RECOMMENDATION 1 – Comprehensive Treasury Board policy on management of fees
Treasury Board Secretariat develop and present to the Treasury Board a
comprehensive policy on the management of fees; and that the Secretariat report
progress on this initiative to the Public Accounts Committee by 30 September
user fee management encompasses a range of component practices including
costing, stakeholder consultation, fee level analysis, the setting of service
standard, service delivery, and reporting. The User Fees Act contains
requirements and consequences with respect to these practices but pertains
primarily to new fees or fees that are increased.
March 2008, the Treasury Board Secretariat released the Guide to
Costing and continues to work with departments to promote its use in user
fee and other financial management settings.
May 2008, the Auditor General recommended that additional guidance could
support departmental user fee practices in the areas of calculating the costs
of user fee activities and in understanding the range of factors to be
considered in establishing the level of a charge.
May 2009, the Treasury Board Secretariat released the Guide to
Establishing the Level of a Cost-Based User Fee or Regulatory Charge that
provides an approach and key considerations to assist departments and agencies in
the area of fee level analysis.
Government agrees with the recommendation of the Committee that a comprehensive
Treasury Board policy could augment the recently released guides and provide additional
for all user fees.
by April 2010, an examination of the available guidance and policies relating
to the practices supporting user fee management will be completed. The
examination period will include an assessment of measures for improving
oversight and transparency of fees set through contractual arrangement. The
examination period will allow for input from key departments, agencies and
stakeholders to be gathered and for the user fee management frameworks of other
jurisdictions to be reviewed. Directly following the examination period the
development of a comprehensive user fee management policy will commence. This
policy will seek to clarify responsibilities and establish mandatory
requirements in such areas as service standards, consultation with
stakeholders, fee level analysis, the regular review of these practices, and
financial and non-financial reporting.
RECOMMENDATION 2 – Comprehensive user fee reporting
The Treasury Board amend the Policy on Service Standards for External Fees
to require departments and agencies to publicly report annually on the full
costs, revenues, service standards, and performance results for all external
fees; and that departments and agencies be required to regularly carry out and
report on public consultations with those affected by fees.
Government agrees with the Committee recommendation that mandatory reporting
requirements related to external fees should be contained in Treasury Board
policy and should cover a full complement of financial and non-financial
described in the Government Response to Recommendation 1, the development of
comprehensive policy on user fee management will be initiated in 2010‑11.
It is anticipated that this new comprehensive policy will contain annual public
reporting requirements for all fees covering such elements as full costs,
revenues, service standards, performance results and consultation. In this way,
the new comprehensive policy will incorporate and enhance the reporting provisions
of the 2004 Policy on Service Standards for External Fees.
RECOMMENDATION 3 – Fee setting guidance
The Treasury Board Secretariat
clarify the method of comparing fee revenues to associated costs when updating
its guidance on factors to consider in determining the amount of a fee; and
that the Secretariat report progress on this initiative to the Public Accounts
Committee by 30 September 2009.
Government agrees with this recommendation. In May of 2009, the Guide to
Establishing the Level of a Cost-based User Fee or Regulatory Charge was
released. The Guide provides departments and agencies with a process and main
factors to consider when establishing an appropriate fee level.
Guide to Establishing the Level of a Cost-based User Fee or Regulatory
Charge identifies full cost calculation as a fundamental input and
recommends use of the Guide to Costing in every fee setting exercise.
The Guide to Establishing the Level of a Cost-based User Fee or Regulatory
Charge describes how cost-based fees should generally respect a level
represented by the estimated full cost of the associated activities. The Guide
also describes how the analysis of such factors as the mix of public and
private benefit objectives and the impact of fees on stakeholders should also
be considered in the fee level decision. The Guide recommends that departments and
agencies review costs, revenues and the other fee setting factors on a regular
RECOMMENDATION 4 – Calculation of costs
Comptroller General work with departments and agencies to ensure that they are
accurately calculating their costs associated with fees; and that the
Comptroller General report progress on this initiative to the Public Accounts
Committee by 30 September 2009.
Government agrees with the recommendation and the Office of the Comptroller
General (OCG) works regularly with departments and agencies to promote sound
costing practices. Over the past year, the OCG has established a series of
interdepartmental working groups to advance the costing capabilities in all
departments and agencies. The lessons learned from those working groups have
been shared with all departments and agencies and posted on the OCG website.
One of the ongoing working groups is addressing the concerns of the Auditor
General and the Committee by assisting departments and agencies to strengthen
their costing practices in support of their user fees.
Guide to Costing was published in March 2008. Prior to its publication,
the Auditor General reviewed the Guide and cited it as a best practice in a May 2008
audit report. The Guide was released to all departments and agencies and
is available on the Treasury Board Secretariat website. The Guide to Costing
is based on seven costing principles and a consistent seven-step approach for
all costing exercises.
Deputy Heads are
accountable for ensuring the accuracy of their calculated costs. The OCG will
continue to work with departments and agencies by providing guidance and
advancing strong costing practices through the use of the Guide to Costing.
This will enable departments and agencies to ensure that their costs associated
with user fees are accurately calculated.
RECOMMENDATION 5 – Compilation of fees set by contract
The Treasury Board Secretariat provide a list to the
Public Accounts Committee by 30 September 2009 of all the fees that are set by
Government agrees and will provide the Public Accounts Committee with a list of
fees set by contract.
policies and guidelines do not contain provisions for the specific reporting of
fees set by contract. The Government has initiated a plan to gather information
on fees set by contract from individual departments and agencies. The
Government will provide
a report including a list of fees set by contract to the Committee by December 31, 2009.
RECOMMENDATION 6 – Reporting requirements for fees set by contract
Treasury Board Secretariat clarify the review and reporting requirements for
fees set by contract by 30 September 2009.
set under contract are not subject to the User Fees Act or the Policy
on Service Standards for External Fees. In effect, the mandatory
requirements of these two frameworks, including review and reporting, do not
apply when federal departments and agencies are establishing a new fee under a
contractual arrangement for the provision of an external service to specific
Committee also raised
concerns over the lack of information being reported on fees set by contract
and over the absence of mandatory requirements to review fees set by contract.
development of the new policy will include within its scope, practices and
reporting related to fees set by contract.