Report of the Audit Committee to the Auditor General of Canada for the 2019–20 Fiscal Year

Report of the Audit Committee to the Auditor General of Canada for the 2019–20 Fiscal Year

Chairperson’s message to the Auditor General of Canada

This is a time of unprecedented change for the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG). The beginning of the 2019–20 fiscal year brought change with the appointment of Interim Auditor General Sylvain Ricard, following the passing of Auditor General Michael Ferguson. By the end of the year, the OAG was experiencing evolving changes that resulted in a lockdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID‑19) pandemic.

The stewardship and stability provided by Sylvain Ricard in upholding the OAG’s vision and caring for its people positioned the OAG to shoulder these changes in stride. His steady leadership also helped to maintain a solid foundation for you to build on as you guide the OAG through the changes to come and continue to lead the OAG’s pandemic response while delivering on the important mandates Parliament has entrusted to the OAG.

Throughout this time, the Audit Committee has served in an oversight capacity with respect to significant operational areas for the OAG. From overseeing financial statements, internal controls and external audit, accountability reporting, compliance, and practice review and internal audit, to delivering on its enhanced role with respect to governance and strategic risk management, the committee has remained an essential component of the OAG’s governance framework.

I therefore respectfully submit this report to you in keeping with section 19a of the OAG Audit Committee Charter.

Bruce Joyce, Fellow Chartered Professional AccountantFCPA, Fellow Chartered AccountantFCA


The OAG Audit Committee Charter requires that the committee be composed of 3 voting members, all of whom are independent external members. Suzanne Morris and I were continuing members from the previous year, and we were pleased to welcome the appointment of Anita Biguzs during the year.

Sylvain Ricard, Interim Auditor General; Andrew Hayes, Deputy Auditor General; Lucie Cardinal, Assistant Auditor General, Corporate Services, and Chief Financial Officer; and Louise Bertrand, Chief Audit Executive, regularly attended the committee’s meetings during the year.


The committee regularly reviews its terms of reference as it continues to develop practices to serve the Auditor General effectively, and it annually reviews its charter to align suitably with applicable policy and legislative requirements. In the 2019–20 fiscal year, the committee recommended its charter for approval by the Interim Auditor General at the 21 October 2019 meeting, and he subsequently approved it. The committee’s work plan, minutes, and supporting documentation demonstrate that it has addressed its responsibilities in respect of the following key areas of responsibility: values and ethics, risk management, management control framework, practice review and internal audit, external assurance providers, follow-up on management action plans, financial statements, and accountability reporting.


The committee continually assesses emerging issues that are relevant to its oversight of significant operational areas. With the onset of the COVID‑19 pandemic, and following the cancellation of the first scheduled meeting in the 2020–21 fiscal year, the committee moved to a monthly meeting schedule and streamlined its work plan to facilitate “deep dive” discussions in significant operational and strategic areas, including the OAG’s COVID‑19 audit plan, the OAG’s culture initiative, emerging technology, and cybersecurity. In addition to these areas, the committee may consider focusing on data analytics, leadership development, funding, and the impact of the OAG’s work, office modernization, and actions resulting from the international peer review.


The briefings and reports presented to the committee during the 2019–20 fiscal year, together with the experience of previous years, have provided the committee with a sound understanding of the key issues the OAG faces. The committee found that management and staff were candid and clear on the challenges they face and were receptive to the committee members’ comments and suggestions.

The committee notes that the OAG sets high standards for the quality of its audit products and that it has a satisfactory methodology to conduct reliable audits and studies. In addition, the committee believes that the system of internal controls is satisfactory for the OAG’s needs.

Overall, the committee has observed that the OAG has a rational and systematic approach to addressing its mandate, to monitoring results, and to reporting to Parliament and Canadians.

October 2020