2020–21 Departmental Results Report and 2022–23 Departmental Plan of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Opening Statement before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts

2020–21 Departmental Results Report and 2022–23 Departmental Plan of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada

5 May 2022

Karen Hogan, Fellow Chartered Professional AccountantFCPA, Fellow Chartered AccountantFCA
Auditor General of Canada

Mr. Chair, we are pleased to have this opportunity to discuss the work of our office, including our most recent departmental reports. I would like to acknowledge that this hearing is taking place on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg People. With me today are Andrew Hayes, Deputy Auditor General; Jerry DeMarco, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development; Paule‑Anny Pierre, the Assistant Auditor General responsible for strategic planning; and Lissa Lamarche, Assistant Auditor General and Chief Financial Officer.

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 me by conducting reviews and audits in his areas of expertise.

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.

2020–21 Departmental Results Report

Let me turn first to our 2020–21 Departmental Results Report. We provided this report to Parliament in February 2022. As shown in our financial statements, our net operating cost was $115.6 million, and we employed the equivalent of 632 full‑time employees.

With these resources, we reported 13 performance audits and 4 special examinations of Crown corporations. In addition, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development delivered the annual report on environmental petitions and the review of departmental progress in implementing sustainable development strategies.

We also audited the financial statements of 90 federal and territorial government organizations and Crown corporations. We issued clean opinions on 86 of these financial statements. We also presented our annual commentary on our financial audit work.

Our Departmental Results Report presents indicators of the impact of our work. One of the ways that we assess the impact of our performance audit work is through the level of parliamentary engagement with our reports. Overall, parliamentary committees reviewed 61% of our reports. This is due to our special examination reports and some of the Commissioner’s reports not being reviewed. I want to thank the Standing Committee on Public Accounts for reviewing all of the performance audits referred to it during the year.

Internally, in 2020–21, we continued mapping the future of our workplace, including an interim phase that has seen us open hotelling spaces in our Ottawa office and begin planning the modernization of our hybrid workplace. The work to replace our audit working paper software, which is a critical step in modernizing how we conduct our audits, has also continued to advance. We have launched a vast, multi-year digital transformation initiative, which will renew our mindset, competencies, tools, and systems.

2022–23 Departmental Plan

I would like to move on now to our Main Estimates and our Departmental Plan for the upcoming 2022–23 fiscal year. For the upcoming fiscal year, our total budget is $119.9 million. With these resources, we plan to employ the equivalent of 747 full‑time employees. I would like to thank this committee because your unwavering support over the past 2 years was instrumental in resolving our resourcing challenges.

In addition to our financial audit work and special examinations, we plan to issue more reports on the COVID‑19 pandemic response and on other topics, including protecting aquatic species at risk, processing disability benefits for veterans, and the surveillance of Arctic waters. We also plan to provide updates on past audits.

Another priority in 2022–23 will be to continue modernizing our approaches, tools, and products. We will complete the replacement of our audit working paper software and focus on advancing our digital transformation and renovation of our workspaces.

During the past 6 months, my office experienced its first labour dispute, which culminated in a strike by our Audit Services Group of employees. Impacts of this strike included delays in some of our audit work and operations. Despite these circumstances, we continued auditing, and critical work was prioritized and completed.

The labour conflict also meant that salaries were not paid to striking employees and that a number of large corporate initiatives were temporarily slowed, including our digital transformation and the renovation of our workspaces. This, among other unforeseen events, affected our ability to spend our budget in 2021–22. We expect expenditures to return to planned levels in 2022–23.

I recognize that the most profound impact of the strike has been on our people. We have already begun engaging with employees across our office with the goal of identifying actions to renew the workplace and foster a healthy, safe, inclusive, and productive environment. We all know it will take time to move forward from this experience, but we have taken very important first steps.

Mr. Chair, I could not be prouder of everyone in my office. My colleagues 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.