Departmental Financial Reporting Requirements for Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2012

Message from Sylvain Michaud Executive Director,
Government Accounting Policy and Reporting
Office of the Comptroller General

To: Deputy Chief Financial Officers

The purpose of this communication is to advise you of reporting requirements related to the year-end. This letter contains information on departmental financial reporting requirements related to:

  • Reporting of unrecorded departmental financial transactions;
  • Liabilities related to contaminated sites;
  • Requests for publication exemption for certain payments of claims against the Crown, ex gratia payments and court awards; and,
  • Departmental and Agency Financial Statements.

Reporting Unrecorded Departmental Financial Transactions

The Treasury Board Policy on Allowances for Valuations of Assets and Liabilities requires departments and agencies to (1) perform an annual assessment of the collectability of financial claims and (2) supply the Treasury Board Secretariat with details related to any liabilities, of a material amount that are not or cannot be recorded in departmental accounts.

Financial transactions of departments and agencies should be accurately recorded in the Accounts of Canada. For the most part, this occurs through departmental entry of financial transactions into their departmental financial management system from which the trial balance is submitted to the Central Financial Management Reporting System (CFMRS). However, there may be situations where material amounts affecting departmental accounts will not have been recorded as of the close of accounting period 12-2 on . These include:

  1. Transactions resulting from events that occur between the close of the CFMRS and the date of completion of the Government's financial statements in late August which provide evidence of conditions that existed at year-end (e.g. the bankruptcy of a recipient of a significant unconditionally repayable contribution or loan guarantee, the unexpected loss of a claim against the department, etc.). Particular attention should be given to any changes related to the economic environment that could have a significant effect on the estimates and the assumptions used for the valuation of assets and liabilities;
  2. The correction of a significant error discovered either by the department or the agency or their auditor following the close of CFMRS. Hard errors found as a result of the Public Accounts audit should be corrected, if feasible. Errors not corrected, which will be included in the Office of the Auditor General's Summary of Unadjusted Differences, should be supported and understood and should be discussed directly with the Office of the Comptroller General. As part of the preparation of the Public Accounts, the Comptroller General reserves the right to require a post-closing entry for these latter items; and
  3. Allowances for likely contingent liabilities that have not been recorded by the department or the agency because of one of the exceptions listed in Treasury Board Accounting Standard (TBAS) 3.6 – Contingencies.

In the situations described above, departments and agencies should notify the Treasury Board Secretariat of the possible requirement for a post-closing entry by providing the amount and details of the nature of the transaction as soon as the information is available.

It should be noted, other than the exceptions mentioned under point 3 above, that if a post-closing entry is recorded, the department's or the agency's financial statements will need to reflect the transaction as if it had been recorded in the department's or the agency's trial balance.

In the situations described in point 3, departments and agencies should notify the Treasury Board Secretariat, by , of the amount of the allowance, the details of the nature of the allowance and the reasons why the department or the agency has not recorded the allowance. For any developments after , departments and agencies are to provide the information to the Treasury Board Secretariat as soon as it is available.

In all situations, information should be treated as confidential and forwarded to:

Sylvain Michaud
Executive Director
Government Accounting Policy and Reporting
Financial Management Sector
Office of the Comptroller General
Treasury Board Secretariat
300 Laurier Avenue West, 8th floor
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0R5
Tel: 613-952-0886
Email: Sylvain.Michaud@tbs-sct.gc.ca

Liabilities related to contaminated sites

Departments and agencies must provide summary financial information on environmental liabilities to the Receiver General on Table TA5a as per the Public Accounts Instructions Section 15.3.8 Environmental Liabilities. The deadline for submitting this Table is , the same date that plates and forms for Volumes I are submitted to the Receiver General.

Additionally, departments and agencies must update the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory (FCSI) by . The amounts reported in FCSI should be used to prepare Table TA5a and should therefore reconcile.

If there are any questions on the financial reporting requirements for environmental liabilities for contaminated sites, please contact Cindy Laprade at 613-952-0909 or cindy.laprade@tbs-sct.gc.ca or Michel Vaillant at 613-952-5380 or michel.vaillant@tbs-sct.gc.ca. If there are any questions on FCSI related technical issues, please contact Frank Dugal at 613-954-4678 or Frank.Dugal@tbs-sct.gc.ca.

Requests for Publication Exemptions for Payments of Claims against the Crown, Ex gratia Payments and Court Awards

As provided in Chapter 15 of the Receiver General's Manual of the Public Accounts Instructions, in rare instances where a department or an agency considers that the details associated with the payment (i.e. names of payees and/or reasons) warrant non-disclosure, a written request from the Chief Financial Officer with a justification for the non-disclosure must be submitted by to:

Sylvain Michaud
Executive Director
Government Accounting Policy and Reporting
Financial Management Sector
Office of the Comptroller General
Treasury Board Secretariat
300 Laurier Avenue West, 8th floor
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0R5
Tel: 613-952-0886
Email: Sylvain.Michaud@tbs-sct.gc.ca

Treasury Board Secretariat will coordinate all departmental requests but the department and agency should be prepared to provide further details to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on an as required basis. If there are any questions on exemption requests, please contact Sylvianne Côté at 613-952-8024 or Sylvianne.Cote@tbs-sct.gc.ca.

Departmental and Agency Financial Statements

A separate call letter will follow to provide instructions for the 2011-2012 departmental and agency financial statements.

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