Transition Book - 2021 - Finances
Departmental Financial Management Operations
Table of Contents
- Funding process
- Departmental authorities
- Departmental forecasts
- 2021-22 Program inventory and planned spending
- Federal Budget 2021
- Year-End Results 2020-21
- Cost Recovery
- Delegation of authorities
- Departmental Hospitality
- Proactive publication
- Issues of the day
- Financial reporting & submissions
- Large departmental contingent liabilities
- Key Sources
- A two year pilot was undertaken in 2018-19 and 2019-20 to align the budget with the main estimates.
- There is a lack of alignment as the main estimates are usually prepared before the budget is announced and therefore, would not contain any new spending measures/items.
- The two year pilot saw the deadline for the tabling of the main estimates pushed back from March 1 to April 16 to be aligned with the budget announcement.
- It also saw the introduction of a tabled Interim Estimates document to support Parliament's scrutiny of interim supply given the delay in tabling of the Main Estimates.
- Pushing back this budget saw the previous supplementary estimates cycle, with supplementary estimates A being pushed to the fall, and supplementary estimates B pushed to winter. This essentially removed the need for supplementary estimates C.
- That said, as of 2020-2021, the pilot is over and the estimates process will revert back to the previous process until further notice.
- For more information: https://hillnotes.ca/2018/02/27/aligning-the-budget-and-the-main-estimates-recent-changes-to-the-parliamentary-financial-cycle/
- Refer to the Departmental Plan https://www.ppsc-sppc.gc.ca/eng/pub/dp-pm/2021_2022/index.html
- Section 4.5 of the Policies for Ministers' Offices: https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/policies-ministers-offices-january-2011.html#toc4-5
- Directive on Delegation of spending and financial authorities https://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=32503
- Guide to delegating and applying spending and financial authorities http://intranet.canada.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=32584
- Departmental Plan for Planned Spending https://www.ppsc-sppc.gc.ca/eng/pub/dp-pm/2021_2022/index.html
- Public Accounts of Canada – Volume II
National Fine Recovery Program
In 2007, the Attorney General of Canada assigned the functions of recovering federal fines to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) under paragraph 3(3)(g) of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act. The mandate of the National Fine Recovery Program (NFRP) is to enforce sentences by recovering outstanding fines ordered against individuals and companies convicted under federal statutes.
The NFRP is a national program. It is part of the Corporate Services Branch and currently employs ten (10) full time employees (FTEs) located in various regional offices across Canada.
Prior to 2010, the program was administered by 19 FTEs, costing $1.7M, and recovering an annual average of $6M, representing approximately 5% of the total inventory of outstanding fines at the time.
In the context of the 2010 strategic review, the PPSC undertook an evaluation of its programs and proposed to outsource the collection of outstanding fines as a means to generate savings by decreasing its operating budget while increasing recoveries. The rationale was that the recovery efforts were limited to what the then nineteen (19) NFRP employees could achieve, whereas a collection agency, paid on commission, would likely have the incentive to dedicate more resources. Following a Treasury Board (TB) submission in 2015, authority was granted to create a special purpose fund to cover the costs of a collection agency. In 2016, a contract was signed with a collection agency to undertake recovery efforts on behalf of the PPSC.
As required by the TB submission, the PPSC re-evaluated the effectiveness of its service delivery model in 2018 and determined that the outsourcing of fine collection did not yield the expected results. In fact, an annual average of approximately $2M was being recovered by the collection agency compared to what had been collected in the past.
Despite all its efforts, the NFRP encounters several challenges that result in an unsatisfactory volume of fines being recovered. Limited access to provincial court file information, difficulty in locating offenders and an inefficient payment-handling process are just a few examples that have a direct effect on the program's efficiency and are limiting the recovery of outstanding fines.
The poor outcome of recovery efforts has two major consequences. The most obvious one is the accumulated fine inventory of almost $289M, which is money owed to the Crown but not recovered. Equally important, if not more, is the fact that limited recovery of fines could be perceived as negatively affecting the integrity of the sentencing regime as it renders inoperative sentences ordered by the courts.
In 2019, the PPSC took steps to modernize its program operations and to experiment with new initiatives to increase recoveries. The NFRP has started implementing a hybrid recovery model using government programs, external partners and legal proceedings. Results are already positive, with a thirty percent increase in recoveries in the first two years and an overall reduction in the outstanding fine inventory of 7.8% ($4.8M).
The PPSC executes its mandate through in-house counsel and private sector lawyers known as agents. The agents represent the PPSC in areas of Canada where it is impractical or otherwise not cost-effective for staff counsel to do so.
Pursuant to subsections 7(2) and 9(1) of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) may retain private-sector lawyers to perform any of the duties and functions of a crown prosecutor. The PPSC operates a regime of fixed-term agreements for agents with terms of five years. Under this regime, any law firm or lawyer may express interest in becoming an agent, by applying at the time of a vacancy. The DPP appoints agents following a competitive process. The PPSC may on occasion retain an ad hoc agent for a specific assignment.
As of June 29, 2021, the PPSC retained 119 agent firms representing 301 designated counsel.
|OFFICES||NUMBER OF AGENT FIRMS AND AGENTS|
|Number of Agent Firms||Number of Agents|
|All regions – Toutes les régions||119||301|
Agent Affairs Program
The Agent Affairs Program (AAP) ensures that agents provide high-quality legal services at a reasonable cost. To attain this goal, the AAP undertakes a variety of activities including operational policy development, coordination, direct supervision and corporate/headquarters management.
The AAP comprises a division at HQ and agent supervision units in eight regional offices. The units have experienced counsel who assist agents and monitor their work.
National caseload breakdown
The agents undertake approximately half of the total caseload; however, since these files are generally less complex than the ones that in-house counsel undertake, agents represent approximately a third of the total reported hours. The highest use of litigation work by agents is in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.
The PPSC has set aside a budget of $46.3M of which $4M is cost recoverable and recorded as revenue for work done on regulatory and economic files to cover the costs of agents in 2021-2022.
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