Parks Canada’s Remissions Policy for Service Fees
1. Effective date
This policy was approved by the Chief Financial Officer of Parks Canada and is effective for services provided on or after October 4, 2023.
2. Application and scope
2.1. A remission is the reimbursement to a fee-payer of up to 100% of the fee paid in respect of a service, use of facility, or right or privilege for which Parks Canada determines the service standard was not met.
2.2. A key element of the Service Fees Act relates to remissions, which helps keep programs accountable for their service (or performance ) standards. To this end, this policy provides direction to programs on granting remissions required under section 7 of the Act, including implementing the associated requirements under subsection 4.2.4 of the Directive on Charging and Special Financial Authorities.
2.3. Fees referred to within section 2 of the Service Fees Act, under the definition of fee - paragraphs (a) to (c), are subject to the requirements listed under section 4 (performance standards) through section 7 (remissions) of the Service Fees Act.
2.4. This policy applies:
- to all persons at Parks Canada with a delegated financial authority, or a functional/operational responsibility related to fees
- to all Parks Canada administered locations where fees are charged, for which section 7 of the Service Fees Act will apply as set out under sections 3(1), 3(2) including online transaction systems where fees are collected
- to fee-payers, being reimbursed up to 100% of the fee paid in respect of a service, use of facility, or right or privilege for which Parks Canada determines the performance standard was not met
2.5. This policy does not apply:
- to fees that are exempt from Section 7 the Service Fees Act, pursuant to both Section 3 (e.g. fees set by contract, internal fees charged to federal entities listed in Schedules I, I.1, and II of the Financial Administration Act, fees attributed to Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act, fees beyond the control of Parks Canada, fees related to the provision of a product, fees incurred in relation to a regulatory scheme), and Section 22 of the Service Fees Act (low-materiality fees)
- to fees that have a legislative exemption from the Service Fees Act
- to reimbursements which are not considered remissions under Section 7 of the Service Fees Act, i.e., not related to a performance standard being met
- examples include deposits/advance payments (e.g., the withdrawal of a permit submission), customer service refunds for other reasons (e.g., service recovery refunds not due to service standard miss) and reimbursements due to administrative errors
3.1. This policy meets the requirements set out in section 4.2.4 of the Directive on Charging and Special Financial Authorities. This policy is intended to provide clarification and direction to Parks Canada employees responsible for creating service standards for fees, including the portion of the fee that is to be remitted in cases where that standard has not been met. It will also serve to provide a fair and consistent approach in the management of remissions that is in accordance with Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat policies and directives regarding:
- the authority under which a remission may be granted
- considerations when programs are setting a performance standard and attributing an appropriate remission
- establishing an effective process to document and action remissions
4.1. Fees that are subject to remissions under this policy fall under the authority of Section 7 of the Service Fees Act.
4.2. The following acts, directives and guides provide additional guidance to Parks Canada related to remissions:
- For purposes of this policy, an amount (called a fee, charge, levy or by any other name) that, in relation to a federal entity, is fixed by the Governor in Council, the Treasury Board, a minister or the federal entity under a power conferred by an Act of Parliament or a capacity to contract and is payable for:
- the provision of a service
- the provision of the use of a facility
- the conferral, by means of a licence, permit or other authorization, of a right or privilege
- the provision of a product
- the provision of a regulatory process
- Fee set by contract
- A fee established under a contract between Parks Canada Agency and an external party. Fee amounts can be determined through negotiation between the parties involved, or by adhesion, where the fees are set by one party and accepted by the other.
- Fiscal year
- The period beginning on April 1 in one year and ending on March 31 in the next year.
- Low-materiality fee
- For the purpose of subsection 22(1) of the Service Fees Act, the following fees are considered to be low-materiality fees (not subject to service standards nor a remission):
- any fee that is less than $51
- any fee that is $51 or more but less than $151 if:
- the three most recent reports tabled in respect of the fee before the first day of the current fiscal year set out no more than $500,000 of annual revenue received from that fee
- the fee has been adjusted since the tabling of the most recent report in respect of it and the three most recent reports tabled in respect of it set out no more than $500,000 of annual revenue received from that fee
- there have not been three reports in respect of the fee and the fee has at no time since the day on which these Regulations came into force, been more than $151 or referred to in Schedule 2
- the fee was previously considered a low- materiality fee in accordance with paragraph (a), subparagraphs (I) to (iii) or paragraph (c) and has not since ceased to be a low-materiality fee in accordance with section 3
- the fees referred to in Schedule 1 of the Low-materiality Fees Regulations
- paragraphs (a) and (b) above do not apply to any fee the amount of which is determined by a formula
- fees referred to in Schedule 2 (Fees that are not Considered Low-materiality Fees) of the Low-materiality Fees Regulations
- Individual or groups of services, activities, or combinations thereof that are managed together within Parks Canada and focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes, or service levels. Programs are often co-ordinated sets of activities that are in the same field or sets of initiatives that target a common objective.
- The reimbursement to a fee-payer of up to 100% of the fee paid in respect of a service, use of facility, or right or privilege for which Parks Canada determines the performance standard was not met.
- Service standards
- A public commitment to a measurable level of performance that clients can expect under normal circumstances, also known as “performance standard”, subject to the requirements listed under section 4 (performance standards) through section 7 (remissions) of the Service Fees Act.
6. Policy statement
6.1. Policy framework
This policy is framed around the requirements as set out within Section 7 of the Service Fees Act, as well as the TBS Directive on Charging and Special Financial Authorities (Section 4.2.4) which requires that Parks Canada establishes a remissions policy and procedures for granting remissions to fee-payers.
6.2. Setting performance standards
Parks Canada must set performance standards in respect to the fees it charges in accordance with the Service Fees Act. The remissions policy describes the circumstances under which a portion or full amount of the fee paid should be remitted to the fee payer in cases where the performance standard has not been met.
Performance standards should be both reasonable and achievable. A performance standard that appears overly burdensome is likely too strict and should be adjusted to fit the program’s operational reality. As such, programs should avoid creating situations where significant analysis is required to determine whether performance standard was met and, where it is not met, that an appropriate remission should be provided to the fee-payer.
6.3. Setting remissions
Each Program will set specific remissions based on factors that may include consideration of the following: the impact of the missed performance standard on the fee payer and the proportion by which the standard is not met. In keeping with Subsection 7 (1) of the Service Fees Act, it should be noted that where a performance standard is not met and a remission is due, the responsible authority for program specific service standards as outlined in Section 7 will ensure remission, before July 1 of the following fiscal year, the portion of the fee that the responsible authority considers appropriate to the fee-payer in question.
Each program within Parks Canada with fees subject to the Service Fees Act remission requirements will develop a program-specific remissions approach. Program specific remissions approach documents will describe applicable services, performance standards and services delivered, set out applicable remission rates for fees and describe relevant compliance monitoring and reporting processes.
When it has been identified that a remission is appropriate, staff are to ensure that prior to the issuance of the remission, the request is approved by the appropriate authority. Parks Canada's Delegation of Spending and Financial Signing Authorities sets out and describes the appropriate level of approval required based on the dollar value prior to payment of the remissions.
- From Delegation Of Spending And Financial Authorities Supporting Notes, the following positions have the delegated authority to issue remissions:
- P001 President & Chief Executive Officer (Agency)
- P002 Vice-President (Directorate)
- P02A Executive Director (Business Unit)
- P003 Director, Superintendent (Business Unit)
- P004 Budget Manager reporting directly to level 2, 2A or 3 (Cost Centre)
- P005 Budget Manager reporting directly to level 4 (Cost Centre)
- P006 Budget Manager reporting directly to level 5 and Project Manager (Cost Centre or Internal Order)
- PS01 Vice-President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer (Agency)
- PS03 Deputy Chief Financial Officer (Agency)
- PS3A Director, Comptrollership (Agency)
- PS04 Manager, Finance and Administration (Business Unit)
- PS12 Head Accountant (Agency)
The following requirements apply to the development of all Program specific remission approaches:
8.1. Programs will establish performance standards
Set the standard at the individual level (not aggregate level) for all fee-payers
Each program with a fee subject to this policy must be able to measure its performance with respect to each fee payer and provide a remission to the fee payer when the program does not meet its published performance standard.
Ensure the performance standard is realistic
Remissions should be the exception rather than the rule. If a program is issuing many remissions in a fiscal year for a specific fee, it could be an indication that the performance standard for the fee is not realistic. As such, programs are to evaluate the feasibility of a remission including the proportion by which the standard is not met.
Amending a performance standard
Parks Canadas must hold consultations before amending a service standard. However, it is recommended that Programs which are considering amending a performance standard that is subject to such an exemption, should consult with interested persons in advance.
8.2. Programs will determine the applicable remission amount
Determining whether the performance standard has been met
Each Program will describe the performance standard relevant to its fees as well as the service being provided for said fee.
Factors beyond the control of Parks Canada
In considering whether a performance standard has been met, each program will track and consider any variables resulting from the fee-payer’s actions or factors beyond the program’s control. (e.g., extreme weather)
While remissions must be issued on a case-by-case basis, the analysis that lays out the conditions for, and the amount of remission can be based on a general analysis. (e.g., power outage at the fault of Parks Canada at a National Historic Site affects service level associated with admission fee)
Considering the potential adverse impacts on the fee-payer
The impact on a fee-payer of failing to meet a performance standard may be small or quite significant and may be considered by the Program in determining an appropriate remission.
Considering the appropriate portion of the performance standard not met
When a Program misses a performance standard, it must grant a remission; even if it is minimal in nature and regardless of the frequency with which the program misses the standard. For example, Programs that meet their performance standard 95% of the time, will issue a remission 5% of the time.
Programs may also consider the degree that a performance standard has been missed. For example, a Program could consider providing a larger remission when it misses a standard by numerous factors (e.g., A three service frontcountry campsite providing none of the stated services versus when it misses a standard by one service.) The amount to remit and the level of service by which the performance standard has been missed will be determined by each Program and could be different for each fee.
Note that Programs are not allowed to adopt a 0% remission policy, which would violate the Service Fees Act. On the other hand, programs may adopt a 100% remission policy, however before doing so, should consider their costs and whether any part of the services were delivered.
8.3. Programs will grant remissions when applicable
After setting the performance standard, and determining the remission amount, Programs are to be mindful of the following additional requirements:
Approval of remission requests
Parks Canada's Delegation of Spending and Financial Signing Authorities states, when requests for remissions are recommended The Operational Positions P001 to P006 and the Special Functional Positions PS01, PS03, PS3A, PS04 and PS12 have full authority to refund money. These positions are listed in section 7 of this policy as detailed in the Delegation of Spending And Financial Authorities Supporting Notes.
Programs are to develop a consistent approach as to how fee payer’s information will be retained when a remission is issued. It is the responsibility of the fee payer to ensure their contact information is up to date to be able to provide the remission.
Programs must not issue a remission for low materiality fees or other exempt fees as listed under section 2.5 of this policy.
Form of remission
Remissions are granted to a fee-payer in the form of a refund, a credit, a waiver, or other manner acceptable to Parks Canada.
The remission amount
Applicable remissions must be based on the original fee amount paid, and not on any changes to the fee that might have occurred since the fee was paid.
Remissions issued under this policy are not subject to interest.
Processing all remissions prior to July 1 of the following fiscal year
For example, remissions that are related to fees paid in fiscal year 2023–24 must be issued prior to July 1, 2024.
When the performance of the service crosses over fiscal years
In some cases, a Program may have difficulty issuing a remission by the July 1st deadline if the Program has not completed the service in full. For example, a Program receives an application for a permit in March 2021 (fiscal year 2020-21), however the performance standard to review the application is 90 days and the resulting service is not completed until the next fiscal year in 2021-22). In this scenario, if the performance standard is missed in fiscal year 2021-22, the amount remitted would be due by July 1st of the following fiscal year (2022-23).
8.4. Program monitoring and review
Programs will develop, approve, and periodically review all fees subject to the Service Fees Act, where this includes related:
- performance standards
- remissions approaches
Tracking and monitoring
Programs are responsible for tracking and monitoring compliance with performance standards on an ongoing basis. In addition, Programs are required to provide, on an annual basis, comprehensive information about all fee transactions for use in the preparation of the Parks Canada's Annual Fees Report. The report is to include information as set out in Section 20 of the Service Fees Act, i.e., information on new, modified or abolished fees, fees that did not generate revenue, fees for which no costs were incurred, as well as any low-materiality fees.
Fee-payer comments and complaints
Programs are to establish a process for accommodating fee-payer comments or complaints. Complaints which cannot be resolved at the program level are to be sent to the Director Outreach and Marketing. Requests are to be routed to the following address:
30 Victoria Street
9. Roles and responsibilities
The TBS Policy on Financial Management sets out the President and Chief Executive Officer’s and Chief Financial Officer's standards and expectations for sound financial management and control across the Parks Canada Agency. Some of the roles and responsibilities described in this policy are further described within Parks Canada's Delegation of Spending and Financial Signing Authorities. In addition, the roles and responsibilities with respect to this specific policy are as follows:
9.1. President and Chief Executive Officer
- Will investigate and act when significant issues regarding policy compliance arise and ensuring that appropriate remedial action is taken to address such issues within the Agency.
- Will ensure that the Chief Financial Officer advises the Comptroller General of Canada on a timely basis when there are difficulties in complying with this policy, its supporting instruments or other direction from the Comptroller General of Canada.
9.2. Senior Vice-President, Operations
- Will ensure compliance with this policy and any related directives, guides and procedures with the goal of creating transparency and encouraging efficiency in the provision of federal services.
- Will ensure compliance with this policy and any related directives, guides and procedures related to the application of all remissions.
9.3. Vice-President, External Relations and Visitor Experience
- Will ensure compliance with this policy and any related directives, guides and procedures regarding the setting of service fees and establishment of performance standards with the goal of creating transparency and encouraging efficiency in the provision of federal services.
- Will ensure compliance with this policy and any related directives, guides and procedures related to the application of all remissions.
- Will approve, communicate and maintain an Agency policy on remissions and related procedures for granting remissions.
- Will report on remissions provided when service standards are not met in the annual Parks Canada Service Fees Report.
9.4. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
- Will ensure that the remission policy establishes appropriate considerations for determining whether a service standard is not met and whether a remission is warranted,
- Will ensure that Agency remissions are processed prior to July 1st the next fiscal year ensuring that interest is not paid on remissions granted.
- Will approve the Agency's annual fees report, prepared in accordance with section 20 of the Service Fees Act.
10. Monitoring and reporting
This policy will be reviewed at a minimum of once every five years, subject to priority ranking of all areas of risk or significance within Parks Canada. In addition, all Parks Canada remissions will be reported and made public within the President of Treasury Board’s Annual Fees Report.
For interpretation, clarification or inquiries regarding this policy please email Parks Canada Information or write to:
Director, Outreach and Marketing
30 Victoria Street
12. Program specific remissions approaches
- Date modified :