
- The Government also amended the Public Service Employment Act to address potential bias and barriers in staffing processes and is now in the process of reviewing and modernizing the Employment Equity Act.
- The Government’s Office of Public Service Accessibility is now implementing its strategy, Nothing Without Us—a roadmap for the public service to lead by example as an accessible and inclusive employer and service provider.
The work of building a representative public service is a concerted effort that must be taken across the enterprise, given that these responsibilities are held by many organizations with different areas of influence and control. To name a few:
- the Clerk sets out expectations and appoints deputy heads
- the Public Service Commission administers the Public Service Employment Act and delegates to Deputy Heads the authority to appoint public servants
- Treasury Board sets the policy frame for the core public administration, and sets terms and conditions of employment
- The Treasury Board Secretariat collects and researches data and supports senior executive talent management
- The Employment Equity Act sets the definition of designated employment equity groups for all federally regulated organizations.
The Federal Black Employee Caucus (FBEC) has advocated strongly for disaggregated data and initiatives to increase the Executive representation of Black employees. FBEC’s recommendations and the steps being taken in the public service are aligned with the recommendations of previous reports, such as the Many Voices, One Mind report on Indigenous representation and the Final Report from the Joint Union/Management Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion in the Public Service.
In the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the Government announced funding for the Centre on Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), launching in October 2020, after funding was announced in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement. 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
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. The 50-30 Challenge is another recently-launched external-facing initiative among the Government of Canada, business and diversity organizations. The goal of the program is to challenge Canadian organizations to increase the representation and inclusion of diverse groups within their workplace. The governor-in-council appointments for the public service take this into account.
21. Official Languages in the Public Service
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 legislation for bilingualism in the public service and communications and provision of services to the public.
- Canada’s two official languages are at the core of our history and our identity. Respecting official languages is not only an obligation but a Government priority.
- That’s why the Treasury Board Secretariat is working closely with Canadian Heritage, the Department of Justice and other departments to modernize the Official Languages Act and why we have committed to reintroduce the proposed legislation.
- We are committed to promoting official languages, strengthening bilingualism in the public service, providing services to Canadians in their language of choice, and ensuring that all federal institutions comply with the Official Languages Act and its related regulation, policies and directives.
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 in February 2021 released a document 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 reflects 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.
Bill C-32 proposed to strengthen and expand the powers of the Treasury Board to improve the compliance of federal institutions. Additional and permanent resources would be required to enable the Secretariat to fully assume new responsibilities.
The government is committed to re-tabling the bill. Key stakeholders have been following the modernization process since 2019 and expect the government to act quickly. Some of these stakeholders have responded to Bill C-32 by calling for adjustments to the government’s proposal.
Language competencies of organizational leaders
In recent months, the Commissioner of Official Languages has received a significant number of complaints about the unilingual (English) speeches of the CEO of Air Canada and the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The appointment of Marie Simon as Governor General, who is bilingual but not fluent in French, also generated some criticism, particularly about the language skills of organizational leaders. Governor-in-Council appointments – deputy heads as well as heads of Crown corporations and institutions under the Official Languages Act - are not, however, subject to bilingualism requirements.
22. Phoenix-related issues
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 a direct or indirect 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 claims processes were launched to allow those eligible to claim their entitlements.
- In December 2021, the last claims processes were launched marking an important milestone, as with all compensation elements of the damages agreements now implemented.
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.
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. As of September 2021, approximately $108.8 million is at risk from 2016.
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.
Values and Ethics
In this section
23. Conflict of Interest Safeguards
In June 2021, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics (ETHI) tabled its 2nd report, entitled: "Questions of Conflict of Interest and Lobbying in Relation to Pandemic Spending”. The report contained 23 recommendations, of which 12 related to the Conflict of Interest Act and other conflict of interest safeguards in Treasury Board policies. However, in December 2021 ETHI defeated a motion to restart a study on this issue.
- The Conflict of Interest Act is there to prevent conflicts between private interests and the duties of public office holders.
- The Government is committed to ensuring that federal public office holders carry out their duties with integrity and impartiality.
- We look forward to supporting 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, which 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.
The Conflict of Interest Act required a one-time statutory review by a parliamentary committee. In 2014, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI) completed the review of the Act. ETHI recommended some changes to the law, including expanding the Act’s definition of public office holder, clarifying certain provisions, and adjusting the administration of the Act. Later that year, a regulation was enacted to add new positions subject to the Act (e.g., Governor of the Bank of Canada).
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.
A provision is also included in the Directive on Transfer Payments, to ensure that no current or former public servant or public office holder can derive direct benefit from a funding agreement. Furthermore, no member of the Senate or the House of Commons shall be admitted to any share or part of the agreement, or to any benefit arising from it, that is not otherwise available to the general public.
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: the federal conflict of interest and lobbying regimes; accountability to Parliament; Government contribution agreements and contracts with the WE group; ensuring that processes for entering into contribution agreements or contracts are fair, transparent, and comply with the Official Languages Act; volunteer programs; and the use of new technologies that may have privacy implications.
Among these recommendations, ETHI recommended that “the Government of Canada conduct a comprehensive review of the Conflict of Interest Act”. 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 dissolution of Parliament on August 15, 2021 put an end to the requirement to respond to the ETHI report. At a meeting of ETHI in December 2021, a motion to restart a study on conflict of interest and lobbying related to pandemic spending was defeated.
24. The Lobbying Act
In June 2021, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI) recommended that the Government introduce legislative changes to the Lobbying Act. The Lobbying Act is required to be reviewed every five years and the last review was conducted in 2012. However, in December 2021 ETHI defeated a motion to restart a study on the Lobbying Act.
- 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.
- We welcome all opportunities to hear about how we can improve transparency and accountability in lobbying activities.
- We look forward to supporting Parliamentarians should they decide to conduct a full statutory review of the Lobbying Act and bring forward recommendations.
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 Lobbying Act is based on four key principles:
- Free and open access to government is an important matter of public interest.
- Lobbying public office holders is a legitimate activity.
- It is desirable that public office holders and the general public be able to know who is engaged in lobbying activities.
- The system of registration of paid lobbyists should not impede free and open access to government.
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.
The Lobbying Act requires a statutory review every five years by a parliamentary committee. In 2012, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI) completed the first statutory review of the Act. ETHI noted that the Act is generally working well in accordance with its objectives but recommended some changes to the law. These recommendations included changes to lobbyists’ returns, banning the receipt of gifts from lobbyists, and adding administrative monetary penalties to the Act. No changes to the Act were made.
Over the past year, a series of recommendations have been made to improve the Lobbying Act. First, in February 2021, the Lobbying Commissioner submitted 11 preliminary recommendations in response to a November 2020 request from ETHI. These were based on the experience of the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying administering the federal lobbying regime as well as the experience of provincial, territorial and municipal regimes.
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: the federal conflict of interest and lobbying regimes; accountability to Parliament; Government contribution agreements and contracts with the WE group; ensuring that processes for entering into contribution agreements or contracts are fair, transparent, and comply with the Official Languages Act; volunteer programs; and the use of new technologies that may have privacy implications.
Among these recommendations, ETHI recommended that “the Government of Canada introduce legislative changes to the Lobbying Act to give the Commissioner of Lobbying real powers to investigate, issue fines and impose lobbying bans to those who disregard the Act”. 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”.
The dissolution of Parliament on August 15, 2021, put an end to the requirement to respond to the ETHI report. At a meeting of ETHI in December 2021, a motion to restart a study on conflict of interest and lobbying related to pandemic spending was defeated.
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 June 2021 report issued by ETHI is not deemed a formal review of the Lobbying Act.
The President of the Treasury Board does not have a legislative requirement or authority to initiate this legislative review as required by the Act.
25. Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act Review
On February 17, 2021, the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates re-tabled a report that included recommendations for legislative amendments to the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act and requested that the government table a comprehensive response to the report. Parliament was dissolved prior to a government response being tabled.
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.
- 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 and will soon initiate a process to explore possible amendments to the Act.
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.
In February 2018, the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates adopted a motion to invite the President of the Treasury Board to provide a briefing on the progress made by the Government in implementing the recommendations made by the Committee in its statutory review of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.
On February 17, 2021, the Government Operations Committee adopted a motion by Conservative MP Kelly McCauley to readopt the 2017 report and request a government response. Parliament was dissolved prior to a government response being tabled, and the dissolution of Parliament means there is no longer a requirement for a response to be tabled. If a committee in the new Parliament readopts the same recommendations again and requests a response, this would trigger a new requirement for a response, and the Government would 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.
The Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer is leading the implementation of activities in support of these commitments. More generally, we have taken a number of actions to foster an environment where public servants feel safe and protected to come forward, including:
- conducting outreach and education activities to inform public servants about the disclosure of wrongdoing process and protection against acts of reprisal;
- establishing a Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace, helping implement the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace;
- establishing a Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, providing public servants with a platform for engaging with these issues and conducting research and analysis;
- 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 the Policy Suite Reset for the Policy on People Management and the Policy on the Management of Executives, which sets 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. It is intended that the review process will begin in the summer/Fall 2022.
Hot Issues for TBS
In this section
- GC Cyber Security Events - Government of Canada’s Roles and Responsibilities and Recent Events
- Digital Government
- Privacy and the Use of Data
- Access to Information and Transparency during COVID‑19
- Federal Procurement and Professional Services
- Revera – Public Sector Pension Investment Board
26. GC Cyber Security Events - Government of Canada’s Roles and Responsibilities and Recent Events
How is cyber security addressed in the Government of Canada, including cyber threats that may 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 2021 provided additional funding to the Secure Cloud Enablement and Defence Project to further improve the infrastructure, increase bandwidth, availability, and the resources to facilitate connectivity for departments.
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 government-wide decision-making. The Chief Information Officer of Canada sets Information Technology security policy along with other delegated powers.
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 CCCS as well as lessons learned since 2018 and was not related to the COVID‑19 pandemic.
The GC CSEMP is currently being updated to reflect improved privacy considerations, implications of managed service providers, and lessons learned from recent cyber vulnerabilities and incidents over the past year. As part of the continuous improvement and the overall cyber governance program, the plan is tested through tabletop exercises on a regular basis and as part of the update cycle.
Since 2020, the Government experienced a number of notable cyber security events: GCKey Credential Stuffing attack, SolarWinds supply chain compromise, the exploitation of MS Exchange critical vulnerabilities, a ransomware incident at a third-party printing service that has contracts with the GC, a vulnerability with MS Print Spooler, and a vulnerability with the Apache Log4j software library. These vulnerabilities and incidents are the result of threats faced by public and private sector organizations alike.
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.
27. Digital Government
Released in June 2021, Canada’s Digital Government Strategy outlines the Government’s priorities for digital government and provides a roadmap for implementation. The Government will continue to evolve existing priorities and establish new ones going forward. This work continues to underpin efforts across the Government to deliver secure, reliable and user-centric services and information to citizens, residents, visitors and businesses.
- The Government of Canada is committed to providing Canadians with the online service experience they expect in a digital age: secure, reliable and easy to access at any time, and from any device.
- We have a robust and modern strategy to deliver secure and efficient services to users – and we are taking the time required to ensure the right tools, systems, and people are in place to succeed.
- The work underway is built upon a strong policy framework and a set of digital principles–that include accessibility, information and data, cyber security, and user needs.
The Government of Canada is building a policy framework that supports government-wide digital transformation. This includes the Government of Canada Digital Standards, as well as the Policy on Service and Digital, which took effect April 1, 2020. This policy suite establishes a set of rules that will guide how the Government manages service delivery, accessibility, information and data, information technology, and cyber security to deliver better, user-centric services in the digital era. The policy framework will also guide work to replace or modernize the applications which support the delivery of services (currently, only 36% of Government applications are considered healthy).
The Government also announced its updated Digital Standards Playbook that establishes how all public servants should work differently in the digital age. This includes ensuring that services, programs and operations are user-centric, that they are accessible, secure and respect privacy, and that the Government leverages digital technologies and methods to deliver the high-quality citizen services Canadians expect. The Standards were recently updated with further guidance on how departments and agencies can fully integrate the Standards into their work.
This policy suite also includes responsibly and ethically leveraging artificial intelligence in service delivery. The Government ’s world-leading Directive on Automated Decision-Making and Algorithmic Impact Assessment tool supports the responsible, human rights-based use of automated decision-making systems by helping departments and agencies assess and mitigate any associated impacts. The Government has also created an artificial intelligence source list to support departments and agencies in procuring ethical and effective artificial intelligence solutions, services and products that enable improved, digital-age public services.
The Canadian Digital Service delivers a variety of digital government initiatives. GC Notify, a platform product, allows departments to quickly and easily send emails and text messages to service users. To date, 172 services have sent over 22.4 million notifications through GC Notify. COVID Alert is Canada’s free COVID‑19 exposure notification app, released in partnership with Health Canada and developed in collaboration with partners in the private sector and provincial governments. These are complemented by numerous partnership initiatives with a wide range of federal organizations, providing targeted advice and assistance on key service initiatives.
The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat continues to work actively with its partners across the Government to concretely advance the digital government mandate and to improve services to Canadians. This includes efforts to improve governance while empowering teams to be agile and focus on designing user-centered services.
28. Privacy and the Use of Data
The Treasury Board Secretariat’s role in relation to privacy and the use of data in the public sector.
- The Government of Canada is committed to protecting its data, IT infrastructure, and information – especially the personal information of individuals – ensuring that Canadians can rely on a secure, stable, and resilient digital government.
- The Government manages the privacy of its information holdings through a suite of policies and directives, including the Policy on Service and Digital.
- The policy ensures the government considers principles like openness, privacy, accessibility, and security when designing digital tools and services; indeed, any tool used to collect personal information should undergo a privacy assessment.
- 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 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.
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.
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.
29. Access to Information and Transparency during COVID‑19
Workplace measures to curb the COVID‑19 pandemic and protect the health and safety of federal employees affected institutions’ ability to respond to access to information and personal information requests throughout of the pandemic.
- 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 has been working with federal institutions to develop and share best practices in processing requests within the public health measures imposed by local health authorities for the safety of federal workers and the broader community.
- In response to the Information Commissioner’s recommendations, we have proactively made available to all Canadians more information related to COVID‑19 and the government’s response.
- The 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 openly available and assessing processes and systems to improve service and reduce delays.
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.
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.
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. OCIO continues to engage with the Offices of the Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner to ensure that these oversight bodies are aware of institutions’ operational status.
The review of the Access to Information Act, which began in June 2020, also offers an opportunity to have an open exchange on making ATI systems and processes more resilient. 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. At the same time, a number of early actions that can be taken separately and ahead of any future legislative changes to improve access to information were set out online.
These actions, 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.
30. 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 for engineers or architects may be required for a specific time-limited project like the construction of a new building or help to charter planes to repatriate Canadians from conflict areas, and the use of professional services addressing shortages in certain employment groups or specific locations may include doctors and nurses to provide health care for Indigenous peoples and in northern communities.
- At the same time, the government is also taking steps to address the requirement for long-term specialized expertise. For instance, the Office of the Chief Information Officer will be leading the development of a new approach to address IT and digital talent including increased support to identify talent resources and help address the vacancy rate in this field.
The use of services has been the subject of public scrutiny, including a 2008 audit of Public Works and Government Services (PWGSC) professional services by the Auditor General. This audit recognized the complexity of determining the value of outsourcing since many factors and variables influence the decision to contract for services, it is not possible to draw any macro-level conclusion about the use of contractors as substitutes for public servants.
Following a commitment to reduce the use of external consultants, bringing expenditures closer to 2005-06 levels, 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 2 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
31. Revera – Public Sector Pension Investment Board
The Public Service 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. The Governor in Council appoints members based on recommendations from the President of the Treasury Board, who selects qualified candidates from a list generated by an independent nominating committee.
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.
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 he or she has 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.
Revera Inc. is an owner, operator and investor in the senior living sector. Through its portfolio of partnerships, Revera owns or operates more than 500 properties across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, offering seniors’ apartments, independent living, assisted living, memory care, and long-term care.
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