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The SCAAF requested a comprehensive Government Response to its report entitled Growing Forward which was tabled in the House of Commons on February 29, 2008. The Government Response was tabled on July 16, 2008.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada launched programs, such as the ecoAgriculture Biofuels Capital (ecoABC) Initiative and the Agri-Opportunities Program, that address a recommendation for the federal government to increase funding for agricultural research and innovation activities. Several Government initiatives address another recommendation by the Committee to bring a marketing perspective to the environmental component of Growing Forward. They include the work of federal-provincial-territorial (FPT) governments with Canadian businesses to position their products better in key markets through the Brand Canada strategy as well as the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Program, which assists industry in measuring and marketing the environmental attributes of Canadian agricultural products. Also, to ensure a successful implementation of non-Business Risk Management programs, the Government has proposed that efforts be made to strengthen industry-led partnerships that is a key focus of the science and innovation-related initiatives proposed under the Growing Forward policy framework.
The Committee also requested a comprehensive Government Response to its report entitled Study on the Collapse of the Beef and Pork Sector Revenues which was tabled in the House of Commons in December 2007. The Government Response was tabled on April 10, 2008.
To deal with the short-term liquidity issues and with immediate cash flow needs, FPT Ministers of Agriculture announced the first stage in a national action plan to help with the serious pressures faced by Canada's cattle and hog producers which would provide cattle and hog producers with accelerated access to the new suite of Business Risk Management programs. Additional assistance included amendments to the Agricultural Marketing Products Act that would provide producers with easier access to immediate cash flow.
In response to a recommendation that the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food conduct a complete review of regulatory measures in addressing Canada's competitiveness in the meat industry, one of many initiatives was a joint Industry-Government Livestock Task Team that was struck in October 2007 to address challenges faced by the beef and pork sectors.
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts requested a comprehensive Government Response to its report entitled Chapter 4, Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada of the May 2007 Report of the Auditor General of Canada which was tabled in the House of Commons on February 25, 2009. The Government Response was tabled on July 22, 2009.
The Office of the Auditor General's (OAG) audit chapter focused on how well AAFC processes Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization (CAIS) program applications and how it meets the monitoring requirements of the federal-provincial-territorial agreements and measures. The Standing Committee held one meeting on April 1, 2008 to examine this chapter where the Auditor General's office and the DM of AAFC appeared.
The Department will report through its annual Departmental Performance Report on the suite of Business Risk Management programs under Growing Forward; as part of its performance framework, AAFC has developed a performance measurement strategy for CAIS successor programs; AAFC is establishing realistic service standards for processing farm income support program applications and has also acted to address conflict of interest concerns related to the CAIS program and to strengthen its values and ethics program.
Chapter 3 of the December 2008 CESD Report related to Managing Environmental Programming at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). The overall audit objective was to determine whether AAFC could demonstrate that it was managing the Environment Chapter of the Agricultural Policy Framework to achieve its environmentally sustainable agriculture objectives. The audit covered five contribution programs: Environmental Farm Plan (EFP); National Farm Stewardship Program (NFSP); Greencover Canada Program; National Water Supply Expansion Program (NWSEP); and Environmental Technology Assessment for Agriculture (ETAA) and a major Crown project: National Land and Water Service Information Service (NLWIS).
AAFC agreed with the Auditor General's recommendations and is taking action to address the recommendations. The detailed December 2009 report and a listing of recommendations with departmental responses can be found on the Auditor General's website.
The OAG completed audits on the Net Income Stabilization Account (NISA) Program for the years ending March 31, 2004 to March 31, 2008. The objective of these audits was to provide independent opinions "on whether the final statements have been fairly presented, in all material respects, in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles". The audit reports contained no recommendations.1
The March 2009 report covers OCOL's audit of AAFC that was carried out between November 2006 and November 2007. The audit assessed the services offered in both official languages by AAFC's designated bilingual offices. The audit aimed to examine the management framework and mechanisms implemented by the Department to fulfill its obligations in this regard, pursuant to the Official Languages Act. The department agreed with the recommendations and has developed an action plan to address them. The report and departmental responses can be found on OCOL's website.
1Please note that the NISA audits will not be posted on the OAG website.