Treasury Board Submissions

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How to use this tool:

  • This tool is designed for IM specialists to use with relevant business areas when identifying information resources of business value (IRBV) and retention specifications.
  • The IRBV and retention specifications contained in this document are recommendations only and should be customized to apply in each institutional context. The complete document should be read before using any recommendations.
  • This Generic Valuation Tool does not provide Government of Canada institutions with the authority to dispose of information. Generic Valuation Tools (GVT) are not Records Disposition Authorities (RDA) and do not replace the Multi-Institutional Disposition Authorities (MIDA).

Validation: The business processes and IRBV of this GVT have been validated by subject matter experts from the following departments: Treasury Board Submission Centre at TBS, Infrastructure Canada, Correctional Service of Canada, Industry Canada, and Library and Archives Canada.

Defining the Activity

A Treasury Board Submission (TB Sub) “is an official document submitted by a sponsoring minister on behalf of a federal organization seeking approval or authority from the Treasury Board for an initiative that the organization would not otherwise be able to undertake or that is outside its delegated authorities.” Footnote1

The  TB Sub transforms policy rationale and objectives into a program that will achieve those objectives. It details how the federal organization will carry out the policy initiative; why the proposed method of implementation is the best one; how the proposal contributes to government-wide aims such as accountability, transparency, and interoperability of information; what the expected outcomes and deliverables are, as per the organization’s Management, Resources, and Results Structure (MRRS); and how the federal organization will conduct monitoring and evaluation to ensure the program is meeting its policy objectives. Footnote2

Institutions prepare TB Subs when seeking:

  • authority to allocate resources previously approved by Cabinet or included in the federal budget;
  • authority to make grants or contributions, or approval of amendments to terms and conditions of grant and contribution programs;
  • recommendations of approval or orders in council with resource or management implications;
  • authority to carry out a project or initiative, the costs of which would exceed a minister’s delegated authority;
  • authority to enter into a contract above or outside a federal organization’s or minister’s authority;
  • an exemption from a Treasury Board policy Footnote3; or
  • an exception to the terms and conditions for a specific project.

TB Subs differ from Memorandum to Cabinet (MC) in that an MC is prepared to seek approval of a policy or new initiative, while a TB Sub seeks approval of elements of a policy or program's design, delivery, and implementation, as well as the expenditure of funds for particular projects/programs. Footnote4

Once approved, TB Subs act as subordinate authorities that provide the permission to expend operational funds and to carry out programs in the way proposed by an institution and approved by the Treasury Board.

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Guide to Preparing a Treasury Board Submission (planned to be updated in summer 2012), provides guidance and practical advice to federal government officials on preparing and submitting a Treasury Board submission. The Guide sets out the minimum expectations for submissions and is designed to ensure that ministers receive high-quality, integrated information as a basis for decision making. To this end, it reflects key directions the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has taken to encourage improved accountability and government-wide management.

Relationship to Other GVT

Business processes and activities often overlap. When the IRBV from an activity is identified in another GVT, there is a note in the table of IRBV and retention recommendations (below) to direct the user to the proper tool.

Business Processes

The Treasury Board Submission activity has three sub-activities, with a number of associated business processes.

1. Advising:

Involves obtaining all up-to-date information relating to drafting procedures for TB Subs and advising the operational area on expected content of TB Subs, necessary formatting, the submission process itself, and the timing of submissions. Typically, this sub-activity is performed by a submission coordinator.

2. Preparing the submission:

Involves consulting with the TB Sub coordinator within the institution with regard to context, timing, submission process, and expectations; researching content; analyzing; writing; determining security classification; consulting translation services; obtaining Chief Financial Officer approval; and obtaining the Minister’s signature. In some cases, several institutions will jointly prepare a TB Sub, called an omnibus submission. In this case, each minister must sign the submission before it is delivered to TBS .

3. Coordinating and submitting the final submission:  

Involves all aspects of liaising between operational staff, the relevant TBS program sector analyst, and the Treasury Board Submission Centre, in order to ensure that TB Subs are prepared according to approved practices and contain the necessary information to enable Treasury Board to make informed decisions about public policy and the expenditure of public funds. The sub-activity also involves the actual submitting of the TB Sub to the Treasury Board Submission Centre. This sub-activity is performed within institutions, typically by a submission coordinator in some sort of Submission Coordination Unit.


Recommended retention specifications in GVTs   are determined based on traditional or best practices, a review of government-wide legislation and policy, and validation with subject matter experts. Retention periods are suggestions only; departments must take into account their own legislative requirements and business needs.

There are no pieces of legislation or regulations that govern the retention of information resources associated with the Treasury Board Submission activity performed by institutions.

Business Value and Retention Recommendations

1. Advising

Business Processes Recommendations: Information Resources of Business Value (IRBVs) Recommendations: Retention Period

Consulting with TBS analysts for advice and direction

Advising drafting operational area on expectations, submission process, timing, etc.

Internal guidance materials (e.g., institution-specific drafting guides)




5 years after superseded

2. Preparing the submission

Business Processes Recommendations: Information Resources of Business Value (IRBVs) Recommendations: Retention Period

Consulting with the TB Sub coordinator within the institution, the resource management advisor, subject-matter experts, to identify issues, constraints, and to gather relevant information

Consulting with the TBS analyst with regard to context, timing, submission process, and TB expectations

Researching content

Consulting with other stakeholders/operational areas (e.g. policy centres, HR, finance, communications, evaluation, Chief Information Officer, etc.)



Determining security classification

Consulting translation services
Obtaining sign-off from the deputy head, assistant deputy minister, legal services, internal audit and evaluation services, etc.

Obtaining Chief Financial Officer’s approval

Obtaining Minister’s signature

Correspondence with internal Submission Coordinator

Correspondence with analyst at TBS


Substantive drafts of the TB Sub (where content is not incorporated in final draft)


Rationale for security classification

Chief Financial Officer’s attestation

Signed Treasury Board Submission, including appendices and all ministerial correspondence related to the submission

2 years after the submission was submitted

3. Coordinating and submitting the final submission

Business Processes Recommendations: Information Resources of Business Value (IRBVs) Recommendations: Retention Period

Liaising with the TBS analyst concerning scheduling

Coordinating with other institutions for omnibus submissions

Liaising with the Treasury Board Submission Centre (TBSC)

Delivering the original and 15 copies to the TBSC

Liaising with operational area if changes are required after Treasury Board reviews the submission

Coordinating withdrawal of a submission (if applicable)

Ensuring the certified stamped copy of the TB Decision (i.e., turnaround document) is filed appropriately

Ensuring the Record of Conditions are completed and filed



Routing slips

Rationale for withdrawal of submission

2 years after the submission was submitted or withdrawn

Delegated authority list

Delegation of signing authority form

Specimen signature card

Briefing notes

Decision letter

Certified stamped copy of submission (now an official decision of Treasury Board), also called a turnaround document

Record of conditions

5 years after the initiative, that is the subject of the submission, has been completed/terminated

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