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Revised Policy on Receivables Management

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DATE: July 4, 2002
Senior Financial Officers
Senior Full-time Financial Officers' (SFFOs)
SUBJECT: Revised Policy on Receivables Management

I am pleased to announce that Treasury Board Ministers have approved the revised Policy on Receivables Management, which takes effect on July 1, 2002. This Policy replaces the existing policy, dated October 31, 1995.

The revisions, based on suggestions and proposals from departments and agencies, introduce important administrative changes that enhance the existing policy framework.

This Policy applies to all organizations considered to be departments under Section 2 of the Financial Administration Act (FAA) and under the authority of Section 9(3) of the FAA to agent Crown corporations for the purpose of sharing debtor information to enhance government-wide collection efforts.

The Policy on Receivables Management sets forth the framework for the management of all monies owing to the government including those from taxes, fees, program overpayments, repayable contributions, defaulted guaranteed loans, and accrued interest. As well, the Policy on Receivables Management applies to the collection of delinquent loans.

Within this framework, Treasury Board, Ministers, and Deputy Heads (and their delegated officials) each serve differing, but important roles in the management of these government assets. To give focus to the concomitant accountabilities, the introductory section of the revised Policy highlights the key roles and responsibilities assigned to each of these parties.

The revised Policy introduces several important changes to strengthen the management of receivables. A key aspect is the introduction of the government's strategy for the horizontal management of receivables. Through the adoption of this strategy, departments and agencies have, in addition to their specific responsibilities for receivables under their direct control, a corporate responsibility for the global management of receivables. This approach will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of overall government management of receivables by encouraging the identification of opportunities where information, information technology, collection facilities or other resources can be shared.

By introducing a number of new policy and procedural requirements, the revised Policy plays a central role in the government's efforts to introduce the horizontal management strategy. These requirements call upon departments and agencies to:

  • develop a management plan for receivables administration;
  • incorporate policies regarding the fair treatment of debtors into their business practices, based on the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency model;
  • share debtor information, where permissible, with other departments and agent Crown corporations collecting debts due to the Crown;
  • determine the classes of payments to be available for set-off by other departments to collect debts due to the Crown;
  • integrate avoidance of receivables into program design and delivery;
  • establish a definitive 'credit policy'; and,
  • take action on a timely basis when debt deletion is appropriate.

As previously mentioned, these new requirements are enhancements that strengthen the fundamental elements of the existing Policy. They also give substance to the principles of Modern Comptrollership; speak to the management commitments outlined in Results for Canadians; and represent improvements that will lead to a better results management regime.

In order to put these revisions into place, departments and agencies are expected to integrate the new requirements into their existing business practices on a phased approach, but no later than by the end of the fiscal year 2002-2003. It is important to note that no new Treasury Board reporting requirements are needed to implement the revised Policy.

Because of the importance of protecting personal information, the information sharing aspects of the revised policy must be handled with prudence. When addressing this initiative, it is essential that there is assurance that all activities fully comply with the policy and the legal authorities provided by the FAA, the Privacy Act and, where applicable, program specific legislation.

Departments and agencies are reminded that the reporting of debtors to external credit rating agencies was determined, during the policy review process, not to be an appropriate business practice in the management of the Federal government's receivables. As a result, this practice is not authorized by the Policy, and is, therefore, not permissible.

The revised Policy is available on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Web site at: /pubs_pol/dcgpubs/tbm_142/prm-gcd_e.asp.

Should you have enquiries on this Policy, please call me directly at (613) 957-7820 or Mr. Paul Ready at (613) 946-9855. Also, Section 11 of the Policy provides information on making enquiries.

I am confident that you and your officials will find the revised Policy useful in your ongoing efforts to enhance your department's management of this important government asset.

Original signed by L. McCormack for

Richard J. Neville, FCA
Deputy Comptroller General
Comptrollership Branch
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