Departmental Results Report 2016-17

 

The original version was signed by

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

 

ISSN 2368-1801

Table of contents

Registrar’s message

Results at a glance

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Operating context and key risks

Results: what we achieved

Analysis of trends in spending and human resources

Supplementary information

Appendix: definitions

 


Registrar's message

Picture of Roger Bilodeau, Registrar

I am pleased to present the 2016-2017 Departmental Results Report for the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (‘Office’).

The Supreme Court of Canada is Canada’s final court of appeal. The independence of the Court, the quality of its work and the esteem in which it is held both in Canada and abroad contribute significantly as foundations for a secure, strong and democratic country founded on the Rule of Law.

The Office has a deep appreciation for the importance and role of the Supreme Court of Canada (‘Court’). As such, it focuses its efforts on a single strategic outcome, namely that ‘the administration of Canada’s final court of appeal is effective and independent’. Our 2016-17 Departmental Results Report provides parliamentarians and Canadians with information on what we strive to accomplish and the progress we have made during the 2016-17 fiscal year. To improve reporting to Canadians, I am pleased to provide this new and simplified report which replaces the former Departmental Performance Report.

The title of the report has been changed to better reflect its purpose, i.e. to communicate our actual results achieved for the most recently completed fiscal year and the financial and human resources needed to deliver those results. The report has also been restructured to provide a more straightforward and balanced account of the actual results that we strive to accomplish, while continuing to provide transparency on how taxpayers’ dollars are spent. We describe our programs and services for Canadians, our achievements in 2016-17, and how our work has met our organizational priorities.

Over the course of the period covered by this report, the core work of the Office continued to focus on the processing and management of cases brought to the Court. As was the case in past years, the Court’s decision-making environment in 2016-17 has continued to present risks and challenges.

During the course of the last fiscal year, the Office continued to place a high priority on pursuing its business transformation efforts in order to pursue its work towards (i) the improvement of electronic access to the Court’s case files and information, (ii) making court operations more efficient and (iii) ensuring the long term preservation of Court data and information.

In addition to the business transformation initiative, the Court has also continued to focus on the enhancement of its overall security services which aim to balance the safety of all participants in the judicial process, as well as the basic principles of fairness, access and openness which underpin the administration of justice.

I wish to conclude by thanking the entire staff of the Court for their continuing hard work and enthusiasm in serving the Court and Canadians with unfailing professionalism and a dedicated sense of purpose. Their respective contributions are indispensable to the success of what we do to support all facets of the Court’s work.

Roger Bilodeau, Q.C.


Results at a glance

Key Results Achieved in 2016-17
What funds were used?
  • Significant changes to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada were enacted. These changes streamline the appeal process for litigants and widen the scope of documents that may be filed electronically, thereby reducing the paper burden on parties.
  • Funding secured to proceed with enhancements to the physical and IT Security Infrastructures
  • Significant improvements to the Court website to facilitate access to Court information and its proceedings
$33,679,426
Actual Spending for 2016-17
Who was involved?
204
Actual FTEs for 2016-17

For more information on the department’s plans, priorities and results achieved, see the “Results: what we achieved” section of this report.


Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Raison d’être

Created by an Act of Parliament in 1875, the Supreme Court of Canada is Canada’s final court of appeal.  It serves Canadians by deciding legal issues of public importance, thereby contributing to the development of all branches of law applicable within Canada. 

The independence of the Court, the quality of its work and the esteem in which it is held both in Canada and abroad contribute significantly as foundations for a secure, strong and democratic country founded on the Rule of Law.  The Supreme Court of Canada is an important national institution, positioned at the pinnacle of the judicial branch of government in Canada, separate from and independent of the executive and legislative branches of government.

The Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada provides all necessary services and support for the Court to process, hear and decide cases.  It also serves as the interface between litigants and the Court.  The focus of this report is on the priorities and activities of the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada.

More detailed information on the Court’s responsibilities, the hearing process and judgments is available on the Supreme Court of Canada website.

Mandate and role

In accordance with the Supreme Court Act, the Court consists of nine judges, including the Chief Justice of Canada, all of whom are appointed by the Governor in Council.  The Court hears appeals from the decisions of the highest courts of final resort of the provinces and territories, as well as from the Federal Court of Appeal and the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada.  In addition, the Court provides advisory opinions on questions referred to it by the Governor in Council.  The importance of the Court’s decisions for Canadian society is well recognized.  The Court assures uniformity, consistency and correctness in the articulation, development and interpretation of legal principles throughout the Canadian judicial system.  Its jurisdiction is derived from the Supreme Court Act and other Acts of Parliament, such as the Criminal Code.

The Supreme Court Act provides that the Registrar shall, under the direction of the Chief Justice, superintend the officers, clerks and employees of the Court, report and publish the judgments of the Court, as well as manage and control the library of the Court.  The Registrar is appointed by the Governor in Council and heads the Office, being responsible for the management of its employees, resources and activities.  The organization of the Office is depicted in the following diagram and further explained in the paragraphs below. 

Office of the Registrar's Organizational Chart

Description of image

The chart shows the organizational structure of the Court. Under the direction of the Chief Justice, who is supported by the Executive Legal Officer, the Registrar is the Deputy Head of the Court. He is responsible for the Court Operations Sector and the Corporate Services Sector. The Registrar is seconded by the Deputy Registrar, who is responsible for the Judicial Support and Protocol Services Sector and Communications Services.

Judicial Support and Protocol Services Sector: The Judicial Support and Protocol Services Sector is responsible for the delivery of all judicial support services to the Chief Justice of Canada and to the judges of the Court, including protocol matters and facilitating the Court’s international role, as well as the development and delivery of integrated judicial support programs and services, judicial support administration, and the Law Clerk program.

Communications Services: The Communications Services Branch develops and implements communication strategies, plans and programs to increase public awareness and understanding of the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as responding to requests for information and providing guided tours of the Court building. It also works to enhance internal communications within the Court.

Court Operations Sector: Composed of the Law Branch, Reports Branch, Registry Branch and the Library and Information Management Branch, this sector is responsible for the planning, direction and provision of legal advice and operational support for the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada, respecting all aspects of the case management process from the initial filing to the final judgment on an appeal.  This includes processing and recording proceedings, scheduling of cases, legal and jurilinguistic services, legal research and library services, legal editing services and publication of the Canada Supreme Court Reports.  The Registry is the point of contact between the Court and litigants and provides information and services to counsel and litigants, including unrepresented litigants.  Information management services, including case-related and corporate records information, are also provided by the Sector.

Corporate Services Sector: Administrative and operational support for all the Court’s judges and staff is provided by the Corporate Services Sector, which is responsible for: strategic, business and resource planning; corporate reporting; integrated risk management; finance; procurement; building operations (including telecommunications, mail and printing services); human resources; security; health and safety; emergency management and preparedness; IT services; as well as business continuity planning.

For more general information about the Office, see the “Supplementary information” section of this report.


Operating context and key risks

Operating context

The operating environment of the Office is continuously evolving.  The focus in recent years has been on business process improvement, information management and enhancing electronic access for litigants and the public.  To meet the pressures relating to the aging Court building and operational facilities, significant time and resources have been (and will continue to be) dedicated to long term planning for a building rehabilitation initiative, as well as to short term activities aimed at replacing aging equipment.

In recent years, the Court has seen relative stability in its caseload, but there continue to be operational pressures on the Office of the Registrar. These arise from the requirement to (i) provide more services to the Court, litigants, and the public; (ii) meet the needs of a significant number of self-represented litigants; and (iii) maintain operations in aging facilities with constricted resources. In addition, during the period under review, there was one judicial retirement and a new judge was appointed to the Court. This has an impact on the Office of the Registrar, which must ensure a smooth transition in all its operations when one judge retires and a new judge is appointed.

There is also a continued focus on the electronic exchange of information between or from the judges, Court staff, the legal community and the public, since there is an expectation that electronic tools and processes can be used to obtain or provide Court information, as well as to file documents. Amendments to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada, in effect as of January 1, 2017, have expanded the number of documents that can be filed in electronic form, reduced the requirement to file paper copies of some documents and decreased the number of copies filed in paper format for others. This paves the way to introducing greater efficiencies in the processing of various documents and in overall Court operations. In addition, these recent changes serve to enhance the capacity of the business transformation program to achieve its current and future milestones, namely the ability:

  • to receive, manage and preserve Court records in electronic format;
  • to enable electronic filing by the legal community and parties to proceedings in a secure portal;
  • to communicate effectively with counsel and litigants through multiple and secure channels;
  • for Court staff to manage both paper and digital documents in a single management system simultaneously.
  • manage a robust information security permissions framework to limit access to documents with restrictions as appropriate.

The most recent amendments to the Rules also allow the Court to address the increasing complexity of proceedings being filed and aim to promote more electronic communications between the parties and the Court. With reduced timelines for filing, the scheduling of appeals will be also more efficient. The impact of these new Rules will be monitored and evaluated on a continuing basis.

In addition to the above, self-represented litigants filed 33% of the applications for leave to appeal in 2016, which represents a significant percentage of its filings. This underlies the continuous need for the Registry Branch to enhance its resources for self-represented litigants, who require more assistance from Court staff.

The Court is also facing heightened concerns about physical and information security, which must be balanced with the need to provide a secure environment in the context of the operational requirements of a Court which is accessible to the public. As well, when responding to demands by government for operational efficiencies by way of the consolidation of various services, the Office must ensure the protection of judicial and institutional independence. 

The operating environment is also evolving from an outreach perspective. There is increased public interest in the Court’s cases and growing visibility of the SCC judges in Canada and abroad. As a leader in court administration, the Office must support the Court in that role.  

In light of all the factors described above, the Office continues to dedicate ongoing efforts aimed at ensuring that all resources are used in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

Business Transformation

As noted above, an ongoing priority of the Office is its business transformation program.

In support of this priority, the following was accomplished in 2016-17:

  • The second phase of the migration of the Court’s Case Management System to a .Net platform began;
  • Requirements for an e-filing portal were established and documented;
  • Document sharing and collaboration was enhanced by expanding the scope of the document management system;
  • Records management system was partially implemented;
  • New telephone system implemented to improve the efficiency of Registry operations.

Enhancement of the security program to better meet the overall needs of the Court

Due to the sensitive nature of the Court’s business and its high level profile as the court of last resort in Canada’s judicial branch of government, it is essential to continue enhancing the Court’s security program which has many components, such as physical security, information technology security and business continuity planning.

Key supporting initiatives of those internal services which support the Court in its role to ensure that the administration of Canada’s final court of appeal is effective and independent, which began in fiscal year 2010-2011 and which are expected to reach their full operational level by 2021, include:

  • the continued update of the security policy framework and operations in line with emerging trends;
  • the renewal of governance arrangements with the RCMP;
  • pursuing investments as identified in Budget 2015 for enhancements to the security program, including ongoing enhancements to the Court’s IT Security Posture, aligned with industry standards.

As such, the progress made toward this priority are:

  • Operating agreements are being finalized with the RCMP.
  • Funding was secured to proceed with enhancements to the physical and IT Security Infrastructures.
  • Several enhancements were brought to the physical and IT security measures in place at the Court.

Key risks

On an annual basis, the Office’s operating environment is assessed in terms of its capacity to deal with key high-level risks linked to the achievement of organizational objectives and results. The key risks are identified during the Strategic Planning exercise and are updated on an annual basis. Mitigation measures are also monitored continually to ensure that they are adequate and fully implemented.

The following table outlines the key risks and risk response strategies faced by the organization.

Key risks

Risks Mitigating strategy and effectiveness Link to the department’s Programs Link to mandate letter commitments or to government-wide and departmental priorities

IT Security (cyber threats)
Unintentional or unauthorized access, use, manipulation, interruption or destruction (via electronic means) of electronic information held by the Court and the electronic and physical infrastructure used to process, communicate and/or store that information. Risk to the security and confidentiality of judicial information and data. 

  • IT security action plans
  • IT security awareness plans/staff awareness
  • Periodic vulnerabilities assessment and penetration testing
  • Regular IT Threat and Risk Assessment
  • Up-to-date security hardware and software
Internal Services

Organizational priority: Enhancement of the Security Program

Security (persons, building, information, infrastructure)
Threats to the safety of Judges, staff or visitors, and to the security of the building, information and infrastructure. Balancing security measures required for the protection of judges, staff and visitors with the principle of an open court (the Supreme Court of Canada building is a high volume tourism destination).

  • Security governance structure
  • Security Action Plan
  • Security Risk Register under development
  • Policies and procedures updated regularly
  • Security audits/threat and risk assessments
  • Business Continuity Plan
  • Staff awareness
  • Effective relationship with the RCMP
  • Enhanced physical security measures

Internal Services

Organizational priority: Enhancement of the Security Program

Aging legacy IT systems and applications
Failure of aging legacy systems and applications, such as the Case Management System (CMS), as evidenced by system downtime or failure, flexibility of systems to handle new requirements or integrate with newer products, lack of ability of Court staff to address technical issues and to interface systems and data, and systems becoming obsolete and unmanageable if the Court waits too long to redesign and port to a new platform.

  • Threat and Risk Assessments
  • Back-up operations and tools kept-up-to-date
  • In-house expertise available to support CMS and operational systems
  • Identification of key significant upgrades in the Investment Plan (capital replacement), and provision of sufficient funding to meet requirements
  • Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery plans
  • Ongoing maintenance of systems and equipment/systematic checks

Internal Services

Organizational priority: Business Transformation

The Office is faced with ongoing risks which require constant vigilance, as identified in the table above. Both physical and IT security are key existing risks for the organization. As such, the Office is continuing to invest in enhancing overall security at the Court. These investments will enable the Office to increase its security posture and address security vulnerabilities. These enhanced measures will ultimately ensure that the cases can proceed without any disruptions, that legal information is safeguarded and that the well-being of all parties involved is protected. New funding was provided for this purpose in Budget 2015. As such, 2016-17 represents the first year of funding for these enhanced security measures. Progress towards mitigating these risks remains on target.

In addition to security risks, the failure of aging legacy IT systems is also a key existing risk for the Office. Resources (both human and financial) continue to be dedicated to maintaining the asset base that supports these systems. However, rising costs are making the replenishment of these assets increasingly difficult. Investment planning is key in planning for these infrastructure investments. Progress is achieved by ensuring that resources are allocated to maintaining these systems (back-up operations, updated tools and ongoing monitoring systems). As well, regular threat and risk assessments are conducted and business continuity plans are being developed.


Results: what we achieved

Programs

Program name: 1.1 Court Operations

Description

In order to render its decisions, the Court requires the support of the Office in the management of its caseload from the receipt of an application for leave to appeal up to and including the release of a judgment on appeal. This support includes providing services to the litigants; reviewing applications for leave to appeal and preparing advice as to whether leave to appeal should be granted; preparing summaries of the leave applications; providing procedural advice; reviewing and summarizing factums where leave to appeal is granted; receiving, controlling and preserving all incoming case documentation; tracking various time periods to ensure compliance by the parties with the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada; recording proceedings on appeals; answering queries with regard to cases; editing and summarizing decisions of the Court; publishing decisions in the Canada Supreme Court Reports, in accordance with the Supreme Court Act; and providing law library services with an extensive collection in both print and electronic formats to support legal research undertaken by users within the Court and members of the legal community.

Results

The Supreme Court of Canada has a consistent record of meeting its objectives in processing cases without delay, providing effective access to Court services and programs, including reference information, and providing reliable courtroom services.  At the same time, the Office has maintained stakeholder satisfaction and high standards of service quality.  To meet the challenges of continuing to provide excellent services to the Court and litigants in an environment of shrinking resources and added pressures such as physical and IT security, the focus on business transformation will continue.  In the upcoming year, the Business Transformation Program will continue to direct resources to the implementation of digital recordkeeping, workflow enhancements and the development of policies and rules to support efficient processes. Amendments will also be made to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada to further clarify some business processes.

Supreme Court of Canada Caseload 2016
Category Projected workload
Leave applications filed 562
Leave applications submitted to the Court 598
Appeals as of right filed 15
Appeals heard 63
Judgments 57

 

Results achieved
Expected results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2016–17
Actual results
2015–16
Actual results
2014–15 Actual results
Cases processed without delay Number of weeks between filing of application for leave and decision on application for leave 14 weeks Ongoing

Frequency:
Annually
17 weeks 18 weeks 14 weeks
Number of weeks  between hearing and judgment 26 weeks Ongoing

Frequency:
Annually
20 weeks 25 weeks 16 weeks
Access to Court services and information % of lawyers and unrepresented litigants in appeals with the Supreme Court of Canada that were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with Registry services 95% Ongoing

Frequency:
Annually
100% 92% 100%
Access to reference information % of factual / bibliographic requests for reference assistance responded to within service standard of 1 working day 95% Ongoing

Frequency:
Annually
99% 99% 96%
% of complex / substantive requests for reference assistance responded to by date required by client 95% Ongoing

Frequency:
Annually
100% 100% 100%
% of users that were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with library services 95% Ongoing
Frequency:
Annually
100% 96% 100%

The Supreme Court of Canada continues to dispose of cases in a timely manner.  From year to year, there may be minor variances in meeting the objectives in processing cases. In 2016, this was the case with respect to applications for leave to appeal, as the Office’s priority was to support the Court in the release of judgments in a timely manner following a judicial retirement. This left less capacity for the Office to process applications for leave. As such, the target of 14 weeks set as the number of weeks between the filing of an application for leave and the decision on the application for leave was exceeded by 3 weeks, a slight improvement over the 2015 results (when the target was exceeded by 4 weeks). Nonetheless, the Office maintained stakeholder satisfaction and high standards of service quality.

The target set for the number of weeks between the hearing of an appeal and the judgment being rendered, i.e. 26 weeks, was surpassed, with the average number of weeks between hearing and judgment being 20 weeks. 

With respect to access to Court services and information, the target of 95% as the level of lawyers and unrepresented litigants in appeals with the Supreme Court of Canada that were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the overall services provided by the Registry Branch was exceeded in 2016 based on the post-hearing survey of participants in appeals heard by the Court. Of the client satisfaction surveys filled in by lawyers (no surveys were completed by self-represented litigants), 100% said they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the overall services provided by the Registry Branch.

In regard to access to reference information, the targets of 95% set for responding to: (a) requests for factual/bibliographic requests for assistance within the service standard of one working day; (b) complex/substantive requests for reference assistance by the date required by the client; and (c) the percentage of users that were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with library services, was exceeded for all three measures.

During the fiscal year 2016-17, the Court enacted new rules that provide for enhanced electronic processes thereby reducing costs incurred by litigants. Improvements to the Court’s website and its webcasting services means that information about the Court, its cases and hearings, are more easily accessed. The audio-visual equipment in the Courtroom was replaced in the summer of 2016 to address system failures and to keep up with newer technology. The migration of the Court’s Case Management System to a .Net platform, which represents a cornerstone to achieving the Court’s Business Transformation objectives, entered its second phase. This phase aims to replicate the existing functionality that meets both current and future business requirements.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2016–17
Main Estimates
2016–17
Planned spending
2016–17
Total authorities available for use
2016–17
Actual spending
(authorities used)
2016–17
Difference
(actual minus planned)
16,067,392 16,067,392 17,042,684 15,597,127 (470,265)

 

Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2016–17
Planned
2016–17 
Actual
2016–17
Difference (actual minus planned)
146 137 -9

Program name: 1.2 Payments to Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada Pursuant to the Judges Act

Description

The Judges Act is an Act respecting all federally appointed judges and thereby applies to the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada. The Judges Act specifies the salaries of the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada and prescribes other payments to be made to them, namely allowances for relocation, representation, incidentals, conferences, as well as annuities. The Office processes these payments, as required by the Judges Act.  

Results

The timeliness of various allowances paid to the judges of the Court is assessed internally through the maintenance of receipt and processing dates for individual claims. In an effort to constantly improve its services, the Office has implemented processes to ensure accuracy and an adequate level of satisfaction. The Office has set targets of 95% for the timely processing of payments pursuant to the Judges Act, within service standards of five days and a 2% error rate in the accuracy of the payment of these claims. The accuracy of these payments is monitored on a regular basis.

Expected results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2016–17
Actual results
2015–16
Actual results

2014–15 Actual results

Timely and accurate payments to Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada pursuant to the Judges Act % of payments processed within service standards of 5 days for the reimbursement of allowances pursuant to the Judges Act 95% Ongoing

Frequency:
Annually
100% 100% 100%
% of errors on payments less than 2% Ongoing

Frequency:
Annually
less than 1% 3% 4%
Average time to process payments within 5 business days Ongoing

Frequency:
Annually
1 business day 1 business day 1 business day

The Office has exceeded its target of 95% for the timely processing of payments pursuant to the Judges Act within its service standard of five days for the past three fiscal years. In fact, the Office has consistently maintained a level of 100% over this time for the timely processing of its payments to judges, which success is in great part attributed to procedures that have been implemented to carefully monitor the payment process such as generating frequent payment batches to ensure that targeted timeframes are respected. Efforts will continue to maintain the established target.

The Office has set a target of 2% error rate in the accuracy of the payment of judges’ claims. An assessment of the corrective entries was used as a basis to determine whether or not the Office met its target of an error rate of 2% or less. This target was not met in fiscal years 2014-15 and 2015-16, with error rates of 4% and 3% respectively. Adjusting entries were needed to correct various errors and the adjustments consisted mostly of errors in financial coding, thus not directly impacting the payment of any amounts due to the recipients. Processes such as reconciliation and frequent reporting have allowed for early detection of errors, in particular, financial coding errors, and corrective action was taken immediately. Five hundred and seventy-five transactions were processed in fiscal year 2016-17. Of this number, 4 adjusting entries were needed to correct various errors, resulting in an error rate of less than 1%.

The Office continues to dedicate time and effort to strive towards reducing its error rate and meeting its target of 2% as the accuracy level for the payments to judges in its ongoing effort to continuously maintain a high level of accuracy and timelines in the issuance of these payments.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2016–17
Main Estimates
2016–17
Planned spending
2016–17
Total authorities available for use
2016–17
Actual spending
(authorities used)
2016–17
Difference
(actual minus planned)
7,425,442 7,425,442 7,572,984 7,572,984 147,542

 

Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2016–17 
Planned
2016–17
 Actual
2016–17
Difference (actual minus planned)
0 0 0

No FTEs attributed to this program.

Internal Services

Description

Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are: Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Materiel Services; and Acquisition Services.

Results

Internal services support the Court by providing timely and responsive services that are effective and efficient as per established service standards.  Some key results for 2016-17 were:

  • Continued improvements to the security and IT security programs, including policies, operating procedures and practices, equipment upgrades, as well as training and awareness.
  • Ongoing efforts aimed at improving and strengthening key internal controls within the organization.
  • Increased focus of Human Resources (HR) efforts on knowledge transfer/succession planning, more specifically to identify essential positions and opportunities to streamline services.
  • The Information Technology Branch is an integral part of the Court’s business as a partner and enabler in supporting the Business Transformation efforts.  Priorities for 2016-17 included:
    • Continue efforts aimed at upgrading key legacy business applications and IT infrastructure components.
    • Strive for greater interoperability between new and older systems and focus on getting the most out of the investments made in technologies over the last few years.
    • Continue enhancing the Court’s IT Security posture.
  • The Library and Information Management Branch supports the information management needs of the organization.  Accomplishments for 2016-17 included progress in the implementation of GCDOCS across the organization, so as to better manage documents and records of business value, including closed case-related records. The Library Services and Human Resource Management units were respectively onboarded to GCDOCS during the fiscal year. In addition, business processes in the Records Centre were realigned to support clients and their information needs. Finally, the Office continued to release information related to its key mandate in a timely way pursuant to its Open Government Implementation Plan (OGIP).
  • During 2016-17, the Court’s Communications Services increased its use of social media to better disseminate information about the Court and its proceedings. The Court also brought significant changes to its website to facilitate access to Court information. The format of the Court’s webcasts was modified, thereby permitting access across all platforms. A record number of in-person visitors (58,745) came to the Court in 2016.
Budgetary financial resources (dollars) 2016–17
Main Estimates
2016–17
Planned spending
2016–17
Total authorities available for use
2016–17
Actual spending
(authorities used)
2016–17
Difference
(actual minus planned)
9,724,368 9,724,368 11,483,328 10,509,315 784,947

 

Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2016–17
Planned
2016–17
Actual
2016–17
Difference (actual minus planned)
68 67 -1

Analysis of trends in spending and human resources

Actual expenditures

Departmental spending trend graph

Departmental Spending Trend

Description of image

Spending Trend: This graph illustrates the spending trend for actual spending from 2014-15 to 2016-17, and planned spending from 2017-18 to 2019-20. Financial figures are presented in dollars and broken down by statutory and voted items.

Actual Spending indicates the amounts the Department spent: in 2014-15, $9,292,963 for statutory items and $22,699,824 for voted items, totalling $31,992,787; in 2015-16, $10,524,153 for statutory items and $21,815,595 for voted items, totalling $32,339,748; and in 2016-17, $10,165,452 for statutory items and $23,513,974 for voted items, totalling $33,679,426.

Planned Spending indicates the amounts the Department is planning to spend: in 2017-18, $9,966,489 for statutory items and $24,916,433 for voted items, totalling of $34,882,922; in 2018-19, $10,225,305 for statutory items and $23,944,083 for voted items, totalling $34,169,388; and in 2019-20, $10,390,674 for statutory items and $23,982,108 for voted items, totalling $34,372,782.

The above graph illustrates the spending trend for the Office. Amounts for 2014-15 to 2016-17 represent the actual expenditures as reported in the Public Accounts, whereas amounts for 2017-18 to 2019-20 represent the planned spending presented in the 2017-18 Departmental Plan.

The increase in voted spending, starting in 2016-17, is mainly attributable to new funding received for enhancements to the security program. As for the statutory spending, it fluctuates over time in conjunction with the requirements for the judges’ salaries, allowances and annuities (including retired judges or their surviving spouses).

Budgetary performance summary for Programs and Internal Services (dollars)
Programs and Internal Services 2016–17
Main Estimates
2016–17
Planned spending
2017–18
Planned spending
2018–19
Planned spending
Court Operations 16,067,392 16,067,392 15,546,765 15,577,271
Payments to Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada pursuant to the Judges Act 7,425,442 7,425,442 7,708,915 7,967,054
Subtotal 23,492,834 23,492,834 23,255,680 23,544,325
Internal Services 9,724,368 9,724,368 11,627,242 10,625,063
Total 33,217,202 33,217,202 34,882,922 34,169,388

 

Programs and Internal Services 2016–17
Total authorities available for use
2016–17
Actual spending (authorities used)
2015–16
  Actual spending (authorities used)
2014–15
Actual spending (authorities used
Court Operations 17,042,684 15,597,127 15,491,294 16,489,596
Payments to Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada pursuant to the Judges Act 7,572,984 7,572,984 7,933,812 6,565,949
Subtotal 24,615,668 23,170,111 23,425,106 23,055,545
Internal Services 11,483,328 10,509,315 8,914,642 8,937,242
Total 36,098,996 33,679,426 32,339,748 31,992,787

The Office’s spending trend remains fairly stable. The variance between planned and actual spending for 2016-17 (increase of $462,224) is mainly attributable to new funding received for enhancements to the security program.

Actual human resources

Human resources summary for Programs and Internal Services (full-time equivalents)
Programs and  Internal Services 2014–15
Actual
2015–16
Actual
2016–17
Forecast
Court Operations 137 136 146
Payments to Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada pursuant to the Judges Act 0 0 0
Subtotal 137 136 146
Internal Services 67 65 68
Total 204 201 214

 

Programs and  Internal Services 2016–17 
Actual
2017–18
Planned
2018–19
Planned
Court Operations 137 148 148
Payments to Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada pursuant to the Judges Act 0 0 0
Subtotal 137 148 148
Internal Services 67 69 69
Total 204 217 217

The increase in actual FTEs is mainly due to new positions created to support the Security program. Variances between actual and forecasted / planned FTEs are due to vacancies arising throughout the fiscal year.

Expenditures by vote

For information on the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada’s organizational voted and statutory expenditures, consult the Public Accounts of Canada 2017.

Alignment of spending with the whole-of-government framework

Alignment of 2016-17 actual spending with the whole-of-government framework (dollars)
Program

Spending area

Government of Canada activity

2016–17
Actual spending

1.1 Court Operations Government Affairs Strong and independent democratic institutions 15,597,127
1.2 Payments to Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada Pursuant to the Judges Act Government Affairs Strong and independent democratic institutions 7,572,984

 

Total spending by spending area (dollars)
Spending area Total planned spending Total actual spending
Economic affairs - -
Social affairs - -
International affairs - -
Government affairs 23,492,834 23,170,111

Financial statements and financial statements highlights

Financial statements

The complete financial statements [unaudited] for the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada for the year ended March 31, 2017, are available on the Supreme Court of Canada website.

Financial statements highlights  

Condensed Statement of Operations (unaudited) for the year ended March 31, 2017 (dollars)
Financial information 2016–17
Planned
results
2016–17
Actual
2015–16
Actual
Difference (2016–17 actual minus 2016–17 planned) Difference (2016–17 actual minus 2015–16 actual)
Total expenses 42,695,886 40,742,246 42,190,450 (1,953,640) (1,448,204)
Total revenues - 252 4,356 252 (4,104)
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 42,695,886 40,741,994 42,186,094 (1,953,892) (1,444,100)

*For more information, see the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (ORSCC)’s Future-Oriented Statement of Operations.

Expenses by Type (in dollars)

Description of image

This pie chart shows the 2016-17 expenses by two major categories: Salaries and Employee Benefits and Other Operating Expenditures representing $28,011,083 and $12,731,163 respectively for total expenses of $40,742,246.

Total expenses were $40,742,246 in 2016-17; a decrease of $1,448,204 (3%) over the total expenses of $42,190,450 in 2015-16. Salaries and employee benefits represent the majority of the Office’s expenditures ($28,011,083 or 69%), which increased by $470,040 in comparison to the previous fiscal year, mostly due to new positions to support the security program, as well as general salary increases. While other operating expenditures increased in 2016-17, these were offset by a decrease in the cost of services provided without charge by other government departments. The net decrease in other operating expenditures is $1,918,244.

Condensed Statement of Financial Position (unaudited) as at March 31, 2017 (dollars)
Financial Information 2016–17 2015–16 Difference
(2016–17 minus
2015–16)
Total net liabilities 6,919,690 6,412,125 507,565
Total net financial assets 5,367,379 4,554,628 812,751
Departmental net debt 1,552,311 1,857,497 (305,186)
Total non-financial assets 1,354,056 1,050,492 303,564
Departmental net financial position (198,255) (807,005) 608,750

Liabilities by Type (in dollars)

Description of image

This pie chart is divided into five pieces. The four largest pieces of the pie are assigned to Accounts Payable and Accrued Liabilities, Judges’ Supplementary Retirement Benefits Account, Vacation Pay and Compensatory Leave and Employee Future Benefits, which represent $2,768,437, $2,140,171, $874,505 and $744,849 respectively. The Security Deposit Trust Account represents $391,728, for total liabilities of $6,919,690.

Total net liabilities were $6,919,690 at the end of 2016-17; an increase of $507,565 (7.9%) over the total liabilities of $6,412,125 for 2015-16. This variance is mainly attributable to an increase in accounts payable.

Net Assets by Type (in dollars)

Description of image

This pie chart is divided into four pieces. The largest section is attributed to Due from Consolidated Revenue Fund and represents $5,242,823 of the $6,721,435 total net assets. Tangible Capital Assets represent $1,253,790 and Net Accounts Receivable and Advances and Prepaid Expenses represent $124,556 and $100,266 respectively.

Total net assets were $6,721,435 at the end of 2016-17; an increase of $1,116,315 (19.9%) over the total net assets of $5,605,120 for 2015-16. This variance is mostly attributable to an increase in the Due from Consolidated Revenue Fund account as well as in tangible capital assets.

Departmental net debt, calculated as the difference between total net liabilities and net financial assets, has decreased by $305,186 compared to the previous year. Net debt will fluctuate from year to year in accordance with the level and timing of both departmental spending and revenues received.


Supplementary information

Corporate information

Organizational profile

Appropriate minister[s]:  The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C. M.P.

Institutional head: Roger Bilodeau, Q.C.

Ministerial portfolio: Justice

Enabling instrument[s]:

Supreme Court Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. S-26)

Judges Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. J-1)

Year of incorporation / commencement:  1875

Reporting framework

The Office’s Strategic Outcome and Program Alignment Architecture of record for 2016–17 are shown below.

1. Strategic Outcome: The administration of Canada’s final court of appeal is effective and independent

1.1 Program: Court Operations

1.2 Program: Payments to Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada pursuant to the Judges Act

Internal Services

Supplementary information tables

The following supplementary information table is available on the Supreme Court of Canada’s website:

Federal tax expenditures

The tax system can be used to achieve public policy objectives through the application of special measures such as low tax rates, exemptions, deductions, deferrals and credits. The Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for these measures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures. This report also provides detailed background information on tax expenditures, including descriptions, objectives, historical information and references to related federal spending programs. The tax measures presented in this report are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance.

Organizational contact information

Supreme Court of Canada Building
301 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0J1

General Enquiries
Telephone: 1-888-551-1185
Fax: (613) 996-3063
Email: reception@scc-csc.ca

Roger Bilodeau, Q.C. - Registrar
Telephone: (613) 995-4330
Email: reception@scc-csc.ca

David Power - Deputy Registrar
Telephone: (613) 996-7521
Email: reception@scc-csc.ca

Barbara Kincaid - General Counsel and Director General, Court Operations Sector
Telephone: (613) 996-7721
Email: law-droit@scc-csc.ca

Catherine Laforce - Director General and Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Services Sector
Telephone: (613) 947-0682
Email: Catherine.Laforce@scc-csc.ca

Michel Gallant - Executive Director, Judicial Support and Protocol Services Sector
Telephone: (613) 996-4841
Email: Michel.Gallant@scc-csc.ca


Appendix: definitions

appropriation (crédit)

Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)

Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.

Core Responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)

An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a Core Responsibility are reflected in one or more related Departmental Results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.

Departmental Plan (Plan ministériel)

Provides information on the plans and expected performance of appropriated departments over a three-year period. Departmental Plans are tabled in Parliament each spring.

Departmental Result (résultat ministériel)

A Departmental Result represents the change or changes that the department seeks to influence. A Departmental Result is often outside departments’ immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.

Departmental Result Indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)

A factor or variable that provides a valid and reliable means to measure or describe progress on a Departmental Result.

Departmental Results Framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)

Consists of the department’s Core Responsibilities, Departmental Results and Departmental Result Indicators.

Departmental Results Report (Rapport sur les résultats ministériels)

Provides information on the actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.

Evaluation (évaluation)

In the Government of Canada, the systematic and neutral collection and analysis of evidence to judge merit, worth or value. Evaluation informs decision making, improvements, innovation and accountability. Evaluations typically focus on programs, policies and priorities and examine questions related to relevance, effectiveness and efficiency. Depending on user needs, however, evaluations can also examine other units, themes and issues, including alternatives to existing interventions. Evaluations generally employ social science research methods.

full-time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)

A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person-year charge against a departmental budget. Full-time equivalents are calculated as a ratio of assigned hours of work to scheduled hours of work. Scheduled hours of work are set out in collective agreements.

government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)

For the purpose of the 2017–18 Departmental Plan, government-wide priorities refers to those high-level themes outlining the government’s agenda in the 2015 Speech from the Throne, namely: Growth for the Middle Class; Open and Transparent Government;  A Clean Environment and a Strong Economy; Diversity is Canada's Strength; and Security and Opportunity.

horizontal initiatives (initiative horizontale)

An initiative where two or more federal organizations, through an approved funding agreement, work toward achieving clearly defined shared outcomes, and which has been designated (for example, by Cabinet or a central agency) as a horizontal initiative for managing and reporting purposes.

Management, Resources and Results Structure (Structure de la gestion, des ressources et des résultats)

A comprehensive framework that consists of an organization’s inventory of programs, resources, results, performance indicators and governance information. Programs and results are depicted in their hierarchical relationship to each other and to the Strategic Outcome(s) to which they contribute. The Management, Resources and Results Structure is developed from the Program Alignment Architecture.

non-budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)

Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.

performance (rendement)

What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.

performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)

A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.

performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)

The process of communicating evidence-based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision making, accountability and transparency.

planned spending (dépenses prévues)

For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts that receive Treasury Board approval by February 1. Therefore, planned spending may include amounts incremental to planned expenditures presented in the Main Estimates.

A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.

plans (plans)

The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead up to the expected result.

priorities (priorité)

Plans or projects that an organization has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired Strategic Outcome(s).

program (programme)

A group of related resource inputs and activities that are managed to meet specific needs and to achieve intended results and that are treated as a budgetary unit.

Program Alignment Architecture (architecture d’alignement des programmes)

A structured inventory of an organization’s programs depicting the hierarchical relationship between programs and the Strategic Outcome(s) to which they contribute.

results (résultat)

An external consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization’s influence.

statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)

Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.

Strategic Outcome (résultat stratégique)

A long-term and enduring benefit to Canadians that is linked to the organization’s mandate, vision and core functions.

sunset program (programme temporisé)

A time-limited program that does not have an ongoing funding and policy authority. When the program is set to expire, a decision must be made whether to continue the program. In the case of a renewal, the decision specifies the scope, funding level and duration.

target (cible)

A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.

voted expenditures (dépenses votées)

Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an Appropriation Act. The Vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.