CPPM Policy Chapter 1: Governance

This Core Policy and Procedures Manual 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.

1.1 Objectives

  • separate governance from program and service delivery, while maintaining corporate communication and direction throughout government
  • ensure that public funds are controlled, accounted for and well managed by embracing these principles
    • funds are handled properly and honestly
    • funds are spent responsibly and in accordance with statutory, regulatory and appropriation provisions, and not used for personal gain
    • funds are used economically and efficiently to deliver programs that effectively meet government's goals
  • implement government-wide policy and standards in a prompt, effective and consistent manner
  • support the focus on outputs, outcomes, service plans and performance reporting rather than input controls
  • promote openness, fairness and transparency in the conduct of government business activities
  • promote and encourage consistent and best practices in management and administrative processes in government
  • ensure that public funds are used in the amounts and for the purposes authorized by the Legislative Assembly

1.2 General

Governance encompasses the roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of the Legislative Assembly representing the public, and the organizations and management of government. Governance is the structure and processes that support the realization of overall objectives and the strategies to achieve them. It is concerned with the development, communication and implementation of government policy, and in monitoring performance with respect to standards. Governance includes ongoing risk assessment and management in the general course of delivering programs and services.

The governance process starts with setting objectives, then providing direction and funding, establishing performance measures, and from then on measuring performance, resulting in redirection when necessary, or a change in objectives or performance measures as appropriate. While objectives are primarily the responsibility of the Legislative Assembly, and performance measures that of senior management, they need to be developed in concert so that objectives are achievable and results are as intended.

1.2.1 Legislative Assembly

Members of the Legislative Assembly rely on legislation, principally the Financial Administration Act, to control the supply of funds, establish the purposes for which government spends funds, and to provide an accounting of funds entrusted to the government by the public. The key principles underlying this control specify the expenditures that may be disbursed through voted appropriations, and reported on through the government's Summary Financial Statements, which consolidate Crown corporations and agencies with the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

The Budget Transparency and Accountability Act was enacted to improve accountability through the use of ministry and agency service plans, complemented by annual service plan reports. This signifies a broad shift to results as a driving force influencing program activities over input controls. Output and outcome measures supplement traditional internal controls directed at compliance with policy and process.

1.2.2 Government Objectives

Government priorities determine which programs and services are funded to meet its objectives. Government policy creates a management framework to coordinate and administer government objectives once they have been translated into programs and services. Ministries are responsible for program delivery. Coordinated efforts are required to realize program objectives with allocated resources. Program activities must withstand public scrutiny. Government managers are accountable for achieving program objectives within the framework of the law, prevailing constraints, and limits of their authority.

1.2.3 Legislation

Treasury Board's financial management policy is based on the following legislation:

1.2.4 Application

Policies apply to all ministries, offices, special funds and accounts, and appropriations outlined in the FAA. Policies also apply to the following officers of the Legislature:

  • Auditor General,
  • Police Complaint Commissioner,
  • Information and Privacy Commissioner,
  • Chief Electoral Officer,
  • Merit Commissioner,
  • Ombudsperson,
  • Conflict of Interest Commissioner, and
  • Representative for Children and Youth.
  • Human Rights Commissioner

Crown corporations, public bodies and funded agencies are expected to follow the spirit and intent of policy requirements. Policy requirements may be overridden or qualified by the effect of principles of law or paramount statutory provisions, such as:

  • the Liquor Distribution Act that, in the case of revenue under that Act, overrides the requirement that all public money be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund;
  • the privilege of the Legislative Assembly, which means members cannot be impeded from doing what is necessary to perform their duties.

It is important that government maintains an official record of general, financial and administrative policy. This online manual serves to communicate senior management direction, is an important training tool and is the basis from which management processes and financial administration systems may be periodically reviewed.

1.3 Policy

These policies aim to convey government standards for sound management and financial administration. To the extent the policies are effectively implemented and upheld they provide assurance that public funds are properly controlled, managed and accounted for.

  1. Policies must be complied with to ensure governing legislation is satisfied. It is recognized that a general rule will not always suit all circumstances or situations that may arise. Therefore, sound judgment must be used by all staff to ensure that principles are upheld.
  2. Ministries must ensure that:
    • expenditures are within limits approved by Treasury Board;
    • their management focus is on outcomes, achieving service plan goals, reporting performance and being accountable for results; and that
    • Treasury Board is notified and corrective action is taken when extraordinary circumstances may cause a vote to be overspent, and informed when a proposed policy or operational change will have significant financial implication.
  3. Ministers or deputy ministers are responsible for financial control within their ministries, and accountable for the appropriate:
    • delegation of signing authorities;
    • classification of accounts;
    • accounting for financial transactions;
    • preparation of budgetary estimates;
    • establishment of reporting, budgetary control and financial systems.
  4. Ministers or deputy ministers must designate an executive financial officer and a chief financial officer for their ministry.
  5. Deputy ministers and ministry financial officers must ensure that:
    • year-end accruals are within approved spending levels for the appropriate vote, special account or fund, less any accruals from the prior fiscal year that were approved under section 26(3) of the Financial Administration Act; and that
    • expenditures accrued at year-end include only those for which goods or services have been received prior to or on March 31, and for which billing and payment could not be completed within the fiscal year.
  6. Treasury Board approval, whether it is part of the annual budget submission or a submission during the year, is required for a new program proposal, enhancement to an existing program or a major program restructuring.

1.4 Information and References

  • The Financial Management Branch (FMB), Office of the Comptroller General should be consulted on any issue in respect of policy application.
  • FMB will electronically update policy after Treasury Board, or the Chief Executive Officer of the applicable central agency, approves a policy change. Amendments generally arise from:
    • changes in legislation or regulations;
    • concerns identified by Treasury Board, the Comptroller General or other central agents; or
    • concerns identified by the Deputy Minister Committee, Assistant Deputy Ministers on Corporate Services Committee, Chief Financial Officer Committee or others affected by the policy.
  • For other central agency policy outside of general and financial management and not included in this manual, such as personnel policy, please refer to that separate central agency policy internet site.
  • Posted Treasury Board Directives can be viewed at the Office of the Comptroller General's Treasury Board Directives site.

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