I. PURPOSE

These guidelines are intended to assist management of Crown corporations, in conjunction with their boards of directors, in the development of their corporate plans. The guidelines expand upon and clarify key corporate plan content requirements set out in the Financial Administration Act (FAA) and the Crown Corporation Corporate Plan, Budget and Summaries Regulations.

The guidelines are not intended to limit the inclusion of information judged to be relevant by a corporation, or to inhibit the style of its presentation to the appropriate Minister and to Cabinet.

II. GENERAL PRINCIPLES

  1. The corporate plan is the centrepiece of the accountability regime adopted by Parliament for Crown corporations. This regime allows Crown corporations greater managerial autonomy than departments in order that they may pursue both commercial and public policy objectives efficiently and effectively with a minimum of government intervention. To balance this greater autonomy, the regime requires Crown corporations to keep the government informed of activities, strategic issues, and plans, and to report regularly on how well the plans were achieved.
  2. As with business plans of private sector firms, the corporate plan should result from an in-depth analysis of the company and its environment by the corporation's senior management and its board of directors. It should commit the corporation to a planned strategic direction over the planning period (e.g. its goals/objectives, strategies, etc.).
  3. The corporate plan should be based on and should present an assessment of the corporation's current strategic position including an analysis of the corporation's business and its operating environments. The plan should clearly identify the key strategic issues the corporation will face over the planning period. It should outline the planned actions for addressing them.
  4. Corporate plans should establish a clear linkage among the strategic issues confronting the corporation, the corporation's objectives for the planning period, and the strategies developed for the achievement of these objectives. They should also contain related performance measures with targets to serve as benchmarks for reviewing results in subsequent corporate plans.
  5. Corporations should utilize the corporate plan as an early warning system to alert the government to future developments. Anticipated major events and decisions likely to be required from the government over the planning period should be described and assessed.

III. DEFINITIONS

Definitions in these guidelines are the same as those in the Financial Administration Act and the Crown Corporation Corporate Plan, Budget and Summaries Regulations.

IV. CONTENT OF CORPORATE PLANS

Corporate plans should include:

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The executive summary should highlight the strategic issues requiring attention over the planning period, the corporation's major objectives, and planned strategies. Anticipated major decisions facing the firm during the planning period should be reviewed, including for example key capital projects, new programs or activities, and financing plans.

2. MANDATE

This section outlining the corporation's mandate (including legislative provisions and related Cabinet decisions) should include a description of the corporation's public policy role.

3. CORPORATE PROFILE

This short overview of the corporation's businesses and activities should describe for example the corporation's history, its principal programs or businesses, its organizational structure, its financial condition, etc, and should include summary statistics where appropriate. Where relevant, these should be accompanied by an overview of the economic or policy sectors in which the corporation operates including descriptions of the important opportunities, threats and changes facing the corporation. This section should also provide a brief summary of the competition faced in each major business segment, and of any other government assistance programs aimed at the same clientele (both federal and provincial).

4. STRATEGIC ISSUES FOR THE PLANNING PERIOD

The key strategic issues facing the corporation should be identified. This identification should be based on assessments of: recent actual performance, the anticipated external business environment, and the corporation's strengths and weaknesses. These issues, as identified by the corporation's management and its board of directors, should constitute the basis for formulation of the corporate strategy for the planning period. The section should include:

(A) ASSESSMENT OF RESULTS

The analysis of strategic issues should start with, and build upon, an assessment and an explanation, including quantitative information, of significant differences between recent actual (projected) results and planned performance.

(B) ANALYSIS OF THE EXTERNAL BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

The corporation's analysis of its external economic and business environment as projected over the planning period is an important element of the corporate plan. This should focus on the main external determinants of success including such things as the level of competition faced by the corporation, markets, labour relations, inflation levels and interest rates. This presentation should facilitate a clear understanding of the strategic issues related to the external operating environment (both threats and opportunities) of the corporation.

(C) ASSESSMENT OF CORPORATE RESOURCES

The corporation's assessment of corporate strengths and weaknesses, based for example on actual performance relative to the previously established objectives and relative to the performance of competitors, should be presented. This assessment often leads to the identification of strategic issues requiring corrective actions in the planning period. These could for example include the need to improve labour productivity or profit margins, to divest non-core business operations, to improve the targeting of services, to improve management information systems, to better match the term structure of assets and liabilities, etc.

5. OBJECTIVES, STRATEGIES, AND PERFORMANCE MEASURES

This section constitutes the heart of the corporate plan and should clearly indicate corporate intentions over the next five years describing, for each major business segment, the objectives the corporation intends to achieve, how it proposes to do so (i.e. strategies), and the related performance benchmark measures for assessing progress.

This description of the corporation's objectives, strategies and related performance targets, as approved by management and the board of directors for the planning period, should build upon the previous analysis of strategic issues. It should include:

(A) IDENTIFICATION OF OBJECTIVES

The corporation's objectives for each major business segment over the next five years should be clearly specified. The objectives should be specific in nature and should flow from and be linked to the strategic issues identified for the planning period. (They should not simply be restatements of the corporation's ongoing mandate.) Objectives might include, for example, statements relating to assuring financial viability, improving the corporation's ability to compete, maintaining the corporation's asset base, etc.

(B) DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES

The description of the chosen strategies should explain how their implementation will achieve the objectives. Strategies might include, for example, actions aimed at containing or reducing costs, modernization or expansion involving new capital expenditures, initiatives aimed at increasing market share, measures to improve employee relations, etc. The anticipated impact of each strategy on current corporate policies, businesses, activities or management or operating practices. These should, to the extent possible, be quantified.

(C) ESTABLISHMENT OF PERFORMANCE MEASURES AND TARGETS

Specific performance measures and targets, both operational and financial, should be established for the identified objectives. Performance measures adopted might, for example, relate to productivity increases (%) or reductions in costs ($) relative to what would have happened in the absence of any change. The plan should indicate why these targets are believed to be attainable.

As with objectives, performance measures should relate to areas over which the corporation has some meaningful degree of control. The performance measures adopted for the first year of the plan are of course of particular significance. As a general rule of thumb, in order to facilitate accountability, the number of performance measures should normally not exceed one or two for each objective.

It is recognized that the degree of uncertainty involved in formulating objectives, strategies and performance measures, as well as financial projections, increases in the latter years of the planning period. These should nonetheless be reasonably distributed throughout the five-year planning period.

6. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

The corporate plan should include financial statements covering the two years prior to the start of the planning period (actual results for the first year and projections for the current year) and pro forma statements for each of the next five years:

(A) INCOME STATEMENTS

These should indicate major categories of revenues and expenses for each major business segment, and include statements on retained earnings.

(B) BALANCE SHEETS

(C) STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN FINANCIAL POSITION

These should reflect all cash flows, including all budgetary and non-budgetary transactions with the Consolidated Revenue Fund. For appropriation-dependent corporations, statements should be provided for both the corporation's financial year and the government's financial year if these are different.

The corporate plan should also contain an analysis of the financial statements including:

(D) NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

The corporate plan should also set out the number of employees at the end of the financial year immediately preceding the current year, and as projected for the current year and over the planning period. The reporting basis for these data (e.g., person-years, full-time equivalents or full-time employees) should be clearly stated.

7. SPECIFIC APPROVALS, NOTIFICATION OF RESTRICTED TRANSACTIONS AND LAND-USE PLAN

Corporations should generally seek Cabinet approval of their capital budgets (and operating budgets for Part I, Schedule III corporations) as part of their corporate plan submission (content requirements for these are outlined in Annex I). They may also wish to take advantage of the corporate plan approval process to seek other Treasury Board or Governor-in-Council approvals such as approval of restricted transactions. Requested approvals should be clearly identified as such.

The corporate plan submission (or subsequent amendment thereto) should also be used as the means to notify the appropriate minister and the President of the Treasury Board of restricted transactions undertaken by the corporation since the last corporate plan submission.

Where the corporation is an agent of the Crown and has real property, it should disclose its plans for any significant disposals or acquisitions, including leases.

8. SUPPORT FOR GOVERNMENT POLICIES

The corporate plan can also serve as an appropriate vehicle for reporting to the government on implementation of various policies (e.g. wage restraint).

9. TITLE PAGE REQUIREMENTS

To facilitate the timely processing of corporate plans, capital and operating budgets, or amendments thereto, by appropriate ministers' departments and offices and by Treasury Board Secretariat, the title page of each corporate plan, capital and operating budget or amendment thereto, should include:

Example:

Corporate Plan for the 1994 to 1998 Planning Period
Capital Budget for the 1994 Budget Year
Operating Budget for the 1994 Budget Year
Amended Corporate Plan for the 1994 to 1998 Planning Period

V. CONFIDENTIALITY

Corporate plans are highly confidential in nature. They contain highly sensitive and often commercially-confidential information. As submissions to Cabinet and as confidences of the Privy Council, corporate plans are treated in a manner comparable to Memoranda to Cabinet and are subject to the same strict protective measures. Corporations are advised to assist in maintaining this security by adopting their own security measures such as restricting and numbering the copies of their plan.

The corporate plan should be distinguished from the corporate plan summary which is tabled in Parliament. Sensitive material contained in plans (e.g. commercially detrimental information referred to in Section 153(1) of the FAA) should of course not be incorporated in the corporate plan summaries since these become public documents.

VI. FURTHER INFORMATION

The business literature on the preparation and use of corporate plans is extensive and may vary in terms of concepts and definitions. A brief bibliography which corporations might find helpful in this regard is attached.

Corporations are invited to raise any questions or comments they may have on the guidelines with their analyst or with the Policy and Corporate Information Division of the Crown Corporations and Privatization Sector at (613) 957-0120.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Allio, Robert J. and Pennington, Malcolm W. (editors) in cooperation with the North American Society for Corporate Planning, Corporate Planning Techniques and Applications, New York: AMACOM - a division of American Management Associations, 1979.

Ansoff, H. Igor, Implementing Strategic Management (see Chapter 5.3 - Strategic Issue Management), USA: Prentice Hall International Inc., 1984.

Focus on Strategy - A Guide for Evaluating Corporate Strategies and Business Plans, Toronto: Woods Gordon/Arthur Young International.

Laventhol and Horwath, How to Write a Business Plan, American Management Association, Third Edition, 1990.

Moskow, Michael H., Strategic Planning in Business and Government, New York: Committee for Economic Development, Fourth Printing, 1981.

Nakahara, Toshio and Isono, Yutaha, "Strategic Planning for Canon; the Crisis and the New Vision," Long Range Planning, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 63 to 72, Great Britain: Pargamon Press, 1992.

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