Follow-up Hearing on the 2021 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada—Investing in Canada Plan

Opening Statement before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts

Follow-up Hearing on the 2021 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada—Investing in Canada Plan

(Report 9—2021 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada)

16 June 2022

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

Mr. Chair, thank you for this opportunity to discuss the Investing in Canada Plan. I would like to acknowledge that this hearing is taking place on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe people. Joining me today is Gabriel Lombardi, the director who was responsible for the audit.

I am pleased to see that the committee is revisiting this report. Please note that we have not conducted any new audit work on this topic since we presented our report to Parliament in March 2021.

The Investing in Canada Plan is a large collection of new and existing programs that commits $188 billion in public funds towards addressing long-term economic, environmental, and social challenges for Canadians.

Our audit focused on 3 federal organizations. However, 20 federal departments, agencies, and Crown corporations are responsible for supporting Infrastructure Canada in implementing the Investing in Canada Plan. Clear and meaningful reporting is important to demonstrate the results that all of these organizations are achieving.

We found that Infrastructure Canada—as the lead department for the plan—provided only a partial picture of progress toward the plan’s objectives and expected results. The department did not report on pre‑existing programs against expected results. In our report, we refer to these programs as legacy programs. These legacy programs amounted to almost half of the plan’s funding.

We also found that funds were not being spent as quickly as expected, and as a result, federal partner organizations moved planned spending each year to later years. No one was tracking the impact of delayed spending on the plan as a whole, which means that the plan’s objectives may not be met.

Following the tabling of our report, Infrastructure Canada presented the committee with a detailed action plan to address our recommendation. The milestone dates in that plan have now passed, and the committee may wish to ask the department how it has improved monitoring, tracking, and reporting on the plan’s progress.

This concludes my opening remarks. We would be pleased to answer any questions the committee may have. Thank you.