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ARCHIVED - A Guide to Preparing Treasury Board Submissions

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The 2014 Guidance for the Preparation of TB Submissions includes a revised submission form, the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, enhanced guidance on costing, tools for submission writers and new service standards for submissions. Departments and agencies have until April 1, 2014, to fully implement the updated guidance.

However, as communicated in the Guideline on Chief Financial Officer Attestation for Cabinet Submissions, a CFO Attestation letter must be annexed to all submissions that have financial implications, effective January 1, 2014.

Part II: Planning for the Treasury Board

5. Timing of a Treasury Board Submission

5.1 Treasury Board meetings

When Parliament is in session, the Board usually meets once a week. During the summer, it may meet only once or twice, to address urgent issues. The Secretariat sets the agenda for the meetings, at which its officials present the submission(s) to the ministers for decision.

5.2 Scheduling a submission on the Treasury Board agenda

The submission may be scheduled once the Secretariat analyst and federal organization are comfortable with the final version of the submission. The federal organization must ensure that the submission is received by the Treasury Board Submission Centre by the posted deadline to ensure it remains on the agenda. The schedule of upcoming Treasury Board meetings and deadlines for submissions is updated regularly.

The table below shows minimum timelines and key deadlines for preparing a submission to the Treasury Board. The shortest possible time for processing a submission from start to finish is about six weeks, but most submissions require several more weeks to ensure that content is finalized and issues are resolved. Two to three months is the average processing time for a submission. Some federal organizations build in an additional month for submissions requiring inter-organization consultation or sign-off (e.g. joint submissions) or approval by the Governor in Council. The organization's corporate services must be consulted about internal deadlines, including those for ministerial sign-off.

It should be noted that a Secretariat analyst requires sufficient time to review a submission before providing comments or meeting to discuss it. Consultation within the Secretariat may add to the time required.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Note: More time may be needed to further revise the draft submission.


Secretariat analyst receives first draft of TB submission from federal organization

Secretariat analyst provides comments to federal organization


Meeting held (if required) to discuss Secretariat analyst's comments

Secretariat analyst receives second draft of submission from federal organization

Secretariat analyst provides further comments to federal organization


Meeting held (if required) to discuss Secretariat analyst's comments

Second-to-last draft due to be received by Secretariat analyst

Secretariat analyst writes recommendation


Signed submission received before noon by the TB submission center

Secretariat analyst's recommendation due to be delivered to Secretariat senior management



Briefing books to Treasury Board Ministers


Treasury Board meeting

Secretariat analyst conveys Board's decision to federal organization's corporate services

Of particular note is the fact that the Secretariat works to provide materials to ministers well before Board meetings. Moreover, meeting the Tuesday noon deadline for receipt of signed submissions is critical, as this leads to their official scheduling.

6. Considerations for Partner Organizations

If a submission affects several federal organizations, consultation with each of them will be required. Sufficient time must accordingly be added to the work plan to conduct such consultations and complete the submission within the desired timelines. Two typical examples of such submissions are strategic submissions and joint and omnibus submissions.

6.1 Strategic submissions

In some cases, federal organizations may want or be asked to develop a strategic submission. Such submissions may not necessarily seek additional resources or authorities, but may be used to provide macro-level information on plans or initiatives to Treasury Board ministers. Most TB submissions seek a range of approvals, such as access to funding, approval of terms and conditions for transfer payments, and specific contracting authorities. Presentation of long-term capital plans and presentation of Crown corporation corporate plans are typical uses of strategic submissions. The Secretariat will advise on the need for such a submission.

6.2 Joint and omnibus submissions

A joint submission is required when authorities or resource issues involve more than one federal organization under separate ministries–two or more ministers sign such a submission. Since one federal organization takes the lead in writing the submission, the time required to obtain the signature of all the ministers involved must be clearly communicated. The lead organization is responsible for including the other federal organizations in developing the submission. Co-signatures are required when more than one minister is directly involved. The item will be removed from the agenda if any of the co-signatures in a joint submission is not received by the deadline.

In some instances, a federal organization may draft a Treasury Board submission seeking authorities or resources on behalf of other federal organizations. Omnibus submissions are used mainly by federal organizations facilitating government-wide or horizontal initiatives, or acting solely in an administrative capacity. Only the minister sponsoring the omnibus submission is required to sign it unless the ministers of the other participating federal organizations are seeking specific authorities or incremental resources, in which case the submission must also be signed by those ministers.

Whether a joint or omnibus submission is required, all federal organizations participating in the initiative are expected to collaborate with the lead organization in the preparation of the submission and are deemed to be in agreement with its contents. In all cases, a lead organization (or co-leads, as may be appropriate) must be identified. The lead may be designated by virtue of the mandate of its minister, by a Cabinet committee, or by agreement of the participating federal organizations. In addition, the participating federal organizations should be identified and their roles and relationships with the lead or co-lead described.

7. Organizational Requirements

At this point, federal organizations should take steps internally to deliver a submission in compliance with the Secretariat's comments and timelines. This includes working with the organization's corporate services and submission coordinator to ensure that internal sign-offs are obtained on time. Most deputy heads' offices have specific timelines to arrange for proper briefing and complete the sign-off process.

Additional information is available in Part III, point 10, "Finishing Touches."