2016–17 Pilot Project on a Program-based Vote Structure

The Department of Transport is the subject of a pilot project to assess the impact of a program-based vote structure for grants and contributions.

Specifically, this means that Parliamentary control of voted grants and contributions will be brought down to the program level. In the 2015–16 Estimates, the department had only one vote in the appropriation acts for all their grants and contributions. In the 2016–17 Estimates, the department has three separate votes for grants and contributions, according to the distribution of these planned expenditures in the Program Alignment Architecture.

This annex provides additional detail on Transport’s Main Estimates by presenting grant and contribution authorities under a program- based vote structure.

Listing of the 2016–17 Transfer Payments (dollars)
  2014–15 Expenditures 2015–16 Main Estimates 2016–17 Main Estimates
Gateways and corridors
Gateways and Border Crossings Fund 336,389,054 484,147,493 221,635,643
Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Transportation Infrastructure Fund 95,145,022 40,249,710 36,718,786
Transportation infrastructure
Grant to the Province of British Columbia in respect of the provision of ferry and coastal freight and passenger services 28,355,115 29,238,376 29,446,554
Port Asset Transfer Program 0 0 150,000
Airports Capital Assistance Program 27,326,438 38,000,000 37,850,000
Ferry Services Contribution Program 32,616,292 34,569,754 16,720,000
Remote Passenger Rail Program 13,360,273 11,200,000 11,200,000
Contributions to provinces toward highway improvements to enhance overall efficiency and promote safety while encouraging industrial development and tourism from a regional economic perspective: Outaouais Road Development Agreement 9,366,718 950,000 4,350,000
Airports Operations and Maintenance Subsidy Program 1,226,343 1,600,000 1,600,000
Labrador Coastal Airstrips Restoration Program 1,600,620 1,000,000 1,000,000
Allowances to former employees of Newfoundland Railways, Steamships and Telecommunications Services transferred to Canadian National Railways 316,630 484,000 484,000
Transportation Association of Canada 445,911 419,000 419,000
Community Participation Funding Program 0 800,000 1,600,000
Grant to close grade crossings 95,000 300,000 300,000
Grant to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Program (COSCAP) 130,000 130,000 130,000
Payments in support of crossing improvements approved under the Railway Safety Act 8,402,976 10,945,000 10,945,000
Contribution to Support Clean Transportation Initiatives 5,890,807 11,217,704 9,460,380
Smart Oceans Contribution Program 4,200,000 7,400,000 8,400,000
Road Safety Transfer Payment Program 4,442,483 4,442,681 4,442,681
Contribution Program for the Centre of Excellence for Marine Transportation of Oil and Liquefied Natural Gas 0 3,700,000 1,360,416
Contribution in Support of Boating Safety 930,663 1,000,000 1,000,000
Contributions to the Railway Association of Canada for Operation Lifesaver 300,000 300,000 300,000
Payments to other governments or international agencies for the operation and maintenance of airports, air navigation and airways facilities 47,967 100,000 100,000
Canadian Transportation Research Forumʼs Scholarship program 24,000 24,000 24,000


The government can only spend money for purposes authorized by Parliament. In the appropriation acts, these spending authorities are separate “votes” for each organization. Votes are currently based on the type of expenditure to be made – such as operating expenditures, capital expenditures, and grants and contributions.

The Estimates also report spending authorities on the basis of standard objects of expenditure, as well as strategic outcomes and programs. However, Parliamentary control of appropriated authorities is based strictly on the vote structure.

In 2012, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates recommended that Parliamentary control of appropriations be based on the purpose rather than the type of expenditure. Moving the appropriation acts and Estimates to a primarily program-based structure was expected to facilitate Parliament’s study of the Estimates and scrutiny of government expenditures overall.

This pilot project with Transport is intended to assess the impact of a program-based vote structure for grants and contributions, on both the usability of information provided to Parliament as well as the financial management practices of the department.

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