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2011-12 Reports on Plans and Priorities

Future-oriented Financial Information
Office of the Chief Electoral Officer
For the year ending March 31, 2012

Statement of Management Responsibility

Management of the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer is responsible for this future-oriented financial information, including responsibility for the appropriateness of the assumptions on which this information is prepared.

This information is based on the best information available and assumptions adopted as at December 31, 2010 and reflects the plans described in the Report on Plans and Priorities.

Marc Mayrand
Chief Electoral Officer of Canada

Brian Berry, CMA
Acting Chief Financial Officer, Internal Audit and Administration

Ottawa, Canada
January 28, 2011

Future-oriented Statement of Operations
For the Year Ending March 31, 2012
(in thousands of dollars)
Expenses Estimated Results 2012
Electoral Operations
Regulation of Electoral Activities
Electoral Engagement
Internal Services
Total Expenses

Non-tax revenue
Regulation of Electoral Activities
Total Non-tax revenue
Net Cost of Operations

The accompanying notes form an integral part of this Future-oriented Statement of Operations.

Notes to Future-oriented Statement of Operations
For the year ending March 31, 2012

  1. Authority and Objectives

    The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer (the Office), commonly known as Elections Canada, is headed by the Chief Electoral Officer who is appointed by resolution of the House of Commons and reports directly to Parliament. The Chief Electoral Officer is completely independent of the federal government and political parties. The Office is named in Schedule I.1 of the Financial Administration Act.

    The Office's objectives are to enable the Canadian electorate to elect members to the House of Commons in accordance with the Canada Elections Act; to ensure compliance with and enforcement of all provisions of the Canada Elections Act; to calculate the number of members of the House of Commons to be assigned to each province pursuant to the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act and in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution Acts; and to provide the necessary technical, administrative and financial support to the ten electoral boundaries commissions, one for each province, in accordance with the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act.

    The Office is funded by an annual appropriation (which provides for the salaries of indeterminate staff) and the statutory authority contained in the Canada Elections Act, the Referendum Act and the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act. The statutory authority provides for all other expenditures, including the costs of electoral events, maintenance of the National Register of Electors, quarterly allowances to eligible political parties, redistribution of electoral boundaries and continuing public education programs.

  2. Significant assumptions

    The future-oriented financial information has been prepared on the basis of the Office's plans as described in the Report on Plans and Priorities.

    The main assumptions are as follows:

    1. The future-oriented financial information has been prepared without incorporating federal general election, by-election and heightened readiness costs;

    2. According to the requirement of Treasury Board accounting policies, which are based on Canadian generally accepted accounting principles for the public sector; and

    3. On the basis of historical costs.

  3. Variations and Changes to the Forecast Financial Information

    While every attempt has been made to accurately forecast the final results for 2011-2012, actual results achieved are likely to vary from the forecast information presented, and this variation could be material. In preparing this financial information, the Office has made estimates and assumptions concerning the future. These estimates and judgements may differ from the subsequent actual results. Estimates and judgements are continually evaluated and are based on historical experience and other factors.

    Factors that could lead to material differences between the future-oriented financial information and the historical financial statements include:

    1. The timing and amounts of acquisitions and disposals of tangible capital assets may affect gains/losses and amortization expense; and

    2. The timing and costs to conduct a federal general election, by-election and heightened event readiness.

    Once the Report on Plans and Priorities is presented, the Office will not be updating the forecasts for any changes to appropriations or forecast financial information made through supplementary estimates. Variances will be explained in the Departmental Performance Report.

  4. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

    Significant accounting policies are as follows:

    1. Basis of presentation – The Future-oriented Statement of Operations has been prepared in accordance with Treasury Board accounting policies, which is consistent with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles for the public sector.

    2. Parliamentary appropriations – The Office operates under two funding authorities: an annual appropriation and the statutory authority. Appropriations provided to the Office do not parallel financial reporting according to Canadian generally accepted accounting principles for the public sector. They are based in a large part on cash flow requirements. Consequently, items recognized in the Future-oriented Statement of Operations are not necessarily the same as those provided through appropriations from Parliament. Note 5 to this Future-oriented Statement of Operations provides information regarding the source and disposition of these authorities and provides a high-level reconciliation between the two bases of reporting.

    3. Due from the Consolidated Revenue Fund – The Office operates within the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), which is administered by the Receiver General for Canada. All cash received by the Office is deposited to the CRF and all cash disbursements made by the Office are paid from the CRF. Due from the CRF represents the amount of cash that the Office is entitled to draw from the CRF without further appropriations in order to discharge its liabilities.

      Net cash provided by Government is the difference between all cash receipts and all cash disbursements including transactions between departments of the federal government.

    4. Consumable supplies – Consumable supplies consist mainly of forms and publications used to administer election events and documents distributed to political entities. These supplies are recorded at weighted average cost. The cost is charged to operations in the period in which the items are consumed. If they no longer have service potential, they are valued at the lower of cost or net realizable value.

    5. Tangible capital assets – Tangible capital assets are recorded at historical cost less accumulated amortization. The Office records as tangible capital assets all expenses providing multi-year benefits and leasehold improvements having an initial cost of $5,000 or more. Similar items less than $5,000 are expensed in this Future-oriented Statement of Operations under small equipment. The Office does not capitalize intangibles. Capital assets acquired for software under development are amortized once that software is put into production.

      Amortization is calculated on a straight-line basis over the estimated useful lives of the tangible capital assets as follows:

      Asset Class Useful Life
      Office equipment
      3 to 10 years
      Informatics equipment
      3 years
      3 to 5 years
      Furniture and fixtures
      10 years
      5 years
      Motorized equipment
      10 years
      Leasehold improvements and capital leases
      Lesser of the remaining term of the lease or estimated useful life

    6. Salaries and benefits, and vacation leave – Salaries, benefits and vacation leave are expensed as the salary or benefits accrue to the employees under their respective terms of employment. The employee salaries and benefits liability is calculated based on the respective terms of employment using the employees' salary levels at year end, and the number of days remaining unpaid at the end of the year. The liability for vacation leave is calculated at the salary levels in effect at the end of the year for all unused vacation leave benefits accruing to employees.

    7. Employee future benefits

      1. Pension benefits – Eligible employees participate in the Public Service Pension Plan, a multi-employer plan administered by the Government of Canada. The Office's contributions to the Plan are charged to expenses in the year incurred and represent the total of the Office's obligation to the Plan. Current legislation does not require the Office to make contributions for any actuarial deficiencies of the Plan.

      2. Severance benefits – Employees are entitled to severance benefits under labour contracts or conditions of employment. These benefits are accrued as employees render the services necessary to earn them. The obligation related to the benefits earned by employees is calculated using information derived from the results of the actuarially determined liability for employee severance benefits for the Government as a whole.

    8. Contingent liabilities – Contingent liabilities are potential liabilities which may become actual liabilities when one or more future events occur or fail to occur. To the extent that the future event is likely to occur or fail to occur, and a reasonable estimate of the loss can be made, an estimated liability is accrued and an expense recorded. If the likelihood is not determinable or an amount cannot be reasonably estimated, the contingency is disclosed in the notes to the Financial Statements.

    9. Services provided without charge – Services provided without charge by other government departments for accommodation, the employer's contribution to the health and dental insurance plans, audit services and legal services are recorded as operating expenses, at their estimated cost, in this Future-oriented Statement of Operations

    10. Political parties quarterly allowance – The Canada Elections Act allows for the payment from public funds of quarterly allowances to qualifying registered parties. The quarterly allowance is calculated based on the results of the most recent general election preceding the quarter. This allowance is expensed in each quarter of the calendar year as directed by the Act.

    11. Measurement uncertainty – The preparation of this Future-oriented Statement of Operations in accordance with Treasury Board accounting policies, which are consistent with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles for the public sector, requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts in this statement.

      At the time of preparation of this statement, management believes the estimates and assumptions to be reasonable. The most significant estimates used are the liability for employee severance benefits, the useful life of tangible capital assets, and candidate and party reimbursement of eligible election expenses. Actual results could significantly differ from those estimated. Management's estimates are reviewed periodically and, as adjustments become necessary, they are recorded in the Financial Statements in the year they become known.

  5. Parliamentary Appropriations

    The Office receives its funding through an annual Parliamentary appropriation and the statutory authority contained in the electoral legislation. Items recognized in the Statement of Operations in one year may be funded through Parliamentary appropriations in prior, current or future years. Accordingly, the Office has different net results of operations for the year on a government funding basis than on an accrual accounting basis. The differences are reconciled in the following tables:

    1. Authorities requested

      Authorities requested: (in thousands of dollars)
      Forecast 2012
      Program expenditures (Vote 15)
      Contributions to employee benefit plans
      Salary of the Chief Electoral Officer
      Expenses of Elections
      Forecast authorities available

      Forecast authorities requested for the year ending March 31, 2012 are the planned spending amounts presented in the 2011-2012 Report on Plans and Priorities.

    2. Reconciliation of net cost of operations to requested authorities

        (in thousands of dollars)
      Estimated 2012
      Net cost of operations
      Adjustments for items affecting net cost of operations but not affecting appropriations
      Add (less):
      Amortization of tangible capital assets
      Consumable supplies
      Services provided without charge
      Change in employee severance benefits liability
      Change in provision for vacation leave
      Adjustments for items not affecting net cost of operations but affecting appropriations
      Add (less):
      Acquisition of tangible capital assets (excluding capital leases)
      Prepaid expenses
      Forecasted authorities available