2019–20 Departmental Results Report and 2021–22 Departmental Plan of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Opening Statement to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts

2019–20 Departmental Results Report and 2021–22 Departmental Plan of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada

11 March 2021

Karen Hogan, Chartered Professional AccountantCPA, Chartered AccountantCA
Auditor General of Canada

Madam Chair, we are pleased to have this opportunity to discuss the work of our office, including our most recent departmental reports. With me today are Andrew Hayes, Deputy Auditor General; Helene Haddad, the principal responsible for financial management; and Kimberly Leblanc, the principal responsible for human resources.

The Office of the Auditor General of Canada contributes to well‑managed and accountable government for Canadians. We do this by providing Parliament and territorial legislatures with independent and objective information, advice, and assurance about government financial statements and the management of government programs. The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development assists the Auditor General by conducting reviews and audits that relate to the environment and sustainable development. I am pleased to inform the committee that, on February 1st, Mr. Jerry DeMarco was appointed as the new Commissioner for a 7‑year term.

We also support the development of legislative audit methodology and accounting and auditing standards, and we work internationally to build audit capacity and promote better-managed and more accountable international institutions.

2019–20 Departmental Results Report

Let me turn first to our 2019–20 Departmental Results Report. We provided this report to Parliament in December 2020. As shown in our financial statements, our net operating cost was $102.4 million, and we employed the equivalent of 567 full‑time employees.

With these resources, we completed 16 performance audits, including 4 led by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development and 3 reported to northern legislatures. In addition, we conducted 3 special examinations of Crown corporations.

In terms of our financial audit work, we issued clean opinions on 85 of the 88 financial statements we audited from federal and territorial governments and Crown corporations. We also presented our annual commentary on our financial audit work.

Our Departmental Results Report includes several indicators of the impact of our work, along with measures of our operational performance. One of the ways in which we assess the impact of our performance audit work is through the level of parliamentary engagement with our reports. Parliamentary committees reviewed 26% of the reports that we presented to Parliament in the 2019–20 fiscal year, compared with 58% in the prior year. This drop can be attributed to the lower number of sitting days during the year due to the fall 2019 federal election campaign and to the temporary suspension of Parliament due to the pandemic. However, I am pleased to say that, with the hearings over the last few months, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts has been able to review all of the performance audits referred to it during the 2019–20 fiscal year.

2021–22 Departmental Plan

Let me turn now to our Main Estimates and our Departmental Plan for the upcoming 2021–22 fiscal year. Under vote 1 of the Main Estimates, our program expenditures for the 2021–22 fiscal year are now set at $105 million, which include the entire $25 million of additional permanent funding we requested. With these resources, we plan to employ the equivalent of 737 full‑time employees. I would like to thank this committee because your unwavering support was instrumental in resolving our resourcing challenges.

With this increase in base funding, one of our main priorities for the upcoming year is to increase our capacity in the performance audit practice, which includes the audit reports that we present to Parliament and northern legislative assemblies. This year represents a step toward re‑establishing a broader audit coverage of government programs and spending, including the environmental and sustainable development audits that are issued by the Commissioner.

In addition to reports related to the COVID‑19 response, we are auditing a range of topics, including those related to natural health products, water basins, and outreach to vulnerable populations, as well as updates on past audits.

Now that we have secured our permanent funding, we have been proactive in hiring the additional diverse and qualified professional and support staff we need. As you can imagine, on‑boarding and training newly hired employees will be critical for the coming years.

Another priority in the 2021–22 fiscal year will be to continue modernizing our approaches, tools, and products.

Madam Chair, I could not be prouder of everyone at the Office of the Auditor General of CanadaOAG. They are resilient, caring, and devoted to excellence.

We thank the committee for its ongoing support and use of our work. We would be pleased to answer the committee’s questions.