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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 IV: Seeking Authorities

11. Expenditure Authorization

11.1 Estimates and reference level and in-year adjustments

When funding is required beyond that which a federal organization has received through previous appropriations, the organization must request that this additional funding be included in the Estimates by means of a Treasury Board submission (see Appendix F, Figure 1). In most cases, the organization would prepare such a submission to:

  • seek funding for new programs that Cabinet has approved;
  • seek additional funding for existing programs; or
  • establish a new grant (or grant program) or increase funding to an existing one.

Previous direction on Estimates expenditure authorizations indicated that separate proposal paragraphs were required for in‑year adjustments (Supplementary Estimates) and for reference level adjustments (Main Estimates/Annual Reference Level Update, or ARLU).

However, for Treasury Board submissions made after March 31, 2007, a single proposal paragraph is required for each organization and vote affected.

If approved, the adjustment will be included in the next eligible supply period and, if applicable, updates to reference levels will be included in the next eligible ARLU exercise.

The ARLU is used to set the expenditure baseline for the direct program spending component of the fiscal plan reflected in the annual federal budget and to serve as the basis for the appropriations sought from Parliament in the upcoming Main Estimates. There are generally three supply periods in a given fiscal year, associated with the Main Estimates, Supplementary Estimates A, and Supplementary Estimates B.

For an authority to be considered eligible for inclusion in a given supply period, it must be approved prior to the specific cut‑off date set out by the Secretariat.

11.1.1 Special considerations

When requesting Estimates expenditure authorizations, organizations should consider the following: Vote wording

If the proposals put forward in a submission could necessitate a change to vote wording, organizations are required to consult with the organization's legal services and program analyst. Transfers between votes

Transfers between votes within an organization and between organizations must be considered when appropriate. (See Appendix F for an authority wording template.) Treasury Board Vote 5

The organization may want to consider requesting temporary/permanent funding from Treasury Board Vote 5. (See 11.3 (Government Contingencies).)

The organization must consult with its program analyst about the possibility of Treasury Board Vote 5 funding.

11.2 Allotment control

In certain circumstances, the Board may direct an organization to establish special purpose or frozen allotments. (See Appendix F for an authority wording template.)

11.2.1 Special purpose allotments

A special purpose allotment is used to set apart a portion of an organization's voted appropriation for a specific initiative or item. Such an allotment is established when the Board wishes to impose special expenditure controls. (See Appendix F for an authority wording template.)

11.2.2 Frozen allotments

Frozen allotments are used to prohibit the spending of funds previously appropriated by Parliament. There are two types of frozen allotments:

  1. permanent–where the Treasury Board has directed that funds lapse at the end of the fiscal year; and
  2. temporary–where an appropriation is frozen until such time as a condition (conditions) has (have) been met.

Where an organization has been directed by the Board to establish a temporary or permanent frozen allotment, a proposal paragraph is required. (See Appendix F for an authority wording template.)

In some cases, the Board may delegate authority to release a temporary frozen allotment to the Secretary of the Treasury Board or another specified officer (e.g. an assistant secretary of the Treasury Board). (See Appendix F for an authority wording template.)

11.3 Treasury Board Vote 5 (Government Contingencies)

Treasury Board Vote 5 serves to supplement other appropriations in order to provide the government with sufficient flexibility to meet urgent or unforeseen expenditures where a valid cash requirement exists due to the timing of a payment or where specific authority is required to make a payment, such as a payment of a grant not listed in the Estimates. This authority to supplement other appropriations is provided until parliamentary approval can be obtained, as long as the expenditures are within the legal mandate of the organization. The allocation from Vote 5 is provided on a temporary basis and is to be reimbursed once parliamentary authority for the expenditure has been obtained through the approval of the Supplementary Estimates.

Treasury Board Vote 5 also serves to supplement other appropriations, by way of a permanent transfer to the relevant departmental appropriation, to meet additional pay‑list costs such as severance pay, maternity allowances, and parental benefits that are not provided for in federal organizations' estimates.

Expenditures are not incurred directly against Treasury Board Vote 5. Rather, the funds are transferred to the existing appropriations of the affected federal organization after the Board has approved the allocation, and the expenditures are charged to the federal organization's appropriation.

11.3.1 Temporary allocations

Treasury Board Vote 5 supplements federal organizations' appropriations temporarily, until the next supply period, where there is insufficient spending authority to cover existing requirements as well as an urgent initiative. It may also be used to provide legislative authority for new grants (or contributions, in the case of the Canadian International Development Agency) that are within the legal mandate of the federal organization or increases to existing grants before obtaining approval from Parliament through the associated appropriation act. Temporary allocations are returned to Vote 5 after Parliament has approved supply for the associated Supplementary Estimates.

11.3.2 Permanent allocations

Treasury Board Vote 5 is also used to permanently supplement federal organizations' appropriations, usually at year‑end, for certain non‑discretionary salary expenditures that are not included in their estimates and that cannot be managed within their existing appropriations. These include severance payments, the payment of leave credits upon termination of employment in the federal public service, maternity allowances, parental benefits, and certain other wage‑related costs (e.g. termination benefits for a departing minister's exempt staff and the costs of collective agreements settled too late in the year to be included in the Supplementary Estimates). A call letter is sent to federal organizations at the end of the fiscal year providing detailed information.

11.3.3 Seeking access to Treasury Board Vote 5

The Treasury Board approves delegation of authority for seeking access to Treasury Board Vote 5 from the responsible minister to the senior financial officer (SFO) in two situations:

  • Normally, federal organizations seek authority for temporary access to Treasury Board Vote 5 as part of the submission seeking to include an item in the Estimates for the initiative. However, if the requirement for access to the vote was not foreseen at the time of the submission and the item has been approved for inclusion in the Estimates, the SFO may seek access to Vote 5 for the item in question. This request may take the form of a letter to the Senior Director, Expenditure Operations and Estimates Directorate, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. It must be accompanied by the appropriate justification and supporting information (i.e. a cash flow analysis). The letter is processed as a routine submission.
  • Where a federal organization requires permanent access to Treasury Board Vote 5 for pay-list shortfalls before year-end, the SFO must prepare a letter to the Senior Director, Expenditure Operations and Estimates Directorate, with the appropriate justification and supporting information (i.e. a cash flow analysis). The letter should specify the types of expenditures and the amounts for which access to Vote 5 is being sought. As in the previous situation, this letter is processed as a TB submission.

At year‑end, the federal organization responds to the call letter issued by the Expenditure Operations and Estimates Directorate and provides the required information. The Secretariat will undertake to obtain Board approval for access to Treasury Board Vote 5 on behalf of the federal organization.

12. Submissions Related to Real Property

12.1 General

Federal organizations' real property transactions must conform to the Federal Real Property and Federal Immovables Act and the Federal Real Property Regulations unless other legislation overrides them. Transactions must also meet Treasury Board policy requirements and respect limits and conditions imposed by Treasury Board ministers.

The Act and Regulations confer authority on ministers to undertake real property transactions including:

  • purchases
  • exchanges
  • options to purchase
  • leases and licences (including the surrender of leases or relinquishment of licences)
  • transfers of administration between federal organizations
  • transfers of administration and control between the federal government and provincial governments
  • sales

The Policy on Management of Real Property imposes financial limits on ministers' transaction authority. When the value of a transaction exceeds such limits or when a transaction fails to comply with other policy requirements, ministers must seek Treasury Board approval before executing the transaction.

In addition, some real property transactions require an OIC (or approval by the Governor in Council). In such circumstances, submissions must be prepared seeking a Treasury Board recommendation of approval to the Governor in Council.

In many cases, because the Minister of Public Works and Government Services has higher authority levels than other ministers for entering into real property transactions, it may be more efficient for federal organizations to use PWGSC to carry out the transaction on their behalf.

Note: Federal organizations should be aware that, although real property transaction authority may be delegated, a federal organization's project approval authority may not. Accordingly, the organization may not use PWGSC's project approval authorities. If project costs related to a real property transaction exceed the federal organization's project approval authority level, a submission is required for the project aspect.

The Treasury Board's real property policies and publications provide guidance on other aspects of real property management.

The federal organization may submit real property‑related transactions seeking Treasury Board approval either separately or as part of a larger related submission. The proposal section of the submission should always clearly state all approvals being sought, including real property‑related approval(s).

In some cases, it may be appropriate to seek both general approval of a strategy for classes of transactions (e.g. strategic disposals) and specific authorities to enable the federal organization to carry out the strategy.

12.2 Specific types of transactions

The following sections contain points to consider for various types of submissions related to real property. Note: Not all of them will apply to all submissions, and not all possible considerations are listed.

12.2.1 Acquisitions

  • Which program objective/purpose is being supported?
  • How does this transaction relate to the organization's PAA, investment plan (Policy on Long‑term Capital Plans), and real property strategies?
  • Is the transaction open and fair?
  • Is the transaction at market value? Do appraisals or estimates support the price? See requirements in the Treasury Board's Appraisals and Estimates Standard for Real Property.
  • Are there any Aboriginal issues? Has a legal risk assessment of rights or title been conducted by the Department of Justice Canada? Were the Secretariat's Best Practices Guidelines related to Aboriginal issues followed?
  • Are there any environmental issues? Is an environmental assessment required under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act? If remediation is required, who will pay for it? Is the property suitable for the intended use?
  • Is this the best long‑term option for the Crown in terms of economy, efficiency, and effectiveness? Does it provide the best outcome for all Canadians?
  • Has consideration been given to all relevant government policy and strategic concerns of government?
  • Has a good investment analysis calculating the life cost of all options been completed? Is the business case sound?
  • Does the project for which the federal organization is acquiring the property have or need Cabinet or Treasury Board approval?
  • Are funds available for both the acquisition and project?
  • In the case of a lease, are there options to renew or an option to purchase? Have any such options been included in the costing? Are they included in the proposal?
  • Are there any critical timing issues?
  • Has the federal organization identified all the factors that bear on the acquisition, including availability, time, duration, financing and life‑cycle costs, fit‑up or relocation costs, secure tenure, the degree of control required, flexibility of use, and market conditions?
  • Are there any heritage issues? If a building is being purchased or transferred in and it is over 40 years old, has a heritage evaluation been conducted by the Federal Heritage Building Review Office of Parks Canada?
  • Does the property meet accessibility standards? If not, how much will it cost to bring the property into compliance? The Treasury Board's Accessibility Standard for Real Property should be consulted in this regard.
  • Have fire protection standards been met? The Treasury Board's Policy on Fire Protection, Investigation and Reporting should be consulted.

12.2.2 Dispositions

  • Is this transaction consistent with the organization's investment plan and real property strategies?
  • Is this transaction open and fair?
  • Are there any environmental issues? Has all environmental information been released? Is an environmental assessment required under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act? If remediation is required, who is responsible for carrying it out and for paying for it?
  • Are there restrictions on the use of the property because of environmental conditions or for any other reason? Are any reversionary clauses attached to the property or desired?
  • In the case of a sale or transfer of surplus real property, have interested parties been provided with an opportunity to purchase it or to identify an interest in the property? The Treasury Board's Directive on the Sale or Transfer of Surplus Real Property should be consulted.
  • Is the transaction a strategic disposal? Does the property have the potential for significantly enhanced value? Are the size and value significant enough to affect local markets negatively should its integration not be managed? Is the transaction sensitive or complex? Has the custodian conducted a strategic assessment and prepared a disposal strategy and has a decision been made in conjunction with the Secretariat to treat this as a strategic disposal? (The Treasury Board's Directive on the Sale or Transfer of Surplus Real Property should be consulted for more guidance on identifying surplus property for the strategic disposal process.)
  • Are there any Aboriginal issues? If the transaction is a sale or transfer of surplus real property, has a legal risk assessment of rights or title been conducted by the Department of Justice Canada? Were the Secretariat's Best Practices Guidelines related to Aboriginal issues followed?
  • If the property has been designated as "classified" or "recognized," have appropriate steps been taken to protect the heritage value? Has the federal organization consulted with the Federal Heritage Building Review Office or obtained heritage advice from any other qualified person? Will a covenant be placed on the title to protect the heritage value?
  • What is the appraised market value of the property? Are there current appraisals and estimates to support the consideration being received? Requirements are set out in the Treasury Board's Appraisals and Estimates Standard for Real Property. If the consideration received is less than the appraised market value, what is the justification?
  • Does the disposition have any broader, federally mandated socio‑economic objective(s)?
  • Does the disposition affect the security or flexibility of either concurrent or subsequent use of adjacent Crown property?
  • Does the disposition diminish the value of adjacent or nearby Crown property?
  • If the transaction is a sale or transfer, has the organization considered whether or not the property can serve a different program requirement or different use?
  • Are there any community sensitivities or issues?

12.3 Recommendations to the Governor in Council

Subsection 16(1) of the Federal Real Property and Federal Immovables Act (FRPFIA) provides transactional real property authority to the GIC. This subsection is used as transactional authority if no other act applies or if a minister is of the view that, for a special reason, GIC approval would be appropriate. All subsection 16(1) transactions require the recommendation of the Treasury Board. GIC approval is also required for disposing of certain defence lands (subsections 19(2) and (3) of the FRPFIA) or for correcting errors in granting title to real property (subsection 22(1) of the FRPFIA).

Section 5 of the Federal Real Property Regulations permits the transfer of administration and control of the entire or any lesser interest in any federal real property to a province without an OIC, by instrument satisfactory to the Minister of Justice. However, an OIC may be used if the transferring minister so decides, in which case the GIC authorizes such transfer pursuant to paragraph 16(1)(e) of the FRPFIA. In the case of retrocession or reversion of the administration and control of any interest in real property to Her Majesty in right of a province or Her Majesty in right of Canada, a minister may give effect to that retrocession or reversion by instrument satisfactory to the Minister of Justice notwithstanding the requirement in the original transfer of administration and control to proceed by OIC.

GIC approval is also required for cases in which federal real property is to be disposed of by sale to any party other than the Canada Lands Company CLC Limited if the whole of the purchase price or other consideration is not received by Her Majesty at or before completion of the disposition.

The sponsoring organization's legal services should be consulted to determine process and proper wording of the OIC.

Examples of content of a submission related to real property appear in Appendix F, figures 2 and 3.

12.4 Other associated Treasury Board policy instruments

Real property submissions must also demonstrate compliance with other related Treasury Board policy instruments, such as:

13. Project Approval

13.1 Management of projects

Management of projects refers to a series of related and often dependent activities with an overarching objective, carried out to establish, improve, or enhance an organization's ability to meet its goals within defined time, cost, and performance parameters. Projects in the government context support the federal organization's mandate and contribute to the expected results for the organization and government‑wide (enterprise) objectives and horizontal initiatives. A project exists only for the duration of time required to complete its stated objectives and is conducted in such a manner as to achieve value for money.

The government has established a number of policies related to the management of projects in support of the significant investments it makes through the design, development, and acquisition of various types of assets and services. Good project management addresses value for money, costs, scope, and schedule, mitigating risks and thus contributing to the successful delivery of program objectives while at the same time demonstrating sound stewardship in program delivery.

Attempts have been made in this section to minimize duplication of information available on the Secretariat website. A number of documents available online provide guidance in the area of management of projects within the federal government.

Three Treasury Board policies address project‑related issues:

  • The Project Approval Policy sets out information and the requirements for PPA submissions, EPA submissions, and lease project approval (LPA) submissions.
  • The Project Management Policy identifies the minimum mandatory requirements for the management of projects and includes such topics as accountability for projects, project management principles, authorities and resources, scope, management framework, project profile, and risk assessments.
  • The Management of Major Crown Projects Policy sets out additional requirements for the management of major Crown projects.

In the case of real property projects, Treasury Board PPA and/or EPA is required for all projects that exceed the project approval authorities listed in Appendix E of the Treasury Board Project Approval Policy. The Project Approval Policy will provide an organization with the necessary expenditure commitment authority to proceed with a real property project.

Information management and information technology (IM/IT) projects have their unique challenges. Project submissions must address the additional information requirements for IM/IT projects that are detailed in the various project management references. The Enhanced Framework for the Management of Information Technology Projects aims to ensure that government IT projects fully meet the needs of the business functions they are intended to support, deliver expected benefits, and are completed on time and on budget.

13.2 Information requirements for submissions related to project approvals

13.2.1 Preliminary project approval

Federal organizations normally request PPA when the initial project planning and identification phase is completed, but before the project definition phase starts. In providing PPA, Treasury Board ministers agree that a program requirement has been identified and there is adequate justification for meeting that requirement through a particular project. PPA provides authorization to expend resources to fully define the selected project option.

Content requirements for submissions are detailed in Appendix A to the Project Approval Policy.

The Secretariat has developed electronic tools to assist federal organizations in preparing and reviewing contract and project approval submissions, including materiel management and real property components (for projects only–not contracts). These tools include:

  • a checklist setting out factors and/or information that must be considered by project authorities when preparing submissions
  • a project submission template for a PPA submission setting out the information that must be included
  • a checklist for IT components of PPA submissions

Paragraph 13.2.4 below deals with projects considered major Crown projects.

Additional requirements particular to IM/IT projects are detailed in Appendix D to the Project Approval Policy and in FMI–Management of Information Considerations in Treasury Board Submissions.

13.2.2 Effective project approval

Federal organizations must seek EPA before starting the project implementation phase. Information requirements for submissions are detailed in Appendix B to the Project Approval Policy.

Where the Treasury Board has not provided PPA, federal organizations must also include in their EPA submission all information that should have gone into the PPA submission.

To assist in the preparation of EPA submissions, three web-based tools are available:

  • a checklist setting out factors and/or information that must be considered by the project authorities when preparing a submission
  • a project submission template for an EPA submission setting out the information that must be included
  • FMI–Management of Information Considerations in Treasury Board Submissions

Paragraph 13.2.4 deals with projects considered major Crown projects.

Again, in the case of IM/IT projects, after federal organizations have completed the project definition phase, they must return to the Treasury Board for EPA. The above-mentioned template contains additional information requirements for EPA submissions involving IM/IT projects.

13.2.3 Lease project approval

When the current value of a project that is predominantly lease-related exceeds the minister's authority level for project approval, the sponsoring organization must obtain lease project approval (LPA) before soliciting bids. This effectively combines the PPA and EPA submissions into a single approval process. The submission must be made early in the planning phase so that decision makers have realistic options. It is therefore similar to the PPA submission.

The information requirements for the submission are detailed in Appendix C to the Project Approval Policy.

To assist individuals in preparing LPA submissions, a web‑based checklist is available setting out the factors and/or information that must be considered by the project authorities when preparing a submission.

Where a real property project is designated a major Crown project, the LPA submission must consider the project's management regime in the context of the Management of Major Crown Projects Policy.

13.2.4 Major Crown projects

Major Crown project (MCP) submissions (submissions relating to projects that meet the criteria of high risk and a value of over $100 million) must be accompanied by a project brief. This brief sets out the full scope of the project, permitting the PPA and EPA documents to be written as succinctly as possible. Details are available in Appendix F to the Project Approval Policy.

The project brief shows the relationship of the project to the federal organization's priorities and the long‑term capital plan. It also summarizes the analysis of the options considered and why the proposed project is the preferred solution, and provides an overview of the project management framework.

In addition, each major Crown project should have the following five elements:

  • a project leader, who must be a senior manager accountable directly to the deputy minister;
  • a senior project advisory committee (SPAC) on which all stakeholders are represented;
  • selection and implementation of an appropriate project performance measurement system (a report card and regular progress reports to the Secretariat are recommended);
  • submission of progress reports to the Treasury Board at key milestones or as directed by the Board; and
  • submission of a project evaluation report to the Board at the end of the project.

IM/IT submissions for major Crown projects must demonstrate how they will comply with and implement the following policies and standards:

13.2.5 Long‑term capital plans

A long-term capital plan (LTCP) normally includes all of a federal organization's capital resources, including vehicles, materiel, land, leased properties (even if funded through the operating budget), IM/IT, and structures.

A federal organization should base a typical LTCP on a five‑year planning horizon. It should provide information on its objectives, priorities, strategies, the way capital assets link to those objectives and strategies, the authority structure, capital planning, the management and approval structure, resource levels and requirements, planned capital projects by year, and cash flow. The organization should attach the LTCP as a self‑contained appendix instead of including it in the body of the submission. This allows the plan to be easily separated from the submission and distributed.

Some confusion exists as to what approval of an LTCP actually means. Individual projects beyond a federal organization's delegated authority require PPA or EPA. Furthermore, projects in Part 2 of an LTCP tend to change over time. Consequently, the federal organization should be aware that approval of an LTCP does not imply approval of every project or proposed management approach in the plan. Instead, it refers to the Treasury Board's general agreement with the approaches proposed in the LTCP. If a federal organization is using an LTCP to seek PPA or EPA in the same submission as the one seeking LTCP approval, then the request for PPA or EPA must be explicitly stated in the proposal section of the submission. Again, as noted above, federal organizations should attach the LTCP as a self-contained appendix, for ease of distribution.

The Secretariat is updating the Policy on Long-term Capital Plans as part of its policy renewal process. Although the basic principles of sound asset management remain the same, the proposed policy moves toward an investment approach and is at a more strategic level, outlining deputy head responsibilities and accountabilities, with an increased focus on results and how they are assessed. In addition, the scope of the proposed Policy on Investment Planning includes acquired services. The Secretariat analyst should be consulted about requirements before drafting of the organization's next LTCP or investment plan is started.

An example of the content of an LTCP submission appears at Figure 2 in Appendix F.