Message sent on behalf of Mrs. Suzie Gignac
Executive Director, Government Accounting Policy and Reporting
Office of the Comptroller General

To: DCFO’s  

The purpose of this communication is to advise you of reporting requirements related to the March 31, 2011 year-end.  This letter contains information on departmental financial reporting requirements related to:

Reporting Unrecorded Departmental Financial Transactions

The Treasury Board Policy on Allowances for Valuations of Assets and Liabilities requires departments to (1) perform an annual assessment of the collectability of financial claims and (2) supply the Treasury Board Secretariat with details related to any liabilities, of a material amount that are not or cannot be recorded in departmental accounts.

Financial transactions of departments should be accurately recorded in the Accounts of Canada.  For the most part, this occurs through departmental entry of financial transactions into their departmental financial management system from which the trial balance is submitted to the Central Financial Management Reporting System (CFMRS).  However, there may be situations where material amounts affecting departmental accounts will not have been recorded as of the close of accounting period 12-2 on May 16, 2011.  These include:

  1. Transactions resulting from events that occur between the close of the CFMRS and the date of completion of the Government’s financial statements in late August which provide evidence of conditions that existed at year-end (e.g. the bankruptcy of a recipient of a significant unconditionally repayable contribution or loan guarantee, the unexpected loss of a claim against the department, etc.).  In light of the existing economic situation, particular attention should be given in the course of this period to monitor if certain events could have a significant effect on the estimates and the assumptions used for the valuation of assets and liabilities;
  2. The correction of a significant error discovered either by the department or their auditor following the close of CFMRS.  Hard errors found as a result of the Public Accounts audit should be corrected, if feasible.  Errors not corrected, which will be included in the Office of the Auditor General’s Summary of Unadjusted Differences, should be supported and understood and should be discussed directly with the Office of the Comptroller General (OCG).  As part of the preparation of the Public Accounts, the Comptroller General reserves the right to require a post-closing entry for these latter items; and
  3. Allowances for likely contingent liabilities that have not been recorded by the department because of one of the exceptions listed in Treasury Board Accounting Standard (TBAS) 3.6 – Contingencies.  Specifically:

In the situations described in paragraphs 1 and 2, departments should notify TBS of the possible requirement for a post-closing entry by providing the amount and details of the nature of the transaction as soon as the information is available.

It should be noted, other than the exceptions mentioned under point 3 above, that if a post-closing entry is recorded, the department’s financial statements will need to reflect the transaction as if it had been recorded in the department’s trial balance.                               

In the situations described in paragraph 3, departments should notify TBS, by April 26, 2011, of the amount of the allowance, the details of the nature of the allowance and the reasons why the department has not recorded the allowance.  For any developments after April 26, 2011, departments are to provide the information to TBS as soon as it is available.

In all situations, information should be treated as confidential and forwarded to:

Mrs. Suzie Gignac
Executive Director
Government Accounting Policy and Reporting
Financial Management and Analysis Sector
Office of the Comptroller General
Treasury Board Secretariat
300 Laurier Avenue West, 8th floor
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0R5
Tel:  613-952-0886; Suzie.Gignac@tbs-sct.gc.ca

Liabilities related to contaminated sites

Additionally, departments must update the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory (FCSI) by April 29, 2011.  The amounts reported in FCSI should be used to prepare Table TA5a and should therefore reconcile. The FCSI can be found at: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/fcsi-rscf/home-accueil-eng.aspx

If there are any questions on the financial reporting requirements for environmental liabilities for contaminated sites, please contact Cindy Laprade at 613-952-0909 or Cindy.Laprade@tbs-sct.gc.ca.  If there are any questions on FCSI related technical issues, please contact Frank Dugal at 613-954-4678 or Frank.Dugal@tbs-sct.gc.ca.

Requests for Publication Exemptions for Payments of Claims against the Crown,  Ex gratia Payments and Court Awards

As provided in Chapter 15 of the Receiver General’s Manual of the Public Accounts Instructions, in the rare instance where a department wishes to withhold publication of the details (i.e. names of recipients and/or reasons), a written request from the CFO must be submitted by March 31, 2011 to:

Mrs. Suzie Gignac
Executive Director
Government Accounting Policy and Reporting
Financial Management and Analysis Sector
Office of the Comptroller General
Treasury Board Secretariat
300 Laurier Avenue West, 8th floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0R5
Tel: 613-952-0886; Suzie.Gignac@tbs-sct.gc.ca

Please note that under the Treasury Board Guidelines on Claims and Ex Gratia Payments, effective October 1, 2009, claims for damages to servant’s effects cannot be treated as ex gratia payments, unless a legal opinion to the contrary is obtained.  As such, claims for damages to servant’s effects are to be treated as a claim against the Crown. 

Departmental and Agency Financial Statements

A separate call letter will be sent in March to provide instructions for the 2010-2011 departmental and agency financial statements.  To assist with the implementation of the revised Treasury Board Accounting Standard 1.2 (TBAS 1.2), the OCG will be offering three information sessions this month.  Also note that the revised TBAS 1.2 can be found at the following link: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=18830.

Information sessions will be held at 222 Nepean, boardroom 2A, on the following dates:

To register please send an e-mail to Magdalene Joseph-Grant at Magdalene.Joseph-Grant@tbs-sct.gc.ca by Tuesday, March 22nd.  Note that space is limited, so a maximum of two representatives per department or agency will be accepted. 

Should you have any questions related to the departmental financial statements please contact Anne-Marie Dionne at 613-952-1004 or by e-mail at Anne-Marie.Dionne@tbs-sct.gc.ca  or Marcel Lalande at 613-957-9853 or by e-mail at Marcel.Lalande@tbs-sct.gc.ca or Alexandre St-Germain at 613-952-0896 or by e-mail at Alexandre.St-Germain@tbs-sct.gc.ca.

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