Consultation: Guidelines on the reporting of grants and contributions awards

Notice to Readers

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on these updated Guidelines. Keep an eye out for the final versions of the document, coming soon to Canada.ca and Open.Canada.ca.

Introduction

Consultation is a key element of Canada’s open government efforts, and essential to our Third Biennial plan to the Open Government Partnership (2016-2018). The goal of this plan is to make government information and policies more open and transparent, which will in turn increase Canadians’ trust in government. Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat leads on Commitment #11: Increase Transparency of Grants and Contributions Funding. The consultation that follows seeks feedback on key deliverables that once achieved, will increase the transparency of government funding provided through Grants and Contributions, to worthwhile projects.

Potential changes include decreasing the dollar amount for the reporting of Grants and Contributions awards, (currently for over $25,000), increasing and standardizing the information available, and centralizing information on the open.canada.ca portal.

Purpose of this Engagement

This consultation is the first public forum to present recent developments and engage Canadians on the path forward for the public reporting of Grants and Contributions. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat previously engaged 32 departments, agencies, crown corporations, and key stakeholders, and would now like to engage Canadians more broadly, with an aim to ensure the data being reported on is useful for recipients, key stakeholders, data users, and Canadians at large, and to provide increased fiscal transparency.

The Guidelines on the Reporting of Grants and Contributions Awards is composed of four elements, broken down into separate pages to ensure that each area is engaged upon separately.

In this consultation, there are four sections for you to explore, as seen below, but we are primarily seeking feedback on the page entitled “Fields and Field Descriptions”. The four pages are:

The feedback received from this engagement will serve as the basis for developing future iterations of the Guidelines, Guidance, Appendices, and Reporting Standards. Further, all feedback received in engagement will be summarized and included in a “What We Heard Report,” which will be available in Appendix G of the final Guidelines once they are published, and will be published on this page following consultation. All feedback received will be reviewed, and may be included in the revisions made to the final documents. Some relevant suggestions may not be immediately applied, but could contribute to future improvements.

What’s Next?

As the document continues to develop following this engagement, the Committee on Grants and Contributions Award Reporting will continue to work collaboratively with departments, agencies, and key stakeholders to bring forward a final version of this document, to be implemented effective April 01, 2018. More information on the implementation schedule can be seen in Appendix H of the Guidelines.

Please note that comments are moderated. It may take some time for your comments to appear online. For more information, consult our rules of engagement.

User comments

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer supports the proposed measures to increase transparency for federal government Grants and Contributions. The guidelines and fields provide reasonable and clear direction for implementation of these measures. Overall, we believe that this proposal will provide an increased level of accountability for results to Canadians achieved through government funding.

Thank you very much for your comment!

Transparency and accountability of government grants are an expectation of taxpayers. If there is a confidentiality issue with potential recipients, then they should not apply for government grants.

Hi Marilou,

Thank you very much for your comment. Government of Canada grants (and international grants) are used so broadly in some cases, that there is absolutely a confidentiality issue. One common area of confidentiality in grants around the world is research - where this research is proprietary information, and could cause a significant loss of work or money to a researcher if their work is revealed.

I am all for transparency and accountability. There is always the potential to better track the use of government funds, and identify and curb misuse or waste.

However, I am greatly concerned with the suggestion that the current lower limit of G&C funding will be reduced from $25,000 CAD to $1 CAD. The cost of administering awards is not negligible, particularly with the proposed tracking system. If the administration cost per award is $500, for example, should the Government even entertain awards less than $5,000? If such small awards have been disbursed in the past, there should be a review of what were the purpose and necessity of these awards. If they were necessary, what will be the impact of eliminating these awards?

Thank you very much for your comment, David!

I suggest that program information be sufficiently vague that it does not give away information which individuals or companies may consider commercially or competitively sensitive. There are many times when small companies receive funding to develop technology that is critical to their growth and if competitors are made aware of the exact nature of the technology or technology path they are working on this could easily hurt their financial position.

Hey Tony,

Thanks very much for your comment! In this instance, 'Program Information' refers to the Government of Canada Grant or Contribution program, rather than the project which the applicant is working on. I believe you are referring, in this case, to either 'Project Description', or 'Expected Results'. In this case, recipients are made aware of what information may be disclosed, and "trade secrets" would not be part of that.

Some questions :
1- Does the transparency apply for provincial government grant too ?
2- Are you going to reveal the applications review team as well ?
3- Is it possible to see how many application received in any area and easily follow how much each sector get the fund ?
4- Are the Federal / Provincial government going to clearly set the priorities and announced it ?

Hey Kourosh,

Thanks very much for your questions, I'm happy to answer them, below.

1. Unfortunately we don't have the purview to dictate what it is that provinces disclose. However, these reports will include funding to provinces from the federal government.
2. That is at the discretion of the department. In many cases, however, this is confidential information.
3. That may be a good point for a future exercise, thank you! It is worth noting that a lot of the information by sector is available already - check out TBS' infobase+ website.
4. I don't fully understand your question here. However, as mentioned earlier, we don't have the purview to dictate what it is that provinces disclose.

This program should be revised as indicated in the preamble. I suggest a lower grant value for reporting at $10,000 Canadian. It seems to me that much of this information is already available in granting agency databases and could be assimilated quite rapidly. Then recipients could be contacted for verification of their funding. The program would also be useful as information to the general public and among funding agencies to determine where future efforts should be directed in order to optimize progress where the greatest need exists.

Hi there, Daniel.

Thanks very much for your comment! Perhaps I am missing a key point, but the proposed changes would reduce the dollar threshold to $0, being even lower than that of $10,000. We're going for full transparency with this one!

Supportive of anything that increase transparency and accountability which currently achieves a high standard.

Thank you very much for your comment!

It is usually scary to get gov reviews because most of the time means to cut grants and subsidies to industry, especially to specific research industries that need lots of gov support to be competing against industries like the German, the British, the Chinese or the Dutch, which are heavily subsidized by their governments.

Thank you very much for your comment!

Peut-être faudrait-il établir un seuil critique, comme 100 000 $ ou 250 000 $ comme seuil critique afin de limiter les dépenses de gestion et permettre d'aider davantage les entreprises. Pour des montants limités, l'influence n'est pas très grande, mais peut permettre à de jeunes entreprises de percer, cela fait toute la différence, mais c'est certain qu'il devrait y avoir davantage de transparence pour tous les montants importants.

Merci beaucoup pour votre commentaire!

The principles of transparency and accountability have always proven to be an asset in the management of our national not-for-profit association, so we applaud their application in the reporting of grants and awards. Collectively we can optimize the use of public resources. The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists.

Thank you very much for your comment!

Excellente initiative-idée. Toutes les subventions grandes ou petites devraient être divulguées publiquement. Question de transparence.

Merci beaucoup pour votre commentaire!

Excellent idea. After all, all funds belong to public but managed by those elected or selected to do so for the development of public life standards by way of creating facilities and comforts. Therefore all funds issued to any body in any quantity, shape or form must be known to the end user or the final beneficiary....the public...citizens...the people. This will help stop misuse of these funds by such organizations or bodies when the visibility becomes 100%.

Thank you very much for your comment!

I like the changes - all awards should be posted for others to see, in a place where it's easy to access. This complete information will help others considering for applying to see what has been awarded previously. Thank you.

Thank you very much for your comment!

I also agree that all Government funds should be accounted for 100%.Record keeping should be done to account for all movement of funds and accountability.

Thank you very much for your comment!

As the leader of a not-for-profit organization whose main objective is geared towards proactively working inside remote fly-in First Nations reserves; I strongly feel that the government is doing the right thing by publicly disclosing "all" funding and grants that are distributed to the communities and the consultants who work with them. Based on our experience, 99.9% of the people who live inside First Nations reserves have no idea how much funding is given to their chiefs and band councillors, so more transparency is desperately needed in this particular area. If the government could find a way to ensure "The People" (not the chiefs/band councillors) are more involved in their communities financial affairs, the proposals being submitted for funding, then this would mitigate corruption on various levels and thus, prevent consultants like Joe Crupi or many of the other "Joes" out there from siphoning funding.

Thank you very much for your comment!

I totally agree with these comments especially since there appears to be no accountability for "how much goes where" in funding for indigenous communities; bravo for bringing these revelations to light.

I agree 100% that government grants and contributions should be visible to taxpayers. This will make for a better system. I would add that a reasonably detailed accounting for the disposition of funds must be part of the obligation of any recipient. This latter requirement will help ensure the monies are appropriately spent, and that the expected results are captured.

Thank you very much for your comment!

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