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Quarterly Financial Report: For the quarter ended June 30, 2019

Statement outlining results, risks and significant changes in operations, personnel and programs

Introduction

This quarterly report has been prepared by management as required by section 65.1 of the Financial Administration Act and in the form and manner prescribed by the Directive on Accounting Standards: GC 4400 Departmental Quarterly Financial Report. This quarterly financial report should be read in conjunction with the 2019-20 Main Estimates. This quarterly report has not been subject to an external audit or review.

Established by Order in Council P.C. 2018-1322, the Leaders’ Debates Commission (“Commission”) is mandated to:

  • Select and establish a seven-member Advisory Board;
  • Enter into a contract for the production of the debates;
  • Ensure the debates are broadcast and distributed widely and free of charge;
  • Ensure the debates reach as many Canadians as possible, including those living in remote areas, those living in official language minority communities and those living with disabilities;
  • Engage with political parties and ensure that the criteria for participation of political parties in the debates be applied fairly and in full transparency;
  • Engage with Canadians to raise awareness about debates;
  • Ensure the debates are conducted under high journalistic standards; and
  • Following the 2019 general election (and no later than March 31, 2020), provide a report to Parliament outlining findings, lessons learned, and recommendations to inform the potential creation in statute of a “built to last” Debates Commission

Basis of Presentation

This quarterly report has been prepared by management using an expenditure basis of accounting. The accompanying Statement of Authorities includes the department’s spending authorities granted by Parliament and those used by the department, consistent with the 2019-20 Main Estimates. This quarterly report has been prepared using a special purpose financial reporting framework (cash basis) designed to meet financial information needs with respect to the use of spending authorities.

The authority of Parliament is required before moneys can be spent by the Government. Approvals are given in the form of annually approved limits through appropriation acts or through legislation in the form of statutory spending authority for specific purposes.

The Commission uses the full accrual method of accounting to prepare and present its annual departmental financial statements that are part of the departmental performance reporting process. However, the spending authorities voted by Parliament remain on an expenditure basis.

Highlights of Fiscal Quarter and Fiscal Year to Date Results

Given that this is the first full year of existence of the Commission, no trend comparisons are available for actual expenditures nor for planned expenditures when compared to the same period in the preceding fiscal year.

The Commission spent approximately 4% of its authorities by the end of the first quarter, mainly on salary and wages. Over this first quarter, the Commission has been paving the way for the delivery of its mandate, with the majority of its anticipated spending to occur in future quarters.  Please refer to Annex B for a breakdown of spending by Standard Object.

Risks and Uncertainties

The key risks for the Commission arise because it is a new entity that is delivering its mandate for the first time.  These key risks are:

  • Implementation – the Commission may be challenged to execute its work in the time available prior to the 2019 election.  The Commission has responded to this risk by working with existing departments for the provision of back office support (e.g., administration, finance, legal, procurement, security, and information technology) to allow the Commission to benefit from the targeted expertise of an existing department for specific services.
  • Fund management and fiduciary oversight – poor management and oversight of funds could lead to the misuse of taxpayer dollars.  The Commission has responded to this risk by ensuring that financial capacity for debate production is assessed, by benefiting from the expertise of an existing department for financial management, and by ensuring that principle of cost-effectiveness is applied to all Commission decisions on the fulfilment of its mandate.

Significant Changes in Relation to Operations, Personnel and Programs

As this is the first year of operation of the Commission, there are no changes to report in relation to Operation, Personnel and Programs. The Commission has established its organizational and governance structure to support the delivery of its mandate.

Approval by Senior Officials:

Original signed by

David Johnston
Debates Commissioner
Ottawa, Canada
Date: August 28, 2019

Original signed by

Michel Cormier
Executive Director & Chief Financial Officer
Ottawa, Canada
Date: August 28, 2019

Annex A – Statement of Authorities (unaudited) (see notes)

Fiscal Year 2019-2020
(in dollars) Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2020 Used during the quarter ended June 30, 2019 Year to date used at quarter-end
Vote 1 – Net Operating expenditures 4,520,775 151,499 151,499
Budgetary Statutory authorities 108,924 54,851 54,851
Total Budgetary authorities 4,629,699 206,350 206,350
Total authorities 4,629,699 206,350 206,350
Fiscal Year 2018-2019
(in dollars) Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2019 Used during the quarter ended June 30, 2018 Year to date used at quarter-end
Vote 1 – Net Operating expenditures
Budgetary Statutory authorities
Total Budgetary authorities
Total authorities

Note 1:  Includes only Authorities available for use and granted by Parliament at quarter-end for each respective fiscal year.

Note 2: Details may not add to totals due to rounding

Note 3: Given that this is the first full year of the Commission, no trend comparisons are available.

Annex B – Statement of Authorities (unaudited)

Fiscal Year 2019-2020
(in dollars) Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2020 Expended during the quarter ended June 30, 2019 Year to date used at quarter-end
Expenditures:
Personnel 820,847 193,666 193,666
Transportation and communications 157,800 14,073 14,073
Information 1,215,000
Professional and special services 1,864,761
Rentals
Repair and maintenance
Utilities, materials and supplies 10,200
Acquisition of machinery and equipment
Other subsidies and payments 561,091 (1,389) (1,389)
Total net budgetary expenditures 4,629,699 206,350 206,350
Fiscal Year 2018-19
(in dollars) Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2019 Expended during the quarter ended June 30, 2018 Year to date used at quarter-end
Expenditures:
Personnel
Transportation and communications
Information
Professional and special services
Rentals
Repair and maintenance
Utilities, materials and supplies
Acquisition of machinery and equipment
Other subsidies and payments
Total net budgetary expenditures

Date modified: August 29, 2019