Quarterly Financial Report for the Quarter Ended June 30, 2014

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. 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. 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 (ORSCC) 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 ORSCC’s authority, mandate and programs may be found in its Report on Plans and Priorities 2014-2015.

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 ORSCC’s spending authorities granted by Parliament and those used by the ORSCC, consistent with the Main Estimates for the 2014-15 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.

The ORSCC 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 ResultsFootnote 1

This section highlights the changes in authorities provided and expenditures incurred as at June 30, 2014 compared to the same quarter of the prior year. Overall, the ORSCC’s authorities increased by 2% while quarterly spending increased by 6% over the same quarter ending  June 30, 2013. The overall proportion of authorities used (22%), is in line with that of the previous year (21%).

2.1 Changes to Granted Authorities

As at June 30, 2014, the total authorities provided to the ORSCC have increased by $733,583 compared to the same quarter of the prior year.  This net increase consists of:

  • An increase in Vote 50 – Net Operating Expenditures ($404,916); and
  • An increase in Budgetary Statutory authorities ($328,667).

The increase in Vote 50 – Net Operating Expenditures ($404,916) consists of permanent allocations from TB Vote 15 (Collective Agreements) in 2014-15 for:

  • EC Agreement ($28,461);
  • EB-PSAC Agreement ($2,992);
  • PA-PSAC Agreement ($20,850);
  • PE Agreement ($4,079);
  • SV-PSAC Agreement ($1,012);
  • CS Agreement ($29,254);
  • LA Agreement Economic ($315,496); and
  • AV Agreement ($2,772).

The increase in Budgetary Statutory authorities ($328,667) consists of:

  • An increase in personnel funding ($326,816) for Judges’ salaries and annuities for retired Judges;
  • An increase in operating funding ($58,250) for Judges’ allowances; and
  • A decrease in the contributions to employee benefit plans (EBP) ($56,399) due to a reduction in EBP rates from 17.4% in 2013-14 to 16.5% in 2014-15.

2.2 Changes to Planned Expenditures

The allocation of planned expenditures between both fiscal years has remained stable as there are no significant changes to the ORSCC’s programs. An authority increase of $733,583 (as noted above) will be allocated to increased expenditures in salaries and employee benefits ($675,333) while the remaining amount of $58,250 will be attributed to statutory operating expenditures.

2.3 Significant Changes to Budgetary Expenditures

As at June 30, 2014, total net budgetary expenditures increased by 6% ($391,936) compared to the same quarter of the previous year. This variance comprises:

  • An increase of 9% in Vote 50 – Net Operating Expenditures; and
  • A decrease of 6% in Budgetary Statutory spending.

The above increase of 9% ($474,103) 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 decrease of $285,509 due mainly to:
    • Severance expenditures amounting to $392,954 in the first quarter of 2013-14 (there are currently no such expenditures incurred for severance in 2014-15);
    • The above severance expenditures being offset by other various salary increases.
  • A non-salary increase of $759,612 resulting from:
    • A one-time transition payment of $593,154 for implementing salary payments in arrears;
    • Timing differences;
    • Price variances;
    • Special projects; and
    • Fluctuating replacement or maintenance schedules.

The decrease of 6% ($82,167) 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 a decrease in salary expenditures due to a vacancy for most of the first quarter of 2014-15.

Figure 1: Comparison of Authorities Granted and Used

Comparison of Authorities Granted and Used as of June 30, 2013 and 2014

Description of image

Comparison of First Quarter Authorities Granted and Used – The diagram illustrates the variation in thousands of dollars for the Annual Net Budgetary Authorities Granted, the authorities used – Vote 50 – Net Operating Expenditures and the authorities used – Budgetary Statutory Authorities as at June 30, 2013 and 2014.

Annual Net Budgetary Authorities Granted – Figures showing the amounts the ORSCC planned to spend as at June 30, 2013 and 2014: $30,656,211 in 2013-14 and $31,389,794 in 2014-15.

Authorities used – Vote 50 – Net Operating Expenditures – Figures showing the amounts the ORSCC received: $5,097,114 for the first quarter of 2013-14 and $5,571,217 for the first quarter of 2014-15.

Authorities used – Budgetary Statutory Authorities – Figures showing the amounts the ORSCC received: $1,465,291 for the first quarter of 2013-14 and $1,383,124 for the first quarter of 2014-15.

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 20, 2014.

The ORSCC is funded through voted parliamentary spending authorities (71%) and statutory authorities (29%) for operating and personnel expenditures.

The ORSCC’s Reference Levels have remained constant for several years. This continues to pose a serious challenge as the organization must continue to absorb rising operating costs which results in limited funding available for investments in its current asset base and strategic priorities. Following the 2013 Speech from the Throne, the ORSCC, like other government departments, must also contend with an operating budget freeze for fiscal years 2014-15 and 2015-16.  Funding for wage and salary increases resulting from collective agreement settlements taking effect during this period will not be received. Depending on when these collective agreements are ratified, the effect of this budget freeze will likely be felt beyond the freeze period.

The ORSCC is reducing its financial risks by dedicating time and effort in the short to medium term to ensure that all resources are used in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Opportunities aimed at increasing efficiency and reducing costs are being analyzed. Strategies aimed at prioritizing new investments while postponing others that are less critical to the operations are utilized.  Greater financial controls and improved resource planning and forecasting are also helping to mitigate these risks. Despite these strategies, gaps still exist and the ORSCC must be strategic in its approach to prioritization and resource allocation.

4. Significant Changes to Operations, Personnel and Programs

On May 23, 2014, it was announced that the Honourable Mr. Justice LeBel will retire November 30, 2014. There is no financial impact in relation to this announcement for the first quarter of 2014-15.

On June 3, 2014, it was announced that Justice Clément Gascon was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada to fill the seat previously occupied by Mr. Justice Fish and that this appointment would be effective June 9, 2014. Financial impacts related to this appointment were minimal in the first quarter of 2014-15.

There were no other significant changes in the ORSCC’s operations, personnel and programs over this reporting period.

Approval by Senior Officials

Approved by:

 

Roger Bilodeau, Q.C., Registrar
Ottawa, Ontario
August 27, 2014

 

Catherine Laforce, Chief Financial Officer

Statement of Authorities (unaudited)
(in dollars)

Fiscal year 2014-2015

Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2015* Used during the quarter ended June 30, 2014 Year to date used at quarter-end
Vote 50 - Net Operating expenditures 22,307,652 5,571,217 5,571,217
Budgetary statutory authorities 9,082,142 1,383,124 1,383,124
Total authorities 31,389,794 6,954,341 6,954,341

Fiscal year 2013-2014

Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2014* Used during the quarter ended June 30, 2013 Year to date used at quarter-end
Vote 50 - Net Operating expenditures 21,902,736 5,097,114 5,097,114
Budgetary statutory authorities 8,753,475 1,465,291 1,465,291
Total authorities 30,656,211 6,562,405 6,562,405

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

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

Fiscal year 2014-2015

Expenditures Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2015 Expended during the quarter ended June 30, 2014 Year to date used at quarter-end
Personnel 22,675,854 5,448,486 5,448,486
Transportation and communications 2,089,786 150,448 150,448
Information 212,765 3,067 3,067
Professional and special services 2,277,216 304,624 304,624
Rentals 902,514 125,698 125,698
Repair and maintenance 292,060 22,186 22,186
Utilities, materials and supplies 1,742,999 284,020 284,020
Acquisition of machinery and equipment 736,179 4,994 4,994
Other subsidies and payments 460,421 610,818 610,818
Total net budgetary expenditures 31,389,794 6,954,341 6,954,341

Fiscal year 2013-2014

Expenditures Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2014 Expended during the quarter ended June 30, 2013 Year to date used at quarter-end
Personnel 22,000,521 5,823,545 5,823,545
Transportation and communications 1,967,482 116,154 116,154
Information 260,297 202 202
Professional and special services 3,056,514 228,119 228,119
Rentals 178,562 111,152 111,152
Repair and maintenance 168,784 8,296 8,296
Utilities, materials and supplies 1,745,656 255,132 255,132
Acquisition of machinery and equipment 858,663 19,804 19,804
Other subsidies and payments 419,732 1 1
Total net budgetary expenditures 30,656,211 6,562,405 6,562,405

Footnotes

Footnote 1

As the year to date results are equivalent to the first quarter results, the year to date comparison will not be referred to in the present report.

Return to footnote 1 referrer