2009 Spring Reports by the Auditor General of Canada and the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

2009 Spring Reports by the Auditor General of Canada and the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

The 2009 Spring Reports by the Auditor General of Canada and Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development are expected to be tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday, 12 May 2009. The following are brief descriptions of the chapters contained in the Reports.

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

Chapter 1—Gender-Based Analysis. The chapter looks at how the government has implemented its commitment to analyze spending initiatives and policy proposals for gender-specific differences in their potential impacts. The audit examined 68 recent programs, policy initiatives, and acts of legislation developed in seven departments to see whether they had undergone gender-based analysis. It also looked at the role played by the Treasury Board Secretariat, the Privy Council Office, and Finance Canada in challenging whether departments and agencies had identified potential gender impacts of proposals submitted for Cabinet approval. In addition, the audit examined the role played by Status of Women Canada in supporting the implementation of gender-based analysis in the federal government.

Chapter 2—Intellectual Property. The chapter looks at how intellectual property is managed in three federal science-based organizations—National Research Council Canada, Health Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The audit examined how adequately they manage intellectual property generated by their own employees and to what extent they comply with the federal policy governing intellectual property that arises under Crown procurement contracts; it also looked at the roles of Industry Canada and the Treasury Board Secretariat in monitoring the application of the policy. In addition, the audit examined the roles of the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Canada Public Service Agency in monitoring compliance with the Award Plan for Inventors and Innovators Policy.

Chapter 3—Health and Safety in Federal Office Buildings. The audit looked at how Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) manages the operations and maintenance of buildings it administers in order to minimize risks to the health and safety of building occupants. The audit also assessed whether a number of departments were planning for fire emergencies in compliance with key requirements, including conducting required fire drills. In addition, the audit included the role that the Labour Program of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada plays in administering and enforcing the Treasury Board Standard for Fire Safety Planning and Fire Emergency Organization.

Chapter 4—Interest on Advance Deposits from Corporate Taxpayers—Canada Revenue Agency. The chapter looks at the Canada Revenue Agency’s practice for managing advance deposits from corporate taxpayers who anticipate a reassessment of their income tax returns. The audit examined whether the Agency adequately administers these advance deposits under the Income Tax Act and Income Tax Regulations and whether it adequately monitors and manages accounts where it might be obliged to pay interest. The audit looked at the 50 largest accounts of corporate taxpayers going back three years.

Chapter 5—Financial Management and Control—National Defence. The audit examined whether National Defence’s financial management practices support financial decision making, resource management, strategic planning, and management of financial risk. It included the key financial management and business processes used by senior management to control financial and other resources. The audit also examined the relevancy of financial information provided to decision makers. In addition, it looked at compliance with authorities.

Chapter 6—Selected Contribution Agreements—Natural Resources Canada. The chapter looks at five contribution agreements that the Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency entered into with private sector organizations. The audit examined the process by which the contribution agreements were issued and managed. It also considered whether controls the Department now has in place would be adequate to prevent recurrences of the matters identified in the Office of Energy Efficiency program area.

Chapter 7—Special Examinations of Crown Corporations—2008. The chapter provides information on what is entailed in a special examination of a Crown corporation and presents the Main Points from special examinations carried out between 1 March and 31 December 2008 in eight Crown corporations: 

The 2009 Spring Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development contains the following chapters:

Chapter 1—Protecting Fish Habitat. The chapter looks at the federal government’s activities carried out under the Fisheries Act to protect fish habitat from adverse impacts of human activity. The audit examined how Fisheries and Oceans Canada administers and enforces the Act’s fish habitat protection provisions that prevent the harmful alteration, disruption, or destruction of fish habitat. It also looked at how Environment Canada administers and enforces the Act’s provisions that prohibit the deposit of harmful substances into waters frequented by fish. The audit focused largely on the protection of fish habitat in fresh water and estuaries.

Chapter 2—Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act. The chapter is the first report by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development under the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act. The Act requires that the Minister of the Environment prepare and implement an annual climate change plan that includes a series of measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The audit looked at the extent to which Environment Canada’s climate change plans for 2007 and 2008 meet selected requirements of the Act. It also looked at whether the Department has the systems to monitor and report on emission reductions achieved by selected measures included in the annual climate change plans.