Financial Administration Manual Glossary
Click one of the letters above to advance the page to terms beginning with that letter.


Access controls

Procedures designed to restrict access to on-line terminal devices, programs and data. Access controls consist of "user authentication" and "user authorization." "User authentication" typically attempts to identify a user through unique logon identifications, passwords, access cards or biometric data. "User authorization" consists of access rules to determine the computer resources each user may access.

Account Verification

Determining and certifying that the applicable conditions for releasing payment in respect of an expenditure account have been met.

Accountable Advance

A disbursement of funds that are provided to the recipient will the expectation that the funds will be expended by the recipient for approved purposes only in accordance with a written agreement.

Accounting Officer

A public officer or service contractor designated as an accounting officer by a Minister or the Minister’s delegate with the approval of the Comptroller General or the Financial Management Board, in accordance with the Financial Administration Act.

Accounting Policies

The specific principles, and the methods used in their application, that are selected by a public sector reporting entity in preparing its financial statements.

Accounting System

Any system, both manual and computerized, that accounts for, controls, or supports the recording of financial transactions and maintaining financial statement item balances of the entity.

Accounts Payable

An account which records amounts owing pursuant to contractual arrangements, or for work performed, goods received, or services rendered by a vendor/contractor.

Accrual Basis of Accounting

Recognizes the effect of transactions and events in the period in which the transactions and events occur, regardless of whether there has been a receipt or payment of cash or its equivalent.

Accumulated Amortization

The cumulative amount of the total cost of a tangible capital asset (TCA) that has been charged to operations expense.

Acquisition Date

For tangible capital assets (TCA), it is the earlier of the date that the TCA is complete and available for its intended use in producing goods or providing services.


In relation to Estimates and appropriations, means a subdivision of a department.

Actuarial Valuation

A mechanism to quantify the value of a financial statement balance. It is commonly used to determine the value of the liability for pension fund assets, pension fund obligations, and other employee future benefits.

Adjustment Certification

Certification, as appropriate, by either an expenditure, accounting or revenue officer that an adjustment to an expenditure, disbursement, revenue or balance sheet item is required and correct.


A financial claim against a third party, as a result of providing funds to the third party, where such claims are normally repayable without interest, and are of a short term nature. In certain cases, advances may be repayable over several years, with interest, according to an agreed repayment schedule.

Examples: Advances provided as part of a contribution agreement; advances to contractors to commence work on a project.

Advisory Board

Provides advice that may have political, economic, environmental or social impacts on NWT organizations and residents, to GNWT departments. All boards are assumed to be advisory only, unless specifically classified by the Executive Council as a regulatory/complex or a complex commercial board.


A stipulated amount paid to an employee or agent under an arrangement in respect of expenses, regardless of the expenses actually incurred.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

The best estimate of the amount of a debt, for which there is not reasonable assurance of collection considering all relevant factors. The allowance provides for a valuation of receivables at their net realizable value. It does not represent a write-off of the accounts receivable.

Alternative Disclosed Basis of Accounting

A basis of accounting, other than the CPA Canada Handbook – Accounting or the CPA Canada Public Sector Accounting Handbook that represents generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for a particular entity.


The portion of the total cost of a tangible capital asset (TCA) that is charged to an operations expense in the current fiscal period as a result of charging the cost of a TCA to an operations expense over its useful economic life.

Application Controls in Information Technology

Manual or automated procedures that typically operate at a business process level. Application controls can be preventative or detective in nature and are designed to ensure the integrity of the accounting records. Accordingly, application controls relate to procedures used to initiate, record, process and report transactions or other financial data.


The authority to incur an expenditure that is set out in an Act respecting the authorization of expenditures, or the express authority in the FAA or another Act to incur an expenditure, or to make a disbursement out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Appropriation Act

An enactment of the Legislative Assembly to appropriate expenditures at the vote (operations or capital) and item (GNWT Department) for a fiscal year..

Approved Budget

In relation to a Public Agency, means an operating or capital budget or an amended operating or capital budget of the Public Agency, approved by the responsible minister.


Representations by management, explicit or otherwise, that are embodied in the financial statements, as used by the auditor to consider the different types of potential misstatements that may occur.


Economic resources controlled by the GNWT or a Public Agency as a result of past transactions or events and from which future economic benefits are expected to be obtained.


A person being assigned the right to receive the payment of a debt owed to another person.


The transfer of property, or of a right or interest in property, by one person to another to be used for the recipient's own benefit, for the benefit of creditors or to be held in trust. This is commonly used in the context of an assignor that assigns their right to receive funds from a third party to be given to another party (the assignee) to which the assignor owes money. It is used in debt collection and contractual obligations to ensure that the third party gets paid using a potential source of funds to be issued to the assignee.


A person assigning to another person the right to receive the payment of a debt.

Auditor General of Canada

The auditor of the consolidated financial statements of the Government of the Northwest Territories as specified in the Northwest Territories Act

Automatic Clearing House

The ACH direct deposit and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) services facilitate the disbursement of recurring payments. Payments require a one to two day lead time, depending on the destination bank.


Bad Debt

An account or note receivable that is determined to be uncollectible.

Balance Sheet Accounts

Perpetual accounts related to assets and liabilities and equities within the Government's general ledger.

Bank Statement

A periodic statement issued by a bank setting out the changes in a customer's account during the period.


A cost incurred to enhance the service potential of an existing tangible capital asset (TCA). Such infrastructure expenditures. Service potential may be enhanced when there is an increase in the previously assessed physical output or service capacity, where associated operating costs are lowered, the useful life of the property is extended or the quality of the output is improved.


An offer submitted in response to an invitation from a contracting authority to carry out work or to supply goods or services for a certain price under defined terms and conditions.


A person who submits a bid in response to an invitation to tender.

Block Contribution Funding

Funding provided that allows for reallocation of funding within the block of programs during the agreement, as long as progress towards program objectives is being achieved.


For purposes of the Financial Administration Act


Borrowing is as described in section 2 of the Northwest Territories Borrowing Limits Regulations (Canada). In the Regulations, “government” refers to the Government Reporting Entity.

Borrowing Authorization Act</

The enactment that authorizes the limit on short term borrowing outstanding at any point in time.


A detailed estimate of future transactions, in terms of quantities, money values or both, designed for planning and control over future operations and activities.

Business Incentive Policy

The Business Incentive Policy (BIP) of the GNWT, as amended from time to time, that provides incentives to northern businesses and includes any directive issued pursuant to that policy.

Business Plan

An annual departmental financial and management plan that includes long-term goals, strategies, objectives, anticipated outcomes and resource requirements. (This definition does not direct the content of business plans.)


Canada Revenue Agency

The federal agency (CRA) responsible for Canadian tax administration. Its responsibilities include assessing and collecting taxes and levies, and delivering social and economic benefits, such as the Goods and Services Tax Credit, through the tax system on behalf of the Government of Canada.

Capable of Delegation

In reference to a power or duty, the state of being able to be delegated legally. The Financial Administration Act

Capital Budget

The portion of a budget, or a separate budget, devoted to proposed additions to capital assets and their financing.

Capital Investment Expenditure

An expenditure incurred to purchase, construct, develop or otherwise acquire a tangible capital asset to be owned by Government or a Public Agency.

Capital Lease

A lease of an asset whereby substantially all of the benefits and risks incident to ownership are, in substance, transferred to the lessee without necessarily transferring legal ownership.

Carrying Value

The amount at which an item appears in the books of account and financial statements, commonly referred to as book value.

Charge Certification

Attestation that all necessary verifications have been performed so a charge can be made to an appropriation or a disbursement can be made.

Expenditure Officers exercise charge certification through acceptance or rejection of contract performance, goods or the amount of purchased goods or services.

Accounting Officers must ensure that a particular charge has been accepted (authorized) by an Expenditure Officer and, that the charge is reasonable, appropriate and accurate before payment is made.


A method of allocating the cost of a service to the user of the service.

Chart of Accounts

A list of the general ledger account numbers and titles used to classify financial statement elements in the accounting system of an entity.


The unique set of numeric chartfields in the accounting structure that are used to identify the nature, amount, timing and other features of a transaction.

Commercial Accommodation

A licensed hotel, motel or housekeeping accommodation at established rates.


An obligation arising from an existing contract, agreement or legislative enactment or regulation that will become an actual liability upon the fulfillment of specified conditions.

Commitment Accounting

The recording of encumbrances and conditional obligations as they are incurred, in order to establish an accurate record of remaining budgetary amounts available for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Commitment Authority

An expenditures officer’s delegated authority to commit appropriated funds or revolving funds to an expenditure.

Commitment Control

The maintenance of commitment records to prevent over utilization of the commitment authority granted by legislation or in an approved budget.

Common Service Group

A specialized or centralized agency providing a service to other units within the Government.


A group of people residing in one locality which has been:

  • declared, or in the process of being considered for declaration, as a Settlement under the Settlements Act
Community Level Expenses

Expenses that are required for the delivery of programs and services that are specific to a single community. (e.g., Municipal Operating Assistance provided by the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) to the community of Fort Providence.)

Competitive Contracts

Includes public tenders as well as request for proposals, which are presented before the public to bid on.

Complex Commercial Board

A board wherein decision-making and/or judgments require specific qualifications or technical expertise, decisions are made with limited precedent; and, decisions have a direct economic impact on residents of the Northwest Territories (including the setting of fees, rates, etc.) and consequences or results of decisions and/or judgments may have political, environmental or social impacts on Northwest Territories organizations and residents.

Comptroller General

A public officer appointed under the Financial Administration Act

Computing Services

Computer Services generally includes:

  • operation of computers and computing equipment; identification of computing equipment and system software appropriate to requirements; acquisition and installation of computing equipment and system software; maintenance of computing equipment and system software distribution of reports and other media; management of media libraries; management of the physical environment necessary for effective and reliable operation of computers and computing equipment; providing advice on the effective and efficient use of computers, computing equipment and systems software; analysis of information processing requirements, procedures and facilities;
  • designing, programming and testing of computer-based information processing systems; implementing computer-based information processing systems; and developing such standards as may be of advantage in providing the above.

Conditional Assignment

An assignment to be acted upon only under a specified condition (e.g. default by the assignor).

Confirmation of Contract Performance

Signed certification by an expenditure officer that the applicable conditions set out in the Financial Administration Act

For example, as a contribution agreement is a contract, an expenditure officer must certify the fulfillment of the disbursement recipient's contractual obligations to the Government as a condition of every contribution payment disbursed under the agreement.


A shipment of goods made under an agreement whereby the receiver (consignee) undertakes to sell or otherwise dispose of the goods as an agent of the shipper (consignor.) The shipper retains title to the goods until they are sold or disposed of according to the arrangement.

Consolidated Revenue Fund

The Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Northwest Territories referred to in subsection 34(1) of the Northwest Territories Act


A method of accounting that combines the accounts of those organizations included in the Government Reporting Entity line-by-line on a uniform basis of accounting and eliminates inter-organizational balances and transactions.


The creation, reconstruction, demolition, repair or renovation of a building, structure or other civil engineering or architectural work and includes site preparation, excavation, drilling, seismic investigation, the supply of products and materials, the supply of equipment and machinery if they are included in and incidental to the construction, and the installation and repair of fixtures of a building, structure or other civil engineering or architectural work, but does not include professional consulting services related to the construction contract, unless they are included in the procurement of the construction itself.


Any physical, chemical, biological or radiological substance in air, soil, water or sediment that has an adverse effect; any chemical substance whose concentration exceeds background concentrations or that is not naturally occurring in the environment.

Contingent Liability

Possible obligations that may result in the future sacrifice of economic benefits arising from existing conditions or situations involving uncertainty. That uncertainty will ultimately be resolved when one or more future events not wholly within the entity's control occur or fail to occur. Resolution of the uncertainty will confirm the incurrence or non-incurrence of a liability.


An agreement pertaining to a given objective entered into by two or more persons that embodies their respective legal rights and obligations.

Contract Authority

A public officer who has been designated as an expenditure authority under the Financial Administration Act


A conditional transfer of approved funds to a third party to fulfill a statutory obligation or other Government objective within a specified time frame.

Contribution Agreement

A written agreement that specifies the terms and conditions to be met by the parties to the agreement, including the amount, start and end date, eligible expenditures, accountability and reporting requirements, and rights and duties in the event of default of the agreement.

Control Account

A summary account whose balance equals the total of the balances of the individual accounts in a subsidiary ledger.

Control Activities

Those policies and procedures that help ensure that management directives are carried out. Control activities are a component of internal control.

Control Environment

Includes the governance and management functions and the attitudes, awareness and actions of those charged with governance and management concerning the entity's internal control and its importance in the entity. The control environment is a component of internal control.

Control Risk

The risk that a misstatement that could occur in an assertion about a class of transaction, account balance or disclosure and that could be material, either individually or when aggregated with other misstatements, will not be prevented, or detected and corrected, on a timely basis by the entity's internal control.

Controllable Asset

Public property that does not meet the criteria to be recorded as a tangible capital asset or as inventory, but is expected to have a useful economic life extending beyond the fiscal year in which it was acquired. The cost of a controllable asset is recorded as an operations expense in the fiscal year that it is acquired. (e.g., office furniture - chairs, desks, filing cabinets).

Corporate Credit Card

The one credit card issued under an approved agreement between the GNWT, or a Public Agency, and a selected credit card company, specifically to an individual named on the card, for purchasing items directly for goods or services in the course of operations.

Corporate Expense

Expenses that are required for the headquarters and regional management structure of the GNWT.

Cost-Shared Arrangement

A funding agreement where funding is provided by a third party in support of an approved program, project or service that is within the recipient’s mandate and supported by an approved appropriation or budget.


The ability to buy or borrow in consideration of a promise to pay at a later date; In financial accounting, it refers to “right side.”



A certificate of indebtedness issued by a government or corporation, generally being one of a number of such certificates.


An obligation owed by the GNWT, or any of its Public Agencies (the debtor), to a second party (the creditor) as a result of money provided by the creditor to be repaid by the debtor in accordance with a written agreement which typically includes an interest charge based on the outstanding balance and the passage of time (e.g. bonds, promissory notes, mortgages, bank lines of credit used, and bank overdrafts).

Debt Servicing Costs

The cost of borrowing money that is due to the passage of time, the rate of interest and the amount outstanding during the reporting period (fiscal year), plus any fees associated with such financing arrangements.

Debt Servicing Payments

Principal repayments of debt plus debt servicing costs.


A person who owes a debt to another person.


Failure to fulfill one or more terms of a contract or agreement.

Deferred Revenue

An accrued liability

Deficiency in Internal Control

This exists when a control is designed, implemented or operated in such a way that it is unable to prevent, or detect and correct, misstatements in the financial statements on a timely basis; or a control necessary to prevent, or detect and correct, misstatements in the financial statements on a timely basis is missing.


A public officer to whom a delegator may assign powers and duties (noun); To entrust particular powers and duties to a public officer or class of public officers (verb).


The act of authorizing a public officer to exercise a specific and limited power or duty on behalf of the delegator, in accordance with the Financial Administration Act


A group or individual (e.g., the FMB, a Minister, the Comptroller General, or a Deputy Minister) who has legal authority under the FAA to delegate powers and duties.

Delinquent Account Receivable

For GNWT departments purposes, a receivable which remains uncollected 91 or more calendar days past the invoice date and for which three collection attempts have been made subsequent to the invoice.


A division of the public service continued or established by statute, or designated as a department by the Commissioner in Executive Council, on the recommendation of the Premier; or the Office of the Legislative Assembly.

Departmental/Agency Representative

A Public Officer from each Department/Agency who has been designated to collect and provide procurement information, data and change order(s) to the BIP Monitoring Office located in the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI).

Deputy Head

A Deputy Minister of a GNWT Department, or a Chief Executive Officer of a Public Agency (or the person who the responsible Minister designates as deputy head for the purposes of the Financial Administration Act

Deputy Minister

The non-elected head of a GNWT Department, or the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly in respect of the Office of the Legislative Assembly.


A financial instrument that gives one party the contractual right to exchange financial assets or financial liabilities with another party under conditions that are potentially favourable, or a contractual obligation to exchange financial assets or financial liabilities with another party under conditions that are potentially unfavourable. Derivatives create rights and obligations that have the effect of transferring between the parties to the instrument one or more of the financial risks inherent in an underlying primary financial instrument.


The selection or appointment of a public officer to perform a specific duty or function by reference to their name or position.


A written statement, issued by the Financial Management Board under the Financial Administration Act


A payment or transfer of money from a bank account maintained by the GNWT, a Public Agency, or from a special purpose fund.

Disbursement Not Made in Respect of an Expenditure

Payment or transfer of money from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, or a special purpose fund bank account, that does not require an appropriation. (Examples: repayment of debt, payments to discharge existing liabilities, transfer of funds between bank accounts)


The processes of removing of an asset from use and from the accounting records as a result of destruction, loss, obsolescence or abandonment.


The removal of an asset from service and from the accounting records. (e.g., disposition of a tangible capital asset (TCA) may occur by sale, exchange, gifting, or disposal)

Documented Approval

An auditable format indicating approval that has been exercised by an authorized employee in a handwritten or electronic format.


A voluntary, unconditional transfer of property for which the donor expects and receives nothing of value in return.

Duty Travel

Means travel to carry out activities on behalf of the GNWT or a Public Agency, not including travel for medical treatment of the traveller or travel for a required medical escort.

Duty Traveller

An individual on authorized duty travel.


Economy Air Travel

Means moderately priced air travel at excursion, discount and regular fares, not higher priced travel such as first class or business class.


Any person recognized by their Aboriginal community as having knowledge and understanding of the traditional culture of the community, including physical manifestations of the culture of the people and their spiritual and social traditions.

Knowledge and wisdom, coupled with the recognition and respect of the people of the community, are the essential defining characteristics of an Elder. (i.e. a traditional healer)

Electronic Funds Transfer

A method of payment from one bank account to another without the use of paper-based media such as a cheque or bank draft.

Elements of Financial Statements

The basic categories of items portrayed in order to meet the objectives of financial statements. There are two types of elements: those that describe the economic (financial and non-financial) resources, obligations and accumulated surplus or deficit of a government at a point in time, and those that describe changes in economic resources, obligations and accumulated surplus or deficit over a period of time.


A present or imminent event that is affecting or could affect the health, safety or welfare of people or is damaging or could damage property. (Civil Emergency Measures Act


An individual that provides his or her services as determined by a GNWT Department, Public Agency, or other reporting body for a standards number of hours each day without reference to a specific result or defined service to be delivered within a set time period (i.e. a contract of service).


The employer is the GNWT or a Public Agency listed in Schedule A, B, and C of the Financial Administration Act

Employment Contract

A contract of service between an employer and an employee.


A piece of legislation; or the process of passing legislation.


An expenditure commitment charged against a budget appropriation.

Environmental Liability

An obligation to remediate a contaminated site as determined by applying the criteria described in the CPA Canada Public Sector Accounting Handbook (PS3260).

Equipment on Loan

On occasion, it is deemed necessary that GNWT property is loaned to various other agencies or individuals to carry out certain tasks. It is necessary for the GNWT to have control over GNWT equipment that leaves the owner’s premises.


Residual interest in the assets of an entity after deduction of its liabilities.


Annual estimates of expenditures and revenues of the GNWT in the context of budgets (i.e. Main Estimates for operations revenue and expenses; Capital Estimates for infrastructure expenditures).

Exception Report

A computer generated report that identifies errors, deviations or transactions requiring investigation. Such reports may be in response to pre-determined conditions to highlight exceptions from the usual or anticipated situation.

Excluded Board

For the purposes of honoraria rates, an excluded Board denotes a Board, where its enabling legislation specifically addresses the Board's establishment and remuneration.

Excluded Individual

An individual appointment to a Board provided for in a separate enactment (other than the Financial Administration

Executive Council

The senior decision-making body within the Government. All Ministers are members and it is through Executive Council that members are collectively accountable to the Legislative Assembly for the conduct of Government business. (Commonly referred to as Cabinet)


For purposes of the Financial Administration

Expenditure Officer

A public officer or service contractor designated as an expenditure officer under the Financial Administration Act.


An operations expenditure of a fiscal period, resulting in a decrease in the carrying value of assets or increase in liabilities.

Expense Verification

The act of determining and certifying that the applicable conditions for validating the liability have been met.


Fair Value

The amount of consideration that would be agreed upon in an arm's length transaction between knowledgeable, willing parties who are under no compulsion to act; The price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date.

Financial Approval Authorities Spreadsheet

A record of all positions in a Departmental division, the related financial approval authority of each position within the division, and any associated limitations (maximum amount) of that authority.

Financial Assets

Assets that could be used to discharge existing liabilities or finance future operations and are not for consumption in the normal course of operations.

Financial Electronic Data Interchange

This service facilitates payments from business to business. The payment is pre-validated prior to delivery to the respective financial institutions of your payments beneficiaries. The payment most often is delivered for processing on the same day except when dealing with non-standard banks

Financial Instrument

Any contract that gives rise to a financial asset of one entity and a financial liability or equity instrument of another entity.

Financial Management Board

The committee of the Executive Council, established by the Financial Administration Act.

Fiscal Framework

The determination of financial resources available for expenditures during the fiscal year.

Fiscal Year

For the GNWT: the period beginning on April 1 in one year and ending on March 31 in the next year.

For a Public Agency: if the period of a fiscal year or financial year for the Public Agency is addressed in the Act under which the Public Agency is established, that period; the period set under the Financial Administration Act by the Board; or the same period as for the GNWT (April 1 to March 31) if not addressed in the Act under which the Public Agency is established and the Board has not set a period under the appropriate section of the Financial Administration Act



Any working fund available for immediate use, e.g., petty cash or change fund.


Future-oriented financial information, prepared using assumptions all of which reflect the entity's planned courses of action for the period covered given management's judgment as to the most probable set of economic conditions.

Forgivable Loan

A loan granted by the government or an organization, which the lender is committed to forgive if certain conditions are met by the borrower.


The deletion of all or part of a debt that is rightfully due to the GNWT or a Public Agency. Forgiveness relieves the debtor of the obligation to repay the amount that is forgiven. The amount that is forgiven is removed from the records and no further collection action can be taken on that portion of debt that has been forgiven. Forgiveness shall not apply to a debt resulting from a tax or penalty, or to a student loan under the Student Financial Assistance Act


An intentional act by one or more individuals among management, those charged with governance, employees, or third parties, involving the use of deception to obtain an unjust or illegal advantage.

Fraud Risk Factors

Events or conditions that indicate an incentive or pressure to commit fraud or provide an opportunity to commit fraud.

Free Balance

An unencumbered budget balance available to be expended. (i.e. budget amount minus commitments minus expenditures to date).

Fund Control

Free balance checking to prevent over-expenditures within a particular operating fund, capital fund, Special Purpose Fund, or Revolving Fund.

Future-oriented financial information

Information about prospective results of operations, financial position and/or cash flows, based on assumptions about future economic conditions and courses of action. Future-oriented financial information is presented as either a forecast or a projection.


General Obligation Debenture

A debt instrument issued by a municipal corporation and secured by municipal general revenues. The ratepayers must approve the issue of a general obligation debenture.


A voluntary, unconditional transfer of property for which the donor expects and receives nothing of value in return.


A voluntary, unconditional transfer of non-cash property for which the donor expects and receives nothing of value in return. A Gift-in-Kind does not include a gift of services.


In relation to procurement, moveable property (including the costs of installing, operating, maintaining or manufacturing such moveable property) and includes raw materials, products, equipment and other physical objects of every kind and description whether in solid, liquid, gaseous or electronic form, unless they are procured as part of a general construction contract.


Describes the role of persons or organizations with responsibility for overseeing the strategic direction of the entity and obligations related to the accountability of the entity.


For purposes of the Financial Administration Act

Government Debt

Debt of the GNWT as reported in the Non-consolidated financial statements of the Public Accounts. It excludes the amount of any guaranteed debt of public agencies listed in Schedule A, B or C of the Financial Administration Act.

Government Expenditures

Non-consolidated expenditures of the GNWT.

Government Reporting Entity

The government reporting entity (GRE) is comprised of government components and those organizations that are controlled by the government. Control is the power to govern the financial and operating policies of another organization with expected benefits or the risk of loss to the government from the other organization's activities. A government may choose not to exercise its power; nevertheless, control exists by virtue of the government's ability to do so. Control must exist at the financial statement date, without the need to amend legislation or agreements. In general, the GRE is made up of GNWT Departments, Public Agencies and Other Reporting Bodies as defined in the Financial Administration Act


An unconditional transfer of funds assets where the recipient's eligibility and entitlement to it may be verified.


An expenditure in the form of an unconditional transfer of an asset, or use of an asset, other than cash, to another party in exchange for nominal or no consideration, or for consideration at less than fair market value.

Gross Domestic Product

The current dollar Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the province. In the case of the Northwest Territories, a GDP 3-year moving average shall be used.

GST Exempt

Entities that are GST Exempt are not liable to pay the federal Goods and Services Tax or the Harmonized Sales Tax on purchases of goods or services. The GNWT and specific public agencies (in accordance with the Reciprocal Tax Agreement with the Government of Canada) are GST Exempt.


A promise to pay all or a part of the principal and/or interest on a debt obligation in the event of default by the borrower.


Hedge Accounting

A method for recognizing the gains, losses, revenues and expenses associated with the items in a hedging relationship, such that those gains, losses, revenues and expenses are recognized in operations in the same period when they would otherwise be recognized in different periods.

Heritage Assets

Assets to be preserved for future generations for cultural, aesthetic, environmental or historical reasons. (e.g. historic buildings, treasures, works of art) Heritage assets are not recorded as assets by the GNWT. Multi-use Heritage Assets that are used to provide goods or services are recorded as tangible capital assets, as applicable.


A portion of the progress billings called for under the terms of a contract this is not payable to the contractor until the contract has been completed and all subcontractors have been paid by the contractor.


A duty traveler’s principal residence, whether temporary, seasonal or permanent, for purposes of duty travel.


Monetary payment given to a person for services for which fees are not traditionally required. All honoraria payments are considered taxable income under the Income Tax Act


Food, entertainment and token gifts provided to the recipient at no cost or less than full cost, including such items as tickets to sports and performance events. Hospitality does not include purchases under the entertainment allowances of senior public officers, meals and refreshments (e.g., non-alcoholic beverages, snacks) provided to staff within regular employment, duty travel meals, gifts and celebrations in recognition of staff service.


Immediate Vicinity

In small communities, the community itself; in larger communities, areas where parking circumstances are similar.

Imprest Account

An account which records a bank balance or a sum of cash maintained under the imprest system. The base characteristic of an imprest system is that a fixed amount is reserved, and is replenished periodically as funds are expended and accounted (e.g. petty cash fund).

Inactive Project

A project that has remained dormant during the current fiscal year and has no budget allocated in the capital budget plan for the subsequent fiscal year.


Reimbursable minor purchases on duty travel (e.g., gratuities, local phone calls). Incidental costs are reimbursed as a fixed amount per day without receipts.


A type of revenue (e.g. Investment Income); Sometimes used to describe “operating income” or “net income” which is the excess of revenues over expenses for the reporting period.

Incremental Labour for Capital Projects

Compensation and benefits costs incurred as a result of a capital project through direct hire or resources transferred full time to the capital project. These costs may or may not meet the criteria for capitalization of a tangible capital asset. The circumstances of each capital project must be assessed separately.


An undertaking, other than a guarantee, given by Government or a Public Agency, or by an agent of Government or a Public Agency, to hold harmless a person or body for loss to which that person or body is subject.

Information Technology Environment

The policies and procedures that the entity implements and the information technology (IT) infrastructure (hardware, operating systems, etc.) and application software that it uses to support business operations and achieve business strategies.

Infrastructure Carry-Over

The unexpended portion of an infrastructure appropriation that is requested for supplementary appropriation in the subsequent fiscal year.

Infrastructure Expenditure

A capital investment expenditure, resulting in a tangible capital asset (TCA), or a contribution to a third party to purchase, construct, develop or otherwise acquire a TCA of the third party.

Infrastructure Project

A project for which funding is appropriated as a capital investment expenditure for acquisition of a tangible capital asset, or as an infrastructure contribution (operations expense) to a third party.

Inherent Risk

The susceptibility of an assertion about a class of transaction, account balance or disclosure to a misstatement that could be material, either individually or when aggregated with other misstatements, before consideration of any related controls.


Any economic resource that creates, or has the ability to create, outputs when one or more processes are applied to it. Examples include non-current assets (including intangible assets or rights to use non-current assets), intellectual property, and the ability to obtain access to necessary materials or rights and employees.

Instrument of Delegation

An instrument, in writing, which delegates certain powers and duties and any restrictions, conditions or exceptions entrusted to a delegate by a delegator.

Intangible Asset

An identifiable non-monetary asset without physical substance. Such an asset must be identifiable, allow the owner to have control over a resource, and provide future economic benefits. Examples: mineral rights, databases, franchises, concessions, licenses, patents, trade-marks, and copyrights. In accordance with the CPA Canada Public Sector Accounting Handbook, intangible assets are NOT reported in the financial statements.

Interim Financial Report

The interim report on the financial affairs of Government, referred to in subsection 36 of the Financial Administration Act

Internal Audit Function

A function of an entity that performs assurance and consulting activities designed to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the entity's governance, risk management and internal control processes.

Internal Auditors

Those individuals who perform the activities of the internal audit function. Internal auditors may belong to an internal audit department or equivalent function.

Internal Control

The process designed, implemented and maintained by those charged with governance, management and other personnel to provide reasonable assurance about the achievement of an entity's objectives with regard to the reliability of financial reporting, effectiveness and efficiency of operations, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Inventories for Consumption or Use

Non-financial assets available for consumption or use in the course of operations.

Inventories for Resale

Financial assets that are held for sale in the ordinary course of operations and it is reasonably anticipated that the sale to a third party will be completed within one year of the financial statement date (i.e. fiscal year end date).

Inventory Control Log

A perpetual paper or electronic record to: monitor and account for the order, purchase, receipt, storage, issue, and use of accountable forms verify in numerical sequence the running balance of unused forms on hand show who has the forms and where they are kept.

Invitation to Tender

A solicitation of a tender in respect of a proposed contract by public advertisement or private invitation.


A department of the GNWT for appropriation purposes.


Joint Control

The contractually agreed sharing of the continuing power to determine the strategic operating, investing and financing policies of an economic activity.

Joint Venture

An economic activity resulting from a contractual arrangement whereby two or more venturers jointly control the economic activity. Two or more parties (joint venturers) control and contribution of resources are shared on an agreed basis and that terminates upon completion of the objectives of the undertaking.

Journal Voucher

A document supporting an accounting entry in the general journal.


Land Development Debenture

A debt instrument issued specifically for land development purposes. It may be a revenue debenture or combination revenue and general obligation debenture, depending on whether the debt is to be repaid strictly from project revenues or from project revenues combined with general tax revenues.

If any part of the debt is to be repaid by general tax revenues, the ratepayers must approve the issue of the debenture.


The conveyance, by a lessor to a lessee, of the right to use a tangible capital asset usually for a specified period of time in return for rent.

Lease Term

The fixed non-cancellable period of the lease plus:

  • all periods covered by bargain renewal options;
  • all periods for which failure to renew would impose on the lessee a penalty sufficiently large that renewal appears, at the inception of the lease, reasonably assured;
  • all periods covered by ordinary renewal options during which the lessee has undertaken to guarantee the lessor's debt related to the leased property;
  • all periods covered by ordinary renewal options preceding the date on which a bargain purchase option is exercisable; and
  • all periods representing renewals or extensions of the lease at the lessor's option;

provided that the lease term does not extend beyond the date a bargain purchase option becomes exercisable.

Leased Asset

An asset that has been leased by the Government for use, on a continuing basis, in the production or supply of goods and services.

The lease may result in either an operations expense or a tangible capital asset, depending on the terms and conditions of the lease agreement.

Leased Tangible Capital Asset

A non-financial asset that has physical substance and a useful life extending beyond an accounting period, and is held under lease by the lessee for use, on a continuing basis, in the production or supply of goods and services. Under the terms and conditions of the lease, substantially all of the benefits and risks incident to ownership are, in substance, transferred to the lessee without necessarily transferring legal ownership.

Leasehold Improvement

Additions, improvements or alterations made to leased property by the lessee that cannot be removed upon termination of the lease because they are attached to, or form part of, the leased premises. Leasehold improvements do not apply to tangible capital assets (TCA), only to operating leases.


A book of final entry that contains either all the accounts including control accounts (general ledger) or all the accounts of a particular type or nature (subsidiary ledger).

Legislative Assembly

The seat of elected government and the legislative body in the Northwest Territories


The party to a lease agreement that uses the asset and pays rent for use of that asset that is owned by a third party (the lessor) that owns the asset being leased.


The owner of an asset who permits another party to use the asset under a lease agreement.


Present obligations to others arising from past transactions or events, the settlement of which is expected to result in the future sacrifice of economic benefits.

Licenses and Permits

Forms which grant rights or privileges to members of the public in the delivery of services and programs, usually in exchange for collected fees.


The convertibility of assets into ready cash.

Loan Receivable

A financial asset

Local Contract Authority

A contract for the local procurement of goods and services to a maximum value of $5,000. Because it is not the GNWT’s preferred method for purchasing supplies, it may only be used as a payment instrument when a Corporate Credit Card is not accepted or, as a “not for payment” purchase order document.


Main Estimates

The document that is tabled in the Legislative Assembly that provides details of operations expenditure amounts being requested to be appropriated for each GNWT Department, by Activity, for a fiscal year.

Maintenance and Repairs

Maintain the predetermined service potential of a tangible capital asset (TCA) for a given useful life. Such expenditures are charged in the accounting period in which they are made.


The term used to describe the significance of financial statement information to decision makers. An item of information, or an aggregate of items, is material if it is probable that its omission or misstatement would influence or change a decision. Materiality is a matter of professional judgment in the particular circumstances.


A member of the Executive Council appointed as a Minister under the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act

Minister of Finance

Minister responsible for the administration the Financial Administration Act.


A difference between the amount, classification, presentation, or disclosure of a reported financial statement item and the amount, classification, presentation, or disclosure that is required for the item to be in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework. Misstatements can arise from error or fraud.

Modified Equity Method

A method of accounting for the consolidation of the financial results of a Government Business Enterprise (GBE) within the Government Reporting Entity’s (GRE) consolidated financial statements. Under the modified equity method, the equity method of accounting is modified only to the extent that the GBE's accounting principles are not adjusted to conform with those of the GRE. Thus, the GRE aggregates a GBE's net assets and net income by adjusting the investment shown in the GRE's consolidated statement of financial position and by presenting the net income as a separate item on the GRE's consolidated statement of operations.


Includes any negotiable instrument.(e.g. currency, cheques, bank drafts, money orders, electronic fund transfers)

Monthly Corporate Credit Card Limit

The maximum amount of charges that can be made against the government credit card in one monthly accounting period.

Multi-year Contract

Any contract that requires construction or the supply of goods or services and the related expenditure in more than one fiscal year.


Negotiable Instrument

A document guaranteeing the payment of a specific amount of money, either on demand, or at a set time, with the payer named on the document. Examples include cheques, promissory notes, bills of exchange, banknotes, demand draft, money orders, traveler’s cheques.

Negotiated Contract

A contract resulting from Executive Council authorized negotiations entered into outside the competitive process in accordance with the Government Contract Regulations

Net Book Value

The cost of a tangible capital asset, less both accumulated amortization and the amount of any write-downs.

Net Debt

Financial Assets minus Liabilities as reported in the financial statements. It represents the amount of future cash flow required to pay for past transactions.

Net Debt per Capita

A measure of how much debt a government has per citizen. Calculated by adding short-term debt and long-term debt, subtracting cash and other liquid assets, and dividing by the population.

Non-competitive Contracts

Includes only those contracts available by private invitation or arranged with specific contractors. (e.g., negotiated, sole-source, or purchases against existing Standing Offer Agreement (SOA)).

Non-financial Accountable Forms

Non-financial forms that have value because they grant rights or privileges or acknowledge credentials and therefore must be controlled and safeguarded like financial accountable forms.

Non-financial Asset

An asset acquired, constructed or developed that does not normally provide resources to discharge existing liabilities, but instead is normally employed to deliver government services; may be consumed in the normal course of operations; and

is not for sale in the normal course of operations.

Northern Business

A business eligible for registration under the GNWT's Business Incentive Policy (BIP).


Obligation Under Capital Lease

A liability incurred to acquire a tangible capital asset (TCA) with a useful life extending beyond an accounting period, and held under lease by government for use, on a continuing basis, in the production or supply of goods and services. Under the terms and conditions of the lease, substantially all the benefits and risks incident to ownership are, in substance, transferred to the government without necessarily transferring legal ownership.


Wilful contravention or failure to comply with the Financial Administration Act


Any individual in an organization on whom executive authority has been conferred by legislation, by-law or resolution of the board of directors.

Official Vehicle

A vehicle used by a GNWT department or Public Agency in the delivery of programs or services, including: a vehicle owned by the GNWT or a Public Agency; a private vehicle belonging to an on-call employee who is required to arrive quickly at the workplace, e.g., emergency medical or maintenance staff; or a vehicle owned by or supplied to an employee who is required to use that vehicle in the performance of their duties as an employee.

On-going Contribution

A conditional transfer of appropriated funds to a third party to fulfill a statutory obligation or other GNWT or Public Agency objective which will extend beyond one year.

One-time Contribution

A conditional transfer of appropriated funds to a third party to fulfill a statutory obligation or other GNWT or Public Agency objective which will be concluded within one year.

Operating Expense

An amount that reduces the operating surplus for a fiscal year in the Statement of Operations on an accrual basis (i.e. based on the timing of the event, not the timing of the cash outflow). Examples include: compensation and benefits, materials and supplies, travel, fees, contracts, lease costs, interest costs, grants and contributions, maintenance, utilities, and amortization expense on tangible capital assets.

Other reporting body

A body that is part of the Government Reporting Entity (GRE) for financial reporting purposes, other than a GNWT department or a Public Agency.


Uncollected, unpaid, uncleared, undeposited, unredeemed or unfilled.


The excess of withdrawals over the amount available in a bank account.


Payment Certification

Certification by an accounting officer that the conditions set out in the Financial Administration Act

Payment Requisition

The act of requesting payment of an account by disbursement through paper cheque or electronic transfer.


A forfeiture or fine payable, or that may be payable, for a contravention of an enactment respecting the collection of public revenue.

Petty Cash

A specified amount of cash on hand to be used for essential and immediate purchases or for making change where the Government receives revenue in cash. Funds placed in a petty cash fund must be accounted for as an advance.

Petty Cash Custodian

A public officer appointed to operate, safeguard and make disbursements from a petty cash fund.

Physical Inventory

The quantity of current assets held for resale, or for use in providing goods and services, as determined by physical observation of measurement (quantity, weight, volume), and type of item (description).

Planning and Accountability Framework

A document outlining the cycle of planning, implementing, monitoring, evaluating, reporting and improving for the GNWT and its public agencies as referenced in the Financial Administration Act.

See: Planning and Accountability Framework.


Stated principles that guide actions and decisions that can be understood as political, managerial, financial and administrative mechanisms arranged to reach explicit goals that relate to the mandate and functions of the organization.


Mid-year (July 1) population estimates used by Statistics Canada; used for “per capita” calculations.


Separating funds from the free balance of a budget in order to reserve the funds for the current fiscal year for a particular purpose. Typically, a pre-encumbrance is initiated by a written requisition.

Pre-encumbrance Certification

Attestation by an expenditure and Accounting Officer

Preparation Time for Board Business

The time required to prepare for or work on Board business not including attending formal meetings. Preparation time includes major research, writing of a report, additional consultations, incidental meetings or travel time related to the business of the board.


Under the Interpretation Act

Private Accommodation

Non-commercial accommodation, including campgrounds.

Private Sector

Businesses (sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations) that operate to earn profits from the selling of goods or services.


The process of transferring the responsibility for providing services from the public sector to the private sector.


The act of acquiring goods, services or works from an external source.


Future-oriented financial information, prepared using assumptions that reflect the entity's planned courses of action for the period covered given management's judgment as to the most probable set of economic conditions, together with one or more hypotheses that are assumptions which are consistent with the purpose of the information, but are not necessarily the most probable in management's judgment.

Promotional Item

Merchandise, products or gifts (often with a logo or slogan) used to further advertise, support, stimulate or encourage interest and awareness of organizations, companies, programs or services in marketing and communications activities.


A person who submits a proposal as described in the Government Contract Regulations


An offer to provide goods, services, real property, or a combination of these, that is submitted to a contract authority in response to a request for proposals..

Public Accounts

The Public Accounts of the Northwest Territories referred to in sections 38 and 39 of the Northwest Territories Act

Public Agency

A statutory body specified in Schedule A, B, or C of the Financial Administration Act.

Public Money

Money that belongs to the GNWT or a Public Agency, including revenue received or receivable, money borrowed by Government or a Public Agency, money received or collected by or on behalf of the GNWT or a Public Agency; or special purpose funds other than trust funds.

Public Officer

A Minister; the Commissioner; the Deputy Commissioner; a member or director of a Public Agency or other reporting

body, or a governing body of a Public Agency or other reporting body; a person employed in the public service; a person employed by a Public Agency or other reporting body; a revenue officer; or a person acting as an agent of Government or a Public Agency.

Public Property

Property, other than money, that belongs to Government or a Public Agency.

Public Sector

Governments, government components, government organizations and government partnerships.

Public Sector Accounting Board

The Board of Directors of the national professional accounting body within the Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) Canada association which establishes and maintains the financial reporting standards for public sector entities.


Real Estate

Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this (also) an item of real property; more generally, buildings or housing.

Real Property

Land and physical structures.


Amounts owing by a third party to the GNWT or a Public Agency as a result of a transaction or agreement.

Reconciliation Schedule

A schedule or analysis that accounts for the differences between two related records. (e.g. a bank reconciliation accounts for differences between the cash balance per the bank statement, and the balance in the accounting records of the entity)


Includes an account, book, return, statement, report, financial document or other memorandum of financial or non-financial information represented by writing, electronic form or any other means, and any information necessarily incidental to the interpretation of any system of recording data.


An amount paid back, credit allowed for overcollection, or a rebate.

Regional Level Expense

Expenses that are required for the delivery of programs and services provided for the benefit of residents of a specific region, (e.g., the Department of Education, Culture and Employment's operating contribution to a Divisional Education Council).

Regulatory or Complex Board

A board wherein decision-making and/or judgments require specific qualifications or technical expertise; decisions are made with limited precedent; consequences or results of decisions and/or judgments may have political, economic, environmental or social impacts on Northwest Territories organizations and residents. (Note: These boards often have operational management responsibilities or are regulatory in nature.)

Related Party

Parties are considered to be related when one party has the ability to exercise, directly or indirectly, control, joint control or significant influence over the other. Two or more parties are related when they are subject to common control, joint control or common significant influence. Related parties also include management and immediate family members.


The improvement of a contaminated site to prevent, minimize or mitigate damage to human health or the environment. Remediation involves the development and application of a planned approach that removes, destroys, contains, or otherwise reduces availability of contaminants to receptors of concern.


An agreement by the GNWT not to enforce the collection or payment of a tax or penalty. Once remission is granted, the debtor is relieved of the obligation to repay it. The debt is removed from the accounting records and the GNWT cannot legally collect the debt.

Repairs and Maintenance

Costs which are necessary to realize the originally projected benefits of an asset. Repairs and maintenance are expenses for normal maintenance and upkeep of capital assets that are necessary to keep the assets in their usual condition. These expenses are recurring in nature and do not extend the useful life of the asset. They would include such things as repairs to restore assets damaged by fire, flood or similar events, to the condition just prior to the event. Costs are charged to operations in the year they are incurred. The cost incurred in the maintenance of the service potential of a tangible capital asset (TCA) is a repair.

Replacement Cost

The cost of replacing an asset with another that will render similar services.

Request for Proposals

A solicitation, made by public advertisement or private invitation, of proposals in respect of a proposed contract.

Request for Tender

A solicitation, made by public advertisement or private invitation, of bids in respect of a proposed contract.

Residual Value

The estimated net realizable value of a tangible capital asset (TCA) at the end of its useful life.

Responsible Bidder or Proponent

A bidder or a proponent, having the capability to perform fully the contract requirements and the integrity and reliability to

assure performance of the contract obligations.

Responsible Minister

The Minister responsible for the department, the Minister responsible for the Public Agency, or the Minister to which the Public Agency is accountable.

Responsive Bid or Proposal

A bid or a proposal, conforming in all material respects to the tender or the request for proposals.


The fee paid to retain the services of a board member on an as required basis for the term of the appointment as approved by the Minister, Financial Management Board, Executive or Legislative authority.


A subset of income. Revenue arises in the course of the ordinary activities of an entity and is referred to by a variety of different names including sales, fees, interest, dividends, royalties, rent, grants, and transfer payments.

Revenue Agent

A person acting as an agent of the GNWT or public agencies that is contracted or appointed to act as a revenue officer for purposes other than tax collection.

Revenue Debenture

A debt instrument to be repaid exclusively from revenue generated from a specific project. The Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA), with Executive Council approval, may exempt a revenue debenture from ratepayer approval.

Revenue Officer

A person engaged, appointed, employed or required by law, contract or other agreement to collect, manage or account for public money, or other money administered by the GNWT or a Public Agency, or a person who receives, holds or is entrusted with such money.

Revolving Fund

A fund that is provided with continuous and non-lapsing authority to retain revenues and to make disbursements for specific purposes and within specific limits, and that is specified in an enactment to be a revolving fund.


The possibility of an event occurring that will have an impact on the achievement of objectives. Risk is measured in terms of impact and likelihood (commonly used in the context of internal controls and enterprise risk management).

Risk Assessment Procedures

The audit procedures performed to obtain an understanding of the entity and its environment, including the entity's internal control, to identify and assess the risks of material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, at the financial statement and assertion levels.

Risk Management Techniques

Include identification of risk exposures, evaluation and assessment of risks, loss prevention, risk control and risk financing including the purchase of insurance.

Risk of Material Misstatement

The risk that the financial statements are materially misstated prior to audit. This consists of two components: inherent risk and control risk.



Bonds, notes, deposit certificates, non-interest bearing certificates, debentures, treasury bills, treasury notes and other security representing part of the public debt of the GNWT.

Security Classification

The process of assessing the sensitivity or need for confidentiality of information and specifying the degree of protection to be afforded; or the specification of the level of protection to be afforded to particular data against fraudulent or improper access.

Self-liquidating Investments

Investments which generate an immediate and direct benefit or revenue stream to the GNWT or a Public Agency such as bridge tolls and lease revenues.

Sequence Control

An accounting technique accomplished by pre-numbering forms or the assignment of sequential numbers to transactions.

Service Capacity

The output or service potential of a tangible capital asset (TCA) which is typically determined by references to attributes such as physical output capacity, quality of output, associated operating costs, and useful life.

Service Contract

A contract for service in which the person performing the work performs it independently of the contract authority and is not an employee for purposes of the contract. The person performing the service is considered to be an independent contractor.

Service Contractor

A person whose services are engaged by the GNWT or a Public Agency in consideration of the payment of a fee, whether or not the contract for those services is made with that person or another person, or a person who contracts to provide the services of one or more individuals to Government or a Public Agency in consideration of the payment of a fee.


The deduction and retention of funds that the GNWT or a Public Agency owes to a person, to offset money that the person owes to the GNWT or Public Agency.

Signing Authority

The delegated permission to authorize specific events; such as, enter into contracts, commit funds to be expended, authorize payments, or authorize transactions to be recorded.

Special Purpose Fund

Any of the following:

a revolving fund; third party project funding received or receivable by Government; a trust fund held by Government; or a fund or funding, other than those specified above that is received or receivable by Government under or pursuant to a law, undertaking, contract or other agreement, and that is to be disbursed for a purpose specified in or pursuant to the law, undertaking, contract or other agreement.

Special Services

Services the Government provides in response to requests or to the needs or actions of individuals or organizations. Special services may or may not involve the collection of a fee.

Special services include but are not limited to: legal aid, hostel lodging, land leases, safety inspections that provide personal benefits, document searches, and paid parking.

For purposes of this definition, special services do not include services provided to the public as a whole (e.g., highway construction, ferry operations, public health and safety inspections and enforcement, etc.).

Special Warrant

A Special Warrant is a method of obtaining an approved appropriation when the Legislative Assembly is not or will not be in Session for some time in order to approve a Supplementary Appropriation Act and the department has adequately substantiated the urgency of the request to the Financial Management Board as per the criteria included the Financial Administration Act.

Specimen Signature Record

A written signature record signed by a public officer, respective supervisor, and other signing authorities, specifying financial approval authorities associated with a specific incumbent to a position and any limitations imposed therein.

Standardized Contract

An established departmental standard contract and template documents available online through the Department of Public Works & Services.

Standing Acting Authority

The financial authority delegated, via an ongoing appointment of a person to act in a position on a temporary basis, during periods when the individual (usually supervisor) with permanent signing authority is absent or otherwise unable to exercise such authority.

Standing Advance

An accountable advance made in a fixed amount to a person required to incur expenditures on a continuing basis and reimbursed to that fixed amount each time an accounting for expenditures is made. (e.g. an advance to establish a petty cash fund)

Standing Offer Agreement

An agreement obligating a supplier to provide to the Government, on demand, specified goods or services under specified conditions during a set period at a predetermined price or discount structure.

Statutory Authority

The execution of a power conferred by or under an Act or under the authority of the Commissioner.

Statutory Obligation

An obligation arising from, decided or controlled by law.

Straight-line Method

A method of amortization of a tangible capital asset (TCA) whereby the periodic charge to operations expense is computed by dividing the total cost of the TCA by the number of accounting periods in the useful life of the TCA.

Substantial Completion

The stage at which a tangible capital asset (TCA) is sufficiently constructed or developed and may be put into productive use although it is may not be 100% complete. Determining when a TCA or a portion of it is ready for productive use depends on production capacity, occupancy level, or the passage of time.

Supplementary Appropriation

Increases or decreases to a GNWT department’s limit of expenditures (operations or capital investment) that was previously appropriated by the Legislative Assembly.

Surplus Asset

An asset that is not required to meet operational requirements and should be authorized for storage or disposal. For a tangible capital asset that is surplused, amortization must cease to be recorded from the date that the TCA is surplused.

System Software

A set of computer programs and the associated documentation through which a variety of general purpose functions are provided for computing facilities.


Tangible Capital Asset

A non-financial asset having physical substance that; is held for use in the production or supply of goods, delivery of services or program outputs; has a useful economic life beyond one fiscal year; is intended to be used on a continuing basis; and is not intended for resale in the ordinary course of operations.


A financial charge or other levy, as authorized by an enactment, imposed upon a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity) by a government to fund various public expenditures.

Temporary Advance

An accountable advance that substitutes for credit or other payment arrangements that would ordinarily be used under similar circumstances (e.g., advancing cash to a construction contractor for materials received on site instead of only paying for work that has already been erected, inspected, accepted, and invoiced).


A bid or offer to sell or provide goods, services or construction that is submitted to a contract authority in response to an invitation to tender.

Territorial Corporation

A statutory corporation specified in Schedule B or C of the Financial Administration Act

Territorial Formula Financing

The principal means by which the Government of Canada provides funds to the GNWT to assist in providing public services. The transfers are based on a formula which takes into account both expenditure requirements and revenue capacity.

Territorial Level Expense

Expenses that are required for the delivery of programs and services that are provided for the benefit of all the residents of the Northwest Territories.

Tests of Controls

An audit procedure designed to evaluate the operating effectiveness of controls in preventing, or detecting and correcting, material misstatements at the assertion level.

Third Party Contribution

A conditional transfer of approved funds to a third party to fulfill a statutory obligation or other Government objective which will conclude within one year or extend beyond one year.

Third Party Demand

A written legal demand by a statutory authority (e.g. a court garnishment order), requiring payment to a third party to whom the GNWT or Public Agency owes a debt.

Token Gift

A given or granted item of value only to the recipient with no other appreciable economic value. Examples are trophies, certificates or other customized symbols of appreciation, recognition or courtesy; free promotional items such as advertisers' calendars, pens, notepads, etc.

Token gifts do not include personal benefits offered as purchase incentives (e.g., frequent flyer bonus points).

Transfer Payment Revenue

All amounts received by the GNWT from another government under the terms of an agreement.

Travel Advance

An advance of funds to a duty traveler to cover anticipated duty travel expenses.

Trust Account

An account in which the GNWT or Public Agency holds, in trust for another party, funds that are not public money.


Unit Cost

The cost of a unit of product or service, calculated by dividing the total applied costs of a given period or for a given operation by the number of units produced in that period or operation.

Useful Life

The period over which a tangible capital asset is expected to be used, or the number of production or similar units that can be obtained from the tangible capital asset.


Valuation Allowance

An amount recorded to recognize the potential reduction in value of a recorded financial asset or non-financial asset due to the recorded amount not likely to be fully recovered or fully realized. The valuation allowance is an offset to the recorded amount of the asset to determine the carrying value, net book value, or net realizable value of the related asset.


A category of appropriation according to its intended use for either operating expenses (Vote 1) or capital investment expenditures (Vote 2).


Walk-through Test

Involves tracing a few transactions through the financial reporting system.

Wire Transfer

A method of transferring funds between bank accounts to make payments to a person (both legal entities and individuals).


An account used to record capital expenditures prior to the applicable tangible capital asset being substantially complete or put into service.


To reduce the recorded amount of an asset due to circumstances other than the occurrence of a transaction. (e.g., uncollectible accounts receivable; damage, destruction or obsolescence of a tangible capital asset)


To remove the recorded amount of an asset due to circumstances other than the occurrence of a transaction. (e.g., uncollectible accounts receivable; damage, destruction or obsolescence of a tangible capital asset)



The last day of the fiscal year of an entity for financial reporting purposes.