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2017–18 Departmental Results Report

Analysis of trends in spending and human resources

Elections Canada's financial framework

Elections Canada's unique dual-funding mechanism and planning practices are a function of its mandate. The agency is funded in part by an annual appropriation that covers the salaries of its indeterminate positions and is not affected by the electoral cycle. The agency also has a statutory authority that allows it to draw directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for all other expenses. The statutory authority ensures that Elections Canada has access to the funds required for elections that may occur at any time, and reflects Elections Canada's independence from the Government.

Under Canada's parliamentary system, general elections are scheduled to take place on fixed dates but can still be called in advance, particularly during a minority government. By-elections, which take place whenever seats in the House of Commons become vacant, are also unpredictable as Elections Canada has no control over their frequency and timing. Legislative changes and market forces for procured goods and services can also significantly impact a general election. For these reasons, Elections Canada's Departmental Plans do not include estimates related to by-elections, and include spending related to the conduct of general elections only in the year preceding a fixed-date general election.

Actual expenditures

Agency Spending Trend

Totals may not add up due to rounding.

Text version of "Agency Spending Trend"

Budgetary performance summary for Programs and Internal Services (dollars)
Programs and Internal Services 201718
Main Estimates
Planned spending
Planned spending
Planned spending
Total authorities available for use
Actual spending (authorities used)
Actual spending (authorities used)
Actual spending (authorities used)
Electoral Administration and OversightFootnote xx N/A N/A 94,074,700 72,489,231 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Electoral Operations 53,556,884 53,556,884 N/A N/A 62,461,984 62,296,091 47,152,229 331,586,802
Regulation of Electoral Activities 11,219,651 11,219,651 N/A N/A 15,259,810 15,196,088 12,698,073 116,777,324
Electoral Engagement 9,279,980 9,279,980 N/A N/A 10,836,390 10,793,892 8,835,883 8,244,303
Subtotal 74,056,515 74,056,515 94,074,700 72,489,231 88,558,184 88,286,071 68,686,185 456,608,429
Internal Services 38,151,475 38,151,475 41,137,302 39,123,079 43,326,216 43,199,650 33,745,539 29,797,925
Total 112,207,990 112,207,990 135,212,002 111,612,310 131,884,400 131,485,721 102,431,724 486,406,354

The agency's spending pattern is a result of the election cycle and is typical for the agency. In the years following an election (e.g. 201617), expenditures drop sharply, returning to their usual level as election activities wind down. The peak of expenditures for the conduct of the 42nd general election was in 201516. In addition, during 201617 Elections Canada initiated a process to modernize electoral services and to renew its critical assets; the majority of these expenditures will be incurred in 201819 and will diminish in 201920. The agency has established a multi-year budget for modernization and asset renewal initiatives. However, funding for these initiatives is provided in phases as they move through the agency's standard procurement and project life-cycle. For these reasons, actual spending may vary from planned spending over a period. These variations affect only the statutory portion of the funding.

For 201718, the overall variance between actual spending and main estimates is largely attributable to the conduct of 11 by-elections, the initiation of preparations for the 43rd general election, and retroactive payments from signed collective agreements.

Due to the election cycle, the annual percentage of Internal Services over total expenditures varies significantly. Over the last four years, it fluctuated between 6% and 33%, with an average of 16%.

Starting in 201819, the agency will increase its field operations as it prepares to conduct the 2019 general election. These planned expenditures do not include at this time the delivery portion of that election. In this regard, proposed legislative changes currently before Parliament could have material impact on the conduct of the next general election and its cost. An estimate of the cost of the 43rd general election will be included in the agency's 201920 Departmental Plan.

Actual human resources

Human resources summary for Programs and Internal Services (full-time equivalents)
Programs and Internal Services 201516
Actual full time equivalents
Actual full time equivalents
Planned full time equivalents
Actual full time equivalents
Planned full time equivalents
Planned full time equivalents
Electoral Administration and OversightFootnote xx N/A N/A N/A N/A 419 402
Electoral Operations 444 262 257 277 N/A N/A
Regulation of Electoral Activities 81 87 75 79 N/A N/A
Electoral Engagement 68 71 67 72 N/A N/A
Subtotal 593 420 399 428 - -
Internal Services 131 143 152 178 202 204
Total 724 563 551 606 621 606

The fluctuation in full-time equivalents is a result of the election cycle, largely explained by the same reasons stated in the Budgetary Performance Summary.

Expenditures by vote

For information on Elections Canada's organizational voted and statutory expenditures, consult the Public Accounts of Canada.Footnote xxi

Government of Canada spending and activities

Information on the alignment of Elections Canada's spending with the Government of Canada's spending and activities is available in the GC InfoBase.Footnote xxii

Financial statements and financial statements highlights

Financial statements

Elections Canada's audited financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2018, are available on the Elections Canada website.Footnote xxiii They include the Statement of Management Responsibility Including Internal Control over Financial Reporting as well as the annex for fiscal year 201718.

These financial statements have been prepared using Government of Canada accounting policies, which are based on Canadian public sector accounting standards. This method of accounting, known as the accrual basis of accounting, differs from the method used to present the figures in the previous sections; those figures are based on authorities voted by Parliament on a modified cash basis.

Financial statements highlights

The financial highlights presented in this section are drawn from Elections Canada's financial statements. The tables below and management variance explanations were not part of the financial audit.

Condensed Statement of Operations (unaudited) for the year ended March 31, 2018 (dollars)
Financial information 201718
Planned results
Difference (201718 actual minus 201718 planned) Difference (201718 actual minus 201617 actual)
Total expenses 116,744,000 138,263,000 115,875,000 21,519,000 22,388,000
Total revenues
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 116,744,000 138,263,000 115,875,000 21,519,000 22,388,000

The increase of $22.4 million in total expenses in 201718 over 201617 is mainly due to the conduct of 11 by-elections, the preparation for the 2019 general election, the impact of implementing the new collective agreements in 201718, and the investments into asset renewal and electoral services modernization projects. Likewise, the additional expenditures of $21.5 million over the 201718 planned expenditures are mainly due to the same reasons. Since the frequency and timing of by-elections are unknown, they are not included in the agency's planned results.

Condensed Statement of Financial Position (unaudited) as of March 31, 2018 (dollars)
Financial Information 201718 201617 Difference (201718 minus 201617)
Total net liabilities 24,921,000 20,833,000 4,088,000
Total net financial assets 20,732,000 20,832,000 (100,000)
Agency net debt (4,189,000) (1,000) (4,188,000)
Total non-financial assets 30,895,000 26,357,000 4,538,000
Departmental net financial position 26,706,000 26,356,000 350,000

Total net liabilities for 201718 are at $24.9 million, an increase of $4.1 million (20%) from 201617. This increase is largely explained by an increase in the year-end accrued liabilities for various information technology services. The year-over-year increase in the agency net debt and total non-financial assets is due to an increase in tangible capital assets of $4.3 million for asset renewal projects.