The Honourable Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board, has unveiled a new searchable online database that, for the first time, provides easy access and analysis of all government spending. The tool gives Canadians a quick picture of how taxpayer dollars are spent and allows Parliamentarians to better analyse government expenditures.
“Our Government is the most transparent government in Canadian history. Canadians are accessing more government information than ever before,” said Minister Clement. “Now with a few simple clicks, users can easily find what every department is spending on a particular program in one place. We are using technology to make complex government financial reporting more accessible to everyone.”
The Expenditure Database fulfills a commitment made by the Government to Parliamentarians for a more accessible financial reporting system. The online portal was one of the recommendations to come out of a Report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates which looked to strengthen Parliamentary scrutiny of the Estimates process.
The database allows users to search for spending information in three categories: by Authorities and Expenditures, which compares the amount of funding that was authorized to what was actually spent, by Standard Object, which details itemized government spending, and by Program. By clicking on any value presented in the database, users can obtain government-wide totals and make comparisons of the data.
Expenditure data is currently available for all organizations that received voted appropriations during the 2009-10 to 2011-12 period. Over the next two years, the Government will work on expanding the information in the database and enhancing its functionality.
“Information that would have taken hours-if not days-to compile before, is now available within seconds,” said Minister Clement. “This is a new day in the transparency of Government spending and we are proud to make this happen.”
The Expenditure Database is the latest improvement made to the financial reporting system as part of the Government’s October 2012 response to the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. This year’s Reports on Plans and Priorities, released in March, included, for the first time three years of historical by spending by program as well as three years of forecast spending and trend analysis.