Refocusing Government Spending to Deliver for Canadians

The government is committed to responsibly managing Canadians’ tax dollars and is refocusing spending toward important services and programs for Canadians. This initiative will roll out in 2 phases.

Phase 1

Budget 2023 announced the goal of refocusing $14.1 billion over 5 years from organizations included in the Estimates and $1.3 billion over 5 years from enterprise crown corporations.

While refocusing targets were identified for organizations across the government, certain spending was excluded from this exercise. In particular, no targets were set for the Canadian Armed Forces (salary, operating and deployment/relocation expenditures), direct benefits to Canadians or transfers to Indigenous communities and other orders of government.

In addition, this initiative excluded Agents of Parliament and small organizationsFootnote 1.

Professional services and travel

Budget 2023 announced that spending on professional services and travel would be refocused starting in 2023-24.

Professional services cover a broad range of discretionary services that the government procures to address specific needs. These services can include:

  • technical, scientific or professional expert assistance and advice (for example, lawyers, architects, engineers, medical personnel, and management, audit, financial and business consultants)
  • certain healthcare, welfare and training services
  • operational and maintenance services

Operations and transfer payments

Budget 2023 also announced that spending on operations and transfer payments would be refocused starting in 2024-25.


Departments had the opportunity to identify reallocations from across their portfolios to provide flexibility to identify proposals that made the most operational sense and to ensure that important services to Canadians and other priority areas were not affected as part of the exercise.

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat worked with departments to ensure that their proposals were sustainable and did not create service delivery or program integrity pressures.

Proposals were also reviewed using various analytical tools such as the Quality of Life index, and Gender Based Analysis Plus.

Proposals were then reviewed by Treasury Board ministers to ensure appropriate oversight and to apply a pan-government view of all proposals.

Reporting on results

Information on the results has been reported through the Estimates documents, starting with Supplementary Estimates (B), 2023–24 which included details about travel and professional services refocusing of $500 million for 2023–24.

The 2024–25 Main Estimates, tabled February 29, listed the results for the coming 3 years for organizations subject to the exercise. Departments will report on their specific spending plans and progress through their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.

Phase 2

The 2023 Fall Economic Statement announced that the government will extend and expand its efforts to refocus government spending, in the amount of $345.6 million in 2025-26, and $691 million ongoing.

Specific details about this process are being developed.


In total, the government’s actions to refocus spending will amount to $15.8 billion by 2027–2028 and $4.8 billion per year thereafter.

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will coordinate and work closely with other federal departments and agencies to ensure that Canadians’ tax dollars are responsibly managed.

In the table below, Planned Reallocations through the Estimates include those for departments, agencies and appropriated crown corporations.Footnote 2

Planned reallocations through the estimates (millions)
  2023–24 2024–25 2025–26 2026–27 2027–28 5-Year Total Ongoing
Phase 1: Total spending refocused to date 500 2,251 2,800 3,610 3,613 12,774 3,498
Phase 1: Additional reallocations through Responsible Government Spending - - 315 521 478 1,314 593
Phase 2: Responsible Government Spending announced in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement - - 346 691 691 1,728 691
Total Planned Reallocations through the Estimates 500 2,251 3,460 4,822 4,782 15,815 4,782

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