Laurentian Pilotage Authority did not implement all operational safety measures

2023 Special Examination—Laurentian Pilotage AuthorityLaurentian Pilotage Authority did not implement all operational safety measures

Ottawa, 9 June 2023—The Laurentian Pilotage Authority made public the report of a special examination completed by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. The audit examined how the Laurentian Pilotage Authority implemented its corporate management practices and managed its pilotage services between 1 October 2021 and 31 July 2022.

The corporation is a marine pilot service that certain ships are legally required to use to navigate the waters of the Laurentian region. In such cases, a marine pilot is dispatched in a pilot boat to the vessel to navigate it through the designated waters.

In examining the management of pilotage services, the audit found a significant deficiency in relation to pilot boarding; specifically, in how the corporation implements the safety measures set out in the pilot boat operating manuals. For example, fire drills, search and rescue exercises, and safety equipment inspections were not completed monthly as required. These measures help mitigate some of the safety risks associated with pilot boarding.

The audit also found that the corporation did not approve all training and apprenticeship programs for pilots and apprentice pilots and that it did not monitor the training pilots had taken. Monitoring pilot training is essential for the corporation to ensure that pilots and apprentice pilots are gaining, maintaining, and mastering the competencies and skills they need to perform their duties.

In examining corporate management practices, the audit found weaknesses in risk mitigation and monitoring, which included the safety measures that were lacking in the management of pilotage services.

The audit also found weaknesses in the functioning of the Board of Directors and in performance monitoring. The corporation did not have a code of conduct, which would set out the values and behaviours the corporation expects of the members of its Board of Directors in fulfilling their duties. The corporation also did not have a complete process for declaring or documenting all conflicts of interest. For performance monitoring, the corporation did not monitor progress against all of its targets or performance indicators. This makes it difficult for the corporation to assess progress toward intended results or to take timely corrective action.

In summary, the corporation maintained its systems and practices to carry out its mandate, despite the significant deficiency and weaknesses found by the audit.

A special examination is an audit of a federal Crown Corporation conducted by the Auditor General of Canada. Under the Financial Administration Act, federal Crown corporations are subject to a special examination by the Auditor General at least once every 10 years. These audits examine the systems and practices of a Crown corporation that are key to providing it with reasonable assurance that its assets are safeguarded and controlled, its resources are managed economically and efficiently, and its operations are carried out effectively. Special examination reports are therefore a source of important information that parliamentarians can use to hold Crown corporations to account.

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The Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Board of Directors of the Laurentian Pilotage Authority is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada website.

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