The Department of Finance is mandated to provide strategic leadership across Government in the development of fiscal, financial, statistical and economic policy. These responsibilities are primarily achieved through the provision of timely analysis and advice to government departments and agencies; Cabinet; and the Committees of Cabinet, particularly Treasury Board for which the Minister of Finance serves as President. It also oversees the management and control of provincial finances to ensure appropriate use of public funds.
This mandate is legislated within the Department of Finance Notice, 2003 under the Executive Council Act and includes responsibility for 39 Acts (plus accompanying regulations) such as the Financial Administration Act, the Statistics Agency Act, the Pensions Funding Act, and the Revenue Administration Act. Additional information is available on-line at www.assembly.nl.ca/Legislation/sr/Finance.htm.
The Department of Finance offers the following lines of business to its key primary clients:
Revenue and Expenditure Policy and Planning:
The Department of Finance provides strategic leadership in provincial revenue and expenditure planning, which includes developing, implementing and monitoring related government policies. A focal point of this responsibility is the coordination of Government’s annual budgetary process, which is integrated, collaborative and consultative. The Department works with other government departments, agencies, boards and commissions to prepare, review and analyze budgetary priorities. This includes oversight of the provincial pre-budget consultation process, which is designed to provide key stakeholders, individuals and various interest groups an opportunity to identify budget priorities for consideration in the provincial budget. A part of this process also includes the development of options for changes to the provincial taxation system; and revenue forecasting and monitoring. The Department is also responsible for negotiating and administrating all programs under federal-provincial fiscal arrangements and providing the analysis required to support the development of Government’s fiscal policies. All of this information is then used to inform Government’s policies and multi-year planning for revenues, expenditures and cash requirements.
The Department of Finance is responsible for the financial management of the public treasury. This includes investment of provincial pension funds and the associated financial management responsibilities; government property insurance management; and management of the Province’s borrowing and debt servicing programs, including cash management and the investment of sinking fund assets.
Economic Analysis and Research:
The Department of Finance is responsible for the analysis of the financial and economic impact of major projects to assist Government in its related decision-making processes. The Department is also responsible for analyzing and forecasting the macroeconomic environment (i.e., Newfoundland and Labrador Econometric Model, Input/Output Model, and the Population Projection Model), which includes the provision of specific macroeconomic analysis and studies related to policy, economic events and projects.
Statistical Research, Analysis and Data Development:
The Department of Finance fulfills a vital statistical role for Government by collecting (e.g., telephone surveys, on-line surveys, data purchasing, etc.), storing (e.g., data entry and advisory services in development/modification of administrative databases) and disseminating statistical information while guaranteeing confidentiality and privacy. This is achieved through the Newfoundland and Labrador Statistics Agency. The Department also acts as Government’s official point of contact with Statistics Canada; develops and provides focused sub-provincial data through Community Accounts (www. nl.communityaccounts.ca); and provides expertise in spatial analysis and socio-economic simulation modeling.
The Department of Finance controls and accounts for the receipt and disposition of public money through the development of financial policies and procedures, administration of applicable legislation and the preparation of the provincial financial statements (i.e. Public Accounts) and related financial reports. The Department also develops and maintains government-wide revenue and expense systems and ensures that effective financial management controls, systems and accounting procedures are in place and government departments are properly accounting for their revenues and expenses. These systems and procedures are in place to ensure that no payment of public money occurs that is in excess of the appropriations provided by the House of Assembly and applicable legislative authority. Professional advisory services are also provided to government departments in the areas of: financial management, accounting and systems; financial policy development and implementation; internal auditing; and financial reporting. Corporate shared services for accounts payable and receivables are also provided.
Supports to Cabinet and Committees of Cabinet:
The Department of Finance supports Cabinet and the Committees of Cabinet through the provision of financial, fiscal, statistical and economic analysis. Advisory services are also provided to departments and agencies of Government in the development of such components within cabinet submissions. Additionally, the Department is responsible for the provision of operational support to the Treasury Board Committee of Cabinet, to which the Minister of Finance serves as President.
The Department of Finance is responsible for the administration of various provincial taxes, rebates and incentive programs. This includes both personal (e.g., parental benefits, home heating rebate) and corporate/business (e.g., venture capital, direct equity) tax credit and tax rate programs. The Department is also responsible for the collection of select long-term accounts receivables, on behalf of Government and for auditing both personal and corporate/business tax programs for compliance purposes.
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