Media Advisory: Tabling of Reports by the Auditor General of Canada and the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development—Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Ottawa, 6 October 2009—The Fall 2009 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada, Sheila Fraser, and of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Scott Vaughan, will be tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday, 3 November 2009.

Media lock-up:

 

9:00 a.m.-1:45 p.m. (Eastern time)
Old City Hall, 111 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario
(for journalists accredited by the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery only). Buses will be available to take journalists back to Parliament Hill on time for Question Period.

Journalists must respect the media embargo until the Reports are tabled in the House of Commons shortly after 2:00 p.m.

News conference:

12:30 p.m.-1:15 p.m. (Eastern time) under lock-up conditions. Broadcast journalists may tape the news conference but no live broadcasts will be permitted.

Interviews:

The Auditor General and the Commissioner will be available for interviews after 3:30 p.m. To book an interview, please call 613-952-0213 ext. 6292.

The Fall 2009 Auditor General’s Report contains the following chapters:

Chapter 1—Evaluating the Effectiveness of Programs—The audit examined how evaluation units in six departments identify and respond to the various needs for effectiveness evaluations and whether they have built the required capacity to respond to those needs. In addition, the audit looked at the oversight and support role of the Treasury Board Secretariat in monitoring and improving the effectiveness evaluation function in the government, specifically with respect to effectiveness evaluations.

Chapter 2—Selecting Foreign Workers Under the Immigration Program—The audit examined how Citizenship and Immigration Canada plans for and manages programs designed to facilitate the entry of permanent and temporary workers into Canada and the recognition of foreign credentials in Canada. In addition, it looked at the role of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada in supporting the planning and delivery of these programs, including the issuance of labour market opinions by its Service Canada offices.

Chapter 3—Income Tax Legislation—The audit looked at how the Department of Finance Canada develops technical amendments to the Income Tax Act for tabling in Parliament; it did not examine the process for developing legislative amendments that involve changes in tax policy. In addition, the audit examined how the Canada Revenue Agency provides taxpayers and its tax auditors with guidance on the application and interpretation of the Income Tax Act, and how it assists the Department of Finance in identifying and developing technical changes that may be needed in the legislation.

Chapter 4—Electronic Health Records—The audit examined how Canada Health Infoway manages funds from the federal government to achieve its goals of making compatible electronic health records available across Canada. In addition, it looked at the role of Health Canada, the sponsoring department, in ensuring that Canada Health Infoway complies with the agreements under which it receives funding from the Department.

Chapter 5—Acquiring Military Vehicles for Use in Afghanistan—The audit examined how National Defence managed four urgent projects to acquire military vehicles that would improve operational capability and help to protect Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. It also examined how National Defence and Public Works and Government Services Canada worked together to ensure that the contracting process for the projects complied with government policies. In addition, the audit looked at the analysis and challenge role played by the Treasury Board Secretariat when project and contract proposals were submitted for Treasury Board approval.

Chapter 6—Land Management and Environmental Protection on Reserves—The audit examined the support that Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) provides to First Nations wishing to assume more land management responsibilities. It also looked at how INAC and Environment Canada have carried out the federal government’s responsibilities for protecting the environment on reserves.

Chapter 7—Emergency Management—Public Safety Canada—The audit examined how Public Safety Canada carries out its responsibility for coordinating emergency response among federal departments and agencies along with the provinces and territories. The audit also looked at Public Safety Canada’s efforts to coordinate the protection of critical infrastructure including cyber security.

Chapter 8—Strengthening Aid Effectiveness—Canadian International Development Agency—The audit examined how the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is implementing the commitments set out in its 2002 Policy Statement on Strengthening Aid Effectiveness. The commitments include aligning its efforts with recipient countries’ needs and priorities; harmonizing its activities with those of other donors; and using new forms of aid known as program-based approaches, in which donors coordinate support to the budgets of recipient governments or local organizations for a development program delivered using local systems and procedures. The audit also looked at how CIDA has implemented its commitment to focus its aid in fewer sectors in order to make a more meaningful contribution.

The Fall 2009 Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development’s Report contains the following chapters:

Chapter 1—Applying the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act—The audit examined whether federal organizations are complying with the environmental assessment process established by the Act for projects subject to their decision-making authority as a project proponent, regulator, land administrator, or funding source. The audit also looked at whether the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is fulfilling its responsibilities for administering the Act, establishing a quality assurance programs and maintaining a public Registry Internet Site of environmental assessments.

Chapter 2—Risks of Toxic Substances—The audit examined how Environment Canada and Health Canada have managed the risks posed to the environment and human health by seven substances listed as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. It also looked at the measures both departments have taken to control, reduce, and prevent these risks.

Chapter 3—National Pollutant Release Inventory—The audit examined what Environment Canada does to manage the quality of the data contained and published in the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), a national, legislated, publicly accessible inventory that provides Canadians with information about the releases and transfers of key pollutants in their communities.

Chapter 4—Environmental Petitions—The chapter is the Commissioner’s annual report on the quantity, nature, and status of environmental petitions sent to federal ministers through the Office of the Auditor General and on the timeliness of responses by departments. The chapter reports on petitions and responses received between 1 July 2008 and 30 June 2009.

These reports, along with news releases for each chapter, will be available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada Web site immediately following tabling.

The Auditor General conducts independent audits and examinations that provide objective information, advice, and assurance to Parliament. The Office normally reports to Parliament up to four times a year.

The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, who reports to the Auditor General, is responsible for monitoring sustainable development strategies, overseeing the environmental petitions process, and auditing environmental and sustainable development issues.

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