2019–20 Pilot Project on a Purpose-based Vote Structure

For a fourth year, the Department of Transport is subject to a pilot project to assess the impact of a purpose-based vote structure for grants and contributions.

Specifically, this means that Parliamentary control of voted grants and contributions will be brought down to the purpose level. In the 2015–16 Main Estimates, the department had only one vote in the appropriation acts for all their grants and contributions. For the 2016–17 Main Estimates and 2017–18 Main Estimates, the department had three separate votes for grants and contributions, according to their Program Alignment Architecture. The 2018-19 and 2019-20 Main Estimates present the distribution of planned expenditures in accordance with the organization’s departmental results framework.

This annex provides additional detail on the Department of Transport’s 2019–20 Main Estimates by presenting grant and contribution authorities under a purpose-based vote structure.

Listing of the 2019–20 Transfer Payments (dollars)
2017-18 Expenditures 2018–19 Main Estimates 2019–20 Main Estimates
Efficient Transportation System
Port Asset Transfer Program
0 68,203,329 149,797,843
Grant to the Province of British Columbia in respect of the provision of ferry and coastal freight and passenger services
29,782,285 30,488,126 31,129,128
National Trade Corridors Fund
0 1,000,000 500,000
National Trade Corridors Fund
0 98,319,090 272,108,743
Ferry Services Contribution Program
38,718,245 41,884,680 44,369,654
Gateways and Border Crossings Fund
45,818,832 77,340,913 40,201,951
Airports Capital Assistance Program
34,929,182 38,000,000 38,000,000
Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Transportation Infrastructure Fund
13,171,371 16,000,000 11,171,476
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
685,868 4,307,000 2,467,000
Airports Operations and Maintenance Subsidy Program
1,989,092 1,600,000 1,600,000
Labrador Coastal Airstrips Restoration Program
646,723 1,000,000 1,267,759
Port Asset Transfer Program
840,251 23,065,000 600,000
Transportation Association of Canada
285,280 419,000 425,310
Allowances to former employees of Newfoundland Railways, Steamships and Telecommunications Services transferred to Canadian National Railways
221,498 259,000 259,000
Green and Innovative Transportation System
Program to Advance Indigenous Reconciliation
0 0 3,000,000
Community Participation Funding Program
982,892 3,400,252 2,164,908
Program to Protect Canada's Coastlines and Waterways
173,658 1,200,000 1,800,000
Grant for Innovative Solutions Canada
0 0 1,300,000
Grants to support the Transportation Assets Risk Assessment Initiative
0 800,000 800,000
Grants to support Clean Transportation Program
250,000 600,000 600,000
Grant for the Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative
0 200,000 200,000
Program to Advance the Transportation Innovation
0 75,000 75,000
Program to Protect Canada's Coastlines and Waterways
1,341,171 13,600,000 51,733,868
Program to Advance Indigenous Reconciliation
0 0 1,250,000
Contribution to the Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative
841,632 1,045,000 1,045,000
Contribution to Advance Transportation Innovation
0 650,000 674,000
Contributions to support the Transportation Assets Risk Assessment Initiative
0 200,000 234,145
Contribution to Support Clean Transportation Program
5,300,390 404,903 150,000
Safe and Secure Transportation System
Rail Safety Improvement Program
49,000 800,000 300,000
Grant to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Program (COSCAP)
129,033 130,000 130,000
Rail Safety Improvement Contribution Program
16,206,260 21,075,000 11,645,000
Road Safety Transfer Payment Program
3,268,163 4,442,681 4,442,681
Contribution in Support of Boating Safety
1,343,904 1,225,000 1,225,000
Payments to other governments or international agencies for the operation and maintenance of airports, air navigation and airways facilities
57,399 100,000 100,000


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 by purpose. 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 purpose- based structure was expected to facilitate Parliament’s study of the Estimates and scrutiny of government expenditures overall.

This pilot project with Transport and pilot projects of this nature are intended to assess the impact of a purpose-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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