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Departmental Quarterly Financial Report

July - September 2020

I. Statement outlining results, risks and significant changes in operations, personnel and program for the quarter ended September 30, 2020

1. Introduction

This quarterly 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. This quarterly report should be read in conjunction with the Main Estimates and Supplementary Estimates.

A summary description of Veterans Affairs Canada’s (VAC) program activities can be found in Part II of the Main Estimates.

Basis of Presentation

This quarterly report has been prepared using an expenditure basis of accounting. The accompanying Statement of Authorities includes VAC’s spending authorities granted by Parliament and those used by the Department, consistent with the Main Estimates and Supplementary Estimates for the 2020-21 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 monies 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.

When Parliament is dissolved for the purposes of a general election, section 30 of the Financial Administration Act authorizes the Governor General, under certain conditions, to issue a special warrant authorizing the Government to withdraw funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. A special warrant is deemed to be an appropriation for the fiscal year in which it is issued.

The Department uses the full accrual method of accounting o prepare and present its annual departmental financial statements that are part of the departmental results reporting process. However, the spending authorities voted by Parliament remain on an expenditure basis.

The quarterly report has not been subject to an external audit but has been reviewed by the Departmental Audit Committee.

The Department uses the full accrual method of accounting to prepare and present its annual departmental financial statements that are part of the departmental results reporting process. However, the spending authorities voted by Parliament remain on an expenditure basis.

The quarterly report has not been subject to an external audit but has been reviewed by the Departmental Audit Committee.

2. Highlights of Fiscal Quarter and Fiscal Year to-Date (YTD) Results

This section highlights the significant elements that contributed to the changes in Authorities available (i.e. budget) for the fiscal year, as well as the year-to-date expenditures for the quarter ended September 30, 2020.

As a result of the Government’s expenditure management cycle, there are often fluctuations by quarter and between fiscal years when comparing budgets and expenditures. This is primarily a result of the quasi-statutory nature of the Department’s programs, which are demand-driven and based on need and entitlement. In other words, Veterans who meet the eligibility criteria for VAC’s programs, are paid as they apply for benefits. Consistent with previous fiscal years, current departmental forecasts are predicting higher program payment expenditures by the end of 2020-21 as compared to last fiscal year (i.e. 2019-20).

The following tables provide a comparison of the authorities available for use and the expenditures for the quarters ending September 30, 2020 and September 30, 2019 for the Department.

2.1 Statement of Authorities

Fiscal Year-to-Date

2.1.1 Changes in Fiscal Year-to-Date Authorities Available
Table 1: Changes in year-to-date Authorities Available for the Year Ending March 31, 2021 (in thousands of dollars):
Authorities (Available as at quarter end) 2020-2021 2019-2020 Variance ($) Variance (%)
Vote 1 – Operating Expenditures 956,070 1,149,640 (193,570) (16.8)
Vote 5 – Grants and Contributions 3,033,467 3,212,716 (179,249) (5.6)
Budgetary Statutory Authorities 47,530 39,092 8,438 21.6
Total Authorities $4,037,067 $4,401,448 $(364,381) (8.3%)

As at September 30, 2020, total authorities available (i.e. budget) at quarter end were $364M (8.3%) less when compared to amounts available at the same quarter-end the previous year, from $4,401M in 2019-20 to $4,037M in 2020-21.  This decrease in available authorities for use is mostly attributed to the reduced supply of the Main Estimates. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and limited sessions in the spring for Parliament to study supply, the Standing Orders of the House of Commons were amended to extend the supply period in to the Fall. Veterans Affairs Canada is expected to receive full supply for the 2020-21 Main Estimates in December 2020 for a total budget at that time of $5.3B (as of Supplementary Estimates A). Supplementary Estimates B supply will be reflected in the next Quarterly report.

VAC received additional funding of $12.5M during the second quarter of 2020-21 through the Operating Budget Carry Forward process.

2.1.2 Changes in Fiscal Year-to-Date Expenditures
Table 2: Changes in year-to-date Expenditures used as of September 30, 2020 and September 30, 2019 (in thousands of dollars)
Expenditures (year-to-date as at quarter end) 2020-2021 2019-2020 Variance ($) Variance (%)
Vote 1 – Operating Expenditures 444,443 548,337 (103,894) (18.9)
Vote 5 – Grants and Contributions 1,805,561 1,715,067 90,494 5.3
Budgetary Statutory Authorities 35,383 18,975 16,408 86.5
Total Expenditures $2,285,387 $2,282,379 $3,008 0.1%

Year-to-date expenditures for Veterans Affairs Canada are $3M more (0.1% increase) when compared to the same timeframe in 2019-20. This increase over the first half of 2019-20 can be explained by variances detailed below.  

Vote 1 - Operating Expenditures – decrease of $104M

  • Most of the decrease is attributed to payments made during the second quarter of 2019-20 to fulfill the Department’s legal obligations as prescribed in the Toth Class Action Final Settlement Agreement. 
  • Another factor contributing to much of the decrease is related to COVID-19 measures which temporarily decreased demand from clients early in the year for health services which required an in-person aspect such as dental, audio (hearing) services, health related travel and special equipment purchases. There was also decreased spending related to event management fees associated with overseas events which were postponed due to COVID-19 measures.
  • Decrease in spending on travel due to COVID-19 measures.

Vote 5 - Grant and Contribution - increase of $90.5M

  • This increase in spending is primarily due to the continued increase in processing capacity as the department continues to reduce the backlog and improve the delivery of services and programs to Veterans and their families, specifically those relating to the Pension for Life (PFL) suite of programs.
  • The continued growth of the Pension for Life (PFL) programs as eligible clients continues to grow, has also resulted in increased spending.
  • In addition, the department has seen an increase in the number of Veterans choosing lump sum payments over monthly for the new Pain and Suffering Compensation Benefit.

Fiscal Quarter

2.1.3 Changes in Expenditures – Quarter to Quarter Comparison
Table 3: Changes in Expenditures used during Quarter 2 2020 (July 1 – Sept 30 2020) and Quarter 2 2019 (July 1 – Sept 30 2019) (in thousands of dollars)
Expenditures (used during Quarter 2) 2020-2021 2019-2020 Variance ($) Variance (%)
Vote 1 – Operating Expenditures 239,135 331,509 (92,374) (27.9)
Vote 5 – Grants and Contributions 875,167 880,810 (5,643) (0.6)
Budgetary Statutory Authorities 13,590 9,516 4,074 42.8
Total Expenditures $1,127,892 $1,221,835 $ (93,943) (7.7%)

In-quarter expenditures for Veterans Affairs Canada are $93M less (7.7% decrease) when compared to the same timeframe in 2019-20. This decrease as compared to the second quarter in 2019-20 can be explained by variances detailed below.

Vote 1 - Operating Expenditures – decrease of $92M

  • As explained above, most of the decrease is attributed to payments made in 2019-20 to fulfill the Department’s legal obligations as prescribed in the Toth Class Action Final Settlement Agreement.
  • Another factor contributing to much of the decrease is related to COVID-19 measures which decreased demand from clients for certain health services provided during the quarter.

Overall, VAC’s authorities reflect the changing demographic profile and changing needs of the men, women, and families the Department serves. This is evidenced by an increase in the number of modern-day Veterans and survivors (forecast to increase from 121,592 as of March 31, 2020, to 132,101 as of March 31, 2021) and a decrease in the number of War Service Veterans and survivors (forecast to decrease from 50,203 as of March 31, 2020, to 43,929 as of March 31, 2021).

3. Risks and Uncertainties

VAC is dedicated to enhancing the health and well-being of Veterans and their families and recognizes that its success in fulfilling this mandate is directly related to the effective management of risk. Sound risk management equips the Department to respond proactively to change and uncertainty by using risk-based information to support effective decision-making, resource allocation, and ultimately better results for Canadians. Additionally, it can lead to effective service delivery, better project management and an increase in value for money.

VAC operates in a dynamic and complex environment characterized by internal and external drivers of change. The Department employs integrated risk management tools to proactively and systematically recognize, understand, accommodate and capitalize on new challenges and opportunities, with a focus on results. In addition, the Department has effective internal control systems in place, proportionate to the risks being managed.

As such, the Department’s executive-level committees, the Assistant Deputy Minister level Senior Management Committee and the Director General level Corporate Policy and Planning Management Committee serve as forums where the Deputy Head ensures that Senior Department Managers are aware of their financial management responsibilities, have the tools to enable these responsibilities, and manage the financial performance within their areas of responsibilities. In addition, these committees recommend and prioritize the department’s investment opportunities, based on Integrated Business Plans (IBPs), to ensure their alignment with departmental and Government of Canada expected results. The IBPs also support the development of integrated program and corporate risk registers and enable resource capacity planning for the Department.

Key risks currently being managed by the Department include:

  1. Maintaining Core Services: To avoid the risk of not providing timely, high quality core services and benefits to Veterans and their families while simultaneously implementing several new initiatives and programs from multiple federal budgets, Veterans Affairs is monitoring and mitigating the risks through:
    1. Refining internal processes to improve efficiency;
    2. Increasing the use of automation;
    3. Recruiting, training, motivating and retaining employees; and
    4. Maintaining a reasonable case manager to client ratio.
  2. Fulfilling Mandate Letter Commitments: To prevent the risk of not fully implementing remaining mandate commitments, given the volume and complexity of commitments made to Veterans, Veterans Affairs Canada is mitigating the risk through:
    1. Reporting progress internally and through canada.ca;
    2. Increasing the use of automation; and
    3. Recruiting, training, motivating and retaining employees.
  3. Achieving and Demonstrating Results: To avert the risk of not fully meeting planned targets, given that responsibility for Veterans' well-being is shared with multiple jurisdictions, other government departments, and individual Veterans, Veterans Affairs Canada is mitigating the risks through:
    1. Working closely with partners to ensure efforts are well aligned; and
    2. Exploring additional opportunities for sound research and data to inform direction.

The Department monitors these risks through the Departmental Results Framework and internal performance reports. Tracking performance in these areas enables timely adjustments and ensure risks are being effectively mitigated.

In response to the global pandemic (COVID-19), the Government of Canada is also monitoring risks in various areas, including: Governance, Business Continuity Planning and Emergency Preparedness, IT Systems and Security, Information Management and Privacy, Finance and Workforce Health. VAC is also monitoring additional risks resulting from the pandemic which could impact our ability to meet Veterans expectations, manage workforce capacity and create delays in hiring/onboarding staff.

Additionally, the Departmental Audit Committee provides an important advisory function as part of the Department’s governance structure for risk. It provides objective advice and recommendations to the Deputy Head regarding the sufficiency, quality and adequacy of the Department's risk management process.

This integrated risk management process ultimately supports the Department in meeting its objectives. Further information on risks facing the Department and the steps taken to mitigate them can be found on VAC's website.

4. Significant Changes in Relation to Operations, Personnel and Programs

Commemorative Activities

In the midst of a global pandemic, the Government of Canada was still committed to remembering and honouring the sacrifices and achievements of all those who served for liberation and freedom.

With COVID19 restrictions, Veterans Affairs Canada organized smaller ceremonies on July 1, 2020 in St. John’s, Ottawa and Beaumont-Hamel, France to mark the 104th anniversary of Beaumont-Hamel. A six minute bilingual video was created, which included historical content and Veterans video interview clips from the Heroes Remember video program, as well as speeches by the Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Minister of Veterans Affairs. This video has over 35,000 views to date on Facebook.

On August 15, 2020, Veterans Affairs Canada organized small ceremonies in Ottawa and Halifax to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ (Victory over Japan) Day and the Second World War. The Minister of Veterans Affairs was present in Halifax for the ceremony and the unveiling of this year’s Veterans’ Week poster. To also mark this important milestone in history, 5 minute videos in English and French were produced to include historical content, Veterans interview video clips from the Heroes Remember program, as well as video clips from Canadian youth cadets. These two videos have approximately 30,000 views to date on Facebook.

In September, the 9th annual Canadian Race was held with the Canadian National Vimy Memorial once again at its centre. The semi-marathon length running event was rescheduled from its usual timing in advance of Canada Day. It attracted almost 1,200 participants who paid tribute to Canada’s First World War fallen by pausing at the memorial to place a poppy in their memory.

5. Approvals by Senior Officials

Original signed by:

__________________________________

W.J. Natynczyk
General (Retired)
Deputy Minister
Ottawa, ON
November 26, 2020

__________________________________

Elizabeth M. Stuart
Rear-Admiral (Retired)
Chief Financial Officer
Charlottetown, PE
November 26, 2020


II. Financial Statements

Statement of Authorities

Veterans Affairs Canada

Quarterly Financial Report for the Quarter Ended September 30, 2019

Statment of Authorities (unaudited)

Fiscal Year 2019-20

(in thousands of dollars) Total available for use for the year ended March 31, 2020* Used during the quarter ended September 30, 2019 Year-to-date used at quarter-end
Vote 1 - Net Operating expenditures 1,149,640 331,509 548,337
Vote 5 - Grants and Contributions 3,212,716 880,810 1,715,067
Statutory Authority - Minister's Salary and Motor Car Allowance 88 44 44
Statutory Authority - Court Award - Crown Liability and Proceeding Act 0 15 16
Statutory Authority - Refunds of Previous Years Revenue 0 0 0
Statutory Authority - Contributions to Employee Benefit Plans - Program 38,807 9,457 18,915
Statutory Authority - Veterans Insurance Actuarial Liability Adjustment 175 0 0
Statutory Authority - Returned Soldiers Insurance Actuarial Liability Adjustment 10 0 0
Statutory Authority - Re-establishment credits under Section 8 of the War Services Grants Act 2 0 0
Statutory Authority - Repayments under Section 15 of the War Services Grants Act 10 0 0
Total Statutory 39,092 9,516 18,975
Total Budgetary authorities 4,401,448 1,221,835 2,282,379
Non-budgetary authorities 0 0 0
Total Authorities 4,401,448 1,221,835 2,282,379

* Includes only Authorities available for use and granted by Parliament at quarter-end. Includes $44M in Budget 2019 measures approved by Treasury Board.

Veterans Affairs Canada

Quarterly Financial Report for the Quarter Ended September 30, 2020

Statement of Authories (unaudited)

Fiscal Year 2020-21

(in thousands of dollars) Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2021* Used during the quarter ended September 30, 2020 Year-to-date used at quarter-end
Vote 1 - Net Operating expenditures 956,070 239,135 444,443
Vote 5 - Grants and Contributions 3,033,467 875,167 1,805,561
Statutory Authority - Minister's Salary and Motor Car Allowance 89 22 44
Statutory Authority - Court Award - Crown Liability and Proceeding Act 0 0 0
Statutory Authority - Refunds of Previous Years Revenue 0 5,085 18,374
Statutory Authority - Contributions to Employee Benefit Plans - Program 47,244 8,483 16,965
Statutory Authority - Veterans Insurance Actuarial Liability Adjustment 175 0 0
Statutory Authority - Returned Soldiers Insurance Actuarial Liability Adjustment 10 0 0
Statutory Authority - Statutory Authority - Re-establishment credits under Section 8 of the War Services Grants Act 2 0 0
Statutory Authority - Repayments under Section 15 of the War Services Grants Act 10 0 0
Total Statutory 47,530 13,590 35,383
Total Budgetary authorities 4,037,067 1,127,892 2,285,387
Non-budgetary authorities 0 0 0
Total Authorities 4,037,067 1,127,892 2,285,387

*Authorities available for use and granted by Parliament at quarter-end. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and limited sessions in the spring for Parliament to study supply, the Standing Orders of the House of Commons were amended to extend the supply period in to the Fall. Veterans Affairs Canada is expected to receive full supply for the 2020-21 Main Estimates in December 2020.


Departmental Budgetary Expenditures by Standard Object (unaudited)

Veterans Affairs Canada

Quarterly Financial Report for the Quarter Ended September 30, 2019

Departmental budgetary expenditures by Standard Object (unaudited)

Fiscal Year 2019-20

Expenditures (in thousands of dollars) Planned expenditures for the year ended March 31, 2020* Expended during the quarter ended September 30, 2019 Year-to-date used at quarter-end
01 Personnel 295,064 71,086 138,629
02 Transportation and communications 47,348 9,328 18,318
03 Information 2,626 1,291 1,470
04 Professional and special services 441,621 117,163 201,497
05 Rentals 11,235 869 2,065
06 Repair and maintenance 9,181 1,174 1,474
07 Utilities, materials and supplies 275,269 53,339 106,967
08 Acquisition of land, buildings and works 13 0 0
09 Acquisition of machinery and equipment 6,128 421 729
10 Transfer payments 3,212,913 880,810 1,715,067
11 Public debt charges 0 0 0
12 Other subsidies and payments 100,049 86,354 96,163
Total gross budgetary expenditures 4,401,448 1,221,835 2,282,379
Less Revenues netted against expenditures 0 0 0
Total Revenues netted against expenditures 0 0 0
Total net budgetary expenditures 4,401,448 1,221,835 2,282,379

* Includes only Authorities available for use and granted by Parliament at quarter-end. Includes $44M in Budget 2019 measures approved by Treasury Board.

Veterans Affairs Canada

Quarterly Financial Report for the Quarter Ended September 30, 2020

Departmental budgetary expenditures by Standard Object (unaudited)

Fiscal Year 2020-21

Expenditures (in thousands of dollars) Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2021* Expended during the quarter ended September 30, 2020 Year-to-date used at quarter-end
01 Personnel 279,094 72,499 143,646
02 Transportation and communications 47,129 3,109 5,620
03 Information 891 277 310
04 Professional and special services 432,651 117,483 191,396
05 Rentals 8,937 2,131 3,151
06 Repair and maintenance 7,469 1,144 1,648
07 Utilities, materials and supplies 216,416 51,419 105,043
08 Acquisition of land, buildings and works 10 0 0
09 Acquisition of machinery and equipment 11,038 280 978
10 Transfer payments 3,033,633 875,167 1,805,561
11 Public debt charges 0 0 0
12 Other subsidies and payments 39 4,383 28,037
Total gross budgetary expenditures 4,037,067 1,127,892 2,285,387
Less Revenues netted against expenditures 0 0 0
Total Revenues netted against expenditures 0 0 0
Total net budgetary expenditures 4,037,067 1,127,892 2,285,387

* Includes only Authorities available for use and granted by Parliament at quarter-end. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and limited sessions in the spring for Parliament to study supply, the Standing Orders of the House of Commons were amended to extend the supply period in to the Fall. Veterans Affairs Canada is expected to receive full supply for the 2020-21 Main Estimates in December 2020.

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