9070 Parliamentary Committee Hearings for Direct Engagements


Parliamentary committee hearings are important opportunities for Parliament to use the Auditor General’s or Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD)’s performance audit reports and special examinations to improve government management and accountability. The OAG plays a neutral role at hearings.

All of the Auditor General’s performance audit reports and special examinations are referred to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts for review, while CESD audit reports are referred to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. Depending on the subject matter and the entities included in the audit, the OAG is also invited to hearings with various other Senate and Commons standing committees.

CSAE 3001 Requirements

There are no directly applicable CSAE 3001 requirements and no related application material.

OAG Policy

Audit teams shall prepare opening statements for parliamentary committee hearings as required. [Jul-2020]

OAG Guidance

The OAG’s Parliamentary Liaison Group is responsible for coordinating OAG participation at committee hearings. This includes

  • coordinating the preparation for scheduled hearings, including notifying the Auditor General and other witnesses of hearing requests and organizing preparatory meetings;
  • liaising with committee clerks;
  • arranging, if necessary, briefing meetings between committee members or committee staff and the Auditor General or other OAG staff; and
  • preparing written responses to follow-up questions asked during or after hearings with input from audit teams, where appropriate.

Audit teams support witnesses appearing at hearings on their report by preparing opening statements and briefing the Auditor General. The Parliamentary Liaison Group provides guidance on the preparation and content of opening statements and digital briefing binders for committee hearings.

The Auditor General or, in the Auditor General’s absence, the assistant auditor general, considers all requests for an appearance before a House or Senate committee. The chief witnesses are decided by the Auditor General or assistant auditor general in the Auditor General’s absence, or the CESD for CESD reports. At parliamentary committee hearings, the witnesses for the OAG usually include the engagement leader responsible for the audit, and the Auditor General or his or her delegate. The audit director may also contribute as a witness. The Auditor General or his or her delegate is the spokesperson for the OAG and is responsible for placing the audit in context for the committee and, where appropriate, indicating what the OAG thinks the committee might do to help address the issues raised.

Information obtained from the committee members or staff concerning plans for hearings, proposed witnesses, proposed lines of questioning, and reporting to the House is considered confidential and is not relayed to individuals outside the OAG, even if they are party to the hearing. During a hearing, the OAG’s audit working papers remain confidential and, while they may be used to assist the OAG’s witnesses, they are not provided to the committee, read, or directly quoted. If a parliamentary committee asks the OAG for entity documents, the OAG advises it that it may obtain these documents directly from the department or agency.