Scrutinizing the Office of the Auditor General
There are many ways the work of the Office of the Auditor General is subject to scrutiny. Like other federal government departments and agencies, the Office submits annual spending estimates to Parliament and appears before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to explain its estimates, priorities, and management practices.
Every year, an external auditor appointed by the Treasury Board of Canada audits the Office’s financial statements. The auditor’s report is submitted to the Treasury Board and is tabled in the House of Commons.
The Office voluntarily subjects its work to independent external reviews. Methods the Office uses to ensure the quality of its audits are explained in greater detail in the fact sheet entitled Ensuring the Quality of Audits.
The Office also requests quality assurance reviews by external organizations:
- In 2009, an international peer review team, led by the Australian National Audit Office, examined the work of the Office. The team found that our quality management system was suitably designed and operating effectively for the performance audit and special examination practices. For the financial audit practice, the team found that our system was suitably designed and generally operating effectively but noted that risk assessment and documentation needed attention. We agree with the report’s recommendations for improving our methods.
- In 2003, an international team of peers led by the National Audit Office of the United Kingdom reviewed the Office’s performance audit practice. This was the first time that the legislative practice of a national audit office was assessed by a team of its peers. In their report, the team of peers found that the Office’s performance auditing practices reflected recognized professional standards and operated effectively to produce independent and supportable information that can be relied on to examine the government’s performance. Their report also provided several suggestions for improvement. The Office has prepared an action plan and submitted it to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
- In 1999, an external audit firm reviewed the Office’s quality management system for financial audits. The reviewers concluded that the system was suitably designed and operated effectively.
The Office is subject to scrutiny by the Official Languages Commissioner on language issues, by the Public Service Commission on staffing and classification practices, by the Privacy Commissioner on its adherence to the Privacy Act, and by the Information Commissioner on its compliance with the Access to Information Act.