The 2006-07 Estimates set out details of the operating and capital spending requirements of Ministries for the fiscal year commencing April 1, 2006. The Estimates constitute the Government's formal request to the Legislature for approval of the amounts involved. All expenditures from the Consolidated Revenue Fund must be authorized by an appropriation, either through the Supply Act or other legislation.
The Estimates are required to be tabled no more than 12 sitting days after a Budget is presented. The Standing Committee on Estimates considers the Estimates of between 6 and 12 Ministries or offices. Once approved by the Legislature in the Supply Act, the Estimates become the legal spending authority for each Ministry.
The Votes and Items contained in the Estimates provide a framework for legislative control of public spending, which must be consistent with the purpose of each Vote and Item and cannot exceed Voted totals without legislative authority.
The Expenditure Estimates of the Province of Ontario is comprised of two or more separate volumes/publications:
The Estimates for each Ministry or office are categorized as Operating Expense, Operating Assets, Capital Expense and Capital Assets. The spending plans within these categories are further classified as Votes, Items, Standard Accounts and Statutory Appropriations.
The Votes are major programs which Ministries are responsible for delivering and each are identified by a unique Vote number within the Estimates. Votes in turn are sub-divided into Items in order to distinguish between their different functions or services. This Vote/Item structure permits the Legislature to be more specific in appropriating funds to particular services. Items may be further sub-divided into sub-items, which can provide additional information on the Program/Function, if necessary.
In the Estimates, Statutory Appropriations are added to the amounts to be Voted to produce the Total Estimates for each Ministry. Statutory Appropriations represent payments pursuant to a specific legislative authority and are not included in the Supply Act.
Within each Item and Statutory Appropriation, expenditures are detailed by standard account, i.e., Salaries and Wages, Employee Benefits, Transportation and Communication, Services, Transfer Payments, etc. (see Terms and Definitions Used).
Each Ministries' detailed section of the Estimates begins with a "Ministry Program Summary" table providing a high-level perspective of each Ministries' planned spending, listing all Votes/Programs showing total amounts to be Voted, then adding Statutory Appropriations and consolidations and other adjustments. Following the "Ministry Program Summary" is a Vote Summary table for each Vote, listing each Item and Statutory Appropriation details within that Vote. Subsequent to the Vote-Item listing is a breakdown of each Vote-Item and Statutory Appropriation by standard account.
For comparative purposes, Estimates and Actual amounts for prior years are provided on "Ministry Program Summary" and Vote Summary pages. These amounts are restated to provide comparability where functional reorganizations and transfers, Supplementary Estimates or accounting changes have occurred. Restatement of previously published data is shown in a separate table following each Ministry's section in the Estimates.
Consolidation adjustments are provided on each "Ministry Program Summary" page, where applicable. The adjustments reconcile the spending requests of Ministries as set out in the Estimates to the annual Budget, which is prepared on a consolidated basis. A final total of Operating and Capital Expenses plus Statutory Appropriations and consolidations and other adjustments completes the picture of total Ministry spending (not including Assets).
Following the Ministry sections are 12 summary tables listing operating, capital, and total operating and capital Estimates totals for all Ministries.
Since 2003-04, the Estimates have been prepared on the accrual basis of accounting.
As noted above, the Budget is prepared on a consolidated basis and the Estimates are adjusted to reconcile with the Budget totals for each Ministry. Consolidation combines the Items of Ministries with those of other government organizations, i.e., agencies, boards and commissions.
This year the layout and cover of the Estimates have been modernized. Changes to the layout include: an expanded Introduction, clearer labelling of tables, and an easier-to-read format for Ministry sections. In addition, by visually linking the cover of the Estimates to the cover of the Budget, the connection between the documents as elements of the same process and continuum of financial reporting becomes more evident.
The overall content and underlying structure of the Estimates is unchanged. Some information has been reordered to improve the flow of information from Amounts to be Voted to the final Budget totals. The Vote lines in the "Ministry Program Summary" tables no longer include Statutory Appropriation amounts in order to be consistent with the Estimates' purpose as support to the Supply Act, which grants legal spending authority by a Vote on spending as set out in the Votes and Items in the Estimates. Statutory amounts have been moved to a total line following the amounts to be Voted. Full statutory amount details continue to be available on all Vote Summary pages.
During 2005-06, two new Ministries were created: Ministry of Health Promotion and Ministry of Research and Innovation.
Special Warrants are issued to authorize payments for the purpose of general and necessary government expenditures when the Legislature is not in session. When Special Warrants are used, the amounts provided by Special Warrants are not included in the total for each program amount to be Voted.
Cost Recovery Items
In cases where the anticipated recovery of costs of an Item is equal to or greater than the expenditures, the balance of the Item is shown at the nominal value of $1,000.
Spending is forecast for the fiscal year 2006-07 under Standard Accounts at the Item level. The descriptions of the contents of the Standard Accounts given below are intended to serve as brief outlines only and should not be considered all inclusive.
Assets are balance sheet accounts which require an appropriation in the Estimates. Asset categories include the following:
Statutory Appropriations represent payments pursuant to a specific legislative authority and are not included in the Supply Act. Statutory Appropriations are included in the Estimates for information purposes and are not Voted by the Legislature. Amounts required for Statutory Appropriations are shown, where applicable, as separate entries under the Standard Accounts Classifications details relating to each Item.
Comprised of 3 volumes containing the Consolidated Revenue Fund schedules, ministry statements showing actual expenses, financial statements of significant provincial crown corporations, boards and commissions, and detailed schedules of payments made from the Consolidated Revenue Fund by Ministries to vendors and transfer payment recipients. http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/paccts/2005/index.html
Results-based Plan Briefing Books
Published annually by each Ministry, following the Ontario Budget and publication of the Estimates. The Plans highlight what each Ministry has done over the previous year, what is planned for the coming year, what targets have been set and how results will be measured. The Standing Committee on Estimates uses the Results-based Plan Briefing Books when they ask Ministries to defend their Estimates.
The Ontario Government presents a Budget each year, usually in the early Spring. This document outlines expected expense and revenue for the upcoming fiscal year. http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/bud.html