Financial Statements

Notes to the Financial Statements (Unaudited)

For the year ended March 31

1. Authority and objectives

The Department of Justice was officially established in 1868, when the Department of Justice Act was passed in Parliament. The Department is named in Schedule I of the Financial Administration Act and currently reports to Parliament through the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada.

Under Canada’s federal system, the administration of justice is an area of shared jurisdiction between the federal government and the provinces and territories. The Department supports the Minister of Justice’s responsibilities for 53 statutes and areas of federal law by ensuring a bilingual and bijural national legal framework. The Department also supports the Attorney General as the chief law officer of the Crown, both in terms of the ongoing operations of government and of the development of new policies, programs, and services for Canadians.

The Department's key strategic outcomes are delivered through the following program activities:

(a) A Fair, Relevant and Accessible Canadian Justice System

Stewardship of the Canadian Legal Framework

The Department fulfils its stewardship role by ensuring a bilingual and bijural national legal framework for the administration of justice that contributes to a safe and just society for all Canadians and confidence in Canada’s justice system. The Department develops and tests innovative approaches to strengthen the legal framework within various domains: criminal law, youth criminal justice, sentencing, official languages, marriage and divorce, access to justice, bijuralism, human rights, privacy, access to information and Indigenous justice. In addition, in view of the federal government’s shared interest in a sustainable justice system, the Department promotes and facilitates ongoing dialogue with the provinces and territories in the areas of shared jurisdiction and provides funding for the delivery of programs that directly support federal policy objectives.

Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime

The Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime (OFOVC) was created to provide a voice for victims of crime at the federal level and to ensure that the federal government meets its commitments to victims. The Office provides direct information, referral and complaint-review services to its primary clients: victims, victims’ family members or representatives, victim-serving agencies, and other related stakeholders. The Office also helps raise awareness of systemic issues among all criminal justice and victim-serving personnel, and provides related recommendations and advice to the Government of Canada through the Minister of Justice. In order to fulfill its mandate, the Office promotes access by victims to existing federal programs and services for victims; addresses complaints of victims about compliance with the provisions of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act; promotes awareness of the needs and concerns of victims and the applicable laws that benefit victims of crime, including Canadian Victim Bill of Rights and the principles set out in the Canadian Statement of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime; identifies and reviews emerging and systemic issues that negatively impact victims of crime; and facilitates access by victims to existing federal programs and services by providing them with information and referrals. The Ombudsman reports directly to the Minister of Justice and, as such, the Office falls outside the Department’s governance framework.

(b) A Federal Government that is Supported by High-Quality Legal Services

Legal Services to Government Program

The Department of Justice provides an integrated suite of high-quality legal advisory, litigation and legislative services to the Minister of Justice and to all federal departments and agencies to support them in meeting the Government’s policy and programming priorities and to advance the overall objectives of the Government. Services are provided through a network of departmental legal services units co- located with client departments and agencies, specialized legal capacities within national headquarters, and a network of regional offices and sub-offices providing legal advisory and litigation services to federal departments and agencies across the country.

(c) The following program activity supports all strategic outcomes within the organization

Internal Services

Internal Services are groups of related activities and resources that are administered to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations of an organization. Internal services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization, and not those provided to a specific program. The groups of activities are Management and Oversight Services, Communications Services, Legal Services (Corporate Counsel), Human Resources Management Services, Financial Management Services, Information Management Services, Information Technology Services, Real Property Services, Materiel Services and Acquisition Services.

2. Summary of significant accounting policies

These financial statements have been prepared using the Government's accounting policies stated below, which are based on Canadian public sector accounting standards. The presentation and results using the stated accounting policies do not result in any significant differences from Canadian public sector accounting standards.

The significant accounting policies are as follows:

(a) Parliamentary authorities

The Department is financed by the Government of Canada through Parliamentary authorities. Financial reporting of authorities provided to the Department do not parallel financial reporting according to generally accepted accounting principles since authorities are primarily based on cash flow requirements. Consequently, items recognized in the Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position and in the Statement of Financial Position are not necessarily the same as those provided through authorities from Parliament. Note 3 provides a reconciliation between the bases of reporting. The planned results amounts in the “Expenses” and “Revenues” sections of the Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position are the amounts reported in the Future-Oriented Statement of Operations included in the 2016-17 Report on Plans and Priorities. Planned results are not presented in the “Government Funding and Transfers” section of the Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position and in the Statement of Change in Departmental Net Debt because these amounts were not included in the 2016-17 Report on Plans and Priorities.

(b) Net cash provided by Government

The Department operates within the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), which is administered by the Receiver General for Canada. All cash received by the Department is deposited to the CRF, and all cash disbursements made by the Department are paid from the CRF. The net cash provided by Government is the difference between all cash receipts and all cash disbursements, including transactions between departments of the Federal Government.

(c) Due from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF)

Amounts due from or to the CRF are the result of timing differences at year-end between when a transaction affects authorities and when it is processed through the CRF. Amounts due from the CRF represent the net amount of cash that the Department is entitled to draw from the CRF without further authorities to discharge its liabilities.

(d) Revenues

  • Revenues are derived from the provision of advisory, litigation and legislative services provided by the Department of Justice's law practitioners and they are recognized in the year the services are rendered. These revenues are based on legal services rates approved by Treasury Board in accordance with the Common Services Policy , for non-appropriated mandatory legal services to government departments and agencies as well as legal services to crown corporations and non-federal organizations.
  • Service and administration fee revenues under the Family Law programs are recognized based on services provided in the year, such as upon validation of the garnishment application or upon issuance of the divorce clearance certificate. As prescribed by the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act , a fee is chargeable in respect of the processing of every garnishee summons served on the Minister.
  • Common Services revenues are derived in accordance with the Common Services Policy for specific internal services provided to Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC).
  • Fines, forfeitures and awarded court costs provided for under the Contraventions Act are recognized upon receipt of payment by the Department. Fines and forfeitures are in effect penalties for illegal actions, rather than fees. These revenues are reported in "Other revenues".
  • Revenues that are non-respendable are not available to discharge the Department's liabilities. While expected to maintain accounting control, the Deputy Minister has no authority regarding the disposition of non-respendable revenues. As a result, non-respendable revenues are considered to be earned on behalf of the Government of Canada and are therefore presented in reduction of the Department's gross revenues.

(e) Expenses - recorded on the accrual basis:

  • Transfer payments are recorded as expenses when authorization for the payment exists and the recipient has met the eligibility criteria or the entitlements established for the transfer payment program.
  • Vacation pay and compensatory leave are expensed as the benefits accrue to employees under their respective terms of employment. The liability is calculated based on salary levels in effect at March 31 and the number of days remaining unpaid at the end of the fiscal year. Payments of these obligations are funded through future year appropriations.
  • Expenses related to the provision of legal services are limited to those costs borne and settled directly by the Department. The cost of legal services which are paid directly by client departments to outside suppliers such as legal agents, are not included in the expenses of the Department.
  • Services provided without charge by other government departments for accommodation, employer contributions to the health and dental insurance plans, and workers' compensation are recorded as operating expenses at their estimated cost.

(f) Employee future benefits

i. Pension benefits

Eligible employees participate in the public service pension plan (the Plan), a multiemployer pension plan administered by the Government. The Department's contributions to the Plan are charged to expenses in the year incurred and represent the total departmental obligation to the Plan. Current legislation does not require the Department to make contributions for any actuarial deficiencies of the Plan.

ii. Severance benefits

Employees entitled to severance benefits under labour contracts or conditions of employment earn these benefits as services necessary to earn them are rendered. The obligation relating to the benefits earned by employees is calculated using information derived from the results of the actuarially determined liability for employee severance benefits for the Government as a whole.

(g) Receivables

Receivables are stated at the lower of cost and net recoverable value; an allowance for doubtful accounts is made for receivables where recovery is considered uncertain. The allowance for doubtful accounts represents management's best estimate of probable losses in receivables. The allowance is determined based on an analysis of historic loss experience and an assessment of current conditions. The allowance is increased for losses and reduced by amounts written-off.

Under the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act, remission order p.c. 1994-269, outstanding receivables are written-off once the garnishee application has terminated. The application terminates when the five-year life of the garnishment summons has expired or when the province or territory has requested that the application be cancelled.

Receivables that are not available to discharge the Department's liabilities are considered to be held on behalf of the Government of Canada.

(h) Contingencies

Contingencies are potential assets or liabilities which may become actual assets or liabilities when one or more future events occur or fail to occur.

i. Contingent liabilities

To the extent that the future event is likely to occur or fail to occur, and a reasonable estimate of the loss can be made, an estimated liability is accrued and an expense recorded. If the likelihood is not determinable or if an amount cannot be reasonably estimated, the contingency is disclosed in the notes to the financial statements.

ii. Contingent assets

Contingent assets are not accrued in the financial statements. However, a contingent asset which is considered likely to be realized is disclosed in the notes to the financial statements.

(i) Tangible capital assets

All tangible capital assets and leasehold improvements are recorded at their acquisition cost and amortized over their estimated useful life on a straight-line basis as follows:

Tangible capital assets
Asset class Acquisition cost equal or greater than Amortization period
Office and other equipment $10,000 5 to 8 years
Telecommunications equipment $10,000 4 to 5 years
Informatics hardware $1,000 3 to 5 years
Informatics software $10,000 3 to 5 years
Furniture and furnishings $1,000 10 years
Motor vehicles $10,000 5 years
Leasehold improvements $10,000 Lesser of useful life or remaining term of the lease
Work in progress In accordance with asset class Once in service, in accordance with asset class

Assets under construction are recorded in the applicable capital asset class in the year that they become available for use and are not amortized until they become available for use.

(j) Measurement uncertainty

The preparation of these financial statements requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses reported in the financial statements. At the time of preparation of these statements, management believes the estimates and assumptions to be reasonable. The most significant items where estimates are used are contingent liabilities, the liability for employee severance benefits, allowance for doubtful accounts, and the useful life of tangible capital assets. Actual results could significantly differ from those estimated. Management’s estimates are reviewed periodically and, as adjustments become necessary, they are recorded in the financial statements in the year they become known.

3. Parliamentary Authorities

The Department receives most of its funding through annual parliamentary authorities. Items recognized in the Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position and the Statement of Financial Position in one year may be funded through parliamentary authorities in prior, current or future years. Accordingly, the Department has different net results of operations for the year on a government funding basis than on an accrual accounting basis. The differences are reconciled in the following tables:

(a) Reconciliation of net cost of operations to current year authorities used

Reconciliation of net cost of operations to current year authorities used (in thousands of dollars)
  2017 2016
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 744,433 766,705
Adjustments for items affecting net cost of operations but not affecting authorities:
Amortization of tangible capital assets (note 8) (11,664) (12,487)
Net loss on write off of tangible capital assets - (565)
Increase in vacation pay and compensatory leave (1,016) (605)
Decrease (increase) in employee future benefits 23,141 (2,604)
Adjustments to previous year's accounts payable 11,680 13,361
Bad debt expense (5,225) (4,907)
Services provided without charge by other government departments (note 11) (89,799) (89,506)
Accrued liabilities (115) -
Salary overpayments to be recovered 7,357 229
Total items affecting net cost of operations but not affecting authorities (65,641) (97,084)
Adjustments for items not affecting net cost of operations but affecting authorities:
Accrued liabilities paid in the fiscal year - 2,350
Acquisitions of tangible capital assets (note 8) 12,038 10,213
Transition payments for implementing salary payments in arrears 13 193
Decrease (increase) in prepaid expenses (786) 795
Adjustments to respendable revenues (229) 52
Other (9) (4)
Total items not affecting net cost of operations but affecting authorities 11,027 13,599
Current year authorities used 689,819 683,220

(b) Authorities provided and used

Authorities provided and used (in thousands of dollars)
  2017 2016
Authorities provided:
Vote 1 - Operating expenditures 270,508 279,767
Vote 5 - Grants and contributions 383,816 358,446
Statutory amounts 70,060 73,123
Less:
Authorities available for future years (2) (1)
Voted appropriations lapsed (34,563) (28,115)
Current year authorities used 689,819 683,220

4. Accounts payable and accrued liabilities

The following table presents details of the Department's accounts payable and accrued liabilities:

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities (in thousands of dollars)
  2017 2016
Accounts payable - Other government departments and agencies 7,898 1,871
Account payable - External parties 35,957 24,455
Total accounts payable 43,855 26,326
Accrued liabilities 34,242 37,473
Total accounts payable and accrued liabilities 78,097 63,799

5. Family Law account

Under the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act, the Department assists provinces and territories in the enforcement of family support orders and agreements by providing garnishment assistance through the interception of designated federal moneys payable to individuals owing family financial support. These intercepted moneys (consisting of garnisheed moneys such as income tax refunds, employment insurance benefits, etc.) are deposited into the Family Law account from which payments to the provinces and territories are then made. The provinces and territories distribute these payments to the beneficiaries:

Family Law account (in thousands of dollars)
  2017 2016
Family Law account - Beginning of year 3,130 5,565
Receipts 196,931 187,397
Payments (196,444) (189,832)
Family Law account - End of year 3,617 3,130

6. Employee future benefits

(a) Pension benefits

The Department's employees participate in the public service pension plan (the Plan), which is sponsored and administered by the Government of Canada. Pension benefits accrue up to a maximum period of 35 years at a rate of 2 percent per year of pensionable service, times the average of the best five consecutive years of earnings. The benefits are integrated with Canada/Québec Pension Plan benefits and they are indexed to inflation.

Both the employees and the Department contribute to the cost of the Plan. Due to the amendment of the Public Service Superannuation Act following the implementation of provisions related to Economic Action Plan 2012, employee contributors have been divided into two groups – Group 1 relates to existing plan members as of December 31, 2012 and Group 2 relates to members joining the Plan as of January 1, 2013. Each group has a distinct contribution rate.

For Group 1 members, the expense presented below represents approximately 1.12 times (1.25 times in 2015-2016) the employee contributions and, for Group 2 members, approximately 1.08 times (1.24 times in 2015-2016) the employee contributions.

Pension benefits (in thousands of dollars)
  2017 2016
Expense amounts 48,751 50,338

The Department's responsibility with regard to the Plan is limited to its contributions. Actuarial surpluses or deficiencies are recognized in the Financial Statements of the Government of Canada, as the Plan's sponsor.

(b) Severance benefits

Severance benefits provided to the Department’s employees were previously based on an employee’s eligibility, years of service and salary at termination of employment. However, since 2011 the accumulation of severance benefits for voluntary departures progressively ceased for substantially all employees. Employees subject to these changes were given the option to be paid the full or partial value of benefits earned to date or collect the full or remaining value of benefits upon departure from the public service. By March 31, 2017, all settlements for immediate cash out were completed. Severance benefits are unfunded and, consequently, the outstanding obligation will be paid from future authorities.

Severance benefits (in thousands of dollars)
  2017 2016
Accrued benefit obligation - Beginning of year 46,244 43,640
Expense for the year (21,547) 6,411
Benefits paid during the year (1,594) (3,807)
Accrued benefit obligation - End of year 23,103 46,244

7. Accounts receivable and advances

The following table presents details of the Department's accounts receivable and advances balances:

Accounts receivable and advances (in thousands of dollars)
  2017 2016
Receivables - Other government departments and agencies 21,999 32,580
Receivables - External parties
Family Law 12,507 11,671
Allowance for doubtful accounts from Family Law (11,773) (10,977)
Total accounts receivable from Family Law 734 694
Other receivables and advances 7,974 971
Allowance for doubtful accounts on receivables from external parties (226) (208)
Total other receivables and advances 7,748 763
Gross accounts receivable 30,481 34,037
Accounts receivable held on behalf of Government (787) (751)
Net accounts receivable 29,694 33,286

8. Tangible capital assets

Tangible capital asset class (in thousands of dollars)
  Opening balance Acquisitions Disposals, Write-Offs and Adjustments Closing balance
Office and other equipment 1,092 84 - 1,176
Telecommunications equipment 2,032 399 - 2,431
Informatics hardware 16,318 1,369 (26) 17,661
Informatics software 27,542 249 468 28,259
Furniture and furnishings 18,874 1,008 - 19,882
Motor vehicles 55 - - 55
Leasehold improvements 32,030 - 2,238 34,268
Work in progress - software development 1,788 6,170 (468) 7,490
Work in progress - leasehold improvements 344 2,759 (2,246) 857
Total tangible capital assets 100,075 12,038 (34) 112,079
Accumulated amortization (in thousands of dollars)
  Opening balance Acquisitions Disposals, Write-Offs and Adjustments Closing balance
Office and other equipment 836 106 - 942
Telecommunications equipment 1,376 295 - 1,671
Informatics hardware 10,250 2,620 - 12,870
Informatics software 19,067 3,781 - 22,848
Furniture and furnishings 10,471 1,825 - 12,296
Motor vehicles 3 11 - 14
Leasehold improvements 24,754 3,026 - 27,780
Total accumulated amortization 66,757 11,664 - 78,421
Net book value (in thousands of dollars)
  2017 2016
Office and other equipment 234 256
Telecommunications equipment 760 656
Informatics hardware 4,791 6,068
Informatics software 5,411 8,475
Furniture and furnishings 7,586 8,403
Motor vehicles 41 52
Leasehold improvements 6,488 7,276
Work in progress - software development 7,490 1,788
Work in progress - leasehold improvements 857 344
Total net book value 33,658 33,318

Disposals, Write-Offs and Adjustments include assets under construction of $2,707,098 that were transferred to the other categories upon completion of the assets.

9. Contractual obligations

The nature of the Department's activities results in some large multi-year contracts and obligations whereby the Department will be obligated to make future payments in order to carry out its transfer payment programs or when the services and/or goods are received.

Significant contractual obligations that can be reasonably estimated are summarized as follows:

Contractual obligations (in thousands of dollars)
  2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 and thereafter
Transfer payments 174,816 16,478 10,930 6,910 -

10. Contingent liabilities

Claims have been made against the Department in the normal course of operations. These claims include items with pleading amounts and other for which no amount is specified. While the total amount claimed in these actions is significant, their outcomes are not determinable. The Department has recorded an allowance for claims and litigations where it is likely that there will be a future payment and a reasonable estimate of the loss can be made. Claims and litigations for which the outcome is not determinable and a reasonable estimate can be made by management amount to approximately $3,000,000 ($3,000,000 in 2015-2016) at March 31, 2017.

11. Related party transactions

The Department is related as a result of common ownership to all Government of Canada departments, agencies, and Crown corporations. The Department enters into transactions with these entities in the normal course of business and on normal trade terms.

During the year, the Department received services without charge from certain common service organizations, related to accommodation, the employer's contribution to the health and dental insurance plans, and workers' compensation coverage. These services provided without charge have been recorded in the Department's Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position as follows:

Related party transactions (in thousands of dollars)
  2017 2016
Accommodation  45,678 48,071
Employer's contributions to the health and dental insurance plans 44,111 41,364
Workers’ compensation coverage provided 10 71
Total 89,799 89,506

The Government has centralized some of its administrative activities for efficiency, cost-effectiveness purposes and economic delivery of programs to the public. As a result, the Government uses central agencies and common service organizations so that one department performs services for all other departments and agencies without charge. The costs of these services, such as the payroll and cheque issuance services provided by Public Services and Procurement Canada and audit services provided by the Office of the Auditor General are not included in the Department’s Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position. The costs of information technology infrastructure services provided by Shared Services Canada, following the transfer of responsibilities in November 2011 and April 2013, are also not included in the Department’s Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position.

In addition, the Department of Justice has provided legal services, such as advisory, litigation and legislative services, without charge to other government departments for a total amount of $155,294,877 ($148,896,311 in 2015-2016). The amount is determined based on actual salary and operating expenses attributed to non-recoverable services provided to other government departments.

12. Segmented information

Presentation by segment is based on the Department's program alignment architecture. The presentation by segment is based on the same accounting policies as described in the Summary of significant accounting policies in note 2. The following table presents the expenses incurred and revenues generated for the main program activities, by major object of expenses and by major type of revenues. The segment results for the period are as follows:

Segmented information (in thousands of dollars)
  Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime Stewardship of the Canadian Legal Framework Legal Services to Government Program Internal Services 2017 2016
Operating expenses
Salaries and employee benefits 910 47,983 451,231 61,422 561,546 590,574
Accommodation 46 19,317 21,883 9,801 51,047 52,972
Professional and special services 53 3,408 14,940 13,272 31,673 31,634
Amortization of tangible capital assets - 55 630 10,979 11,664 12,487
Travel and relocation 38 775 4,695 755 6,263 6,953
Utilities, materials and supplies 5 152 1,243 3,495 4,895 5,410
Bad debts - 5,225 - - 5,225 4,907
Other 1 498 59 4,423 4,981 4,053
Information 23 275 2,190 253 2,741 3,170
Rentals 5 130 436 1,841 2,412 2,589
Communications 1 101 531 811 1,444 2,047
Repairs and maintenance - 5 48 936 989 1,188
Claims and ex-gratia payments - - 406 5 411 2,557
Total operating expenses 1,082 77,924 498,292 107,993 685,291 720,541
Transfer payments
Provinces and territories - 330,190 - - 330,190 303,436
Non-profit institutions and organizations - 33,482 - - 33,482 35,617
International organizations - 709 - - 709 463
Individuals - 828 - - 828 225
Total transfer payments - 365,209 - - 365,209 339,741
Total expenses 1,082 443,133 498,292 107,993 1,050,500 1,060,282
Revenues
Legal services - - 303,791 45,916 349,707 333,098
Family Law fees - 8,502 - - 8,502 8,132
Common Services - - - 2,825 2,825 3,352
Other revenues - 214 1,941 9 2,164 5,361
Revenues earned on behalf of Government - (8,716) (41,944) (6,471) (57,131) (56,366)
Total revenues - - 263,788 42,279 306,067 293,577
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 1,082 443,133 234,504 65,714 744,433 766,705

13. Comparative information

Comparative figures have been reclassified to conform to the current year's presentation.

Date modified: