Office of the Auditor General of Canada 2016-17 Departmental Results Report
Message from the Auditor General of Canada
I am pleased to report on our results for the 2016–17 fiscal year.
Our work and decisions are driven by our mission to contribute to a well-managed and accountable government for Canadians. Our mission reminds us, when we do our audits, to think about the effects that government programs have on Canadians. It also reminds us to find ways for government to improve its programs for Canadians.
We accomplish our mission through three types of audits—performance audits, special examinations, and financial audits. The goal of our performance audits and special examinations is to improve the way that government runs its programs and reports its performance to Canadians. The goal of our financial audits is to have an effect on the quality, usefulness, and timeliness of government financial reports.
These audits are supported by our audit service and corporate service groups, whose goal is high-quality, effective, and efficient operations that comply with established standards, norms, legislation, and policies.
Our strategic priorities for the 2016–17 fiscal year were to
- ensure selection and continuance of audit products likely to have significant impact and value;
- develop and maintain a skilled, engaged, and bilingual workforce; and
- ensure effective, efficient, and accountable Office governance and management.
This report indicates that we made good progress on each of these priorities, and in the next few paragraphs, I would like to give my perspective on what we achieved.
Largely because of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts, our performance audits had more parliamentary attention in the 2016–17 fiscal year than in past years. This will help increase the impact of our audits. The Committee reviewed 100 percent of the performance audits of the Auditor General referred to it.
We would, however, like to see parliamentary committees make more use of the performance audits done under the direction of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Julie Gelfand. Committees reviewed 50 percent of the Commissioner’s audits.
Our performance audits now deal more with the experience Canadians have when they interact with federal government programs and services. Two members of our executive team—Nancy Cheng and Jerome Berthelette—will work to increase that focus in the future.
One measure of the effect of our performance audits on the way government runs its programs is whether departments satisfactorily implement the recommendations we make. In the 2016–17 fiscal year, departments unfortunately did not make satisfactory progress on any of the three recommendations that we made in past years and followed up on.
The five special examinations of Crown corporations that we reported on in the 2016–17 fiscal year were focused more on results and identified the issues that either the Crown corporations or the government needs to deal with. This was because of the efforts of three other members of our executive team—Sylvain Ricard, Terry DeJong, and Clyde MacLellan.
It was also important that the Standing Committee on Public Accounts had two representatives of Crown corporations appear before it to discuss the results of their special examinations.
Our financial audit practice also did significant work. Again, under the leadership of Clyde MacLellan and Terry DeJong, we produced our first commentary report on our financial audit practice, to provide Parliament with more value from this audit work. We issued 88 audit reports on financial statements, of which 86 (98 percent) were “clean” opinions. Unfortunately, we again could not issue an audit opinion on the financial statements of the Reserve Force Pension Plan.
Our audit service group works diligently to ensure that we do audits in the way that we should, which requires us to stay abreast of changes to audit standards and to keep our audit methodology and professional development program current. This work has been very ably led by Stuart Barr.
And finally, our corporate service group strives for excellence, as shown by our performance measurement targets, many of which we set at 100 percent—a level of performance that is very hard to achieve. We spent considerable time identifying the corporate service requirements that we have to comply with, and we started to assess our compliance. Our corporate services do excellent work under the leadership of Sylvain Ricard and Anne Marie Smith.
In the 2016–17 fiscal year, we faced the corporate service risk that we would not be able to keep our information technology (IT) infrastructure current. We now have a long-term IT renewal plan, but we will not be able to implement it within a reasonable time frame unless we receive the funds to do so or reduce the number of audits we do. We are currently preparing a detailed analysis of the sufficiency of our entire budget.
I want to express my sincere appreciation to all Office staff—particularly our principals and directors who so capably transitioned to new roles and responsibilities—for their dedication and commitment to Parliament and to all Canadians. I hope this report helps parliamentarians to understand how we all performed in the 2016–17 fiscal year.
[Original signed by]
Michael Ferguson, Chartered Professional AccountantCPA, Chartered AccountantCA
Fellow Chartered Professional AccountantFCPA, Fellow Chartered AccountantFCA (New Brunswick)
Auditor General of Canada
18 September 2017
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