Capital Asset Management—Yukon
Audit at a GlanceCapital Asset Management—Yukon
What we examined (see Focus of the audit)
The Government of Yukon’s capital assets include over 500 government-owned buildings worth over $1.6 billion in estimated replacement value. These include schools, health centres, seniors’ residences, and buildings such as libraries and courts, where public services are provided. In the 2014–15 fiscal year, the Department of Highways and Public Works spent about $49.3 million managing the capital development as well as the operation and maintenance of these buildings.
The Government of Yukon’s capital assets also include transportation infrastructure of 133 bridges and approximately 4,800 kilometres of roads and highways. It had a net book value of about $630 million on 31 March 2015. In the 2014–15 fiscal year, the Department of Highways and Public Works spent about $90 million managing the construction as well as the operation and maintenance of this transportation infrastructure.
This audit focused on whether the Government of Yukon’s Department of Highways and Public Works, Department of Education, and Department of Health and Social Services met their key responsibilities for capital asset management, which include the assessment, maintenance, repair, and replacement of buildings and transportation infrastructure.
Why we did this audit
This audit is important because the condition of the government’s capital assets has a significant impact on the lives of Yukon’s residents. Building occupants—for example, children in schools and citizens living in seniors’ residences—have a right to a safe and healthy environment. Known risks in Yukon, such as changing permafrost conditions and radon gas, add to the importance of good capital asset management because their impacts can be devastating and expensive. Roads, highways, and bridges are also important in this sparsely populated territory, where communities are separated by long distances. Citizens rely on this infrastructure for the activities of daily living, including employment, access to food, and medical travel.
What we concluded
We concluded that the Department of Highways and Public Works did not meet its key responsibilities for capital asset management. While it managed transportation infrastructure adequately, it did not adequately manage building infrastructure.
We concluded that the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Social Services met their key responsibilities for capital asset management. However, in our opinion, by not monitoring to see that radon testing and remediation had been done, the Department of Health and Social Services did not do enough to take into account the health and safety of building users.
What we found
Overall, we found that the Department of Highways and Public Works had systems and practices in place for managing the maintenance and repair of government-owned buildings. However, it did not use the information it gathered from these systems and did not follow its practices. For example, while it had conducted 261 building assessments, it had not yet used the information from these assessment reports. It also did not follow its process to prioritize building maintenance projects against criteria such as health, safety, and costs.
In addition, we found that the Department of Highways and Public Works considered building users’ health and safety as well as costs in capital development planning.
We also found that, overall, the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Social Services considered costs and the health and safety of building users in making decisions about their buildings.
This is important because departments should consider costs and the health and safety of building users in their asset management decisions. Further, it is important to identify and carry out prioritized projects as part of building maintenance and capital development, because funding is limited. Therefore, the highest-priority projects should be completed.
Recommendation. The Department of Highways and Public Works should complete all planned building assessments, verify the data in the assessments, and then incorporate this information into the maintenance plans for all buildings in its portfolio. It should also share the building assessment information with program departments. The Department should decide how and when it will address high-priority deficiencies identified in the assessments, especially those that may pose safety concerns.
Recommendation. The Department of Highways and Public Works should evaluate government buildings that are vulnerable to permafrost degradation to determine the potential risk, damage, and cost to repair or replace them. It should also use this information to develop an action plan to address permafrost risks.
Recommendation. The Department of Highways and Public Works, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Social Services should make it a priority to work with the appropriate organizations to develop a strategy for managing the effects of radon in their buildings, including radon testing and remediation.
Recommendation. The Department of Highways and Public Works, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Social Services should have detailed records of all radon testing that has been conducted in the buildings under their custody and control. The records should include items such as testing dates and exact locations, radon levels, remediation actions, and whether employees have been notified of testing results.
Recommendation. To ensure that it allocates building maintenance funding to the highest-priority projects, the Department of Highways and Public Works should, in consultation with other departments, exercise its authority and follow its established project prioritization process, including prioritizing only projects that meet the definition of building maintenance.
Recommendation. The Department of Highways and Public Works should verify the accuracy of the data it gathers in building condition assessments and use it, along with information from other reports, to identify buildings considered for capital development. It should use this information to develop a long-term action plan to prioritize the replacement, consolidation, and demolition of government-owned buildings.
Overall, we found that the Department of Highways and Public Works had systems and practices in place to inventory and assess the condition of most of its transportation infrastructure. It identified and prioritized risks for its paved and chip seal roads, highways, and bridges, and addressed them through regular maintenance, repair, and replacement. However, we found that the Department did not have formal systems and practices in place to prioritize or determine the cost of the maintenance, repair, and replacement of its gravel roads.
This finding is important because having systems and practices in place for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of transportation infrastructure helps ensure that the Department addresses the highest-priority deficiencies. It is also important for user safety, and the transportation network is essential for many isolated communities.
Considering cost in making decisions about transportation infrastructure is also important, because resources are limited. If they are not used prudently, there may not be sufficient resources to address deficiencies that threaten the safety of users.
Recommendation. We made no recommendations in this area of examination.
Entity Responses to Recommendations
The audited entities agree with our recommendations, and have responded (see List of Recommendations).
|Report of the||Auditor General of Canada|
|Type of product||Performance audit|
|Audited entities||Department of Highways and Public Works (Yukon)|
|Completion date||23 January 2017|
|Tabling date||6 March 2017|
|Related audits||Reports to Yukon Legislative Assembly|
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