Thank you, Madam Ratansi.
As you mentioned in your question, vote 40 is a very important step towards the President of the Treasury Board's agenda for improved transparency in the reporting of estimates requirements and his ongoing effort to ensure maximum alignment between the budget that is tabled by the Department of Finance and the estimates that are prepared by the Treasury Board Secretariat to inform Parliament of the government's requirements for the year ahead.
In the main estimates for 2018-19, we've taken a very important step forward, by achieving that clarity between the budget and the estimates. The budget that was tabled in February identified the government's intention to seek authorities to spend just over $7 billion on a range of initiatives for departments and agencies across government. In years past, Parliament would have been left waiting for the estimates authority. There was no line of sight as to whether those requirements were going to be brought forward in the first supplementary estimates of the year, the last supplementary estimates of the year, or even in estimates in the year forward.
This year, for the first time, we have taken the clarity of the budget that outlines the items by department, by initiative, and by amount and we have replicated that in the estimates, so that parliamentarians can see very clearly what the government intends to do for the year ahead. This is a way for parliamentarians to hold the government to account for the requirements to be sought by departments. There is nothing nefarious here. It is 100% transparent between the budget and the estimates document.
In the event that items are not brought forward by departments for approval, as the president has made clear, those funds would remain in the vote. They cannot be used for any other purpose. We are bound by the annex list in the estimates, such that we can only allocate funding that has been specifically identified in the estimates document by department, by initiative, and by amount.
Over the last couple of years, again, as part of our effort to improve transparency to Parliament, we have taken the opportunity, with the last supplementary estimates of the year, to highlight to Parliament those amounts that have previously been approved and are not going to be accessed by departments and we have frozen those amounts. We have made them unavailable to departments. That same principle will be applied this year for TB vote 40. Should funds not be allocated, then they will be identified to parliamentarians as amounts frozen at the year end. They will lapse in the fiscal framework, and should that funding be required in subsequent fiscal years, then those will be identified in future year estimates documents.
To sum up, vote 40 is an important step forward in helping parliamentarians understand the connection between the budget and the estimates. There is no light between the amounts in the initiatives that are identified in the budget and the amounts in the initiatives that are identified in the estimates. In this way, we have achieved alignment with the budget. We have provided Parliament with additional information, by which they can hold the government to account, and they can regularly check in with departments and with the Treasury Board Secretariat to ask questions about the pace of implementation of these budget priorities.