Annual Report to Parliament 2000-2001

Departmental Performance Report

2.9 Responding to Resource Pressures

In 2002-2003, the TSB received Parliamentary approval for short-term funding to respond to specific resource pressures. This funding was intended to reduce the backlog of investigations in progress, renew information management and replace rusted-out capital assets. It was provided over a period of approximately 27 months, starting in late 2002-2003 and ending on March 31, 2005. In seeking approval for these funds, the TSB committed to achieving specific results (see Table 17). The remaining pages in this section provide a summary of results achieved against each commitment and serve to close the accountability loop back to Parliament for the incremental funding it provided.

Table 17: Resource Pressure Commitments
Commitments Results Achieved
Improving the quality and timeliness of TSB products
Total Authorities $3.4 million and 26 FTE Actual $2.5 million and 17 FTE
Reduce the number of investigations in progress to fewer than 100 Successfully met
Improve the average time in process by 10% (or approximately 60 days) Not yet fully met
Significantly reduce the backlog of unpublished class 3 reports Successfully met
Free up experienced staff to work on initiatives to improve future performance and balance activities with available resources Successfully met
Renewing the management of information
Total Authorities $1.1 million and 2 FTE Actual $1.4 million and 6 FTE1
Develop and implement employee information management training and awareness tools Successfully met
Upgrade the records management system and improve the filing system Not yet fully met
Develop new architecture and an integrated suite of next-generation systems to support business needs Not yet fully met
Replacing capital assets
Total Authorities $1.0 million Actual $1.0 million
Replace a specific list of assets and implement a multi-year capital asset replacement plan Exceeded

1 The TSB has invested an additional $0.3 million from its own base budget to increase the total authorities received for this initiative.

2.9.1 Improving the Quality and Timeliness of TSB Products

The TSB obtained approval for temporary incremental resources to reduce the number of investigations in progress to fewer than 100 and to improve the mean time in process by 10% (or approximately 60 days) by the end of fiscal year 2004-2005. As part of a broader human resources strategy, staff hired with these incremental resources were viewed as potential replacements for staff expected to depart over the next few years. These incremental resources also permitted current, more experienced staff to contribute to a full range of longer-term initiatives to improve performance in the future, including training, quality assurance, and development of modern tools and procedures to aid investigative staff. These incremental resources were allocated to appropriate managers, and a management-level steering committee was established to provide governance for this activity. Mechanisms were put in place to track new investigations and measure results of improvements in processes. This enabled management to ensure that process improvements were having the desired effects on results.

The number of investigations in progress was reduced from 158 in January 2003 to 99 in March 2005. This was achieved through improvements in business processes, improved investigator training, and the judicious decision-making of managers on the initiation of new investigations. Overall, the number of new investigations started since 2003-2004 was reduced as planned in previous Reports on Plans and Priorities. Balance was achieved between the number of new investigations started and the number of investigations completed during the year. Efforts are now being made in operational planning to maintain this balanced level of activity.

The average time to complete investigations currently stands at 619 days, a level comparable to that of January 2003. The TSB has not yet succeeded in reducing the average time by 10%, as per its commitment, primarily due to a conscious decision to focus on investigations that are more than two years old. Significant progress has been achieved in this regard, and the backlog of older cases was reduced from 16 to 6. However, this success also meant that the average completion time temporarily increased. With the backlog of old cases significantly reduced, it is now expected that the average time in process will drop significantly in future years.

For the past number of years, the TSB had limited the distribution of its investigation reports to a small targeted audience of key stakeholders directly affected by the investigation findings. Most reports were therefore not published for broad public access, seriously limiting the communication of safety messages. At the beginning of 2003-2004, the TSB had a backlog of 192 unpublished reports for the period of 2000 to 2003. As of April 2005, the number of unpublished reports was reduced to 40, of which only 3 dated back more than one year. This is a significant accomplishment, especially given that 115 new investigation reports were completed in 2004-2005. A total of 340 reports were translated, edited, formatted and published on the TSB website over the past two years. Plans are now in place to ensure that all future investigation reports are published on the website shortly after their completion.

While addressing the workload backlog, the TSB has also allocated investigation and management resources to lay the foundation for performance improvements over the longer term. The following are examples of investment activities aimed at sustained future performance improvement:

  • Training programs have been developed and delivered in three areas: "Investigation Report Writing," "Responding to Comments by Designated Reviewers," and "Safety Communications."
  • Rail and marine investigation branches have conducted investigators workshops to improve work practices and processes.
  • Marine and air investigation branches have conducted managers workshops to strengthen investigation management processes.
  • Experienced investigators and managers have been working on the information management improvement project team (see section 2.9.2 for details).

2.9.2 Renewing the Management of Information

The TSB undertook several information management (IM) improvement activities aimed at initiating cultural change and awareness that "good IM makes good business sense." In addition to developing new policy and guidelines, the TSB designed and provided a half-day IM training session to all staff across the country. These sessions were aimed at raising awareness of both government-wide requirements and TSB-specific practices associated with records management and Access to Information and Privacy requirements. Similar sessions are now offered to new TSB employees on an ongoing basis.

New function-based corporate file plans have been developed for both the investigation activities and the corporate services activities. These new file plans will be implemented over the coming year. This will ensure that corporate memory is managed effectively and that the organization is well positioned for transition to an electronic records management environment.

The multi-year Transportation Investigation Information Management System (TIIMS) project was launched to modernize and improve information management products, services and productivity tools available to TSB staff and managers. In 2003-2004, various business models, an enterprise architectural blueprint and a prototype of a team-oriented investigation management environment were developed using the Government of Canada Strategic Reference Model as a foundation. Additional achievements included the development of a risk management strategy, cost-benefit analysis, return on investment study and detailed project plan, as well as the creation of a detailed project charter document.

In 2004-2005, three key modules of the new system were designed and developed: the investigation document filing and scanning module, the safety analysis workbench module, and the workload management workbench module. Work was also started on the development of the report production workbench module. Although good progress was made over the past two years, some delays were encountered and work did not progress as rapidly as originally expected. The delays were primarily due to conflicts with other operational priorities and to the complexity of the tasks to be completed. Work plans were therefore revised and adjusted to reflect a more realistic timeline.

A significant amount of work remains to be done before TIIMS can be considered completed and successful. However, work has progressed to the stage where a number of modules are now in pilot testing and their implementation is expected before the end of 2005-2006. The TSB management team is therefore optimistic that the project will succeed in delivering the expected benefits.

2.9.3 Replacing Capital Assets

The TSB was facing a significant capital asset "rust-out" as investments in this area were significantly reduced over the past 10 years to cope with budget cuts and other resource pressures. A list of specific assets requiring urgent replacement was compiled and submitted to the Treasury Board Secretariat. Funding was approved to replace these assets. All assets identified have been replaced, including an electron scanning microscope valued at approximately half a million dollars. These replacements were done at an overall lower cost than originally estimated. The remaining funds were therefore used to replace additional assets also due for replacement in the near term. Since 2003-2004, the TSB has developed annual capital asset replacement plans and is currently finalizing the implementation of a multi-year capital asset replacement process.

Section 3: Supplementary Information

3.1 Organizational Structure

In 2004-2005, the TSB developed and received Treasury Board approval for its new Program Activity Architecture. This Architecture identifies two program activities: safety investigations and corporate services. The TSB subsequently implemented an internal reorganization in order to fully align its organizational structure with the Program Activity Architecture. The new organizational structure provides for clear responsibility and accountability for each program activity and for each key service area within the safety investigations program activity. Along with this reorganization, the TSB also implemented a new internal governance structure that strengthens decision making, devolves accountabilities and authorities, and accommodates input from middle management into key priority-setting processes.

The TSB reports annually to Parliament on its activities, findings and recommendations through the President of the Queen's Privy Council. The Chairperson, assisted by the Executive Director and the Director General, Investigation Operations, is responsible and accountable for all activities associated with the safety investigations program activity. The Director, Corporate Services, is responsible and accountable for the corporate services program activity in support of departmental operations.

Figure 11- Program Activity Accountability Structure

Figure 11. Program Activity Accountability Structure

The Chairperson and Executive Director contribute to the advancement of transportation safety through the provision of leadership and vision, as well as the strategic management of all activities of the TSB. They also contribute by establishing strategic alliances with key stakeholders, client groups and change agents, and by communicating key safety messages through stakeholder outreach activities. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Communications Division ensures that communications are integrated into all phases of program planning, development, implementation and management.

Members of the Board contribute to the advancement of transportation safety through the review, approval and public communication of occurrence reports and safety recommendations. The Board also contributes to the communication of key safety messages through stakeholder outreach activities.

The Investigation Operations Directorate contributes to the advancement of transportation safety through the investigation of occurrences. It does so by assessing all occurrences and investigating those with the greatest potential for reduction of risks. The Directorate focusses on the collection and analysis of information, the drafting of reports and recommendations, the tracking and assessment of safety actions taken, data and trend analysis, as well as ongoing communication with the transportation safety community. The Directorate maintains a highly qualified staff of investigators who are experts in aviation, marine, rail or pipeline operations, engineering and other specialists, and investigation support staff.

The Corporate Services Branch contributes to the advancement of transportation safety through the provision of sound corporate planning, and of financial, human resources, information management, information technology, administrative and materiel management services. The Branch also contributes by promoting modern management practices and ensuring that the TSB complies with all Government policies and directives.

3.2 Financial Performance

The TSB started the year with authorities of $30.1 million. Supplementary Estimates in the amount of $1.9 million were then approved for the carry-forward of the previous year's lapse and two specific projects. Transfers in the amount of $0.5 million were received from Treasury Board votes for collective bargaining adjustments, thereby increasing total authorities to $32.5 million. Treasury Board adjusted downward the TSB authorities for contributions to employee benefit plans in order to better reflect forecasted costs. Re-spendable revenues provided an additional $0.2 million increase, thereby bringing total authorities to a final amount of $32.2 million. In 2004-2005, the TSB spent almost all of its authorities, lapsing only $12,000 from its operating budget. Complete audited financial statements are enclosed in Appendix C.

Financial Table 1: Voted and Statutory Items

This table explains the way Parliament voted resources to the TSB and basically replicates the summary table listed in the Main Estimates.

($ thousands) 2004-2005
Vote Vote Wording Main Estimates Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual
  Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board  
20 Operating expenditures 26,017 26,339 28,425 28,413
(S) Contributions to employee benefit plans 4,038 4,038 3,600 3,600
(S) Re-spendable revenues     186 186
  Total Department 30,055 30,377 32,211 32,199

Total Authorities are Main Estimates plus Supplementary Estimates plus other authorities.

Financial Table 2: Detailed Breakdown of 2004-2005 Total Authorities

This table provides a detailed breakdown of the changes to the total authorities during the course of the year.

Authorities Amount
($ thousands)
Main Estimates 30,055
Supplementary Estimates A- Carry-forward of previous year's lapse 1,115
Supplementary Estimates B
- MK Airlines investigation
- Management of Government Information
Transfers from Treasury Board
- Vote 15 - collective bargaining
- Vote 5 - collective bargaining
Re-Spendable Revenues
- Proceeds from disposal of surplus crown assets
- Revenues as per section 29.1 of Financial Administration Act
Year-end adjustment to employee benefit plans -438
Total Authorities 32,211

Financial Table 3: Comparison of Planned to Actual Spending

This table provides a comparison of the Main Estimates, planned spending, total authorities, and actual spending for the most recently completed fiscal year, as well as historical figures for actual spending by the TSB.

($ thousands) 2002-2003 Actual 2003-2004 Actual 2004-2005
Main Estimates Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual
Safety investigations 24,648 25,284 23,523 23,845 25,569 25,562
Corporate services 6,628 6,773 6,532 6,532 6,642 6,637
Total 31,276 32,057 30,055 30,377 32,211 32,199
Plus: Cost of services received without charge 3,008 3,105 3,347 3,347 3,351 3,351
Net Cost of Department 34,284 35,162 33,402 33,724 35,562 35,550
Full-Time Equivalents 214 227 250 250 250 244

Total authorities and actual expenditures for 2004-2005 are higher than planned spending due to incremental costs for new collective agreements signed during the year, the carry-forward of the previous year's lapse and the receipt of special funding for the MK Airlines investigation and the special project on the Management of Government Information.

Over the past 10 years, TSB spending has increased progressively each year primarily due to increases in employee salaries and to the execution of special projects for which short-term funding was received (see Figure 12 below). During the period of 1998-1999 to 2002-2003, significant costs were incurred for the Swissair Flight 111 (SR111) investigation, totalling approximately $57 million. In 1998-1999 and 1999-2000, SR111 investigation costs were $34.0 million and $13.4 million respectively. In 2000-2001, 2001-2002 and 2002-2003, SR111 investigation costs averaged approximately $3.3 million per year. Financial results for the period of 2002-2003 to 2004-2005 also include spending related to the short-term funding received from Parliament to address specific resource pressures. These expenditures total $0.2 million, $2.4 million and $2.1 million respectively. Total planned spending for 2005-2006 and future years is estimated at approximately $28 million, representing a net reduction of about $2 million in the annual budget.

Figure 12 - TSB Historical Spending

Figure 12.TSB Historical Spending[D]f12

Financial Table 4: Net Cost of Department

This table shows the net cost of the TSB. It begins with the actual spending and adds services received without charge to arrive at the net cost of the department to Canadians.

($thousands) 2004-2005
Total actual spending 32,199
Plus: Services received without charge
Accommodation provided by Public Works and Government Services Canada 1,800
Contributions covering employer's share of employees' insurance premiums and expenditures paid by Treasury Board Secretariat 1,502
Workers' compensation coverage provided by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada 18
Audit services provided by the Office of the Auditor General 31
2004-2005 Net Cost of Department 35,550

Although the net cost of the department has increased somewhat over the past number of years, the total expenditures of the TSB represent an approximate cost of $1.10 per Canadian citizen. For this amount, Canada maintains the capability to investigate major failures in four different modes of the national transportation system.

3.3 Response to Parliamentary Committees, Audits and Evaluations

During the reporting period, there were no Parliamentary Committee recommendations addressed specifically to the TSB. The Auditor General conducted an audit of the TSB financial statements and issued an unqualified opinion. A copy of the Auditor General's Audit Report is enclosed in Appendix C. There were no other external audits or evaluations of the TSB in 2004-2005.

In 2004-2005, the TSB completed two internal audits. The first audit, completed in April 2004, focussed on internal communications within the TSB. The second audit, completed in March 2005, focussed on TSB contracting and procurement practices. Both audit reports and the relevant management responses are posted on the TSB website.

3.4 Human Resources Modernization

In 2003-2004, the TSB completed the development of competency profiles and learning standards for all its occupational groups. A new automated tool was also acquired and implemented to facilitate the task of developing individual learning plans for all employees. To date, this new tool has not been fully utilized, as managers and employees continue to resort to their traditional ways to plan and manage learning and development activities. Renewed efforts will be required to effect changes. In 2004-2005, the TSB invested approximately $1.1 million, or 3.8% of its total operating costs, in employee training and education. In future years, the TSB expects to maintain its high level of investment in employee learning but will ensure that these investments are better targeted through the use of the new tool available to employees and managers.

The approval by Parliament of the Public Service Modernization Act has an impact on all federal institutions, including the TSB. This new legislation, aimed at modernizing the management of human resources in the Public Service, is being implemented over a two-year period. The TSB reviewed the potential implications of the legislation and ensured that resources were set aside in its 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 budgets to facilitate the implementation of the required changes.

In 2004-2005, a labour-management consultation framework was developed and implemented. Four departmental labour relations policies were reviewed and updated to reflect the requirements of the new legislation. A new informal conflict management system was also implemented. Work was initiated on the development of a staffing framework whereby delegation could be provided to managers throughout the organization, and on the training of managers on values-based staffing. Work was also started on the development of a revised performance management and evaluation system. TSB representatives have also participated in a number of interdepartmental working groups led by the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada to develop policies, guidelines and tools for departments and agencies.

Overall, good progress has been made toward the modernization of human resources management. All requirements of the Public Service Modernization Act have been met as per the implementation schedule provided by the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada. New tools and modern policies are being made available to managers and employees. However, significant efforts will be required to complete the work and implement changes in order to fully modernize human resources management within the TSB.

3.5 Other Information and Contacts

The TSB reports publicly on all its investigations. Most investigation reports published since 1995 are available on the TSB website. The TSB also publishes periodic statistical reports for each of the four transportation modes, which are also available on the site. Finally, the TSB publishes an annual report to Parliament and a periodic safety magazine entitled Reflexions, which are available in printed form upon request and on the TSB website.

Previous years' Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports and miscellaneous additional information are also available on the TSB website.

For further information, please contact us:

Communications Division
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Place du Centre
200 Promenade du Portage
4th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 1K8

Telephone: (819) 994-3741
Fax: (819) 997-2239

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