Quarterly Financial Report for the Quarter Ended December 31, 2012

The Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada

1. Introduction

This quarterly financial report has been prepared by management as required by section 65.1 of the Financial Administration Act and in the form and manner prescribed by the Treasury Board (TB). It should be read in conjunction with the Main Estimates and approved allotment transfers from Treasury Board Central Votes. It has not been subject to an external audit or review.

1.1 Authority, Mandate and Programs

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. In accordance with the Supreme Court Act, the Supreme Court of Canada consists of the Chief Justice and the eight puisne judges. The Supreme Court of Canada is an important national institution, positioned at the pinnacle of the judicial branch of government in Canada.

The Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Office) 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.

Further information on the Office's authority, mandate and programs may be found in its Report on Plans and Priorities 2012-2013.

1.2 Basis of Presentation

This quarterly report has been prepared by management using an expenditure basis of accounting. The accompanying Statement of Authorities includes the Office's spending authorities granted by Parliament and those used by the Office, consistent with the Main Estimates and approved allotment transfers from Treasury Board Central Votes for the 2012-13 fiscal year. This quarterly report has been prepared using a special purpose financial reporting framework designed to meet financial information needs with respect to the use of spending authorities.

The authority of Parliament is required before moneys can be spent by the Government. Approvals are given in the form of annually approved limits through appropriation acts or through legislation in the form of statutory spending authority for specific purposes.

When Parliament is dissolved for the purposes of a general election, section 30 of the Financial Administration Act authorizes the Governor General, under certain conditions, to issue a special warrant authorizing the Government to withdraw funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. A special warrant is deemed to be an appropriation for the fiscal year in which it is issued.

The Office uses the full accrual method of accounting to prepare and present its annual departmental financial statements that are part of the departmental performance reporting process. However, the spending authorities voted by Parliament remain on an expenditure basis.

2. Highlights of Fiscal Quarter and Fiscal Year to Date Results

This section highlights the changes in authorities provided and expenditures incurred as at December 31, 2012 compared to the same quarter of the prior year. Overall, the Office's authorities decreased by 3% while quarterly spending decreased by 4% over the same quarter ending December 31, 2011. The overall proportion of authorities used on a year-to-date basis (68%), is in line with that of the previous year (67%).

Changes to Granted Authorities

As at December 31, 2012, the total authorities provided to the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada have decreased by $1,012,988, compared to the same quarter of the prior year.  This net decrease consists of:

Previously reported:

  • A decrease in Vote 50 – Net Operating Expenditures ($978,141); and
  • An increase in Budgetary Statutory authorities ($96,931).

Current quarter:

  • A decrease in Vote 50 – Net Operating Expenditures ($131,778).

The decrease in Vote 50 – Net Operating Expenditures ($131,778) in the third quarter of 2012-13 consists of a reduction in the amounts received for compensation requirements between the two quarters as follows:

  • Allocation from TB Vote 30 (Paylist Requirements) in the third quarter of 2012-13 amounting to $346,685, whereas the allocation for that item in the third quarter of 2011-12 amounted to $472,893; and
  • Allocation from TB Vote 15 (Collective Agreements) of $5,570 received in the third quarter of 2011-12.

Changes to Planned Expenditures

The process for allocating planned expenditures in the Main Estimates is based on proportioning prior year actual expenditures against the total authorities available for use for the year in question. For instance, if professional services represented 20% of total operating expenditures in 2010-11, the same ratio of 20% would be used to determine planned expenditures for 2012-13.

A significant variance between planned expenditures in 2011-12 and those for 2012-13 was noted in "Other Subsidies and Payments" (total variance of $456,917). The reason for this is that the standard object "Other Subsidies and Payments" had been entirely removed from the 2011-12 Main Estimates' allocation under the assumption that it included the depreciation expenses exclusively, which should not affect the Office's authorities available for use. The 2011-12 Main Estimates' allocation was therefore reallocated to other standard objects of expenditures, leaving "Other Subsidies and Payments" nil. However, in 2012-13, the other expenditures related to this standard object (those other than depreciation) were included in the Main Estimates' allocation process, therefore having an impact on other standard objects by decreasing their allocated proportion of total authorities available for use and thus generating the variance between the two fiscal years.

Significant Changes to Budgetary Expenditures

As at December 31, 2012, total net budgetary expenditures decreased by 1% ($194,899) compared to the same quarter of the previous year. This variance comprises:

Previously reported:

  • An increase in net budgetary expenditures ($117,584).

Current Quarter:

  • A decrease of 4% ($312,483) in net budgetary expenditures explained by:
    • An increase of 2% in Vote 50 – Net Operating Expenditures; and
    • A decrease of 17% in Budgetary Statutory spending.

The increase of 2% ($117,977) was noted in total operating expenditures (Vote 50) in comparison to the same quarter of the previous year. The variance between the two quarters is attributed to:

  • A net salary increase of $194,303 due mainly to:
    • A decrease of $97,701 in interdepartmental settlement amounts received between the two third quarters, which increased salaries accordingly;
    • An increase of $11,957 in overtime costs in the third quarter of 2012-13;
    • An increase of $36,279 in severance paid out in the third quarter of 2012-13; and
    • Other various salary increases.
  • A non-salary decrease of $76,326 resulting from:
    • Timing differences;
    • Price variances;
    • Special projects; and/or
    • Fluctuating replacement or maintenance schedule.

The decrease of 17% ($430,460) was noted in total Budgetary Statutory expenditures in comparison to the same quarter of the previous year. The variance between the two quarters is essentially attributed to the following:

  • As previously disclosed, the quarterly statutory expense for the second quarter of 2011-12 ($460,949) was processed in the third quarter of 2011-12, which resulted in an expense of $921,900 (this represents the costs of both the second and third quarters of 2011-12). Pension costs for the third quarter of 2012-13 amounted to $605,331. The result was a significant decrease in total statutory expenditures.
  • Relocation expenses incurred in the third quarter of 2011-12 for two departing judges and for the arrival of their successors in accordance with the Judges Act (Removal Allowance) Order amounted to $117,686, while relocation expenses for the third quarter of 2012-13 amounted to $36,537 for both the relocation of the two new judges from 2011-12 and the replacement of another judge in 2012-13.

Other expenditure categories (both operating and statutory) have remained fairly stable in comparison to the same quarter of the previous year.

Figure 1: Comparison of Authorities Granted and Used

Comparison of Authorities Granted and Used as of December 31, 2011 and 2012

Description of image

Comparison of Third Quarter Authorities Granted and Used – The diagram illustrates the variation in thousands of dollars for the Annual Net Budgetary Authorities Granted, the year to date used, the authorities used – Vote 50 – Net Operating Expenditures and the authorities used – Budgetary Statutory Authorities as at December 31, 2011 and 2012.

Annual Net Budgetary Authorities Granted – Figures showing the amounts the Office planned to spend as at December 31, 2011 and 2012: $32,109,788 in 2011-12 and $31,096,800 in 2012-13.

Year to Date Used – Figures present the cumulative amounts the Office received as at December 31, 2011 and 2012 respectively: $21,474,921 and $21,280,022.

Authorities used – Vote 50 – Net Operating Expenditures – Figures showing the amounts the Office received: $5,238,362 for the third quarter of 2011-12 and $5,356,338 for the third quarter of 2012-13.

Authorities used – Budgetary Statutory Authorities – Figures showing the amounts the Office received: $2,500,211 for the third quarter of 2011-12 and $2,069,751 for the third quarter of 2012-13.

3. Risks and Uncertainties

This departmental quarterly financial report reflects the results of the current fiscal period in relation to the Main Estimates for which full supply was released on June 29, 2012.

The Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada is funded through voted parliamentary spending authorities (74%) and statutory authorities (26%) for operating and personnel expenditures.

Although stable funding has enabled the Office to predict future resources, it has had to absorb increased operational costs and investments in strategic priorities during the last five years within the existing reference levels. The Office has also been absorbing wage and salary increases resulting from collective agreements since 2010-11 by finding efficiencies within its operating vote. The financial impact of this government-wide initiative was $132,667 for 2011-12 and is estimated at $360,690 for 2012-13.

In order to respond to the need to operate more efficiently within existing reference levels and to address the changing needs of its various communities of stakeholders, the Office has identified business transformation as an operational priority for 2012-13 and beyond.  The Business Transformation Initiative will require the implementation of changes to the Office's business processes to make its operations more efficient.  However, change has its challenges, including the need to secure appropriate resources to effect these necessary changes.  As indicated above, the Office has, in recent years, been able to work within its existing reference levels, but some sectors are facing increasingly serious challenges in the quest to deliver current services while implementing change. As a result, an internal reallocation of resources may be required to make necessary business changes possible, which may affect some services, thereby creating an additional challenge and a potential increase in operating costs.

4. Significant Changes to Operations, Personnel and Programs

As was disclosed previously, the Supreme Court of Canada experienced changes in the second quarter of 2011-12 with the departure of two of its judges and in the third quarter of 2011-12 with the subsequent arrival of their successors. A change also occurred in 2012-13, as one judge retired in the second quarter and her successor arrived in the third quarter. As is disclosed in Section 2 of this report, the financial impact of these changes has been attributed mainly to the relocation expenses of the judges in question.

There were no significant changes in the Office's programs over this reporting period.

Approval by Senior Officials

Approved by:

 

Roger Bilodeau, Q.C., Registrar
Ottawa, Ontario
February 28, 2013

 

Catherine Laforce, Chief Financial Officer

Statement of Authorities (unaudited)
(in dollars)

  Fiscal year 2012-2013
Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2013* Used during the quarter ended December 31, 2012 Year to date used at quarter-end
Vote 50 - Net Operating expenditures 23,000,955 5,356,338 15,730,019
Budgetary statutory authorities 8,095,845 2,069,751 5,550,003
 
Total authorities 31,096,800 7,426,089 21,280,022

 

  Fiscal year 2011-2012
Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2012* Used during the quarter ended December 31, 2011 Year to date used at quarter-end
Vote 50 - Net Operating expenditures 24,110,874 5,238,362 16,133,738
Budgetary statutory authorities 7,998,914 2,500,211 5,341,183
 
Total authorities 32,109,788 7,738,573 21,474,921

* Includes only Authorities available for use and granted by Parliament at quarter-end.

Departmental Budgetary Expenditures by Standard Object (unaudited)
(in dollars)

  Fiscal year 2012-2013
Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2013 Expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2012 Year to date used at quarter-end
Expenditures
Personnel 21,707,853 6,189,640 17,608,617
Transportation and communications 1,741,861 234,418 900,601
Information 230,383 22,190 64,548
Professional and special services 3,517,986 380,647 1,032,551
Rentals 292,155 90,335 318,143
Repair and maintenance 228,563 34,752 104,392
Utilities, materials and supplies 1,865,499 336,974 839,990
Acquisition of machinery and equipment 1,055,583 112,178 386,211
Other subsidies and payments 456,917 24,955 24,969
 
Total net budgetary expenditures 31,096,800 7,426,089 21,280,022

 

  Fiscal year 2011-2012
Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2012 Expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2011 Year to date used at quarter-end
Expenditures
Personnel 22,572,500 6,327,309 17,760,277
Transportation and communications 1,791,843 308,120 846,906
Information 269,220 50,675 109,052
Professional and special services 3,483,852 538,988 1,399,154
Rentals 332,052 23,367 83,983
Repair and maintenance 424,792 17,454 57,937
Utilities, materials and supplies 2,104,939 341,507 875,263
Acquisition of machinery and equipment 1,130,590 97,776 304,275
Other subsidies and payments - 33,377 38,074
 
Total net budgetary expenditures 32,109,788 7,738,573 21,474,921