Core Policy & Procedures Manual: Policy Chapter Summaries

Policy is a management means to signify a course of action, a guiding principle, or a process that is effective, practical and beneficial to an organization overall.

Policies are usually high-level statements to provide guidance to organizations and their staff who must make decisions. They are the general requirements that must be documented and communicated to people inside, and in some cases, outside the organization. Although policies may vary somewhat, they typically include general statements of objectives, responsibilities and rules.

Policies are mandatory and can also be thought of as organization-specific law. In strict terms, special approval or exemption is expected before a course of action is taken that does not comply with policy. Because compliance is intended, definitive words like "must" or "required to" are used. For simplicity and consistency, those words should be used wherever possible.

Principle-based policy refers to high-level objectives and principles in policy versus prescriptive, rules-based policy. Principle-based policy focusses on outcomes and allows users to have more flexibility to determine how they will comply with the principles to ensure the objectives of government are met. Sound judgment must be used by all staff to ensure that principles are upheld.

Policy Chapters

1. Governance

This chapter calls attention to governance not fully articulated in earlier policy manuals. In particular, what governance means, its form and why it is needed. Governance supports the realization of overall objectives and the strategies to achieve them. From a policy perspective it is concerned with policy development, communication and implementation.

The Budget Transparency and Accountability Act (BTAA), and the Balanced Budget and Ministerial Accountability Act (BBMAA) are introduced. A key principle reinforced is the need to separate governance from service delivery for effective government. Policy respecting the scope, application and responsibility for government internal policy is outlined. In addition, Legislative Assembly, executive and ministry responsibilities are specified.

2. General and Financial Management

This chapter clarifies government's general and financial management framework founded on Part 2 of the Financial Administration Act (FAA). The accountabilities of Treasury Board, the Minister of Finance, deputy ministers, executive financial officers, the Comptroller General and central agencies are stated, along with supporting policy. Government's approach to control and risk is updated from a traditional input focus to broader measures of performance and achievement of objectives.

The role of the Financial Management Branch, Office of the Comptroller General, in maintaining the Core Policy and Procedures Manual and developing financial management policy is covered, as are the responsibilities of other central agencies by subject area in an appendix table.

3. Planning, Budgeting and Reporting

Planning, budgeting and reporting are inter-related elements and fundamental to an understanding of government's performance management and accountability process. This comprehensive chapter was created to cover previous disparate financial management content, such as accounting policy, account classification, financial planning, budgetary control and financial reporting.

Policy is included for direction on service plans, reports, capital plans and performance measures in support of the BTAA, and policy for ministerial accountability reports in support of the BBMAA. Government's accounting policies are disclosed at the end of the reporting section. BTAA, BBMAA and FAA report requirements and responsibilities are summarized in the information and reference section.

4. Expense Management

Chapter coverage includes policy for the management of government expenses. Ministers and deputy ministers have statutory responsibility for the control of public money. To carry this out, ministers or deputy ministers usually authorize ministry officials to initiate spending, certify goods/services received and requisition payments.

In addition, the chapter clarifies delegation of authority policy, expense authority (formerly spending authority) responsibilities and policies, including expense initiation and account approval.

5. Capital Asset Management

This chapter outlines the role of the Province in managing the overall capital plan, and for ministries and agencies in managing their capital asset projects. Ministry and agency capital plans require aggregation into a single provincial plan to determine priorities and overall funding.

Policy covers the need to fully consider alternative procurement approaches to build and operate public assets, such as public-private partnerships, out-sourcing and risk transference. A reference link is provided to the Capital Asset Management Framework that contains standards, guidelines and tools to support public sector capital management.

6. Procurement

This comprehensive chapter includes policy for all aspects of procurement of goods, services and construction, including: planning; pre-award and solicitation; contract selection and award; contract administration and monitoring; evaluation and reporting.

Policy on specific topics is provided for corporate supply and disposal arrangements, information management and information technology procurement, and the vendor complaint review process.

7. Revenue and Receivables Management

Chapter content covers policy to support a revenue and accounts receivable management framework that accounts, monitors and reports revenue from the point of claim and recognition to collection. This includes resolution by actions, such as set-off, write-off, extinguishment and remission.

8. Asset Management

This chapter covers general information on the management and safeguarding of assets, including policy on inventory, tangible capital assets and other assets, loss reporting, equity investments and performance bonding.

9. Indemnities and Guarantees

This chapter describes two main contingent liabilities for government: guarantees and indemnities, and their related approval and authority requirements. Effective management by ministries requires assessment and control of the underlying risks associated with guarantees and indemnities.

10. Travel

This chapter presents all significant travel policy that an employee or expense authority officer is expected to be aware of in completing a travel reimbursement claim, including approval to travel and alternatives to travel. The roles and responsibilities for employees and expense authority officers are outlined to supplement policy understanding. Rate tables for meals, per diems and accommodation, and iExpenses user information are included to round out the chapter as a one-stop reference.

11. Transportation

This chapter describes policy with respect to common transportation (i.e., public transportation, and private, government and rental vehicles) used in government operations. Standards on the most appropriate and cost-effective mode of transportation, and accident reporting requirements are covered. References to government fleet vehicle policy, procedures and vehicle agreements are provided.

12. Information Management and Information Technology Management

This chapter provides a policy framework for within which ministries can understand and use information and technology resources. Policy and standards are defined for information management, information technology planning and development, data management, electronic records, infrastructure, operations, delivery and support, security and electronic communication.

13. Financial Systems and Controls

This chapter covers policy, and control and security standards for government financial systems. Requirements for the completion of financial risk and controls reviews, as well as, guidance on risk-based internal controls, and standards for accounting assertions and assessment of computer controls are outlined.

14. Risk Management

This chapter presents government's risk management policy for an integrated enterprise-wide risk management process.

15. Security

This chapter outlines policy for the security of government operations. The security framework has to address exposure to accidental losses, malicious threats or criminal acts, and is an integral part of enterprise-wide risk management.

16. Business Continuity Management

This policy chapter outlines a specific risk management process for government. The policy, roles and responsibilities are presented separately to support understanding and performance.

17. Internal Audit

This chapter describes policy with respect to the role and scope of internal auditing in government.

18. Administration

This chapter contains various policies on general and administrative requirements to support government operations and the cost-effective use of public resources, including Accommodation, Business Meeting Expenses, Information and Communication, and Relocation.

19.  Corporate Compliance and Controls Monitoring

This chapter describes policy with respect to the role and scope of the compliance and controls monitoring function providing assurance of the prudent and proper use of public monies, and the compliance with government core policy.

20.  Loss Management

This chapter covers policy on the management of losses. Included are descriptions of the types of loss incidents, roles and responsibilities of organizations and individuals in managing loss and additional resources available.

21.  Government Transfers

This chapter contains policy on government transfers with the following objectives:

  • Ensure that government transfers are properly authorized and carried out in accordance with core policy, legislation and other authorities (e.g.; regulations, directives, by-laws)
  • Ensure that government transfer payments are managed in a manner that is fair, open, and transparent.
  • Ensure that appropriate eligibility criteria and stipulations for government transfers address the intended outcomes.
  • Maintain appropriate accountability for managing government transfers.
  • Maintain accurate and timely information for decision-making and reporting purposes.

22.  Communications and Public Engagement

This chapter contains policy on government communications and public engagement and includes greater integration of online development, citizen engagement and social media functions. This chapter also clarifies the role and objectives of Government Communications and Public Engagement (GCPE).