Governor General’s Special Warrants

In specific circumstances, the Financial Administration Act allows the Governor in Council to ask the Governor General to issue a Special Warrant381 permitting the government to make charges on the Consolidated Revenue Fund not otherwise authorized by Parliament, provided that the following conditions are met:382

  • Parliament is dissolved;
  • a Minister has reported that an expenditure is urgently required for the public good; and
  • the President of the Treasury Board has reported that there is no appropriation for the payment.

This provision of the Act makes it possible for the government to continue its work during a dissolution. Special Warrants may be used only from the date of dissolution until 60 days following the date fixed for the return of the writs after a general election. Furthermore, no Special Warrants may be issued during that period if Parliament stands prorogued.383

The Financial Administration Act requires that every Special Warrant be published in the Canada Gazette within 30 days of its issue. A list of the amount authorized under such a warrant must also be tabled in the House within 15 days of the opening of the next session of Parliament.384 Because a Special Warrant is deemed to be an appropriation for the fiscal year in which it is issued, authorization must be included retroactively in the first appropriation act passed in that session.385