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Introduction to the Public Accounts of Canada

Nature of the Public Accounts of Canada

The Public Accounts of Canada is the report of the Government of Canada prepared annually by the Receiver General, as required by section 64 of the Financial Administration Act. It covers the fiscal year of the Government, which ends on March 31.

The information contained in the report originates from two sources of data:

Each department and agency is responsible for reconciling its accounts to the control accounts of the Receiver General, and for maintaining detailed records of the transactions in their accounts.

The report covers the financial transactions of the Government during the year. In certain cases, parliamentary authority to undertake transactions was provided by legislation approved in earlier years.

Format of the Public Accounts of Canada

The Public Accounts of Canada is produced in three volumes.

Volume I presents the audited consolidated financial statements of the Government, as well as additional financial information and analyses;

Volume II presents the financial operations of the Government, segregated by ministry; and

Volume III presents supplementary information and analyses.

The content of Volume II is summarized as follows:

Summary Tables and Appendices (Section 1)

Section 1 includes summary tables which provide the summaries of the financial transactions contained in the ministerial sections.

Section 1 also includes, as appendices, the full wording of all authorities granted in current year Appropriation Acts, of all authorities granted by statutes other than Appropriation Acts, of all authorities available from previous years, of all non-lapsing authorities granted/repealed in the current year, and of all authorities for the spending of proceeds from the disposal of surplus Crown assets.

Ministerial Sections (Sections 2 to 25)

There is one section for each ministry. The department and agencies, for which a Minister is responsible to Parliament, are grouped together to provide a total ministry presentation. Each ministerial section provides a statement of the strategic outcomes and program descriptions. Each ministerial section also includes, where applicable, a uniform set of statements to present each ministry's financial operations. These statements are:

The statements in the ministerial sections are designed so that the relevant totals and sub-totals may be traced directly to a preceding statement and then to the Summary Tables in Section 1 (e.g. data in the Transfer Payments statement can be traced to the Programs statement which in turn can be traced to the Ministry Summary statement; data in the Ministry Summary statement can be traced to the Summary Tables (5, 6 and 7) in Section 1).

Volume II is designed to reflect as closely as possible the form and content of Part II of the Main Estimates. Certain Summary Tables and Appendices and the Ministry Summary in the Ministerial Sections display the source and disposition of spending authorities. The level of details provided for the source and disposition of authorities is explained below:

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