2020–21 Pilot Project on a Purpose-based Vote Structure

For a fifth 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, 2019–20 and 2020–21 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 2020–21 Main Estimates by presenting grant and contribution authorities under a purpose-based vote structure.

Listing of the 2020–21 Transfer Payments (dollars)
Main Estimates
Main Estimates
Efficient Transportation System
Grant to the Province of British Columbia in respect of the provision of ferry and coastal freight and passenger services
30,503,800 31,129,128 32,014,097
National Trade Corridors Fund
0 500,000 500,000
National Trade Corridors Fund
24,632,461 272,108,743 453,754,901
Ferry Services Contribution Program
39,648,891 44,369,654 44,961,638
Airports Capital Assistance Program
38,685,347 38,000,000 38,000,000
Gateways and Border Crossings Fund
18,292,924 40,201,951 13,876,911
Regional and Remote Passenger Rail
11,694,136 0 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
98,999 2,467,000 10,013,883
Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Transportation Infrastructure Fund
5,758,228 11,171,476 9,651,773
Airports Operations and Maintenance Subsidy Program
1,930,343 1,600,000 1,600,000
Labrador Coastal Airstrips Restoration Program
1,072,516 1,267,759 1,040,000
Transportation Association of Canada
365,853 425,310 425,310
Allowances to former employees of Newfoundland Railways, Steamships and Telecommunications Services transferred to Canadian National Railways
175,975 259,000 259,000
Green and Innovative Transportation System
Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles Program
0 0 58,497,451
Program to Advance Indigenous Reconciliation
0 3,000,000 3,600,000
Community Participation Funding Program
1,202,585 2,164,908 2,999,616
Grant for Innovative Solutions Canada
718,625 1,300,000 2,600,000
Program to Protect Canada’s Coastlines and Waterways
831,540 1,800,000 2,044,802
Grants to support Clean Transportation Program
0 600,000 1,079,274
Grants to support the Transportation Assets Risk Assessment initiative
237,000 800,000 627,844
Grant for the Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative
0 200,000 142,226
Program to Address Disturbances from Vessel Traffic
0 0 100,000
Program to Advance the Transportation Innovation
172,191 75,000 75,000
Program to Protect Canada’s Coastlines and Waterways
5,063,991 51,733,868 57,336,430
Program to Address Disturbances from Vessel Traffic
0 0 1,500,000
Program to Advance Indigenous Reconciliation
510,124 1,250,000 1,250,000
Contribution to the Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative
759,128 1,045,000 774,751
Contribution to Advance Transportation Innovation
417,243 674,000 650,000
Contributions to support the Transportation Assets Risk Assessment initiative
46,320 234,145 372,156
Contribution to Support Clean Transportation Program
128,094 150,000 150,000
Canadian Transportation Research Forum
24,000 0 24,000
Safe and Secure Transportation System
Rail Safety Improvement Program
86,000 300,000 800,000
Grant to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Program (COSCAP)
30,778 130,000 130,000
Rail Safety Improvement Contribution Program
18,321,402 11,645,000 20,500,000
Road Safety Transfer Payment Program
3,268,163 4,442,681 16,442,681
Contribution in Support of Boating Safety
956,919 1,225,000 2,225,000
Payments to other governments or international agencies for the operation and maintenance of airports, air navigation and airways facilities
70,595 100,000 100,000


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 and 2019, 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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