Rescinded [2008-12-04] - Policy on Streamlining Statutory Reporting

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Policy Objective

To achieve more streamlined statutory reporting to Parliament.

Policy Statement

When a statutory report contains the same or less information than the Estimates or Public Accounts, the Governor in Council may direct that it be discontinued by virtue of Section 157 of the Financial Administration Act.

This integration or streamlining of reporting must be in accord with the purpose, policies and basic disclosure principles and standards for the various reporting instruments (i.e., Part III of the Estimates and the Public Accounts) and respect legislated requirements.

There must be no loss of disclosure to Parliament.


These guidelines apply to all departments required to produce Part III of the Estimates and Public Accounts.

Policy requirement

Order-in-Council submissions for discontinuance must be submitted to the Governor in Council by the President of the Treasury Board.

With the concurrence of the responsible Minister, requests from departments must be sent to the Program Branch and include documentation demonstrating that the information in the statutory report is duplicated in the Estimates or the Public Accounts.


The Program Branch will monitor policy requirements and guidelines through ongoing consultation and assessment of departmental request.


The following are general references:

Section 157 of the Financial Administration Act as amended by Bill C-91;

Treasury Board Manual, Communications Volume (Appendix C, sections 7.2 and 7.3).

Individual departmental legislation will provide the requirements for statutory reports to Parliament.


This chapter cancels chapter 6-10 of the "Financial Management" volume dated December 27, 1991.


Enquiries concerning this policy should be directed to your departmental headquarters. For interpretation of this policy, departmental headquarters should contact:

Comptroller Sector
Program Branch
Treasury Board Secretariat
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0R5

Telephone: (613) 957-7233
Facsimile: (613) 952-9613

Appendix A - Guidelines

Departments should review all requirements for statutory reports to Parliament in order to determine opportunities for integration and ensure that the right information is communicated in the appropriate document consistent with its purpose and the needs of its intended audience. The various reporting instruments are described in Annex B.

The requirements for integration will be met only when all the information in a statutory report is also contained in the department's Estimates or Public Accounts. To achieve this, departments may have to undertake the following measures:

  • the report to be eliminated or integrated would be adjusted or edited to take out information inconsistent with its defined purpose and scope;
  • when such information is of public relations or communications value, it could be published in alternative non-statutory publications such as annual reviews, departmental newsletters, press releases, etc.;
  • suitable information would be transferred to the Estimates or Public Accounts and also retained in the report to be eliminated.

Having done so, the legislative requirement would be satisfied and the department would have the basis to request discontinuance of a report.

Treasury Board will proceed by "blanket" Order in Council; an attached schedule will name the departmental reports that have been discontinued.

Departments that need to adjust a statutory report to establish the condition for discontinuance should do so before the next tabling date for that report. In the case of departmental annual reports, for example, this will be at various times throughout the fiscal year dependant on each department's legislation. Arrangements to add information in Part III of the Estimates or Public Accounts should be made in consultation with the Program Branch as part of the normal process of preparing these documents.

Departments planning to integrate statutory reports with the Estimates or Public Accounts are advised to consult with the Program Branch early in the process.

Appendix B - Reporting Instruments

The relevant reporting instruments include the following:


Estimates documents convey to Parliament the government's plans to spend money for defined purposes. Part I provides a multi-year overview. Part II is prepared mainly to support the appropriations process for all departments. Part III focuses on the individual expenditure plan for each department. In accordance with Treasury Board policy, Part IIIs are designed to provide "details of planned and actual results, related expenditures, other performance data useful in justifying resource requirements and sufficient background information to provide a basic understanding of each program." (Guide to the Preparation of Part III of the Estimates, Chapter 1; TB Circular 1982-8, p. 1-2).

Public Accounts

This is "the report of the Government of Canada prepared each fiscal year by the Receiver General as required by section 64 of the Financial Administration Act". Its focus is a detailed accounting of government expenditures in relation to Estimates previously voted by Parliament.

Departmental Annual Report

A departmental annual report (DAR) is a report on operations for the most recently completed fiscal year that a minister is required, normally by the department's enabling statute, to table before Parliament at a designated time. In accordance with Treasury Board guidelines, the focus of the DAR should be a concise, factual account of work done and results achieved.

As a rule, legislation does not specify content requirements for DARs. However, traditional Administrative Policy Manual guidelines have been confirmed in the Communications Volume of the Treasury Board Manual:

"7.2 An annual report required by statute should give a concise, factual account of the work of the institution during the subject year and the results achieved. Promotional material and matters of local interest should be excluded."

This policy reflects the same results orientation as Part III of the Estimates.

Other Statutory Reports

Other statutory reports for specific elements of a department's operations, or for boards, commissions, etc., that have not been constituted as separate departments may also be required to be tabled by the same minister. The focus is on specific legislative requirements.

Annual Reviews

Non-statutory annual reviews are published at a department's discretion and cannot be substituted for statutory reports. Their focus is usually the information needs of special or general client groups. They may also contain information of a local or public relations nature.

The Communications Volume of the Treasury Board Manual states:

"7.3 In addition to their statutory annual reports, institutions may publish annual reviews or progress reports intended for the general or a special public. Unlike statutory annual reports, these publications may be promotional in nature.

An annual review may not be used as a substitute for a statutory annual report, nor can it be combined with such an annual report. Annual reviews should be planned in accordance with the guidelines for other publications."

This provides an opportunity for departments wishing to streamline their DARs to better reflect the intended purpose of these publications by transferring promotional information to an annual review.