Parliament, the Auditor General of Canada, and the federal government have distinct powers and responsibilities in the Canadian system of government. Working together, all three can help improve the management of government programs and services, and the way that the government accounts to Parliament and the public.
- Parliament holds the government to account through its system of parliamentary committees. These committees may review the Auditor General’s reports, conduct hearings, and make recommendations for action.
- The Office of the Auditor General of Canada conducts a program of planned performance audits, as well as annual financial audits that are mandated by legislation. We report our findings to Parliament; these include good practices, areas requiring attention, and recommendations for improvement.
- The federal government sets priorities, and provides programs and services to Canadians according to directions set in laws passed by Parliament. The government may also implement changes recommended in the Auditor General’s reports
Providing Objective and Reliable Information
One of the most important roles of Parliament is to hold the federal government to account for its use of taxpayer dollars. To do this effectively, parliamentarians need objective and fact-based information about how well the government raises and spends public funds.
The Office of the Auditor General of Canada is an independent and reliable source of such information. We provide the information that Parliament needs, by:
- auditing federal government departments and agencies, most Crown corporations, and many other federal organizations;
- reporting publicly to the House of Commons on matters that the Auditor General believes should be brought to its attention; and
- testifying before parliamentary committees about the Office’s audits.
The Office of the Auditor General of Canada also has a specific environment and sustainable development mandate, thanks to December 1995 amendments to the Auditor General Act that created the position of Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. On behalf of the Auditor General, the Commissioner reports on matters related to the environment and sustainable development, and monitors, audits and reports publicly on the environmental petitions process and on departmental sustainable development strategies.