Supplementary Estimates (A) 2018-19 seeks an additional $8.1 billion in budgetary authorities: $7.5 billion requiring Parliament’s approval, and $0.6 billion in spending for which legislative permission already exists. This represents the largest Supplementary Estimates in at least a decade.
In combination with the 2018-19 Main Estimates, the total proposed year-to-date budgetary authorities is $285 billion, which represents a $14.6 billion (5.4 percent) increase over the 2017-18 estimates to date.
About 70% of the proposed spending relates to four areas:
- Support for services and infrastructure for First Nations ($2.9 billion), which includes $423 million to eliminate boil water advisories;
- Continued roll-out of the Canada Infrastructure Plan ($1.0 billion), the largest component of which is a $477 million payment to the Canada Infrastructure Bank;
- Money to pay for personnel costs ($0.9 billion), which includes $541 million for retroactive salary payments arising from recently signed collective agreements; and,
- The purchase and retrofit of three icebreakers for the Canadian Coast Guard ($0.8 billion).
The PBO has also monitored the roll-out of the Government’s changes to the Estimates process. This includes the creation of a new $7.0 billion central vote within the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) to more rapidly roll-out Budget 2018 measures, as well as broad reengineering of performance indicators and results for programs.
The speed of implementing Budget measures seems to be unchanged from the previous year. To date, the Treasury Board (TB) has approved and allocated $2.9 billion for 67 unique Budget 2018 measures. This represents 45% of the total number of measures and 41% of the associated authorities included in the Budget Implementation Vote. In comparison, the PBO identified 58 Budget 2017 measures that had been brought forward in the Estimates documents by the same time last year, representing almost two-thirds of the total Budget 2017 measures.
Anticipated improvements in results reporting is also a work-in-progress. The PBO noted earlier that there is no information on how the additional funding from the Budget 2018 measures will impact planned results. Based on a review of the 2018-19 Departmental Plans, there are also gaps with respect to missing targets and past results for performance indicators. This lack of data can hinder parliamentarians’ capacity to scrutinize proposed spending.