2014-15 Report on annual expenditures for travel, hospitality and conferences

As required by the Treasury Board Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures, this report provides information on the total annual expenditures for each of travel, hospitality and conferences for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015. It also provides the variance explanations from the previous fiscal year in each of these areas.

This information is updated annually and does not contain information withheld under the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act.

Expenditures on travel, hospitality and conferences incurred by federal departments and agencies are for the most part directly related to supporting departmental mandates and the government's priorities. The mandate of the Transportation Safety Board is to advance transportation safety. This mandate is fulfilled by conducting independent investigations into selected transportation occurrences to identify the causes and contributing factors of the occurrences and the underlying safety deficiencies.

The jurisdiction of the TSB includes all aviation, marine, rail and pipeline transportation occurrences in or over Canada that fall under federal jurisdiction. The TSB may also represent Canadian interests in foreign investigations of transportation accidents involving Canadian registered, licensed or manufactured aircraft, ships or railway rolling stock. The department's travel expenditures are primarily dependent on the frequency and location of transportation occurrences.  Travel expenditures are also incurred by the TSB for employees to attend training in their field of expertise. The credibility and success of the TSB depend on its ability to develop and maintain a competent and diverse professional workforce. Given the international nature of transportation, training and conferences on topics relevant to transportation safety are primarily held outside of Canada and travel costs are required in order to attend.

The TSB endeavors to minimize hospitality expenses to the extent possible. Expenses are primarily incurred by the TSB as a result of the requirement for employees to work through normal break or meal periods due to operations or business meetings.

The TSB rarely incurs expenses to host conferences. Conference expenses generally represent conference registration fees where a TSB employee has participated as an official representative of the organization or has presented on a subject relevant to the department's mandate. As per the Treasury Board Secretariat reporting requirements, expenditures to attend conferences where the primary purpose is to enable participants to maintain or acquire skills or knowledge are not reported as conference expenses but rather as training.

Total annual expenditures for Travel, Hospitality and Conferences of the Transportation Safety Board are summarized below:

(in thousands of dollars)
Expenditure category Expenditures for the year ending March 31 2015
(a)
Expenditures for the year ending March 31 2014
(b)
Variance
(a-b)
Travel - Public Servants $817 $1,043 $-226
Travel - Non-public servants $4 $2 $+2
Total Travel $820 $1,045 $-224
Hospitality $3 $7 $-4
Conference Fees $4 $8 $-4
TOTAL $827 $1,060 $-232

Significant variances compared to the previous fiscal year

Travel

A. Public Servants:  Travel expenditures decreased by $226k or 22% compared to fiscal year 2013-14. This decrease is primarily explained by high travel costs in 2013-14 for the investigation of the Lac-Mégantic rail accident ($188K in 2013-14 and $47K in 2014-15). The remaining reduction in travel is explained by a reduction of travel for internal meetings and training.

B. Non-Public Servants: Travel by non-public servants relates to expenditures incurred by consultants performing services for TSB, subject matter experts assisting with investigations. Spending on this category of travel is minimal; as a result, a single event can present a significant percentage variance between years. Fiscal year 2014-15 showed only a small increase of $2K when compared to 2013-14.

Hospitality

Spending on hospitality expenditures is minimal; as a result, a single event can present a significant percentage variance between years. The decrease in spending for 2014-15 is primarily explained by hospitality incurred during the annual seminar of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators in 2013-14, which was held in Vancouver, Canada.

Conferences Fees

Spending on conference fees is minimal. The decrease for 2014-15 is explained by the 2013-14 annual seminar of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators. The TSB had a larger than usual participation at the 2013-14 international conference because it was held in Canada; it provided a good opportunity for TSB investigators to meet and exchange with their counterparts from other countries without incurring significant travel costs.