Thank you, Mr. Chair, for this opportunity to appear before the committee. My remarks will be slightly longer but not too much, I promise.
As you are aware, the Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada, or the ATSSC, was established on November 1, 2014, with the coming into force of the ATSSC Act. The creation of the ATSSC is consistent with the government's commitment to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its administration and operations.
The Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada is mandated to provide comprehensive support services and facilities to 11 administrative tribunals. This organization will strengthen capacity and modernize operations, while enabling us to better serve the needs of the administrative tribunals, thereby improving access to justice for Canadians.
With six months behind us, we can proudly look back and say that the ATSSC managed the commencement of its operations well and with minimal disruptions to its clients, the administrative tribunals, and to Canadians. During those first six months we have fully integrated and co-located corporate services teams.
In doing so, we have also been able to consolidate a number of legacy financial and human resources systems and have replaced them with common platforms that will better enable our capacity to manage in these areas.
We have also maintained secretariats dedicated to providing specialized core mandate services to each administrative tribunal we serve.
We've developed and begun to implement our governance structure, which allows for full participation of senior executives, both in corporate and secretariat services, in decisions regarding the overall management of the ATSSC. Our governance structure also provides for the engagement of chairpersons at key stages on matters that may have an impact on their administrative tribunals.
We have conducted a rigorous budget allocation exercise through extensive consultation with secretariat executive directors and tribunal chairpersons.
This budget planning process was very well received, as it demonstrated our commitment to meeting the needs of the tribunals we serve, while ensuring stewardship and probity in the expenditure of public funds.
We have undertaken an operational planning exercise for the upcoming year of operations and will also undertake a strategic planning exercise to plan for the years ahead. In this first year of operations and beyond, we are committed to monitoring ATSSC and tribunal requirements very closely to be able and prepared to respond to emerging needs responsibly.
Though we have made great strides since our creation, our work is by no means done. As the ATSSC continues to evolve into a fully functional service-oriented organization, we remain committed to working with the administrative tribunals to support them in meeting their statutory obligations, while respecting their independence.
Our continued success in meeting our mandate, while fostering an organizational culture based on service delivery excellence and engagement, requires sound management of our resources.
As you may recall, the legislation that created the ATSSC included a provision for the resources of the tribunals to be managed through deemed appropriations following the ATSSC’s coming into force on November 1st.
The creation of the ATSSC did not result in increases in funding, rather it was created within the existing budgetary envelopes for each of the tribunals.
This represents our first main estimates for your consideration.
ATSSC's planned expenditures for fiscal year 2015-16 are $78.6 million. This includes $60.9 million requested as appropriations through these main estimates and $17.7 million in respendable recoveries through a vote-netted authority.
These planned expenditures and associated appropriations are consistent with amounts previously appropriated to the tribunals through estimates in 2014-15 and prior years. Of these funds, 88.7% is allocated to operational expenses.
The remainder will be allocated to statutory expenditures (such as the employee benefit plans). This spending will support the wide-ranging and important services that the ATSSC provides to all the tribunals it serves. Approximately $63.7 million is dedicated to programs directly supporting the mandate of tribunals.
These activities include the provision of expert core mandate services, such as research, analysis and legal support, and registry services.
Approximately $14.9 million is allotted to internal services operations, which include key support services such as IT, translation, procurement, finance, human resources, and communications, among others. As I've indicated previously, we will continue to monitor the budget and implement strategies to direct funds where they are needed the most to continue to be responsive and flexible to the needs of the tribunals we serve, as well as to ensure that public funds are spent responsibly.
The ATSSC has taken strides toward putting in place a service-oriented organization that contains many promising opportunities.
The organization is fortunate to count on dedicated employees who are fully intent on maintaining the administrative tribunals’ outstanding reputation and the quality of the work they perform.
The ATSSC is committed to a vision of setting the standard for service excellence, efficient and effective operations, and support for improved access to justice for Canadians.
Mr. Chair, this concludes my remarks.