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Report on Annual Expenditures for Travel, Hospitality and Conferences, 2013-2014

As required by the Treasury Board  Directive for the Management of Expenditures on Travel, Hospitality and Conferences, this report provides information on the total annual expenditures for each of travel, hospitality and conferences for the Health Canada for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014.

This information is updated annually and does not contain information withheld under the  Access to Information Act or the  Privacy Act.

Health Canada's mandate is to help Canadians maintain and improve their health. The Department is committed to improving the lives of all Canadians and to making this country's population among the healthiest in the world, as measured by longevity, lifestyle and effective use of the public health care system.

First, as a regulator, Health Canada is responsible for the regulatory regime governing the safety of products including food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, natural health products, consumer products, chemicals, radiation emitting devices, cosmetics and pesticides. It also regulates tobacco products and controlled substances, public health on aircraft, ships and other passenger conveyances, and helps manage the health risks posed by environmental factors such as air, water, radiation and contaminants.

The Department is also a service provider. The federal government has provided basic health services to First Nations since 1904. Today, Health Canada provides basic primary care services in approximately 200 remote First Nations communities, home and community care in 600 First Nations communities, support for health promotion programs in Inuit communities across four regions and a limited range of medically-necessary health-related goods and services not insured by private or other public health insurance plans to eligible First Nations and Inuit. The Department also funds or delivers community-based health programs and public health activities to First Nations and Inuit. These activities promote health, prevent chronic disease and address issues such as substance abuse and the spread of infectious diseases.

Health Canada is a catalyst for innovation, a funder, and an information provider in Canada's health system. It works closely with provincial and territorial governments to develop national approaches on health system issues and promotes the pan-Canadian adoption of best practices. It administers the  Canada Health Act, which embodies national principles to ensure a universal and equitable publicly-funded health care system. It provides policy support for the federal government's Canada Health Transfer to provinces and territories, and provides funding through grants and contributions to various organizations to help meet Health Canada's objectives. Lastly, the Department draws on leading-edge science and policy research to generate and share knowledge and information to support decision-making by Canadians, development and implementation of regulations and standards, and health innovation.

More information on Health Canada activities, plans and performance are detailed in the Departmental Performance Report.

Health Canada travel, hospitality and conferences costs are associated with activities and events necessary to support the statutory, regulatory and the service provider requirements to deliver services to Canadians and to meet government wide priorities and departmental mandates.

As summarized in the table below, Health Canada's expenditure for travel, hospitality, and conferences (THC) totalled $215.9M in 2013-2014 as follows:

  • Travel - Patient in 2013-2014 amounting to $196.5M or 91.0% of Health Canada's total THC envelope was for medical transportation. There are two components to medical (Patient Travel):
    • $188.55M for eligible First Nations and Inuit clients under the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program to access medically necessary health services that cannot be obtained on-reserve or in their community of residence, and;
    • $7.95M for eligible former students and their families under the Indian Residential Schools Resolution (IRS) Health Support Program to access mental and emotional support services. The Department is obligated to provide these services under the 2006 Court-Approved IRS Settlement Agreement.
  • Regular non-medical expenditure (Public and Non Public Servant Travel) in 2013-2014, amounting to $18.8M or 8.7% of Health Canada's total THC envelope, a decrease of 21% from the previous fiscal year. These expenditures are for other essential travel requirements critical to health and safety of Canadians, such as those related to compliance and enforcement activities for various regulatory programs involving food, pharmaceuticals, consumer products, and others.
  • Hospitality and conferences expenditures in 2013-2014, totalling $0.7M or less than 1% of the Health Canada's THC envelope, a decrease of 12.4% from the previous fiscal year. These expenditures are associated with minimal, essential activities that were necessary for delivery of Health Canada programs and services, including conducting business with other levels of government, industry, or public interest groups as well as departmental business meetings and working sessions.

Overall, Health Canada manages travel, hospitality, and conference activities / expenditures with prudence and probity so that they demonstrate value for money and use the most economical options to minimize costs whenever possible.

Total annual expenditures for travel, hospitality and conferences of Health Canada for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 are summarized below:

Total annual expenditures for travel, hospitality and conferences of Health Canada for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 (in thousands of dollars)
Expenditure Category Expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2014 (a) Expenditures for the previous year ending March 31, 2013 (b) Variance (1)
(a - b)

Table 1 footnotes

Table 1 footnote 1

Includes international travel that is part of a department's program.

Return to table 1 footnote * referrer

Travel - Patient $196,484 $197,961 ($1,477)
Travel - Public Servants $17,611 $20,976 ($3,365)
Travel - Non-Public Servants $1,121 $2,814 (1,693)
International Travel by Minister and Minister's StaffTable 1 footnote * $21 $35 ($14)
Total Travel $215,237 $221,786 ($6,549)
Hospitality $230 $275 ($45)
Conference Fees $455 $507 ($62)
TOTAL $215,922 $222,568 ($6,646)

Travel:

  1. Patient Travel: Compared to fiscal year 2012-2013, departmental patient travel expenditures have decreased by $1.47M mainly due to:
    • The reduced spending on Patient travel is directly related to the implementation of the BC tripartite agreement which went into effect on October 1, 2013. Currently the First Nations Health Authority is servicing 133,000 clients that used to be covered by the Non-Insured Health Benefits program.
  2. Public Servants:Compared to fiscal year 2012-2013, departmental travel expenditures by public servants decreased by $3,365K or 16% mainly due to:
    • Public servants travel costs were reduced as a result of general fiscal restraint during fiscal year 2013-2014 across the department, including a decrease in the overall number of trips taken. The department also avoided travel costs where possible by increasing the usage of video conferencing rather than in person meetings.
  3. Non-Public Servants: Compared to fiscal year 2012-2013, departmental travel expenditures by non-public servants decreased by $1,693K or 60% mainly due to:
    • The reduction in Non-public servants travel costs was a result of general fiscal restraint during fiscal year 2013-2014 across the department.
  4. Minister and Minister's Staff:Compared to fiscal year 2012-2013, departmental travel expenditures by the Minister and her staff decreased by $14K mainly due to:
    • The decrease for the Minister and Minister's Staff was due fewer travel requirements during fiscal year 2012-2013 compared to the previous fiscal year.

Hospitality:

Compared to fiscal year 2012-2013, departmental hospitality expenditures decreased by $45K or 16% mainly due to:

  • The decrease in hospitality was due to a reduction in the number and the size of events requiring hospitality. There was also a concerted effort to minimize the use of hospitality.

Conference fees:

Compared to fiscal year 2012-2013, departmental conference fees expenditures decreased by $62K or 12% mainly due to:

  • Reduced expenditures in conference fees, is a result of a review process that was implemented by senior management to reduce the number of instances where the department was represented by a number of attendees at conferences.