Just like hockey season, which seems to run almost year-round, the annual budget cycle never really stops. Budgets almost invariably get released in late winter, to correspond with a new fiscal year on April 1. But the preparation takes months. It starts, at least in the public eye, with the consultation process. This involves the House of Commons Finance committee and gives interested parties, subject matter experts and the public more generally a chance to influence the process.
This year’s deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM EST on Friday August 4, 2023.
WHY MAKE A SUBMISSION, AND HOW TO DO IT WELL
A submission to the pre-budget consultation process can be an excellent means to advance proposals that meet your organization’s objectives.
The submission draws the attention of Department of Finance officials and political decision-makers and can form the basis of advocacy efforts through the fall and winter, including with MPs whose interests align with yours.
McMillan Vantage can help you to craft an effective submission, find committee champions, work to secure an appearance at committee hearings, and help you to make the most of the time allotted to you.
An effective submission begins with early and detailed planning. Objectives should be clear, policy solutions should be realistic and well-defined, and the entire brief – written and/or oral – should be expressed in ways that resonate with the government. (A minority Parliament, as is now the case, adds to the complexity of the political process.)
THE DETAILS OF THE PROCESS
Briefs submitted to the Finance Committee, which includes representation from all four parties, will be publicly posted on the committee website. The Finance Committee prepares a report on its consultations, incorporating selected recommendations. The report is tabled in Parliament and generally influences the Minister of Finance’s own thinking. Recommendations often become part of the Budget.
This year, the committee intends to hold hearings in Ottawa as well as in Charlottetown, Halifax, Fredericton, St. John’s, Québec, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver. Still, time is limited so organizations may need to find a committee champion in order to make an oral presentation.
Importantly, these consultations are different from the government’s own pre-budget process, led by the Minister of Finance, which primarily involves extensive internal consultations as well as public consultations. This is an additional opportunity to have your message heard.
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