2017–18 Pilot Project on a Program-based Vote Structure

For a second year, the Department of Transport is subject to 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.

Beginning in the 2016–17 Estimates, the department had 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 2017-18 Main Estimates by presenting grant and contribution authorities under a program-based vote structure.

Listing of the 2017–18 Transfer Payments (dollars)
2015–16
Expenditures
2016–17
Main Estimates
2017–18
Main Estimates
Gateways and corridors
Contributions
Gateways and Border Crossings Fund
330,368,813 221,635,643 81,422,921
Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Transportation Infrastructure Fund
43,867,173 36,718,786 32,552,622
Transportation infrastructure
Grants
Port Asset Transfer Program
0 150,000 46,987,200
Grant to the Province of British Columbia in respect of the provision of ferry and coastal freight and passenger services
28,729,747 29,446,554 29,784,793
Contributions
Airports Capital Assistance Program
46,935,184 37,850,000 38,000,000
Port Asset Transfer Program
0 0 27,036,763
Ferry Services Contribution Program
31,657,222 16,720,000 16,720,000
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
392,610 4,350,000 11,829,848
Remote Passenger Rail Program
11,355,924 11,200,000 11,200,000
Airports Operations and Maintenance Subsidy Program
1,681,470 1,600,000 1,600,000
Labrador Coastal Airstrips Restoration Program
1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Allowances to former employees of Newfoundland Railways, Steamships and Telecommunications Services transferred to Canadian National Railways
275,098 484,000 484,000
Transportation Association of Canada
432,575 419,000 419,000
Other
Grants
Rail Safety Improvement Program
0 0 800,000
Grants to support Clean Transportation Initiatives
250,000 0 450,000
Community Participation Funding Program
11,100 1,600,000 200,000
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
Contributions
Rail Safety Improvement Contribution Program
0 0 20,725,000
Contribution to Support Clean Transportation Initiatives
2,720,615 9,460,380 8,177,704
Road Safety Transfer Payment Program
3,048,363 4,442,681 4,442,681
Contribution Program for the Centre of Excellence for Marine Transportation of Oil and Liquefied Natural Gas
849,600 1,360,416 1,489,984
Contribution in Support of Boating Safety
1,167,388 1,000,000 1,000,000
Participant Funding Program for Reviews Related to Fish, Fish Habitat and Navigation
0 0 200,000
Payments to other governments or international agencies for the operation and aintenance of airports, air navigation and airways facilities
43,137 100,000 100,000
Canadian Transportation Research Forumʼs Scholarship program
21,000 24,000 24,000

Background

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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