Order Fixing the Day After the Day on which this Order is Made as the Day on which Certain Provisions of that Act Come Into Force: SI/2019-49
Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 153, Number 14
SI/2019-49 July 10, 2019
BUDGET IMPLEMENTATION ACT, 2018, NO. 2
Order Fixing the Day After the Day on which this Order is Made as the Day on which Certain Provisions of that Act Come Into Force
P.C. 2019-926 June 22, 2019
Her Excellency the Governor General in Council,
- (a) on the recommendation of the Minister of Finance, pursuant to section 660 of the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2, chapter 27 of the Statutes of Canada, 2018, fixes the day after the day on which this Order is made as the day on which sections 654 and 655 of that Act come into force; and
- (b) on the recommendation of the Minister for International Development, pursuant to section 660 of the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2, chapter 27 of the Statutes of Canada, 2018, fixes the day after the day on which this Order is made as the day on which section 658 of that Act comes into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
Pursuant to section 660 of the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 (BIA2 2018), this Order fixes the date on which sections 654, 655, and 658 of that Act come into force as the day after the day on which this Order is made.
In support of the Government’s Budget 2018 commitment to “explore further enhancing its international assistance reporting, including consideration of legislative updates as appropriate,” BIA2 2018 included amendments to the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Agreement Act and the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act, that establish clearer reporting requirements and harmonize reporting dates across the three Acts. The objective of this Order is to bring into force these amendments. This will enable the reporting required under the three acts to be consolidated into one comprehensive annual report on Canada’s international assistance, to be tabled within one year after the end of each fiscal year.
Canada currently has three international assistance related reports that are required to be tabled in Parliament at various times throughout the year, under the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Agreements Act, and the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act.
The Bretton Woods and Related Agreement Act brings into effect the international agreements creating the Bretton Woods institutions and provides for Canada’s membership in, and authorities to fund, these institutions. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group (collectively referred to as the Bretton Woods Institutions) were founded in 1944 to promote international monetary cooperation and financial stability following World War II. As a significant member in terms of financial contribution and voting share at both the IMF and World Bank Group, Canada plays an important role in the governance of both institutions.
Prior to the BIA2 2018 amendment, the Act required the tabling, by September 30 of each year, of a report (on the previous period between July 1 and June 30) describing Canada’s engagement and contributions at the IMF and World Bank Group, and reports on the objectives that are of core importance to Canada (e.g. in 2017–2018, one of Canada’s objectives at the IMF was to support efforts to strengthen member country policies that promote gender equality and the economic empowerment of women and girls). The Minister of Finance tabled this report.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Agreement Act provides for Canada’s membership in and authorities to fund the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Created in 1991, the EBRD is a project-oriented international financial institution that fosters transition towards democratic, market-oriented economies and promotes private and entrepreneurial initiatives in Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean regions. As a founding member and the eighth-largest shareholder in the Bank, Canada actively contributes to the development of EBRD policies while providing oversight of the Bank’s financial activities. Prior to the amendment in BIA2 2018, the Act required the tabling, by March 31 of each year, of a report containing a summary of operations made under the Act in the previous calendar year. The Minister of Finance tabled this report.
The Official Development Assistance Accountability Act came into force in 2008. Its purpose is to ensure that all Canadian official development assistance (ODA) is focused on poverty reduction and is consistent with aid effectiveness principles and Canadian values. It applies to all federal departments and agencies that provide ODA. For activities to be reported to Parliament as ODA, the competent Minister must be of the opinion that they meet the three criteria set out in the Act: contribute to poverty reduction; take into account the perspectives of the poor; and, be consistent with international human rights standards. Before the amendment, the Act required the tabling, by September 30 of each year, of a report containing a general summary of activities and initiatives taken under the Act in the previous fiscal year. The Minister for International Development tabled this report.
The amendments that this Order brings into force support the Government’s Budget 2018 commitment to “explore further enhancing its international assistance reporting, including consideration of legislative updates as appropriate,” by allowing the reports required under the three acts to be consolidated into a single international assistance report to Parliament. This consolidated report would be tabled by the Minister for International Development within one year after the end of each fiscal year.
The Government reiterated its commitment to implement these changes in Budget 2019, which stated that: “The Government has made important legislative updates so that information on Canada’s international assistance efforts will be presented in a single consolidated report. This report will help Canadians better understand Canada’s international assistance efforts, and promote greater transparency and accountability when it comes to Canada’s international assistance programs.”
The amendments are administrative in nature; there are no costs associated with their entry into force.
During the legislative process for BIA2 2018, hearings were held by Parliamentary Committees where stakeholders were invited to participate. Stakeholders from two organizations, the Canadian Council for International Cooperation and the Canadian International Development Platform, submitted official written comments and oral testimony during these hearings. Representations were made to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, on November 7, 2018, and the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, on December 5, 2018.
However, no other formal stakeholder consultation process was undertaken to develop the amendments contained in sections 654, 655 and 658 of BIA2 2018, prior to their being tabled through Bill C-86.
Before the Parliamentary Committees, issues raised included: the risk of diluting the Government’s reporting requirements by merging different reports; the lengthened period between the implementation of international assistance and its reporting; and, the risk of redundancy between the content of the consolidated international assistance report and that of the Statistical Report on International Assistance. One submission welcomed the reporting changes on balance, due to the potential advantages in terms of harmonization of reporting and improvements to the quality of reporting.
Officials from Global Affairs Canada and Finance Canada addressed these issues during their appearances before the Parliamentary Committees, as well as directly with stakeholders. In particular, Finance Canada stated that the purpose of the amendments was to provide more clarity and transparency by consolidating all reports into one, and not to reduce the reporting to Canadians. A commitment was also made to further engage with stakeholders to ensure the consolidated report fulfills Canada’s obligations under the Acts and that the necessary information is duly presented. Global Affairs Canada also confirmed that preliminary data on international assistance would be made available by the end of September to ensure ongoing transparency pending the publication of the official report.
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