The President of the Treasury Board has recently released a four-pillar approach for Estimates reform to address issues raised by Parliamentarians concerning their inability to properly scrutinize government spending. They also respond to the 2015 election commitment to better align the appropriations detailed in the Estimates to those in the Budget and Public Accounts.Read More
The November 2016 Update forecasts a deficit of $25.1 billion for 2016-17. Based on the financial results for the first eight months of 2016-17, public debt charges could be as much as $1 billion lower than forecast in the Update, while direct program expenses could be at least $2 billion lower. Budgetary revenues appear to be on track, with differences in components offsetting each other. On balance, the final outcome for 2016-17 could be at least $3 billion lower than forecast in the November Update.Read More
ESTIMATES REFORM The Finance Minister and the President of the Treasury Board Should Talk More Often
The President of the Treasury Board has recently released a four-pillar strategy (a 2015 election commitment) for Estimates Reform aimed at improving the ability of Parliament to properly scrutinize government spending. The four pillars are: timing of the tabling of the Main Estimates; the scope and accounting methods used in the Estimates and the Budget; changes to the current vote structure; and changes to the Reports on Plans and Priorities and the Departmental Performance Reports. This note examines the proposed changes to the tabling of the Main Estimates.Read More
Finance Minister Bill Morneau introduced some significant changes to the budgetary process in 2016 which went largely unnoticed by the media and financial commentators. In February last year he released “Backgrounder – Economic Outlook”, which, included the Department of Finance’s latest survey of private sector economists for 2016 and 2017. This in itself was not new. The previous government had also published revised economic forecasts in advance of the budget.
On the Friday before Christmas, when most Canadians were busy with their last minute shopping, the Department of Finance quietly released its “Update of Long-Term Economic and Fiscal Projections”. This is the first long-term fiscal sustainability report released by the Liberal government, and given its sombre conclusions it is not surprising that the Finance Minister released it hoping that few would notice.