Read the Transfer Payment Accountability Directive (TPAD). This directive affects how ministries manage your Transfer Payment Agreements.
In Budget 2015, the Ontario government announced the Transfer Payment Administrative Modernization (TPAM) project, noting that “a modern and efficient relationship between the government and service-delivery partners, including hospitals, schools, municipalities and others that carry out work on behalf of the Province, will result in less time spent on administration and more time spent on delivering services to Ontarians.”
Many in the nonprofit sector welcomed the announcement. On behalf of the sector, ONN is actively engaged in ongoing discussions to reduce the administrative burden for provincially-funded nonprofits through the nonprofit-government Joint Funding Reform Forum. The Forum informs the Ontario government’s funding reform and transfer payment modernization initiatives, with implementation led by the government’s TPAM Office.
Ontario ministries’ practices related to transfer payments have evolved over time in different directions so that there are currently no consistent approaches or templates across government in terms of application processes, risk management, budget categories and rules, or reporting requirements. For nonprofits that receive ongoing funding from more than one program or ministry, dealing with an array of different expectations, timelines and templates may be onerous.
The modernization initiative offers an opportunity to examine current practices to determine how they could be made more efficient and practical, while continuing to support ministry oversight and financial accountability.
One of the key pieces of a modernized funding relationship that ONN is promoting would be the adoption of an umbrella funding agreement for nonprofit organizations that receive funding to deliver services through multiple provincial streams. These modernized agreements would ideally rest on the optimization of data gathering and sharing (“collect once, use many times”), budget flexibility, full-cost accounting for program funding (including administrative costs), and streamlined reporting mechanisms across funding streams.
As of early 2016, members of the nonprofit sector are working with the TPAM Office to test many of these ideas through pilot projects:
Consolidated Financial Reconciliation
On the request of one Joint Funding Reform Forum nonprofit, the TPAM Office has initiated a pilot to reduce the cost and staff-time burden associated with uncoordinated program audit requirements. This pilot will determine the feasibility of streamlining audit requirements across government such that a low-risk multi-funded nonprofit may simply submit its consolidated audited financial statements (with separate accounting for each program stream) instead of having to pay for separate audits of each program.
TPAM staff are also working with the Province’s Community Hubs Secretariat and selected nonprofits to improve transfer payment mechanisms that would better support organizations receiving multiple streams of funding for service delivery at integrated “hub” locations.
Human Services Demonstration Project to test simplified administrative practices
Human services represent the largest share of transfer payments to organizations. In early 2016, the TPAM Office launched a Human Services Demonstration Project and is working with various ministries to invite selected nonprofits that receive ongoing funding for service delivery to help test and evaluate opportunities to simplify administrative practices.
ONN and the TPAM Office have agreed to work together on improving the user experience for nonprofits accessing one-time-only funding through the provincial government’s Grants Ontario portal. In 2016, we will co-host a focus group with nonprofits whose insights will be used to improve the portal before its use is expanded to the ministries and directorates who are not currently posting funding opportunities on it.
ONN will remain an active participant in these initiatives to ensure that the needs and priorities of the nonprofit sector remain front and centre, and we’ll keep the sector updated through our e-bulletin. Sign up here to receive updates!
Principles for Transfer Payment Modernization
The TPAM Office co-hosted an engagement process with Ontario Public Service and nonprofit representatives in December 2015. The process resulted in a set of principles to guide the transfer payment modernization process.