Chapter 4
Sources of information

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Government data
Government business enterprise data
Public sector employment data

Government data

4.01 Revenue, expenditures, assets and liabilities of the government component of the public sector form the basis of the statistics produced in accordance with the FMS. The principal sources for these data are the published financial reports of the various governments. While most of the federal, provincial and territorial data are obtained from the public accounts, school board and municipal data are normally obtained from the annual reports issued by provincial and territorial departments of education and of municipal affairs. The latter reports, which aggregate the financial data for all municipalities in a particular province or territory, are used in conjunction with the individual reports of the larger municipalities. Data on some entities are obtained from other divisions of Statistics Canada (StatCan). For example, data on hospitals and residential care facilities are obtained from the Health Statistics Division. It is worth noting that the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) plays a large role in the preparation of hospital statistics. Data on colleges and universities are obtained from Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics while data on capital expenditures of school boards are obtained from the Investment and Capital Stock Division. Finally data on current expenditures of school boards are obtained from Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics. Further information required to complete coverage of the universe is obtained from financial statements of agencies, boards, commissions or authorities, provincial, territorial and federal departments or ministries or, directly, from the entities concerned.

4.02 The annual series on federal, and provincial and territorial government finance estimates are based on the main estimates presented by the governments concerned and on the budget speeches and the budget documents which accompany them. Estimates for the provincial institutions (such as universities, colleges, hospitals, etc.) are derived by using the FMS estimates of the provincial and territorial general government spending on education, health and social services and by projecting previous observations. At the local government level, estimates are derived from a survey of municipalities. Information obtained through the survey, which includes municipal units in all major urban areas and a representative sample of other municipalities, is inflated to produce aggregate data for the municipal component of the local general government universe in each province and territory. Data for other components of the local universe, such as schools, and local boards and commissions are estimated on the basis of information supplied by provincial and territorial government departments and other divisions within StatCan. Supplementary information is obtained from federal, and provincial and territorial governments' budget speeches and estimates. Details of survey methods are presented in the last part of the publication "Public Sector Statistics" (Catalogue no. 68-213-X).

4.03 In all instances, various estimating techniques are used to complete essential data. These techniques are explained in the publication "Public Sector Statistics" (Catalogue no. 68-213-X).

4.04 Data on consolidated government revenue, expenditures, financial assets and liabilities are compiled from the series produced within the Public Institutions Division for each level of government. Additional data used to eliminate some intergovernment transfers, purchase-sale transactions and interest are obtained from the source documents pertaining to each level of government. The consolidation process, as well as the significance of the resulting consolidated data, is depicted in Chapter 8.

4.05 These varied sources of financial data originate from non-standardized accounting systems. Governments employ the cash or accrual conventions, or a combination of these. Under the cash basis of accounting, revenue and expenditures are reflected in the period in which the related cash receipts and disbursements actually occur. However, the accrual basis requires revenue and expenditures to be reflected in the period in which they are deemed to have been earned and incurred. Most government business enterprises (GBEs) and some special funds use the accrual basis of accounting while most provincial and territorial governments are moving toward adoption of this convention. The cash basis of accounting is restricted to a few government entities. Some governments now use what is generally referred to as the "modified cash basis" of accounting under which transactions during an accounting period are recorded on a cash basis but certain items are accrued at the end of the period. However, there is little uniformity among governments on the items subject to accrual. Thus, while it would be desirable to have all FMS statistics derived from data produced under, or adjusted to, a uniform accounting basis, this is not possible at present.

Government business enterprise data

4.06 Revenue, expenditures, assets and liabilities data on federal, provincial and territorial business enterprises required for FMS statistics are obtained from the financial reports of these enterprises. Additional information is obtained from the public accounts (PA), from reports of the departments through which the enterprises report to their legislature and through direct communication with the enterprises.

4.07 While data on local government enterprise finance are not published at present, financial reports of many of these enterprises are being received with those of their parent municipalities. In addition, selected and usually highly aggregated financial data are collected by other divisions of StatCan such as the Transportation Division (public transit systems) and the Manufacturing, Construction and Energy Division (Hydro-electric and gas distribution). A FMS series on local government business enterprises, incorporating these two sources of information with information obtained by the Public Institutions Division is being developed.

Public sector employment data

4.08 Statistics on federal government departmental employment, and wages and salaries are prepared from electronic files provided by the federal Department of Government Services and Public Works, by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and from electronic files and printouts provided by the Department of National Defence. Wages and salaries benchmark data are also obtained from the Income and Expenditure Accounts Division of StatCan. Employment data on federal special funds are provided in most cases directly by the employing agency while employment data on most federal government business enterprises are obtained from the Canada Revenue Agency through the Labour Statistics Division of StatCan.

4.09 The corresponding statistics on provincial and territorial general governments and their special funds are based on data prepared by provincial and territorial general governments and transmitted to StatCan in the form of electronic files or questionnaires.

Both employment and salaries and wages data on hospitals, colleges, universities, residential care facilities, and other health and educational institutions are obtained from the Labour Statistics Division of StatCan. Data on government business enterprises are obtained primarily from the Canada Revenue Agency through the Labour Statistics Division of StatCan. Supplementary information is also obtained from the Income and Expenditure Accounts Division of StatCan.

4.10 Employment and wages and salaries data on local government, (municipalities and school boards) are obtained from the Labour Statistics Division of StatCan.

4.11 For a detailed description of the concepts of employment, and wages and salaries, as they apply to the entire public sector, see Chapter 10 of the manual.

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