Good afternoon, Mr. Chair and members of the committee. Thank you for the invitation to appear before you today.
We are pleased to be here to discuss our report on the supplementary estimates (C), 2022-23, which was published on February 23, 2023.
With me today is our lead analyst on the report, Kaitlyn Vanderwees.
The government's supplementary estimates (C) outline an additional $10.3 billion in spending, which brings the total proposed year-to-date budgetary authorities to $443.3 billion, which is a $29.4 billion or 7.1% increase over the preceding fiscal year.
Voted authorities, which require approval by Parliament, total $4.7 billion. Statutory authorities for which the government already has Parliament's permission to spend total $5.6 billion. Given that there are only weeks remaining in the fiscal year—I should say days—this means the money will need to be spent by March 31.
Including these estimates, 90% of the total money that was earmarked in budget 2022 for this fiscal year will be available for departments to spend in supporting 114 initiatives. The single largest component requiring Parliament's approval is almost $1 billion for National Defence. Over half of this is to support the Ukraine war.
The government is also asking for an additional $81 million for professional and special services, which includes spending on external consultants. This brings total planned spending in this category for the current year to $21.4 billion. As of November 2022, nearly $10 billion have been spent on professional and special services this year, a record level compared to previous years over the same period. The 2023‑24 main estimates indicate that planned expenditures on professional and special services will remain steady at $19.5 billion in 2023‑24.
Frozen allotments refer to money that has been approved by Parliament, but for which access by departments is restricted by the government, for example, until some specific conditions are met. These supplementary estimates indicate that $7.7 billion in money already approved by Parliament is now administratively frozen by the Treasury Board. This represents a $2.2 billion increase from the final supplementary estimates presented last year.
Both frozen allotments and total overall unspent budgets reached record levels in 2020‑21 and 2021‑22. This is principally attributable to the federal pandemic response, which saw an unprecedented increase in approved spending and considerable uncertainty regarding whether all the approved funding would be required. Our internal monitoring suggests that lapse amounts in 2022‑23 will remain higher than pre-pandemic levels.
My colleague and I will be pleased to respond to any questions you may have regarding our analysis of the government’s estimates or other Parliamentary Budget Officer work.