Roles and Responsibilities in the Treasury Board Submission Process

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Ministers bring forward TB submissions to obtain the necessary approvals and authorities for undertaking an initiative that his or her organization would not otherwise be able to undertake or that is outside the minister’s authorities. Ministers are accountable for the accuracy and completeness of TB submissions and for any follow-up requested by the Treasury Board, including ensuring that conditions are met.

The sponsoring minister and his or her organization participate in exchanges with other ministers, the members of the Treasury Board and officials at the Secretariat and other organizations to ensure that programs are aligned with government priorities and that they are designed, implemented and delivered to achieve intended results.

Deputy Heads

Deputy heads support their minister in all phases of the TB submission process and ensure timely ministerial briefings. They manage departmental resources and assets to deliver government priorities while considering the extent to which new costs (e.g., full-time equivalents) can be absorbed at the departmental level. This is achieved, in part, by complying with Treasury Board policies, including maintaining effective systems of internal control, and effectively implementing Treasury Board decisions and any associated conditions or follow-up.

Deputy heads set up effective internal processes in support of TB submissions and other Cabinet documents, such as establishing appropriate arrangements for monitoring, evaluating and reporting of performance results related to programs/policies/initiatives brought forward to Treasury Board for consideration. By signing the Delivery and Expected Results Appendix on every TB submission, deputy heads verify that the submission is supported by the balanced use of all available and relevant performance measurement and evaluation information.

They are responsible for nurturing constructive working relationships with all participants in the TB submission process, including Secretariat officials and the Secretary of the Treasury Board. They ensure that the Secretariat understands their organization's upcoming Cabinet and Treasury Board business, as well as its relationship to horizontal initiatives and government priorities.

Departmental Assistant Deputy Ministers (ADMs)

Departmental ADMs develop and implement initiatives to deliver organizational objectives in support of broader government priorities. They are relied upon to ensure accuracy and quality in their TB submissions.

Departmental ADMs interact regularly with their counterparts at the Secretariat to share information and seek advice on proposed actions, which may require Treasury Board approval. They engage their chief financial officer, brief the deputy head and their minister, and ensure timely final sign-off of TB submissions. They also prepare progress reports and undertake due diligence for high-quality implementation of approved proposals.

Together with the related program sector at the Secretariat, ADMs ensure that submission proposals are well-substantiated, affordable, sustainable, and aligned both with the department’s core business and with broader government priorities. They ensure that the TB submission accurately reflects how they will carry out an initiative, what the costs will be, what alternatives were considered, why the proposed method is the best choice, and what the expected outcomes are, including how performance will be measured.

Good Practice

Scheduling regular meetings with all partners in the TB submission process will forge a strong working relationship with the Secretariat’s program sector counterparts and ensure high-quality submissions that will be considered in a timely manner. Ongoing communications and continued engagement during the process is essential for effective management of departmental business.

Chief Financial Officers (CFOs)

CFOs must independently assess submissions with financial implications and prepare an attestation letter. The letter should provide an opinion on whether the information contained in the submission has accurately outlined the financial implications to support an informed decision. The opinion should take into account the six assertions that are defined in the Guideline on Chief Financial Officer Attestation for Cabinet Submissions. CFOs also provide any additional comments they think would be relevant to the Treasury Board.

President of the Treasury Board

The President of the Treasury Board is accountable for the effective work of the Treasury Board and any of its sub-committees, as directed by the Prime Minister.

As the Minister responsible for the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, he or she brings to Treasury Board for approval the management policies and collective agreements for the organizations for which the Treasury Board is the employer. In carrying out these roles, the President of the Treasury Board consults with members of other Cabinet committees, works with Treasury Board colleagues to ensure coherence of direction and to advance the priorities of the government, while respecting the powers conferred under the Financial Administration Act.

It is the President’s prerogative to set or change the meeting dates and agendas and to authorize additional meetings or exceptions for consideration of urgent cases. When chairing the Treasury Board meeting, the President ensures due discourse on items and may invite additional presenters, request supplementary information and impose conditions on Treasury Board approval. On behalf of the Board, the President may undertake other actions to advance the work of this committee and ensure its active role in the overall management of the federal government organizations.

The Secretary of the Treasury Board

The Secretary of the Treasury Board supports the President in the effective and efficient delivery of the Treasury Board’s mandate. In doing so, the Secretary supports the Treasury Board in fulfilling its legislative mandate and its roles as employer, budget office and general manager of the federal public service.

The Secretary is accountable for providing high-quality and timely advice to Treasury Board members on all proposals presented to the committee, for helping to resolve sensitive issues, and for supporting the President in agenda setting. The Secretary is also responsible for bringing forward Treasury Board policies, which apply to all organizations in the core public administration and influence the management practices in the federal public service.

Program Assistant Secretaries at the Secretariat

The Secretariat’s program assistant secretaries provide advice to the Treasury Board on the merits of individual proposals, present departmental submissions at Treasury Board meetings, answer ministers’ questions, and follow up on items as directed by the Treasury Board. They communicate Board decisions to government organizations and monitor the application of the Board’s conditions. The assistant secretaries also provide updates on the implementation of departmental initiatives. Such updates would occur at the Board’s request or to ensure legislative and policy compliance.

Further, the Secretariat’s program assistant secretaries support the President and the Secretary of the Treasury Board in the effective and efficient delivery of the Treasury Board’s mandate through due diligence (i.e., cost validation, assessment of risk, alignment to current priorities) and sound advice on submissions. They brief the Secretary and the Office of the President of the Treasury Board at strategy meetings and work to resolve any outstanding issues prior to Treasury Board meetings.

In carrying out their responsibilities, the assistant secretaries work closely with organizational deputy heads and ADMs to understand their organization’s upcoming Cabinet and Treasury Board business, providing advice on the best approach to ensure a smooth TB submission process. Early and regular consultation between program sectors and organizations is critical to successful presentations at the Treasury Board.

The Secretariat’s program assistant secretaries consider submission proposals in the context of the organization’s mandate and business, other horizontal initiatives underway and government priorities. They also consider government expenditure management issues, broader policy dimensions, inter-jurisdictional issues and relevant Treasury Board policies. Additionally, they seek to leverage experiences and resources in order to arrive at cost-effective solutions that support ongoing federal public service transformation.

Good Practice

Scheduling regular meetings and communications with organizational ADMs and CFOs assists in understanding the upcoming Cabinet business and provides guidance for initiatives requiring Treasury Board approval. Secretariat program assistant secretaries work jointly with ADMs and CFOs to engage all key partners in the TB submission process and resolve issues in advance of Treasury Board meetings.

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