Consultation on Amendments to the Uniform Classification of Accounts

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The Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency), as an economic regulator, is required under the Canada Transportation Act, S.C., 1996, c. 10, as amended to issue a number of railway-related cost determinations based on data supplied by the railway companies. Uniform Classification of Accounts and related railway records (UCA) based information is also required as part of each railway company’s Annual Report to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

These companies are required to supply that data according to a structure of accounts and operational statistics specified by the Agency in the UCA. The UCA sets out accounting guidelines and instructions to guide railway companies in providing information required by the Agency. The UCA is a highly technical document and reporting requirements are managed on a day-to-day basis between the Agency’s staff and staff at each railway company.

The last substantive revision to the UCA was completed in 1998. There were also limited revisions in 2009 and 2010.  Many changes have occurred since the last major review in 1998. The railway industry’s accounting systems have evolved in response to changes in railway operations and accounting standards. As well, a number of Agency decisions have had implications for the UCA, but the prescribed changes in methodology have not been reflected in the document.

The purpose of the current review is to ensure that the UCA:

  • Provides the Agency with the information required to meet its regulatory costing needs and ensure fair and reasonable regulatory outcomes;
  • Responds to the evolution of the railway industry, by ensuring that the accounts being used are representative of current railway operations;
  • Responds to the government policy directions to reduce industry administrative burden, by allowing railway companies to provide required information in a cost effective way;
  • Reflects improvements based on the experience gained since 1998 in performing regulatory determinations;
  • Incorporates recent Agency decisions affecting UCA methodologies; and,
  • Responds to the impacts of the evolution of accounting standards on regulatory costing.

Staff consultations are intended to solicit input for revising the UCA leading to the publishing by the Agency of a new UCA. Stakeholders are invited to provide comments on the amendments proposed by Agency staff in the consultation document. We also ask that you identify any other areas of the UCA that in your opinion need to be amended, along with your proposed amendments.  All responses received will be posted online.

Amended Schedule

PHASE 1: STRUCTURE OF ACCOUNTS

This phase deals with which accounts should be defined in the UCA, and is driven almost entirely by the need to determine railway costs. The structure covers accounting instructions, expense accounts, revenue accounts, property accounts, and operating statistics.

  • September 28, 2012: Consultation Document sent out to stakeholders (via email) for comment.
  • January 31, 2013:  Comments received from stakeholders
  • March 1, 2013:  Invitation to stakeholders to review and comment on submissions
  • March 29, 2013: Deadline for written review comments to be submitted to Agency
  • April 15-30: Agency staff meetings with Shippers and Railways
  • May 10, 2013: Proposed UCA chart of accounts sent to stakeholders

PHASE 2: UCA RE-WRITE

This phase deals with the re-write of the UCA to modernise the accounting terminology, remove inconsistencies in definition and any ambiguities in meaning, and clarify the requirements for cost development purposes.

  • June 21, 2013: Industry consultation to invite comments from stakeholders on the revised complete UCA
  • August 23, 2013: Comments received from stakeholders
  • October 11, 2013: Final Revised UCA approved by Members
  • December 20, 2013: Further targeted Consultation on specific, and outstanding issues 
  • January 31, 2014: Comments received from stakeholders
  • April 2014: Final Proposed UCA to be presented to Members for consideration
  • June 1, 2014: Revised UCA (effective for fiscal year 2015) to be published on the Agency Web site.
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