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2001 December Report of the Auditor General of Canada

December 2001 Report—Chapter 9

Exhibit 9.13—Three high-value HIV/AIDS strategy projects that raise concern

Community AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE)

In 1998 the Population and Public Health Branch approved $8.75 million in funding for CATIE over five years. The project proposal was subjected to an internal and an external review process. The two external assessments of the proposal were not favourable and identified many significant concerns. Concerns were also raised about the project budget and the amount of funding requested. Yet the project was recommended for approval and approval was given. The concerns noted by the reviewers were not resolved before the project was approved. Moreover, the Branch approved the amount of funding requested.

Since funding began in 1993, the Branch has noted concerns about the project. In 1999, after six years of funding, the Branch began to take limited action to address some of these problems. It was not until two years later, in 2001, that the Branch finalized an audit of the project. Since the audit's completion, the Branch and the funding recipient have been working to negotiate an action plan. However, we are concerned that no serious action was taken until recently, and the Branch renewed funding for the project in 1998 in the amount of $1.75 million a year despite these concerns.

Canadian Public Health Association—Canadian HIV/AIDS Clearinghouse

This project was approved in 1998 for about $2.5 million over 33 months. We could not find the Branch's review assessment of the 1998 proposal. Without the documentation to support the review, we are unable to determine whether the Branch reviewer's recommendations were consistent with a recommendation that funding be approved.

The project had received funding from the Branch before 1998 under a previous agreement. An audit of that agreement and other agreements that the Branch had with the Canadian Public Health Association found non-compliance with the terms and conditions of the contribution agreements. The auditors reviewed approximately 10 percent of the financial transactions made, and recommended that the Branch recover $350,000. The Branch agreed to accept $100,000 after further analysis and subsequent discussions with the funding recipient.

Canadian AIDS Society

The project proposal for $2.8 million over 33 months was approved in 1998. We found limited evidence that the project had been approved and no documents from the selection process. Further, the evidence we received on the approval shows that the review assessment recommended that the project be funded for $150,000 less than in fact was later approved. No documents could be provided to support the rationale for the change in funding.

Source: Health Canada